Mark 2:4

4 When they weren't able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher.

Mark 2:4 Meaning and Commentary

Mark 2:4

And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press,
&c.] To the room where Jesus was, nor into the house, nor even to the door, the crowd about it was so great,

they uncovered the roof where he was.
The Arabic version reads it, "they went up to the roof"; and the Persic thus, "they carried him up upon the roof". The place where Christ was, seems to be an upper room; for in such an one the Jewish doctors used to meet, and discourse together about religious matters; see ( Acts 1:13 ) ( 20:8 ) . Though some think this was a mean house in which Christ was, and had no upper room, but the ground floor was open to the roof, through which the man, sick of the palsy, was let down on his bed to Christ; and the rather, because the people crowded about the door to get in, and there was no room to receive them, no not about it: but even from this circumstance it seems most reasonable, that there was an upper room in which Christ was, and at a window in which he might preach to the people, with much more convenience, than at, or about the door, where they were pressing: for, certain it is, that he did preach the word to them, ( Mark 2:2 ) , and many instances may be given of the above mentioned doctors, whose usages, when indifferent, and not sinful, might be complied with by Christ, as these were, of their meeting and conversing together in upper rooms. Instead of many, take the few following F1:

``It happened to Rabban Gamaliel, and the elders, who were sitting (hyyleb) , "in an upper room in Jericho", that they brought them dates, and they did eat, &c,''

Again F2,

``these are some of the traditions which they taught, (tyyleb) , "in the upper chamber" of Hananiah ben Hezekiah, ben Garon.''

So it is likewise said F3, that

``R. Tarphon, or Tryphon, and the elders, were sitting "in the chamber" of the house of Nithzah, in Lydda, and this question was asked before them, is doctrine greatest, or practice greatest?''

Once more F4,

``the elders of the house of Shammai, and the elders of the house of Hillell, went up, (tyylel) , "to the upper chamber" of Jochanan ben Bethira, and said, that the Tzitzith, or fringes, had no measure''

Now, over this upper room, was a flat roof, with battlements about it; for so the Jews were obliged to build their houses, ( Deuteronomy 22:8 ) , to which they had a way of going to and from, both within and without side their houses; (See Gill on Matthew 24:17). Hence we so often read F5 of (twgg Krd) , "the way of the roofs", in distinction from (Myxtp Krd) "the way of the doors"; by which they entered into their houses, and by which means, things might be carried from a court to a roof, and from a roof to a court; about which the doctors dispute, saying, that on a sabbath day F6,

``it is forbidden to ascend and descend from the roofs to the court, and from the court to the roofs; and the vessels, whose abode is in the court, it is lawful to move them in the court, and which are in the roofs, it is lawful to move them in the roofs.--Says Rabbi, when we were learning the law with R. Simeon at Tekoah, we brought up oil, and a confection of old wine, water, and balsam, from roof to roof, and from roof to court, and from court to court, and from the court to a close, and from one close to another, till we came to the fountains, in which they washed. Says R. Judah, it happened in a time of danger, and we brought the book of the law from court to roof, and from roof to court, and from court to a close, to read in it.''

Now, in these roofs, there was a door, which they call, (twgg xtp) , "the door of the roofs" F7; now when they had brought up the sick man to the roof of the house, by a ladder fastened on the outside, which was common F8; they took up this door, and let him down in his bed into the room where Jesus was: and because they wrenched the roof door open with violence, therefore it is said,

and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the
sick of the palsy lay:
opening the door, and perhaps taking up the frame of it, and removing some tiles about it, to make the way wider, they let down with ropes, the bed, and the man on it, together. The Persic version thus renders it, "and the paralytic man being put upon a bed, at the four corners of the bed so many ropes being fastened, they let him down through a window to Jesus, into the place where he was sitting"; which is rather a paraphrase, or exposition of the words, than a translation.


F1 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 37. 1.
F2 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 12. 1. & Misn. Sabbat, c. 1. sect. 4,
F3 T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 40. 2. Vid. T. Hieros. Pesachim, fol. 30. 2. & T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 74. 1.
F4 T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 41. 2. Vid. Targum in Cant. iii. 4.
F5 T. Pesach. fol. 92. 1. Moed. Katon, fol. 25. 1. Cetubot, fol. 10. 2. Gittin, fol. 81. 1. Bava Metzia, fol. 88. 1, in 117. 1.
F6 T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 91. 1. & Hieros. ib. fol. 25. 3.
F7 T. Hieros. Erubin, fol. 26. 2.
F8 Gloss. in T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 117. 1.

Mark 2:4 In-Context

2 A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word.
3 They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men.
4 When they weren't able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher.
5 Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, "Son, I forgive your sins."
6 Some religion scholars sitting there started whispering among themselves,
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.