7:3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they perform a ritual washing, 1 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. 2 ) 3
1 tn Grk “except they wash the hands with a fist,” a ceremonial washing (though the actual method is uncertain).
2 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.
3 sn Verses 3-4 represent parenthetical remarks by the author, giving background information.