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Mark 6:1-56

Context
Rejection at Nazareth

6:1 Now 1  Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, 2  and his disciples followed him. 6:2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue. 3  Many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did he get these ideas? 4  And what is this wisdom that has been given to him? What are these miracles that are done through his hands? 6:3 Isn’t this the carpenter, the son 5  of Mary 6  and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” And so they took offense at him. 6:4 Then 7  Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, and among his relatives, and in his own house.” 6:5 He was not able to do a miracle there, except to lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6:6 And he was amazed because of their unbelief. Then 8  he went around among the villages and taught.

Sending Out the Twelve Apostles

6:7 Jesus 9  called the twelve and began to send them out two by two. He gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 10  6:8 He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff 11  – no bread, no bag, 12  no money in their belts – 6:9 and to put on sandals but not to wear two tunics. 13  6:10 He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there 14  until you leave the area. 6:11 If a place will not welcome you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off 15  your feet as a testimony against them.” 6:12 So 16  they went out and preached that all should repent. 6:13 They cast out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

The Death of John the Baptist

6:14 Now 17  King Herod 18  heard this, for Jesus’ 19  name had become known. Some 20  were saying, “John the baptizer 21  has been raised from the dead, and because of this, miraculous powers are at work in him.” 6:15 Others said, “He is Elijah.” Others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets from the past.” 6:16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised!” 6:17 For Herod himself had sent men, arrested John, and bound him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod 22  had married her. 6:18 For John had repeatedly told 23  Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 24  6:19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But 25  she could not 6:20 because Herod stood in awe of 26  John and protected him, since he knew that John 27  was a righteous and holy man. When Herod 28  heard him, he was thoroughly baffled, 29  and yet 30  he liked to listen to John. 31 

6:21 But 32  a suitable day 33  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 34  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, 35  “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” 36  6:24 So 37  she went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother 38  said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 39  6:25 Immediately she hurried back to the king and made her request: 40  “I want the head of John the Baptist on a platter immediately.” 6:26 Although it grieved the king deeply, 41  he did not want to reject her request because of his oath and his guests. 6:27 So 42  the king sent an executioner at once to bring John’s 43  head, and he went and beheaded John in prison. 6:28 He brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 6:29 When John’s 44  disciples heard this, they came and took his body and placed it in a tomb.

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

6:30 Then 45  the apostles gathered around Jesus and told him everything they had done and taught. 6:31 He said to them, “Come with me privately to an isolated place and rest a while” (for many were coming and going, and there was no time to eat). 6:32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to some remote place. 6:33 But many saw them leaving and recognized them, and they hurried on foot 46  from all the towns 47  and arrived there ahead of them. 48  6:34 As Jesus 49  came ashore 50  he saw the large crowd and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So 51  he taught them many things.

6:35 When it was already late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is an isolated place 52  and it is already very late. 6:36 Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.” 6:37 But he answered them, 53  “You 54  give them something to eat.” And they said, “Should we go and buy bread for two hundred silver coins 55  and give it to them to eat?” 6:38 He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five – and two fish.” 6:39 Then he directed them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 6:40 So they reclined in groups of hundreds and fifties. 6:41 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. He 56  gave them to his 57  disciples to serve the people, and he divided the two fish among them all. 6:42 They all ate and were satisfied, 6:43 and they picked up the broken pieces and fish that were left over, twelve baskets full. 6:44 Now 58  there were five thousand men 59  who ate the bread. 60 

Walking on Water

6:45 Immediately Jesus 61  made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dispersed the crowd. 6:46 After saying good-bye to them, he went to the mountain to pray. 6:47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea and he was alone on the land. 6:48 He 62  saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. As the night was ending, 63  he came to them walking on the sea, 64  for 65  he wanted to pass by them. 66  6:49 When they saw him walking on the water 67  they thought he was a ghost. They 68  cried out, 6:50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them: 69  “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” 6:51 Then he went up with them into the boat, and the wind ceased. They were completely astonished, 6:52 because they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

Healing the Sick

6:53 After they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret 70  and anchored there. 6:54 As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized Jesus. 71  6:55 They ran through that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever he was rumored to be. 72  6:56 And wherever he would go – into villages, towns, or countryside – they would place the sick in the marketplaces, and would ask him if 73  they could just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Mark 4:1-41

Context
The Parable of the Sower

4:1 Again he began to teach by the lake. Such a large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the lake and sat there while 74  the whole crowd was on the shore by the lake. 4:2 He taught them many things in parables, 75  and in his teaching said to them: 4:3 “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 76  4:4 And as he sowed, some seed 77  fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 4:5 Other seed fell on rocky ground 78  where it did not have much soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. 79  4:6 When the sun came up it was scorched, and because it did not have sufficient root, 80  it withered. 4:7 Other seed fell among the thorns, 81  and they grew up and choked it, 82  and it did not produce grain. 4:8 But 83  other seed fell on good soil and produced grain, sprouting and growing; some yielded thirty times as much, some sixty, and some a hundred times.” 4:9 And he said, “Whoever has ears to hear had better listen!” 84 

The Purpose of Parables

4:10 When he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 4:11 He said to them, “The secret 85  of the kingdom of God has been given 86  to you. But to those outside, everything is in parables,

4:12 so that although they look they may look but not see,

and although they hear they may hear but not understand,

so they may not repent and be forgiven. 87 

4:13 He said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? Then 88  how will you understand any parable? 4:14 The sower sows the word. 4:15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: Whenever they hear, immediately Satan 89  comes and snatches the word 90  that was sown in them. 4:16 These are the ones sown on rocky ground: As soon as they hear the word, they receive it with joy. 4:17 But 91  they have no root in themselves and do not endure. 92  Then, when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they fall away. 4:18 Others are the ones sown among thorns: They are those who hear the word, 4:19 but 93  worldly cares, the seductiveness of wealth, 94  and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, 95  and it produces nothing. 4:20 But 96  these are the ones sown on good soil: They hear the word and receive it and bear fruit, one thirty times as much, one sixty, and one a hundred.”

The Parable of the Lamp

4:21 He also said to them, “A lamp 97  isn’t brought to be put under a basket 98  or under a bed, is it? Isn’t it to be placed on a lampstand? 4:22 For nothing is hidden except to be revealed, 99  and nothing concealed except to be brought to light. 4:23 If anyone has ears to hear, he had better listen!” 100  4:24 And he said to them, “Take care about what you hear. The measure you use will be the measure you receive, 101  and more will be added to you. 4:25 For whoever has will be given more, but 102  whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” 103 

The Parable of the Growing Seed

4:26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is like someone who spreads seed on the ground. 4:27 He goes to sleep and gets up, night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 4:28 By itself the soil produces a crop, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 4:29 And when the grain is ripe, he sends in the sickle 104  because the harvest has come.” 105 

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

4:30 He also asked, “To what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to present it? 4:31 It is like a mustard seed 106  that when sown in the ground, even though it is the smallest of all the seeds in the ground – 4:32 when it is sown, it grows up, 107  becomes the greatest of all garden plants, and grows large branches so that the wild birds 108  can nest in its shade.” 109 

The Use of Parables

4:33 So 110  with many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear. 4:34 He did not speak to them without a parable. But privately he explained everything to his own disciples.

Stilling of a Storm

4:35 On that day, when evening came, Jesus 111  said to his disciples, “Let’s go across to the other side of the lake.” 112  4:36 So 113  after leaving the crowd, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat, 114  and other boats were with him. 4:37 Now 115  a great windstorm 116  developed and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was nearly swamped. 4:38 But 117  he was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. They woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?” 4:39 So 118  he got up and rebuked 119  the wind, and said to the sea, 120  “Be quiet! Calm down!” Then 121  the wind stopped, and it was dead calm. 4:40 And he said to them, “Why are you cowardly? Do you still not have faith?” 4:41 They were overwhelmed by fear and said to one another, “Who then is this? 122  Even the wind and sea obey him!” 123 

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

2 sn Jesus’ hometown (where he spent his childhood years) was Nazareth, about 20 miles (30 km) southwest of Capernaum.

3 sn See the note on synagogue in 1:21. Jesus undoubtedly took the opportunity on this occasion to speak about his person and mission, and the relation of both to OT fulfillment.

4 tn Or “this teaching”; Grk “these things.” The response of the people centers upon the content of Jesus’ teaching, so the phrase “these ideas” was supplied in the text to make this clear.

5 tc Evidently because of the possible offensiveness of designating Jesus a carpenter, several mss ([Ì45vid] Ë13 33vid [565 579] 700 [2542] pc it vgmss) harmonize the words “carpenter, the son” to the parallel passage in Matt 13:55, “the son of the carpenter.” Almost all the rest of the mss read “the carpenter, the son.” Since the explicit designation of Jesus as a carpenter is the more difficult reading, and is much better attested, it is most likely correct.

6 sn The reference to Jesus as the carpenter is probably derogatory, indicating that they knew Jesus only as a common laborer like themselves. The reference to him as the son of Mary (even though Jesus’ father was probably dead by this point) appears to be somewhat derogatory, for a man was not regarded as his mother’s son in Jewish usage unless an insult was intended (cf. Judg 11:1-2; John 6:42; 8:41; 9:29).

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

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

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

10 sn The phrase unclean spirits refers to evil spirits.

11 sn Neither Matt 10:9-10 nor Luke 9:3 allow for a staff. It might be that Matthew and Luke mean not taking an extra staff, or that the expression is merely rhetorical for “traveling light,” which has been rendered in two slightly different ways.

12 tn Or “no traveler’s bag”; or possibly “no beggar’s bag” (L&N 6.145; BDAG 811 s.v. πήρα).

13 tn Or “shirts” (a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin). The name for this garment (χιτών, citwn) presents some difficulty in translation. Most modern readers would not understand what a “tunic” was any more than they would be familiar with a “chiton.” On the other hand, attempts to find a modern equivalent are also a problem: “Shirt” conveys the idea of a much shorter garment that covers only the upper body, and “undergarment” (given the styles of modern underwear) is more misleading still. “Tunic” was therefore employed, but with a note to explain its nature.

14 sn Jesus telling his disciples to stay there in one house contrasts with the practice of religious philosophers in the ancient world who went from house to house begging.

15 sn To shake the dust off represented shaking off the uncleanness from one’s feet; see Luke 10:11; Acts 13:51; 18:6. It was a sign of rejection.

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

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

18 sn Herod was technically not a king, but a tetrarch, a ruler with rank and authority lower than a king. A tetrarch ruled only with the approval of the Roman authorities. This was roughly equivalent to being governor of a region. In the NT, Herod, who ruled over Galilee, is called a king (Matt 14:9, Mark 6:14-29), reflecting popular usage rather than an official title.

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

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

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

22 tn Grk “he”; here it is necessary to specify the referent as “Herod,” since the nearest previous antecedent in the translation is Philip.

23 tn The imperfect tense verb is here rendered with an iterative force.

24 sn It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife. This was a violation of OT law (Lev 18:16; 20:21). In addition, both Herod Antipas and Herodias had each left marriages to enter into this union.

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

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

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

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

29 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).

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

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

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

33 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.”

34 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.

35 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.

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

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

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

39 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]).

40 tn Grk “she asked, saying.” The participle λέγουσα (legousa) is redundant and has not been translated.

41 tn Grk “and being deeply grieved, the king did not want.”

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

43 tn Grk “his”; the referent (John the Baptist) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

44 tn Grk “his”; the referent (John the Baptist) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

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

46 tn Grk “ran together on foot.” The idea of συντρέχω (suntrecw) is “to come together quickly to form a crowd” (L&N 15.133).

47 tn Or “cities.”

48 tc The translation here follows the reading προῆλθον (prohlqon, “they preceded”), found in א B (0187) 892 2427 pc lat co. Some mss (D 28 33 700 pc) read συνῆλθον (sunhlqon, “arrived there with them”), while the majority of mss, most of them late (Ì84vid [A Ë13] Ï syh), conflate the two readings (προῆλθον αὐτοὺς καὶ συνῆλθον πρὸς αὐτόν, “they preceded them and came together to him”). The reading adopted here thus has better external credentials than the variants. As well, it is the harder reading internally, being changed “by copyists who thought it unlikely that the crowd on the land could have outstripped the boat” (TCGNT 78).

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

50 tn Grk “came out [of the boat],” with the reference to the boat understood.

51 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “So” to indicate this action is the result of Jesus’ compassion on the crowd in the narrative.

52 tn Or “a desert” (meaning a deserted or desolate area with sparse vegetation).

53 tn Grk “answering, he said to them.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokriqeis) is redundant, but the syntax of the sentence has been changed for clarity.

54 tn Here the pronoun ὑμεῖς (Jumeis) is used, making “you” in the translation emphatic.

55 sn The silver coin referred to here is the denarius. A denarius, inscribed with a picture of Tiberius Caesar, was worth approximately one day’s wage for a laborer. Two hundred denarii was thus approximately equal to eight months’ wages. The disciples did not have the resources in their possession to feed the large crowd, so Jesus’ request is his way of causing them to trust him as part of their growth in discipleship.

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

57 tc ‡ Most mss (Ì45 A D W Θ Ë1,13 Ï lat sy) have αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) after τοῖς μαθηταῖς (toi" maqhtai", “the disciples”), but several excellent witnesses (א B L Δ 33 579 892 1241 1424 2427 pc) lack the pronoun. This kind of variant is often a predictable expansion of the text; further, that many important mss lack the pronoun gives support for the shorter reading. For these reasons, the pronoun is considered to be secondary. NA27 puts αὐτοῦ in brackets, indicating some doubts as to its authenticity.

tn Grk “the disciples”; the Greek article has been translated here as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).

58 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate a somewhat parenthetical remark by the author.

59 tn The Greek word here is ἀνήρ, meaning “adult male” (BDAG 79 s.v. 1). According to Matt 14:21, Jesus fed not only five thousand men, but also an unspecified number of women and children.

60 tc Many good mss (Ì45 א D W Θ Ë1,13 28 565 700 2542 lat sa) lack τοὺς ἄρτους (tous artous, lit. “the loaves” [here translated “the bread”]). On the other hand, just as weighty mss (A B L 33 2427 Ï) have the words. Although a decision is not easy, the most satisfactory explanation seems to be that scribes were more prone to delete than to add the words here. They may have been puzzled as to why “the bread” should be mentioned without a corresponding mention of “fish.” Since neither Matt 14:21 or Luke 9:17 explicitly mention the bread, a desire for harmonization may have motivated the copyists as well. On the other hand, D and W are prone to longer, explanatory readings. Since they both lack the words here, it is likely that their archetypes also lacked the words. But given Mark’s pleonastic style, the good witnesses with “the bread,” and a reasonable explanation for the omission, “the bread” is most likely part of the original text of Mark.

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

62 tn This verse is one complete sentence in the Greek text, but it has been broken into two sentences in English for clarity.

63 tn Grk “about the fourth watch of the night,” between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.

64 tn Or “on the lake.”

65 tn The καί (kai) was translated so as to introduce a subordinate clause, i.e., with the use of “for.” See BDF §442.9.

66 sn The statement he wanted to pass by them is somewhat difficult to understand. There are at least two common interpretations: (1) it refers to the perspective of the disciples, that is, from their point of view it seemed that Jesus wanted to pass by them; or (2) it refers to a theophany and uses the language of the Greek Old Testament (LXX) when God “passed by” Moses at Sinai (cf. Exod 33:19, 22). According to the latter alternative, Jesus is “passing by” the disciples during their struggle, in order to assure them of his presence with them. See W L. Lane, Mark (NICNT), 236.

67 tn Grk “on the sea,” “on the lake.” The translation “water” has been used here for stylistic reasons (cf. the same phrase in v. 48).

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

69 tn Grk “he spoke with them, and said to them.”

70 sn Gennesaret was a fertile plain south of Capernaum (see also Matt 14:34). This name was also sometimes used for the Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1).

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

72 tn Grk “wherever they heard he was.”

73 tn Grk “asked that they might touch.”

74 tn Grk “and all the crowd.” The clause in this phrase, although coordinate in terms of grammar, is logically subordinate to the previous clause.

75 sn Though parables can contain a variety of figures of speech (cf. 2:19-22; 3:23-25; 4:3-9, 26-32; 7:15-17; 13:28), many times they are simply stories that attempt to teach spiritual truth (which is unknown to the hearers) by using a comparison with something known to the hearers. In general, parables usually advance a single idea, though there may be many parts and characters in a single parable and subordinate ideas may expand the main idea further. The beauty of using the parable as a teaching device is that it draws the listener into the story, elicits an evaluation, and demands a response.

76 sn A sower went out to sow. The background for this well-known parable, drawn from a typical scene in the Palestinian countryside, is a field through which a well worn path runs. Sowing would occur in late fall or early winter (October to December) in the rainy season, looking for sprouting in April or May and a June harvest. The use of seed as a figure for God’s giving life has OT roots (Isa 55:10-11). The point of the parable of the sower is to illustrate the various responses to the message of the kingdom of God (cf. 4:11).

77 tn Mark’s version of the parable, like Luke’s (cf. Luke 8:4-8), uses the collective singular to refer to the seed throughout, so singular pronouns have been used consistently throughout this parable in the English translation. However, the parallel account in Matt 13:1-9 begins with plural pronouns in v. 4 but then switches to the collective singular in v. 5 ff.

78 sn The rocky ground in Palestine would be a limestone base lying right under the soil.

79 tn Grk “it did not have enough depth of earth.”

80 tn Grk “it did not have root.”

81 sn Palestinian weeds like these thorns could grow up to six feet in height and have a major root system.

82 sn That is, crowded out the good plants.

83 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in the final stage of the parable.

84 tn The translation “had better listen!” captures the force of the third person imperative more effectively than the traditional “let him hear,” which sounds more like a permissive than an imperative to the modern English reader. This was Jesus’ common expression to listen and heed carefully (cf. Matt 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:23; Luke 8:8, 14:35).

85 tn Grk “the mystery.”

sn The key term secret (μυστήριον, musthrion) can mean either (1) a new revelation or (2) a revealing interpretation of existing revelation as in Dan 2:17-23, 27-30. Jesus seems to be explaining how current events develop old promises, since the NT consistently links the events of Jesus’ ministry and message with old promises (Rom 1:1-4; Heb 1:1-2). The traditional translation of this word, “mystery,” is misleading to the modern English reader because it suggests a secret which people have tried to uncover but which they have failed to understand (L&N 28.77).

86 tn This is an example of a “divine passive,” with God understood to be the source of the revelation (see ExSyn 437-38).

87 sn A quotation from Isa 6:9-10. Thus parables both conceal or reveal depending on whether one is open to hearing what they teach.

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

89 sn Interestingly, the synoptic parallels each use a different word for Satan here: Matt 13:19 has “the evil one,” while Luke 8:12 has “the devil.” This illustrates the fluidity of the gospel tradition in often using synonyms at the same point of the parallel tradition.

90 sn The word of Jesus has the potential to save if it germinates in a person’s heart, something the devil is very much against.

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

92 tn Grk “are temporary.”

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

94 tn Grk “the deceitfulness of riches.” Cf. BDAG 99 s.v. ἀπάτη 1, “the seduction which comes from wealth.”

95 sn That is, their concern for spiritual things is crowded out by material things.

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

97 sn The lamp is probably an ancient oil burning lamp or perhaps a candlestick. Jesus is comparing revelation to light, particularly the revelation of his ministry.

98 tn Or “a bowl”; this refers to any container for dry material of about eight liters (two gallons) capacity. It could be translated “basket, box, bowl” (L&N 6.151).

99 tn Or “disclosed.”

100 tn The translation “had better listen!” captures the force of the third person imperative more effectively than the traditional “let him hear,” which sounds more like a permissive than an imperative to the modern English reader. This was Jesus’ common expression to listen and heed carefully (cf. Matt 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8, 14:35).

101 tn Grk “by [the measure] with which you measure it will be measured to you.”

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

103 sn What he has will be taken from him. The meaning is that the one who accepts Jesus’ teaching concerning his person and the kingdom will receive a share in the kingdom now and even more in the future, but for the one who rejects Jesus’ words, the opportunity that that person presently possesses with respect to the kingdom will someday be taken away forever.

104 tn The Greek word εὐθύς (euqus, often translated “immediately” or “right away”) has not been translated here. It sometimes occurs with a weakened, inferential use (BDAG 406 s.v. 2), not contributing significantly to the flow of the narrative. For further discussion, see R. J. Decker, Temporal Deixis of the Greek Verb in the Gospel of Mark with Reference to Verbal Aspect (SBG 10), 73-77.

105 sn Because the harvest has come. This parable is found only in Mark (cf. Matt 13:24-30) and presents a complete picture of the coming of God’s kingdom: (1) sowing; (2) growth; (3) harvest. Some understand the parable as a reference to evangelism. While this is certainly involved, it does not seem to be the central idea. In contrast to the parable of the sower which emphasizes the quality of the different soils, this parable emphasizes the power of the seed to cause growth (with the clear implication that the mysterious growth of the kingdom is accomplished by God), apart from human understanding and observation.

106 sn Mustard seeds are known for their tiny size.

107 tn Mark 4:31-32 is fairly awkward in Greek. Literally the sentence reads as follows: “As a mustard seed, which when sown in the earth, being the smallest of all the seeds in the earth, and when it is sown, it grows up…” The structure has been rendered in more idiomatic English, although some of the awkward structure has been retained for rhetorical effect.

108 tn Grk “the birds of the sky” or “the birds of the heaven”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated either “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context. The idiomatic expression “birds of the sky” refers to wild birds as opposed to domesticated fowl (cf. BDAG 809 s.v. πετεινόν).

109 sn The point of the parable seems to be that while the kingdom of God may appear to have insignificant and unnoticeable beginnings (i.e., in the ministry of Jesus), it will someday (i.e., at the second advent) be great and quite expansive. The kingdom, however, is not to be equated with the church, but rather the church is an expression of the kingdom. Also, there is important OT background in the image of the mustard seed that grew and became a tree: Ezek 17:22-24 pictures the reemergence of the Davidic house where people can find calm and shelter. Like the mustard seed, it would start out small but grow to significant size.

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

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

112 tn The phrase “of the lake” is not in the Greek text but is clearly implied; it has been supplied here for clarity.

113 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the response to Jesus’ request.

114 tn It is possible that this prepositional phrase modifies “as he was,” not “they took him along.” The meaning would then be “they took him along in the boat in which he was already sitting” (see 4:1).

sn A boat that held all the disciples would be of significant size.

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

116 tn Or “a squall.”

sn The Sea of Galilee is located in a depression some 700 ft (200 m) below sea level and is surrounded by hills. Frequently a rush of wind and the right mix of temperatures can cause a storm to come suddenly on the lake. Storms on the Sea of Galilee were known for their suddenness and violence.

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

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

119 tn Or “commanded” (often with the implication of a threat, L&N 33.331).

120 sn Who has authority over the seas and winds is discussed in the OT: Ps 104:3; 135:7; 107:23-30. When Jesus rebuked the wind and the sea he was making a statement about who he was.

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

122 sn Jesus’ authority over creation raised a question for the disciples about who he was exactly (Who then is this?). This verse shows that the disciples followed Jesus even though they did not know all about him yet.

123 sn This section in Mark (4:35-5:43) contains four miracles: (1) the calming of the storm; (2) the exorcism of the demon-possessed man; (3) the giving of life to Jairus’ daughter; (4) the healing of the woman hemorrhaging for twelve years. All these miracles demonstrate Jesus’ right to proclaim the kingdom message and his sovereign authority over forces, directly or indirectly, hostile to the kingdom. The last three may have been brought together to show that Jesus had power over all defilement, since contact with graves, blood, or a corpse was regarded under Jewish law as causing a state of ritual uncleanness.



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