Mark 16:18

18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

Read Mark 16:18 Using Other Translations

They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

What does Mark 16:18 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Mark 16:18

They shall take up serpents
The Arabic version adds, "in their own hands"; and in an ancient manuscript of Beza's it is read, "in the hands"; so the Apostle Paul had a viper, which fastened and hung on his hand, which he shook off, without receiving any harm from it, ( Acts 28:3-6 ) .

And if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them;
not that they were hereby warranted to drink poison, to show what power they had; but should they accidentally drink it, or rather should they be forced to it by their enemies in order to destroy them, they should find no hurt by it: and Papias F24 reports of Barsabas, surnamed Justus, who was put up with Matthias for the apostleship, ( Acts 1:23 ) , that he drank a poisonous draught, and by the grace of the Lord, received no hurt: and the Jews themselves report F25, that

``a son of R. Joshua ben Levi, swallowed something hurtful; and one came and whispered to him in the name of Jesus, the son of Pandira (so they call our Lord), and he did well.''

It follows,

and they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover;
as the Apostle Paul did on the father of Publius, who was thereby healed of a fever, and a bloody flux, and also others, ( Acts 28:8 Acts 28:9 ) ; nay, some were healed by the shadow of Peter, ( Acts 5:15 Acts 5:16 ) , and others, by handkerchiefs and aprons taken from the body of Paul, ( Acts 19:12 ) . The Persic version adds, without any authority, "whatsoever ye ask in my name, shall be given unto you".


FOOTNOTES:

F24 Apud Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 39.
F25 T. Hieros. Sabbat, fol. 14. 4. & Avoda Zara, fol. 40. 4. & Midrash Kobelet, fol. 81. 1.
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