Mark 10:46
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.
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(46-52) And they came to Jericho.—See Notes on Matthew 20:29-34. St. Mark agrees with St. Matthew in placing the miracle as the disciples were leaving Jericho, and differs from him in speaking of one blind man only, and in giving his name.

Blind Bartimæus.—Better, as giving the same order as the Greek, the son of Timœus, Bartimœus, a blind beggar was sitting by the wayside begging. The later MSS. have the definite article before “blind,” as though he were well known and conspicuous. It is noticeable that the name was Greek with the Aramaic prefix Bar (= son), a combination not found elsewhere.



Mark 10:46

The narrative of this miracle is contained in all the Synoptical Gospels, but the accounts differ in two respects-as to the number of men restored to sight, and as to the scene of the miracle. Matthew tells us that there were two men healed, and agrees with Mark in placing the miracle as Jesus was leaving Jericho. Mark says that there was one, and that the place was outside the gate in departing. Luke, on the other hand, agrees with Matthew as to the number, and differs from him and Mark as to the place, which he sets at the entrance into the city. The first of these two discrepancies may very easily be put aside. The greater includes the less; silence is not contradiction. To say that there was one does not deny that there were two. And if Bartimaeus was a Christian, and known to Mark’s readers, as is probable from the mention of his name, it is easily intelligible how he, being also the chief actor and spokesman, should have had Mark’s attention concentrated on him. As to the other discrepancy, many attempts have been made to remove it. None of them are altogether satisfactory. But what does it matter? The apparent contradiction may affect theories as to the characteristics of inspired books, but it has nothing to do with the credibility of the narratives, or with their value for us.

Mark’s account is evidently that of an eye-witness. It is full of little particulars which testify thereto. Whether Bartimaeus had a companion or not, he was obviously the chief actor and spokesman. And the whole story seems to me to lend itself to the enforcement of some very important lessons, which I will try to draw from it.

I. Notice the beggar’s petition and the attempts to silence it.

Remember that Jesus was now on His last journey to Jerusalem. That night He would sleep at Bethany; Calvary was but a week off. He had paused to win Zacchaeus, and now He has resumed His march to His Cross. Popular enthusiasm is surging round Him, and for the first time He does not try to repress it. A shouting multitude are escorting Him out of the city. They have just passed the gates, and are in the act of turning towards the mountain gorge through which runs the Jerusalem road. A long file of beggars is sitting, as beggars do still in Eastern cities, outside the gate, well accustomed to lift their monotonous wail at the sound of passing footsteps. Bartimaeus is amongst them. He asks, according to Luke, what is the cause of the bustle, and is told that ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’ The name wakes strange hopes in him, which can only be accounted for by his knowledge of Christ’s miracles done elsewhere. It is a witness to their notoriety that they had filtered down to be the talk of beggars at city gates. And so, true to his trade, he cries, ‘Jesus . . . have mercy upon me!’

Now, note two or three things about that cry. The first is the clear insight into Christ’s place and dignity. The multitude said to him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.’ That was all they cared for or knew. He cried, ‘Jesus, thou Son of David,’ distinctly recognising our Lord’s Messianic character, His power and authority, and on that power and authority he built a confidence; for he says not as some other suppliants had done, either ‘If Thou wilt Thou canst,’ or ‘If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us.’ He is sure of both the power and the will.

Now, it is interesting to notice that this same clear insight other blind men in the Evangelist’s story are also represented as having had. Blindness has its compensations. It leads to a certain steadfast brooding upon thoughts, free from disturbing influences. Seeing Jesus did not produce faith; not seeing Him seems to have helped it. It left imagination to work undisturbed, and He was all the loftier to these blind men, because the conceptions of their minds were not limited by the vision of their eyes. At all events, here is a distinct piece of insight into Christ’s dignity, power, and will, to which the seeing multitudes were blind.

Note, further, how in the cry there throbs the sense of need, deep and urgent. And note how in it there is also the realisation of the possibility that the widely-flowing blessings of which Bartimaeus had heard might be concentrated and poured, in their full flood, upon himself. He individualises himself, his need, Christ’s power and willingness to help him. And because he has heard of so many who have, in like manner, received His healing touch, he comes with the cry, ‘Have mercy upon me.’

All this is upon the low level of physical blessings needed and desired. But let us lift it higher. It is a mirror in which we may see ourselves, our necessities, and the example of what our desire ought to be. Ah! brethren, the deep consciousness of impotence, need, emptiness, blindness, lies at the bottom of all true crying to Jesus Christ. If you have never gone to Him, knowing yourself to be a sinful man, in peril, present and future, from your sin, and stained and marred by reason of it, you never have gone to Him in any deep and adequate sense at all. Only when I thus know myself am I driven to cry, ‘Jesus! have mercy on me.’ And I ask you not to answer to me, but to press the question on your own consciences-’Have I any experience of such a sense of need; or am I groping in the darkness and saying, I see? am I weak as water, and saying I am strong?’ ‘Thou knowest not that thou art poor, and naked, and blind’; and so that Jesus of Nazareth should be passing by has never moved thy tongue to call, ‘Son of David, have mercy upon me!’

Again, this man’s cry expressed a clear insight into something at least of our Lord’s unique character and power. Brethren, unless we know Him to be all that is involved in that august title, ‘the Son of David,’ I do not think our cries to Him will ever be very earnest. It seems to me that they will only be so when, on the one hand, we recognise our need of a Saviour, and, on the other hand, behold in Him the Saviour whom we need. I can quite understand-and we may see plenty of illustrations of it all round us-a kind of Christianity real as far as it goes, but in my judgment very superficial, which has no adequate conception of what sin means, in its depth, in its power upon the victim of it, or in its consequences here and hereafter; and, that sense being lacking, the whole scale of Christianity, as it were, is lowered, and Christ comes to be, not, as I think the New Testament tells us that He is, the Incarnate Word of God, who for us men and for our salvation ‘bare our sins in His own body on the tree,’ and ‘was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him,’ but an Example, a Teacher, or a pure Model, or a social Reformer, or the like. If men think of Him only as such, they will never cry to Him, ‘Have mercy upon me!’

Dear friends, I pray you, whether you begin with looking into your own hearts and recognising the crawling evils that have made their home there, and thence pass to the thought of the sort of Redeemer that you need and find in Christ-or whether you begin at the other side, and, looking upon the revealed Christ in all the fulness in which He is represented to us in the Gospels, from thence go back to ask yourselves the question, ‘What sort of man must I be, if that is the kind of Saviour that I need?’-I pray you ever to blend these two things together, the consciousness of your own need of redemption in His blood and the assurance that by His death we are redeemed, and then to cry, ‘Lord! have mercy upon me,’ and claim your individual share in the wide-flowing blessing. Turn all the generalities of His grace into the particularity of your own possession of it. We have to go one by one to His cross, and one by one to pass through the wicket gate. We have not cried to Him as we ought, if our cry is only ‘Christ, have mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us.’ We must be alone with Him, that into our own hearts we may receive all the fulness of His blessing; and our petition must be ‘Thou Son of David! have mercy upon me.’ Have you cried that? Notice, further, the attempts to stifle the cry. No doubt it was in defence of the Master’s dignity, as they construed it, that the people sought to silence the persistent, strident voice piercing through their hosannas. Ah! they did not know that the cry of wretchedness was far sweeter to Him than their shallow hallelujahs. Christian people of all churches, and of some stiffened churches very especially, have been a great deal more careful of Christ’s dignity than He is, and have felt that their formal worship was indecorously disturbed when by chance some earnest voice forced its way through it with the cry of need and desire. But this man had been accustomed for many a day, sitting outside the gate, to reiterate his petition when it was unattended to, and to make it heard amidst the noise of passers-by. So he was persistently bold and importunate and shameless, as the shallow critics thought, in his crying. The more they silenced him, the more a great deal he cried. Would God that we had more crying like that; and that Christ’s servants did not so often seek to suppress it, as some of them do! If there are any of you who, by reason of companions, or cares, or habits, or sorrows, or a feeble conception of your own need or a doubtful recognition of Christ’s power and mercy, have been tempted to stop your supplications, do like Bartimaeus, and the more these, your enemies, seek to silence the deepest voice that is in you, the more let it speak.

II. So, notice Christ’s call and the suppliant’s response.

‘He stood still, and commanded him to be called.’ Remember that He was on His road to His Cross, and that the tension of spirit which the Evangelists notice as attaching to Him then, and which filled the disciples with awe as they followed Him, absorbed Him, no doubt, at that hour, so that He heard but little of the people’s shouts. But He did hear the blind beggar’s cry, and He arrested His march in order to attend to it.

Now, dear friends, I am not merely twisting a Biblical incident round to an interpretation which it does not bear, but am stating a plain un-rhetorical truth when I say that it is so still. Jesus Christ is no dead Christ who is to be remembered only. He is a living Christ who, at this moment, is all that He ever was, and is doing in loftier fashion all the gracious things that He did upon earth. That pause of the King is repeated now, and the quick ear which discerned the difference between the unreal shouts of the crowd, and the agony of sincerity in the cry of the beggar, is still open. He is in the heavens, surrounded by its glories, and, as I think Scripture teaches us, wielding providence and administering the affairs of the universe. He does not need to pause in order to hear you and me. If He did, He would-if I may venture upon such an impossible supposition-bid the hallelujahs of heaven hush themselves, and suspend the operations of His providence if need were, rather than that you or I, or any poor man who cries to Him, should be unheard and unhelped. The living Christ is as tender a friend, has as quick an ear, is as ready to help at once, to-day, as He was when outside the gate of Jericho; and every one of us may lift his or her poor, thin voice, and it will go straight up to the throne, and not be lost in the clamour of the hallelujahs that echo round His seat. Christ still hears and answers the cry of need. Send you it up, and you will find that true.

Notice the suppliant’s response. That is a very characteristic right-about-face of the crowd, who one moment were saying, ‘Hold your tongue and do not disturb Him,’ and the next moment were all eager to encumber him with help, and to say, ‘Rise up, be of good cheer; He calleth thee.’ No thanks to them that He did. And what did the man do? Sprang to his feet-as the word rightly rendered would be-and flung away the frowsy rags that he had wrapped round him for warmth and softness of seat, as he waited at the gate; ‘and he came to Jesus.’ Brethren, ‘casting aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us, let us run’ to the same Refuge. You have to abandon something if you are to go to Christ to be healed. I dare say you know well enough what it is. I do not; but certainly there is something that entangles your legs and keeps you from finding your way to Him. If there is nothing else, there is yourself and your trust in self, and that is to be put away. Cast away the ‘garment spotted with the flesh’ and go to Christ, and you will receive succour.

III. Notice the question of all-granting love, and the answer of conscious need.

‘What wilt Thou that I should do unto thee?’ A very few hours before He had put the same question with an entirely different significance, when the sons of Zebedee came to Him, and tried to get Him to walk blindfold into a promise. He upset their scheme with the simple question, ‘What is it that you want?’ which meant, ‘I must know and judge before I commit Myself,’ But when He said the same thing to Bartimaeus He meant exactly the opposite. It was putting the key of the treasure-house into the beggar’s hand. It was the implicit pledge that whatever he desired he should receive. He knew that the thing this man wanted was the thing that He delighted to give.

But the tenderness of these words, and the gracious promise that is hived in them, must not make us forget the singular authority that speaks in them. Think of a man doing as Jesus Christ did-standing before another and saying, ‘I will give you anything that you want.’ He must be either a madman or a blasphemer, or ‘God manifest in the flesh’; Almighty power guided by infinite love.

And what said the man? He had no doubt what he wanted most-the opening of these blind eyes of his. And, dear brother, if we knew ourselves as well as Bartimaeus knew his blindness, we should have as little doubt what it is that we need most. Suppose you had this wishing-cap that Christ put on Bartimaeus’s head put on yours: what would you ask? It is a penetrating question if men will answer it honestly. Think what you consider to be your chief need. Suppose Jesus Christ stood where I stand, and spoke to you: ‘What wilt thou that I should do for you?’ If you are a wise man, if you know yourself and Him, your answer will come as swiftly as the beggar’s-’Lord! heal me of my blindness, and take away my sin, and give me Thy salvation.’ There is no doubt about what it is that every one of us needs most. And there should be no doubt as to what each of us would ask first.

The supposition that I have been making is realised. That gracious Lord is here, and is ready to give you the satisfaction of your deepest need, if you know what it is, and will go to Him for it. ‘Ask! and ye shall receive.’

IV. Lastly, notice, sight given, and the Giver followed.

Bartimaeus had scarcely ended speaking when Christ began. He was blind at the beginning of Christ’s little sentence; he saw at the end of it. ‘Go thy way; thy faith hath saved thee.’ The answer came instantly, and the cure was as immediate as the movement of Christ’s heart in answer.

I am here to proclaim the possibility of an immediate passage from darkness to light. Some folk look askance at us when we talk about sudden conversions, but these are perfectly reasonable; and the experience of thousands asserts that they are actual. As soon as we desire, we have, and as soon as we have, we see. Whenever the lungs are opened the air rushes in; sometimes the air opens the lungs that it may. The desire is all but contemporaneous with the fulfilment, in Christ’s dealing with men. The message is flashed along the wire from earth to heaven, in an incalculably brief space of time, and the answer comes, swift as thought and swifter than light. So, dear friends, there is no reason whatever why a similar instantaneous change should not pass over any man who hears the Good News. He may be unsaved when his hearing of it begins, and saved when his hearing of it ends. It is for himself to settle whether it shall be so or not.

Here we have a clear statement of the path by which Christ’s mercy rushes into a man’s soul. ‘Thy faith hath saved thee.’ But it was Christ’s power that saved him. Yes, it was; but it was faith that made it possible for Christ’s power to make him whole. Physical miracles indeed did not always require trust in Christ, as a preceding condition, but the possession of Christ’s salvation does, and cannot but do so. There must be trust in Him, in order that we may partake of the salvation which is owing solely to His power, His love, His work upon the Cross. The condition is for us; the power comes from Him. My faith is the hand that grasps His; it is His hand, not mine, that holds me up. My faith lays hold of the rope; it is the rope and the Person above who holds it, that lift me out of the ‘horrible pit and the miry clay.’ My faith flees for refuge to the city; it is the city that keeps me safe from the avenger of blood. Brother! exercise that faith, and you will receive a better sight than was poured into Bartimaeus’s eyes.

Now, all this story should be the story of each one of us. One modification we have to make upon it, for we do not need to cry persistently for mercy, but to trust in, and to take, the mercy that is offered. One other difference there is between Bartimaeus and many of my hearers. He knew what he needed, and some of you do not. But Christ is calling us all, and my business now is to say to each of you what the crowd said to the beggar, ‘Rise! be of good cheer; He calleth thee.’ If you will fling away your hindrances, and grope your path to His feet, and fall down before Him, knowing your deep necessity, and trusting to Him to supply it, He will save you. Your new sight will gaze upon your Redeemer, and you will follow Him in the way of loving trust and glad obedience.

Jesus Christ was passing by. He was never to be in Jericho any more. If Bartimaeus did not get His sight then, he would be blind all his days. Christ and His salvation are offered to thee, my brother, now. Perhaps if you let Him pass, you will never hear Him call again, and may abide in the darkness for ever. Do not run the risk of such a fate.

Mark 10:46-52. And as he went out of Jericho, blind Bartimeus sat by the way-side — Matthew (Matthew 20:29) says, there were two blind men. It seems this Bartimeus was the more eminent of the two, and spoke for them both. See on Matthew 20:29-34. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth — Of some of whose miracles he had doubtless received information; he began to cry out, Jesus, thou son of David, &c. — Our Lord’s name was no sooner mentioned than this blind man, who was well acquainted with his fame, conceived hopes of obtaining a cure; and being deeply impressed with a sense of his own affliction, he cried out so vehemently that the people rebuked him, as they will not fail to rebuke all who, from a sense of their guilt, depravity, and misery, cry after the Saviour of sinners. But he cried the more a great deal — An example worthy to be imitated by those who are concerned to obtain the cure of their spiritual diseases. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called — He would not perform the miracle till the blind man came to him, that, by the manner of his walking, the spectators might be sensible he was truly blind. And they call the blind man — Some of the people, having their expectations raised of seeing Christ work a miracle, ran immediately to call the man and his companion; saying, Be of good comfort — Take courage; rise, he calleth thee — And therefore he doubtless intends to grant thy request. And he, casting away his garment — Through joy and eagerness; rose, and came to Jesus — The other blind man also following as fast as he could. And Jesus said, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee — What is the mercy which thou so earnestly entreatest? The blind man said, Lord, that I might receive my sight — The other also, doubtless, made the same request. and Jesus, who had compassion on them, touched their eyes, and said to each, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole — The strong persuasion which thou hast entertained of my power and goodness, and thy confidence therein, makes thee fit to receive this cure which I now bestow on thee. And immediately he received his sight — As did his companion likewise; and they followed Jesus in the way —

Travelled with him, probably all the way to Jerusalem, being deeply affected with a sense of his power and goodness, and earnestly desirous to show their gratitude, by declaring openly, unto all the persons they met, what a great miracle Jesus had performed for them. “Thus Jesus, by his touch,” says Erasmus, “cures the mind that is blinded with worldly lusts, and gives light for this end, that we may follow his footsteps.”

10:46-52 Bartimeus had heard of Jesus and his miracles, and learning that he was passing by, hoped to recover his eyesight. In coming to Christ for help and healing, we should look to him as the promised Messiah. The gracious calls Christ gives us to come to him, encourage our hope, that if we come to him we shall have what we come for. Those who would come to Jesus, must cast away the garment of their own sufficiency, must free themselves from every weight, and the sin that, like long garments, most easily besets them, Heb 12:1. He begged that his eyes might be opened. It is very desirable to be able to earn our bread; and where God has given men limbs and senses, it is a shame, by foolishness and slothfulness, to make themselves, in effect, blind and lame. His eyes were opened. Thy faith has made thee whole: faith in Christ as the Son of David, and in his pity and power; not thy repeated words, but thy faith; Christ setting thy faith to work. Let sinners be exhorted to imitate blind Bartimeus. Where the gospel is preached, or the written words of truth circulated, Jesus is passing by, and this is the opportunity. It is not enough to come to Christ for spiritual healing, but, when we are healed, we must continue to follow him; that we may honour him, and receive instruction from him. Those who have spiritual eyesight, see that beauty in Christ which will draw them to run after him.See this passage explained in the notes at Matthew 20:29-34.

Mark 10:46

Blind Bartimeus - Matthew says there were two. Mark mentions but one, though he does not deny that there was another. He mentions this man because he was well known - Bartimeus, the "blind man."

Mr 10:46-52. Blind Bartimaeus Healed. ( = Mt 20:29-34; Lu 18:35-43).

See on [1474]Lu 18:35-43.

Ver. 46-52. This history is a mere narrative of a matter of fact, in the relation of which no difficulties occur which stand in need of explication. Matthew, Mark, and Luke relate it with but two considerable differences. Matthew mentions two blind men, the other two evangelists but one. It is probable the one was the more remarkable, and his father a person of some note, therefore he is mentioned also; the other probably some obscurer person. Luke reports it done, as he was come nigh unto Jericho; Matthew and Mark, as he went out of Jericho: but though Luke saith that he sat begging by the way as they came nigh to Jericho, yet he doth not say the miracle of his cure was wrought then. It is most probable that he followed Christ into Jericho, crying after him, and also when he went out of Jericho, and that it was as he went out of Jericho (as Matthew and Mark say) that our Saviour took notice of him, called him, and wrought the cure upon him.

See Poole on "Matthew 20:29", and following verses to Matthew 20:34.

And they came to Jericho,.... Christ and his disciples, from the coasts of Judea, beyond Jordan, in their way to Jerusalem; where Christ met with Zaccheus and converted him, and after some short stay at his house, departed thence;

and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples, and a great number of people: which followed him out of that city, to go with him to Jerusalem, being but ten miles off:

blind Bartimeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging; who was one of the two blind men Matthew makes mention of it, See Gill on Matthew 20:30.

{9} 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.

(9) Only Christ being called upon by faith heals our blindness.

Mark 10:46-52. See on Matthew 20:29-34. Comp. Luke 18:35-43. Matthew has abridged the narrative, and, following a later tradition (comp. on Matthew 8:28), doubled the persons. Only Mark has the name of the blind man, which is not interpolated (Wilke), and certainly is from trustworthy tradition.

Βαρτίμαιος] The patronymic בַּר טִמְאִי, as was often the case (comp. Βαρθολομαῖος, Βαριησοῦς, Βαρσαβᾶς), had become altogether a proper name, so that Mark even expressly prefixes to it ὁ υἱὸς Τιμαίου, which, however, may be accounted for by the fact of Timaeus being well known, possibly as having become a Christian of note.

τυφλὸς προσαίτης] (see the critical remarks): a blind beggar.

Mark 10:47. “Magna fides, quod caecus filium Davidis appellat, quem ei Nazaraeum praedicabat populus,” Bengel.

Mark 10:49. θάρσει, ἔγειρε, φωνεῖ σε] a hasty asyndeton. Comp. Nägelsbach, Anm. z. Ilias, ed. 3, p. 80.

Mark 10:50. ἀποβαλ. τὸ ἱμάτ.] depicts the joyous eagerness, with which also the ἀναπηδήσας is in keeping (see the critical remarks). Comp. Hom. Il. ii. 183: βῆ δὲ θέειν, ἀπὸ δὲ χλαῖναν βάλε, Acts 3:8; Dem. 403, 5.

Mark 10:51. ῥαββουνί] רַבּוֹנִי, usually: domine mi. See Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 2179. Yet the yod, as in רבי, may also be only paragogic (Drusius, Michaelis, Fritzsche); and this latter view is precisely on account of the analogy of רבי more probable, and is confirmed by the interpretation διδάσκαλε in John 20:16. The form רבוני is, we may add, more respectful than רבי. Comp. Drusius.

Mark 10:46-52. Bartimaeus (Matthew 20:29-34, Luke 18:35-43).

46–52. Passing through Jericho.—Blind Bartimæus

46. And they came] Leaving behind them the upland pastures of Peræa, the little company travelled along the road which led down to the sunken channel of the Jordan, and the luxuriant “district” of Jericho.

to Jericho] This ancient stronghold of the Canaanites,—taken by Joshua (Mark 2:6), founded for the second time under Hiel the Bethelite (1 Kings 16:34), visited by Elisha and Elijah before the latter “went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:4-15)—was still in the days of Christ surrounded by towers and castles. Two of them lay in ruins since the time of Pompeius, but “Kypros, the last fortress built by Herod the Great, who had called it after his mother, rose white in the sun on the south of the town.… The great palace of Herod, in the far-famed groves of palms, had been plundered and burnt down in the tumults that followed his death, but in its place a still grander structure, built by Archelaus, had arisen amidst still finer gardens, and more copious and delightful streams. A grand theatre and spacious circus, built by Herod, scandalized the Jews, while a great stone aqueduct of eleven arches brought a copious supply of water to the city, and the Roman military road ran through it. Geikie’s Life and Words of Christ, ii. p. 385.

as he went] It is most probable that at the entrance of Jericho He met one of the sufferers, who having learnt from the crowd that He was passing, joined the other sufferer, whom the Saviour encountered as He was going out of the city on the following morning. (Comp. Luke 18:35; Matthew 20:29-30.)

a great number] of pilgrims accompanied our Lord, who had come from Peræa and Galilee, and met at this central point to go up to the Passover, at Jerusalem.

Bartimæus] The patronymic is made into a proper name after the analogy of Bartholomew and others. The true reading seems to be the son of Timæus, Bartimæus, a blind man, “This account of him hints that he was a personage well known to Christians in St Mark’s time as a monument of the Lord’s miracle, as was probably also Simon the Leper; and the designation ‘son of Timæus’ would distinguish him, not merely from the father but also from other sons.” Lange. As in the case of the Gadarene demoniacs, he was probably better known, and hence his case is more particularly recorded. “All the roads leading to Jerusalem, like the Temple itself, were much frequented at the time of the feasts, by beggars, who reaped a special harvest from the charity of the pilgrims.”

Mark 10:46. Βαρτίμαιος, Bartimœus) A proparoxyton [accented on the antepenult] as the simple name Τίμαιος. Timæus seems to have been a man at that time known at Jericho; and Bartimœus seems to have been made a beggar only by reason of his blindness [and not previously].—ὁ τυφλὸς, blind) This epithet had become an equivalent to a surname. Bartimæus was very well known in the time of the apostles. [As to the other blind man associated with him, see the note Matthew 20:30.]—ὁδὸν, the way) On the highway to Jerusalem there was the greater opportunity of begging.

Verse 46. - And they come to Jericho. Jericho, situated in the midst of a fertile, well-watered country, celebrated for its palm trees, was situated about seventeen English miles east-north-east of Jerusalem, and about six miles from the nearest bend of the river Jordan. In the time of our Lord it was one of the most important cities next to Jerusalem. It is now known by the name of Richa or Ericha, and is almost deserted. The journey from the Jordan to Jericho is through a fiat country; but that from Jericho to Jerusalem is very hilly. It is supposed that it was upon the rocky heights overhanging this city that our Lord's temptation took place. Jericho derives its name, either from "the moon," or from the fragrant edours of the "balsam" plant, which was extensively cultivated in the neighborhood. Its palm groves and balsam gardens were bestowed by Anthony upon Cleopatra, from whom Herod the Great purchased them. It was here that Herod the Great died. It is now one of the most filthy and neglected places in Palestine. To this place our Lord came; and St. Luke (18 and 19.) gives a full account of his reception there. St. Matthew speaks of two blind men; but he agrees with St. Mark in saying that the cure took place as he went out from Jericho. St. Luke mentions only one; but he places the cure at the time of our Lord's entrance into Jericho. How do we reconcile St. Mark's account of one only, specially named, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus? St. Augustine says that there were two blind men; but that the one, better known, overshadowed the other. He also says that Bartimaeus was a well-known character, and that he was accustomed to sit by the wayside, not only blind, but as a beggar. It is of course possible that St. Luke may refer to another ease altogether. But on the other hand, with the exception that he mentions only one, and that he places the cure at the time of the entrance into Jericho, and not at the time of the departure, all the other circumstances are identical. May not this latter discrepancy be reconciled thus? - the blind man may have sought a cure from Christ at his first entrance into the city; but he may not have been able to be heard on account of the crowd. Or our Lord may have passed him by at first, in order to stimulate his faith and hope. So the day after, he may have placed himself at the gate of the city, close by where Christ would pass through; and there again he may have urged his request, and so obtained healing. Dr. John Lightfoot (p. 348) says that the careful description of Bartimaeus would seem to imply that his father may have been a person of some note. Dr. Lightfoot adds that it is possible that Timaeus, or "Thimai," may be the same with Simais, blind, from the use of the letter thau from samech, common amongst the Chaldaeans; so that Bartimaeus might mean nothing more than "blind son of a blind father." Mark 10:46Son of Timaeus

Mark, as usual, is particular about names.


Diseases of the eye are very common in the East. Thomson says of Ramleh, "The ash-heaps are extremely mischievous; on the occurrence of the slightest wind the air is filled with a fine, pungent dust, which is very injurious to the eyes. I once walked the streets counting all that were either blind or had defective eyes, and it amounted to about one-half the male population. The women I could not count, for they are rigidly veiled" ("Land and Book"). Palgrave says that ophthalmia is fearfully prevalent, especially among children. "It would be no exaggeration to say that one adult out of every five has his eyes more or less damaged by the consequences of this disease" ("Central and Eastern Arabia").


See on Matthew 5:3.

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