Mark 8:15
And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.
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(15) He charged them.—The verb is in the imperfect tense, and implies that the command was more than once repeated. Hence they, too, “were reasoning,” more than once, what was the meaning of the precept on which so much stress was laid.

The leaven of Herod.—The words imply the presence among the questioners of Mark 8:11 of others besides the Pharisees. On the connection between the “leaven of Herod” and that of “the Sadducees” in Matthew 16:6, see Note on that verse.

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?Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees - See Matthew 16:6.

Of Herod - Of the Herodians - of Herod and his followers. Matthew, instead of "Herod," has "the Sadducees." It is not improbably that he cautioned them against them all. The Pharisees sought his life, and were exceedingly corrupt in their doctrine and practice; the Sadducees denied some of the essential doctrines of religion, and the Herodians probably were distinguished for irreligion, sensuality, and corrupt living. They were united, therefore, with the Pharisees and Sadducees in opposing the claims of Jesus. Matthew has recorded his caution to avoid the Pharisees and Sadducees, and Mark has added, what Matthew had omitted. the caution likewise to beware of the Herodians. Thus, the evangelists speak the same thing.

15. And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees—"and of the Sadducees" (Mt 16:6).

and of the leaven of Herod—The teaching or "doctrine" (Mt 16:12) of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees was quite different, but both were equally pernicious; and the Herodians, though rather a political party, were equally envenomed against our Lord's spiritual teaching. See on [1456]Mt 12:14. The penetrating and diffusive quality of leaven, for good or bad, is the ground of the comparison.

See Poole on "Mark 8:14"

And he charged them,.... When they were in the ship, and had just recollected themselves, that they had took no care to bring any provisions with them:

saying, take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees; and of the leaven of Herod: in Matthew, instead of "the leaven of Herod", it is read, "the leaven of the Sadducees": which are either the same, Herod and his courtiers being Sadducees, or favourers of them; or the Sadducees being sticklers for Herod, and his government, which the Pharisees had no good opinion of; or else distinct from one another; and so Christ cautions against the doctrines of the Pharisees, which regarded the traditions of the elders, and of the Sadducees, concerning the resurrection, and of the Herodians, who thought Herod to be the Messiah; and against the unreasonable request and demand of them all to have a sign from heaven, in proof of his own Messiahship; See Gill on Matthew 16:6.

{2} And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.

(2) We must especially take heed of those who corrupt the word of God, no matter what their position is in the Church or in civil politics.

Mark 8:15. ἀπὸ τῆς ζύμης, etc.: two leavens, one of Pharisees, another of Herod, yet placed together because morally akin and coincident in practical outcome. Vide notes on Matthew 16:1-6.

15. the leaven of the Pharisees] Leaven in Scripture, with the single exception of the Parable (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20-21), is always a symbol of evil (comp. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:9), especially insidious evil, as it is for the most part also in the Rabbinical writers. See Lightfoot on Matthew 16:6. The strict command to the children of Israel that they should carefully put away every particle of leaven out of their houses during the Passover-week, rests on this view of it as evil.

the leaven of Herod] “and,” as it is in St Matthew’s Gospel, “of the Sadducees.” The leaven of the Pharisees was hypocrisy (Luke 12:1), of the Sadducees, unbelief, of Herod, worldliness; all which working in secrecy and silence, and spreading with terrible certainty, cause that in the end “the whole man is leavened,” and his whole nature transformed.

Mark 8:15. Τῶν Φαρισαίων καὶ Ἡρώδου, of the Pharisees and Herod) Two opposite extremes of religious sects. In Matthew 16:6, where see note, the words are, “the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Therefore, instead of what Matthew has, viz. the Sadducees, Mark has, Herod. The leaven common to them all, at least in demanding signs on various pretexts at different occasions, was hypocrisy (Herod is called “the fox,” Luke 13:31, where see note). As to Herod, Luke does not mention that indeed (viz. his demanding a sign), at ch. Luke 12:1, but he does at Luke 23:8, as it were in the way of supplement. For although Herod approached nearer to the Pharisees in the article of the resurrection, ch. Mark 6:16, yet the licentiousness admitted by the doctrine of the Sadducees, was in other respects more suited to his palace and court, which bent religion into a mere species of political expediency.

Verse 15. - Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. St. Matthew (Matthew 15:6) says, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees;" thus St. Mark identifies the leaven of the Sadducees with that of Herod. "Leaven" here means "doctrine." They were not to beware of this, so far as the Pharisees rightly taught and explained the Law of Moses; but only so far as they corrupted that Law by their own vain traditions, contrary to the Law of God, St. Luke (Luke 12:11) calls this leaven "hypocrisy;" because the Pharisees only regarded outward ceremonies, and neglected the inward sanctification of the Spirit. St. Jerome says, "This is the leaven of which the Apostle speaks where he says, 'A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.' Marcion and Valentinus and all heretics have had this kind of leaven, which is on every account to be avoided. Leaven has this property, that, however small it may be in quantity, it spreads its influence rapidly through the mass. And so if only a little spark of heretical doctrine be admitted into the soul, speedily a great flame arises, and envelopes the whole man." Mark 8:15
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