Mark 2


Christ preaches in Capernaum, 1, 2.

A paralytic person is brought to him, whose sins are pronounced

forgiven, 3-5.

The scribes accuse him of blasphemy, 6, 7.

He vindicates himself, and proves his power to forgive sins, by

healing the man's disease, 8-11.

The people are astonished and edified, 12.

He calls Levi from the receipt of custom, 13, 14.

Eats in his house with publicans and sinners, at which the

Pharisees murmur, 15, 16.

He vindicates his conduct, 17.

Vindicates his disciples, who are accused of not fasting, 18-22;

and for plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath day, 23-26;

and teaches the right use of the Sabbath, 27, 28.


Verse 1. In the house.] The house of Peter, with whom Christ

lodged when at Capernaum. See the notes on Mt 4:13; 8:13.

Verse 2. So much as about the door] Meaning the yard or court

before the house.

Preached THE WORD] τονλογον. The doctrine of the kingdom of

God; for so ολογος is repeatedly used.

Verse 3. One sick of the palsy] A paralytic person.

See Clarke on Mt 9:2, &c.

Borne of four.] Four men, one at each corner of the sofa or

couch on which he lay: this sick man appears to have been too

feeble to come himself, and too weak to be carried in any other


Verse 4. They uncovered the roof] The houses in the east are

generally made flat-roofed, that the inhabitants may have the

benefit of taking the air on them; they are also furnished with

battlements round about, De 22:8; Jud 16:27; and 2Sa 11:2, to

prevent persons from falling off; and have a trap door by which

they descend into the house. This door, it appears, was too

narrow to let down the sick man and his couch; so they uncovered

the roof, removed a part of the tiles; and having broken it up,

taken away the laths or timber, to which the tiles had been

attached, they then had room to let down the afflicted man. See

Lu 5:19, and on Mt 10:27; 24:17.

Verse 7. Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies?] See this

explained Mt 9:3, &c.

Verse 12. He-took up the bed] The words of PROSPER, on this

place, are worthy of notice:-

"What is sin but a deplorable fall, a grovelling on the earth,

a repose in the creature, often followed by a universal palsy of

the soul; namely, an utter inability to help itself, to break off

its evil habits, to walk in the ways of God, to rise or to take

one good step towards him? Grace can repair all in a moment:

because it is nothing but the almighty will of God, who commands

and does whatever he commands."

Verse 14. Levi] The same as Matthew; he appears to have been

a Jew, though employed in the odious office of a tax-gatherer.

For an account of his call, see his Gospel, Mt 9:9, &c.

Verse 16. Sinners] By αμαρτωλοι, the Gentiles or heathens are

generally to be understood in the Gospels, for this was a term the

Jews never applied to any of themselves,

See Clarke on Mt 9:10.

How is it that he eateth] Some very good MSS., several

versions, with Chrysostom and Augustin, read, Why doth YOUR


Verse 17. To repentance.] This is omitted by ABDKL,

twenty-seven others; both the Syriac, Persic, Coptic, AEthiopic,

Armenian, Gothic, Vulgate; six copies of the Itala; Euthymius and

Augustin. Griesbach has left it out of the text; Grotius, Mill,

and Bengel approve of the omission. See Clarke on Mt 9:13.

I leave it as in the parallel place above quoted. Properly speaking, the

righteous cannot be called to repentance. They have already

forsaken sin, mourned for it, and turned to God. In the other

parallel place, Lu 5:32, all the MSS. and versions retain

μετανοιαν, repentance.

Verse 18. Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees

fast] See this largely explained on Mt 9:14, &c. The following

vices are very common to Pharisees.

1. They are more busied in censuring the conduct of others than

in rectifying their own.

2. They desire that every one should regulate his piety by

theirs; and embrace their particular customs and forms of


3. They speak of and compare themselves with other people, only

that they may have an opportunity of distinguishing and exalting


On the nature, times, and duration of fasting, see

Mt 6:16; 9:15.

Verse 19. Can the children of the bride-chamber fast while the

bridegroom is with them?] Among the Hindoos, large parties of

friends, belonging both to the bride and bridegroom, attend on

both during the wedding day; on the following day, when the

bridegroom leaves the house of his father-in-law, the attendants

are filled with sorrow, especially the near relations.-WARD'S


Verse 20. In those days.] But instead of ενεκειναιςταις

ημεραις, many of the best MSS. and versions read, ενεκεινητη

ημερα, in that day; viz. the day in which Jesus Christ should be

delivered up to the Jews and Gentiles. Mill and Bengel approve of

this reading, and Griesbach adopts it. The former part of the

verse seems to vindicate the common reading.

Verse 21. No man-seweth] See Clarke on Mt 9:16.

No man seweth a piece of unscoured cloth upon an old garment. In

the common editions this verse begins with και, and, but this is

omitted by almost every MS. and version of note. The construction

of the whole verse is various in the MSS. The translation given

here, and in Mt 9:16, is intelligible, and speaks for itself.

Verse 23. Went through the corn fields]

See Clarke on Mt 12:1.

Verse 26. The days of Abiathar the high priest] It appears

from 1Sa 21:1, which is the place referred to here, that

Ahimelech was then high priest at Nob: and from 1Sa 22:20; 23:6,

and 1Ch 18:16,

it appears that Abiathar was the son of Ahimelech. The Persic

reads Abimelech instead of Abiathar. Theophylact supposes that

Abiathar was the priest, and Ahimelech or Abimelech the high

priest, and thus endeavours to reconcile both the sacred

historians. Others reconcile the accounts thus: Ahimelech was

called Ahimelech Abiathar, ab, father, understood; and

Abiathar was called Abiathar Ahimelech, ben, son, understood.

Probably they both officiated in the high priesthood; and the name

of the office was indifferently applied to either.

Shew-bread] See Mt 12:4.

Verse 27. The Sabbath was made for man] That he might have

the seventh part of his whole time to devote to the purposes of

bodily rest and spiritual exercises. And in these respects it is

of infinite use to mankind. Where no Sabbath is observed, there

disease, poverty, and profligacy, generally prevail. Had we no

Sabbath, we should soon have no religion. This whole verse is

wanting in the Codex Bezae, and in five of the Itala.

Verse 28. The Son of man is Lord] See on Mt 12:7, 8. Some

have understood this as applying to men in general, and not to

Christ. The Son of man, any man is Lord of the Sabbath; i.e. it

was made for him, for his ease, comfort, and use, and to these

purposes he is to apply it. But this is a very harsh, and at the

same time a very lax, mode of interpretation; for it seems to say

that a man may make what use he pleases of the Sabbath; and, were

this true, the moral obligation of the Sabbath would soon be


GOD ordained the Sabbath not only to be a type of that rest

which remains for the people of God, but to be also a mean of

promoting the welfare of men in general.

The ordinances of religion should be regulated according to

their end, which is the honour of God, and the salvation of men.

It is the property of the true religion to contain nothing in it

but what is beneficial to man. Hereby God plainly shows that it

is neither out of indigence or interest that he requires men to

worship and obey him; but only out of goodness, and to make them

happy. God prohibited work on the Sabbath day, lest servants

should be oppressed by their masters, that the labouring beasts

might have necessary rest, and that men might have a proper

opportunity to attend upon his ordinances, and get their souls

saved. To the Sabbath, under God, we owe much of what is

requisite and necessary as well for the body as the soul.

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