Mark 3


The man with the withered hand healed, 1-5.

The Pharisees plot our Lord's destruction, 6.

Christ withdraws, and is followed by a great multitude, 7-9.

He heals many, and goes to a mountain to pray, 10-13.

He ordains twelve disciples, and, gives them power to preach

and work miracles, 14, 15.

Their names, 16-19.

The multitudes throng him, and the scribes attribute his

miracles to Beelzebub, 20-22.

He vindicates himself by a parable, 23-27.

Of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, 28-30.

His mother and brethren send for him, 31, 32.

And he takes occasion from this to show, that they who do the

will of God are to him as his brother, sister, and mother,



Verse 1. A man there which had a withered hand.] See this

explained on Mt 12:10, &c., and on Lu 6:6, 10.

Verse 2. They watched him] παρετηρουναυτον, they maliciously

watched him. See Clarke on Lu 14:1.

Verse 4. To do good-or-evil? to save life, or to kill?] It

was a maxim with the Jews, as it should be with all men, that he

who neglected to preserve life when it was in his power, was to be

reputed a murderer. Every principle of sound justice requires

that he should be considered in this light. But, if this be the

case, how many murderers are there against whom there is no law

but the law of God!

To kill-but instead of αποκτειναι, several MSS. and versions

have απολεσαι to destroy. Wetstein and Griesbach quote

Theophylact for this reading; but it is not in my copy. Paris

edit. 1635.

Verse 5. With anger, being grieved for the hardness of their

hearts] These words are not found in any of the other

evangelists. For πωρωσει hardness, or rather callousness, the

Codex Bezae, and four of the Itala, read νεκρωσει, deadness;

the Vulgate and some of the Itala, caecitate, blindness. Join all

these together, and they will scarcely express the fulness of this

people's wretchedness. By a long resistance to the grace and

Spirit of God, their hearts had become callous; they were past

feeling. By a long opposition to the light of God, they became

dark in their understanding, were blinded by the deceitfulness of

sin, and thus were past seeing. By a long continuance in the

practice of every evil work, they were cut off from all union with

God, the fountain of spiritual life; and, becoming dead in

trespasses and sins, they were incapable of any resurrection but

through a miraculous power of God.

With anger. What was the anger which our Lord felt? That

which proceeded from excessive grief, which was occasioned by

their obstinate stupidity and blindness: therefore it was no

uneasy passion, but an excess of generous grief.

Whole as the other.] This is omitted by the best MSS. and

versions. Grotius, Mill, and Bengel approve of the omission, and

Griesbach leaves it out of the text.

Verse 6. Herodians] For an account of these, see the note on

Mt 16:1; 22:16.

Verse 7. Galilee] See Mt 4:13, 15.

Verse 8. Tyre-Sidon, &c.] See Mt 11:21.

When they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.]

So, if Christ be persecuted and abandoned by the wicked, there are

a multitude of pious souls who earnestly seek and follow him. He

who labours for God will always find more than he loses, in the

midst of all his contradictions and persecutions.

Verse 9. A small ship] πλοιαριον. The lytil boot, Old

English MS. It was doubtless something of the boat kind, which

probably belonged to some of the disciples. Our Lord was at this

time teaching by the sea of Galilee. The word ship is utterly

improper in many places of our translation, and tends to mislead

the people.

Verse 10. They pressed upon him] Rushed upon him,

επιπιπτειν-through eagerness to have their spiritual and

bodily maladies immediately removed.

Plagues.] Rather disorders, μαστιγας; properly such disorders

as were inflicted by the Lord. The word plague also tends to


Verse 11. Thou art the Son of God.] Two MSS., and the later

Syriac, have, Thou art the Christ, the Son of God. One of

Stephens's MSS. has, Thou art the Holy One of God. A MS. in the

library of Leicester has, συειοθεοςυιος, Thou art GOD, the

Son. This is an uncommon reading, which is not confirmed by any

MS. yet discovered.

Verse 14. He ordained twelve] εποιησε, he made twelve. Here

is nothing of what we call ordaining. Christ simply appointed

them to be with him; and that he might send them occasionally to

preach, &c.

To preach] The Codex Bezae, Saxon, and all the Itala, except

one, add τοευαγγελιον, the Gospel.

Verse 15. To have power to heal-and to cast out devils] The

business of a minister of Christ is, 1st. To preach the Gospel.

2dly. To be the physician of souls. And, 3dly. To wage war with

the devil, and destroy his kingdom.

Verse 16. Simon, &c.] See Clarke on Mt 10:2, &c.

Verse 17. Sons of thunder] A Hebraism for thunderers;

probably so named because of their zeal and power in preaching the


The term Boanerges is neither Hebrew nor Syriac. Calmet and

others think that there is reason to believe that the Greek

transcribers have not copied it exactly. beney raam,

which the ancient Greeks would pronounce Beneregem, and which

means sons of thunder, was probably the appellative used by our

Lord: or beni reges, sons of tempest, which comes nearest

to the Boanerges of the evangelist. St. Jerome, on Dan. 1:, gives

(which he writes Benereem, softening the sound of the

ain) as the more likely reading, and Luther, supposing our Lord

spoke in Hebrew, gives the proper Hebrew term above mentioned,

which he writes Bnehargem. Some think that the reason why our

Lord gave this appellative to the sons of Zebedee was, their

desire to bring fire down from heaven, i.e. a storm of thunder

and lightning, to overturn and consume a certain Samaritan

village, the inhabitants of which would not receive their Master.

See the account in Lu 9:53, 54. It was a very usual thing among

the Jews to give surnames, which signified some particular quality

or excellence, to their rabbins. See several instances in


Verse 19. Into a house.] As Christ was now returned to

Capernaum, this was probably the house of Peter, mentioned

Mr 2:1.

Verse 20. Eat bread.] Had no time to take any necessary


Verse 21. His friends] Or, relations. On this verse several

MSS. differ considerably. I have followed the reading of the

Syriac, because I think it the best: οιπαραυτου signify merely

his relatives, his brethren, &c., see Mr 3:31; and the phrase is

used by the best writers to signify relatives, companions, and

domestics. See Kypke in loc.

They said, He is beside himself.] It was the enemies of Christ

that raised this report; and his relatives, probably thinking that

it was true, went to confine him. Let a Christian but neglect the

care of his body for a time, in striving to enter in at the strait

gate; let a minister of Christ but impair his health by his

pastoral labours; presently "he is distracted;" he has "not the

least conduct nor discretion." But let a man forget his soul, let

him destroy his health by debaucheries, let him expose his life

through ambition, and he may, notwithstanding, pass for a very

prudent and sensible man!

Schoettgen contends that the multitude, and not Christ, is here

intended. Christ was in the house: the multitude, οχλος,

Mr 3:20, pressed upon him so that he could not eat bread. His

disciples, or friends, went out, κρατησαιαυτον (scil. οχλον,) to

restrain it, viz. the multitude, to prevent them from rushing into

the house and disturbing their Master, who was now taking some

refreshment. This conjecture should not be lightly regarded.

Verse 22. He hath Beelzebub] See Clarke on Mt 12:24-26.

Verse 27. -30. No man, &c.] For an explanation of these

verses, and a definition of the sin against the Holy Ghost, see

Mt 12:29-33.

Verse 28. See Clarke on Mr 3:27.

Verse 29. See Clarke on Mr 3:27.

Verse 30. See Clarke on Mr 3:27.

Verse 31. His brethren and his mother] Or rather, his mother

and his brethren. This is the arrangement of the best and most

ancient MSS.; and this clause, καιαλαδελφαισου, and thy

sisters, Mr 3:32, should be ADDED, on the authority of ADEFGMSUV,

fifty-five others, some editions, the margin of the later Syriac,

Slavonic, Gothic, and all the Itala except four. Griesbach has

received this reading into the text.

Calling him.] This clause is wanting in one copy of the Itala.

The Codex Alexandrinus has ζητουντεςαυτον, seeking him.

Verse 33. Who is my mother?] See on Mt 12:46-50.

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