Mark 10
Clarke's Commentary
The Pharisees question our Lord concerning divorce, Mark 10:1-12. Little children are brought to him, Mark 10:13-16. The person who inquired how he might inherit eternal life, Mark 10:17-22. How difficult it is for a rich man to be saved, Mark 10:23-27. What they shall receive who have left all for Christ and his Gospel, Mark 10:28-31. He foretells his death, Mark 10:32-34. James and John desire places of pre-eminence in Christ's kingdom, Mark 10:35-41. Christ shows them the necessity of humility, Mark 10:42-46. Blind Bartimeus healed, Mark 10:46-52.

And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.
He arose - Κακειθεν αναϚας may be translated, he departed thence. The verb ανιϚημι has this sense in some of the purest Greek writers. See Kypke. Many transactions took place between those mentioned in the preceding chapter, and these that follow, which are omitted by Matthew and Mark; but they are related both by Luke and John. See Lightfoot, and Bishop Newcome.

And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? - See this question about divorce largely explained on Matthew 19:3-12 (note).

And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
And if a woman shall put away her husband - From this it appears that in some cases, the wife assumed the very same right of divorcing her husband that the husband had of divorcing his wife; and yet this is not recorded any where in the Jewish laws, as far as I can find, that the women had such a right. Indeed, were the law which gives the permission all on one side, it would be unjust and oppressive; but where it is equally balanced, the right being the same on each side, it must serve as a mutual check, and prevent those evils it is intended to cure. Among the Jews there are several instances of the women having taken other men, even during the life of their own husbands. Nor do we find any law by which they were punished. Divorce never should be permitted but on this ground - "The parties are miserable together, and they are both perfectly willing to be separated." Then, if every thing else be proper, let them go different ways, that they may not ruin both themselves and their hapless offspring.

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
And they brought young children - See on Matthew 19:13-15 (note).

But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
And he took them up in his arms - One of the Itala reads in sinu suo - "in his bosom." Jesus Christ loves little children; and they are objects of his most peculiar care. Who can account for their continual preservation and support, while exposed to so many dangers, but on the ground of a peculiar and extraordinary providence?

And blessed them - Then, though little children, they were capable of receiving Christ's blessing. If Christ embraced them, why should not his Church embrace them? Why not dedicate them to God by baptism? - whether that be performed by sprinkling, washing, or immersion; for we need not dispute about the mode: on this point let every one be fully persuaded in his own mind. I confess it appears to me grossly heathenish and barbarous, to see parents who profess to believe in that Christ who loves children, and among them those whose creed does not prevent them from using infant baptism, depriving their children of an ordinance by which no soul can prove that they cannot be profited, and, through an unaccountable bigotry or carelessness, withholding from them the privilege of even a nominal dedication to God; and yet these very persons are ready enough to fly for a minister to baptize their child when they suppose it to be at the point of death! It would be no crime to pray that such persons should never have the privilege of hearing, My father! or, My mother! from the lips of their own child. See on Matthew 3:6 (note), and on Mark 16:16 (note).

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
There came one running - See the case of this rich young man largely explained on Matthew 19:16 (note), etc.

And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Then Jesus, beholding him - Looking earnestly, εμβλεψας, or affectionately upon him, loved him, because of his youth, his earnestness, and his sincerity.

One thing thou lackest - What was that? A heart disengaged from the world, and a complete renunciation of it and its concerns, that he might become a proper and successful laborer in the Lord's vineyard. See Matthew 19:21. To say that it was something else he lacked, when Christ explains here his own meaning, is to be wise above what is written.

And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
And he was sad at that saying - This young man had perhaps been a saint, and an eminent apostle, had he been poor! From this, and a multitude of other cases, we may learn that it is oftentimes a misfortune to be rich: but who is aware of this? - and who believes it?

And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
And the Gospel's - Read, for the sake of the Gospel. I have with Griesbach adopted ἑνεκεν, for the sake, on the authority of BCDEGHKMS, V, sixty others, and almost all the versions.

But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
In this time - Εν τῳ καιρῳ τουτῳ, In this very time. Though Jews and Gentiles have conspired together to destroy both me and you, my providence shall so work that nothing shall be lacking while any thing is necessary.

And fathers. This is added by K, upwards of sixty others, Ethiopic, Gothic, Slavonic, Saxon, Armenian, Coptic, and in one of my own MSS. of the Vulgate.

Some have been greatly embarrassed to find out the literal truth of these promises; and, some in flat opposition to the text, have said they are all to be understood spiritually. But thus far is plain, that those who have left all for the sake of Christ do find, among genuine Christians, spiritual relatives, which are as dear to them as fathers, mothers, etc.; yet they have the promise of receiving a hundredfold often literally fulfilled: for, wherever a Christian travels among Christians, the shelter of their houses, and the product of their lands, are at his service as far as they are requisite. Besides, these words were spoken primarily to the disciples, and pointed out their itinerant manner of life; and how, travelling about from house to house, preaching the Gospel of the grace of God, they should, among the followers of Christ, be provided with every thing necessary in all places, as if the whole were their own. I have often remarked that the genuine messengers of God, in the present day have, as noted above, this promise literally fulfilled.

With persecutions - For while you meet with nothing but kindness from true Christians, you shall be despised, and often afflicted, by those who are enemies to God and goodness; but, for your comfort, ye shall have in the world to come, αιωνι τῳ ερχομενῳ, the coming world, (that world which is on its way to meet you), eternal life.

But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him,
And he took again the twelve - Or thus: For having again taken the twelve, etc. I translate και for, which signification it often bears; see Luke 1:22; John 12:35, and elsewhere. This gives the reason of the wonder and fear of the disciples, For he began to tell them on the way, what was to befall him. This sense of και, I find, is also noticed by Rosenmuller. See on Matthew 20:17-19 (note).

Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles:
And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.
And James and John - come unto him - The request here mentioned, Matthew says, Matthew 20:20, was made by Salome their mother; the two places may be easily reconciled thus: - The mother introduced them, and made the request as if from herself; Jesus knowing whence it had come, immediately addressed himself to James and John, who were standing by; and the mother is no farther concerned in the business. See the note on Matthew 20:20.

And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?
They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.
In thy glory - In the kingdom of thy glory - three MSS. Which kingdom they expected to be established on earth.

And be baptized - Or, be baptized. Instead of και and η or, is the reading of BCDL, five others, Coptic, Armenian, later Syriac in the margin, Vulgate, all the Itala, and Origen. See the note on Matthew 20:22.

But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:
But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.
Is not mine to give - See on Matthew 20:23 (note).

And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.
When the ten heard it - See Matthew 20:24-28.

But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
Blind Bartimeus - בר bar in Syriac signifies son. It appears that he was thus named because Timeus, Talmeus or Talmai, was the name of his father, and thus the son would be called Bar-talmeus, or Bartholomew. Some suppose υἱος Τιμαιου, the son of Timeus, to be an interpolation. Bartimeus the son of Timeus, ὁ τυφλος, The blind man. It was because he was the most remarkable that this evangelist mentions him by name, as a person probably well known in those parts.

And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.
And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
And he, casting away his garment - He cast off his outward covering, a blanket, or loose piece of cloth, the usual upper garment of an Asiatic mendicant, which kept him from the inclemency of the weather, that he might have nothing to hinder him from getting speedily to Christ. If every penitent were as ready to throw aside his self-righteousness and sinful incumbrances, as this blind man was to throw aside his garment, we should have fewer delays in conversions than we now have; and all that have been convinced of sin would have been brought to the knowledge of the truth. The reader will at least pardon the introduction of the following anecdote, which may appear to some as illustrative of the doctrine grounded on this text.

A great revival of religion took place in some of the American States, about the year 1773, by the instrumentality of some itinerant preachers sent from England. Many, both whites and blacks, were brought to an acquaintance with God who bought them. Two of these, a white man and a negro, meeting together, began to speak concerning the goodness of God to their souls, (a custom which has ever been common among truly religious people). Among other things they were led to inquire how long each had known the salvation of God; and how long it was, after they were convinced of their sin and danger, before each got a satisfactory evidence of pardoning mercy. The white man said, "I was three months in deep distress of soul, before God spoke peace to my troubled, guilty conscience." "But it was only a fortnight," replied the negro, "from the time I first heard of Jesus, and felt that I was a sinner, till I received the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins." "But what was the reason," said the white man, "that you found salvation sooner than I did?" "This is the reason," replied the other; "you white men have much clothing upon you, and when Christ calls, you cannot run to him; but we poor negroes have only this, (pointing to the mat or cloth which was tied round his waist), and when we hear the call, we throw it off instantly, and run to him."

Thus the poor son of Ham illustrated the text without intending it, as well as any doctor in the universe. People who have been educated in the principles of the Christian religion imagine themselves on this account Christians; and, when convinced of sin, they find great difficulty to come as mere sinners to God, to be saved only through the merits of Christ. Others, such as the negro in question, have nothing to plead but this, We have never heard of thee, and could not believe in thee of whom we had not heard; but this excuse will not avail now, as the true light is come - therefore they cast off this covering, and come to Jesus. See this miraculous cure explained at large on Matthew 20:29-34.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
Lord, that I might, etc. - The Codex Bezae, and some copies of the Itala, have, Κυριε ῥαββει, O Lord, my teacher.

And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
Followed Jesus in the way - Instead of τῳ Ιησου, Jesus, several eminent critics read αυτω, him. This is the reading of ABCDL, fourteen others, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, later Syriac in the margin, two Persic, Vulgate, all the Itala, and Origen once. Jesus is the common reading; but this sacred name having occurred so immediately before, there could be no necessity for repeating it here, nor would the repetition have been elegant.

This very remarkable cure gives us another proof, not only of the sovereign power, but of the benevolence, of Christ: nor do we ever see that sovereign power used, but in the way of benevolence. How slow is God to punish! - how prone to spare! To his infinite benevolence, can it be any gratification to destroy any of the children of men? No! We must take great heed not to attribute to his sovereignty, acts which are inconsistent with his benevolence and mercy. I am afraid this is a prevailing error; and that it is not confined to any religious party exclusively.

Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke [1831].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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