Mark 6


Our Lord's countrymen are astonished at his wisdom and mighty

works, and are offended at him, 1-4.

He works few miracles there, because of their unbelief, 5, 6.

He sends forth his disciples by two and two to preach, &c.,


They depart, preach, and work miracles, 12, 13.

Different opinions of Christ, 14-16.

Account of the beheading of John Baptist, 17-29.

The disciples return, and give an account of their mission, 30.

He departs with them to a place of privacy, but the people

follow him, 31-33.

He has compassion on them, and miraculously feeds five thousand

with five loaves and two fishes, 34-44.

He sends the disciples by sea to Bethsaida, and himself goes

into a mountain to pray, 45, 46.

The disciples meet with a storm, and he comes to them walking

upon the water, and appeases the winds and the sea, 47-52.

They come into the land of Gennesaret, and he works many

miracles, 53-56.


Verse 1. And he went out from thence] That is, from

Capernaum. See Clarke on Mt 13:54.

Verse 2. Were astonished] επιδιδαχηαυτου, at his doctrine,

or teaching. This is added by the Codex Bezae and eight others,

later Syriac, Armenian, Vulgate, and all the Itala.

Verse 3. Is not this the carpenter] Among the ancient Jews,

every father was bound to do four things for his son. 1. To

circumcise him. 2. To redeem him. 3. To teach him the law. 4.

To teach him a trade. And this was founded on the following just

maxim: "He who teaches not his son to do some work, is as if he

taught him robbery!" It is therefore likely that Joseph brought

up our Lord to his own trade.

Joses] Several good MSS. read ιωσητος, Joset, and one, with

several versions, reads Joseph.

Verse 4. - 6. See this curious subject explained, Mt 13:55-58.

Verse 5. See Clarke on Mr 6:4.

Verse 6. See Clarke on Mr 6:4.

Verse 7. By two and two] That they might encourage and

support each other; and to show that union among the ministers of

the Gospel is essential to the promotion of the cause of truth.

See Clarke on Lu 10:1.

Verse 8. A staff only] It is likely he desired them to take

only one with every two, merely for the purpose of carrying any

part of their clothes on, when they should be obliged to strip

them off by reason of the heat; for walking staves, or things of

this kind, were forbidden, see Mt 10:10. But, probably, no more

is designed than simply to state that they must not wait to make

any provision for the journey, but go off just as they were,

leaving the provision necessary in the present case to the care of

Divine Providence. St. James is represented in ancient paintings,

as carrying a gourd bottle on a STAFF across his shoulder.

Verse 9. Shod with sandals] The sandal seems to have been

similar to the Roman solea, which covered only the sole of the

foot, and was fastened about the foot and ankle with straps. The

sandal was originally a part of the woman's dress; ancient authors

represent them as worn only by women. In Mt 10:10, the disciples

are commanded to take no shoes, υποδηματα, which word is nearly of

the same import with σανδαλια, sandals; but, as our Lord intimates

to them that they should be free from all useless incumbrances,

that they might fulfil his orders with the utmost diligence and

despatch, so we may suppose that the sandal was a lighter kind of

wear than the shoe: and indeed the word sandal, which is mere

Chaldee, might be properly translated a light shoe; as it is

compounded of sin, a shoe, (see Targum, De 25:9, 10,) and

dal, thin, slender, or mean, as being made, not only lighter

than the hypodema or shoe, but (probably) also of meaner

materials. See many excellent observations on this subject in

Martinius's Etymolog. Lexicon, under the word Sandalium.

Verse 11. And whosoever shall not receive you] οςαντοπος

μηδεξηται, whatsoever PLACE will not receive you: this is the

reading of BL, four others, and the later Syriac in the margin.

Verily, &c.] All this clause is omitted in BCDL, two others,

one Arabic, one Persic, Coptic, Armenian, Vulgate, and all the

Itala but three. Mill and Beza approve of the omission, and

Griesbach leaves it out of the text. It has probably been

transferred here from Mt 10:15. See this subject, from

Mr 6:7-11, explained at large on Mt 10:1-15.

Verse 13. Anointed with oil many that were sick] This is only

spoken of here, and in Jas 5:14. This ceremony was in great use

among the Jews; and in certain cases it might be profitable. But

in the cases mentioned here, which were merely miraculous, it

could avail no more of itself than the imposition of hands. It

was used symbolically, as an emblem of that ease, comfort, and

joy, which they prayed God to impart to the sick. For various

examples of its use among the Jews, see Lightfoot and Wetstein on

this place.

Verse 14. And king Herod heard?] τηνακιηναοτου, his fame,

is added by KM, fifteen others, and in the margin of several. It

seems necessary to complete the sense.

Verse 15. OR, as one of the prophets.] η, or, is omitted by

ABCEGHKLMS-BHV, and one hundred others, Syriac, all the Arabic,

all the Persic, Coptic, AEthiopic, Gothic, Slavonic, Vulgate, two

Itala, Origen, Victor, and Theophylact. Bengel, Wetstein, and

Griesbach leave it out of the text: the omission of it mends the

sense much.

Verse 19. Would have killed] εζητει, SOUGHT to kill him.

C and five of the Itala.

See the whole of this account, from Mr 6:17-29, explained on

Mt 14:2-12.

Verse 21. Lords] μεγιστασιν, probably governors of particular


High captains] χιλιαρχοις; literally, chiefs or captains

over a thousand men, military chiefs.

Chief estates] πρωτοις; probably such as might be called

nobles by title only, having no office civil or military;

probably magistrates. See KYPKE an the place.

Verse 23. Unto the half of my kingdom.] A noble price for a

dance! This extravagance in favour of female dancers has the

fullest scope in the east, even to the present day. M. Anquetil

du Perron, in the preliminary discourse to his Zend Avesta, p. 344

and 345, gives a particular account of the dancers at Surat. This

account cannot be transcribed in a comment on the Gospel of God,

however illustrative it might be of the conduct of Herodias and

her daughter Salome: it is too abominable for a place here. He

observes, that the rich vie with each other in the presents they

make to the dancing girls of money and jewels; and that persons of

opulence have even ruined themselves by the presents they made to

those victims of debauch. He mentions a remarkable case, which

may throw light on this passage: "That the dancer Laal-koner

gained such a complete ascendancy over the Mogul Emperor

Maaz-eddin, that he made her joint governess of the empire with


Verse 26. For their sakes which sat with him] Probably these

persons joined in with the request, and were glad of this

opportunity to get this light of Israel extinguished; he being a

public reprover of all their vices.

Verse 30. The apostles gathered themselves together] For they

went different ways before, by two and two, Mr 6:7; and now

they return and meet Christ at Capernaum.

Verse 31. Rest a while] Rest is necessary for those who

labour; and a zealous preacher of the Gospel will as often stand in

need of it as a galley slave.

Verse 33. The people] Or, οχλοι, the multitudes. This is

wanting in many MSS., but it seems necessary to make the sense

clear. There is scarcely a verse in the whole New Testament that

has suffered so much from transcribers as this verse. Amidst the

abundance of various readings, one can scarcely tell what its

original state was. The various readings may be seen in


Verse 34. Much people, &c.] See this miracle explained on

Mt 14:14, &c.

Verse 40. By hundreds, and by fifties.] "That is," says Mr.

Wesley, "fifty in a rank, and a hundred in file. So, a hundred

multiplied by fifty, made just five thousand." But if they sat

fifty deep, how could the disciples conveniently serve them with

the bread and fish?

Verse 41. And blessed] I think the word God should be

inserted here, as in Mt 14:19. See the note there. The food we

receive from God is already blessed, and does not stand in need of

being blessed by man; but God, who gives it, deserves our warmest

thanksgivings, as frequently as we are called to partake of his


Verse 43. Twelve baskets] These were either the baskets used

by the disciples, see Mt 14:20, or baskets belonging to some of

the multitude, who might have brought some with them to carry

provisions, or other things necessary for the sick, whom they

brought to Christ to be healed.

Verse 44. Were about five thousand] ωσει, about, is omitted

by a great majority of the best MSS. and by the principal

versions. It is wanting in several editions: Bengel, Wetstein,

and Griesbach, leave it out of the text. It is omitted by some in

the parallel place, Mt 14:21, but it stands without any variation

in Lu 9:14, and Joh 6:10. This miracle is mentioned by all the

four evangelists. It is one of the most astonishing that Christ

has wrought. It is a miracle which could not be counterfeited,

and a full proof of the divinity of Christ.

Verse 45. To the other side before unto Bethsaida] John says,

Joh 6:17,

to Capernaum. It is probable our Lord ordered them to steer to

one or other of these two places, which were about four miles

distant, and on the same side of the sea of Galilee.

Verse 47. The ship was in the midst of the sea] See all the

parts of this wonderful transaction considered, on Mt 14:22-33.

Verse 49. They supposed it had been a spirit] That is, by

whom the storm had been raised.

Verse 52. Their heart was hardened.] See this explained

Mt 14:33.

Verse 53. The land of Gennesaret] This country lay on the

coast of the sea of Galilee: it is described by Josephus as being

exceedingly pleasant and fertile. It had its name of Gennesaret

from , gen, a garden, and sar, a prince, either

because the king had a garden there, or because of its great


Verse 54. They knew him] επιγνοντες, They recollected him;

for he had before preached and wrought miracles in different

places of the same country.

Verse 56. Villages] Probably small towns near cities.

Country] Villages at a distance from cities and large public

towns. See the notes on Mt 14:34-36.

Christ went about doing good-he confined his ministry and

miracles to no place-wherever he went, they stood in need of his

help; and whenever they required his assistance, they had it

granted immediately. Our Lord's conduct, in these respects, is a

perfect pattern for every preacher of his Gospel.

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