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Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, [1831], at

Mark Chapter 3


mar 3:0

The man with the withered hand healed, Mar 3:1-5. The Pharisees plot our Lord's destruction, Mar 3:6. Christ withdraws, and is followed by a great multitude, Mar 3:7-9. He heals many, and goes to a mountain to pray, Mar 3:10-13. He ordains twelve disciples, and, gives them power to preach and work miracles, Mar 3:14, Mar 3:15. Their names, Mar 3:16-19. The multitudes throng him, and the scribes attribute his miracles to Beelzebub, Mar 3:20-22. He vindicates himself by a parable, Mar 3:23-27. Of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, Mar 3:28-30. His mother and brethren send for him, Mar 3:31, Mar 3:32. And he takes occasion from this to show, that they who do the will of God are to him as his brother, sister, and mother, Mar 3:33-35.

Mark 3:1

mar 3:1

A man there which had a withered hand - See this explained on Mat 12:10 (note), etc., and on Luk 6:6, Luk 6:10 (note).

Mark 3:2

mar 3:2

They watched him - Παρετηρουν αυτον, they maliciously watched him. See on Luk 14:1 (note).

Mark 3:4

mar 3:4

To do good - or - evil? to save life, or to kill? - It was a maxim with the Jews, as it should be with all men, that he who neglected to preserve life when it was in his power, was to be reputed a murderer. Every principle of sound justice requires that he should be considered in this light. But, if this be the case, how many murderers are there against whom there is no law but the law of God!

To kill - but instead of αποκτειναι, several MSS. and versions have απολεσαι to destroy. Wetstein and Griesbach quote Theophylact for this reading; but it is not in my copy. Paris edit. 1635.

Mark 3:5

mar 3:5

With anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts - These words are not found in any of the other evangelists. For πωρωσει hardness, or rather callousness, the Codex Bezae, and four of the Itala, read νεκρωσει, deadness; the Vulgate and some of the Itala, caecitate, blindness. Join all these together, and they will scarcely express the fullness of this people's wretchedness. By a long resistance to the grace and Spirit of God, their hearts had become callous; they were past feeling. By a long opposition to the light of God, they became dark in their understanding, were blinded by the deceitfulness of sin, and thus were past seeing. By a long continuance in the practice of every evil work, they were cut off from all union with God, the fountain of spiritual life; and, becoming dead in trespasses and sins, they were incapable of any resurrection but through a miraculous power of God.

With anger. What was the anger which our Lord felt? That which proceeded from excessive grief, which was occasioned by their obstinate stupidity and blindness: therefore it was no uneasy passion, but an excess of generous grief.

Whole as the other - This is omitted by the best MSS. and versions.

Grotius, Mill, and Bengel approve of the omission, and Griesbach leaves it out of the text.

Mark 3:6

mar 3:6

Herodians - For an account of these, see the note on Mat 16:1; Mat 22:16.

Mark 3:7

mar 3:7

Galilee - See Mat 4:13, Mat 4:15.

Mark 3:8

mar 3:8

Tyre - Sidon, etc. - See Mat 11:21.

When they had heard what great things he did, came unto him - So, if Christ be persecuted and abandoned by the wicked, there are a multitude of pious souls who earnestly seek and follow him. He who labors for God will always find more than he loses, in the midst of all his contradictions and persecutions.

Mark 3:9

mar 3:9

A small ship - Πλοιαριον. The lytil boot, Old English MS. It was doubtless something of the boat kind, which probably belonged to some of the disciples. Our Lord was at this time teaching by the sea of Galilee. The word ship is utterly improper in many places of our translation, and tends to mislead the people.

Mark 3:10

mar 3:10

They pressed upon him - Rushed upon him, επιπιπτειν - through eagerness to have their spiritual and bodily maladies immediately removed.

Plagues - Rather disorders, μαϚιγας; properly such disorders as were inflicted by the Lord. The word plague also tends to mislead.

Mark 3:11

mar 3:11

Thou art the Son of God - Two MSS., and the later Syriac, have, Thou art the Christ, the Son of God. One of Stephens's MSS. has, Thou art the Holy One of God. A MS. in the library of Leicester has, συ ει ὁ Θεος, υἱος, Thou art God, the Son. This is an uncommon reading, which is not confirmed by any MS. yet discovered.

Mark 3:14

mar 3:14

He ordained twelve - Εποιησε, he made twelve. Here is nothing of what we call ordaining. Christ simply appointed them to be with him; and that he might send them occasionally to preach, etc.

To preach - The Codex Bezae, Saxon, and all the Itala, except one, add το ευαγγελιον, the Gospel.

Mark 3:15

mar 3:15

To have power to heal - and to cast out devils - The business of a minister of Christ is,

1st. To preach the Gospel.

2dly. To be the physician of souls. And,

3dly. To wage war with the devil, and destroy his kingdom.

Mark 3:16

mar 3:16

Simon, etc. - See on Mat 10:2 (note), etc.

Mark 3:17

mar 3:17

Sons of thunder - A Hebraism for thunderers; probably so named because of their zeal and power in preaching the Gospel.

The term Boanerges is neither Hebrew nor Syriac. Calmet and others think that there is reason to believe that the Greek transcribers have not copied it exactly. בני רעם beney raam, which the ancient Greeks would pronounce Beneregem, and which means sons of thunder, was probably the appellative used by our Lord: or בני רעש beni reges, sons of tempest, which comes nearest to the Boanerges of the evangelist. St. Jerome, on Daniel 1, gives בני רעם (which he writes Benereem, softening the sound of the ע ain) as the more likely reading, and Luther, supposing our Lord spoke in Hebrew, gives the proper Hebrew term above mentioned, which he writes Bnehargem. Some think that the reason why our Lord gave this appellative to the sons of Zebedee was, their desire to bring fire down from heaven, i.e. a storm of thunder and lightning, to overturn and consume a certain Samaritan village, the inhabitants of which would not receive their Master. See the account in Luk 9:53, Luk 9:54 (note). It was a very usual thing among the Jews to give surnames, which signified some particular quality or excellence, to their rabbins. See several instances in Schoettgen.

Mark 3:19

mar 3:19

Into a house - As Christ was now returned to Capernaum, this was probably the house of Peter, mentioned Mar 2:1.

Mark 3:20

mar 3:20

Eat bread - Had no time to take any necessary refreshment.

Mark 3:21

mar 3:21

His friends - Or, relations. On this verse several MSS. differ considerably. I have followed the reading of the Syriac, because I think it the best: οἱ παρ' αυτου signify merely his relatives, his brethren, etc., see Mar 3:31; and the phrase is used by the best writers to signify relatives, companions, and domestics. See Kypke in loc.

They said, He is beside himself - It was the enemies of Christ that raised this report; and his relatives, probably thinking that it was true, went to confine him. Let a Christian but neglect the care of his body for a time, in striving to enter in at the strait gate; let a minister of Christ but impair his health by his pastoral labors; presently "he is distracted;" he has "not the least conduct nor discretion." But let a man forget his soul, let him destroy his health by debaucheries, let him expose his life through ambition, and he may, notwithstanding, pass for a very prudent and sensible man!

Schoettgen contends that the multitude, and not Christ, is here intended. Christ was in the house: the multitude, οχλος, Mar 3:20, pressed upon him so that he could not eat bread. His disciples, or friends, went out, κρατησαι αυτον (scil. οχλον), to restrain it, viz. the multitude, to prevent them from rushing into the house and disturbing their Master, who was now taking some refreshment. This conjecture should not be lightly regarded.

Mark 3:22

mar 3:22

He hath Beelzebub - See on Mat 12:24-26 (note).

Mark 3:27

mar 3:27

No man, etc. - For an explanation of these verses, and a definition of the sin against the Holy Ghost, see Mat 12:29-33.

Mark 3:31

mar 3:31

His brethren and his mother - Or rather, his mother and his brethren. This is the arrangement of the best and most ancient MSS.; and this clause, και αἱ αδελφαι σου, and thy sisters, Mar 3:32, should be Added, on the authority of ADEFGMSUV, fifty-five others, some editions, the margin of the later Syriac, Slavonic, Gothic, and all the Itala except four. Griesbach has received this reading into the text.

Calling him - This clause is wanting in one copy of the Itala. The Codex Alexandrinus has ζητουντες αυτον, seeking him.

Mark 3:33

mar 3:33

Who is my mother? - See on Mat 12:46-50 (note).

Next: Mark Chapter 4