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Mark 9:17-27

Context
9:17 A member of the crowd said to him, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that makes him mute. 9:18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to cast it out, but 1  they were not able to do so.” 2  9:19 He answered them, 3  “You 4  unbelieving 5  generation! How much longer 6  must I be with you? How much longer must I endure 7  you? 8  Bring him to me.” 9:20 So they brought the boy 9  to him. When the spirit saw him, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He 10  fell on the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 9:21 Jesus 11  asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 9:22 It has often thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you are able to do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 9:23 Then Jesus said to him, “‘If you are able?’ 12  All things are possible for the one who believes.” 9:24 Immediately the father of the boy cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

9:25 Now when Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, he rebuked 13  the unclean spirit, 14  saying to it, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 9:26 It shrieked, threw him into terrible convulsions, and came out. The boy 15  looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He is dead!” 9:27 But Jesus gently took his hand and raised him to his feet, and he stood up.

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

2 tn The words “to do so” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied for clarity and stylistic reasons.

3 tn Grk “And answering, he said to them.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokriqeis) is redundant, but the phrasing of the sentence was modified slightly to make it clearer in English.

4 tn Grk “O.” The marker of direct address, (w), is functionally equivalent to a vocative and is represented in the translation by “you.”

5 tn Or “faithless.”

sn The rebuke for lack of faith has OT roots: Num 14:27; Deut 32:5, 30; Isa 59:8.

6 tn Grk “how long.”

7 tn Or “put up with.” See Num 11:12; Isa 46:4.

8 sn The pronouns you…you are plural, indicating that Jesus is speaking to a group rather than an individual.

9 tn Grk “him.”

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

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

12 tc Most mss (A C3 Ψ 33 Ï) have τὸ εἰ δύνασαι πιστεῦσαι (to ei dunasai pisteusai, “if you are able to believe”), instead of τὸ εἰ δύνῃ (to ei dunh, “if you are able”; supported by א B C* L N* Δ Ë1 579 892 pc). Others have εἰ δύνῃ (or δυνάσαι) πιστεῦσαι (“if you are able to believe”; so D K Θ Ë13 28 565 al), while still others have τοῦτο εἰ δύνῃ (touto ei dunh, “if you can [do] this”; so [Ì45] W). The reading that best explains the rise of the others is τὸ εἰ δύνῃ. The neuter article indicates that the Lord is now quoting the boy’s father who, in v. 22, says εἴ τι δύνῃ (ei ti dunh, “if you are able to do anything”). The article is thus used anaphorically (see ExSyn 238). However, scribes could easily have overlooked this idiom and would consequently read τὸ εἰ δύνῃ as the protasis of a conditional clause of the Lord’s statement. As such, it would almost demand the infinitive πιστεῦσαι, producing the reading τὸ εἰ δύνασαι πιστεῦσαι (“if you are able to believe, all things are possible…”). But the article here seems to be meaningless, prompting other scribes to modify the text still further. Some dropped the nonsensical article, while others turned it into the demonstrative τοῦτο and dropped the infinitive. It is clear that scribes had difficulty with the original wording here, and made adjustments in various directions. What might not be so clear is the exact genealogy of the descent of all the readings. However, τὸ εἰ δύνῃ is both a hard saying, best explains the rise of the other readings, and is supported by the best witnesses. It thus rightly deserves to be considered authentic.

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

14 sn Unclean spirit refers to an evil spirit.

15 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the boy) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.



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