Mark 6:13
And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
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(13) Anointed with oil.—St. Mark is the only Evangelist who mentions this as the common practice of the disciples, but we learn from James 5:14 that it was afterwards in use, at least, in the churches of Jerusalem and other Jewish communities. It was partly analogous to our Lord’s treatment of the blind and deaf (Mark 7:33; Mark 8:23; John 9:6), i.e., it was an outward sign showing the wish to heal, and therefore a help to faith; but as the use of oil was more distinctly that of an agent recognised as remedial in the popular therapeutics of the time, it had also the character of uniting (and devout minds have since so regarded it) the use of natural outward means of healing with prayer for the divine blessing. It need scarcely be said that it had not the slightest affinity with the mediæval so-called sacrament of extreme unction, which, though it may still retain, in theory, a partial secondary connection with the cure of the diseases of the body, is practically never administered till all hope of cure is abandoned. The development of the latter aspect of the usage was obviously the after-growth of a later time, when the miraculous gift of healing was withdrawn, and when it became necessary to devise a theory for the retention of the practice.

6:7-13 Though the apostles were conscious to themselves of great weakness, and expected no wordly advantage, yet, in obedience to their Master, and in dependence upon his strength, they went out. They did not amuse people with curious matters, but told them they must repent of their sins, and turn to God. The servants of Christ may hope to turn many from darkness unto God, and to heal souls by the power of the Holy Ghost.Cast out many devils - See the notes at Matthew 4:24.

And anointed with oil ... - Anointing with oil was in common use among the Jews in cases of sickness. It was supposed to have a mild, soothing, and alleviating effect on the body. In James 5:14, the elders of the church, in connection with prayer, were directed also to anoint the sick with "oil." See the notes at that passage. It was also used in wounds. See the notes at Isaiah 1:6. The good Samaritan poured oil and wine into the wounds of the waylaid Jew, Luke 10:34. Josephus says that, in the last sickness of Herod, his physicians commanded him to be anointed with oil. It need not be supposed, however, that the apostles used oil for mere "medical" purposes. It was used, probably, like the imposition of hands, or like our Saviour's anointing the eyes of the blind with clay; also as a sign, in expectation of imparting that aid and comfort from God which was sought, and which was "represented" by the soothing and gentle effect of oil.

Mr 6:7-13. Mission of the Twelve Apostles. ( = Mt 10:1, 5-15; Lu 9:1-6).

See on [1440]Mt 10:1; [1441]Mt 10:5-15.

See Poole on "Mark 6:12"

And they cast out many devils,.... Which they had power given them to do; and this they did, in confirmation of their mission and doctrine, and for the benefit of miserable creatures, who were possessed by them; and to show their power over the devils, and as a prelude of what they were to be the instruments of, in casting Satan out of the souls of men, both Jews and Gentiles; and especially, in the ejection of him out of the Gentile world:

and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. This they were doubtless directed to by Christ, as an outward sign of healing; but not as a medicine; otherwise there would have been no miracle in the cure: though it is certain, the Jews used anointing with oil medicinally in many cases, as the means of healing; but they did not always succeed, as the apostles did: on the day of atonement (w),

"it was not lawful to "anoint" part of the body, as the whole body; but if a man was sick, or had ulcers on his head, he might anoint according to his usual way, and no notice was taken of it.''

Again (x),

"a man may not anoint with wine, or vinegar, but he may anoint with oil: he that has a pain in his head, or has ulcers upon him, , "he may anoint with oil", but he may not anoint with wine and vinegar: wine of the second tithe, which they mix, is forbidden to anoint with; oil of the second tithe, which they mix, is lawful to anoint with.''

And it is elsewhere said (y), that

"R. Meir allowed of the mixing of oil and wine, , "to anoint the sick" on a sabbath; but when he was sick, and we sought to do so to him, he would not suffer us.''

But that oil was used by the apostles as a medicine for the healing of diseases, cannot well be thought; since oil, though it may be useful in some cases, it is not an universal medicine, which is proper to all; nor were the apostles instructed by Christ in the art of physic, but were possessed by him with extraordinary gifts, to cure the disorders of the body, for the confirmation of the Gospel, which they preached; and it is easy to observe, that healing the sick by anointing with oil, is joined with the extraordinary power of casting out devils; and it was the same power by which they performed the one, as the other; see Luke 9:1. Hence it appears, that this passage gives no countenance to the use of such a practice in our days; since these were apostles only, who used it, who were extraordinary persons, and whose office in the church was an extraordinary one, and is now ceased; and healing in this way, was by an extraordinary power bestowed upon them, which has ceased; and therefore the rite, or ceremony of anointing with oil, for such a purpose, should be of course discontinued; however, it cannot be supported by this instance, whatever countenance it may seem to have from James 5:14, for it must be owned, there is some difference in the passages: the persons that anointed here were apostles, there the elders of the church; the persons anointed there, were good people, the members of the church, but here any sort of persons, and chiefly, if not altogether unbelievers; the healing of them is ascribed to the prayer of faith in James, but here to the extraordinary power of the apostles, by anointing with oil; though it may be, the healing was equally miraculous in the one, as the other: but be this as it will, nothing can be concluded from hence, in favour of the sacrament of extreme unction, used by the Papists; who administer that to persons, just at the point of death, and that for the remission of their sins, and the saving of their souls; whereas oil was used by the apostles to sick persons, and for the recovery of their bodily health. But since these were extraordinary cures which they performed this way, why did they make use of oil at all, seeing the virtue of healing did not come from that, and they could as well have healed sicknesses without it, as with it? To which it may be replied, that they did not always make use of it; sometimes only words were expressed, sometimes only hands were laid on the sick, and sometimes the sick persons were healed by handkerchiefs and aprons taken from them; which show, that the "healing" virtue was not in the means, nor was it tied to any: moreover, this was only used as an outward sign of healing, and might have some spiritual significancy in it; it might show, that they were sent forth by Christ the anointed one, who is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows; it might be symbolical of the grace of the Spirit, which is often compared to oil, which they themselves were possessed of in a large measure, and which is communicated through the ministration of the Gospel; and it might be significative of the Gospel itself, which brings light and joy, health and comfort along with it, to the souls of men, which they were the happy messengers of.

(w) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 77. 2. Maimon. Hikh. Shebitat Ashur, c. 3. sect. 9. (x) T. Hieros. Maaser Sheni, fol. 53. 2.((y) Ib. Betacot, fol. 3. 1. & Sabbat, fol. 14. 3.

And they cast out many devils, and {h} anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

(h) This oil was a token and a sign of his marvellous virtue: and seeing that the gift of healing has stopped a good while since, the ceremony of anointing which is yet carried on by some is of no purpose.

13. anointed with oil] St Mark alone mentions this anointing as the method, whereby the healing of the sick was effected. Though not expressly ordered, it was doubtless implied in the injunction to “heal the sick” (Matthew 10:8). The prophet Isaiah (Mark 1:6) alludes to the use of oil for medicinal purposes, and we find this form of cure prescribed thirty years later than this Gospel, by St James in his general Epistle (Mark 5:14). It was much used by the Jews for curative purposes, and thus supplied at once a fitting symbol and an efficient means in these miraculous cures wrought by the Apostles. For the use of the symbolical media by our Lord Himself comp. Mark 8:23; John 9:6.

Mark 6:13.[46] Ἐξέβαλλον, they began casting out) The demons, without doubt, bore their expulsion by the disciples with more vexation than that by the Lord Himself.—ἤλειφον ἐλαίῳ, anointed with oil) This anointing differed widely from that anointing which is called extreme unction. They did not carry oil about with themselves, as Mark 6:8 proves; but found and used it at the houses of the sick. The miracle was on that account the more unequivocal.

[46] Mark 6:10. ἐκεῖθεν, from thence) out of the city.

Verse 13. - And anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. It is hardly possible to separate this from the reference to the use of oil for the sick, in James 5:14. Unction was employed extensively in ancient times for medicinal purposes. It is recorded of Herod the Great by Josephus ('Antiq.,' 17:6, 5) that in one of his sicknesses he was "immersed in a bath full of oil," from which he is said to have derived much benefit. The apostles used it, no doubt not only on account of its supposed remedial virtues, but also as an outward and visible sign that the healing was effected by their instrumentality in the name of Christ, and perhaps also because the oil itself was significant of God's mercy, of spiritual comfort and joy" the oil of gladness." Neither this passage nor that in St. James can properly be adduced to support the ceremony of "extreme unction;" for in both these cases the result was that the sick were restored to health. The so-called sacrament of" extreme unction "is administered immediately before death, when the sick person is in articulo morris. Mark 6:13
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