From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Mark  Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2013


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7:1                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     Then the Pharisees, with certain Scribes who had come from Jerusalem, came to Him in a body.

WEB:              Then the Pharisees, and some of the scribes gathered together to him, having come from Jerusalem.

Young’s:         And gathered together unto him are the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, having come from Jerusalem,

Conte (RC):    And the Pharisees and some of the scribes, arriving from Jerusalem, gathered together before him.


7:1                   Then came together unto him the Pharisees.  i.e., members of the well known party so called (2:16; 3:6).  [3]

                        and certain of the scribes.  The official guardians and expounders of the Law, who were generally Pharisees and often priests or Levites.  [3]

                        which came from Jerusalem.  Either Galilean scribes and Pharisees who had recently been to Jerusalem, or a party that had been sent from Jerusalem; probably the latter (cf. 3:22).  [35]



7:2                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     They had noticed that some of His disciples were eating their food with 'unclean' (that is to say, unwashed)

WEB:              Now when they saw some of his disciples eating bread with defiled, that is, unwashed, hands, they found fault.

Young’s:         and having seen certain of his disciples with defiled hands -- that is, unwashed -- eating bread, they found fault;

Conte (RC):    And when they had seen certain ones from his disciples eating bread with common hands, that is, with unwashed hands, they disparaged them.


7:2                   And when they saw some of His disciples.  It is not implied that the Pharisees and scribes were [eating] with Jesus and His disciples; but in their vigilant espionage, they had seen some of His disciples, either at their ordinary meal, or in the hurried eating forced upon them by the constant attendance of the crowd, neglect one of their ceremonial observances.  [45]

                        eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen hands.  The objection did not mean that the followers of Jesus ate with hands which were physically unclean.  It meant that these disciples had neglected the ceremonial washings which were required by Jewish traditions.  These traditions consisted in the collected interpretations of the Old Testament Law, which had been given by the rabbis.  [14]

                        they found fault.  Not for loudly and publicly challenging their teaching on the matter but for merely ignoring to practice their religious standards.  They considered themselves the proper group to establish religious practices and whoever dared do different was, automatically, a sinner.  [rw]



7:3                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     (Omitted)

WEB:              (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, don't eat unless they wash their hands and forearms, holding to the tradition of the elders.

Young’s:         for the Pharisees, and all the Jews, if they do not wash the hands to the wrist, do not eat, holding the tradition of the elders,

Conte (RC):    For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat without repeatedly washing their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders.


7:3                   For the Pharisees and all the Jews.  The term “all” is used in a restricted sense; for the Sadducees rejected tradition entirely:  but they were a small body of men and had little influence with the people.  The masses were influenced by the Pharisees and kept the traditions.  [38]

                        Note the proof that Mark wrote for Gentile readers in this explanation of the customs of the Jews.  [48]

                        except they wash their hands oft [in a special way, NKJV], eat not.  Literally, "with the fist."  The two interpretations now most generally adopted are:  (1) Actually "with the fist,” as a peculiar ceremony on such occasions.  "Probably it was part of the rite, that the washing hand was shut; because it might have been thought that the open hand engaged in washing would make the other unclean, or be made unclean by it, after having itself  been washed"  (Lange).  (2)  "Diligently,” thoroughly, in accordance with a Hebrew expression which uses the fist as meaning strength.  But Mark is giving an explanation to Gentile readers and he would hardly use a Hebrew expression.  "Up to the elbow” is an interpretation not a translation.  The literal sense is the correct one; but it conveys no meaning to the ordinary reader without a long explanation.  [11]

                        holding the tradition of the elders.  A phrase which shows that all these regulations were looked upon as religious, not as sanitary regulations or matters of social propriety.  [35]

                        tradition.  They did not pretend to found the necessity of it on the written scripture.  [25]

                        the elders.  Their ancestors or perhaps the Rabbis who had lived before them.  They [also claimed] that there had been a certain unwritten tradition, coming down in the hands of certain men in each generation.  [25]

                        The Pharisees pretended that this tradition had been orally delivered by God to Moses on Mount Sinai and then transmitted orally down to their time.  These oral precepts were afterwards embodied in the Talmud.  [39] 



7:4                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     and when they come from market they will not eat without bathing first; and they have a good many other customs which they have received traditionally and cling to, such as the rinsing of cups and pots and of bronze utensils, and the washing of beds.)

WEB:              They don't eat when they come from the marketplace, unless they bathe themselves, and there are many other things, which they have received to hold to: washings of cups, pitchers, bronze vessels, and couches.

Young’s:         and, coming from the market-place, if they do not baptize themselves, they do not eat; and many other things there are that they received to hold, baptisms of cups, and pots, and brazen vessels, and couches.

Conte (RC):    And when returning from the market, unless they wash, they do not eat. And there are many other things which have been handed down to them to observe: the washings of cups, and pitchers, and bronze containers, and beds.


7:4                   And when they come from the market [marketplace, NKJV].  Where, in the crowd, defilement might most easily be contracted.  [23]

                        The Pharisaic handwashing was based on the fear that there might be something on the hands that was ceremonially "unclean," which, in eating his food, a man might swallow without knowing it, and so defile himself.  [35]

                        Except they wash, they eat not.  Mark evidently intends to assert something that they did after coming from the market, which they did not on ordinary occasions.  The difference is very clear in the original.  The term rendered “wash"  in verse 3 is nipsontai, correctly so rendered, whereas the one rendered  "wash" in verse 4, is baptisontai,  "they immerse themselves."  When we remember that [ritualized] bathing was a daily practice among the Pharisees, we are less surprised at this observation.  [38]

                        And many other things there by, which they have received to hold.  Be it observed that such practices, though based only on “the tradition of the elders,” might seem even to conscientious Israelites in the highest degree laughable.  It was a ceremonial conomy they lived under; and as one principal design of this economy was to teach the difference between clean and unclean by external symbols, it was natural to think that the more vividly and variously they could bring this before their own minds, the more would they be falling in with the spirit and following out the design of that economy.  [11]

                        As the washing of cups and pots, brazen [copper, NKJV] vessels, and of tables [couches, NKJV].  It was not peculiar to the Pharisees to wash cups, pots, and brazen vessels; for everybody does it yet.  Surely Jesus did not reproach them for keeping clean their drinking and cooking vessels.  But it was immersing them when they needed no washing, immersing them for an imaginary religious purification, for which He condemned them.  [38]

                        copper vessels.  [Such] vessels appear to be mentioned because earthen vessels, if polluted, were not purified by washing, but were broken.  [48]

                        washing . . . of tables.   Immersing is the meaning of the word translated "washing” and such the significance's of the practice.  It is objected to this that couches (incorrectly rendered “tables” in the [KJV] text) could not have been immersed.  Even Alford affirms that the act “as applied to couches, were certainly not immersions, but sprinklings or effusions of water."  No reason is given to support this assertion, and the only one implied is the assumption that couches could not be immersed, but this is not true.  They certainly could be immersed and when the text declares that they were, this should be an end of controversy.  Nothing but the modern practice of sprinkling for baptism, a practice which Alford himself admits was not known to the apostles, could have suggested the thought of sprinkling in this case.  [38]



7:5                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     So the Pharisees and Scribes put the question to Him: "Why do your disciples transgress the traditions of the Elders, and eat their food with unclean hands?"

WEB:              The Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why don't your disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with unwashed hands?"

Young’s:         Then question him do the Pharisees and the scribes, 'Wherefore do thy disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but with unwashed hands do eat the bread?'

Conte (RC):    And so the Pharisees and the scribes questioned him: "Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but they eat bread with common hands?"


7:5                   Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, Why walk not Thy disciples.  How could He, for really they meant the accusation for Him, professing to be a religious guide, allow His disciples to regard these most sacred traditions?  [45]         

                        according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands.  They do not contest Him on the ground of Scripture or any “thus sayeth the Lord.”  The fact that a consensus of religious leaders have embraced a practice is regarded as sufficient to require all others to follow it.  By such insistence, they raise their humanly invented traditions to the level of Scriptural authority.  [rw]



7:6                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites," He replied; "as it is written, "'This People honour Me with their lips, while their hearts are far away from Me:

WEB:              He answered them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Young’s:         and he answering said to them -- 'Well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you, hypocrites, as it hath been written, This people with the lips doth honour Me, and their heart is far from Me;

Conte (RC):    But in response, he said to them: "So well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, just as it has been written: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.


7:6                   He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias [Isaiah, NKJV] prophesied.  He defended His disciples not by a finely-drawn, hair-splitting distinction, such as their accusers were accustomed to, in their own teachings and in the traditions of the elders, but by bringing a direct charge against the Pharisees and scribes drawn from prophecy, which showed that their accusation itself was proof that a hollow-hearted hypocrisy underlay all their parade of strict religious observances.  [45]

                        Isaiah.  [They required ceremonially washed hands by] grafting their traditional precepts upon the letter of such commands as are found in Isaiah (1:16), "Wash you, make you clean," unmindful of those words which immediately follow:  "Put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes," or those of Jeremiah:  "Wash thine heart from wickedness."  [24]

                        of you.  Appropriately did He describe a national characteristic, common to their ancestors and to them.  [44]

                        The meaning is not that the Jews of Christ's time were the formal and direct theme of the prophecy, but rather that in speaking of his own contemporaries, [Isaiah] drew an admirable picture of their children in the time of Christ.  [3]

                        As it is written.  They argue “tradition;” Jesus argues Scripture.  They say tradition obeying is obligatory; Jesus contends that loyalty to Scripture is even more so.  [rw]           

          This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  The words are found in Isaiah 29:13.  [8]

                        Giving God honor with the lips is fine, but unless the heart actually is committed to obeying Him as well, all the words of praise are but empty rhetoric.  The modern idiom is “words are cheap.”  They can also substitute for actually doing anything to make the words come true.  [rw]                      



7:7                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     But idle is their devotion while they lay down precepts which are mere human rules.'

WEB:              But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'

Young’s:         and in vain do they worship Me, teaching teachings, commands of men;

Conte (RC):    And in vain do they worship me, teaching the doctrines and precepts of men.'


7:7                   Howbeit in vain do they worship Me.  No religious service can be acceptable to God if He has not enjoined it, and even a religious service which He has enjoined, can be acceptable to Him only if it be performed out of regard to His authority, and not from any other motive.  [24]

                        teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  Begun as additions, they become substitutes; and [ultimately] for "the precepts of men" there is claimed the same reverence as for divine ordinances.  [45]



7:8                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     "You neglect God's Commandment: you hold fast to men's traditions."

WEB:              "For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men--the washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things."

Young’s:         for, having put away the command of God, ye hold the tradition of men, baptisms of pots and cups; and many other such like things ye do.'

Conte (RC):    For abandoning the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men, to the washing of pitchers and cups. And you do many other things similar to these."


7:8                   For laying aside the commandment of God.  He charges them not with addition but with substitution.  [23]

                        ye hold the tradition of men.  "Men” as in contrast to "God,” implying that the “elders” (verse 5) had no other than human authority.  [11]

                        The elders are their chief authority, not Moses or Jehovah.  [23]

                        as the washing of pots and cups:  and many other such things ye do.  These were only specimens of their traditional requirements.  [45]

                        It wasn’t as if there were only an isolated problem—the occasional exception that might, perhaps, be best overlooked.  “Many” shows that this had become commonplace, everyday, ordinary:  Wherever you turned, you were going to run into the problem of human traditions being observed as if they were Divinely given ordinances. [rw]



7:9                                                       Translations

Weymouth:     "Praiseworthy indeed!" He added, "to set at nought God's Commandment in order to observe your own traditions!

WEB:              He said to them, "Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.

Young’s:         And he said to them, 'Well do ye put away the command of God that your tradition ye may keep;

Conte (RC):    And he said to them: "You effectively nullify the precept of God, so that you may observe your own tradition.


7:9                   And He said unto them, Full well [All too well, NKJV] ye reject the commandment of God.  Their innovations might seem totally harmless to them—they were certainly intended to be of benefit and to encourage loyalty to God—but the fact remained that they put their own innovations on the same level of authority as that which God had commanded through Moses and the prophets.  Because these were purely of human manufacture, following them when they undermined the principles of the Old Testament meant an outright “reject[ion of] the commandment of God.”  They had learned to substitute verbal loyalty and rationalization to Torah for genuine obedience.  [rw]  

          that ye may keep your own tradition.  It is as though our Lord said, "Your traditions are not instituted by God, or by His servants the prophets, but they are modern inventions, which you desire to defend, not out of love or reverence for them, but because you are the successors of those who invented them, and arrogate to yourselves the power of adding to them and making similar new traditions."  [39]



7:10                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     For Moses said, 'Honour thy father and thy mother' and again, 'He who curses father or mother, let him die the death.'

WEB:              For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother;' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.'

Young’s:         for Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, He who is speaking evil of father or mother -- let him die the death;

Conte (RC):    For Moses said: 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever will have cursed father or mother, let him die a death.'


7:10                 For Moses said.  Matthew:  "For God said,” assuming that God spoke through Moses in the law (Exodus 20:12).  [11]

                        To illustrate the validity of his accusation, He is now going to give an example of the conduct that appalls Him.  [rw]

                        Honor thy father and thy mother.  Here "honour" means not only reverence and love, but support--as is clear from verse 12.  [39]

                        And whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death.  Thus Jesus recognized the Mosaic legislation as the law of His Father; and not merely the milder parts of it, but even the provision for the execution of the disobedient and insulting child.  [23]             



7:11                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     But *you* say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, It is a Korban (that is, a thing devoted to God)

WEB:              But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban, that is to say, given to God;"'

Young’s:         and ye say, If a man may say to father or to mother, Korban (that is, a gift), is whatever thou mayest be profited out of mine,

Conte (RC):    But you say, 'If a man will have said to his father or mother: Korban, (which is a gift) whatever is from me will be to your benefit,'


7:11                 But ye say.  If the language of sermons be vague and general, if it do not apply clearly and directly to our own times, our own ways of life, and habits of thought and action, men [avoid] its [teaching] with a wonderful dexterity; and, keeping their practices safe out of reach, they deceive themselves by their willingness to hear [the Biblical message] (6:20), and by their acquiescence and even delight in it (Ezekiel 33:3-6; Romans 7:22).  [24]

                        If a man shall say to his father or mother.  It didn’t matter which.  Especially in an age when widowhood was so often extremely difficult, to try to get out of one’s obligations to one’s mother should have been regarded as especially horrendous.  [rw]

          It is Corban, that is to say, a gift by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.  This extraordinary practice defended by the Pharisees, by which a man might by applying the term "Corban" (properly signifying that it was devoted to God), in reality simply exclude it from the use of a particular person, is well authenticated in Jewish writings.  [44]

                        The "Corban" gives no real consecration to God in such a case:  it is only a fictitious arrangement for releasing him from a duty that has become irksome.  Thus the tradition of men enables them to annul or virtually repeal the commandment of God.  [23]   

                        This “out” for an obligation would be especially useful for a synagogue leader whose prestigious member had to choose between helping kin and funding a promised improvement to the synagogue or gift to the Temple.  In other words, such pledges might grow out of not just a warped personal spiritual mind, but also out of the self-centered mentality of a “leader” whose synagogue would be especially benefited.  After all, was not the gift to “glorify God”?  How could that possibly be wrong?  [rw]                    


7:12                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     And so you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or mother,

WEB:              then you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or his mother,

Young’s:         and no more do ye suffer him to do anything for his father or for his mother,

Conte (RC):    then you do not release him to do anything for his father or mother,


7:12                 And ye suffer him no more [you no longer let him, NKJV].  Not only not require him, but forbade him to do anything for his parents.  [44] 

                        Strangely enough they did not insist that he should in any practical way [actually] devote [or give it] to God.  He could keep it and use it for himself just as before.  Thus in putting a strained emphasis on the sacredness of the vow, they set aside the plain duty to care for one's parents.  [35]

                        Alternative interpretation:    Not necessarily that they actively forbade it, but their teachings virtually permitted him to neglect his father and mother altogether.  This is the comment of our Lord, not the language of the Pharisees.  [11]

                        To do ought [anything, NKJV] for his father or his mother.  In other words it could apply to any kind or degree of commitment either morally required or which had already been previously agreed to.  God is always to be put before family, but God is never to be used as a pretext for avoiding one’s proper obligations either.  [rw]



7:13                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     thus nullifying God's precept by your tradition which you have handed down. And many things of that kind you do."

WEB:              making void the word of God by your tradition, which you have handed down. You do many things like this."

Young’s:         setting aside the word of God for your tradition that ye delivered; and many such like things ye do.'

Conte (RC):    rescinding the word of God through your tradition, which you have handed down. And you do many other similar things in this way."


7:13                 Making the word of God.  i.e., concerning the command to honor one's parents.  [44]

                        Thus Jesus recognizes the Mosaic legislation as the law of His Father and not merely the milder parts of it, but even the provision for the execution of the disobedient and insulting child.  [23] 

                        of no effect.  The [Greek] word is found in the New Testament only in this discourse and in Galatians 3:17; it means "to deprive of authority or lordship," and so, of a law, "to annul."  It implies more than neglect:  it tells of actual nullification.  [23]  

                        through your tradition, which ye have delivered [which you have handed down, NKJV].  Somehow one expects that this did not begin as draconian a measure as it had become or as all encompassing.  One “small” deviation from God’s will—even when enjoined by theologians or their equivalent—easily becomes the precedent to take the error even further.  Thus the situation is today and no doubt has always been.  [rw] 

                        And many such like things do ye.  This was but a specimen; other commandments were set aside in a similar manner.  [45]

                        Their traditions affected “many” matters and not just this alone.  Jesus presumably chose this example because it was particularly blatant and the injustice of it would ring in the ears of just about any listener.  Accepting it did not hinge upon theological sophistication or advanced education, only upon family affection and loyalty.  [rw]  

7:14                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Then Jesus called the people to Him again. "Listen to me, all of you," He said, "and understand.

WEB:              He called all the multitude to himself, and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand.

Young’s:         And having called near all the multitude, he said to them, 'Hearken to me, ye all, and understand;

Conte (RC):    And again, calling the crowd to him, he said to them: "Listen to me, all of you, and understand.


7:14                 And when He had called all the people [multitude, NKJV] to Him.  The verb (proskaleo) here used implies that the multitude were elsewhere, or at least so removed from Him by distance or inattention, most probably the former, as to be no part of His audience until they were called to Him.  [45]

                        He said unto them, Hearken unto me.  Give close attention; I am about to make a statement, which at once deserves and requires attention.  [24]

                        The question of defilement had given rise to the broader one of human  tradition and divine authority.  Jesus calls them back now to the particular question of defilement.  [44]

                        every one of you.  Hence this applies to all of God’s people and not just to those claiming to be its leaders.  [rw]  

          and understand.  Give intelligent attention not merely to My words but to their meaning.  [3]



7:15                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     There is nothing outside a man which entering him can make him unclean; but it is the things which come out of a man that make him unclean."

WEB:              There is nothing from outside of the man, that going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are those that defile the man.

Young’s:         there is nothing from without the man entering into him that is able to defile him, but the things coming out from him, those are the things defiling the man.

Conte (RC):    There is nothing from outside a man which, by entering into him, is able to defile him. But the things which procede from a man, these are what pollute a man.


7:15                 There is nothing from without a man that entering, that entering into him can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile.  The contrast, as the context shows, is between physical food that goes into the man and moral action which proceeds from him.  [44] 

                                The Levitical law (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14) distinguished between clean and unclean meat, what would and what would not defile the eater.  The primary object of this legal distinction was not, a has been often asserted, to keep the Israelites separate from other nations, although this may have been a secondary goal (Acts 10:14-15), but as distinctly declared, to teach and impress upon them the idea of moral purity, holiness; for in this immediate connection God uttered twice the injunction:  "Ye shall be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44-45).  Jesus does not mean here to set aside this law, which would continue to the end of the ceremonial dispensation; but He teaches that the ceremonial defilement, contracted by eating what was forbidden, did not carry with it moral defilement.  [45]             



7:16                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     (Omitted)

WEB:              If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"

Young’s:         If any hath ears to hear -- let him hear.'

Conte (RC):    Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear."


7:16                 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.  This is a proverbial form of expression, calling attention to matters of great import, frequently used by our Lord (Mark 4:9, 23; 7:16; Matthew 11:15; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, etc.).  [45]



7:17                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     After He had left the crowd and gone indoors, His disciples began to ask Him about this figure of speech.

WEB:              When he had entered into a house away from the multitude, his disciples asked him about the parable.

Young’s:         And when he entered into a house from the multitude, his disciples were questioning him about the simile,

Conte (RC):    And when he had entered into the house, away from the crowd, his disciples questioned him about the parable.


7:17                 And when He was entered into the house from the people.  On other occasions, for example, when He spoken the parables by the seaside (4:10, 34), He explained His teachings in private to His disciples.  [45]

                        His disciples asked Him.  From Matthew we learn that the questioner was Peter (Matthew 15:15).   Mark omits the name of the person, perhaps in deference to Peter's feeling.  [8]

                        conerning the parable.  So they regarded the words uttered in the hearing of the multitude, and which deeply offended the Pharisees (Matthew 15:12).  [8]



7:18                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     "Have *you* also so little understanding?" He replied; "do you not understand that anything whatever that enters a man from outside cannot make him unclean,

WEB:              He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Don't you perceive that whatever goes into the man from outside can't defile him,

Young’s:         and he saith to them, 'So also ye are without understanding! Do ye not perceive that nothing from without entering into the man is able to defile him?

Conte (RC):    And he said to them: "So, are you also without prudence? Do you not understand that everything entering to a man from outside is not able to pollute him?


7:18                 And He saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also?  He understood how others would have trouble grasping some of His teaching, but these were His apostles, His inner group, and they had already gone out teaching on His behalf.  Hence He expected them to comprehend these matters easier than outsiders.  [rw]

           Do ye not perceive.  Jesus appeals to the moral perceptions, the common-sense of the disciples, and that as against not only the traditions of the elders but the statutes of the Old Testament law (cf. vs. 19).  The fact is one of the greatest significance.  It shows, not only that Jesus had within Himself a standard of authority in morals higher than that of the Old Testament--and one by which this latter was to be tested--but that this standard was shared, though with far less clearness of perception, by other men.  [44]

                        That whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him.  To those who gave disproportionate authority to human figures—scribes, Pharisees, and the such like—this was not an easy concept to grasp.  Not coming from within their type of mind frame, it is far easier for us to understand, however.  On the other hand, what of contemporary theology that sometimes seems to stand “scripture on its head” as prominent preachers and theologians happily advocate ideas that seem directly contradictory to the text(s) they are working from?  How easy do we find it to conclude that they might also be arrogating similar unwarranted authority to themselves?  [rw]



7:19                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and passes away ejected from him?" By these words Jesus pronounced all kinds of food clean.

WEB:              because it doesn't go into his heart, but into his stomach, then into the latrine, thus purifying all foods?"

Young’s:         because it doth not enter into his heart, but into the belly, and into the drain it doth go out, purifying all the meats.'

Conte (RC):    For it does not enter into his heart, but into the gut, and it exits into the sewer, purging all foods."


7:19                 because it entereth not into his heart.  Does not reach or affect the mind, the soul, and consequently cannot pollute it.  Even if it should affect the body, yet it cannot the soul, and consequently cannot need to be cleansed by a religious ordinance.  [42]

                        but into the belly [his stomach, NKJV] and goeth out into the draught [is eliminated].  It should be obvious that physical foods do not have any direct impact on our spiritual nature, only moral matters do.  Hence the propriety of eliminating foods as a source that will make us “unclean.”  Ritually certain foods might do so, but spiritually, never.  And Jesus’ foes seemed far more concerned with the former and too little about the latter.  [rw]   

                        purging all meats [thus purifying all foods, NKJV].  This phrase is difficult, if not obscure.  Alford, Meyer, Weiss, and others, connect it with draught and make it refer to the purifying or removal of the useless portion of the food from the body.  But there is a grammatical difficulty in this view.  The revisers, following an old explanation, add:  This he saith, making all meats clean.”  Chrysostom early suggested this interpretation, and it is accepted by Scrivener, Ellicott, and Plumptre.  [8] 

                        However:  Compare Acts 10:14-15; Romans 14:14.  An objection to this interpretation, however, may be found in the fact that Jesus did not during His ministry abrogate the ceremonial system, and it would be incongruous to abrogate this single element in it.  [45]

                         There is a profound difference between immediately eliminating ceremonial defilement and preparing their minds with a rationale and justification for when that did occur.  [rw]



7:20                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     "What comes out of a man," He added, "that it is which makes him unclean.

WEB:              He said, "That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles the man.

Young’s:         And he said -- 'That which is coming out from the man, that doth defile the man;

Conte (RC):    "But," he said "the things which go out from a man, these pollute a man.


7:20                 And He said, That which cometh out of the man.  The idea throughout is that ethical defilement is alone of importance, all other defilement, whether the subject of Mosaic ceremonial legislation or of scribal tradition, a trivial affair.  Jesus here is a critic of Moses as well as of the scribes and introduces a religious revolution.  [17]         

                        that defileth the man.  Defilement is “home grown.”  To whatever degree it exists, it is a product of our own actions, thoughts, and attitudes.  Jesus puts the element of personal responsibility front and center, rather than permitting the rogue to hide behind a veneer of “proper” external ritual and dietetic consumption.  [rw] 



7:21                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     For from within, out of men's hearts, their evil purposes proceed--fornication, theft, murder, adultery,

WEB:              For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, sexual sins, murders, thefts,

Young’s:         for from within, out of the heart of men, the evil reasonings do come forth, adulteries, whoredoms, murders,

Conte (RC):    For from within, from the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,


7:21                 For from within, out of the heart of men proceed.  Sin is always committed in the heart before it appears outwardly.  There is no sin without the love of ourselves; as there is no good work without the love of God.  [20]

                        Thirteen forms of evil are here noticed as proceeding from the heart.  The first seven in the plural number, are predominant actions, the plural possibly indicating either the multitude of them, or the variety of forms under which each sin is committed.  The latter six, in the singular, are dispositions.  The change to singular may be for euphony; there seems to be nothing in the nature of the sins calling for it.  Compare the blending of the singular and plural in Paul's enumeration of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).  [8]

            evil thoughts.  The word is a compound one and refers rather to thought as organized and connected, rather to trains of thought than to single thoughts.  These evil thoughts defile as truly and deeply as evil deeds; yet not so that the deed will add nothing to the guilt.  So in Matthew 5:27-28:  the deliberate thought of adultery is adultery is the heart.  [23]

                        adulteries, fornications, murders.  The one fact concerning them to which our Lord would especially call attention is that they come forth from the heart; these outward deeds are really inward deeds, and are to be judged not solely from their outward effect, their effect upon society, but as expressions of the inward man.  Coming forth, they reveal the source from which they sprang.  [23]

                        adulteries.  Violations of the marriage vow.  [8]

                        fornications.  Violations of chastity by unmarried persons.  [8]

                        murders.  Malicious homicides, placed first by Matthew (15:19).  [3]       

                        A highly appropriate item for inclusion due to the way He Himself would be unjustly railroaded to death.  [rw]



7:22                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, reviling, pride, reckless folly:

WEB:              covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.

Young’s:         thefts, covetous desires, wickedness, deceit, arrogance, an evil eye, evil speaking, pride, foolishness;

Conte (RC):    thefts, avarice, wickedness, deceitfulness, homosexuality, an evil eye, blasphemy, self-exaltation, foolishness.


7:22                 Thefts.  Including in later Greek usage both stealing and robberies; and according to our Saviour's interpretation of the wide-reaching character of the law, it includes all violations of the eighth commandment, every shade and degree of stealing.  [45]

                        covetousness.  The usage of the Greek word shows that it includ[es] both greedy covetous desires, and plans and purposes of fraud and extortion.  We may understand Jesus as including violations of the tenth commandment.  [45]

                        wickedness.  The word used (poneria) means malignity in action and not merely in thought.  [23]

                        It denotes the active working of evil, or, as Jeremy Taylor explains it, an "aptness to do shrewd turns, to delight in mischief and tragedies; a love to trouble our neighbour and to do him ill offices; crossness, perverseness, and peevishness of action in our [relations with others]."--Trench.  [8] 

                        deceit.  Fraud, including all forms of dishonesty not [included] under “theft.”  [3]

                        lasciviousness [lewdness, NKJV].  The word, in classic Greek, denotes all excess and extravagance, and in later writers, lust.  In the New Testament it is generally translated “lasciviousness,” as here and 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:19; 1 Peter 4:3; 2 Peter 2:18; sometimes (2) “wantoness,” as in Romans 13:13.  [8]

                        Licentiousness, wantonness, or unbridleness.  A word that can scarcely be referred to any special form of sin.  It is rather to the underlying thought or temper of the heart by which many sins are made possible and easy.  It is not unchastity alone, it is rather the recklessness of spirit that opens the way to unchastity and to many another sin.  [23]

                        an evil eye.  A malicious, mischief-working eye, with the meaning of positive, injurious activity.  [53]

                                 It is a natural impulse to attribute envy in action to the circumstances that have aroused it and to blame the object of our envy rather than ourselves, but our Lord was plainly right in tracing it to the heart.  [23]

                        blasphemy.  Blasphemy is not merely the speaking profanely against God as one might infer from the modern usage.  The Scriptural usage is broader:  it is evil-speaking in general, defamation, slander, railing.  So it is used in Ephesians 4:31; 1 Timothy 6:4.  In the Epistles, the word refers oftener to evil-speaking against men than to what we call blasphemy, profanity toward God.  [23]

                        pride.  Pride is the false and extravagant estimate of one's self by which all the thoughts and conduct of the life are put upon a false basis.  With pride dominant in the heart, no thought about one's self is correct and truthful and hence no comparison of one's self with others can be just and no true recognition will be made of the claims of God.  Pride is the omnipresent poisoner of motive, vitiator of judgment, murderer of virtue; and its seat is in the heart.  [23]

                        foolishness.  Senselessness, unreasoning folly, in thought, as well as in the words and acts which result.  [11]

                        The lack of true wisdom or, rather, the state and character that result when true wisdom is absent.  [23]



7:23                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     all these wicked things come out from within and make a man unclean."

WEB:              All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."

Young’s:         all these evils do come forth from within, and they defile the man.'

Conte (RC):    All these evils procede from within and pollute a man."


7:23                 All these evil things come from within.  He has declared man to be self-defiled, the fountain of his own uncleanness.  Nor does He leave any one at liberty to say that the defiling power resides either in acts alone or in thoughts alone; for He has dragged to the light both sins of action and sins of thought.  By no conceivable utterance could our Lord have made a deeper or more irreparable break with the Pharisees and the whole spirit of their teaching.  [23]

                        and defile the man.  The evil that men do, their evil thoughts and deeds, do not simply show their wickedness, but defile them, make them wicked.  Men are not, then, the helpless victims of evil hearts born in them, but the creators of their own evil characters.  What Jesus is emphasizing is that a man is not made sinful by eating something that is ceremonially unclean, but by thinking and doing what is morally wrong.  [35]



7:24                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Then He rose and left that place and went into the neighbourhood of Tyre and Sidon. Here He entered a house and wished no one to know it, but He could not escape observation.

WEB:              From there he arose, and went away into the borders of Tyre and Sidon. He entered into a house, and didn't want anyone to know it, but he couldn't escape notice.

Young’s:         And from thence having risen, he went away to the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and having entered into the house, he wished none to know, and he was not able to be hid,

Conte (RC):    And rising up, he went from there to the area of Tyre and Sidon. And entering into a house, he intended no one to know about it, but he was not able to remain hidden.


7:24                 And from thence He arose and went into the borders [region, NKJV] of Tyre and Sidon.  In order to devote Himself entirely to His disciples, Jesus leaves the Jewish country, where new attacks were always being made upon Him, and crossing the western border in the neighborhood of Tyre, enters a house.  Mark places this episode at a moment when Jesus by His actions could confirm the principles just enunciated by Him, in reference to clean and unclean things.  He does not regard Himself as defiled, as the Jews would have done, by entering into the house of a heathen, which is really not forbidden anywhere in the law of God.  [22]

                        Both these cities were renowned for their extensive commerce and for their wealth.  St. Mark (3:8) has already informed us that His fame had spread to those about Tyre and Sidon.  [39]

                        Tyre.  Tyre and Sidon were the chief cities [of Phoenicia].   Tyre is about thirty-five miles, in an air line, northwest from the Sea of Galilee.  [35]

                        Hiram, King of Tyre, sent cedar wood and workmen to David and afterwards to Solomon (2 Samuel 5:11; 1 Kings 9:11-14; 10:22).  Ahab married a daughter of Ithobal, King of Tyre (1 Kings 16:31).  It was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar; captured by Alexander the Great, after seven months' siege, but became again  a populous and thriving city in the time of Christ.  Strabo gives an account of it at this period, and speaks of the great wealth which it derived from the production of the celebrated Tyrian purple.  [8]

                        It was celebrated for wealth, manufactures, commerce, and purple dye.  [24]

                        Sidon.  It is about twenty-five miles north of Tyre.  [24]

                        Both [cities are located] on the Mediterranean coast.  [35]

                        It is mentioned in the Old Testament (Genesis 10:19; Joshua 11:8; Judges 1:31), and in ancient times was more influential even than Tyre, though from the time of Solomon it appears to have been subordinate to it.  Homer has many allusions to the skill of the Sidonians and Herodotus speaks of its kings and ships.  The city was captured by Alexander the Great, B.C. 333.  The ruins of the ancient city are extensive.  [8]

                        And entered into an house, and would have no man know it.   Equals = He attempted to keep it a secret.  [rw]    

          This remark shows that Jesus had not gone into this Gentile region for the purpose of preaching and working miracles.  He was doubtless aiming to give a large amount of private instruction to the twelve.  [38]                                                

         but He could not be hid.  The best intentioned of plans do not always work out the way we would prefer.  If that could be the case with Jesus upon occasion, why should we think it odd if it happens to us as well?  [rw] 



7:25                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Forthwith a woman whose little daughter was possessed by a foul spirit heard of Him, and came and flung herself at His feet.

WEB:              For a woman, whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, having heard of him, came and fell down at his feet.

Young’s:         for a woman having heard about him, whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, having come, fell at his feet, --

Conte (RC):    For a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit, as soon as she heard about him, entered and fell prostrate at his feet.


7:25                 For a certain woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit.  Such possession was, therefore, not confined to Jews.  [11]

                        heard about Him.  She had learned of His casting out demons, and as soon as she heard of His presence in her town or neighborhood, she came to ask Him to release her daughter from the power of an unclean spirit.  [45]

                        and came and fell at His feet.  In deep reverence, showing, too, her great earnestness in [making] the request.  [45]



7:26                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     She was a Gentile woman, a Syro-phoenician by nation: and again and again she begged Him to expel the demon from her daughter.

WEB:              Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race. She begged him that he would cast the demon out of her daughter.

Young’s:         and the woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phenician by nation -- and was asking him, that the demon he may cast forth out of her daughter.

Conte (RC):    For the woman was a Gentile, by birth a Syro-Phoenician. And she petitioned him, so that he would cast the demon from her daughter.


7:26                 The woman was a Greek.  The term “Greek” is here used, as it was frequently by the Jews, in the sense of Gentile (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:24).  After Alexander's conquests, when all the world was in subjection to the Greeks, the Jews divided the world politically into Jews and Greeks.  [38]

                        a Syro-Phoenician by birth.  [The] region [was] so named to distinguish the Phoenicia which was in Syria from the district in northern Africa.  [14]

                        Matthew speaks of her as a Canaanitish woman (cf. Matthew 15:22).  The terms Phoenicia and Canaan are sometimes used interchangeable to denote the coastlands of  Palestine, especially from Carmel northward (Isaiah 23:11 and the Tel Amarna tablets), though Canaan more frequently denotes the whole of western Palestine, from Lebanon to the Dead Sea.  [44]

                        And she besought him that He would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.  The fact that the affliction was recognized as demonic in nature argues that the symptoms were of such a nature that they could not reasonably be confused with those of natural disease.  [rw]



7:27                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     "Let the children first eat all they want," He said; "it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." "Let the children first eat all they want," He said; "it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."

WEB:              But Jesus said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not appropriate to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."

Young’s:         And Jesus said to her, 'Suffer first the children to be filled, for it is not good to take the children's bread, and to cast it to the little dogs.'

Conte (RC):    And he said to her: "First allow the sons to have their fill. For it is not good to take away the bread of the sons and throw it to the dogs."


7:27                 But Jesus said unto her.  This our Saviour said to test the woman's faith.  The Jews were the children of the kingdom; this woman was of the Gentiles, whom the Jews denominated heathen and dogs.  [24]

                                Let the children first be filled.  By the word “first” He quietly conveys a promise and suggests the principle of Romans 1:16--"to the Jew first and also the Greek,” or Gentile--but there was no immediate fulfillment even hinted at for the Gentile.  [23]

                                Our Lord makes at first as though He would refuse her request; and yet it is not an absolute denial.  There might be hope for her when the children were filled.  Thus Christ oftentimes deals with holy souls, namely, by humbling and mortifying them when they desire anything at His hands, in order that with yet greater importunity and humility they may seek and obtain it.  St. Chrysostom says, “Whether we obtain that which we seek for, or whether we obtain it not, let us ever persevere in prayer.  And let us give thanks, not only if we obtain but even if we fail to obtain.  For when God denies us anything, it is no less a favour than if He granted it; for we know not as He does what is most expedient for us."  [39]

                        For it is not meet [good, NKJV] to take the children’s bread, and cast it unto the dogs.  In the original the diminutive is used, “little dogs.”  The Jews, “the children of the kingdom” (Matthew 8:12) were wont to designate the heathen as “dogs,” the noble characteristics of which animal are seldom brought out in Scripture (compare Deuteronomy 23:18; Job 30:1; 2 Kings 8:13; Philippians 3:2; Revelation 22:15).  The Syrian dog is a howling scavenger, and not the companion of man, as the dog is among us.  Here, however, the term is somewhat softened.  Alexander thinks the heathen are compared to the small dogs in the house, not to the great wild dogs infesting Eastern towns; but the dog was an unclean animal to the Jews and not kept as with us.  If He was in heathen territory, as inferred above, the expression would still more naturally refer to the Jewish designation of heathen, and, therefore, not convey the “revolting harshness” which Alexander supposes.  [8] 



7:28                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     "True, Sir," she replied, "and yet the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps."

WEB:              But she answered him, "Yes, Lord. Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."

Young’s:         And she answered and saith to him, 'Yes, sir; for the little dogs also under the table do eat of the children's crumbs.'

Conte (RC):    But she responded by saying to him: "Certainly, Lord. Yet the young dogs also eat, under the table, from the crumbs of the children."


7:28                 And she answered and said unto Him.  Some would be so embarrassed by the refusal as to wander off quietly.  Others (today at least) might argue that it was their “right” to be healed and how dare He not do it!  Others might plead for pity.  She chooses a different tack, one that shows she had a good brain and was quite willing to use it.  [rw]

                        Yes, Lord.  She agrees that the principle is sound but appeals to a universally recognizable exception.  [rw]

          Yet the dogs [little dogs, NKJV] under the table eat of the children's crumbs.  The dogs do not get ignored.  Because they do not get priority does not mean that they get nothing at all.  [rw]

          "One crumb of power from Thy table shall cast the devil out of my daughter."  O what lightning-quickness, what reach of instinctive ingenuity, do we behold in this woman.  [43]



7:29                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     "For those words of yours, go home," He replied; "the demon has gone out of your daughter."

WEB:              He said to her, "For this saying, go your way. The demon has gone out of your daughter."

Young’s:         And he said to her, 'Because of this word go; the demon hath gone forth out of thy daughter;'

Conte (RC):    And he said to her, "Because of this saying, go; the demon has gone out of your daughter."


7:29                 And He said unto to her.  "O woman, great is thy faith:  be it unto thee even as thou wilt" (Matthew 15:28).  [45]

                        For this saying go thy way.  There were two notable examples of faith found in heathen persons and commended by Jesus:  this woman and the centurion.  [8]

                        the devil has gone out of thy daughter.  That moment the deed was done.  [43]

                        This is an instance of a cure effected at a distance; other instances are (1)  the nobleman's son at Capernaum (John 4:46); (2)  the centurion's servant (Luke 7:6).  [8]



7:30                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     So she went home, and found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

WEB:              She went away to her house, and found the child having been laid on the bed, with the demon gone out.

Young’s:         and having come away to her house, she found the demon gone forth, and the daughter laid upon the couch.

Conte (RC):    And when she had gone to her house, she found the girl lying on the bed; and the demon had gone away.


7:30                 And when she was come to her house.  Not doubting the word of Jesus, she returned to find it according to her faith.  [45]

                        she found the devil gone out.  Whatever physical phenomena it manifested was no longer present, as she could verify by her own eyes.  What had happened when the demon left would have to be learned from whoever was keeping an eye on the child.  [rw]    

                        and her daughter laid upon the bed.  Demons, when expelled from persons, sometimes threw them into convulsions and left them in an extremely prostrate condition (cf. 1:26; 9:26).  Such was the case with this girl, who had probably been lifted from the floor and placed on the bed before her mother came in.  [38]



7:31                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Returning from the neighbourhood of Tyre, He came by way of Sidon to the Lake of Galilee, passing through the district of the Ten Towns.

WEB:              Again he departed from the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and came to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the region of Decapolis.

Young’s:         And again, having gone forth from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis,

Conte (RC):    And again, departing from the borders of Tyre, he went by way of Sidon to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the area of the Ten Cities.


7:31                 And again, departing from the coasts [region, NKJV] of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the Sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.  The direction of the journey was first northward toward Lebanon; thence from the foot of Lebanon north-easterly, and back through the district of Decapolis, that is back through the region which lay to the east, or the farther side of the Jordan, to the eastern bank of the Sea of Galilee.  [24]

                                It was almost entirely outside of Jewish territory, and was not a preaching tour, but, doubtless, like the journey from Galilee northward (verse 24), for quiet and rest.  If Jesus took the road going east from Sidon, He crossed the Lebanon and anti-Lebanon mountains, and passed on toward Damascus, then south, and finally west to the Sea of Galilee.  If He followed the road leading southeast from Sidon, He went to Cesarea Philippi, thence southeast, and then southwest toward the sea, passing through the midst of the Decapolis.  [35]



7:32                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Here they brought to Him a deaf man that stammered, on whom they begged Him to lay His hands.

WEB:              They brought to him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. They begged him to lay his hand on him.

Young’s:         and they bring to him a deaf, stuttering man, and they call on him that he may put the hand on him.

Conte (RC):    And they brought someone who was deaf and mute to him. And they begged him, so that he would lay his hand upon him.


7:32                 Then they bring unto Him.  This incident probably took place on Jesus' return into the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee; there is nothing to show that the man was a gentile.  [35]

                        one that was deaf.  How he lost his hearing is not stated, but disease of the ears or some accident that affected his ears, may have been the cause.  [32]

                        and had an impediment in his speech.  Had he been born deaf, he would not have been able to speak at all.  He must, therefore, at one time have heard with more or less distinctness.  [32]

                        and they beseech [begged, NKJV] Him to put His hand upon him.  This is one of the few instances where the friends of the sufferer brought the sick man to Christ.  So the paralytic was borne of four (Mark 2:3-5); the blind man of Bethsaida was also led             to Jesus (Mark 8:22-26.  [9]



7:33                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     So Jesus taking him aside, apart from the crowd, put His fingers into his ears, and spat, and moistened his tongue;

WEB:              He took him aside from the multitude, privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue.

Young’s:         And having taken him away from the multitude by himself, he put his fingers to his ears, and having spit, he touched his tongue,

Conte (RC):    And taking him away from the crowd, he put his fingers into his ears; and spitting, he touched his tongue.


7:33                 And He took him aside from the multitude.  Jesus was still aiming to preserve a good degree of privacy; hence His withdrawal from the multitude when about to heal this man and His subsequent charge to the man's friends, “that they should tell no man" (verse 36).  [38]

                        Alternative interpretations:  He had cured other "dumb" persons in the presence of this multitude (Matthew 15:30); why, then, did He go aside to perform this miracle in private--that is, we may suppose in the presence of  the twelve and the particular friends of the sufferer (verse 36)?  Several reasons may be assigned, one or all of which may have led to this course.  Those who brought the men may have desired an ostentatious display of His power, “seeking after a sign,” a spirit which Jesus neither festered nor tolerated.  He did not come as a worker of wonders.  Quiet and unostentatious, He would not strive nor cry, neither should His voice be heard in the street (Matthew 12:19); but He would make the basis of His success, yea, of the success of His religion in the world, the truth.  Again:  Since the miracles of healing were often, if not always accompanied by the bestowment of salvation (cf. 2:5; 5:15, 34), this withdrawing from the multitude may have had reference to the man's spiritual state.  [45]

                        And put His fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue.  The purpose of all this is hidden from us, but perhaps we shall not err if we suppose that these different actions of Christ were designed to strengthen the faith of the deaf man.  He could not hear, therefore if he were to be encouraged at all, it had to be by touch; and so the Saviour touched alike his ears and his tongue.  [32]

                        He spit, and touched his tongue.  On what, the tongue of the dumb man as on the eyes of the blind (8:23)?  So Meyer.  Or on His own finger, with which He then touched the tongue?  So Weiss, Schanz, Kloster, Holts, Koil.  [17]

                        Or:  The natural inference is that He spit on the ground.  [38]



7:34                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     and looking up to Heaven He sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha!" (that is, "Open!")

WEB:              Looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha!" that is, "Be opened!"

Young’s:         and having looked to the heaven, he sighed, and saith to him, 'Ephphatha,' that is, 'Be thou opened;'

Conte (RC):    And gazing up to heaven, he groaned and said to him: "Ephphatha," which is, "Be opened."


7:34                 And looking up to heaven.  To indicate that this was an act that depended upon a heavenly power--an act, indeed, of Heaven upon the earth.  [23]

                        This upturned look, expressive of an act of prayer, occurs also (1) in the blessing of the five loaves and two fishes (Matthew 14:19; Mark 6:41); (2) at the raising of Lazarus (John 11:41); and (3) before the great high-priestly prayer for the apostles (John 17:1).8

                        He sighed.  Perhaps in sorrow over the vast multitude of human sufferers who would have to suffer on without having Him present to relieve them; or perhaps in [quiet, nonverbal] supplication to His Father.  [32] 

                        and saith unto him, “Ephphata,” that is, Be opened.  The actual Aramaic word used by our Lord, like the "Talitha cum" or "cumi" in Mark 5:41.  [8]



7:35                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     And the man's ears were opened, and his tongue became untied, and he began to speak perfectly.

WEB:              Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was released, and he spoke clearly.

Young’s:         and immediately were his ears opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he was speaking plain.

Conte (RC):    And immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was released, and he spoke correctly.


7:35                 And straightway [immediately, NKJV] his ears were opened, and the string [impediment, NKJV] of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain [plainly, NKJV].  Christ first opened his ears, then [healed] his tongue, because we must hear well before we can speak well (Job 32:6-7; Proverbs 15:2; James 1:19).  [24] 



7:36                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Then Jesus charged them to tell no one; but the more He charged them, all the more did they spread the news far and wide.

WEB:              He commanded them that they should tell no one, but the more he commanded them, so much the more widely they proclaimed it.

Young’s:         And he charged them that they may tell no one, but the more he was charging them, the more abundantly they were proclaiming it,

Conte (RC):    And he instructed them not to tell anyone. But as much as he instructed them, so much more did they preach about it.


7:36                 And He charged [commanded, NKJV] them.  The word is a strong one:  "He gave them clear and positive orders."  [39]

                        that they should tell no man.  During this entire period, He was seeking for seclusion and wished to escape all popular notice.14

                        The injunction seems to have been given both to the deaf and dumb man and to those who brought him.  [39]

                        Into this very region He had sent the man out of whom had been cast the legion of devils to proclaim  "what the Lord had done for him" (5:19).  Now He will have them "tell no man."  But in the former case, there was no danger of obstructing His ministry by “blazing the matter” as He Himself had left the region; whereas now He was sojourning in it.  [43]

                        But the more He charged [commanded, NKJV]  them, so much the more a great deal they published it [widely they proclaimed it, NKJV].  By a singular, but very common freak of human nature, the more He charged them to keep the cure a secret, “the more a great deal they published it."  His very anxiety to avoid publicity made Him the more wonderful in their eyes and inspired them with a greater desire to sound His praise abroad.  [38]



7:37                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     The amazement was extreme. "He succeeds in everything he attempts," they exclaimed; "he even makes deaf men hear and dumb men speak!"

WEB:              They were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf hear, and the mute speak!"

Young’s:         and they were being beyond measure astonished, saying, 'Well hath he done all things; both the deaf he doth make to hear, and the dumb to speak.'

Conte (RC):    And so much more did they wonder, saying: "He has done all things well. He has caused both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."


7:37                 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He has done all things well.  A great change had come over these people since the legion of demons was cast out.  They had then feared Him greatly, and desired Him to leave their coasts; but now they exclaim, with reference both to that miracle and this, “He hath done all things well."

                        In this paragraph, and the parallel in Matthew, a characteristic difference between the two writers is seen.  Matthew says that  "great multitudes came to Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet, and He healed them"  (Matthew 15:30); but he gives no particular description of any single case.  Mark, on the other hand, selects a single one of these cures, perhaps the first of all, and describes minutely both it and its effect on the people.  [38] 

                        He maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.  They recognize that no impediment coming from nature or demon can stop Him—in vivid contrast to any doctor or alleged exorcist they had come in contact with.  They may well have placed hope in such; in this Man, however, they found the reality of Divine power being expressed in this physical world of ours.  [rw]