Mark 7

The Traditions of the Elders

1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Him.
2 They observed that some of His disciples were eating their bread with unclean-that is, unwashed-hands.
3 (For the Pharisees, in fact all the Jews, will not eat unless they wash their hands ritually, keeping the tradition of the elders.
4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, jugs, copper utensils, and dining couches.[a])
5 Then the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why don't Your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ritually unclean[b] hands?"
6 He answered them, "Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
7 They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men. [c]
8 Disregarding the command of God, you keep the tradition of men." [d]
9 He also said to them, "You completely invalidate God's command in order to maintain [e] your tradition!
10 For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother; [f] and, Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. [g]
11 But you say, 'If a man tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is Corban ' " (that is, a gift [committed to the temple]),
12 "you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother.
13 You revoke God's word by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things."
14 Summoning the crowd again, He told them, "Listen to Me, all of you, and understand:
15 Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.
16 If anyone has ears to hear, he should listen!" [h]
17 When He went into the house away from the crowd, the disciples asked Him about the parable.
18 And He said to them, "Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don't you realize that nothing going into a man from the outside can defile him?
19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated." [i] (As a result, He made all foods clean.[j])
20 Then He said, "What comes out of a person-that defiles him.
21 For from within, out of people's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders,
22 adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, lewdness, stinginess, [k] blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.
23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person."

A Gentile Mother's Faith

24 He got up and departed from there to the region of Tyre and Sidon.[l] He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it, but He could not escape notice.
25 Instead, immediately after hearing about Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit came and fell at His feet.
26 Now the woman was Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27 He said to her, "Allow the children to be satisfied first, because it isn't right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
28 But she replied to Him, "Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
29 Then He told her, "Because of this reply, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter."
30 When she went back to her home, she found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone.

Jesus Does Everything Well

31 Again, leaving the region of Tyre, He went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through[m] the region of the Decapolis.
32 They brought to Him a deaf man who also had a speech difficulty, and begged Jesus to lay His hand on him.
33 So He took him away from the crowd privately. After putting His fingers in the man's ears and spitting, He touched his tongue.
34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed deeply and said to him, " Ephphatha !" [n] (that is, "Be opened!" ).
35 Immediately his ears were opened, his speech difficulty was removed,[o] and he began to speak clearly.
36 Then He ordered them to tell no one, but the more He would order them, the more they would proclaim it.
37 They were extremely astonished and said, "He has done everything well! He even makes deaf people hear, and people unable to speak, talk!"

Mark 7 Commentary

Chapter 7

The traditions of the elders. (1-13) What defiles the man. (14-23) The woman of Canaan's daughter cured. (24-30) Christ restores a man to hearing and speech. (31-37)

Verses 1-13 One great design of Christ's coming was, to set aside the ceremonial law; and to make way for this, he rejects the ceremonies men added to the law of God's making. Those clean hands and that pure heart which Christ bestows on his disciples, and requires of them, are very different from the outward and superstitious forms of Pharisees of every age. Jesus reproves them for rejecting the commandment of God. It is clear that it is the duty of children, if their parents are poor, to relieve them as far as they are able; and if children deserve to die that curse their parents, much more those that starve them. But if a man conformed to the traditions of the Pharisees, they found a device to free him from the claim of this duty.

Verses 14-23 Our wicked thoughts and affections, words and actions, defile us, and these only. As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so does a corrupt heart send forth corrupt reasonings, corrupt appetites and passions, and all the wicked words and actions that come from them. A spiritual understanding of the law of God, and a sense of the evil of sin, will cause a man to seek for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to keep down the evil thoughts and affections that work within.

Verses 24-30 Christ never put any from him that fell at his feet, which a poor trembling soul may do. As she was a good woman, so a good mother. This sent her to Christ. His saying, Let the children first be filled, shows that there was mercy for the Gentiles, and not far off. She spoke, not as making light of the mercy, but magnifying the abundance of miraculous cures among the Jews, in comparison with which a single cure was but as a crumb. Thus, while proud Pharisees are left by the blessed Saviour, he manifests his compassion to poor humbled sinners, who look to him for children's bread. He still goes about to seek and save the lost.

Verses 31-37 Here is a cure of one that was deaf and dumb. Those who brought this poor man to Christ, besought him to observe the case, and put forth his power. Our Lord used more outward actions in the doing of this cure than usual. These were only signs of Christ's power to cure the man, to encourage his faith, and theirs that brought him. Though we find great variety in the cases and manner of relief of those who applied to Christ, yet all obtained the relief they sought. Thus it still is in the great concerns of our souls.

Footnotes 15

  • [a]. Other mss omit and dining couches
  • [b]. Other mss read with unwashed
  • [c]. Isaiah 29:13
  • [d]. Other mss add The washing of jugs, and cups, and many other similar things you practice.
  • [e]. Other mss read to establish
  • [f]. Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16
  • [g]. Ex 21:17; Lv 20:9
  • [h]. Other mss omit this verse
  • [i]. Lit goes out into the toilet
  • [j]. Other mss read is eliminated, making all foods clean."
  • [k]. Lit evil eye
  • [l]. Other mss omit and Sidon
  • [m]. Or into
  • [n]. An Aram expression
  • [o]. Lit opened, the bond of his tongue was untied

Mark 7 Commentaries

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