Mark 8:23
And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
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(23) He took the blind man by the hand.—We note in the act the same considerate adaptation of the method of healing to the man’s infirmities as in the case of the deaf man in Mark 7:33. As far as the first three Gospels are concerned, these are the two instances of the “spitting” here recorded, but it is one of the links that connect St. Mark with the fourth Gospel (John 9:6).

If he saw ought.—The better MSS. give the very words, “Dost thou see ought?”

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.Led him out of the town - Why this was done the sacred writers have not told us. It might have been to avoid the collecting of a multitude, and thus to have escaped the designs of the Pharisees who were attempting to take his life, and chiefly on a charge of sedition and of exciting the people. On this account Jesus chose to perform the miracle alone, thus showing that while he did good, he desired to do it in such a way as to avoid the "appearance" of evil, and to prevent, at the same time, ostentation and the malice of his enemies.

Spit on his eyes - Why this was done is not known. It was evidently not intended to perform the cure by any natural effect of the spittle. It was to the man a "sign," an evidence that it was the power of Jesus. The eyes were probably closed. They were perhaps "gummed" or united together by a secretion that had become hard. To apply spittle to them - to wet them - would be a "sign," a natural expression of removing the obstruction and opening them. The power was not in the spittle, but it attended the application of it.

Saw aught - Saw anything.

23. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town—Of the deaf and dumb man it is merely said that "He took him aside" (Mr 7:33); but this blind man He led by the hand out of the town, doing it Himself rather than employing another—great humility, exclaims Bengel—that He might gain his confidence and raise his expectation.

and when he had spit on his eyes—the organ affected—See on [1460]Mr 7:33.

and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw aught.

See Poole on "Mark 8:22"

And he took the blind man by the hand,.... Not for the sake of touching him, in order to heal him, as they desired, but to be his guide:

and led him out of the town; to shun all appearance of vain glory and popular applause, being willing to do the miracle in a private manner; and because of the obstinacy and unbelief of the inhabitants of this place, who were not worthy to be witnesses of such a cure; see Matthew 11:21;

and when he had spit on his eyes; not as a cause of healing him; for whatever use spittle may be of to such that have weak eyes, it can have no causal influence upon, or be of any service, in a natural way, to a blind man to restore his sight unto him:

and put his hands upon him; as he sometimes did, when he healed persons of any disorder:

he asked him, if he saw ought; any object whatever, whether he could perceive he had any sight at all. Christ's taking the blind man by the hand, and leading him out or the town, and spitting on his eyes, and putting his hands upon him, and then asking him if he saw ought, are emblematical of what he does in spiritual conversion, when he turns men from darkness to light: he takes them by the hand, which expresses his condescension, grace, and mercy, and becomes their guide and leader; and a better, and safer guide they cannot have; he brings them by a way they know not, and leads them in paths they had not known before; makes darkness light before them, and crooked things straight, and does not forsake them: he takes them apart, and separates them from the rest of the world; he calls them out from thence to go with him, teaching them, that, when enlightened by him, they should have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, and the workers of them; for what communion has light with darkness? his putting spittle upon his eyes, may signify the means of grace, the eye salve of the word, which, when attended with a divine power, enlightens the eyes; and which power may be represented here by Christ's putting his hands upon the man; for the Gospel, without the power of Christ, Is insufficient to produce such an effect; but when it is accompanied with that, it always succeeds.

And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
Mark 8:23. ἔξω τῆς κώμης, outside the village, for the same reason as in Mark 7:33, to avoid creating a run on Him for cures. Therefore Jesus becomes conductor of the blind man Himself, though he doubtless had one (Weiss-Meyer).—πτύσας, spitting, in this case certainly on the diseased parts. Spittle was regarded as a means of cure by the ancients. Holtzmann (H. C.) cites the story of Vespasian in Alexandria narrated by Tacitus (Hist., iv., 81). The prince was asked to sprinkle the eyes of a blind man “oris excremento”.—εἴ τι βλέπεις, do you, possibly, see anything? εἰ with a direct question, vide Winer, lvii., 2.

23. he took the blind man] Even as He did with the other sufferer, whose case came before us in Mark 7:33. As then, so now, the Lord was pleased to work gradually and with external signs: (i) He leads the man out of the town; (ii) anoints his eyes with the moisture of His mouth; (iii) lays His hands upon him twice (Mark 8:23; Mark 8:25); (iv) inquires of the progress of his restoration.

Mark 8:23. Ἐπιλαβόμενος, taking to Him) Himself was leading the way, illustrating His great humility.—κώμης) Bethsaida is called πολις, a city, John 1:44. It was a κωμόπολις, a village-town. To the blind man, on recovering sight, the aspect of heaven and of the Divine works in nature was more joyous than that of man’s works in the village.

Verse 23. - And he took (ἐπιλαβόμενος) - literally, took hold of - the blind man by the hand, and led him - this is the rendering of ἐξήγαγεν; but a great weight of manuscript authority points to ἐξήνεγκεν as the better reading, brought him - out of the village (ἔξω τῆς κώμης). This Bethsaida was a village; but Philip had raised it to the rank of a city (πόλις), though it still seems to have retained its old appellation. Our Lord "led" or "brought" the blind man out of Beth-saida, for the same reason that he led the deaf and dumb man (Mark 7:33) away from the multitude:

(1) for the sake of prayer, that he might collect his mind, and unite himself more closely to God, and pray more intently and earnestly;

(2) that he might shun vain-glory and human praise, and teach us to shun it also. And when he had spit on his eyes - this act had a mystical meaning; it was the instrument by which his Deity operated - and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, Seest thou aught? Here were three acts -

(1) the spitting,

(2) the laying of the hands on him,

(3) the questioning of him.

We gather from ver. 25 that our Lord's hands were applied to the blind man's eyes. From the analogy of the miracle in the last chapter (Mark 7:33), we may perhaps infer that our Lord touched the man's eyes with saliva on his finger, and that the hands were withdrawn before he asked him if he saw aught. Mark 8:23Took (ἐπιλαβόμενος)

Tynd., caught.

If he saw (εἴ τι βλέπεις)

Rev., more accurately, renders the direct question: Seest thou aught ? The change of tenses is graphic. Asked (imperfect). Dost thou see (present).

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