Mark 7

The washing here referred to was not a measure of cleanliness, but a ceremonial rite.

The occurrence of these and similar explanations of the customs of the Jews, confirms the opinion that Mark prepared his narrative at Rome, and for the use of Roman Christians,—The washing of cups, &c.; that is, as a ceremonial rite.

Walk; that is, act,—regulate their conduct.—Tradition of the elders; rules of action handed down from ancient times, but not contained in the Word of God. This claim of the Pharisees for the authority of human traditions, seems to have been quite analogous to that of those branches of the church, in modern times, which insist upon certain principles and practices on the authority of the early church, though the Scriptures themselves do not enjoin them.

Curseth is used in opposition to honor; the meaning is, whoso dishonors them or wilfully injures them in any way.

Corban; consecrated to God; that is, a son might deprive his parents of any thing which he ought justly to render to them, by going through an empty ceremony of consecrating it to God. This was in reality nullifying one of the most sacred moral laws of Jehovah, under pretence of rendering him honor; and it was, therefore, a striking instance of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and of their making the word of God of none effect through their tradition.

Cannot defile him; spiritually.

It entereth not into his heart; it does not reach or affect the moral feelings.

The whole passage is a very clear and striking exposure of the ignorance, or the hypocrisy, implied in ascribing spiritual importance and efficacy to external forms.

Tyre and Sidon; the region of these cities was north of Galilee, near the Mediterranean Sea. He went away from the scene of excitement which his ministry had produced in Galilee, desirous, apparently, of a season of retirement and rest.

A Greek; of Greek descent.

The Savior did not use the word dogs as an epithet to be applied to this woman, but only as a part of the metaphor, or figure, by which he illustrated his position in respect to her and her nation. He says that, as it would not be proper to give the food intended for the children of a family to the dogs, so it is doubtful whether he ought to bestow upon the Gentile nations those miraculous benefits which he was sent to communicate to God's own chosen people. This was very different from applying the term to her as an opprobrious epithet. Hence the point and beauty of her reply,—that the dogs were not to be entirely neglected, but might at least receive some small share.

Decapolis was a retired district on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. In going there, our Savior seems to have intended to avoid those regions about the lake which he had previously visited.

Commentators have been unable to assign any sufficient reason for the ceremonies which Jesus, in some cases like this, performed upon those whose diseases he cured.

The string of his tongue; the difficulty, whatever it was.

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