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Mark 6:19-24

Context
6:19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But 1  she could not 6:20 because Herod stood in awe of 2  John and protected him, since he knew that John 3  was a righteous and holy man. When Herod 4  heard him, he was thoroughly baffled, 5  and yet 6  he liked to listen to John. 7 

6:21 But 8  a suitable day 9  came, when Herod gave a banquet on his birthday for his court officials, military commanders, and leaders of Galilee. 6:22 When his daughter Herodias 10  came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” 6:23 He swore to her, 11  “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” 12  6:24 So 13  she went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother 14  said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 15 

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

2 tn Grk “was fearing,” “was respecting”; the imperfect tense connotes an ongoing fear or respect for John.

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

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

5 tc In place of ἠπόρει (hporei, “he was baffled”) the majority of mss (A C D Ë1 33 Ï lat sy) have ἐποίει (epoiei, “he did”; cf. KJV’s “he did many things.”) The best mss (א B L [W] Θ 2427 co) support the reading followed in the translation. The variation may be no more than a simple case of confusion of letters, since the two readings look very much alike. The verb ποιέω (poiew, “I do”) certainly occurs more frequently than ἀπορέω (aporew, “I am at a loss”), so a scribe would be more likely to write a more familiar word. Further, even though the reading ἐποίει is the harder reading in terms of the sense, it is virtually nonsensical here, rendering it most likely an unintentional corruption.

tn Or “terribly disturbed,” “rather perplexed.” The verb ἀπορέω (aporew) means “to be in perplexity, with the implication of serious anxiety” (L&N 32.9).

6 tn Grk “and.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “and yet” to indicate the concessive nature of the final clause.

7 tn Grk “him”; the referent (John) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

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

9 tn Grk “a day of opportunity”; cf. BDAG 407 s.v. εὔκαιρος, “in our lit. only pert. to time than is considered a favorable occasion for some event or circumstance, well-timed, suitable.”

10 tc Behind “his daughter Herodias” is a most difficult textual problem. The reading adopted in the translation, τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτοῦ ῾Ηρῳδιάδος (th" qugatro" aujtou Jerwdiado"), is supported by א B D L Δ 565 pc; it is also the most difficult reading internally since it describes Herodias as Herod’s daughter. Other readings are less awkward, but they do not have adequate external support. The reading τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτῆς τῆς ῾Ηρῳδιάδος (th" qugatro" auth" th" &erwdiado", “the daughter of Herodias herself”) is supported by A C (W) Θ Ë13 33 Ï, but this is also grammatically awkward. The easiest reading, τῆς θυγατρὸς τῆς ῾Ηρῳδιάδος (“the daughter of Herodias”) is supported by Ë1 pc, but this reading probably arose from an accidental omission of αὐτῆς in the previous reading. The reading τῆς θυγατρὸς αὐτοῦ ῾Ηρῳδιάδος, despite its historical difficulties, is most likely original due to external attestation and the fact that it most likely gave rise to the other readings as scribes sought to correct it.

11 tc ‡ The witnesses here support several different readings: αὐτῇ πολλά (auth polla, “to her insistently”) is found in D Θ 565 700 it; πολλά is the reading of Ì45vid 28; both words are lacking in L pc; and א A B C2vid Ë13 33 2427 Ï lat have just αὐτῇ. The best candidates for authenticity, on external grounds, are αὐτῇ πολλά and αὐτῇ. So the issue revolves around whether πολλά is part of the text. On the one hand, πολλά used adverbially is a distinctive Markanism (10 of the 16 NT instances are found in Mark; of the other Gospels, Matthew alone adds a single example [Matt 9:14]). It could be argued that such an unremarkable term would go unnoticed by the scribes, and consequently would not have been inserted in imitation of Mark’s style observed elsewhere. On the other hand, the largest cluster of instances of an adverbial πολλά are in Mark 5-6, with the most recent example coming just three verses earlier (Mark 5:23, 38, 43; 6:20). Scribes may well have imitated the usage so recently and so frequently seen. Further, the best Alexandrian witnesses, as well as good representatives of the Western and Byzantines texts, lack πολλά. On the whole, though a decision is difficult, it is probably best to read the text without πολλά. NA27 places the word in brackets, indicating some doubt as to its authenticity.

12 sn The expression up to half my kingdom is a proverbial comment meaning “great wealth.”

13 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.

14 tn Grk “She said”; the referent (the girl’s mother) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

15 tn While Matthew and Luke consistently use the noun βαπτίστης (baptisths, “the Baptist”) to refer to John, as a kind of a title, Mark employs the substantival participle ὁ βαπτίζων (Jo baptizwn, “the one who baptizes, the baptizer”) to describe him (though twice he does use the noun [Mark 6:25; 8:28]).



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