|<< Mark 6 >>|
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Our Lord's countrymen are astonished at his wisdom and mighty works, and are offended at him, Mark 6:1-4. He works few miracles there, because of their unbelief, Mark 6:5, Mark 6:6. He sends forth his disciples by two and two to preach, etc., Mark 6:7-11. They depart, preach, and work miracles, Mark 6:12, Mark 6:13. Different opinions of Christ, Mark 6:14-16. Account of the beheading of John Baptist, Mark 6:17-29. The disciples return, and give an account of their mission, Mark 6:30. He departs with them to a place of privacy, but the people follow him, Mark 6:31-33. He has compassion on them, and miraculously feeds five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, Mark 6:34-44. He sends the disciples by sea to Bethsaida, and himself goes into a mountain to pray, Mark 6:45, Mark 6:46. The disciples meet with a storm, and he comes to them walking upon the water, and appeases the winds and the sea, Mark 6:47-52. They come into the land of Gennesaret, and he works many miracles, Mark 6:53-56.
1And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
And he went out from thence - That is, from Capernaum. See on Matthew 13:54 (note).
2And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
Were astonished - επι τῃ διδαχῃ αυτου, at his doctrine, or teaching. This is added by the Codex Bezae and eight others, later Syriac, Armenian, Vulgate, and all the Itala.
3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
Is not this the carpenter - Among the ancient Jews, every father was bound to do four things for his son.
1. To circumcise him.
2. To redeem him.
3. To teach him the law.
4. To teach him a trade.
And this was founded on the following just maxim: "He who teaches not his son to do some work, is as if he taught him robbery!" It is therefore likely that Joseph brought up our Lord to his own trade.
Joses - Several good MSS. read Ιωσητος, Joset, and one, with several versions, reads Joseph.
4But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
See this curious subject explained, Matthew 13:55-58 (note).
5And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
6And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
7And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
By two and two - That they might encourage and support each other; and to show that union among the ministers of the Gospel is essential to the promotion of the cause of truth. See on Luke 10:1 (note).
8And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
A staff only - It is likely he desired them to take only one with every two, merely for the purpose of carrying any part of their clothes on, when they should be obliged to strip them off by reason of the heat; for walking staves, or things of this kind, were forbidden, see Matthew 10:10. But, probably, no more is designed than simply to state that they must not wait to make any provision for the journey, but go off just as they were, leaving the provision necessary in the present case to the care of Divine Providence. St. James is represented in ancient paintings, as carrying a gourd bottle on a Staff across his shoulder.
9But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
Shod with sandals - The sandal seems to have been similar to the Roman solea, which covered only the sole of the foot, and was fastened about the foot and ankle with straps. The sandal was originally a part of the woman's dress; ancient authors represent them as worn only by women. In Matthew 10:10, the disciples are commanded to take no shoes, ὑποδηματα, which word is nearly of the same import with σανδαλια, sandals; but, as our Lord intimates to them that they should be free from all useless incumbrances, that they might fulfill his orders with the utmost diligence and despatch, so we may suppose that the sandal was a lighter kind of wear than the shoe: and indeed the word sandal, which is mere Chaldee, סנדל might be properly translated a light shoe; as it is compounded of סין sin, a shoe, (see Targum, Deuteronomy 25:9, Deuteronomy 25:10), and דל dal, thin, slender, or mean, as being made, not only lighter than the hypodema or shoe, but (probably) also of meaner materials. See many excellent observations on this subject in Martinius's Etymolog. Lexicon, under the word Sandalium.
10And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.
11And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
And whosoever shall not receive you - Ὁς αν τοπος μη δεξηται, whatsoever Place will not receive you: this is the reading of BL, four others, and the later Syriac in the margin.
Verily, etc. - All this clause is omitted in BCDL, two others, one Arabic, one Persic, Coptic, Armenian, Vulgate, and all the Itala but three. Mill and Beza approve of the omission, and Griesbach leaves it out of the text. It has probably been transferred here from Matthew 10:15. See this subject, from Mark 6:7-11, explained at large on Matthew 10:1-15 (note).
12And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
13And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
Anointed with oil many that were sick - This is only spoken of here, and in James 5:14. This ceremony was in great use among the Jews; and in certain cases it might be profitable. But in the cases mentioned here, which were merely miraculous, it could avail no more of itself than the imposition of hands. It was used symbolically, as an emblem of that ease, comfort, and joy, which they prayed God to impart to the sick. For various examples of its use among the Jews, see Lightfoot and Wetstein on this place.
14And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
And king Herod heard? - Την ακοην αοτου, his fame, is added by KM, fifteen others, and in the margin of several. It seems necessary to complete the sense.
15Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.
Or, as one of the prophets - η, or, is omitted by ABCEGHKLMS - BHV, and one hundred others, Syriac, all the Arabic, all the Persic, Coptic, Ethiopic, Gothic, Slavonic, Vulgate, two Itala, Origen, Victor, and Theophylact. Bengel, Wetstein, and Griesbach leave it out of the text: the omission of it mends the sense much.
16But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
17For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her.
18For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.
19Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
Would have killed - Εζητει, Sought to kill him. C and five of the Itala.
See the whole of this account, from Mark 6:17-29, explained on Matthew 14:2-12 (note).
20For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
21And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;
Lords - Μεγιστασιν, probably governors of particular districts.
High captains - Χιλιαρχοις; literally, chiefs or captains over a thousand men, military chiefs.
Chief estates - Πρωτοις; probably such as might be called nobles by title only, having no office civil or military; probably magistrates. See Kypke an the place.
22And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
23And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
Unto the half of my kingdom - A noble price for a dance! This extravagance in favor of female dancers has the fullest scope in the east, even to the present day. M. Anquetil du Perron, in the preliminary discourse to his Zend Avesta, p. 344 and 345, gives a particular account of the dancers at Surat. This account cannot be transcribed in a comment on the Gospel of God, however illustrative it might be of the conduct of Herodias and her daughter Salome: it is too abominable for a place here. He observes, that the rich vie with each other in the presents they make to the dancing girls of money and jewels; and that persons of opulence have even ruined themselves by the presents they made to those victims of debauch. He mentions a remarkable case, which may throw light on this passage: "That the dancer Laal-koner gained such a complete ascendancy over the Mogul Emperor Maaz-eddin, that he made her joint governess of the empire with himself."
24And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
25And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.
26And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
For their sakes which sat with him - Probably these persons joined in with the request, and were glad of this opportunity to get this light of Israel extinguished; he being a public reprover of all their vices.
27And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
28And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.
29And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
30And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
The apostles gathered themselves together - For they went different ways before, by two and two, Mark 6:7; and now they return and meet Christ at Capernaum.
31And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
Rest a while - Rest is necessary for those who labor; and a zealous preacher of the Gospel will as often stand in need of it as a galley slave.
32And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
33And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.
The people - Or, οχλοι, the multitudes. This is wanting in many MSS., but it seems necessary to make the sense clear. There is scarcely a verse in the whole New Testament that has suffered so much from transcribers as this verse. Amidst the abundance of various readings, one can scarcely tell what its original state was. The various readings may be seen in Griesbach.
34And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
Much people, etc. - See this miracle explained on Matthew 14:14 (note), etc.
35And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:
36Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
37He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?
38He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.
39And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.
40And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.
By hundreds, and by fifties - "That is," says Mr. Wesley, "fifty in a rank, and a hundred in file. So, a hundred multiplied by fifty, made just five thousand." But if they sat fifty deep, how could the disciples conveniently serve them with the bread and fish?
41And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.
And blessed - I think the word God should be inserted here, as in Matthew 14:19. See the note there. The food we receive from God is already blessed, and does not stand in need of being blessed by man; but God, who gives it, deserves our warmest thanksgivings, as frequently as we are called to partake of his bounty.
42And they did all eat, and were filled.
43And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.
Twelve baskets - These were either the baskets used by the disciples, see Matthew 14:20, or baskets belonging to some of the multitude, who might have brought some with them to carry provisions, or other things necessary for the sick, whom they brought to Christ to be healed.
44And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
Were about five thousand - ὡσει, about, is omitted by a great majority of the best MSS. and by the principal versions. It is wanting in several editions: Bengel, Wetstein, and Griesbach, leave it out of the text. It is omitted by some in the parallel place, Matthew 14:21, but it stands without any variation in Luke 9:14, and John 6:10. This miracle is mentioned by all the four evangelists. It is one of the most astonishing that Christ has wrought. It is a miracle which could not be counterfeited, and a full proof of the divinity of Christ.
45And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
To the other side before unto Bethsaida - John says, John 6:17, to Capernaum. It is probable our Lord ordered them to steer to one or other of these two places, which were about four miles distant, and on the same side of the sea of Galilee.
46And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
47And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
The ship was in the midst of the sea - See all the parts of this wonderful transaction considered, on Matthew 14:22-33 (note).
48And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
49But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
They supposed it had been a spirit - That is, by whom the storm had been raised.
50For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
52For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
Their heart was hardened - See this explained Matthew 14:33 (note).
53And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.
The land of Gennesaret - This country lay on the coast of the sea of Galilee: it is described by Josephus as being exceedingly pleasant and fertile. It had its name of Gennesaret from גן, gen, a garden, and סר sar, a prince, either because the king had a garden there, or because of its great fertility.
54And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,
They knew him - Επιγνοντες, They recollected him; for he had before preached and wrought miracles in different places of the same country.
55And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.
56And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
Villages - Probably small towns near cities.
Country - Villages at a distance from cities and large public towns. See the notes on Matthew 14:34-36 (note).
Christ went about doing good - he confined his ministry and miracles to no place - wherever he went, they stood in need of his help; and whenever they required his assistance, they had it granted immediately. Our Lord's conduct, in these respects, is a perfect pattern for every preacher of his Gospel.