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Mark 9:43-49

Context
9:43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off! It is better for you to enter into life crippled than to have 1  two hands and go into hell, 2  to the unquenchable fire. 9:44 [[EMPTY]] 3  9:45 If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off! It is better to enter life lame than to have 4  two feet and be thrown into hell. 9:46 [[EMPTY]] 5  9:47 If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out! 6  It is better to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than to have 7  two eyes and be thrown into hell, 9:48 where their worm never dies and the fire is never quenched. 9:49 Everyone will be salted with fire. 8 

1 tn Grk “than having.”

2 sn The word translated hell is “Gehenna” (γέεννα, geenna), a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew words ge hinnom (“Valley of Hinnom”). This was the valley along the south side of Jerusalem. In OT times it was used for human sacrifices to the pagan god Molech (cf. Jer 7:31; 19:5-6; 32:35), and it came to be used as a place where human excrement and rubbish were disposed of and burned. In the intertestamental period, it came to be used symbolically as the place of divine punishment (cf. 1 En. 27:2, 90:26; 4 Ezra 7:36). This Greek term also occurs in vv. 45, 47.

3 tc Most later mss have 9:44 here and 9:46 after v. 45: “where their worm never dies and the fire is never quenched” (identical with v. 48). Verses 44 and 46 are present in A D Θ Ë13 Ï lat syp,h, but lacking in important Alexandrian mss and several others (א B C L W Δ Ψ 0274 Ë1 28 565 892 2427 pc co). This appears to be a scribal addition from v. 48 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.

4 tn Grk “than having.”

5 tc See tc note at the end of v. 43.

6 tn Grk “throw it out.”

7 tn Grk “than having.”

8 tc The earliest mss ([א] B L [W] Δ 0274 Ë1,13 28* 565 700 pc sys sa) have the reading adopted by the translation. Codex Bezae (D) and several Itala read “Every sacrifice will be salted with salt.” The majority of other mss (A C Θ Ψ [2427] Ï lat syp,h) have both readings, “Everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be salted with salt.” An early scribe may have written the LXX text of Lev 2:13 (“Every sacrifice offering of yours shall be salted with salt”) in the margin of his ms. At a later stage, copyists would either replace the text with this marginal note or add the note to the text. The longer reading thus seems to be the result of the conflation of the Alexandrian reading “salted with fire” and the Western reading “salted with salt.” The reading adopted by the text enjoys the best support and explains the other readings in the ms tradition.

sn The statement everyone will be salted with fire is difficult to interpret. It may be a reference to (1) unbelievers who enter hell as punishment for rejection of Jesus, indicating that just as salt preserves so they will be preserved in their punishment in hell forever; (2) Christians who experience suffering in this world because of their attachment to Christ; (3) any person who experiences suffering in a way appropriate to their relationship to Jesus. For believers this means the suffering of purification, and for unbelievers it means hell, i.e., eternal torment.



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