Mark 8:22
And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) And he cometh to Bethsaida.—This miracle also is recorded by St. Mark only. Judging by the localities named previously, Dalmanutha (Mark 8:10), the passage across the lake (Mark 8:13), and afterwards “the villages of Cæsarea Philippi (Mark 8:27), it is probable that this was the Bethsaida on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Mark

THE GRADUAL HEALING OF THE BLIND MAN

Mark 8:22 - Mark 8:25
.

This miracle, which is only recorded by the Evangelist Mark, has about it several very peculiar features. Some of these it shares with one other of our Lord’s miracles, which also is found only in this Gospel, and which occurred nearly about the same time-that miracle of healing the deaf and dumb man recorded in the previous chapter. Both of them have these points in common: that our Lord takes the sufferer apart and works His miracle in privacy; that in both there is an abundant use of the same singular means-our Lord’s touch and the saliva upon His finger; and that in both there is the urgent injunction of entire secrecy laid upon the recipient of the benefit.

But this miracle had another peculiarity in which it stands absolutely alone, and that is that the work is done in stages; that the power which at other times has but to speak and it is done, here seems to labour, and the cure comes slowly; that in the middle Christ pauses, and, like a physician trying the experiment of a drug, asks the patient if any effect is produced, and, getting the answer that some mitigation is realised, repeats the application, and perfect recovery is the result.

Now, how unlike that is to all the rest of Christ’s miraculous working we do not need to point out; but the question may arise, What is the meaning, and what the reason, and what the lessons of this unique and anomalous form of miraculous working? It is to that question that I wish to turn now; for I think that the answer will open up to us some very precious things in regard to that great Lord, the revelation of whose heart and character is the inmost and the loftiest meaning of both His words and His works.

I take these three points of peculiarity to which I have referred: the privacy, the strange and abundant use of means veiling the miraculous power, and the gradual, slow nature of the cure. I see in them these three things: Christ isolating the man that He would heal; Christ stooping to the sense-bound nature by using outward means; and Christ making His power work slowly, to keep abreast of the man’s slow faith.

I. First, then, here we have Christ isolating the man whom He wanted to heal.

Now, there may have been something about our Lord’s circumstances and purposes at the time of this miracle which accounted for the great urgency with which at this period He impressed secrecy upon all around Him. What that was it is not necessary for us to inquire here, but this is worth noticing, that in obedience to this wish, on His own part, for privacy at the time, He covers over with a veil His miraculous working, and does it quietly, as one might almost say, in a corner. He never sought to display His miraculous working; here He absolutely tries to hide it. That fact of Christ’s taking pains to conceal His miracle carries in it two great truths-first, about the purpose and nature of miracles in general, and second, about His character-as to each of which a few words may be said.

This fact, of a miracle done in intended secrecy, and shrouded in deep darkness, suggests to us the true point of view from which to look at the whole subject of miracles.

People say they were meant to be attestations of His divine mission. Yes, no doubt that is true partially; but that was never the sole nor even the main purpose for which they were wrought; and when any one asked Jesus Christ to work a miracle for that purpose only, He rebuked the desire and refused to gratify it. He wrought His miracles, not coldly, in order to witness to His mission, but every one of them was the token, because it was the outcome, of His own sympathetic heart brought into contact with human need. And instead of the miracles of Jesus Christ being cold, logical proofs of His mission, they were all glowing with the earnestness of a loving sympathy, and came from Him at sight of sorrow as naturally as rays beam out from the sun.

Then, on the other hand, the same fact carries with it, too, a lesson about His character. Is not He here doing what He tells us to do; ‘Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth’? He dares not wrap His talent in a napkin, He would be unfaithful to His mission if He hid His light under a bushel. All goodness ‘does good by stealth,’ even if it does not ‘blush to find it fame’-and that universal mark of true benevolence marked His. He had to solve in His human life what we have to solve, the problem of keeping the narrow path between ostentation of powers and selfish concealment of faculty; and He solved it thus, ‘leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps.’

But that is somewhat aside from the main purpose to which I intended to turn in these first remarks. Christ did not invest the miracle with any of its peculiarities for His own sake only. All that is singular about it, will, I think, find its best explanation in the condition and character of the subject, the man on whom it was wrought. What sort of a man was he? Well, the narrative does not tell us much, but if we use our historical imagination and our eyes we may learn something about him. First he was a Gentile; the land in which the miracle was wrought was the half-heathen country on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. In the second place, it was other people that brought him; he did not come of his own accord. Then again, it is their prayer that is mentioned, not his-he asked nothing.

You see him standing there hopeless, listless; not believing that this Jewish stranger is going to do anything for him; with his impassive blind face glowing with no entreaty to reinforce his companions’ prayers. And suppose he was a man of that sort, with no expectation of anything from this Rabbi, how was Christ to get at him? It is of no use to speak to him. His eyes are shut, so cannot see the sympathy beaming in His face. There is one thing possible-to lay hold of Him by the hand; and the touch, gentle, loving, firm, says this at least: ‘Here is a man that has some interest in me, and whether He can do anything or not for me, He is going to try something.’ Would not that kindle an expectation in him? And is it not in parable just exactly what Jesus Christ does for the whole world? Is not that act of His by which He put out His hand and seized the unbelieving limp hand of the blind man that hung by his side, the very same in principle as that by which He ‘taketh hold of the seed of Abraham,’ and is made like to His brethren? Are not the mystery of the Incarnation and the meaning of it wrapped up as in a germ in that little simple incident, ‘He put out His hand and touched him’?

Is there not in it, too, a lesson for all you good-hearted Christian men and women, in all your work? If you want to do anything for your afflicted brethren, there is only one way to do it-to come down to their level and get hold of their hands, and then there is some chance of doing them good. We must be content to take the hands of beggars if we are to make the blind to see.

And then, having thus drawn near to the man, and established in his heart some dim expectation of something coming, He gently led him away out of the little village. I wonder no painter has ever painted that, instead of repeating ad nauseam two or three scenes out of the Gospels. I wonder none of them has ever seen what a parable it is-the Christ leading the blind man out into solitude before He can say to him, ‘Behold!’ How, as they went, step by step, the poor blind eyes not telling the man where they were going, or how far away he was being taken from his friends, his conscious dependence upon this stranger would grow! How he would feel more and more at each step, ‘I am at His mercy; what is He going to do with me?’ And how thus there would be kindled in his heart some beginnings of an expectation, as well as some surrendering of himself to Christ’s guidance! These two things, the expectation and the surrender, have in them, at all events, some faint beginnings and rude germs of the highest faith, to lead up to which is the purpose of all that Christ here does.

And is not that what He does for us all? Sometimes by sorrows, sometimes by sick-beds, sometimes by shutting us out from chosen spheres of activity, sometimes by striking down the dear ones at our sides, and leaving us lonely in the desert-is He not saying to us in a thousand ways, ‘Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place’? As Israel was led into the wilderness that God might ‘speak to her heart,’ so often Christ draws us aside, if not by outward providences such as these, yet by awaking in us the solemn sense of personal responsibility and making us feel our solitude, that He may lead us to feel His all-sufficient companionship.

Ah! brethren, here is a lesson from all this-if you wish Jesus Christ to give you His highest gifts and to reveal to you His fairest beauty, you must be alone with Him. He loves to deal with single souls. Our lives, many of them, can never be outwardly alone. We are jammed up against one another in such a fashion, and the hurry and pressure of city life is so great with us all, that it is often impossible for us to secure outward secrecy and solitude. But a man maybe alone in a crowd; the heart may be gathered up into itself, and there may be a still atmosphere round about us in the shop and in the market and amongst the busy ways of men, in which we and Christ shall be alone together. Unless there be, I do not think any of us will see the King in His beauty or the far-off land. ‘I was left alone, and I saw this great vision,’ is the law for all true beholding.

So, dear brethren, try to feel how awful this earthly life of ours is in its necessary solitude; that each of us by himself must shape out his own destiny, and make his own character; that every unit of the swarms upon our streets is a unit that has to face the solemn facts of life for and by itself; that alone we live, that alone we shall die; that alone we shall have to give account of ourselves before God, and in the solitude let the hand of your heart feel for His hand that is stretched out to grasp yours, and listen to Him saying, ‘Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world.’ There was no dreariness in the solitude when it was Christ that ‘took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the city.’

II. We have Christ stooping to a sense-bound nature by the use of material helps.

No doubt there was something in the man, as I have said, which made it advisable that these methods should be adopted. If he were the sort of person that I have described, slow of faith, not much caring about the possibility of cure, and not having much hope that any cure would come to pass-then we can see the fitness of the means adopted: the hand laid upon the eyes, the finger, possibly moistened with saliva, touching the ball, the pausing to question, the repeated application. These make a ladder by which his hope and confidence might climb to the apprehension of the blessing. And that points to a general principle of the divine dealings. God stoops to a feeble faith, and gives to it outward things by which it may rise to an apprehension of spiritual realities.

Is not that the meaning of the whole complicated system of Old Testament revelation? Is not that the meaning of the altars, and priests, and sacrifices, and the old cumbrous apparatus of the Mosaic law? Was it not all a picture-book in which the infant eyes of the race might see in a material form deep spiritual realities? Was not that the meaning and explanation of our Lord’s parabolic teaching? He veils spiritual truth in common things that He may reveal it by common things-taking fishermen’s boats, their nets, a sower’s basket, a baker’s dough, and many another homely article, and finding in them the emblems of the loftiest truth.

Is not that the meaning of His own Incarnation? It is of no use to talk to men about God-let them see Him; no use to preach about principles-give them the facts of His life. Revelation does not consist in the setting forth of certain propositions about God, but in the exhibition of the acts of God in a human life.

‘And so the Word had breath, and wrought

With human hands the creed of creeds.’

And still further, may we not say that this is the inmost meaning and purpose of the whole frame of the material universe? It exists in order that, as a parable and a symbol, it may proclaim the things that are unseen and eternal. Its depths and heights, its splendours and its energies are all in order that through them spirits may climb to the apprehension of the ‘King, eternal, immortal, invisible,’ and the realities of His spiritual kingdom.

So in regard to all the externals of Christianity, forms of worship, ordinances, and so on-all these, in like manner, are provided in condescension to our weakness, in order that by them we may be lifted above themselves; for the purpose of the Temple is to prepare for the time and the place where the seer ‘saw no temple therein.’ They are but the cups that carry the wine, the flowers whose chalices bear the honey, the ladders by which the soul may climb to God Himself, the rafts upon which the precious treasure may be floated into our hearts.

If Christ’s touch and Christ’s saliva healed, it was not because of anything in them; but because He willed it so; and He Himself is the source of all the healing energy. Therefore, let us keep these externals in their proper place of subordination, and remember that in Him, not in them, lies the healing power; and that even Christ’s touch may become the object of superstitious regard, as it was when that poor woman came through the crowd to lay her finger on the hem of His garment, thinking that she could bear away a surreptitious blessing without the conscious outgoing of His power. He healed her because there was a spark of faith in her superstition, but she had to I earn that it was not the hem of the garment but the loving will of Christ that cured, in order that the dross of superstitious reliance on the outward vehicle might be melted away, and the pure gold of faith in His love and power might remain.

III. Lastly, we have Christ accommodating the pace of His power to the slowness of the man’s faith.

The whole story, as I have said, is unique, and especially this part of it-’He put His hands upon him, and asked him if he saw aught.’ One might have expected an answer with a little more gratitude in it, with a little more wonder in it, with a little more emotion in it. Instead of these it is almost surly, or at any rate strangely reticent-a matter-of-fact answer to the question, and there an end. As our Revised Version reads it better: ‘I see men, for I behold them as trees walking.’ Curiously accurate! A dim glimmer had come into the eye, but there is not yet distinctness of outline nor sense of magnitude, which must be acquired by practice. The eye has not yet been educated, and it was only because these blurred figures were in motion that he knew they were not trees. ‘After that He put His hands upon his eyes and made him look up,’ or, as the Revised Version has it with a better reading, ‘and he looked steadfastly,’ with an eager straining of the new faculty to make sure that he had got it, and to test its limits and its perfection. ‘And he was restored and saw all things clearly.’

Now I take it that the worthiest view of that strangely protracted process, broken up into two halves by the question that is dropped into the middle, is this, that it was determined by the man’s faith, and was meant to increase it. He was healed slowly because he believed slowly. His faith was a condition of his cure, and the measure of it determined the measure of the restoration; and the rate of the growth of his faith settled the rate of the perfecting of Christ’s work on him. As a rule, faith in His power to heal was a condition of Christ’s healing, and that mainly because our Lord would rather make men believing than sound of body. They often wanted only the outward miracle, but He wanted to make it the means of insinuating a better healing into their spirits. And so, not that there was any necessary connection between their faith and the exercise of His miraculous power, but in order that He might bless them with His best gifts, He usually worked on the principle ‘According to your faith be it unto you.’ And here, as a nurse or a mother with her child might do, He keeps step with the little steps, and goes slowly because the man goes slowly.

Now, both the gradual process of illumination and the rate of that process as determined by faith, are true for us. How dim and partial a glimmer of light comes to many a soul at the outset of the Christian life! How little a new convert knows about God and self and the starry truths of His great revelation! Christian progress does not consist in seeing new things, but in seeing the old things more clearly: the same Christ, the same Cross, only more distinctly and deeply apprehended, and more closely incorporated into my very being. We do not grow away from Him, but we grow into knowledge of Him. The first lesson that we get is the last lesson that we shall learn, and He is the ‘Alpha’ at the beginning, and the ‘Omega’ at the end of that alphabet, the letters of which make up our knowledge for earth and heaven.

But then let me remind you that just in the measure in which you expect blessing of any kind, illumination and purifying and help of all sorts from Jesus Christ, just in that measure will you get it. You can limit the working of Almighty power, and can determine the rate at which it shall work on you. God fills the water-pots ‘to the brim,’ but not beyond the brim; and if, like the woman in the Old Testament story, we stop bringing vessels, the oil will stop flowing. It is an awful thing to think that we have the power, as it were, to turn a stopcock, and so increase or diminish, or cut off altogether, the supply of God’s mercy and Christ’s healing and cleansing love in our hearts. You will get as much of God as you want and no more. The measure of your desire is the measure of your capacity, and the measure of your capacity is the measure of God’s gift. ‘Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it!’ And if your faith is heavily shod and steps slowly, His power and His grace will step slowly along with it, keeping rank and step. ‘According to your faith shall it be unto you.’

Ah! dear friends, ‘Ye are not straitened in Me, ye are straitened in yourselves.’ Desire Him to help and bless you, and He will do it. Expect Him to do it, and He will do it. Go to Him like the other blind man and say to Him-’Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me, that I may receive my sight,’ and He will lay His hand upon you, and at any rate a glimmer will come, which will grow in the measure of your humble, confident desire, until at last He takes you by the hand and leads you out of this poor little village of a world and lays His finger for a brief moment of blindness upon your eyes and asks you if you see aught. Then you will look up, and the first face that you will behold will be His, whom you saw ‘as through a glass darkly’ with your dim eyes in this twilight world.

May that be your experience and mine, through His mercy!

Mark 8:22-26. And he cometh to Bethsaida — Where he had done many mighty works, without their producing the desired effect, the people remaining in impenitence and unbelief, Matthew 11:21. The following miracle, it may be observed, is recorded by Mark only; a plain proof that he is not to be considered as a mere abridger of Matthew. And they bring him a blind man, and besought him to touch him — Here appears the faith of those that brought him; they doubted not but one touch of Christ’s hand would restore his sight; but the man himself did not show that earnest desire for, or expectation of, a cure, that many others did. He took and led him out of the town — Declaring hereby, that those of Bethsaida, who had seen so many miracles in vain, were unworthy to behold this: for had our Lord herein only designed privacy, he might have led him into a house, or into an inner chamber, and have cured him there. And when he had spit on his eyes, &c. — Our Lord could have cured this man, as he did some others, with a word’s speaking, but he was pleased thus to use signs, as he did on some other occasions, probably with a view to assist the man’s faith, which it seems was very weak; it was evident, however, that the signs which he used had no natural tendency to effect a cure, nor indeed had any of the signs which our Lord ever used on such occasions: He asked him if he saw aught, &c. — Jesus did not, as on other occasions of a like nature, impart the faculty of sight to this blind man all at once, but by degrees: for the man at first saw things obscurely, and could not distinguish men from trees, otherwise than that he could discern them to move. His expression may be easily accounted for, on supposition that he was not born blind, but had lost his sight by some accident; for if that was the case, he might have retained the idea both of men and trees. By a second imposition of Christ’s hands he received a clear sight of every object in view. Our Lord’s intention in this might be to make it evident that in his cures he was not confined to one method of operation, but could dispense them in what manner he pleased. In the mean time, though the cure was performed by degrees, it was accomplished in so small a space of time, as to make it evident that it was not produced by any natural efficacy of our Lord’s spittle or touch, but merely by the exertion of his miraculous power. Christ perhaps intended, by restoring the man’s sight gradually, to signify in what way those who are by nature spiritually blind, are generally healed by his grace. At first, their knowledge of divine things is indistinct, obscure, and confused; they see men as trees walking; but afterward, by a second or third imposition of the Saviour’s hands, a further degree of spiritual discernment is communicated, and they see all things clearly. Their light, like that of the morning, shines more and more unto the perfect day. Let us, then, inquire if we have any sight of, or acquaintance with, those things of which faith is the evidence; and if, through grace, we have any true knowledge of them, we may hope that it will increase more and more, till we are fully translated out of our natural darkness of ignorance and folly, into the marvellous light of truth and wisdom. And he sent him away, saying, Neither go into the town — Where probably some who had seen Christ lead him out of the town, were expecting to see him return; but who, having been eye-witnesses of so many miracles, had not so much as the curiosity to follow him. Such therefore were not to be gratified with the sight of him when he was cured, that would not show so much respect to Christ as to go a step out of the town to see the cure wrought. Nor tell it to any in the town — Christ does not forbid him to tell it to others, but he must not tell it to any of the inhabitants of Bethsaida. Observe, reader, the slighting of Christ’s favours is forfeiting them; and he will make those know the worth of their privileges by the want of them, that would not know them otherwise. Bethsaida, in the day of her visitation, would not know the things that belonged to her peace, and therefore they are now hid from her eyes.

8:22-26 Here is a blind man brought to Christ by his friends. Therein appeared the faith of those that brought him. If those who are spiritually blind, do not pray for themselves, yet their friends and relations should pray for them, that Christ would be pleased to touch them. The cure was wrought gradually, which was not usual in our Lord's miracles. Christ showed in what method those commonly are healed by his grace, who by nature are spiritually blind. At first, their knowledge is confused; but, like the light of the morning, it shines more and more to the perfect day, and then they see all things clearly. Slighting Christ's favours is forfeiting them; and he will make those who do so know the worth of privileges by the want of them.To Bethsaida - See the notes at Matthew 11:21.

And they bring a blind man unto him - The healing of the blind man of Bethsaida is recorded only by Mark.

Besought him to touch him - That is, to heal him, for they believed that his touch would restore his sight.

22. And he cometh to Bethsaida—Bethsaida Julias, on the northeast side of the lake, whence after this He proceeded to Cæsarea Philippi (Mr 8:27).

and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him—See on [1459]Mr 7:32.

Ver. 22-26. This miracle is only mentioned by Mark particularly, possibly because of two singularities in it:

1. With reference to the signs he used.

2. With reference to the gradual cure.

Our Saviour sometimes used some signs in his miraculous operations, sometimes he used none, but by the word of his power alone healed them; in the signs he used, to let the people understand there was nothing in them, he often varied; sometimes he laid his hands upon them, sometimes he took them by the hand, sometimes he used one sign, sometimes another. Here:

1. He takes the blind man by the hand.

2. He leads him out of the town, the inhabitants being not worthy to see a miracle: it was one of the cities upbraided by our Saviour for their impenitency and unbelief; Matthew 11:21.

3. He spit on his eyes: so Mark 7:33.

4. Then he twice put his hands on him.

Christ was wont to heal at once; here he healeth by degrees; so as the healing of this blind man was a true pattern of his healing spiritual blindness, which usually is done gradually, but perfected at last as this bodily cure was.

And he cometh to Bethsaida,.... The city of Andrew, Peter, and Philip, John 1:44; a fishing town, which was situated by the sea of Galilee. Beza's ancient copy, and the Gothic version, wrongly read "Bethany". The Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, "they came"; Christ, and his twelve apostles, who landed at this place:

and they bring a blind man unto him; for Christ had been here before, and was known by the inhabitants of the place; who, as soon as they heard of his arrival, and knowing what miracles were done by him, brought a poor blind man, of their town, to him, to be cured by him:

and besought him to touch him; having heard of, or seen cures performed by him this way. This man is an emblem of such who are spiritually blind: he had no natural sight at all; he could see nothing; he had not the least glimmering of any thing, until he was touched by Christ: so men, in a state of nature, are quite dark, even darkness itself, until they are made light by the Lord: they have no sight, nor sense of themselves, of their sinful, lost, and dangerous estate and condition they are in; they know not because they are blind, that they are wretched, and poor, and miserable, and naked: they have no sight of Christ, neither of the glory of his person, nor of the fulness of his grace, nor of the nature, necessity, and suitableness of his salvation: they are quite blind as to any saving knowledge of God in Christ, the way of life and peace by him, and the work of the Spirit of God upon the soul; or with regard to any spiritual experience of the power of Gospel truths, or views of the glories of another world: and as this man seemed to be unconcerned himself about the cure of his blindness, only his friends were affected with his case, and brought him to Christ, and solicited a cure, so it is with unregenerate men, they are insensible of their case, and so thoughtless of it, and unaffected with it, and do not, of themselves, seek for a deliverance out of it; nor do they make use of means for that purpose; but it becomes their friends, relations, and acquaintance, that are spiritual, who know their case, and their need of Christ, and his grace, to bring them to him under the means, and pray unto him, that he would put forth the mighty power of his grace upon them, and give them spiritual sight to see in what a lost condition they are, and their need of him.

{4} And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

(4) A true image of our regeneration, which Christ, separating us from the world, works and accomplishes in us gradually.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 8:22-26 are found in Mark only.

It is not the Bethsaida situated on the western shore of the lake (Mark 6:45) that is here meant (Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Heumann, Heupel, Köstlin, Holtzmann; comp. Bleek and several others), but the north-eastern Bethsaida, completed by the tetrarch Philip (called also Julias, in honour of the daughter of Augustus; see Josephus, Bell. ii. 9. 1, iii. 3. 5; Antt. xviii. 2. 1, xviii. 4. 6; Plin. N. H. v. 15; Wieseler, chronol. Synopse, p. 273 f.; Robinson, Pal. III. p. 566 f.; Ritter, Erdk. XV. p. 280.; Ritter, Erdk. XV. p. 280; Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 46), from which Jesus goes forth and comes northwards into the region of Caesarea-Philippi (Mark 8:27); see Mark 8:13. The weakly-attested reading Βηθανίαν (D, Cod. It.) is an ancient alteration, from geographical ignorance of any other Bethsaida than the western one. Ewald, indeed, following Paulus, has again (Gesch. Chr. p. 378) preferred this reading, because Bethsaida Julias was not a κώμη, Mark 8:26; but it was Philip who first raised it to the rank of a city, and hence its designation as a village may still have been retained, or may have been used inaccurately by Mark.

The blind man was not born blind. See Mark 8:24.

Mark 8:23. ἐξήγαγεν] see on Mark 7:33.

The spitting is to be apprehended as at Mark 7:33. As in that place, so here also, Jesus held it as necessary to do more than had been prayed for.

Mark 8:24. ἀναβλέψας] after he had looked up (Mark 6:41, Mark 7:34). Erasmus erroneously interprets it: to become seeing again (Mark 10:51), which is only conveyed in καὶ ἀποκατεστ. κ.τ.λ.

According to the reading ὅτι ὡς δένδρα ὁρῶ περιπατοῦντας (see the critical remarks): I see the men, for like trees I perceive persons walking about, I observe people walking who look like trees (so unshapely and large). This was the first stage of seeing, when the objects appeared in vague outline and enlarged. More harsh is Ewald’s construction, which takes ὅτι as the recitative, that indicates a new commencement of the discourse.

We cannot decide why Jesus did not heal the blind man perfectly at once, but gradually. But it is certain that the agency does not lose, by reason of its being gradual, the character of an instantaneous operation. Comp. Holtzmann, p. 507; Euthymius Zigabenus: ἀτελῶς δὲ τὸν τυφλὸν τοῦτον ἐθεράπευσεν ὡς ἀτελῶς πιστεύοντα· διὸ καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν, εἴ τι βλέπει, ἵνα μικρὸν ἀναβλέψας ἀπὸ τῆς μικρᾶς ὄψεως πιστεύσῃ τελεώτερον, καὶ ἰαθῇ τελεώτερον· σοφὸς γάρ ἐστιν ἰατρός. Comp. Victor Antiochenus and Theophylact. So usually. According to Olshausen, a process too much accelerated would have been hurtful to the blind man. This is an arbitrary limitation of the miraculous power of Jesus (see, on the other hand, Strauss, II. p. 66). According to Lange, Jesus desired in this quiet district, and at this momentous time, “to subdue the powerful effect of His miracles.” As though the miracle would not even as it occurred have been powerful enough. According to Strauss, the gradual character is merely part of Mark’s effort after vividness of representation.[114] A notion unwarranted in itself, and contrary to the analogy of Mark’s other narratives of miracles.

Mark 8:25. καὶ διέβλεψεν (see the critical remarks): and he looked stedfastly (Plato, Phaed. p. 86 D; comp. on Matthew 7:5), and was restored. This stedfast look, which he now gave, so that people saw that he fixed his eyes on definite objects, was the result of the healing influence upon his eyes, which he experienced by means of this second laying on of hands, and which the restoration immediately followed.

καὶ ἐνέβλεπεν (see the critical remarks) ΤΗΛΑΥΓῶς ἍΠΑΝΤΑ] Notice the imperfect, which defines the visual activity from this time continuing; and how keen this was! He saw everything from afar, so that he needed not to come close in order to behold it clearly. ἐμβλέπειν, intueri, see Xen. Mem. iii. 11. 10, al. In the classical writers used with τινί (Cyrop. i. 3. 2; Plat. Pol. x. p. 609 D), but also with τινά (Anthol. xi. 3). ΤΗΛΑΥΓῶς (far-shining) with ἐμβλέπειν denotes that the objects at a distance shone clearly into his eyes. Comp. Diod. Sic. i. 50: ΤΗΛΑΥΓΈΣΤΕΡΟΝ ὉΡᾶΝ, Suidas: ΤΗΛΑΥΓΈς, ΠΌῤῬΩΘΕΝ ΦΑῖΝΟΝ.

Mark 8:26. ΕἸς ΟἾΚΟΝ ΑὐΤΟῦ] He did not dwell in Bethsaida, but was from elsewhere, and was brought to Jesus at Bethsaida. See the sequel.

ΜΗΔῈ ΕἸς Τ. ΚΏΜΗΝ Κ.Τ.Λ.] This ΜΗΔΈ is not wrong, as de Wette and Fritzsche judge, under the impression that it ought to be ΜΉ only; but it means: not even: so now Winer also, p. 434 [E. T. 614]. The blind man had come with Jesus from the village; the healing had taken place outside in front of the village; now He sends him away to his house; He desires that he shall not remain in this region, and says: not even into the village (although it is so near, and thou hast just been in it) enter thou. The second μηδέ is: nor yet.

The second clause, μηδέ εἴπῃς κ.τ.λ., is no doubt rendered quite superfluous by the first; but Fritzsche pertinently remarks: “Jesu graviter interdicentis cupiditatem et ardorem adumbrari … Non enim, qui commoto animo loquuntur, verba appendere solent.” Grotius, Calovius, Bengel, Lange, and various others take ΤΙΝῚ ἘΝ Τ. ΚΏΜῌ to mean: to one of the inhabitants of the village (who may meet thee outside). A makeshift occasioned by their own addition. And why should not Mark have simply written τινι ἐκ τῆς κώμης? As to the prohibition in general, comp. on Mark 5:43.

[114] In fact, Baur, Markusev. p. 58, thinks that thereby the writer was only making a display of his physiological knowledge on the theory of vision. And Hilgenfeld says, that Mark desired to set forth the gradual transition of the disciples from spiritual not-seeing to seeing primarily in the case of one corporeally blind. Thus the procedure related by Mark would be invented by Mark!

Mark 8:22-26. A blind man cured at Bethsaida, peculiar to Mk.

22–26. The Blind Man in Eastern Bethsaida

22. Bethsaida] i. e. Bethsaida Julias, which lay upon the northeastern coast of the Sea of Tiberias.

Mark 8:22. Φέρουσιν, they bring) The blind man himself does not seem then as yet to have had knowledge of Jesus.

Verse 22. - This miracle is recorded by St. Mark alone. And he cometh to Bethsaida. A better reading is ἔρχονται for ἔρχεται, they come unto Bethsaida. Which Beth-saida? It seems most probable that it was Bethsaida Julias. This Bethsaida was in the tetrarchy of Philip, who improved and adorned it, and named it Julias, in honor of the emperor's daughter Julia. A reference to Ver. 27 seems to make it quite clear that it must have been this Bethsaida, and not the Galilean Bethsaida on the other side of the lake. It is not surprising that there should have been, adjoining this great lake, more than one place called Beth-saida, i.e. the "place of fish." And they bring a blind man unto him, and besought (παρακαλοῦσιν) - literally, beseech - him to touch him. St. Mark is fond of the graphic present. There is here, as at Mark 7:32, something almost like dictating the mode of cure. They seem to have imagined that the healing virtue could not go forth from Christ except by actual contact. Mark 8:22
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