The Plot Against Jesus1 Two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the chief priests and the experts in the law ▼ were trying to find a way ▼
▼ Grk “were seeking how.”to arrest Jesus ▼
▼ Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.by stealth and kill him. 2 For they said, “Not during the feast, so there won’t be a riot among the people.” ▼
▼ The suggestion here is that Jesus was too popular to openly arrest him. The verb were trying is imperfect. It suggests, in this context, that they were always considering the opportunities.
Jesus’ Anointing3 Now ▼ while Jesus ▼ was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, reclining at the table, ▼
▼ 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away.a woman came with an alabaster jar ▼
▼ A jar made of alabaster stone was normally used for very precious substances like perfumes. It normally had a long neck which was sealed and had to be broken off so the contents could be used.of costly aromatic oil ▼
▼ Μύρον (muron) was usually made of myrrh (from which the English word is derived) but here it is used in the sense of ointment or perfumed oil (L&N 6.205). The adjective πιστικῆς (pistikēs) is difficult with regard to its exact meaning; some have taken it to derive from πίστις (pistis) and relate to the purity of the oil of nard. More probably it is something like a brand name, “pistic nard,” the exact significance of which has not been discovered.▼
▼ Nard or spikenard is a fragrant oil from the root and spike of the nard plant of northern India. This aromatic oil, if made of something like nard, would have been extremely expensive, costing up to a year’s pay for an average laborer.from pure nard. After breaking open the jar, she poured it on his head. 4 But some who were present indignantly said to one another, “Why this waste of expensive ▼
▼ The word “expensive” is not in the Greek text but has been included to suggest a connection to the lengthy phrase “costly aromatic oil from pure nard” occurring earlier in v. 3. The author of Mark shortened this long phrase to just one word in Greek when repeated here, and the phrase “expensive ointment” used in the translation is intended as an abbreviated paraphrase.ointment? 5 It ▼
▼ Here γάρ (gar) has not been translated.could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins ▼
▼ Grk “three hundred denarii.” One denarius was the standard day’s wage, so the value exceeded what a laborer could earn in a year (taking in to account Sabbaths and feast days when no work was done).and the money ▼
▼ The words “the money” are not in the Greek text, but are implied (as the proceeds from the sale of the perfumed oil).given to the poor!” So ▼
▼ Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.they spoke angrily to her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a good service for me. 7 For you will always have the poor with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want. But you will not always have me! ▼
▼ In the Greek text of this clause, “me” is in emphatic position (the first word in the clause). To convey some impression of the emphasis, an exclamation point is used in the translation.8 She did what she could. She anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9 I tell you the truth, ▼ wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
The Plan to Betray Jesus10 Then ▼ Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus into their hands. ▼
▼ Grk “betray him to them”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.11 When they heard this, they were delighted ▼
▼ The leaders were delighted when Judas contacted them about betraying Jesus, because it gave them the opportunity they had been looking for, and they could later claim that Jesus had been betrayed by one of his own disciples.and promised to give him money. ▼ So ▼
▼ Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.Judas ▼
▼ Grk “he”; the referent (Judas) has been specified in the translation for clarity.began looking for an opportunity to betray him.
The Passover12 Now ▼ on the first day of the feast of ▼
▼ The words “the feast of” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied for clarity.Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, ▼
▼ Generally the feast of Unleavened Bread would refer to Nisan 15 (Friday), but the following reference to the sacrifice of the Passover lamb indicates that Nisan 14 (Thursday) was what Mark had in mind (Nisan = March 27 to April 25). The celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted eight days, beginning with the Passover meal. The celebrations were so close together that at times the names of both were used interchangeably.Jesus’ ▼
▼ Grk “his”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” ▼
▼ This required getting a suitable lamb and finding lodging in Jerusalem where the meal could be eaten. The population of the city swelled during the feast, so lodging could be difficult to find. The Passover was celebrated each year in commemoration of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt; thus it was a feast celebrating redemption (see Exod 12). The Passover lamb was roasted and eaten after sunset in a family group of at least ten people (m. Pesahim 7.13). People ate the meal while reclining (see the note on table in 14:18). It included, besides the lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs as a reminder of Israel’s bitter affliction at the hands of the Egyptians. Four cups of wine mixed with water were also used for the meal. For a further description of the meal and the significance of the wine cups, see E. Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 523–24.13 He sent two of his disciples and told them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar ▼ of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Wherever he enters, tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16 So ▼
▼ Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the flow within the narrative.the disciples left, went ▼
▼ Grk “and came.”into the city, and found things just as he had told them, ▼
▼ The author’s note that the disciples found things just as he had told them shows that Jesus’ word could be trusted.and they prepared the Passover.
17 Then, ▼ when it was evening, he came to the house ▼
▼ The prepositional phrase “to the house” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied for clarity.with the twelve. 18 While they were at the table ▼
▼ Grk “while they were reclined at the table.”▼
▼ 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away.eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, ▼ one of you eating with me will betray me.” ▼
▼ Or “will hand me over”; Grk “one of you will betray me, the one who eats with me.”19 They were distressed, and one by one said to him, “Surely not I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who dips his hand ▼
▼ Grk “one who dips with me.” The phrase “his hand” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.with me into the bowl. ▼
▼ One who dips with me in the bowl. The point of Jesus’ comment here is not to identify the specific individual per se, but to indicate that it is one who was close to him - somebody whom no one would suspect. His comment serves to heighten the treachery of Judas’ betrayal.21 For the Son of Man will go as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for him if he had never been born.”
The Lord’s Supper22 While they were eating, he took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it. This is my body.” 23 And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood, the blood ▼
▼ Grk “this is my blood of the covenant that is poured out for many.” In order to avoid confusion about which is poured out, the translation supplies “blood” twice so that the following phrase clearly modifies “blood,” not “covenant.”of the covenant, ▼
▼ Most mss (A f1, 13 Maj. lat sy) have καινῆς (kainēs, “new”) before διαθήκης (diathēkēs, “covenant”), a reading that is almost surely influenced by the parallel passage in Luke 22:20. Further, the construction τὸ τῆς καινῆς διαθήκης (to tēs kainēs diathēkēs), in which the resumptive article τό (referring back to τὸ αἷμα [to |aima, “the blood“]) is immediately followed by the genitive article, is nowhere else used in Mark except for constructions involving a genitive of relationship (cf. Mark 2:14; 3:17, 18; 16:1). Thus, on both transcriptional and intrinsic grounds, this reading looks to be a later addition (which may have derived from τὸ τῆς διαθήκης of D* W 2427). The most reliable mss, along with several others (א B C Dc L Θ Ψ 565), lack καινῆς. This reading is strongly preferred.▼ that is poured out for many. 25 I tell you the truth, ▼ I will no longer drink of the fruit ▼
▼ Grk “the produce” (“the produce of the vine” is a figurative expression for wine).of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 After singing a hymn, ▼ they went out to the Mount of Olives.
The Prediction of Peter’s Denial27 Then ▼ Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written,
‘ I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered. ’ ▼
28 But after I am raised, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even if they all fall away, I will not!” 30 Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, ▼ today – this very night – before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But Peter ▼
▼ Grk “he”; the referent (Peter) has been specified in the translation for clarity.insisted emphatically, ▼
▼ Grk “said emphatically.”“Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you.” And all of them said the same thing.
Gethsemane32 Then ▼ they went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus ▼ said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, ▼
▼ Grk “and James,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.and John with him, and became very troubled and distressed. 34 He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay alert.” 35 Going a little farther, he threw himself to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour would pass from him. 36 He said, “Abba, ▼
▼ The word means “Father” in Aramaic.Father, all things are possible for you. Take this cup ▼ away from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 Then ▼ he came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake for one hour? 38 Stay awake and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 He went away again and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came again he found them sleeping; they could not keep their eyes open. ▼
▼ Grk “because their eyes were weighed down,” an idiom for becoming extremely or excessively sleepy (L&N 23.69).And they did not know what to tell him. 41 He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? ▼
▼ Or “Sleep on, and get your rest.” This sentence can be taken either as a question or a sarcastic command.Enough of that! ▼
▼ Codex D (with some support with minor variation from W Θ f13 565 2542 pc it) reads, “Enough of that! It is the end and the hour has come.” Evidently, this addition highlights Jesus’ assertion that what he had predicted about his own death was now coming true (cf. Luke 22:37). Even though the addition highlights the accuracy of Jesus’ prediction, it should not be regarded as part of the text of Mark, since it receives little support from the rest of the witnesses and because D especially is prone to expand the wording of a text.The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Get up, let us go. Look! My betrayer ▼
▼ Grk “the one who betrays me.”is approaching!”
Betrayal and Arrest43 Right away, while Jesus ▼ was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived. ▼ With him came a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and experts in the law ▼ and elders. 44 (Now the betrayer ▼
▼ Grk “the one who betrays him.”had given them a sign, saying, “The one I kiss is the man. Arrest him and lead him away under guard.”) ▼
▼ This remark is parenthetical within the narrative and has thus been placed in parentheses.45 When Judas ▼
▼ Grk “he”; the referent (Judas) has been specified in the translation for clarity.arrived, he went up to Jesus ▼
▼ Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.immediately and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed ▼
▼ Judas’ act of betrayal when he kissed Jesus is especially sinister when it is realized that it was common in the culture of the times for a disciple to kiss his master when greeting him.him. 46 Then they took hold of him ▼
▼ Grk “put their hands on him.”and arrested him. 47 One of the bystanders drew his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, ▼ cutting off his ear. 48 Jesus said to them, “Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me like you would an outlaw? ▼
▼ Or “a revolutionary.” This term can refer to one who stirs up rebellion: BDAG 594 s.v. λῃστής 2 has “revolutionary, insurrectionist,” citing evidence from Josephus (J. W. 2.13.2-3 [2.253–254]). However, this usage generally postdates Jesus’ time. It does refer to a figure of violence. Luke uses the same term for the highwaymen who attack the traveler in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30).49 Day after day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, yet ▼
▼ Grk “and”; καί (kai) is elastic enough to be used contrastively on occasion, as here.you did not arrest me. But this has happened so that ▼
▼ Grk “But so that”; the verb “has happened” is implied.the scriptures would be fulfilled.” 50 Then ▼ all the disciples ▼
▼ Grk “they”; the referent (Jesus’ disciples) has been specified in the translation for clarity.left him and fled. 51 A young man was following him, wearing only a linen cloth. They tried to arrest him, 52 but he ran off naked, ▼
▼ The statement he ran off naked is probably a reference to Mark himself, traditionally assumed to be the author of this Gospel. Why he was wearing only an outer garment and not the customary tunic as well is not mentioned. W. L. Lane, Mark (NICNT), 527–28, says that Mark probably mentioned this episode so as to make it clear that “all fled, leaving Jesus alone in the custody of the police.”leaving his linen cloth behind.
Condemned by the Sanhedrin53 Then ▼ they led Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests and elders and experts in the law ▼ came together. 54 And Peter had followed him from a distance, up to the high priest’s courtyard. He ▼
▼ Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.was sitting with the guards ▼
▼ The guards would have been the guards of the chief priests who had accompanied Judas to arrest Jesus.and warming himself by the fire. 55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find anything. 56 Many gave false testimony against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 Some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: ▼
▼ Grk “Some standing up gave false testimony against him, saying.”58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands and in three days build another not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even on this point their testimony did not agree. 60 Then ▼ the high priest stood up before them ▼
▼ Grk “in the middle.”and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is this that they are testifying against you?” 61 But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest questioned him, ▼
▼ Grk “questioned him and said to him.”“Are you the Christ, ▼
▼ Or “the Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”▼ the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus, “and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand ▼ of the Power ▼
▼ The expression the right hand of the Power is a circumlocution for referring to God. Such indirect references to God were common in 1st century Judaism out of reverence for the divine name.and coming with the clouds of heaven.” ▼ 63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy! What is your verdict?” ▼
▼ Grk “What do you think?”They all condemned him as deserving death. 65 Then ▼ some began to spit on him, and to blindfold him, and to strike him with their fists, saying, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him and beat ▼
▼ For the translation of ῥάπισμα (rhapisma), see L&N 19.4.him.
Peter’s Denials66 Now ▼ while Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s slave girls ▼
▼ The Greek term here is παιδίσκη (paidiskē), referring to a slave girl or slave woman.came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked directly at him and said, “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus.” 68 But he denied it: ▼
▼ Grk “he denied it, saying.” The participle λέγων (legōn) is redundant in English and has not been translated.“I don’t even understand what you’re talking about!” ▼
▼ Grk “I do not know or understand what you are saying.” In the translation this is taken as a hendiadys (a figure of speech where two terms express a single meaning, usually for emphatic reasons).Then ▼ he went out to the gateway, and a rooster crowed. ▼
▼ Several important witnesses (א B L W Ψ* 579 892 2427 pc) lack the words “and a rooster crowed.” The fact that such good and early Alexandrian witnesses lack these words makes this textual problem difficult to decide, especially because the words receive support from other witnesses, some of which are fairly decent (A C D Θ Ψc 067 f1, 13 33  Maj. lat). The omission could have been intentional on the part of some Alexandrian scribes who wished to bring this text in line with the other Gospel accounts that only mention a rooster crowing once (Matt 26:74; Luke 22:60; John 18:27). The insertion could be an attempt to make the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in 14:30 more explicit. Internally, the words “and a rooster crowed” fit Mark’s Gospel here, not only in view of 14:30, “before a rooster crows twice,” but also in view of the mention of “a second time” in 14:71 (a reading which is much more textually secure). Nevertheless, a decision is difficult.▼ 69 When the slave girl saw him, she began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But he denied it again. A short time later the bystanders again said to Peter, “You must be ▼
▼ Grk “Truly you are.”one of them, because you are also a Galilean.” 71 Then he began to curse, and he swore with an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about!” 72 Immediately a rooster ▼
▼ This occurrence of the word ἀλέκτωρ (alektōr, “rooster”) is anarthrous and consequently may not point back explicitly to the rooster which had crowed previously in v. 68. The reason for the anarthrous construction is most likely to indicate generically that some rooster crowed. Further, the translation of ἀλέκτωρ as an indefinite noun retains the subtlety of the Greek in only hinting at the Lord’s prediction v. 30. See also NAB, TEV, NASB.crowed a second time. Then ▼ Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him: “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept. ▼
▼ Grk “he wept deeply.”
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