From: Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Mark Return to Home
By Roland H. Worth, Jr. © 2013
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Weymouth: About that time there was again an immense crowd, and they found themselves with nothing to eat. So He called His disciples to Him.
WEB: In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them,
Young’s: In those days the multitude being very great, and not having what they may eat, Jesus having called near his disciples, saith to them,
Conte (RC): In those days, again, when there was a great crowd, and they did not have anything to eat, calling together his disciples, he said to them:
8:1 In those days. An indefinite expression which may refer to a longer or shorter period. 
the multitude being very great. There had been such a multitude gathered together once before who were fed in the same way. See 6:34ff. 
and having nothing to eat. No one having raised the subject with Him, Jesus takes the initiative and raises it with the apostles. [rw]
Jesus called His disciples unto Him, and saith unto them. One of their unofficial duties—by virtue of their extreme closeness to Jesus if nothing else—was surely to keep an eye out for problems and when they seemed to be developing to either take care of it themselves or consult with Jesus about it In this case they had done neither. [rw]
WEB: "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat.
Young’s: 'I have compassion upon the multitude, because now three days they do continue with me, and they have not what they may eat;
Conte (RC): "I have compassion for the multitude, because, behold, they have persevered with me now for three days, and they do not have anything to eat.
8:2 I have compassion on the multitude. His compassion led Him on the other occasion to teach them as well as to feed them; and so doubtless it did now. 
because they have now been with Me three days. The three days may be computed, however, according to Jewish methods, and may cover only one whole day and portions of two others. 
"In the East [even in the nineteenth century] it is easy for the population, with their simple wants, and the mildness of the sky, which in the warm months invites sleeping in the open air by night, to camp out as their think fit."  and have nothing to eat. We may here notice the burning zeal of the multitude. They were so intent upon hearing Christ that they forgot to provide themselves with the necessaries of life.39
Or: If they had brought any provisions with them, they were now entirely expended and they stood in immediate need of a supply.21
WEB: If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way."
Young’s: and if I shall let them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way, for certain of them are come from far.'
Conte (RC): And if I were to send them away fasting to their home, they might faint on the way." For some of them came from far away.
8:3 If I send them away fasting [hungry, NKJV]. Not without carefully taking note of the need of miracles [verses 2-3] did He perform them; and He would have His disciples know that we wrought miracles with a wise [intent], and not as a matter of course, whether they were needed or not. 
to their own houses. The implication being that the sessions with Jesus are now over—at least until He returns again to their community or nearby region. [rw]
they will faint by [on, NKJV] the way. They could not possibly reach their respective homes without perishing, unless they got food. 
for divers [some, NKJV] of them came from far. As He passed through the midst of
WEB: His disciples answered him, "From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?"
Young’s: And his disciples answered him, 'Whence shall any one be able these here to feed with bread in a wilderness?'
Conte (RC): And his disciples answered him, "From where would anyone be able to obtain enough bread for them in the wilderness?"
8:4 And His disciples answered Him. It is thought by many that the disciples were culpable for not recalling the miracle of feeding the five thousand and answering accordingly. Before admitting the justness of the charge against the disciples we should remember that for many months crowds of eager hearers had followed Jesus and only on one occasion, so far as we know, had He fed them miraculously; it was not strange therefore that the apostles waited for some intimation from Him before suggesting a miracle. 
From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread. If you had bread, you had enough to survive on. Not a feast, of course, but common enough—standing alone—for normal consumption. In actual usage, it also carried the connotation of having a regular meal, with bread being a/the major component. [rw]
here in the wilderness? With no place of supply near, and the store of the disciples had gone as low as that of the multitude in the course of the three days. 
WEB: He asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven."
Young’s: And he was questioning them, 'How many loaves have ye?' and they said, 'Seven.'
Conte (RC): And he questioned them, "How many loaves do you have?" And they said, "Seven."
8:5 And He asked them, How many loaves do have ye? In the other case a lad had the provisions; here the disciples themselves. The loaves were seven in this case, five in the other. 
And they said, Seven. They mention no other food as available and, in light of the pressing need, they would certainly have referred to it if it was known by them to exist. [rw]
WEB: He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude.
Young’s: And he commanded the multitude to sit down upon the ground, and having taken the seven loaves, having given thanks, he brake, and was giving to his disciples that they may set before them; and they did set before the multitude.
Conte (RC): And he instructed the crowd to sit down to eat on the ground. And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, he broke and gave it to his disciples in order to place before them. And they placed these before the crowd.
8:6 And He commanded the people to sit down. The Greek word signifies "reclining," after the usual Eastern custom. 
They may have been disposed in groups, as the five thousand were (-40); but if so, the historian has not seen fit to record it. 
on the ground. [The geographic location of the miracle] is not distinctly specified. It was on the eastern side of the lake and in a "desert spot" (Matthew ). Trench places it on the same spot as the feeding of the five thousand; others, near the south end of the lake. 
and gave thanks, and brake. As the “host,” so to speak, and as the one they all had come to hear, He was the most logical person to say the prayer and begin the breaking of bread so that it could be passed around to others. [rw]
And gave to His disciples. "Kept giving," the imperfect tense here being used, marking continuous distribution.43
To set before them; and they did set them before the people. The intended image seems to be that the loaves were multiplied as He broke them into pieces and this constantly appearing increase in bread was passed on until the whole crowd had enough. [rw]
In depth: Were the multitude fed twice or do both tellings refer to the same event ? This narrative is not a repetition of the miracle of the feeding the five thousand recorded [earlier]. There are important differences apparent between the two miracles:
The time is decidedly different. The guests this time remained three days with Jesus; the first time only one day.
This time the supply of bread which Jesus and His disciples had, was greater than at the first time--seven loaves and a few fishes, whilst the first time the number of the loaves was five.
On the other hand, the number of the guests is smaller, namely, four thousand besides women and children; the former time there were a thousand men more.
In the one case the people, in a frenzy of enthusiasm, would have taken Jesus by force to make Him a king, in the other case no such excitement is recorded.
And whilst then twelve baskets were filled with the fragments that were left, now there were only seven.
The baskets, moreover, in which the fragments were collected on the other occasion, are called by all four Evangelists, cophini; those used for that purpose after this miracle are, in both Matthew and Mark, spurides.
And : The localities are different, for the feeding of the five thousand was at the head of the lake, near the entrance of the Jordan into it, and in the district of Bethsaida; while the miracle now before us was performed on the eastern shore of the lake, in the region of the Decapolis.
On the former occasion the multitudes came from the immediate neighborhood, on the latter "divers of them" had "come from far."
On the former occasion the multitudes were commanded to sit down upon the green grass; on the latter they were seated "on the ground."
These considerations are of themselves sufficient to prove that the miracles were entirely distinct. But all possible doubt upon the subject is removed when, in [Mark -21; cf. Matthew 16:9-10], we read, "When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? they say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven loaves among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. And He said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?"
Now observe here three things; first, that these records are found in [both] the gospels of Matthew and Mark, who alone of the four make mention of and clearly intended to describe two miracles; second, that the speaker is the Lord Himself, and He as clearly refers to two separate occasions; and, third, that in the Saviour's questions addressed to his followers there is the same discrimination between the [Greek] names of the [two types of] baskets as we find in the separate narratives of the miracles.
WEB: They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also.
Young’s: And they had a few small fishes, and having blessed, he said to set them also before them;
Conte (RC): And they had a few small fish. And he blessed them, and he ordered them to be placed before them.
8:7 And they had a few small fish. This is not noticed in the parallel place (Matthew ). 
and He blessed. i.e., "blessed God aloud." A different word from that in verse 6 ("gave thanks"). This implies praise; that in verse 6 thanksgiving. The language suggests that the loaves and fishes were separately blessed and distributed. 
and commanded to [said to, NKJV] set them also before them. It almost sounds like they had been reluctant to do so—because there were so “few” and so “small”?
WEB: They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over.
Young’s: and they did eat and were filled, and they took up that which was over of broken pieces -- seven baskets;
Conte (RC): And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up what had been leftover from the fragments: seven baskets.
8:8 So they did eat, and were filled. “Filled:” It didn’t amount to a mere snack in amount—something that might tide them over for a few hours, but the equivalent of a full meal. [rw]
and they took up of the broken meat [leftover fragments, NKJV]. They weren’t left to go to waste. Unlike modern western societies in which huge amounts of food are usually thrown out and the concept of routinely retaining “leftovers for later” seems an ancient concept belonging to the grandparents (or great-grandparents), ancient society lived far to close to the thin line between “enough” and “inadequacy.” To retain usable food was a routine survival mechanism for the bulk of society. [rw]
seven baskets [seven large baskets, NKJV]. Indicating the abundance of God's provision, as also in nature. 
WEB: Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away.
Young’s: and those eating were about four thousand. And he let them away,
Conte (RC): And those who ate were about four thousand. And he dismissed them.
8:9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand. Matthew adds, "besides women and children." 
and He sent them away. The dismissial of the multitude is mentioned only by Mark. 
Probably some of those who lived in the vicinity met Him on His return to this side of the sea (verse 13); but to those "from afar" this was doubtless their last [opportunity to see] Jesus. 
In depth: Were the four thousand a partially or predominantly Gentile group that was fed ? Some have ingeniously made the repetition of this miracle symbolic or prophetic. [The ancient church fathers] Hilary and Augustine are quoted in favour of the exposition that Christ showed Himself twice, in acted parable, as the Bread of Life--to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.
In support of the theory that this second was a miracle wrought among a less exclusively Jewish, perhaps even a semi-heathen, population, Mark's previous mention of “the coasts of Decapolis," the expression of the people's feelings as given in Matthew, "They glorified the God of Israel," the more immediate action of the Lord Himself in the second Feeding, have all been adduced.
If an intention of symbolizing the future offer of life in Christ to the nations be admitted, some confirmation could be derived from its juxtaposition in the narrative to the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman; some use could be made of the symbolic numbers characteristic of each miracle (5,000, 5, 12 in the one; 4,000, 7, 7 in the other), and some light would be thrown upon the failure of the disciples to expect a [miraculous] mode of relief from the perplexity [of how to feed so many people], similar to that which they had once before experienced. In this case, their not expecting Him to do such a work again in a half-heathen district would foreshadow their subsequent slowness to understand that "God had granted unto the Gentiles also repentance unto life."
On the other hand, it has been often noted that Luke's omission of the second feeding would be difficult to account for, had he shared the opinion that many of the recipients were Gentiles, still more had he believed it to symbolize the great Pauline revelation of Christ for the world.
WEB: Immediately he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the region of Dalmanutha.
Young’s: and immediately having entered into the boat with his disciples, he came to the parts of Dalmanutha,
Conte (RC): And promptly climbing into a boat with his disciples, he went into the parts of Dalmanutha.
And straightway [immediately, NKJV]. As soon as the multitude had left Him. 
he entered into a ship. The boat which they were accustomed to use, brought over from the other side, perhaps, by some friend who knew that they were near. 
with His disciples. One would be hard pressed to think of an example of His traveling by boat that was not with His disciples. Some were fisherman and, therefore, knew well how to sail. Even if there were occasions when they weren’t, they were still trusted colleagues who would never knowingly be of any danger to Him. [rw]
and came into the parts [region, NKJV] of Dalmanutha. Matthew says, "into the coasts of Magdala” (Matthew ). "The coasts" of Magdala were the lands lying in the vicinity of Magdala, which was a town of considerable size. "The parts” of Dalmanutha were the suburbs of the place or the lands immediately adjoining it. If we suppose Dalmanutha to have been a village “in the coasts” of Magdala, and Jesus to have been in the immediate vicinity of the former, we have the exact conception furnished by the accounts when combined. Mark, as usual, is more specific than Matthew in regard to the locality. 
Weymouth: The Pharisees followed Him and began to dispute with Him, asking Him for a sign in the sky, to make trial of Him.
WEB: The Pharisees came out and began to question him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, and testing him.
Young’s: and the Pharisees came forth, and began to dispute with him, seeking from him a sign from the heaven, tempting him;
Conte (RC): And the Pharisees went out and began to contend with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, testing him.
And the Pharisees came forth. Mark does not mention the coming of the Sadducees (Matthew 15:1), but does note the "sighting of Jesus" (verse 12), which Matthew omits. 
and began to question [dispute, NKJV] with Him. They came neither to rebut His teaching, nor to learn, but to try to force Him into doing some “supernatural” act that would be a manifest failure and thereby let Him be self-discredited. For them, no miracle could ever be proof enough and conclusive enough to establish His credentials or they would already be satisfied. If He did do something spectacular at their demand, surely their next demand would be: Do something even greater! [rw]
seeking of Him a sign. This was done from unbelief and hypocrisy, which repels from itself the evident miracles and clear proofs already afforded! 
Neither the attractiveness of Jesus' strong personality, which seems to have drawn to Him His first constant followers (see -20; -14; ), nor His wonderful teaching, which appealed to many (-22), nor His healing miracles, which attracted many (, 37, 45), were sufficient for these Pharisees. 
from heaven. Upon the feeding of the four thousand, they demand of His a sign from heaven. He had wrought for the public no miracle of this particular kind. And yet Moses had gone up, in the sight of all Israel, to commune with God in the mount that burned; Samuel had been answered by thunder and rain in the wheat harvest; and Elijah had called down fire both upon his sacrifice and also upon two captains and their bands of fifty. Such a miracle was now declared to be the regular authentication of a messenger from God, and the only sign which evil spirits could not counterfeit. 
tempting [testing, NKJV] Him. Is it mere modern whimsy or do we detect in the language an overtone of “provoking Him” as well? [rw]
Him who had been “tested” and vindicated by repeated supernatural acts, now had to do more—and of the kind specified by them. Even if actually performed, this would have been an implicit admission of their authority to order Him to act in the way they specified, thereby providing them precedent to demand that He retract those elements of His teaching that annoyed them. [rw]
WEB: He sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation."
Young’s: and having sighed deeply in his spirit, he saith, 'Why doth this generation seek after a sign? Verily I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.'
Conte (RC): And sighing deeply in spirit, he said: "Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, if only a sign will be given to this generation!"
And He sighed deeply in His spirit. Such a demand was painful to Jesus, because it showed that [they] did not feel the force of the evidence which His life already gave in abundance. 
"For the demand for a sign from heaven was a demand that He should, as the Messiah accredit Himself by a great over mastering miracle; thus it was fundamentally similar to the temptation in the wilderness, which He had repelled and overcome."--Lange. 
and saith, Why does this generation seek a sign? If there was no spiritual recognition of Him, the case was hopeless; signs would teach them nothing. He Himself was the true Sign from heaven, the living Witness. If they did not see that He was in the Father and the Father in Him, their blindness must remain. 
verily [assuredly, NKJV] I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. No sign such as they demanded; that is "a sign from heaven." Mark in his brevity, omits the exception named by Matthew [16:4]. 
Honest inquirers already possessed all the evidence they needed, and others would not have been changed in heart at all by such signs as they demanded. Cf. Luke 16:30-31. 
generation. He does not say, “No sign shall be given to the Pharisees” nor “no sign shall be given to the scribes and Pharisees,” but the far broader language of “no sign shall be given unto this generation.” The implication would rightly be that this type of foolishness was not unique to them but that it could easily have come from many other quarters of the current population as well. It is a societal fault, if you will; not a mere sectarian (Pharisee) one. [rw]
Weymouth: So He left them, went on board again, and came away to the other side.
WEB: He left them, and again entering into the boat, departed to the other side.
Young’s: And having left them, having entered again into the boat, he went away to the other side;
Conte (RC): And sending them away, he climbed into the boat again, and he went away across the sea.
And He left them. Disheartened and repelled by this reception in "his own country," he abruptly turned back, without going so and reembarked to return to the eastern shore. It is little to say that He must have gone in sadness. 
into the ship again departed to the other side. "Again" refers back to His having
left the boat on their landing (verse 10), and suggests a very short stay in
Part of the brevity might be that He simply did not feel like putting up with the Pharisee foolishness in verse 12 any longer than He had to. He endured such repeatedly, but that did not mean He had to keep Himself available for it whenever they felt in the mood to harass. [rw]
WEB: They forgot to take bread; and they didn't have more than one loaf in the boat with them.
Young’s: and they forgot to take loaves, and except one loaf they had nothing with them in the boat,
Conte (RC): And they forgot to take bread. And they did not have any with them in the boat, except one loaf.
Now His disciples had forgotten to take bread. The neglect to take a supply of bread was doubtless the result of their haste in again setting out; and, in that view of the matter, Jesus Himself was responsible for it, since He had hurried them away. 
neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. It is Mark alone who mentions the "one loaf;" plainly a touch of definite remembrance from one who was present. 
WEB: He warned them, saying, "Take heed: beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod."
Young’s: and he was charging them, saying, 'Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod,'
Conte (RC): And he instructed them, saying: "Consider and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the leaven of Herod."
And He charged them, saying. A perfect time to raise a serious subject, alone and away from prying ears that would love to distort anything He says. But even here, He tackles the matter through an illustration or allusion—perhaps because thinking about the nature of “leaven” would make the apostles understand far better than a simple injunction to “Avoid the teaching of the Pharisees.” That would not provide them with the reason to do so.
The problem lay not just in any specific teaching; it also lay in their “interpretive” ability to “leaven” Biblical teachings and alter it into a form they preferred. If Biblical teaching was discomforting, then one “reinterpreted” it by putting a totally unintended interpretive gloss on the text. [rw]
Take heed, beware of the leaven. By leaven Jesus undoubtedly means, as Matthew says in , teaching, principles taught or exemplified, which, like yeast, tended to transform men's character into likeness to itself. 
of the Pharisees. Luke 12:1 calls the leaven of the Pharisees "hypocrisy;" but here Jesus probably has especially in mind the captiousness which they manifested in demanding a sign when they already possessed evidence enough. This spirit, still unhappily common, blinds the eyes and hardens the heart. 
and of the leaven of Herod. Probably world, and especially political ambition. 
They had need to be guarded against this, because the disputes of political partisans are not only corrupting to those who indulge them, but they impair the influence of men whose business it is to guide all parties in the way of holiness. The apostles adhered strictly, throughout their career, to the rule of action here given.38
Herod. "Herod” is by some supposed to be used here for the whole party of “the Herodians” as their leader. The word leaven” explained by the word "doctrine" (Matthew ) implies tenets or opinions disseminated. This would hardly be said of Herod as an individual or as a ruler but seems to connect him with a party having a system of belief. 
In the parallel passage in Matthew we have “of the Sadducees." From this it is commonly inferred that Herod was a Sadducee. There is no evidence other than the inference from this passage that Herod was a Sadducee; but it is a plausible conjecture and gives the most natural harmony of the statements of the two gospels. 
Weymouth: they explained His words to one another by saying, "We have no bread!"
WEB: They reasoned with one another, saying, "It's because we have no bread."
Young’s: and they were reasoning with one another, saying -- 'Because we have no loaves.'
Conte (RC): And they discussed this with one another, saying, "For we have no bread."
And they reasoned among themselves. Unwilling to raise the question directly with Jesus (to avoid embarrassment?), they choose to discuss it among themselves instead. Sometimes this approach of talking to others will work fine; in other cases it won’t. In this case it failed because they thought He was talking of literal bread rather than of bread as a symbol of the teaching one “consumes” and partakes of. [rw]
saying, It is because we have no bread. It will be seen from the very form of their conjecture 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. 
WEB: Jesus, perceiving it, said to them, "Why do you reason that it's because you have no bread? Don't you perceive yet, neither understand? Is your heart still hardened?
Young’s: And Jesus having known, saith to them, 'Why do ye reason, because ye have no loaves? do ye not yet perceive, nor understand, yet have ye your heart hardened?
Conte (RC): And Jesus, knowing this, said to them: "Why do you consider that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet know or understand? Do you still have blindness in your heart?
And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them. No indication that anything miraculous was involved. He simply threw to them a teaching and waited to see how they would react to it. Only when it is clear that they have missed the point entirely, does He intervene and puts the shoe on the other foot—gives them a question to answer. [rw]
Why reason ye because ye have no bread? So far wrong were the apostles that it hurt His feelings--sharp just in proportion to His love—that such a thought of Him should have entered their minds. 
Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? Which carries the implicit message: You’ve missed the point entirely. Which raises the question of why that might be so, which He raises next. [rw]
Have ye your heart yet [still, NKJV] hardened? Not callous feeling, but dullness, as on the former occasion of the walking on the sea (Mark ). 
How strong an expression to use of real disciples! 
WEB: Having eyes, don't you see? Having ears, don't you hear? Don't you remember?
Young’s: Having eyes, do ye not see? and having ears, do ye not hear? and do ye not remember?
Conte (RC): Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? Do you not remember,
Having eyes, see ye not? He reminds them, in these earnest questions, of the reason He had once assigned for explaining the parables to them and not to the multitude (-12); but now, alas, they are no better than those "that are without." 
and having ears, hear ye not? Neither your eyes or ears are working right! How can you possibly be missing this after all this time with Me? [rw]
And do ye not remember? He traces the disciples' slowness of perception and distrust mainly to forgetfulness. 
They had not indeed forgotten [the feeding of the multitudes] as facts, as is shown by their prompt answers below; but they failed to bear them in mind and make application of them; for this they are here reproved. The former questions refer to their not [understanding] what He said about the leaven, this and those that follow relate to their undue anxiety about bread and their distrust of His ability to provide for them. 
WEB: When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Twelve."
Young’s: When the five loaves I did brake to the five thousand, how many hand-baskets full of broken pieces took ye up?' they say to him, 'Twelve.'
Conte (RC): when I broke the five loves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments you took up?" They said to him, "Twelve."
WEB: "When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Seven."
Young’s: 'And when the seven to the four thousand, how many hand-baskets full of broken pieces took ye up?' and they said, 'Seven.'
Conte (RC): "And when the seven loaves were among the four thousand, how many baskets of fragments did you take up?" And they said to him, "Seven."
8:19-20 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. They got the facts right; they had remembered them accurately. They simply had not moved beyond facts to making deductions from them. [rw]
Profuse as were our Lord's miracles, we see from this that they were not wrought 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. 
Mark here gives in its exact form, no doubt, a conversation which Matthew puts into a slightly different form for the sake of abbreviation (cf. Matthew 16:9-10). 
baskets. Kophinous, the Greek word used in the account of this miracle, not only in this gospel (), but also by the other three evangelists. 
baskets. Spudidon (genitive), a different word from that used
in the last verse, but the same that both Mark and Matthew employ in their
accounts of this second miracle. It is also
the same used of the basket in which Saul was let down from the wall in
WEB: He asked them, "Don't you understand, yet?"
Young’s: And he said to them, 'How do ye not understand?'
Conte (RC): And he said to them, "How is it that you do not yet understand?"
And He said unto them, How is it ye do not understand? Viz., that Jesus was able to provide for their physical wants, so that they need not be concerned about that. 
Mark leaves the subject without saying, as Matthew does, whether the disciples finally understood the remark or not; but he takes it for granted that his readers would understand it. 
WEB: He came
Young’s: And he cometh to Bethsaida, and they bring to him one blind, and call upon him that he may touch him,
Conte (RC): And they
And they bring a blind man unto Him. The people, not the disciples brought him. He was brought, (1) either because he could not find the way alone, or (2) because he had not faith that would induce him to go and so was brought by the faith of his friends. 
and besought [begged, NKJV] Him to touch him. This is one of the two miracles recorded by Mark only, the other being that described in -37. Both occur in about the same region; in both Jesus takes the man apart from the people; in both He makes use of the spittle; in both He forbids the report of the incident. 
Weymouth: So He took the blind man by the arm and brought him out of the village, and spitting into his eyes He put His hands on him and asked him, "Can you see anything?"
WEB: He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.
Young’s: and having taken the hand of the blind man, he led him forth without the village, and having spit on his eyes, having put his hands on him, he was questioning him if he doth behold anything:
Conte (RC): And taking the blind man by the hand, he led him beyond the village. And putting spit on his eyes, laying his hands on him, he asked him if he could see anything.
And he took the blind man by the hand. Of the deaf and dumb man it is merely said that "He took him aside" (7:33); but this blind man He led by the hand, rather than employing another--great humility--that He might gain his confidence and raise his expectation. 
and led him out of the town. Here
we see once more the desire of privacy which Jesus had manifested from the time
of His tour to the vicinity of
and when he had spit on his eyes. The man's eyes were probably sore, suggesting the application of saliva for its known power to soften and soothe the part thus affected. 
Or: Because this was the organ affected. 
And put His hands upon him. Part of His traditional mode of healing, to emphasize that the healing was coming from and because of Him. [rw]
He asked him if he saw ought. In part for the benefit of the listeners. To see him walk away with a smile and thanking Jesus would have proved it as well. But since there so often were those seeking to ignore or discredit what Jesus did, He naturally wished to make the point even more emphatic. [rw]
WEB: He looked up, and said, "I see men; for I see them like trees walking."
Young’s: and he, having looked up, said, 'I behold men, as I see trees, walking.'
Conte (RC): And looking up, he said, "I see men but they are like walking trees."
And he looked up. In order to see how to answer Jesus’ question. [rw]
and said, I see men as trees walking. The blind man, it appears, had not been born blind, for he knew the names of surrounding objects. 
His vision, at this stage, was so indistinct that he could distinguish a man from a tree only by his motion. 
WEB: Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly.
Young’s: Afterwards again he put his hands on his eyes, and made him look up, and he was restored, and discerned all things clearly,
Conte (RC): Next he placed his hands again over his eyes, and he began to see. And he was restored, so that he could see everything clearly.
After that He he put His hands again upon his eyes. This case of gradual cure is absolutely unique in the gospel story. No explanation is given as to the reason and none as to the purpose of Jesus. 
and made him look up. Which action indicates that the man was either confused by the “walking trees” or looking downward was so much his natural posture that he had immediately reverted to it yet again. [rw]
and he was restored. Another term implying that he was not born blind. 
and saw every man clearly. [As] opposed to the dimness of his sight when only partially recovered. 
In depth: Why was the healing a two-step act rather than strictly instantaneous? We cannot say what may have induced our Lord to perform this miracle at twice--certainly not the reason assigned by Dr. Burton: "that a blind man would not, on suddenly recovering his sight, know one object from another, because he had never seen them before,” and so would require a double miracle--a second to open the eyes of his mind also, to comprehend what he saw. This assumes the man to have been born blind, which he was not (cf. verse 24); for how should he know how trees appeared? And besides the case of the man born blind in John 9 required no such double healing. These things were in the Lord's power and He ordered them as He pleased from the present circumstances or for our instruction. 
Of course our Lord could have healed the man with a word; but He was not confined to one method. The gradual cure would remove the notion of magical influence. There may have been something in the man's spiritual condition which called for this method to develop his faith. 
Jesus adopted this method of cure to give variety to the manifestations of His power by showing that He could heal in part and by progressive steps as well as by His more usual method of effecting a perfect cure at one word. This cure was not less miraculous than others, but rather more so; for it was really the working of two miracles, each effecting instantaneously all that was intended by it. 
WEB: He sent him away to his house, saying, "Don't enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village."
Young’s: and he sent him away to his house, saying, 'Neither to the village mayest thou go, nor tell it to any in the village.'
Conte (RC): And he sent him to his house, saying, "Go into your own house, and if you enter into the town, tell no one."
And he sent him away to his house. His family were the obvious ones who would want to see him first. It probably avoided the danger of the man insisting that he should follow Jesus rather than stay and sharing news of the healing among those who would personally know he had been blind and could not dismiss the healing. But these would have been secondary motives, it appears.
From what comes in the verbal explanation, the main purpose was to avoid drawing further immediate attention to Jesus and His presence. He was to go straight home and “not tell” the healing to anyone in the town—at least for the time being. Later, as he walked about, the widespread recognition of the healing would inevitably occur, but Jesus wished to postpone that till another time. There were times when crowds around Jesus were fine and excellent, but this was not one of them. [rw]
Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town. Jesus does not wish attention drawn to His work as a healer; this is not His chief work. This is one of the two miracles which are recorded by Mark only; the other is described in -37. 
If the man had gone into the town seeing, or had told persons living in the town what had occurred, the whole population might have gone out in pursuit of Jesus, and thus the privacy which He was seeking to maintain would have been broken up. 
WEB: Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?"
Young’s: And Jesus went forth, and his disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi, and in the way he was questioning his disciples, saying to them, 'Who do men say me to be?'
Conte (RC): And Jesus departed with his disciples into the towns of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way, he questioned his disciples, saying to them, "Who do men say that I am?"
And Jesus went out, and His disciples. They went together as was the custom, with only rare exceptions. [rw]
into the towns of Caesarea Philippi. The villages near Caesarea Philippi which were under its rule. The journey led through a country whose inhabitants were gentiles. Like the preceding journey, it was for quiet, not for preaching. 
It lay on the northeast
of the reedy and marshy plain and at the base of
And by the way He asked His disciples. Hitherto He is not recorded to have asked the twelve any question respecting Himself, and He would seem to have forborne to press His apostles for an avowal of faith in His divinity. He now wished to ascertain from them as the special witnesses of His life and daily words, the results of those labors. 
Saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? Why did Christ begin by asking about the popular judgment of His personality? Apparently in order to bring clearly home to the disciples that, as far as the masses were concerned, His work and theirs had failed, and had, for net result, total misconception. 
He did not ask because they had opportunities for knowing that He had not. This was only the preparation for the question concerning their own belief. 
WEB: They told him, "John the Baptizer, and others say Elijah, but others: one of the prophets."
Young’s: And they answered, 'John the Baptist, and others Elijah, but others one of the prophets.'
Conte (RC): And they answered him by saying: "John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others perhaps one of the prophets."
And they answered, John the Baptist. Some thought that Christ was John the Baptist because He resembled the Baptist in age (there was only six months difference in age between them), as He also resembled him in holiness and in fervour of preaching. Herod himself had given currency to the idea that the Baptist had risen again in the person of our Lord. 
The existence of this opinion suggests how little Jesus had been known while John was still alive and at work. 
but some say Elias [Elijah, NKJV]. Some thought that our Lord was Elijah because it was known that Elijah had not died and because there was an expectation, founded on Malachi's prophecy (4:5) that he would return. 
and others, One of the prophets. i.e., one of the line of prophets (cf. Mark ) or, as Luke and Matthew would suggest, an ancient prophet risen from the dead. In the latter case all three opinions involve the idea of the reappearance of one from the other world. 
The common people among the Jews knew that not long after the Babylonish Captivity the gift of prophecy had ceased amongst their nation. So they thought that Christ was not a new Prophet, but one of the old. They could not but see in Him the renewal of the powers of the old prophets, their miracles and their teaching; but there were very few of them who believed that he was the Messiah. Perhaps some of the Jewish multitude thought that the soul of one of the ancient prophets had entered into Christ, according to the Pythagorean notion of the transmigration of souls; or perhaps they thought that one of the old prophets had risen again in the person of Jesus. For though the Sadducees denied a resurrection, the great body of the Jews believed in it. 
WEB: He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ."
Young’s: And he saith to them, 'And ye -- who do ye say me to be?' and Peter answering saith to him, 'Thou art the Christ.'
Conte (RC): Then he said to them, "Yet truly, who do you say that I am?" Peter responded by saying to him, "You are the Christ."
And He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? The question, with its sharp transition, is meant to force home the conviction of the gulf between His disciples and the whole nation. He would have them feel their isolation and face the fact that they stood alone in their faith; and He would test them whether, knowing that they did stand alone, they had courage and tenacity to reassert it. 
And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. Mark gives Peter's confession in a lower key, as it were, than Matthew does, omitting the full-toned clause, “The Son of the living God." This is not because Mark had a lower conception than his brother Evangelist, for the first words of this Gospel announce that it is “the Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God." And, so he has identified the two conceptions at the outset, he must, in all fairness, be supposed to consider that the one implies the other and to include both here. But possibly there is truth in the observation that the omission is one of a number of instances in which this Gospel passes lightly over the exalted side of Christ's nature, in accordance with its purpose of setting Him forth rather as the Servant than as the Lord. It is not meant that that exalted side was absent from Mark's thoughts but that his design led him rather to emphasize the other. Matthew's is the Gospel of the King; Mark's, of the Worker. 
WEB: He commanded them that they should tell no one about him.
Young’s: And he strictly charged them that they may tell no one about it,
Conte (RC): And he admonished them, not to tell anyone about him.
And He charged [strictly warned, NKJV] them that they should tell no man of [about, NKJV] Him. That they should not announce that He was the Messiah. 
There were many reasons
for this reticence. The state of parties
The charge of silence contrasts singularly with the former employment of the apostles as heralds of Jesus. The silence was partly punitive and partly prudential. It was punitive inasmuch as the people had already had abundantly the proclamation of His gospel and had cast it away. The silence enjoined was also prudential, in order to avoid hastening on the inevitable collision; not because Christ desired escape, but because He would first fulfill His day. 
WEB: He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Young’s: and began to teach them, that it behoveth the Son of Man to suffer many things, and to be rejected by the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and to be killed, and after three days to rise again;
Conte (RC): And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, and by the high priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
And He began to teach them. Immediately upon His disciples' clear and measurably intelligent recognition of Jesus' messiahship, Jesus begins to teach them that He must suffer. Having grasped the one truth, they must begin to learn the other. 
that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected. The rejection part they had already seen with their own eyes. The “suffering” part introduced an ominous note, especially when joined with the warning of His death. [rw]
of [by, NKJV] the elders, the chief priests, and scribes. i.e., by the leaders of the Jewish nation. 
“Chief priests” as either the top echelon of the Jewish leadership or the prominent and prestigious ones in general—or, more likely, both. [rw]
and be killed. All this--the suffering, rejection, death--is as far as possible from what it was generally supposed the Messiah would experience. Now the time has come when the disciples must begin to learn this lesson, to them so hard to learn. He had intimated it before (), but this is the first clear expression of it. 
was a very important prediction because it showed that His death did not come
upon Him unawares, that He clearly foresaw it, that He was not surprised into
and after three days rise again. The death that Jesus foresaw did not mean defeat of His life-purpose. Death will only bring a short interruption of it. 
In reporting the predicted time of the resurrection, Matthew has it, “the third day” (), and Mark “after three days." As Jesus can have used only one of the two expressions, we know not which, the writer who uses the other must have regarded it as an equivalent. 
In depth: The colloquial meaning of “after three days” to those living in the first century . It is ten times expressly said that our Lord rose, or was to rise again, the "third day" (Matthew 16:12; 17:23; 20:19; Mark 9:31; 10:34; Luke 9:22; 18:33; 24:7, 46; Acts 10:40); and so the expression, which is most used, both in our Lord's predictions before His death, and in His and His Apostles' language after His resurrection, being this; these other forms of speech, are but once or twice found in Scripture, must be interpreted to accord with it.
According to the language both of the Hebrew and the Greek, that is said to be done after so many days, months, or years, which is done in the last of them (Deuteronomy 14:28; 15:1; 26:12; 31:10; 2 Chronicles 10:5, 12). "After three days they found Him in the temple" (Luke ), that is, on the third day.
The Jews understood "after three days" to signify no more than on the third day, for having told Pilate that Christ had said "after three days I will rise again," they desire only that a watch might be kept "till the third day" (Matthew 27:63-64).
WEB: He spoke to them openly. Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
Young’s: and openly he was speaking the word. And Peter having taken him aside, began to rebuke him,
Conte (RC): And he spoke the word openly. And Peter, taking him aside, began to correct him.
And he spake that saying openly. In clear cut and easily understood language. Nothing obscure or hidden. The problem lay not in the clarity of the language, but in the fact that it contained a truth they refused to accept. Before we look down on the apostles too much, shouldn’t we consider “that text” (whatever it may be in our case) that really is quite clear, but which we try to wiggle around accepting? [rw]
And Peter took Him. The word indicates that he “took hold of Him” to lead Him apart, as thought to have the opportunity to warning Him with the greater familiarity and secrecy. So says St. Chrysostom and others. Peter would not have his own confession of Christ thus evacuated, as it were; nor does he think it possible that the Son of God could be slain. So he takes Him apart, lest he should seem to reprove Him in the presence of the other disciples. 
and began to rebuke Him. That Peter should venture to reprove Jesus is surprising, but it is not strange that he found it hard to accept Jesus' statement of His death. Not only was all this contrary to the common idea of the Messiah which Peter still held in large part, but his strong affection for Jesus would make it still harder for him to accept the thought of His death. Cf. John 12:34; Luke 24:20, 21, 26. 
The Jews of Jesus' day believed, not in a suffering, but in a triumphant Messiah, and least of all in one whom His own nation should reject. To Peter--sharing still the ideas of his people--so far from rejection and death being involved in messiahship, messiahship excluded them. 
WEB: But he, turning around, and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you have in mind not the things of God, but the things of men."
Young’s: and he, having turned, and having looked on his disciples, rebuked Peter, saying, 'Get behind me, Adversary, because thou dost not mind the things of God, but the things of men.'
Conte (RC): And turning away and looking at his disciples, he admonished Peter, saying, "Get behind me, Satan, for you do not prefer the things that are of God, but the things that are of men."
But when He had turned about and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter. For He perceived that he was but boldly uttering what others felt, and that the check was needed by them also. 
saying, Get behind Me, Satan! There was a Satanic influence at work in Peter, though he was not conscious of it. 
for thou savorest not [are not mindful of, NKJV] the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. Peter was judging by human standards and planning for a Messianic career that would satisfy the ideas of men which coincided with his own. It was the intent of Jesus, after the great confession [verse 29], to unfold and enforce this Divine idea of salvation through self-sacrifice and death on the Messiah's part. This was the first lesson, and this, sadly enough, the first response. 
WEB: He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, "Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Young’s: And having called near the multitude, with his disciples, he said to them, 'Whoever doth will to come after me -- let him disown himself, and take up his cross, and follow me;
Conte (RC): And calling together the crowd with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone chooses to follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
And when He had called the people unto Him, with His disciples also. Not-withstanding the efforts of Jesus to secure privacy, it seems from this verse that the people were about him. Perhaps they were only the people of the neighborhood through which He was passing. Matthew fails to mention the presence of any but the disciples. 
He said unto them, Whosoever. The law for every disciple is self-denial and taking up his cross. 
Will come after me, let him deny himself. The word ["deny"] conveys the idea of rejecting or renouncing self, disregarding personal interests and pleasures. 
This is an expression of far deeper significance than our ordinary use of "self-denial” would suggest. To deny one's self is to cease to make one's own interest and pleasure the end of life, and one's own will the law of life, and in place of these to follow Jesus in making God's will the law of action and the well-being of men the end of life. 
and take up his cross. It is not Christ's cross that we have to take up. His sufferings stand alone, incapable of repetition and needing none; but each follower has his own. Taking up my cross does not merely mean meekly accepting God-sent or men-inflicted sorrows, but persistently carrying on the special form of self-denial which my special type of character requires. It will include these other meanings but it goes deeper than they. 
and follow Me. i.e., through self-denial and self-crucifixion. For Christ lived not for Himself, but renounced and crucified selfish and worldly aims to do the will of the Father. He that will not do likewise cannot be His disciple (Luke ). He must be crucified with Christ (Galatians ; Romans 6:6). 
Weymouth: For whoever is bent on securing his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News, will secure it.
WEB: For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it.
Young’s: for whoever may will to save his life shall lose it; and whoever may lose his life for my sake and for the good news' sake, he shall save it;
Conte (RC): For whoever will have chosen to save his life, will lose it. But whoever will have lost his life, for my sake and for the Gospel, shall save it.
For whosoever will [desires to, NKJV] save his life shall lose it. With physical life is included all those powers, opportunities, and possibilities which life brings. One who tries to hoard these, hold them for himself, in reality wastes them, throws them away; escaping death he wastes and loses life. 
This solemn saying of our Lord is found to have [been] uttered on no less than four occasions: (1) here, which corresponds with Matthew 16:25; Luke ; (2) Matthew ; (3) Luke ; (4) John . 
but whosoever loses his life. Whosoever shall unreservedly pour out his life's energies, if need be, to the extent of death. 
for My sake and the gospel's. In devotion to Me, for the motion of the ends for which I gave My life and for the advancement of the gospel, that is, for the salvation of men. This is a most important qualification: it makes all possible difference for what ends one pours out his life; not all losing of life is saving it. 
the same shall save it. Lose it in a lower sense to save it in the highest sense conceivable. 
WEB: For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?
Young’s: for what shall it profit a man, if he may gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?
Conte (RC): For how does it benefit a man, if he gains the whole world, and yet causes harm to his soul?
For what shall it profit a man. In this verse Jesus appeals to legitimate self-interest, to the noble desire to make the highest use of oneself, to realize one's own highest possibilities. 
if he shall gain the whole world. All that this world can give, by its riches, power, honors, and every other source of enjoyment and advantage, is placed on the one hand--a supposition beyond all possibility--and presenting the strongest conceivable case; and then the question is asked, what profit has he who gains it all, if for it he loses his soul. The preceding verse teaches that he who chooses the things of the world, must lose his soul: now the searching question is asked, What shall it profit him? 
and lose his own soul? This is the same word in Greek (psuche) as "life" in the last verse. "Soul" without any qualifying term is the exact equivalent of psuche when used of the life to come; as it is also when psuche means the heart or affections, as in "My soul doth magnify the Lord" (Luke 1:46). 
WEB: For what will a man give in exchange for his life?
Young’s: Or what shall a man give as an exchange for his life?
Conte (RC): Or, what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? i.e., as a ransom. What can a man give to buy back the lost soul? How startling the question! We have before us the vision of a lost man, one who in saving his life lost his soul, vainly looking for a ransom with which to redeem it. 
Weymouth: Every one, however, who has been ashamed of me and of my teachings in this faithless and sinful age, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in His Father's glory with the holy angels."
WEB: For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Young’s: for whoever may be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also shall be ashamed of him, when he may come in the glory of his Father, with the holy messengers.'
Conte (RC): For whoever has been ashamed of me and of my words, among this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when he will arrive in the glory of his Father, with the holy Angels."
Whosoever. The word includes all, whatever their position or circumstances may be. 
therefore. This word connects this verse with the general train of thought of the preceding passage, giving a reason for the danger of losing the soul. 
shall be ashamed of Me. This implies that some, from being ashamed of a suffering and dying Saviour, would not be willing to deny themselves and take up the cross to follow Him. 
and of My words. All Christ's teachings but especially such gospel doctrines as He had just set forth. 
in this adulterous and sinful generation. These words, peculiar to Mark in this connection, suggest that being ashamed of Christ is the result of paying attention to the verdict of such a generation. 
It adds to the disgrace of being ashamed of Christ that the shame is manifested in the presence of the base and the worthless; and therefore our Lord exhibits the contrast between the contemptible people in the presence of whom men are ashamed of Him here, and the magnificent assemblage ["holy angels"] in whose presence He will be ashamed of them hereafter. 
adulterous . . . generation. The
term “adulterous” was commonly used by the prophets to denote the crime of
of him also the Son of man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. The present humiliation of the Son of Man was not always to continue; by and by the glory of God and heaven would be upon Him.