Mark vi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. After the miracles that Christ had performed, though he was not ignorant how much they despised him, yet that there might be no excuse for their disbelief, he condescended to return to them. (Theophylactus)

Ver. 3. St. Matthew relates that they asked: Is not this the son of the carpenter? It is not improbable that both questions were asked; it was certainly very natural to take him for a carpenter, who was the son of one. (St. Augustine) — They were scandalized at his lowly birth and humble parentage. Hence Jesus Christ takes occasion to expose the malice and envy of the Jews, in refusing him, and to shew that the Gentiles would more esteem him. See Luke iv. 25[22?], and John i.

[Ver. 5. And he could not do[1] any miracle there.]

Ver. 13. It was usual for the Jews to prescribe oil as a proper thing to anoint the sick; but its virtue in the present instance, when used by the apostles, was not natural but supernatural, and was derived from him who sent them; because this unction always produced a certain and constant cure in those who were anointed. This miraculous gift of healing the sick with oil, which Christ conferred on his apostles, was a prelude or gradual preparation to the dignity to which he raised this unction, when he established it a perpetual rite in his holy Church. (Rutter) — With oil, &c. This anointing the sick, was at least a figure of the sacrament, which Christ was pleased to institute for the spiritual relief of persons in danger of death: and which is fully expressed by St. James, in his Catholic Epistle. (James vi.[v.?]) The Council of Trent says this sacrament was insinuated in St. Mark, and published in the Epistle of St. James. (Council of Trent, session xiv., chap. 1.) (Witham)

Ver. 14. The Herod here mentioned was the son of Herod, from whom St. Joseph fled with Jesus and Mary into Egypt. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xlix. in Matt.) — How great was the envy of the Jews, is easily to be conceived from this passage. They can believe that John is risen from the dead, and appeared in public again, although no one gave testimony that this was the case: but that Jesus, so much favoured by God, who worked so many and so great miracles, should be risen again is incredible, although attested by angels, by apostles, by men, women, and persons of every denomination. They still assert that the body of Jesus was stolen. (Ven. Bede)

Ver. 20. Herod,[2] &c. The sense both of the Latin and Greek text seems to be, that Herod entertained and shewed a particular respect and value for John the Baptist: yet some expound it, that he had a watchful eye over him, and sought only for an occasion to take him off. (Witham)

Ver. 26. It is customary, in Scripture, to give the generally prevailing sentiment at the time; thus Joseph is called by the blessed Virgin, the father of Jesus; so now Herod is said to be stricken with sadness, because he appeared to be so to the company at table, though within his own breast, he secretly rejoiced that he had an opportunity of destroying an importuning monitor, with an exterior shew of piety and honour. (Ven. Bede)

Ver. 29. Church history informs us, that the Christians were accustomed to frequent this tomb with great piety and respect, till the reign of Julian the apostate, at which time the pagans, through hatred for Christianity, broke open his tomb, and dispersed his bones; but immediately after, thinking it better to burn them, they endeavoured to collect them again. But some religious of a neighbouring convent, joining themselves to the pagans, under pretence of collecting the bones to burn, secreted the greater part of them, and sent them to Philip, at Jerusalem, who sent them to Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria; and in the reign of Theodosius, the temple of Serapis was converted into a Christian church, and dedicated to the honour of St. John the Baptist, where his relics were deposited. (Gloss. Ordina.)

Ver. 37. For two hundred pence. See Matthew xviii. 28. The apostles seem to speak these words ironically, to signify that they had not so much money as could procure a mouthful for each of them. (Witham)

Ver. 45. The apostles were in a desert place belonging to Bethsaida, which probably was divided from it by some bay or creek, that ran into the land; and Christ only ordered them to pass over this to the city, where he might afterwards have joined them, when he had sent away the people. But in their passage a great storm arose, and they were driven by an adverse wind to the open sea, towards Capharnaum; or, probably, when they found the wind so violent, afraid of shipwreck if they neared the shore, they rowed out to sea. This reconciles the seeming discrepance of St. Mark and St. John, when notwithstanding the directions Christ had given his disciples to go before him to Bethsaida, we find them going to Capharnaum. (Rutter)

Ver. 48. Thus the divine mercy often seems to desert the faithful in the height of tribulation, but God only acts thus, that he may try their patience, and reward them more abundantly. (Nicholas of Lyra)

Ver. 52. They understood not concerning the loaves;[3] i.e. they did not reflect how great a miracle that was which Christ had lately wrought, otherwise they would not have been so much surprised at his walking upon the sea. (Witham)


[1] Ver. 5. Non posse in Scripture, is divers times the same as nolle. So Genesis xxxvii, it is said of Joseph’s brothers, they could not, (non poterant) i.e. would not, speak to him peaceably. See John xii. 39, &c.

[2] Ver. 20. Custodiebat eum, suneterei auton. The Protestant translation, observed him.

[3] Ver. 52. Non intellexerunt de panibus, ou gar sunekan epi tois artois.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Christ teaches at Nazareth. He sends forth the twelve apostles: He feeds five thousand with five loaves; and walks upon the sea.

1 And *going out from thence, he went into his own country; and his disciples followed him.

2 And when the sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were in admiration at his doctrine: saying: How came this man by all these things? and what wisdom is this that is given to him, and such mighty works as are wrought by his hands?

3 *Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joseph, and Jude and Simon? are not also his sisters here with us? and they were scandalized in regard of him.

4 And Jesus said to them: *A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and in his own house, and among his own kindred.

5 And he could not do any miracle there, only that he cured a few that were sick, laying his hands upon them;

6 And he wondered because of their unbelief, and he went through the villages round about teaching.

7 *And he called the twelve; and began to send them two and two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.

8 And he commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, but a staff only: no scrip, no bread, nor money in their purse,

9 *But to be shod with sandals, and that they should not put on two coats.

10 And he said to them: Wheresoever you shall enter into a house, there abide till you depart from that place.

11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, *going forth from thence, shake off the dust from your feet for a testimony to them.

12 And going forth they preached that they should do penance:

13 And they cast out many devils, *and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them:

14 *And king Herod heard, (for his name was made manifest) and he said: John the Baptist is risen again from the dead, and therefore mighty works shew forth themselves in him.

15 And others said: It is Elias. But others said: It is a prophet, as one of the prophets.

16 Which Herod hearing, said: John whom I beheaded, he is risen again from the dead.

17 *For Herod himself had sent and apprehended John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, the wife of Philip, his brother, because he had married her.

18 For John said to Herod: *It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.

19 Now Herodias laid snares for him: and was desirous to put him to death, and could not.

20 For Herod feared John, knowing him to be a just and holy man: and kept him, and when he heard him, did many things: and he heard him willingly.

21 And when a convenient day was come, Herod made a supper for his birthday, for the princes, and tribunes, and chief men of Galilee.

22 And when the daughter of the same Herodias had come in, and had danced, and pleased Herod, and them that were at table with him, the king said to the damsel: Ask of me what thou wilt, and I will give it thee.

23 And he swore to her: Whatsoever thou shalt ask I will give thee, though it be the half of my kingdom.

24 Who when she was gone out, she said to her mother: What shall I ask? But she said: The head of John the Baptist.

25 And when she had come in immediately with haste to the king, she asked, saying: I will that forthwith thou give me in a dish the head of John the Baptist.

26 And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and because of them that were with him at table, he would not displease her:

27 But sending an executioner, he commanded that his head should be brought in a dish. And he beheaded him in the prison,

28 And brought his head in a dish; and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.

29 *Which his disciples hearing, came, and took his body: and laid it in a tomb.

30 *And the apostles coming together unto Jesus, related to him all things that they had done and taught.

31 And he said to them: *Come ye apart into a desert place, and rest a little. For there were many coming and going: and they had not so much as time to eat.

32 And going up into a ship, they went into a desert place apart.

33 And they saw them going away, and many knew: and they ran flocking thither on foot from all the cities, and were there before them.

34 *And Jesus going out, saw a great multitude: and he had compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.

35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came to him, saying: This is a desert place, and the hour is now past:

36 *Send them away, that going into the next villages and towns, they may buy themselves meat to eat.

37 But he answering, said to them: Give you them to eat. And they said to him: Let us go and buy bread for two hundred pence, and we will give them to eat.

38 And he saith to them: How many loaves have you? go and see. And when they knew, they say: Five, and two fishes.

39 *And he commanded them to make them all sit down by companies upon the green grass.

40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

41 And when he had taken the five loaves, and the two fishes; looking up to heaven, he blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave to his disciples to set before them: and the two fishes he divided among them all.

42 And they all did eat, and had their fill.

43 And they took up the leavings, twelve baskets full of fragments, and of the fishes.

44 And they that did eat, were five thousand men.

45 And immediately he obliged his disciples to go up into the ship, that they might go before him over the water to Bethsaida: whilst he dismissed the people.

46 And when he had dismissed them, he went up to the mountain to pray.

47 And when it was late, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

48 *And seeing them labouring in rowing, (for the wind was against them) and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh to them, walking upon the sea; and he would have passed by them.

49 But they seeing him walking upon the sea, thought it was an apparition, and they cried out.

50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he spoke with them, and said to them: Have a good heart, it is I; fear ye not.

51 And he went up to them into the ship, and the wind ceased. And they were far more astonished within themselves.

52 For they understood not concerning the loaves: for their heart was blinded.

53 *And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Genesareth, and set to the shore.

54 And when they were gone out of the ship, immediately they knew him:

55 And running through that whole country, they began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.

56 And whithersoever he entered, into towns, or into villages, or cities, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch but the hem of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.



1: about the year A.D. 32.; Matthew xiii. 53.; Luke iv. 16.

3: John vi. 42.

4: Matthew xiii. 57.; Luke iv. 24.; John iv. 44.

7: Matthew x. 1.; Mark iii. 15.; Luke ix. 1.

9: Acts. xii. 8.

11: Matthew x. 14.; Luke ix. 5.; Acts xiii. 51. and xviii. 6.

13: James v. 14.

14: Matthew xiv. 2.; Luke ix. 7.

17: Luke iii. 19.

18: Leviticus xviii. 16.

29: Matthew xiv. 12.

30: Luke ix. 10.

31: Matthew xiv. 13.; Luke ix. 10.; John vi. 1.

34: Matthew ix. 36. and xiv. 14.

36: Luke ix. 12.

39: John vi. 10.

48: Matthew xiv. 25.

53: Matthew xiv. 34.