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Bible Commentaries

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament
Mark 10

 

 

Verse 1

Mark 10:1. From thence. From Capernaum, the final departure from Galilee.

And beyond the Jordan (Perea). The common reading is ‘through the farther side of (beyond) the Jordan.’ John’s narrative shows that he visited Jerusalem at least twice in the interval, and hence this account is literally correct. He had already been in Perea, or at least on the borders (John 10:40), after the feast of dedication and before the raising of Lazarus.

Come together unto him again. As they had done on the previous visit (John 16:41, 42), or as occurred in Galilee (Mark 10:2-9). The accounts of Mark and Matthew agree closely, but the former puts the law of Moses first, and then that of Paradise.


Verses 1-12

ON the numerous events which intervened between the last section and this, see Matthew 19:1-12. This chapter, as far as Mark 10:31, corresponds with Matthew 19 : giving us lessons concerning the marriage relation in the church (Matthew 19:2-12), children in the church (Matthew 19:13-16), and property in the church (Matthew 19:17-30).


Verse 2

Mark 10:2. Mark omits ‘for every cause’ (Matthew), but the whole subject is brought into discussion,—a dangerous topic in the territory of Herod, the husband of Herodias.


Verse 3

Mark 10:3. What did Moses command you? Peculiar to Mark. This question at once takes the matter out of the sphere of tradition and Rabbinical hair-splitting, into that of Divine law.


Verse 4

Mark 10:4. See on Matthew 5:31, which is precisely the same.


Verse 5

Mark 10:5. For your hardness of heart. Their general sinfulness, with special reference to harshness toward their wives, which this regulation was designed to counteract. It was not to encourage divorce.

He wrote. This implies that some of the precepts of the Mosaic law were of temporary validity, designed only to educate the chosen people. The law of Paradise is, in one sense, more permanent, just as Paul exalts the Abrahamic covenant above the law (Galatians 3).


Verses 6-9

Mark 10:6-9. See on Matthew 19:4-6. Our Lord sanctions the words of Genesis 2:24, by making them his own. Whether at first spoken by Adam, or a comment by Moses, they are the words of God (Matthew). This is the first precept or prophecy of Holy Writ, but again and again quoted. As a remnant of Paradise the marriage relation suffers many attacks from ‘the seed of the serpent’


Verse 10

Mark 10:10. And in the house. An accurate detail peculiar to Mark. The fuller private teaching was needed, for these disciples were to teach the world new lessons on the subject of marriage and divorce, and thus elevate women. Sadly enough, women who have been elevated by these teachings are seeking to overthrow their authority, thus unwittingly laboring for the renewed degradation of their sex.


Verse 11

Mark 10:11. See on Matthew 19:9, where the case of one marrying a divorced woman is added.

Against her. It is not clear whether this means the first or second woman. But the marriage with the second is a crime against the first, as well as adultery with the second. The one justifiable ground of divorce is omitted here, being understood as a matter of course.


Verse 12

Mark 10:12. And if she herself put away, etc. Mark’s account is peculiar in representing the woman as seeking the divorce. This was unusual among the Jews (exceptional cases: Michal, 1 Samuel 25:44; Herodias, Matthew 14:4), though it occurred among the Greeks and Romans. Probably in this confidential interview, the delicate subject was discussed in all its bearings (Matthew preserves particulars omitted here), and Mark preserves a specification more applicable to Gentile readers.


Verse 13

Mark 10:13. That he should touch them. So Luke, Matthew: ‘lay his hands on them and pray.’


Verses 13-16

See notes on Matthew 19:13-15; comp. Luke 15-17, who at this point resumes the parallelism with Matthew and Mark. The account before us is the fullest and most striking of the three.


Verse 14

Mark 10:14. Much displeased, i.e., at the rebuke of the disciples. Peculiar to Mark. Some sign of displeasure was probably on His countenance. How careful we should be not to call forth His displeasure, by keeping children from Him, be cause we are speculating on high themes about marriage and divorce.


Verse 15

Mark 10:15. See on Matthew 18:3. The connection here is remarkable. Not only may infants be brought to Christ, but adults, in order to enter the kingdom, to come to Him, must become like them. Only as a little child can any one enter the kingdom. It is fairly implied that children in years can be Christians, recognized as such by their parents’ act and the Master’s act through His ministers, trained as such by parents and pastors, and a promise that His grace will not fail, where our faith does not fail.


Verse 16

Mark 10:16. And taking them in his arms. Mark loves to tell of our Lord’s gestures. Christ did more for the children than those who brought them asked, as He always does. The servants of such a Master should welcome children to His fold.

Laying his hands on them. ‘We have no definite account of any ordination of the Apostles by the laving on of Christ’s hands; but we do read of a laying-on of hands upon children, and consequently of their ordination to the kingdom of heaven.’ Lange.


Verse 17

Mark 10:17. On (lit., ‘into’) the way. On His journey to Jerusalem, as He finally left Perea.

There ran one, etc. Peculiar to Mark. This eagerness and respect was the more remarkable, since the man was a ‘ruler’ (Luke), and ‘very rich.’ Still the enthusiasm was also that of youth (Matthew: ‘the young man’).

Good Master, what shell I do? Matthew: ‘Master, what good thing?’ Both ideas were no doubt included in the original question, but in Matthew’s narrative the one point (‘good thing’) is taken up, in Mark and Luke the other (‘good master’). Both what was good, and who was good, had been misapprehended by the questioner.


Verses 17-31

The position of this section is the same in all three Gospels. Mark 10:17 shows that our Lord had already started on His journey to death. This gives the greater emphasis to His demand for self-denial from the rich young man. The connection with Mark 10:15 is also significant: the love of riches is the very opposite of receiving ‘the kingdom of God, as a little child.’


Verse 18

Mark 10:18. Why callest thou me good? Matthew (the correct reading): ‘Why askest thou me of that which is good?’ In applying the term ‘good’ to our Lord, the young ruler was honest, but mistaken. He used it without fully apprehending its meaning. On the connection of this answer with the one ‘good thing,’ see Matthew 19:17. Either ‘there is none good, but God: Christ is good; therefore Christ is God’—or, ‘there is none good, but God: Christ is not God: therefore Christ is NOT GOOD’ (Stier). Since but one is good, God, then giving up all for Him is the last test, and following Christ (Mark 10:21) is doing that.


Verse 19

Mark 10:19. Do not defraud. This probably answers to the tenth commandment Matthew gives the sum of the second table of the law. See on Matthew 19:18-19.


Verse 20

Mark 10:20. See on Matthew 19:20.


Verse 21

Mark 10:21. And Jesus looking upon him loved him. A touching particular peculiar to Mark. The young man made no immediate response to this love. How then could Jesus have loved him in his self-righteousness and worldliness? The phrase ‘looking upon him,’ indicates that the love was called forth by the loveliness of the young ruler. Despite all his mistakes, there was in him something lovely. To this loveliness there was a response in the heart of Him who shared our humanity so entirely. It may have been a part of the sorrows of His earthly life, that such affection met no proper spiritual response. This view neither diminishes the power of our Saviour’s affection, nor assumes, what is nowhere hinted, that the young man was at heart right.

One thing thou lackest. The ruler himself had asked such a question (Matthew).


Verse 22

Mark 10:22. But his countenance fell. A strong expression, peculiar to Mark, who loves such minute details of look and gesture. See on Matthew 19:22.


Verse 23

Mark 10:23. Looked round. A second look of Jesus, in earnest sadness, we may well suppose.


Verse 24

Mark 10:24. Were amazed. The word is a strong one. Mark introduces this astonishment of the disciples earlier than Matthew, and adds the Lord’s explanation: Children (a term of affection to tranquillize them), how hard it is for them that trust in riches, etc. That this trust is almost inseparable from the possession of riches, is implied by the connection with Mark 10:25 (on which see Matthew 19:24). Some ancient authorities omit: ‘for them that trust in riches,’ thus making the statement more general.


Verse 26

Mark 10:26. Astonished out of measure. Driven out of their wonted state of mind, dismayed. Evidently they felt that having riches almost inevitably led to ‘trusting in riches.’ In fact many who have not riches are seeking wealth as the chief good, because they already trust in it. Because the impossibility was thus extended, the question, Then who can be saved? was so natural.


Verse 27

Mark 10:27. Looking upon them. This third look is mentioned by Matthew also. The first (Mark 10:21) was a look of affection, the second (Mark 10:23) a look of sorrow, the third of kindness bringing hope, for the grace of God is declared to be equal to this task, impossible with men. This passage opposes the love of money in every form arid among all conditions of men. The desire for wealth, even more than the actual possession of it, interferes with entering into a kingdom where humility is a cardinal virtue and self denial an essential pre-requisite. He has learned the lesson right, who applies this mainly to himself, seeking the almighty grace which can save him from his trust in earthly things.


Verse 28

Mark 10:28. Peter began to say. Probably under the influence of the astonishment just mentioned. On the promise to the Apostles, see Matthew 19:28. Mark’s account presents a few peculiar features.


Verse 29

Mark 10:29. And the gospel’s sake. A similar addition occurs in chap. Mark 8:38. Mark perhaps inserts this in both places, in consequence of his own shrinking from suffering on account of the Gospel (Acts 13:13; Acts 15:38); so also, ‘with persecution’ (Mark 10:30). He would guard others against his own mistake.


Verse 30

Mark 10:30. Now in this time. So Luke. It is implied, though not very plainly, in Matthew’s account.

Houses, etc. This repetition is peculiar to Mark, and characteristic

Mothers. ‘Nature gives us only one,—but love, many’(see Romans 16:13). We do not find ‘fathers’ here, or ‘wives’ (‘wife’ being of doubtful authority in Mark 10:29), the new relations being spiritual. The former is omitted, probably for the reason suggested in Matthew 23:9 (‘One is your father,’ etc.), and the omission then contains a lesson. Christian love and hospitality literally fulfil this promise. But the hope of such a reward is not the proper motive. The promise is made only to those who do this ‘for my sake and the gospel’s sake.’

With persecutions. According to the gospel the persecutions are a part of our best possessions (Matthew 5:12; Romans 5:3, etc.), and really prevent the others from becoming a curse. This phrase not only serves to spiritualize the whole promise, but to guard against its misuse.


Verse 31

Mark 10:31. See Matthew 19:30; this proverb is there illustrated by the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16).


Verse 32

Mark 10:32. They were in the way. Actually on the public road.

Going up to Jerusalem; continuing the journey already begun.

Jesus was going before them, leading the way. Probably implying some remarkable energy in His gait, some determination or eagerness in His manner.

And they were amazed. At His eagerness. By this time they knew that great danger awaited Him at Jerusalem.

And they that followed him were afraid. Of this known danger to Himself, which they may have thought threatened themselves also. This graphic description is peculiar to Mark. The better supported reading is followed here, which distinguishes between those who were ‘amazed,’ and those who were ‘afraid.’ Explanations: (1.) The whole body were amazed, so much so, that only some continued to follow, and these were afraid. But multitudes attended Him all the way. Besides, according to Luke 18:34, even the revelation to the Twelve was not understood by them, how then should His manner of walking frighten away most of the crowd? (2.) The better view is: The Twelve nearest to Him were amazed, and the larger company of followers were afraid, though further away from Him.

And he took again the twelve (aside), as He frequently did.

Began to tell. Opened up this subject again, for the third time, exclusive of the intimation to the three chosen disciples (chap. Mark 9:9). This was a fuller and more detailed revelation of the time and the mode of His sufferings and of the agents who should be engaged therein.

That were to happen, not ‘that should.’ Certainty and nearness are implied.


Verses 32-52

See notes on the parallel passage in Matthew (Matthew 20:17-34). These events took place on the final journey to Jerusalem, from Perea through Jericho. The raising of Lazarus is, however, placed by some between the departure from Perea and this final journey.


Verse 34

Mark 10:34. Spit upon him. See chap. Mark 15:19. Omitted by Matthew.

Kill him. Matthew: ‘crucify Him,’ which is implied here, as the ‘Gentiles,’ to whom the whole verse refers, were to put Him to death. The Twelve failed to understand this detailed prediction (Luke 18:34). That danger threatened they felt, but they may have given this prediction figurative interpretation.

After three days. This form is given by Mark in all three predictions (chaps. Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31, and here).


Verse 35

Mark 10:35. And James and John. The request doubtless originated with them. In the account of Matthew (Matthew 20:20; Matthew 20:22), the answer is addressed to them, and Salome appears as an intercessor for them. Either both mother and sons preferred the request, or the mother for the sons. The form of the request is more fully stated here, but in both accounts there appears the same consciousness that what was desired was of doubtful propriety.


Verses 36-41

Mark 10:36-41. See on Matthew 20:21-24. This account has some marks of independence.

In thy glory (Mark 10:37), instead of ‘in thy kingdom’ (Matthew). Mark also omits ‘by my Father’ after ‘prepared’ (Mark 10:40). The two clauses about His baptism (Mark 10:38-39) are peculiar to this Gospel; the best authorities omit them in Matthew. We find a vividness too in use of the present tense: that I drink.... that I am baptised with (Mark 10:38-39). ‘The Lord had already the cup of His suffering at His lips: was already, so to speak, sprinkled with the first drops of the spray of His baptism of blood’(Alford).

Began (Mark 10:41) is peculiar to Mark, intimating at the feeling of the disciples was soon interrupted.


Verse 42

Mark 10:42. Accounted to rule over the Gentiles, have the title of rulers, God being the real Ruler, or are recognized as rulers, the essence of all heathen government being despotism. The latter is perhaps the more suggestive sense.


Verses 43-45

Mark 10:43-45 show few variations from Matthew 20:26-28. See notes there.


Verse 46

Mark 10:46. And they come to Jericho. Mark specifies this, and this shows that our Lord entered the city before the blind man was healed, so that Luke’s account (chap. Luke 18:35) must refer to a second entrance. On the location of Jericho, and the date of this miracle, see Matthew 20:29.

As he went out from Jericho. Probably on some excursion, from which He returned to meet Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-27), after which He began the journey to the neighborhood of Bethany.

The son of Timeus, Bartimeus. Some think the father was well known, but the order in the original suggests that the son was the well-known personage. ‘Bar’ = son, as Mark seems to explain.

A blind beggar. He was probably begging as he sat, as the E. V. states, but the original does not necessarily mean this. Why Matthew (Matthew 20:30-34) mentions two blind men, and Mark and Luke but one, has been variously explained; but it is altogether unnecessary to find a contradiction in the accounts. The prominence of this one is evident from the narrative before us, which is in many respects the most exact and vivid of the three.


Verse 47

Mark 10:47. Notice the contrast between the title given by the curious crowd: the Nazarene (the form used by Mark, and with one exception by him alone), and that in the cry of the blind beggar: Son of David (Messiah).


Verse 48

Mark 10:48. See Matthew 20:31. The continued crying is even more strongly set forth here.


Verse 49

Mark 10:49. Call ye him. Peculiar in this form to Mark, and omitted altogether by Matthew. This was a ‘reproof to the reprovers.’ It seems to have had an effect, for the words now addressed to the blind man are full of sympathy: Be of good cheer, rise, he calleth thee. The order is that of kindness, faith would put: ‘He calleth thee’ first. The forbidding and the cheering address represent the priestly spirit which would keep men from applying directly to Christ, and the true spirit of the Gospel messengers.


Verse 50

Mark 10:50. Casting away his garment. A detail indicating that the narrative comes from an eyewitness. Bartimeus did not stop to care for the cloak that might be lost, if it impeded his progress. Nay, if he received his sight, it could easily be found again.

Sprang up. This mark of eagerness is also peculiar to this account.


Verse 51

Mark 10:51. Master (or my Master). The word is ‘Rabboni’ (as in John 20:10), the most respectful of the three titles, Rab, Rabbi, Rabboni. Comp. Matthew 23:7.

That I may receive my sight, or, ‘see again.’ Not how or why, but the desire, which he believes the Lord can grant in the best way.


Verse 52

Mark 10:52. Go thy way. Not necessarily a command to depart, but a token that his prayer was granted. The commendation is omitted by Matthew, who speaks of our Lord touching the blind man, but this seems more accurate.

Followed him in the way. Not simply for the time being, we suppose, but joined the multitude who went up to Jerusalem with our Lord. The effect on the people is described by Luke. Our Lord thus proved that He came to minister (Mark 10:45). This is the last miracle recorded in detail in the Gospels, and one of the most encouraging.

 


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Bibliography Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Mark 10:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/mark-10.html. 1879-90.

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Sunday, December 8th, 2019
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