The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Mark 7

Mar 7:1

COME... GATHERED AROUND: "Synagogued"! An official delegation, as in Mar 3:22.

Mar 7:2

FOOD: Or "bread" (AV). Cp Mt 16:16: the "leaven" of the Pharisees. Is this the bread left over from the miracle (6:43)?

Mar 7:3

CEREMONIAL: AV mg: "Diligently, in the original, with the fist: Theophylact, up to the elbow."

Mar 7:8

YOU HAVE LET GO OF THE COMMANDS OF GOD AND ARE HOLDING ON TO THE TRADITIONS OF MEN: "Most rules and traditions have their basis in a principle or a belief. For example, the rule that says we should wear safety glasses when using power tools is based on the safety principle that 'Prevention is better than cure.' The rule is good in itself, but if the principle is better served by wearing a face shield, then the rule of wearing safety glasses becomes obsolete.

"The Pharisees had made traditions and rules around the principles given in the Law of Moses. Essentially they were a hedge around the law to prevent people from breaking the law, and in a way, it worked well. But in other ways it went too far because the people lost sight of God's laws due to all the other rules they had to watch out for. Jesus said to them, 'You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.'

"We too can be governed by a multitude of rules and traditions intended to help us serve God, but which occasionally become a burden or hindrance. Our worship music, Bible version, dress code, times of meetings, order of services or layout of a plan are all things that are based on principles yet are often enforced by rules. So let us consider the principles behind the rules and re-evaluate our standing before God" (RP).

Mar 7:11

CORBAN: Selfish Jews claimed that their possessions were dedicated to God (ie Lev 1:2; 2:1; 3:1; Num 7:12-17) to avoid responsibilities of caring for parents. The corban-gift could not be taken back, or disavowed, for any reason at all!

Mark frequently uses Aramaic expressions: Boanerges (Mar 3:17), Talitha koum (Mar 5:41), Korban (Mar 7:11), Ephphatha (Mar 7:34), Rabbi (Mar 9:5; 11:21; 14:45), Bartimaeus (Mar 10:46), Abba (Mar 14:36), Golgotha (Mar 15:22), Eloi (Mar 15:34).

Mar 7:15

WHAT COMES OUT OF A MAN: Cp Deu 23:13 (where "excrement" is, lit, "that which comes out") with Mar 7:15,20,21 and Mat 15:18,19 (where sin is equated with excrement). In Deu 23 God is said to be walking in the midst of the camp (as he is in Gen 3, in the midst of the garden), and that He is too holy to look upon that which is "indecent". Could this explain, in part, the need that Adam and Eve felt to cover themselves? (Does this suggest that after their sin, for the first time, they have need to relieve themselves, and this induces shame at the indecency -- hence the need to "cover themselves": Gen 3:7?)

Mar 7:17

HIS DISCIPLES ASKED HIM ABOUT THIS PARABLE: They were unwilling to accept Christ's revolutionary teaching as literal.

Mar 7:19

THEN OUT OF HIS BODY: The food does not "defile" the man; the man "defiles" the food.

JESUS DECLARED ALL FOODS "CLEAN": What God has cleansed is not common or unclean (Act 10:9-16,28). Cp Rom 14:14; 1Co 8:8.

Mar 7:20

A statement with broad application: all poss "sin" is that (and only that) which comes out of a man's heart!

Mar 7:21

OUT OF MEN'S HEARTS: Lit, "heart". The heart, center of thoughts, not emotions. One heart for all men. All human nature is in same category.

Mar 7:22

ENVY: "An evil eye" (KJV). "When the Householder in the parable rebukes the labourers who grudge the latecomers equal pay, he says, 'Is thine eye evil, because I am good?' [Mat 20:15] Are they greedy and envious because he is generous? The evil eye results from an attachment to earthly treasure which corrupts the spirit and blinds the heart. The 'good' or 'single' eye, on the other hand, is that of the liberal man whose vision is unclouded by greed and his mind not divided by envy" (TM 210).

Mar 7:24

Christ purposefully went into lands of Gentiles, the very edge of the Jewish "table" (Mat 15:27; Mar 7:28). To get disciples away from evil influence of Pharisees (Mat 15:1; Mar 7:1)?

Mar 7:25

The only person to "best" Jesus in a battle of wits was a Gentile (not a Jew), a woman (not a man).

At Jesus' feet, the place of: rest (Luk 8:35); pardon (Luk 7:38); healing (Luk 17:16); teaching (Luk 10:39); comfort (Joh 11:32); intercession (Mar 7:25); and worship (Mat 28:9).

Mar 7:26

SYRIAN PHOENICIA: The most hated of Gentile nations -- a people whom the Jews were to exterminate (Deu 20:17). Called a woman of Canaan in Mat 15:22.

Mar 7:27

LET THE CHILDREN EAT ALL THEY WANT: Or, "first be filled" (AV). Implying others to be filled later, ie the Gentiles.

DOGS: "Kunarion", puppies, derived from "kuon", dogs. "Indeed she showed one of the best qualities of a dog, in holding on and not letting go until she got what she desired."

"The use of the noun 'kuon' in the disparaging sense in which it appears throughout the NT must be distinguished from 'kunarion', the diminutive form, which denoted the 'house dog' as distinct from the 'yard dog' or the 'dog of the streets'. Jesus referred to the 'kunarion', or house dog, in his discourse with the Gentile woman (Mat 15:26,27; Mark 7:27,28)" (EBCn).

Mar 7:28

LORD: She also called him "Son of David" (Mat 15:22).

DOGS: She accepts his judgment: she is indeed a "dog"!

THE CHILDREN'S CRUMBS: Cp baskets of fragments taken up after feeding of 5,000 (Mat 14:19-21; Mar 6:33-44; 8:19; Luk 9:10-17; Joh 6:9-13) and the 4,000 (Mat 15:32-38; Mar 8:1-9,20). Neatly suggesting the Jewish "children" are quite unappreciative of the good things they have, to let them fall as crumbs from the table. ("It is better to feed a dog than a man, because a dog is more grateful": Arabian proverb.)

Mar 7:29

One of Christ's miracles performed at a distance, all having to do with Gentiles. Foreshadows "healing" of Gentiles by preaching of gospel.

Mar 7:31

AND WENT THROUGH SIDON, DOWN TO THE SEA OF GALILEE AND INTO THE REGION OF THE DECAPOLIS: This was the area where Legion, when he had been healed, went talking about Jesus (Mark 5:20).

Mar 7:33

TOOK HIM ASIDE: Let us, like Moses, "turn aside to see this great sight" (Exo 3:3).

SPIT: Humiliation, degradation (Isa 50:6; Mar 14:65; 15:19). Also, Num 12:14; Deu 27:9; Job 30:10.

All the occasions of Jesus touching, or being touched, in the context of healing (notice that not one of them is in John's gospel): Mat 8:3,15; 9:20,21,29; 14:36; 17:7; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 3:10; 5:27,28,30,31; 6:56; 7:33; 8:22; 10:13; Luk 5:13; 6:19; 7:14,39; 8:44-47; 18:15; 22:51.

"The Lord God has given His Son the tongue of the learned that he might speak a word in season to him that is weary. Sometimes our ears are dull of hearing, and when they are we usually find that we have also an impediment in our speech. To take us away from the multitude to the isolation of a sick bed, or into that mental detachment which comes from solitude, is perhaps the only way towards healing which will give us ears to hear the joyful sound of his Gospel, and voice to speak forth his praise" (MP 204).

Mar 7:34

EPHPHATHA: Mark frequently uses Aramaic expressions: Boanerges (Mar 3:17), Talitha koum (Mar 5:41), Korban (Mar 7:11), Ephphatha (Mar 7:34), Rabbi (Mar 9:5; 11:21; 14:45), Bartimaeus (Mar 10:46), Abba (Mar 14:36), Golgotha (Mar 15:22), Eloi (Mar 15:34).

Mar 7:36

Silence was his settled policy for most of his ministry (Mat 9:30; 17:9; 12:16; Mar 1:34; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26; Luk 5:14), with one notable exception (Mar 5:19 -- Legion with his family). But in last days of ministry, a change of course (Mat 21:1-11; Joh 7:37; 9:3; 11:4). "If they whom the Lord forbade to preach him could not keep silence, what should the zeal be of those whom he has sent forth with a strict command to preach?" (WGos 352).

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