Mark 7:2
And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
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(2) With defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands.—The first word means literally common. This came to be associated, as in Acts 10:14, with what was “unclean,” and so, for Jews at all events, the word acquired a new meaning. St. Mark’s Gentile readers, however, were not likely to understand what was meant by “common hands,” and therefore he adds his explanation of “unwashed.”

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.Defiled hands - The hands were considered defiled or polluted unless they were washed previous to every meal.CHAPTER 7

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

See on [1450]Mt 15:1-20.

See Poole on "Mark 7:1"

And when they saw some of his disciples,.... An opportunity soon offered of giving them an handle against him: for observing some of his disciples to sit down to meat, they took notice that they

eat bread with defiled (that is to say, with unwashen) hands, and

they found fault; with them, and charged them with the breach of the traditions of the elders, and took an occasion from hence of quarrelling with Christ. The Jews use the same phrase the evangelist here does, and interpret it in just the same manner: so, speaking of things eaten, , "with defiled hands"; that is, says the commentator (i), it is all one as if it was said, , "without washing of hands"; which was esteemed a very great crime, and especially if done in a contemptuous way: for they say (k),

"he that despiseth washing of hands, shall be rooted out of the world; for in it is the secret of the decalogue:''

and particularly to eat with unwashed hands, was unpardonable in a disciple of a wise man; for they looked upon this to be the characteristic of one of the vulgar people, a common and illiterate man: for they ask (l),

"who is one of the people of the earth, or a plebeian? he that does not eat his common food with purity.''

By this also they distinguished a Jew from a Gentile; if he washed his hands, and blessed, he was known to be an Israelite, but if not, a Gentile (m); See Gill on Matthew 15:2.

(i) Bartenora in Misn. Cholin, c. 2. sect. 5. (k) Zoharin Numb fol. 100. 3.((l) T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 61. 1.((m) Bevaidbar Rabba, fol. 228. 4.

And when they saw some of his disciples {a} eat bread with {b} defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.

(a) Literally, eat bread: an idiom which the Hebrews use, understanding bread to represent every type of food.

(b) For the Pharisees would not eat their food with unwashed hands, because they thought that their hands were defiled with the common handling of things; Mt 15:11,12.

Mark 7:2. καὶ ἰδόντες: the sentence beginning with these words properly runs on to the end of Mark 7:5, but the construction of so long a sentence overtaxes the grammatical skill of the writer, so it is broken off unfinished after the long explanatory clause about Jewish customs, Mark 7:3-4—a kind of parenthesis—and a new sentence begun at Mark 7:5 = and seeing, etc. (for the Pharisees, etc.), and the Pharisees and scribes ask; instead of: they ask, etc. The sense plain enough, though grammar crude.—τινὰς τ. μαθ., some of the disciples, not all. When? On their evangelistic tour? (Weiss; Holtz., H. C.) We have here, as in Mark 1:24, a case of attraction = seeing some that they eat (ὅτι ἐσθίουσι, W.H[60]), for seeing that some eat (ὅτι τινὲς ἐσ.).—ἀνίπτοις, unwashed, added to explain for Gentile readers the technical term κοιναῖς = profane (cf. Romans 14:14).

[60] Westcott and Hort.

2. with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands] Thus St Mark explains for his Roman readers, and then proceeds more fully to set forth certain Jewish usages. The Pharisees had probably crept in secretly into some of the social gatherings of the disciples.

Mark 7:2. Τοῦτʼ ἔστι, that is to say) The Evangelist adds an interpretation, as in Mark 7:11, ch. Mark 5:41, etc.; himself not regarding unwashed hands as defiled.

Mark 7:2Defiled (κοιναῖς)

Lit., common; and so Rev. in margin, Wyc., and Tynd.

That is

Added by way of explanation to Gentile readers.

Oft (πυγμῇ)

Rev., diligently. A word which has given critics much difficulty, and on which it is impossible to speak decisively. The Rev. gives in the margin the simplest meaning, the literal one, with the fist; that is, rubbing the uncleansed hand with the other doubled. This would be satisfactory if there were any evidence that such was the custom in washing; but there is none. Edersheim ("Life and Times of Jesus," ii., 11, note) says "the custom is not in accordance with Jewish law." But he elsewhere says ("The Temple," 206, note), "For when water was poured upon the hands they had to be lifted, yet so that the water should neither run up above the wrist, nor back again upon the hand; best, therefore, by doubling the fingers into a fist. Hence (as Lightfoot rightly remarks) Mark 7:3, should be translated except they wash their hands with the fist." Tischendorf, in his eighth edition, retains an ancient reading, πυκνά, frequently or diligently, which may go to explain this translation in so many of the versions (Gothic, Vulgate, Syriac). Meyer, with his usual literalism gives with the fist, which I am inclined to adopt.

Holding (κρατοῦντες)

Strictly, holding firmly or fast. So Hebrews 4:14; Revelation 2:25; denoting obstinate adherence to tradition.

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