Mark 7

1 Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him,
2 they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them.
3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders;
4 and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles. )
5 So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?"
6 He said to them, "Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, "This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.'
8 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition."
9 Then he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition!
10 For Moses said, "Honor your father and your mother'; and, "Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.'
11 But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, "Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban' (that is, an offering to God )—
12 then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother,
13 thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this."
14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand:
15 there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile."
17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable.
18 He said to them, "Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile,
19 since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
20 And he said, "It is what comes out of a person that defiles.
21 For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder,
22 adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly.
23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."
24 From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice,
25 but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet.
26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
27 He said to her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs."
28 But she answered him, "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
29 Then he said to her, "For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter."
30 So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis.
32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him.
33 He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue.
34 Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened."
35 And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
36 Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.
37 They were astounded beyond measure, saying, "He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."

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 10

  • [a]. Meaning of Gk uncertain
  • [b]. Other ancient authorities read [and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they purify themselves]
  • [c]. Other ancient authorities add [and beds]
  • [d]. Gk [walk]
  • [e]. Gk lacks [to God]
  • [f]. Other ancient authorities add verse 16, ["Let anyone with ears to hear listen"]
  • [g]. Other ancient authorities add [Let anyone with ears to hear listen]
  • [h]. Other ancient authorities add [and Sidon]
  • [i]. Or [Lord]; other ancient authorities prefix [Yes]
  • [j]. Gk [he]

Mark 7 Commentaries