Mark 7:1
Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
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(1-23) Then came together unto him.—See Notes on Matthew 15:1-20.

Mark 7:1-2. Then came the Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem — They probably came on purpose to find occasion against him. For some of them followed him from place to place, looking on every thing he did, even on his most innocent, yea, and most benevolent and holy actions, with an evil and censuring eye. Accordingly, here they ventured to attack him for allowing his disciples to eat with unwashed hands, thereby transgressing, they said, the tradition of the elders, which they thought to be a very heinous offence. When they saw his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashen, hands — The Greek word here rendered defiled, literally signifies common. It was quite in the Jewish idiom to oppose common and holy; the most usual signification of the latter word, in the Old Testament, being, separated from common and devoted to sacred use. As we learn from antiquity that this evangelist wrote his gospel in a pagan country, and for the use of Gentile converts, it was proper to add the explanation, that is, unwashen, to the epithet common, or defiled, which might have otherwise been misunderstood. They found fault — The law of Moses, it must be observed, required external cleanness as a part of religion; not, however, for its own sake, but to signify with what carefulness God’s servants should purify their minds from moral pollutions. Accordingly, these duties were prescribed by Moses in such moderation as was fitted to promote the end of them. But in process of time they came to be multiplied prodigiously: for the ancient doctors, to secure the observation of those precepts which were really of divine institution, added many commandments of their own as fences unto the former. And the people, to show their zeal, obeyed them. For example: Because the law, Leviticus 15:11, saith, Whomsoever he toucheth, that hath the issue, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, &c., the people were ordered to wash their hands immediately on their return from places of public concourse, and before they sat down to meat, lest, by touching some unclean person in the crowd, they might have defiled themselves. The Pharisees, therefore, being very zealous in these trifles, would not eat at any time unless they washed their hands with the greatest care. From this source came that endless variety of purifications not prescribed in the law, but ordained by the elders. These ordinances, though they were of human invention, came at length to be looked upon as essential in religion; they were exalted to such a pitch, that, in comparison of them, the law of God was suffered to lie neglected and forgotten, as is here signified.

7:1-13 One great design of Christ's coming was, to set aside the ceremonial law; and to make way for this, he rejects the ceremonies men added to the law of God's making. Those clean hands and that pure heart which Christ bestows on his disciples, and requires of them, are very different from the outward and superstitious forms of Pharisees of every age. Jesus reproves them for rejecting the commandment of God. It is clear that it is the duty of children, if their parents are poor, to relieve them as far as they are able; and if children deserve to die that curse their parents, much more those that starve them. But if a man conformed to the traditions of the Pharisees, they found a device to free him from the claim of this duty.See this passage explained in the notes at Matthew 15:1-20.

Mark 7:1

Came from Jerusalem - Probably to observe his conduct, and to find matter of accusation against him.


Mr 7:1-23. Discourse on Ceremonial Pollution. ( = Mt 15:1-20).

See on [1450]Mt 15:1-20.Mark 7:1-13 The Pharisees finding fault with his disciples for

eating with unwashen hands, Christ reproveth them of

hypocrisy, and of making void the commandments of God

by the traditions of men.

Mark 7:14-23 He teacheth that a man is defiled, not by that which

entereth in, but by that which cometh out of him.

Mark 7:24-30 He healeth the daughter of a Syrophenician woman,

Mark 7:31-37 and a man that was deaf and had an impediment in his speech.

Ver. 1-13. See Poole on "Matthew 15:1", and following verses to Matthew 15:9. By the notion of traditions, our Saviour understandeth not such things as were delivered to them by God in his law, but such things as were delivered to them by the elders, that is, their rulers in the church in the former times; for, Mark 7:9, he opposeth traditions to God’s commandments, and said the latter were neglected by their zeal for the former: to give countenance to which traditions, as the papists would impose upon us to believe, that Christ communicated some things to his apostles, and they to the primitive churches, by word of mouth, which have been so transmitted from age to age; so the Jews pretended that God communicated his will in some things to Moses, which Moses did not publish to the people. And as the former pretend a power by Christ left to the church to determine rituals; so the Pharisees (their true predecessors) pretended a suchlike power. Amongst others, besides the divers washings mentioned by the apostle, Hebrews 9:10, amongst the carnal ordinances, imposed only until the time of reformation, they had invented many other washings, as sepimenta legis, hedges to the Divine law. They washed their hands often, when they came from market, or before they did eat, not for decency and neatness, but out of religion, lest they should have been defiled by touching any heathens, or any polluted things; and not their hands only, but their pots and cups, their beds and tables, and brazen vessels; as indeed there is no stop, when once men have passed the hedge of the Divine institution, of which popery is a plentiful instance, where it is hard to discern an ordinance of God in the rubbish of their superstitious traditions. And it is very observable, that superstitious men are always more fond of, and zealous for, the traditions of men in their worship, than keeping the commandments of God. It is with the papists more heinous to violate Lent than to violate the sabbath; for a priest to marry than to commit whoredom. This zeal in them ordinarily produces a neglect, or slight esteem, of the plain commandments of God. So it did in the Pharisees, Mark 7:9; upon which our Saviour calleth them hypocrites, Mark 7:6, and telleth them this worshipping of God was vain, sinful, and idle, and impertinent; there was in it a derogating from the authority of God, and arrogating of an undue authority to themselves, by their commands making those things necessary which are not so; and, as commonly it happeneth, when human inventions are over urged and multiplied, some are urged destructive of the Divine law, so it was with those Pharisees; so they had done as to the fifth commandment, of which we have spoken plentifully: See Poole "Matthew 15:4", and following verses to Matthew 15:6. Our Saviour goeth on, showing their ignorance and blindness, in imagining that any person could be defiled by eating with unwashen hands.

Then came together unto him the Pharisees,.... Having heard of his miracles, and that he was come into the land of Gennesaret; they consulted with one another, and came together to Jesus, to watch and observe what was said and done by him, and take what advantage they could against him. These were not of that country, but were of Jerusalem, as were their companions the Scribes:

and certain of the Scribes, which were of Jerusalem; for the fame of Christ had reached the metropolis of the nation; and these men being the more artful and cunning of the whole sect, either came of themselves, or were sent by the sanhedrim, to make their observations upon his doctrine and conduct; See Gill on Matthew 15:1.

Then {1} came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.

(1) None resist the wisdom of God more than they that should be wisest, and they resist because of their zeal for their own traditions: for men please themselves in superstition more than in any other thing, that is to say, in a worship of God fondly devised by themselves.

Mark 7:1-16. See on Matthew 15:1-11. The occasion of the discussion, only hinted at in Matt. Mark 7:2, is expressly narrated by Mark in Mark 7:1-2, and with a detailed explanation of the matter, Mark 7:3-4. Throughout the section Matthew has abridgments, transpositions, and alterations (in opposition to Hilgenfeld and Weiss).

συνάγονται] is simply: there come together, there assemble themselves (Mark 2:2, Mark 4:1, Mark 5:21, Mark 6:30). The suggestion of a procedure of the synagogue (Lange), or of a formal deputation (Weizsäcker), is purely gratuitous.

ἐλθόντες] applies to both; on the notice itself, comp. Mark 3:22.

With the reading καὶ ἐπερωτῶσιν, Mark 7:5 (see the critical remarks), a full stop is not to be placed after Mark 7:1, as by Lachmann and Tischendorf, but the participial construction, begun with ἐλθόντες, runs on easily and simply as far as ἄρτους, where a period is to be inserted. Then follows the explanatory remark, Mark 7:3-4, which does not interrupt the construction, and therefore is not, as usually, to be placed in a parenthesis. But with καὶ ἐπερωτῶσιν in Mark 7:5 a new sentence begins, which continues the narrative.

ἰδόντες] not in Jerusalem (Lange), but on their present arrival, when this gave them a welcome pretext for calling Jesus to account.

τοῦτʼ ἔστιν ἀνίπτοις] Mark explains for his Gentile readers (for whom also the explanation that follows was regarded by him as necessary) in what sense the κοιναῖς is meant. Valckenaer, Wassenbergh, and Fritzsche without ground, and against all the evidence, have declared the words a gloss.[103] See, on the other hand, Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. xl. The ἀνίπτοις (Hom. Il. vii. 266; Hesiod, Op. 725; Lucian. Rhet. praec. 14) stands in contrast with the prescribed washing. Theophylact well says: ἀνίπτοις χερσὶν ἤσθιον ἀπεριέργως καὶ ἁπλῶς.

Mark 7:3. πάντες οἱ Ἰουδ.] A more popular expression—not to be strained—indicating the general diffusion of the Pharisaic maxims among the people.

πυγμῇ] Vulg.: crebro (after which Luther: manchmal); Gothic: ufta (often); Syr.: diligenter[104]—translations of an ancient reading πυκνά (as in א) or πυκνῶς (heartily), which is not, with Schulz and Tischendorf (comp. Ewald), to be regarded as original, but as an emendation (comp. Luke 5:33), as indeed ΠΥΓΜῇ itself cannot be made to bear the meaning of ΠΥΚΝΆ (in opposition to Casaubon). The only true explanation is the instrumental one; so that they place the closed fist in the hollow of the hand, rub and roll the former in the latter, and in this manner wash their hands (ΝΊΨΩΝΤΑΙ) with the fist. Comp. Beza, Fritzsche. Similarly Scaliger, Grotius, Calovius, and others, except that they represent the matter as if the text were πυγμὴνταῖς χερσί. The explanations: μέχρι τοῦ ἀγκῶνος (Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus), and: “up to the wrist” (Lightfoot, Bengel), correspond neither with the case nor with the signification of the word. Finally, had some peculiar ritual form of washing been meant (“in which they take the one fist full of water, and so pour it over the other hand held up, that it runs off towards the arm” (Paulus); comp. Drusius, Cameron, Schoettgen, Wetstein, Rosenmüller), Mark would with the mere ΠΥΓΜῇ have expressed himself as unintelligibly as possible, and a ritual reference so precise would certainly have needed an explanatory remark for his Gentile readers.

Mark 7:4. ΚΑῚ ἈΠῸ ἈΓΟΡᾶς] The addition in D, ἘᾺΝ ἜΛΘΩΣΙ, is a correct interpretation: from market (when they come from the market) they eat not. A pregnant form of expression, which is frequent also in classical writers. See Kypke and Loesner; Winer, Gr. p. 547 [E. T. 776]; Fritzsche in loc. In this case ἘᾺΝ ΜῊ ΒΑΠΤΙΣ. is not to be understood of washing the hands (Lightfoot, Wetstein), but of immersion, which the word in classic Greek and in the N. T. everywhere denotes, i.e. in this case, according to the context: to take a bath. So also Luke 11:38. Comp. Sir 31:25; Jdt 12:7. Having come from market, where they may have contracted pollution through contact with the crowd, they eat not, without having first bathed. The statement proceeds by way of climax; before eating they observe the washing of hands always, but the bathing, when they come from market and wish to eat. Accordingly it is obvious that the interpretation of Paulus, Kuinoel, Olshausen, Lange, Bleek: “they eat not what has been bought from the market, without having washed it,” is erroneous both in linguistic usage (active immersion is always ΒΑΠΤΊΖΕΙΝ, not ΒΑΠΤΊΖΕΣΘΑΙ) and in respect of the sense, to which the notion of special strictness would have required to be mentally supplied.

βαπτισμούς] is likewise to be understood of the cleansing of things ceremonially impure, which might be effected partly by immersion, partly (ΚΛΙΝῶΝ) by mere sprinkling; so that βαπτισμ. applies by way of zeugma to all the four cases.

By the cups and jugs are meant vessels of wood, for mention of the copper vessels (ΧΑΛΚΊΩΝ) follows, and earthen vessels, when they were ceremonially defiled, were broken into pieces (Leviticus 15:12). See Keil, Archäol. I. § 56; Saalschütz, Mos. Recht, I. p. 269.

κλινῶν] not couches in general (de Wette), for the whole context refers to eating; but couches for meals, triclinia (Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16; Xen. Cyr. viii. 2. 6; Herod, ix. 16), which were rendered unclean by persons affected with haemorrhage, leprosy, and the like (Lightfoot, p. 620 f.).

Mark 7:5. With καὶ ἐπερωτ. a new sentence begins. See above on Mark 7:1-2.

Mark 7:6. Mark has not the counter-question recorded in Matthew 15:3, and he gives the two portions of Christ’s answer in inverted order, so that with him the leading thought precedes, while with Matthew it follows. This order of itself, as well as the ironical καλῶς prefixed to both portions, indicates the form in Mark as the more original. Comp. Weizsäcker, p. 76. The order in Matthew betrays the set purpose of placing the law before the prophets. The agreement of the quotation from Isaiah 29:13 with Matthew 15:8 f. is wrongly adduced in opposition to this view (Hilgenfeld); it is to be traced back to the collection of Logia, since it belongs to the speech of Christ.

Mark 7:8. ἈΦΈΝΤΕς and ΚΡΑΤΕῖΤΕ (2 Thessalonians 2:15) are intentionally chosen as correlative.

ἈΛΛᾺ ΠΑΡΌΜΟΙΑ ΤΟΙΑῦΤΑ ΠΟΛΛΆ] Such accumulations of homoeoteleuta were not avoided even by classical writers. See Lobeck, Paralip. p. 53 f. ΤΟΙΑῦΤΑ defines ΠΑΡΌΜΟΙΑ as respects the category of quality.

Mark 7:9. ΚΑΛῶς] Excellently, nobly,—ironical. 2 Corinthians 11:4; Soph. Ant. 735; Arist. Av. 139; Ael. V. H. i. 16. Not so in Mark 7:6.

ἽΝΑ] “vere accusantur, etsi hypocritae non putarent, hanc suam esse intentionem” (Bengel).

Mark 7:11. ΚΟΡΒᾶΝ] קָרְכָּן = ΔῶΡΟΝ, namely, to the temple.[105] See on Matthew 15:5.

The construction is altogether the same as that in Matt. l.c., so that after ὠφελ. there is an aposiopesis (he is thus bound to this vow), and Mark 7:12 continues the reproving discourse of Jesus, setting forth what the Pharisees do in pursuance of that maxim.

Mark 7:12. οὐκέτι] no more, after the point of the occurrence of the κορβᾶν; previously they had nothing to oppose to it.

Mark 7:13. ᾗ παρεδώκ.] quam tradidistis. The tradition, which they receive from their predecessors, they have again transmitted to their disciples.

καὶ παρόμοια κ.τ.λ.] a repetition of solemn rebuke (comp. Mark 7:8).

Mark 7:1-23. Concerning ceremonial ablutions (Matthew 15:1-20).

Ch. Mark 7:1-23. Contest with the Pharisees of Jerusalem concerning Traditions of Eating

1. Then came together] A few days only were assigned to the performance of those deeds of mercy described at the close of the last chapter. But the Saviour’s labours of love were soon rudely interrupted. Having kept the Feast at Jerusalem the Scribes and Pharisees returned to seek out matter for accusation against Him. The combination of the Pharisees of Galilee and the Pharisees of Judæa had already been concerted and entered upon, and they now watched His every step.

Mark 7:1-5. Οἱ Φαρισαῖοιἰδόντες τινὰς τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ κοιναῖς χερσὶἐσθίοντας ἄρτους (οἱ γὰρκλινῶν) ἔπειτα ἐπερωτῶσιν αὐτὸν οἱ Φαρισαῖοι, κ.τ.λ.) The construction of the language is pendent: from not observing which, some inserted ἐμέμψαντο after ἄρτους. But the whole period, extended by the parenthesis, is sustained by the verb ἐπερωτῶσιν. For the verb is either repeated at the end of the parenthesis, Acts 2:8; Acts 2:11; 1 Corinthians 8:1-4; Jdg 9:16; Jdg 9:19; 2 Samuel 21:2-4; 1 Kings 8:41-42; or it is then in fine [and not till then] set down, as in this passage, and Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 3:14, and the connection is marked by the particles καὶ, δὲ, οὖν, and in this passage by ἔπειτα.[49] Very similar is the section of Gregory Thaumaturgus, which we shall give in a more contracted form than the original: κατορθοῦται ἡ ψυχὴ, ἵνʼ ὥσπερ ἐν κατόπτρῳ ἑαυτὴν θεωρήσασα (τὸ ἄλογον, καὶ πάλιν τὸ λογικὸν, κ.τ.λ.) ΕΙΤΑ ταῦτα ἐν αὐτῇ κατανοήσασα, τὰ μὲν χείρονα ΕΚΒΑΛΛΟΙ, τὰ δὲ ἀγαθὰ ΕΚΤΡΕΦΟΙ. See Paneg. on Orig., p. 70, etc., ed. Stutgard.—[ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων, from Jerusalem) The Passover had been celebrated there.—V. g.]

[49] BDL Vulg. abc Syr. Memph. read in Mark 7:5, καὶ instead of ἒπειτα. A supports the ἔπειτα, with Rec. Text.—ED. and TRANSL.

Verses 1, 2. - These verses, according to the Greek construction, should run thus: And there are gathered together unto the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which had come from Jerusalem, and had seen that some of his disciples ate their bread with defiled, that is, unwashen, hands. The word (ἐμέμψαντο) translated in the Authorized Version, "they found fault," does not appear in the best authorities. It seems to have been interpolated to help the construction. St. Mark explains the meaning of the word κοιναῖς (literally, common), by the word (ἀνίπτοις) "unwashen." The disciples, doubtless, washed their hands, but they abstained from the multiplied ceremonial washings of the Pharisees, which they had received by tradition and punctiliously observed. The scribes and Pharisees, who had come from Jerusalem, were doubtless sent as spies, to watch and to report in no friendly spirit the proceedings of the great Prophet of Nazareth. Mark 7:1
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