Christ preaches in Capernaum, Mark 2:1, Mark 2:2. A paralytic person is brought to him, whose sins are pronounced forgiven, Mark 2:3-5. The scribes accuse him of blasphemy, Mark 2:6, Mark 2:7. He vindicates himself, and proves his power to forgive sins, by healing the man's disease, Mark 2:8-11. The people are astonished and edified, Mark 2:12. He calls Levi from the receipt of custom, Mark 2:13, Mark 2:14. Eats in his house with publicans and sinners, at which the Pharisees murmur, Mark 2:15, Mark 2:16. He vindicates his conduct, Mark 2:17. Vindicates his disciples, who are accused of not fasting, Mark 2:18-22; and for plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath day, Mark 2:23-26; and teaches the right use of the Sabbath, Mark 2:27, Mark 2:28.
And again he entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.In the house - The house of Peter, with whom Christ lodged when at Capernaum. See the notes on Matthew 4:13; Matthew 8:13.
And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.So much as about the door - Meaning the yard or court before the house.
Preached The Word - Τον λογον. The doctrine of the kingdom of God; for so ὁ λογος is repeatedly used.
And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.One sick of the palsy - A paralytic person. See on Matthew 9:2 (note), etc.
Borne of four - Four men, one at each corner of the sofa or couch on which he lay: this sick man appears to have been too feeble to come himself, and too weak to be carried in any other way.
And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.They uncovered the roof - The houses in the east are generally made flat-roofed, that the inhabitants may have the benefit of taking the air on them; they are also furnished with battlements round about, Deuteronomy 22:8; Judges 16:27; and 2 Samuel 11:2, to prevent persons from falling off; and have a trap door by which they descend into the house. This door, it appears, was too narrow to let down the sick man and his couch; so they uncovered the roof, removed a part of the tiles; and having broken it up, taken away the laths or timber, to which the tiles had been attached, they then had room to let down the afflicted man. See Luke 5:19, and on Matthew 10:27 (note); Matthew 24:17 (note).
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? - See this explained Matthew 9:3 (note), etc.
And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.He - took up the bed - The words of Prosper, on this place, are worthy of notice: -
"What is sin but a deplorable fall, a grovelling on the earth, a repose in the creature, often followed by a universal palsy of the soul; namely, an utter inability to help itself, to break off its evil habits, to walk in the ways of God, to rise or to take one good step towards him? Grace can repair all in a moment: because it is nothing but the almighty will of God, who commands and does whatever he commands."
And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.
And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.Levi - The same as Matthew; he appears to have been a Jew, though employed in the odious office of a tax-gatherer. For an account of his call, see his Gospel, Matthew 9:9, etc.
And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?Sinners - By ἁμαρτωλοι, the Gentiles or heathens are generally to be understood in the Gospels, for this was a term the Jews never applied to any of themselves, See the note on Matthew 9:10.
How is it that he eateth - Some very good MSS., several versions, with Chrysostom and Augustin, read, Why doth Your Master eat?
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.To repentance - This is omitted by ABDKL, twenty-seven others; both the Syriac, Persic, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Gothic, Vulgate; six copies of the Itala; Euthymius and Augustin. Griesbach has left it out of the text; Grotius, Mill, and Bengel approve of the omission. See on Matthew 9:13 (note). I leave it as in the parallel place above quoted. Properly speaking, the righteous cannot be called to repentance. They have already forsaken sin, mourned for it, and turned to God. In the other parallel place, Luke 5:32, all the MSS. and versions retain μετανοιαν, repentance.
And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast - See this largely explained on Matthew 9:14 (note), etc. The following vices are very common to Pharisees.
1. They are more busied in censuring the conduct of others than in rectifying their own.
2. They desire that every one should regulate his piety by theirs; and embrace their particular customs and forms of devotion.
3. They speak of and compare themselves with other people, only that they may have an opportunity of distinguishing and exalting themselves.
And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.Can the children of the bride-chamber fast while the bridegroom is with them? - Among the Hindoos, large parties of friends, belonging both to the bride and bridegroom, attend on both during the wedding day; on the following day, when the bridegroom leaves the house of his father-in-law, the attendants are filled with sorrow, especially the near relations. - Ward's Customs.
But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.In those days - But instead of εν εκειναις ταις ἡμεραις, many of the best MSS. and versions read, εν εκεινῃ τῃ ἡμερᾳ, in that day; viz. the day in which Jesus Christ should be delivered up to the Jews and Gentiles. Mill and Bengel approve of this reading, and Griesbach adopts it. The former part of the verse seems to vindicate the common reading.
No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.No man - seweth - See Matthew 9:16. No man seweth a piece of unscoured cloth upon an old garment. In the common editions this verse begins with και, and, but this is omitted by almost every MS. and version of note. The construction of the whole verse is various in the MSS. The translation given here, and in Matthew 9:16, is intelligible, and speaks for itself.
And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.Went through the corn fields - See on Matthew 12:1 (note).
And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?The days of Abiathar the high priest - It appears from 1 Samuel 21:1, which is the place referred to here, that Ahimelech was then high priest at Nob: and from 1 Samuel 22:20; 1 Samuel 23:6, and 1 Chronicles 18:16, it appears that Abiathar was the son of Ahimelech. The Persic reads Abimelech instead of Abiathar. Theophylact supposes that Abiathar was the priest, and Ahimelech or Abimelech the high priest, and thus endeavors to reconcile both the sacred historians. Others reconcile the accounts thus: Ahimelech was called Ahimelech Abiathar, אב ab, father, understood; and Abiathar was called Abiathar Ahimelech, בן ben, son, understood. Probably they both officiated in the high priesthood; and the name of the office was indifferently applied to either.
Shew-bread - See Matthew 12:4.
And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:The Sabbath was made for man - That he might have the seventh part of his whole time to devote to the purposes of bodily rest and spiritual exercises. And in these respects it is of infinite use to mankind. Where no Sabbath is observed, there disease, poverty, and profligacy, generally prevail. Had we no Sabbath, we should soon have no religion. This whole verse is wanting in the Codex Bezae, and in five of the Itala.
Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.The Son of man is Lord - See on Matthew 12:7, Matthew 12:8 (note). Some have understood this as applying to men in general, and not to Christ. The Son of man, any man is Lord of the Sabbath; i.e. it was made for him, for his ease, comfort, and use, and to these purposes he is to apply it. But this is a very harsh, and at the same time a very lax, mode of interpretation; for it seems to say that a man may make what use he pleases of the Sabbath; and, were this true, the moral obligation of the Sabbath would soon be annihilated.
God ordained the Sabbath not only to be a type of that rest which remains for the people of God, but to be also a mean of promoting the welfare of men in general.
The ordinances of religion should be regulated according to their end, which is the honor of God, and the salvation of men. It is the property of the true religion to contain nothing in it but what is beneficial to man. Hereby God plainly shows that it is neither out of indigence or interest that he requires men to worship and obey him; but only out of goodness, and to make them happy. God prohibited work on the Sabbath day, lest servants should be oppressed by their masters, that the laboring beasts might have necessary rest, and that men might have a proper opportunity to attend upon his ordinances, and get their souls saved. To the Sabbath, under God, we owe much of what is requisite and necessary as well for the body as the soul.