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Mark 7

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Breaking Human Traditions

7:1 Now 1  the Pharisees 2  and some of the experts in the law 3  who came from Jerusalem 4  gathered around him. 7:2 And they saw that some of Jesus’ disciples ate their bread with unclean hands, that is, unwashed. 7:3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they perform a ritual washing, 5  holding fast to the tradition of the elders. 7:4 And when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. They hold fast to many other traditions: the washing of cups, pots, kettles, and dining couches. 6 ) 7  7:5 The Pharisees and the experts in the law asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat 8  with unwashed hands?” 7:6 He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,

but their heart 9  is far from me.

7:7 They worship me in vain,

teaching as doctrine the commandments of men. 10 

7:8 Having no regard 11  for the command of God, you hold fast to human tradition.” 12  7:9 He also said to them, “You neatly reject the commandment of God in order to set up 13  your tradition. 7:10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ 14  and, ‘Whoever insults his father or mother must be put to death. 15  7:11 But you say that if anyone tells his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you would have received from me is corban 16  (that is, a gift for God), 7:12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother. 7:13 Thus you nullify 17  the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like this.”

7:14 Then 18  he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand. 7:15 There is nothing outside of a person that can defile him by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles him.”

7:16 [[EMPTY]] 19 

7:17 Now 20  when Jesus 21  had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. 7:18 He said to them, “Are you so foolish? Don’t you understand that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him? 7:19 For it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and then goes out into the sewer.” 22  (This means all foods are clean.) 23  7:20 He said, “What comes out of a person defiles him. 7:21 For from within, out of the human heart, come evil ideas, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 7:22 adultery, greed, evil, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, pride, and folly. 7:23 All these evils come from within and defile a person.”

A Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith

7:24 After Jesus 24  left there, he went to the region of Tyre. 25  When he went into a house, he did not want anyone to know, but 26  he was not able to escape notice. 7:25 Instead, a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit 27  immediately heard about him and came and fell at his feet. 7:26 The woman was a Greek, of Syrophoenician origin. She 28  asked him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 7:27 He said to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and to throw it to the dogs.” 29  7:28 She answered, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 7:29 Then 30  he said to her, “Because you said this, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.” 7:30 She went home and found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Healing a Deaf Mute

7:31 Then 31  Jesus 32  went out again from the region of Tyre 33  and came through Sidon 34  to the Sea of Galilee in the region of the Decapolis. 35  7:32 They brought to him a deaf man who had difficulty speaking, and they asked him to place his hands on him. 7:33 After Jesus 36  took him aside privately, away from the crowd, he put his fingers in the man’s 37  ears, and after spitting, he touched his tongue. 38  7:34 Then 39  he looked up to heaven and said with a sigh, “Ephphatha” (that is, “Be opened”). 40  7:35 And immediately the man’s 41  ears were opened, his tongue loosened, and he spoke plainly. 7:36 Jesus ordered them not to tell anything. But as much as he ordered them not to do this, they proclaimed it all the more. 42  7:37 People were completely astounded and said, “He has done everything well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

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1 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

2 sn See the note on Pharisees in 2:16.

3 tn Or “and some of the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 1:22.

4 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

5 tn Grk “except they wash the hands with a fist,” a ceremonial washing (though the actual method is uncertain).

6 tc Several important witnesses (Ì45vid א B L Δ 28* pc) lack “and dining couches” (καὶ κλινῶν, kai klinwn), while the majority of mss (A D W Θ Ë1,13 33 Ï latt) have the reading. Although normally the shorter reading is to be preferred, especially when it is backed by excellent witnesses as in this case, there are some good reasons to consider καὶ κλινῶν as authentic: (1) Although the addition of κλινῶν could be seen as motivated by a general assimilation to the purity regulations in Lev 15 (as some have argued), there are three problems with such a supposition: (a) the word κλίνη (klinh) does not occur in the LXX of Lev 15; (b) nowhere in Lev 15 is the furniture washed or sprinkled; and (c) the context of Lev 15 is about sexual impurity, while the most recent evidence suggests that κλίνη in Mark 7:4, in keeping with the other terms used here, refers to a dining couch (cf. BDAG 549 s.v. κλίνη 2). Thus, it is difficult to see καὶ κλινῶν as a motivated reading. (2) κλίνη, though a relatively rare term in the NT, is in keeping with Markan usage (cf. Mark 4:21; 7:30). (3) The phrase could have been dropped accidentally, at least in some cases, via homoioteleuton. (4) The phrase may have been deliberately expunged by some scribes who thought the imagery of washing a dining couch quite odd. The longer reading, in this case, can thus be argued as the harder reading. On balance, even though a decision is difficult (especially because of the weighty external evidence for the shorter reading), it is preferable to retain καὶ κλινῶν in the text.

7 sn Verses 3-4 represent parenthetical remarks by the author, giving background information.

8 tn Grk “eat bread.”

9 tn The term “heart” is a collective singular in the Greek text.

10 sn A quotation from Isa 29:13.

11 tn Grk “Having left the command.”

12 tc The majority of mss, mostly Byzantine ([A] Ë13 33 Ï), have at the end of v. 8 material that seems to have come from v. 4 and v. 13: “the washing of pots and cups, and you do many other similar things.” A slight variation on the wording occurs at the very beginning of v. 8 in mostly Western witnesses (D Θ 0131vid 28 565 it). Such floating texts are usually signs of scribal emendations. The fact that the earliest and most reliable mss, as well as other important witnesses (Ì45 א B L W Δ 0274 Ë1 2427 co), lacked this material also strongly suggests that the longer reading is secondary.

13 tc The translation here follows the reading στήσητε (sthshte, “set up”) found in D W Θ Ë1 28 565 2542 it sys,p Cyp. The majority of mss here read τηρήσητε (thrhsete; א A L Ë13 33 Ï co) or τηρῆτε (thrhte; B 2427), both translated “keep.” It is hard to know which reading is best: On the one hand, τηρήσητε/τηρῆτε has much stronger external support, but στήσητε is a more difficult reading. What makes “keep” suspect is that it appears in two different forms, suggesting independent alterations of a difficult reading. Further, scribes may have been influenced by the preceding “commandment of God” to change the text toward “keep” (TCGNT 81), a common enough expression (cf. Matt 19:17; John 14:15; 1 Tim 6:1; 1 John 5:3; Rev 14:12). Thus, the more difficult reading is “set up.” Also, the more natural opposite of “reject” (ἀθεῖτε [aqeite], literally “you set aside”) is “set up.” However, the Western reading may have been influenced by Exod 6:4 or Heb 10:9, but this likelihood seems remote. Thus, “set up” is more likely to be the original wording of Mark here.

14 sn A quotation from Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16.

15 sn A quotation from Exod 21:17; Lev 20:9.

16 sn Corban is a Hebrew loanword (transliterated in the Greek text and in most modern English translations) referring to something that has been set aside as a gift to be given to God at some later date, but which is still in the possession of the owner (L&N 53.22). According to contemporary Jewish tradition the person who made this claim was absolved from responsibility to support or assist his parents, a clear violation of the Mosaic law to honor one’s parents (v. 10).

17 tn Grk “nullifying.” This participle shows the results of the Pharisees’ command.

18 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

19 tc Most later mss add 7:16 “Let anyone with ears to hear, listen.” This verse is included in A D W Θ Ë1,13 33 Ï latt sy, but is lacking in important Alexandrian mss and a few others (א B L Δ* 0274 28 2427). It appears to be a scribal gloss (see 4:9 and 4:23), perhaps introduced as a reiteration of the thought in 7:14, and is almost certainly not an original part of the Greek text of Mark. The present translation follows NA27 in omitting the verse number, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.

20 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

21 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

22 tn Or “into the latrine.”

23 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

24 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

25 tc Most mss, including early and important witnesses (א A B Ë1,13 33 2427 Ï lat), have here καὶ Σιδῶνος (kai Sidwno", “and Sidon”). The Western text, as well as several other important mss (D L W Δ Θ 28 565 it), lack the words. Although the external evidence is on the side of inclusion, it is difficult to explain why scribes would omit the mention of Sidon. On the other hand, the parallels in v. 31 and Matt 15:21 would be sufficient motivation for scribes to add Sidon here. Furthermore, every other mention of Tyre in the Gospels is accompanied by Sidon, putting pressure on scribes to conform this text as well. The shorter reading therefore, though without compelling external evidence on its side, is strongly supported by internal evidence, rendering judgment on its authenticity fairly certain.

map For location see Map1-A2; Map2-G2; Map4-A1; JP3-F3; JP4-F3.

26 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.

27 sn Unclean spirit refers to an evil spirit.

28 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

29 tn Or “lap dogs, house dogs,” as opposed to dogs on the street. The diminutive form originally referred to puppies or little dogs, then to house pets. In some Hellenistic uses κυνάριον (kunarion) simply means “dog.”

sn The term dogs does not refer to wild dogs (scavenging animals roaming around the countryside) in this context, but to small dogs taken in as house pets. It is thus not a derogatory term per se, but is instead intended by Jesus to indicate the privileged position of the Jews (especially his disciples) as the initial recipients of Jesus’ ministry. The woman’s response of faith and her willingness to accept whatever Jesus would offer pleased him to such an extent that he granted her request. This is the only miracle mentioned in Mark that Jesus performed at a distance without ever having seen the afflicted person, or issuing some sort of audible command.

30 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

31 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

32 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

33 map For location see Map1 A2; Map2 G2; Map4 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

34 map For location see Map1 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

35 sn The Decapolis refers to a league of towns (originally consisting of ten; the Greek name literally means “ten towns”) whose region (except for Scythopolis) lay across the Jordan River.

36 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

37 tn Grk “his”; the referent (the deaf man) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

38 sn After spitting, he touched his tongue. It was not uncommon in Judaism of the day to associate curative powers with a person’s saliva. The scene as a whole reflects Jesus’ willingness to get close to people and have physical contact with them where appropriate. See W. L. Lane, Mark (NICNT), 267 n. 78.

39 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

40 sn The author’s parenthetical note gives the meaning of the Aramaic word Ephphatha.

41 tn Grk “his”; the referent (the man who had been a deaf mute) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

42 tn Grk “but as much as he ordered them, these rather so much more proclaimed.” Greek tends to omit direct objects when they are clear from the context, but these usually need to be supplied for the modern English reader. Here what Jesus ordered has been clarified (“ordered them not to do this”), and the pronoun “it” has been supplied after “proclaimed.”



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