Mark 6

His own country; the region of Nazareth.

The carpenter. Matthew (13:55) says the carpenter's son. It would seem, from Mark's expression, that Jesus had been accustomed to labor with his father.—Brother,—sisters. These words are often used in the Scriptures to express any near relative, as in Gen. 13:8, where Abraham and Lot are said to be brethren. It would seem from Mark 15:40, that the mother of James and Joses was a Mary; and from John 19:25, that she was a near relative of the virgin Mary, but not the same. She is called in several places the wife Cleopas. The words sister and son are used with the same latitude. Thus Christ is called the son of David.

That is, they brought very few to be healed; and he would not force his miracles upon them.

By two and two; that they might render to each other mutual assistance and sympathy.

That is, that they should go as they were, without making special preparations for the expedition. That the directions were not meant to be insisted upon literally and strictly, is evident from the fact that the accounts differ, in regard to the particulars, in the different evangelists. (Comp. Matt. 10:10, in respect to shoes and staves.) The script was a a leather bag or wallet for provisions,—such as shepherds used.

These directions (7-11) resulted from a wise regard to the circumstances of the case, and a deliberate forethought in providing for the future, in the surest and best way. They were not, as might perhaps be supposed, an abandonment of prudential considerations, under a blind dependence upon the providence of God. So great and general was the interest then felt throughout Galilee, in the ministry and miracles of Jesus, that there could be under those circumstances no safer or surer reliance for support than the spontaneous hospitality of those interested in the cause. We observe that this, though the earliest apostolic practice, is not to be considered as a model for imitation in modern times. Many of the ecclesiastical arrangements of Jesus and his apostles were particularly adapted to their times and circumstances; and, in the same manner, the arrangements which we make must often be accommodated to ours.

Men who have the least faith have often the greatest superstition; and there is no more fruitful source of superstitious fears than remorse for crimes.

Elias; the prophet Elijah, who was expected as the forerunner of Christ.

We learn, from the secular histories of those times, that this was Herod Antipas, the son of the old king. He had enticed away from his brother Philip, who was then living in poverty and obscurity, his wife Herodias, who was the daughter of another brother, and of course the niece of both her husbands. The name of the daughter who danced was Salome; a common Hebrew name at that time.

Galilee. Herod succeeded to a part only of his father's ancient dominion.

The extravagance of this promise is accounted for by the fact that it was doubtless made under the excitement of wine.

By and by; immediately.

Their sakes which sat with him. They were glad to have the reprover of their sins slain, especially as it could be done by means of the crime of another.

The damsel gave it to her mother. These were worthy descendants of a monster, who could order the execution of all the infants of a village, to secure the death of one Innocent babe. The story of the whole Herod faintly, for several generations, as given by contemporary writers, presents one continued scene of intrigue, cruelty, incest, adultery, and murder, to which the history of the world will scarce afford a parallel.

A solitary place, upon the shores of the lake; not barren, for they sat down (v. 39) upon the green grass.

Two hundred pennyworth. The denominations and the value of money have so entirely changed since those times, that we cannot fix upon any sum of modern currency as corresponding to the amount here named. It was doubtless a large sum in relation to the resources of the disciples.

Have ye? that is, in the common supply, prepared for the Savior and his immediate disciples.

By hundreds, and by fifties; in irregular groups, from fifty to a hundred together.

He constrained his disciples. They were unwilling to leave him, but he wished to be alone. There might have been some difficulty, too, in effecting the quiet dispersion of the people, as appears from John's account of this case (John 6:14, 15.)

And he saw them. The lake was five miles across, on the average, and about ten in the widest place. From his elevated position Jesus could perhaps overlook the whole surface of the water.—The fourth watch; not far from three o'clock. The watches were of three hours each.

Were troubled; were afraid.

Sore amazed; very much amazed.

They knew him; that is, the people on that side: the intelligence of his arrival was immediately spread in all directions.

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