Mark 8:11
And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11-12) And the Pharisees came forth.—See Notes on Matthew 16:1-4. St. Mark, it may be noted, docs not mention the presence of the Pharisees, and gives only part of our Lord’s answer. On the other and, he characteristically describes the “sighing deeply in spirit” in Mark 8:12, which St. Matthew does not give.

8:11-21 Obstinate unbelief will have something to say, though ever so unreasonable. Christ refused to answer their demand. If they will not be convinced, they shall not. Alas! what cause we have to lament for those around us, who destroy themselves and others by their perverse and obstinate unbelief, and enmity to the gospel! When we forget the works of God, and distrust him, we should chide ourselves severely, as Christ here reproves his disciples. How is it that we so often mistake his meaning, disregard his warnings, and distrust his providence?See this passage explained in Matthew 16:1-12.11. seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him—not in the least desiring evidence for their conviction, but hoping to entrap Him. The first part of the answer is given in Matthew alone (Mt 16:2, 3): "He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather; for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the sky is red and lowering [sullen, gloomy]. Hypocrites! ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" The same simplicity of purpose and careful observation of the symptoms of approaching events which they showed in common things would enable them to "discern the signs of the times"—or rather "seasons," to which the prophets pointed for the manifestation of the Messiah. The scepter had departed from Judah; Daniel's seventy weeks were expiring, &c.; and many other significant indications of the close of the old economy, and preparations for a freer and more comprehensive one, might have been discerned. But all was lost upon them. See Poole on "Mark 8:10" And the Pharisees came forth,.... Out of their houses; who dwelt in the coasts of Magdala, and parts of Dalmanutha, and came to Jesus, hearing of his being arrived in their neighbourhood:

and began to question with him; or to dispute with him, it being their manner to carry on disputations by questions and answers. The Persic version has the question they put, and about which they disputed, "if thou art the Christ"; in proof of which they required a sign:

seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him; See Gill on Matthew 16:1.

{1} And the Pharisees {b} came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.

(1) The stubborn enemies of the doctrine of the Gospel, giving no credit to the miracles already done, require new ones: but Christ, being angry with them, utterly forsakes them.

(b) A common saying which the Hebrews use, by which is meant that the Pharisees went from their houses to purposely engage him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 8:11-13. See on Matthew 16:1-4, who narrates more fully out of the collection of Logia, and from the tradition adds the Sadducees.

ἐξῆλθον] namely, from their dwellings in the district there. A trait of graphic circumstantiality. Lange imports the idea: as spies out of an ambush. But it is not easy to see why Mark 8:11 should fitly attach itself, not to the history of the miraculous feeding (which could not but serve to enhance the sensation produced by Jesus), but to Mark 7:37 (Holtzmann). Between Dalmanutha and the place of the feeding there lay in fact only the lake.

ἤρξαντο συζ. αὐτῷ] How they made the beginning of disputing with Him, is told by ζητοῦντες κ.τ.λ.: so that they asked, etc.

Mark 8:12. ἀναστενάξας] after that He had heaved a sigh (comp. Mark 7:34), namely, at the hardened unbelief of those men.[111] A picturesque feature here peculiar to Mark. Comp. Mark 7:34.

ΤΊ] why—in painful certainty of the want of result, which would be associated with the granting of their request. “Tota hujus orationis indoles intelligitur ex pronuntiatione,” Beza.

εἰ δοθήσεται] a thoroughly Hebraistic expression of asseveration (never shall, etc.), by the well-known suppression of the apodosis. See Köster, Erläut. p. 104 ff.; Winer, p. 444 [E. T. 627]. According to Mark, therefore (who has not the significant saying as to the sign of Jonas adopted by Matthew from the collection of Logia already at Mark 10:39 ff., and in this case at Mark 16:4), a σημεῖον is altogether refused to this generation of Pharisees.[112] For them—these hardened ones, for whom the signs already given did not suffice—none should be given; the σημεῖα, which Jesus gave everywhere, were in fact sufficient even for their conversion, if they had only been willing to attend to and profit by them.

ΠΆΛΙΝ ἘΜΒΆς] without ΕἸς ΤῸ ΠΛΟῖΟΝ (see the critical remarks), which is, however, by means of ΠΆΛΙΝ obvious from Mark 8:10. Comp. Xen. Cyrop. v. 7. 7 : ὥστε ἐμβαίνειν, ὁπόταν Νότος πνέῃ, Dem. 29. 26, and many other places in the classical writers.

ΕἸς ΤῸ ΠΈΡΑΝ] to the eastern side of the lake (comp. Mark 8:10). Holtzmann is wrong in saying that Jesus here passes over for the second time to the western side; see on Mark 8:22.

[111] This is all that is shown by the following painful question. Lange arbitrarily holds that Jesus sighed on account of the commencement of His separation from the dominant popular party; that there was, at the same time, a forbearing reservation of His judicial power, and so forth.

[112] By passing over the sign of Jonas, Mark has effaced the point of the answer, which Matthew and Luke have furnished.Mark 8:11-12. Pharisees seek a sign (Matthew 16:1-4).11. And the Pharisees] Our Lord seems purposely to have avoided sailing to Bethsaida or Capernaum, which lay a little north of Magdala, and which had become the head-quarters of the Pharisees; but they had apparently watched for His arrival, and now “came forth” to meet Him accompanied for the first time by the Sadducees (Matthew 16:1), their rivals and enemies.

began] They had made their arrangements for a decisive contest, which began with a demand for a sign.

a sign from heaven] The same request had already been twice proffered. (1) After the first cleansing of the Temple (John 2:18); (2) after the feeding of the Five Thousand (John 6:30); and (3) again shortly after the walking through the cornfields (Matthew 12:38). By such a “sign” was meant an outward and visible luminous appearance in the sky or some visible manifestation of the Shechînah, the credentials of a prophet. They asked in effect, “Give us bread from heaven, as Moses did, or signs in the sun and moon like Joshua, or call down thunder and hail like Samuel, or fire and rain like Elijah, or make the sun turn back on the dial like Isaiah, or let us hear the Bath-Kôl, the ‘daughter of the Voice,’ that we may believe Thee.”Mark 8:11. Ἤρξαντο, they began) after a temporary cessation. [πειραζοντες αὐτὸν, tempting Him) to try whether He could, after having exhibited so many signs on the earth, perform similar signs from heaven also.—V. g.]Verse 11. - And the Pharisees came forth - St. Matthew (Matthew 16:1) says that the Sadducees came with them - and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. They had already asked for a sign from heaven (Matthew 12:38); but now this miracle gives them occasion to ask again. For when they saw how greatly it was extolled by the multitudes who had benefited by it, it was easy for them to urge that it was an earthly sign, and might have been wrought by him who is called "the God of this world;" and so they insinuated that he had wrought this miracle as well as his other miracles by the power of Satan. Therefore they seek a sign from heaven, that he who dwells in heaven might thus bear witness that he came from God, and that his doctrine was Divine; the Pharisees probably meant that if he did this they would believe in him as the Messiah, and lead the people to the same faith. The Sadducees, who were practically atheists, thought that no sign could be given from heaven by God, seeing that in their opinion it was doubtful whether there was any God to give it. Began

The beginnings of things seem to have a peculiar interest for Mark. See Mark 1:1, Mark 1:45; Mark 4:1; Mark 5:17, Mark 5:20; Mark 6:2, Mark 6:7, Mark 6:34, Mark 6:55.

Sign (σημεῖον)

See on Matthew 11:20. Wyc., token. As applied to the miracles of our Lord, this word emphasizes their ethical purport, as declaring that the miraculous act points back of itself to the grace and power or divine character or authority of the doer.

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