Mark 3
Clarke's Commentary
The man with the withered hand healed, Mark 3:1-5. The Pharisees plot our Lord's destruction, Mark 3:6. Christ withdraws, and is followed by a great multitude, Mark 3:7-9. He heals many, and goes to a mountain to pray, Mark 3:10-13. He ordains twelve disciples, and, gives them power to preach and work miracles, Mark 3:14, Mark 3:15. Their names, Mark 3:16-19. The multitudes throng him, and the scribes attribute his miracles to Beelzebub, Mark 3:20-22. He vindicates himself by a parable, Mark 3:23-27. Of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, Mark 3:28-30. His mother and brethren send for him, Mark 3:31, Mark 3:32. And he takes occasion from this to show, that they who do the will of God are to him as his brother, sister, and mother, Mark 3:33-35.

And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
A man there which had a withered hand - See this explained on Matthew 12:10 (note), etc., and on Luke 6:6, Luke 6:10 (note).

And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
They watched him - Παρετηρουν αυτον, they maliciously watched him. See on Luke 14:1 (note).

And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
To do good - or - evil? to save life, or to kill? - It was a maxim with the Jews, as it should be with all men, that he who neglected to preserve life when it was in his power, was to be reputed a murderer. Every principle of sound justice requires that he should be considered in this light. But, if this be the case, how many murderers are there against whom there is no law but the law of God!

To kill - but instead of αποκτειναι, several MSS. and versions have απολεσαι to destroy. Wetstein and Griesbach quote Theophylact for this reading; but it is not in my copy. Paris edit. 1635.

And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
With anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts - These words are not found in any of the other evangelists. For πωρωσει hardness, or rather callousness, the Codex Bezae, and four of the Itala, read νεκρωσει, deadness; the Vulgate and some of the Itala, caecitate, blindness. Join all these together, and they will scarcely express the fullness of this people's wretchedness. By a long resistance to the grace and Spirit of God, their hearts had become callous; they were past feeling. By a long opposition to the light of God, they became dark in their understanding, were blinded by the deceitfulness of sin, and thus were past seeing. By a long continuance in the practice of every evil work, they were cut off from all union with God, the fountain of spiritual life; and, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, they were incapable of any resurrection but through a miraculous power of God.

With anger. What was the anger which our Lord felt? That which proceeded from excessive grief, which was occasioned by their obstinate stupidity and blindness: therefore it was no uneasy passion, but an excess of generous grief.

Whole as the other - This is omitted by the best MSS. and versions.

Grotius, Mill, and Bengel approve of the omission, and Griesbach leaves it out of the text.

And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
Herodians - For an account of these, see the note on Matthew 16:1; Matthew 22:16.

But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,
Galilee - See Matthew 4:13, Matthew 4:15.

And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.
Tyre - Sidon, etc. - See Matthew 11:21.

When they had heard what great things he did, came unto him - So, if Christ be persecuted and abandoned by the wicked, there are a multitude of pious souls who earnestly seek and follow him. He who labors for God will always find more than he loses, in the midst of all his contradictions and persecutions.

And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.
A small ship - Πλοιαριον. The lytil boot, Old English MS. It was doubtless something of the boat kind, which probably belonged to some of the disciples. Our Lord was at this time teaching by the sea of Galilee. The word ship is utterly improper in many places of our translation, and tends to mislead the people.

For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
They pressed upon him - Rushed upon him, επιπιπτειν - through eagerness to have their spiritual and bodily maladies immediately removed.

Plagues - Rather disorders, μαϚιγας; properly such disorders as were inflicted by the Lord. The word plague also tends to mislead.

And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.
Thou art the Son of God - Two MSS., and the later Syriac, have, Thou art the Christ, the Son of God. One of Stephens's MSS. has, Thou art the Holy One of God. A MS. in the library of Leicester has, συ ει ὁ Θεος, υἱος, Thou art God, the Son. This is an uncommon reading, which is not confirmed by any MS. yet discovered.

And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.
And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.
And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
He ordained twelve - Εποιησε, he made twelve. Here is nothing of what we call ordaining. Christ simply appointed them to be with him; and that he might send them occasionally to preach, etc.

To preach - The Codex Bezae, Saxon, and all the Itala, except one, add το ευαγγελιον, the Gospel.

And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:
To have power to heal - and to cast out devils - The business of a minister of Christ is,

1st. To preach the Gospel.

2dly. To be the physician of souls. And,

3dly. To wage war with the devil, and destroy his kingdom.

And Simon he surnamed Peter;
Simon, etc. - See on Matthew 10:2 (note), etc.

And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
Sons of thunder - A Hebraism for thunderers; probably so named because of their zeal and power in preaching the Gospel.

The term Boanerges is neither Hebrew nor Syriac. Calmet and others think that there is reason to believe that the Greek transcribers have not copied it exactly. בני רעם beney raam, which the ancient Greeks would pronounce Beneregem, and which means sons of thunder, was probably the appellative used by our Lord: or בני רעש beni reges, sons of tempest, which comes nearest to the Boanerges of the evangelist. St. Jerome, on Daniel 1, gives בני רעם (which he writes Benereem, softening the sound of the ע ain) as the more likely reading, and Luther, supposing our Lord spoke in Hebrew, gives the proper Hebrew term above mentioned, which he writes Bnehargem. Some think that the reason why our Lord gave this appellative to the sons of Zebedee was, their desire to bring fire down from heaven, i.e. a storm of thunder and lightning, to overturn and consume a certain Samaritan village, the inhabitants of which would not receive their Master. See the account in Luke 9:53, Luke 9:54 (note). It was a very usual thing among the Jews to give surnames, which signified some particular quality or excellence, to their rabbins. See several instances in Schoettgen.

And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,
And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.
Into a house - As Christ was now returned to Capernaum, this was probably the house of Peter, mentioned Mark 2:1.

And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
Eat bread - Had no time to take any necessary refreshment.

And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
His friends - Or, relations. On this verse several MSS. differ considerably. I have followed the reading of the Syriac, because I think it the best: οἱ παρ' αυτου signify merely his relatives, his brethren, etc., see Mark 3:31; and the phrase is used by the best writers to signify relatives, companions, and domestics. See Kypke in loc.

They said, He is beside himself - It was the enemies of Christ that raised this report; and his relatives, probably thinking that it was true, went to confine him. Let a Christian but neglect the care of his body for a time, in striving to enter in at the strait gate; let a minister of Christ but impair his health by his pastoral labors; presently "he is distracted;" he has "not the least conduct nor discretion." But let a man forget his soul, let him destroy his health by debaucheries, let him expose his life through ambition, and he may, notwithstanding, pass for a very prudent and sensible man!

Schoettgen contends that the multitude, and not Christ, is here intended. Christ was in the house: the multitude, οχλος, Mark 3:20, pressed upon him so that he could not eat bread. His disciples, or friends, went out, κρατησαι αυτον (scil. οχλον), to restrain it, viz. the multitude, to prevent them from rushing into the house and disturbing their Master, who was now taking some refreshment. This conjecture should not be lightly regarded.

And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
He hath Beelzebub - See on Matthew 12:24-26 (note).

And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?
And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
No man, etc. - For an explanation of these verses, and a definition of the sin against the Holy Ghost, see Matthew 12:29-33.

Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.
There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.
His brethren and his mother - Or rather, his mother and his brethren. This is the arrangement of the best and most ancient MSS.; and this clause, και αἱ αδελφαι σου, and thy sisters, Mark 3:32, should be Added, on the authority of ADEFGMSUV, fifty-five others, some editions, the margin of the later Syriac, Slavonic, Gothic, and all the Itala except four. Griesbach has received this reading into the text.

Calling him - This clause is wanting in one copy of the Itala. The Codex Alexandrinus has ζητουντες αυτον, seeking him.

And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
Who is my mother? - See on Matthew 12:46-50 (note).

And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke [1831].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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