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Mark 6:31-53

Context
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 1  from all the towns 2  and arrived there ahead of them. 3  6:34 As Jesus 4  came ashore 5  he saw the large crowd and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So 6  he taught them many things.

6:35 When it was already late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is an isolated place 7  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, 8  “You 9  give them something to eat.” And they said, “Should we go and buy bread for two hundred silver coins 10  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 11  gave them to his 12  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 13  there were five thousand men 14  who ate the bread. 15 

Walking on Water

6:45 Immediately Jesus 16  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 17  saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. As the night was ending, 18  he came to them walking on the sea, 19  for 20  he wanted to pass by them. 21  6:49 When they saw him walking on the water 22  they thought he was a ghost. They 23  cried out, 6:50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them: 24  “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 25  and anchored there.

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

2 tn Or “cities.”

3 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).

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

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

6 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.

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

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

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

10 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.

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

12 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).

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

14 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.

15 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.

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

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

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

19 tn Or “on the lake.”

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

21 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.

22 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).

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

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

25 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).



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