Vincent's Word Studies
And again he entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
It was noised (ἠκούσθη)
Lit., it was heard.
That he was in the house (ὅτι εἰς οἶκόν ἐστιν)
The ὅτι, that, is recitative, introducing the report in the direct form. It was reported - he is in the house! The preposition in is literally into, carrying the idea of the motion preceding the stay in the house. "He has gone into the house, and is there." But the best texts read ἐν οἴκῳ in the house. The account of this rumor is peculiar to Mark.
He preached (ἐλάλει)
Lit., spake, as Rev. Imperfect tense. He was speaking when the occurrence which follows took place.
And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
Borne of four
A detail peculiar to Mark.
And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
Come nigh unto him (προσεγγίσαι)
The word does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. But some read προσενέγκαι, bring him unto him. So Rev., in margin.
They uncovered (ἀπεστέγασαν)
The only use of the word in New Testament.
Broken it up (ἐξορύξαντες)
Lit., scooped it out. Very graphic and true to fact. A modern roof would be untiled or unshingled; but an oriental roof would have to be dug to make such an opening as was required. A composition of mortar, tar, ashes, and sand is spread upon the roofs, and rolled hard, and grass grows in the crevices. On the houses of the poor in the country the grass grows more freely, and goats may be seen on the roofs cropping it. In some cases, as in this, stone slabs are laid across the joists. See Luke 5:19, where it is said they let him down through the tiles; so that they would be obliged, not only to dig through the grass and earth, but also to pry up the tiles. Compare Psalm 129:6.
The bed (κράβαττον)
One of Mark's Latin words, grabatus, and condemned by the grammarians as inelegant. A rude pallet, merely a thickly padded quilt or mat, held at the corners, and requiring no cords to let it down. They could easily reach the roof by the steps on the outside, as the roof is low; or they could have gone into an adjoining house and passed along the roofs. Some suppose that the crowd was assembled in an upper chamber, which sometimes extended over the whole area of the house. It is not possible accurately to reproduce the details of the scene. Dr. Thomson says that Jesus probably stood in the lewan or reception-room, a hall which is entered from the court or street by an open arch; or he may have taken his stand in the covered court in front of the house itself, Which usually has open arches on three sides, and the crowd was around and in front of him.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
The word dialogue is derived from this, and the meaning literally is, that they held a dialogue with themselves.
Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
The preposition ἐπί gives the force of fully. He was not only immediately aware of their thought, but clearly and fully aware.
Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
Lit., walk about.
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
or better, authority, as Rev., in margin. The word is derived from ἔξεστι, it is permitted or lawful. It combines the ideas of right and might. Authority or right is the dominant meaning in the New Testament.
I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.
Resorted - taught (ἤρχετο - ἐδίδασκεν)
The imperfects are graphic - kept coming, kept teaching.
And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
See on Matthew 9:9.
And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
Levi's. See Luke 5:29.
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
Scribes and Pharisees
But the best texts read γραμματεῖς τῶν Φαρισαίων, scribes of the Pharisees. So Rev. Scribes belonging to the sect of the Pharisees. They had followed him into the hall where the company were seated. This hall answered to the k)ha3wah of Arabian houses, which is thus described by William Gifford Palgrave: "The k)ha4wah was a long, oblong hall about twenty feet in height, fifty in length, and sixteen or thereabouts in breadth. The walls were covered in a rudely decorative manner with brown and white wash, and sunk here and there into small triangular recesses, destined to the reception of books, lamps, and other such like objects. The roof was of timber, and fiat; the floor was strewn with fine, clean sand, and garnished all round alongside of the walls with long strips of carpet, upon which cushions, covered with faded silk, were disposed at suitable intervals. In poorer houses, felt rugs usually take the place of carpets" ("Central and Eastern Arabia").
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
They that are whole (οἱ ἰσχύοντες)
The Greek order throws the emphasis on these words: No need have they that are strong of a physician. Wyc., Whole men have no need to a leech, but they that have evil.
And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
And of the Pharisees
But the of is wrong. Read as Rev., John's disciples and the Pharisees.
Used to fast (ἦσαν νηστεύοντες)
The A. V. refers to the fact as a custom; but Mark means that they were observing a fast at that time. Hence the use of the participle with the finite verb. Rev., correctly, were fasting. The threefold repetition of the word.fast is characteristic of Mark. See Introduction.
And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
Children of the bride-chamber (υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος)
More correctly as Rev., sons. It is noteworthy that Christ twice uses a figure drawn from marriage in his allusions to John the Baptist, the ascetic. Compare John 3:29. The sons of the bride-chamber are different from the groomsmen. They are the guests invited to the bridal. The scene is laid in Galilee, where groomsmen were not customary, as in Judaea. Hence there is no mention of them in the account of the marriage at Cana. In Judaea there were at every marriage two groomsmen or friends of the bridegroom. See on John 3:29.
But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
Then - in those days
The proper reading is ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, in that day. So Rev. Another of Mark's double expressions: then - in that day.
No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.
And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
He went (αὐτὸν παραπορεύεσθαι)
Lit., went along beside, along the stretches of standing grain. Matthew and Luke use διά, through, as Mark does, but not παρά.
Began, as they went, to pluck (ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν τίλλοντες)
Lit., began to make a way plucking the ears. This does not mean that the disciples broke a way for themselves through the standing corn by plucking the ears, for in that event they would have been compelled to break down the stalks. The:), could not have made a way by plucking the heads of the grain. Mark, who uses Latin forms, probably adopted here the phrase iter facere, to make a way, which is simply to go. The same idiom occurs in the Septuagint, Judges 17:8; ποιῆσαι ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ, as he journeyed. The offence given the Pharisees was the preparation, of food on the Sabbath. Matthew says to eat, stating the motive, and Luke, rubbing with their hands, describing the act. See on Matthew 12:2.. The Rev. rightly retains the rendering of the A. V.
And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
Mark adds this to the was an hungered, which is in both Matthew and Luke. The analogy lay in the necessity. The had need is generic; the was hungry is specific, describing the peculiar character of the need.
How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
The shewbread (τοὺς ἄρτους τῆς προθέσεως)
Lit., the loaves of proposition, i.e., the loaves which were set forth before the Lord. The Jews called them the loaves of the face, i.e., of the presence of God. The bread was made of the finest wheaten flour that had been passed through eleven sieves. There were twelve loaves, or cakes, according to the number of tribes, ranged in two piles of six each. Each cake was made of about five pints of wheat. They were anointed in the middle with oil, in the form of a cross. According to tradition, each cake was five hand-breadths broad and ten long, but turned up at either end, two hand-breadths on each side, to resemble in outline the ark of the covenant. The shewbread was prepared on Friday, unless that day happened to be a feast-day that required sabbatical rest; in which case it was prepared on Thursday afternoon. The renewal of the shewbread was the first of the priestly functions on the commencement of the Sabbath. The bread which was taken off was deposited on the golden table in the porch of the sanctuary, and distributed among the outgoing and incoming courses of priests (compare save for the priests). It was eaten during the Sabbath, and in the temple itself, but only by such priests as were Levitically pure. This old bread, removed on the Sabbath morning, was that which David ate.
And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
For man (διά)
On account of, or for the sake of. This saying is given by Mark only.
Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.