Mark 7:24
And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24-30) And from thence he arose.—See Notes on Matthew 15:21-28.

Tyre and Sidon.—The better MSS. omit the latter name here, and reserve it for Mark 7:31, where see Note.

Entered into an house.—The fact is peculiar to St. Mark, and seems specified as an indication of our Lord’s wish to avoid publicity.

Mark

CHILDREN AND LITTLE DOGS

Mark 7:24 - Mark 7:30
.

Our Lord desired to withdraw from the excited crowds who were flocking after Him as a mere miracle-worker and from the hostile espionage of emissaries of the Pharisees, ‘which had come from Jerusalem.’ Therefore He sought seclusion in heathen territory. He, too, knew the need of quiet, and felt the longing to plunge into privacy, to escape for a time from the pressure of admirers and of foes, and to go where no man knew Him. How near to us that brings Him! And how the remembrance of it helps to explain His demeanour to the Syrophcenician woman, so unlike His usual tone! Naturally the presence of Jesus leaked out, and perhaps the very effort to avoid notice attracted it. Rumour would have carried His name across the border, and the tidings of His being among them would stir hope in some hearts that felt the need of His help. Of such was this woman, whom Mark describes first, generally, as a ‘Greek’ {that is, a Gentile}, and then particularly as ‘a Syrophcenician by race’; that is, one of that branch of the Phoenician race who inhabited maritime Syria, in contradistinction from the other branch inhabiting North-eastern Africa, Carthage, and its neighbourhood. Her deep need made her bold and persistent, as we learn in detail from Matthew, who is in this narrative more graphic than Mark. He tells us that she attacked Jesus in the way, and followed Him, pouring out her loud petitions, to the annoyance of the disciples. They thought that they were carrying out His wish for privacy in suggesting that it would be best to ‘send her away’ with her prayer granted, and so stop her ‘crying after us,’ which might raise a crowd, and defeat the wish. We owe to Matthew the further facts of the woman’s recognition of Jesus as ‘the Son of David,’ and of the strange ignoring of her cries, and of His answer to the disciples’ suggestion, in which He limited His mission to Israel, and so explained to them His silence to her. Mark omits all these points, and focuses all the light on the two things-Christ’s strange and apparently harsh refusal, and the woman’s answer, which won her cause.

Certainly our Lord’s words are startlingly unlike Him, and as startlingly like the Jewish pride of race and contempt for Gentiles. But that the woman did not take them so is clear; and that was not due only to her faith, but to something in Him which gave her faith a foothold. We are surely not to suppose that she drew from His words an inference which He did not perceive in them, and that He was, as some commentators put it, ‘caught in His own words.’ Mark alone gives us the first clause of Christ’s answer to the woman’s petition: ‘Let the children first be filled.’ And that ‘first’ distinctly says that their prerogative is priority, not monopoly. If there is a ‘first,’ there will follow a second. The very image of the great house in which the children sit at the table, and the ‘little dogs’ are in the room, implies that children and dogs are part of one household; and Jesus meant by it just what the woman found in it,-the assurance that the meal-time for the dogs would come when the children had done. That is but a picturesque way of stating the method of divine revelation through the medium of the chosen people, and the objections to Christ’s words come at last to be objections to the ‘committing’ of the ‘oracles of God’ to the Jewish race; that is to say, objections to the only possible way by which a historical revelation could be given. It must have personal mediums, a place and a sequence. It must prepare fit vehicles for itself and gradually grow in clearness and contents. And all this is just to say that revelation for the world must be first the possession of a race. The fire must have a hearth on which it can be kindled and burn, till it is sufficient to bear being carried thence.

Universalism was the goal of the necessary restriction. Pharisaism sought to make the restriction permanent. Jesus really threw open the gates to all in this very saying, which at first sounds so harsh. ‘First’ implies second, children and little dogs are all parts of the one household. Christ’s personal ministry was confined to Israel for obvious and weighty reasons. He felt, as Matthew tells us, that He said in this incident that He was not sent but to the lost sheep of that nation. But His world-wide mission was as clear to Him as its temporary limit, and in His first discourse in the synagogue at Nazareth He proclaimed it to a scowling crowd. We cannot doubt that His sympathetic heart yearned over this poor woman, and His seemingly rough speech was meant partly to honour the law which ruled His mission even in the act of making an exception to it, and partly to test, and so to increase, her faith.

Her swift laying of her finger on the vulnerable point in the apparent refusal of her prayer may have been due to a woman’s quick wit, but it was much more due to a mother’s misery and to a suppliant’s faith. There must have been something in Christ’s look, or in the cadence of His voice, which helped to soften the surface harshness of His words, and emboldened her to confront Him with the plain implications of His own words. What a constellation of graces sparkles in her ready reply! There is humility in accepting the place He gives her; insight in seeing at once a new plea in what might have sent her away despairing; persistence in pleading; confidence that He can grant her request and that He would gladly do so. Our Lord’s treatment of her was amply justified by its effects. His words were like the hard steel that strikes the flint and brings out a shower of sparks. Faith makes obstacles into helps, and stones of stumbling into ‘stepping-stones to higher things.’ If we will take the place which He gives us, and hold fast our trust in Him even when He seems silent to us, and will so far penetrate His designs as to find the hidden purpose of good in apparent repulses, the honey secreted deep in the flower, we shall share in this woman’s blessing in the measure in which we share in her faith.

Jesus obviously delighted in being at liberty to stretch His commission so as to include her in its scope. Joyful recognition of the ingenuity of her pleading, and of her faith’s bringing her within the circle of the ‘children,’ are apparent in His word, ‘For this saying go thy way.’ He ever looks for the disposition in us which will let Him, in accordance with His great purpose, pour on us His full-flowing tide of blessing, and nothing gladdens Him more than that, by humble acceptance of our assigned place, and persistent pleading, and trust that will not be shaken, we should make it possible for Him to see in us recipients of His mercy and healing grace.

Mark 7:24-26. From thence he arose, and went into the borders Εις τα μεθορια, into the parts which bordered upon, or rather lay between, Tyre and Sidon; and entered into a house, and would have no man know it — Namely, that he was there, or, know him. Jesus, knowing that the Pharisees were highly offended at the liberty which he had taken in the preceding discourse, in plucking off from them the mask of pretended piety, wherewith they had covered their malevolent spirit and conduct, and not ignorant of the plots which they were forming against his reputation and life, he judged it proper to retire with his disciples into this remote region, with a view to conceal himself a while from them. We learn from Joshua 19:28-29, that Tyre and Sidon were cities in the lot of Asher; which tribe having never been able wholly to drive out the natives, their posterity remained even in our Lord’s time. Hence he did not preach the doctrine of the kingdom in this country, because it was mostly inhabited by heathen, to whom he was not sent. See on Matthew 10:5. Neither did he work miracles here with that readiness which he showed everywhere else, because, by concealing himself, he proposed to shun the Pharisees. But he could not be hid — It seems he was personally known to many of the heathen in this country, who, no doubt, had often heard and seen him in Galilee. And, as for the rest, they were sufficiently acquainted with him by his fame, which had spread itself very early through all Syria, Matthew 4:24. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him — This person was a descendant of the ancient inhabitants, and probably by religion a heathen. She “is called, Matthew 15:21, a woman of Canaan; here, a Syro-Phenician, and a Greek. There is in these denominations no inconsistency. By birth, she was of Syro-Phenicia, so the country about Tyre and Sidon was denominated; by descent, of Canaan; as most of the Tyrians and Sidonians originally were; and by religion, a Greek, according to the Jewish manner of distinguishing between themselves and idolaters. Ever since the Macedonian conquest, Greek became a common name for idolater, or, at least, one uncircumcised, and was equivalent to Gentile. Of this we have many examples in Paul’s epistles, and in the Acts. Jews and Greeks, Ελληνες, are the same with Jews and Gentiles.” — Campbell. Nevertheless, though a heathen, this woman had conceived a very great, honourable, and just notion, not only of our Lord’s power and goodness, but even of his character as Messiah; the notion of which she had probably learned by conversing with the Jews. For when she heard of his arrival, she came in quest of him, and meeting him, it seems, as he passed along the street, she fell at his feet, addressing him by the title of son of David, and besought him to cast the evil spirit out of her daughter. See the story related more at large, and explained, Matthew 15:22-28.

7:24-30 Christ never put any from him that fell at his feet, which a poor trembling soul may do. As she was a good woman, so a good mother. This sent her to Christ. His saying, Let the children first be filled, shows that there was mercy for the Gentiles, and not far off. She spoke, not as making light of the mercy, but magnifying the abundance of miraculous cures among the Jews, in comparison with which a single cure was but as a crumb. Thus, while proud Pharisees are left by the blessed Saviour, he manifests his compassion to poor humbled sinners, who look to him for children's bread. He still goes about to seek and save the lost.See this miracle explained in the notes at Matthew 15:21-28.

Mark 7:24

Would have no man know it - To avoid the designs of the Pharisees he wished to be retired.

Mr 7:24-37. The Syrophœnician Woman and Her Daughter—A Deaf and Dumb Man Healed. ( = Mt 15:21-31).

The Syrophœnician Woman and Her Daughter (Mr 7:24-30).

The first words of this narrative show that the incident followed, in point of time, immediately on what precedes it.

24. And from thence he arose, and went into the borders—or "unto the borders."

of Tyre and Sidon—the two great Phœnician seaports, but here denoting the territory generally, to the frontiers of which Jesus now came. But did Jesus actually enter this heathen territory? The whole narrative, we think, proceeds upon the supposition that He did. His immediate object seems to have been to avoid the wrath of the Pharisees at the withering exposure He had just made of their traditional religion.

and entered into an house, and would have no man know it—because He had not come there to minister to heathens. But though not "sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mt 15:24), He hindered not the lost sheep of the vast Gentile world from coming to Him, nor put them away when they did come—as this incident was designed to show.

but he could not be hid—Christ's fame had early spread from Galilee to this very region (Mr 3:8; Lu 6:17).

Ver. 24-30. Matthew records this history with several considerable additions; See Poole on "Matthew 15:21", and following verses to Matthew 15:28, where we have largely opened it.

And from thence he arose,.... From the land of Gennesaret, or from Capernaum, which was in it:

and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon; two cities of Phoenicia: not into them, but into the borders of them; into those parts of Galilee, which bordered on Phoenicia; See Gill on Matthew 15:21.

And entered into an house; in some one of the towns, or cities, in those parts; which house might be, for the entertainment and lodging of strangers:

and would have no man know it; took all proper precaution as man, that nobody should know who, and where he was; that the, Gentiles, on whose borders he was, might not flock to him, which would create envy and disgust in the Jews:

but he could not be hid; he had wrought so many miracles in Galilee, and his fame was so much spread, and he had been seen, and was known by so many persons, that, humanly speaking, it was next to impossible, that he should be long unknown in such a place.

{6} And from thence he arose, and went into the {l} borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.

(6) That which the proud reject when it is offered to them, that same thing the modest and humble sinners as it were voraciously consume.

(l) Into the uttermost coasts of Palestine, which were next to Tyre and Sidon.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 7:24-30. See on Matthew 15:21-29, who in Mark 7:23-25 has added what is certainly original.

ἐκεῖθεν] out of the land of Gennesareth, Mark 6:53.

εἰς τὰ μεθόρια Τύρου into the regions ordering on Tyre (Xen. Cyr. i. 4. 16; Thuc. ii, 27. 2, iv. 56. 2, iv. 99; Herodian, v. 4. 11; Lucian, V. H. i. 20). It is not, withal, said even here (comp. Matthew 15:21) that Jesus had now left Galilee and betaken Himself into Gentile territory. He went into the Galilean regions bordering on Tyre (the tribe of Asher). According to Mark, it was only in further prosecution of His journey (Mark 7:31) that He went through Phoenicia, and even through Sidon, merely, however, as a traveller, and without any sojourn. The explanation of Erasmus and Kypke: into the region between Tyre and Sidon, is set aside by the spuriousness of καὶ Σιδῶνος.

εἰς οἰκίαν] into a house. Comp. Mark 7:17. It was doubtless the house of one who honoured Him.

οὐδένα ἤθελε γνῶναι] not: He wished to know no one (Fritzsche, Ewald), but: He wished that no one should know it. See the sequel. Matthew does not relate this wish to remain concealed; the remark is one of those peculiar traits in which Mark is so rich. But he has no purpose of thereby explaining the subsequent refusal of aid on the part of Jesus from another ground than that mentioned by Matthew 15:24 (de Wette, Hilgenfeld), since Mark also at Mark 7:27 narrates in substance the same ground of refusal.

ἠδυνήθη] corresponds to the ἤθελε: He wished … and could not.

ἧς αὐτῆς] See Winer, p. 134 [E. T. 184]. On θυγάτρ., comp. Mark 5:23.

Mark 7:26. Ἑλληνίς] a Gentile woman, not a Jewess, Acts 17:12.

Syrophoenice means Phoenicia (belonging to the province of Syria), as distinguished from the Λιβοφοίνικες (Strabo, xvii. 3, p. 835) in Libya. The (unusual) form Συροφοινίκισσα is, with Wetstein, Griesbach, Scholz, and Lachmann, to be received on account of the preponderance of the witnesses in its favour, with which are to be classed those which read Συραφοινίκισσα or Σύρα Φοινίκισσα (so Teschendorf), which is explanatory (a Phoenician Syrian). The Recepta Συροφοίνισσα (so also Fritzsche) is an emendation, since Φοίνισσα was the familiar name for a Phoenician woman (Xen. Hell. iii. 4.1, iv. 3. 6; Herodian, v. 3.2). But the form Συροφοινίκισσα is not formed from Συροφοίνιξ (Luc. D. Concil. 4), but from Φοινίκη. The Χαναναία of Matthew is substantially the same. See on Matthew 15:22.

ἐκβάλλῃ] (see the critical remarks) present subjunctive, makes the thought of the woman present, and belongs to the vividness of the graphic delineation; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 618.

Mark 7:27. πρῶτον] certainly a modification in accordance with later tradition, intended to convey the meaning: it is not yet competent for Gentiles also to lay claim to my saving ministry; the primary claim, which must be satisfied before it comes to you, is that of the Jews.[107] It is the idea of the Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι, Romans 1:16, which has already come in here, added not exactly in a doctrinal sense (Keim), but out of the consciousness of the subsequent course of things and without set purpose—to say nothing of an anti-Judaistic purpose in opposition to Matthew (Hilgenfeld), which would rather have led to the omission of the entire narrative. But in general the presentation of this history in Matthew bears, especially as regards the episode with the disciples, the stamp of greater originality, which is to be explained from a more exact use of the collection of Logia through simple reproduction of their words. Ewald finds in that episode another genuine remnant from the primitive document of Mark. Comp. also Holtzmann, p. 192.

Mark 7:29. ΔΙᾺ ΤΟῦΤΟΝ ΤῸΝ ΛΌΓΟΝ ὝΠΑΓΕ] on account of this saying] (which gives evidence of so strong a confidence in me), go thy way. In ὕπαγε is implied the promise of compliance, hence it is fittingly associated with διὰ τοῦτον τ. λ. Comp. Matthew 8:13; Mark 5:34.

Mark 7:30. ΕὟΡΕ Κ.Τ.Λ.] “Vis verbi invenit cadit potius super participium quam super nomen” (Bengel).

βεβλημ. ἐπὶ τ. κλίνην] weary and exhausted, but ΚΕΙΜΈΝΗΝ ἘΝ ΕἸΡΉΝῌ, Euthymius Zigabenus, which the demon did not previously permit.

[107] According to Schenkel, indeed, Jesus was not at all in earnest with this answer of harsh declinature, and this the woman perceived. But see on Matt., and comp. Keim, geschichtl. Chr. p. 61 f.

Mark 7:24-30. The Syrophenician woman (Matthew 15:21-28).—ἐκεῖθεν δὲ ἀναστὰς points to a change from the comparatively stationary life by the shores of the lake to a period of wandering in unwonted scenes. Cf. Mark 10:1, where ἀναστὰς is used in reference to the final departure from Galilee to the south. The δὲ, instead of the more usual καὶ, emphasises this change.—εἰς τὰ ὅρια Τ., not towards (Fritzsche), but into the borders of Tyre. There can be no doubt that in Mk.’s narrative Jesus crosses into heathen territory (cf. Mark 7:31). In view of the several unsuccessful attempts made by Jesus to escape from the crowd into quiet and leisure, so carefully indicated by Mk., this almost goes without saying. Failing within Jewish territory, He is forced to go without, in hope to get some uninterrupted leisure for confidential intercourse with the Twelve, rendered all the more urgent by scenes like that just considered, which too plainly show that His time will be short.—εἰς οἰκίαν, into a house; considering Christ’s desire for privacy, more likely to be that of a heathen stranger (Weiss) than that of a friend (Meyer, Keil).—οὐδένα ἤθελε γνῶναι, He wished no one to know (He was there); to know no one (Fritzsche), comes to the same thing: desires to be private, not weary of well-doing, but anxious to do other work hitherto much hindered.—οὐκ ἠδυνάσθη λαθεῖν, He was not able to escape notice; not even here!

24–30. The Syrophœnician Woman

24. from thence he arose] The malevolence of our Lord’s enemies was now assuming hourly a more implacable form. The Pharisaic party in Eastern Galilee were deeply offended (Matthew 15:12); even those who once would fain have prevented Him from leaving them (Luke 4:42) were filled with doubts and suspicions; Herod Antipas was inquiring concerning Him (Luke 9:9), and his inquiries boded nothing but ill. He therefore now leaves for awhile eastern Galilee and makes His way north-west through the mountains of upper Galilee into the border-land of Phœnicia. See the Analysis of the Gospel, p. 22.

the borders of Tyre and Sidon] His travelling towards these regions was the prophetic and symbolical representation of the future progress of Christianity from the Jews to the Gentiles. So in ancient times Elijah travelled out of his own land into Phœnicia (1 Kings 17:10-24). Our Lord, however, does not actually go into Phœnicia, but into the adjoining borders of Galilee, the district of the tribe of Asher.

Tyre] A celebrated commercial city of antiquity, situated in Phœnicia. The Hebrew name “Tzôr” signifies “a rock,” and well agrees with the site of , the modern town on a rocky peninsula, which was formerly an island, and less than 20 miles distant from Sidon. We first get glimpses of its condition in 2 Samuel 5:11 in connection with Hiram, King of Tyre, who sent cedar-wood and workmen to David and afterwards to Solomon (1 Kings 9:11-14; 1 Kings 10:22). Ahab married a daughter of Ithobal, King of Tyre (1 Kings 16:31), and was instrumental in introducing the idolatrous worship of Baalim and Ashtaroth. The prosperity of Tyre in the time of our Lord was very great. Strabo gives an account of it at this period, and speaks of the great wealth which it derived from the dyes of the celebrated Tyrian purple. It was perhaps more populous even than Jerusalem.

Sidon] The Greek form of the Phœnician name Zidon, an ancient and wealthy city of Phœnicia, situated on the narrow plain between the Lebanon and the Sea. Its Hebrew name Tsidôn signifies “Fishing” or “Fishery.” Its modern name is Saida. It is mentioned in the Old Testament as early as Genesis 10:19; Joshua 11:8; Jdg 1:31, and in ancient times was more influential even than Tyre, though from the time of Solomon it appears to have been subordinate to it.

would have no man know it] desiring seclusion and rest after His late labours.

Mark 7:24. Μεθόρια) the common boundaries.—οὐδένα, no man) For He was still within the borders of the land of Israel.[51]

[51] οὐκ ἡδυνήθη λαθεῖν, He could not remain hid) Things were so disposed by the direction of God, that the benefit seemed to have been as if at random, and by fortuitous coincidence, conferred on her as being a heathen woman.—V. g.

Verse 24. - Our Lord now passes out of Galilee into a heathen country, Syro-phoenicia, into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, that he might begin to impart his miracles and his doctrine, which the scribes and Pharisees had rejected, to the Gentiles. There is not sufficient authority for omitting "Sidon" from the text. Both these cities were renowned for their extensive commerce and for their wealth. It is probable that the true reading in Ver. 31, which will be noticed presently, may have led to the omission by some authorities of "Sidon" here. But there is really no inconsistency in retaining the words "and Sidon" here; and accepting the reading" through Sidon" there. Tyro, which was the capital of Phoenicia, lay to the south, bordering on Judaea; Sidon to the north: and multitudes flocked to Christ from these parts. He entered into a house, and would have no man know it: and he could not be hid. He would have no man know it, partly for the sake of quiet, and partly lest he should rouse the Jews more bitterly against him, and give them occasion to cavil that he was not the Messiah promised to the Jews, because, having left them, he had turned to the Gentiles. St. Mark (Mark 3:8) has already informed us that his fame had spread to those about Tyro and Sidon. Mark 7:24Went away

See on Mark 6:31. The entering into the house and the wish to be secluded are peculiar to Mark.

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