Mark vii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 2. With common hands. It may be translated, with defiled hands; as also ver. 15; but the circumstances plainly shew the sense. (Witham)

Ver. 3. Often washing, &c.[1] Some would have the Greek to signify unless they wash up to the elbows, but I think without sufficient grounds. (Witham)

Ver. 4. Washed: literally, baptized. By beds are not understood night beds, but couches to eat upon, as it was then the custom. (Witham)

Ver. 7. See the annotations Matthew xv. 9, 11. It is groundless to pretend from this text, that the precepts and traditions of the Church are not binding and obligatory, for Christ himself has commanded all to hear his Church, and obey their lawful pastors. These indeed may be called the precepts of men, but they are precepts of men invested with power and authority from God, and of whom Christ himself said, (Luke x. 16.) He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me.

Ver. 9. Well do you. Christ here speaks by the figure called irony. (Witham)

Ver. 17. Asked him the parable. Asked him to explain its meaning.

Ver. 24. If he desired to conceal himself, and could not, his will it seems was under control; but this is impossible. His will must always take place. On this occasion, therefore, he wished himself to be sought for by these Gentiles, but not to be made known by his own apostles. Wherefore it came to pass, that not the persons who were his followers, but the Gentiles who entered the house in which he was, published his fame abroad. (St. Augustine) — Jesus Christ commanded his disciples not to publish that he was come into that country; not that he intended to cease from healing the infirm, and curing diseases, when he saw the faith of the inhabitants deserved it; for he informed the Gentile woman of his coming, and made it known to as many others as he thought worthy; but that he might teach us, by his example, to decline the applause of men. (Ven. Bede)

Ver. 25. This part, in which St. Mark says that Christ was in the house, when the woman came to petition in behalf of her daughter, seems to differ from the narration of St. Matthew, who says that the disciples besought Christ to dismiss her, because she cried after them; by which he signifies, that she followed them as they were on the road. These apparent differences may thus easily be reconciled. The woman came to our Lord when he was in the house, and he, according to St. Matthew, not answering her a word, went out during the silence: the woman followed after, and by her perseverance obtained her request. (St. Augustine)

Ver. 32. Dumb.[2] The Greek signifies one that speaks little, or with difficulty. (Witham) — They besought him. In the Greek it is, they beseech him, which agrees so well with they bring, that we have every reason to believe that this was the original reading.

Ver. 34. Ephphetha, a Syriac word. Jesus Christ, in the cure of this man, uses many and various actions; but as of their own nature they are no ways equal to such a cure, they shew: first, that the cure was miraculous; and secondly, the virtue, which his divinity communicated to his sacred body. (Bible de Vence) — We must not suppose that our Saviour here groaned on account of any difficulty he experienced in working this miracle, but only from commiseration for the man, whom he was about to heal; as likewise to shew, how very difficult is the cure of those who are spiritually deaf and dumb by sin. He was affected in a similar manner when he raised Lazarus to life, to shew with what difficulty a man, dead and buried in sin by evil habits, can arise from that miserable state. (Denis the Carthusian)


[1] Ver. 3. Crebò, ean me pugme. Mr. Bois, prebend of Ely, defends the Latin version, and says pugme comes from pukna and puknos. But Theophylactus would have it to signify, up to the elbows; achri tou agkonos.

[2] Ver. 32. Mutum, dumb; Greek, mogilalon, qui parum loquitur.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Christ rebukes the Pharisees. He heals the daughter of the woman of Chanaan; and the man that was deaf and dumb.

1 And there assembled together unto him the Pharisees, and some of the Scribes, coming from Jerusalem.

2 *And when they had seen some of his disciples eat bread with common, that is, with unwashed, hands, they found fault.

3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, eat not without often washing their hands, holding the tradition of the ancients:

4 And when they come from the market, unless they be washed, they eat not: and many other things there are that have been delivered to them to observe, the washings of cups, and of pots, and of brazen vessels, and of beds.

5 And the Pharisees and Scribes asked him: Why do not thy disciples walk according to the tradition of the ancients, but they eat bread with common hands?

6 But he answering, said to them: Well did Isaias prophesy of you, hypocrites, as it is written: *This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

7 And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men.

8 For leaving the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washings of pots, and of cups: and many other things you do like to these.

9 And he said to them: Well do you make void the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.

10 For Moses said: *Honour thy father and thy mother: and **he that shall curse father or mother, let him die the death.

11 But you say: If a man shall say to his father or mother, Corban, (that is a gift) whatsoever is from me, shall profit thee:

12 And farther you suffer him not to do any thing for his father or his mother,

13 Making void the word of God by your tradition, which you have given forth. And many other such like things you do.

14 *And calling again the multitude unto him, he said to them: Hear ye me all, and understand.

15 There is nothing from without a man entering into him, that can defile him: but the things which come from a man, those are they that defile a man.

16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

17 And when he was come into the house from the multitude, his disciples asked him the parable.

18 And he saith to them: Are you also so unwise? understand you not that whatever thing from without entering into a man, it cannot defile him:

19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but goeth into the belly, and goeth out into the privy, purging all meats?

20 But he said that the things which come out from a man, they defile a man.

21 *For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile a man.

24 *And rising from thence, he went to the borders of Tyre and Sidon: and entering into a house, he would have no man know it, but he could not be hid.

25 For a certain woman heard of him, whose daughter had an unclean spirit, and presently came in, and fell down at his feet.

26 For the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophœnician born. And she besought him to cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

27 And he said to her: Let the children first be filled: for it is not good to take the bread of the children, and cast it to the dogs.

28 But she answered and said to him: Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat under the table of the crumbs of the children.

29 And he said to her: For this saying, go thy way, the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

30 And when she was come to her house, she found the girl lying upon the bed, and that the devil was gone out.

31 And again going out of the borders of Tyre, he came to Sidon to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the borders of Decapolis.

32 *And they bring to him one that was deaf and dumb, and they besought him to lay his hand upon him.

33 And taking him aside from the multitude, he put his fingers into his ears, and spitting, he touched his tongue;

34 And looking up to heaven, he groaned, and said to him, Ephphetha, that is, Be opened.

35 And immediately his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke right.

36 And he charged them that they should tell no man. But the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal did they publish it:

37 And so much the more did they wonder, saying, He hath done all things well; he hath made both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.



2: about the year A.D. 32.; Matthew xv. 2.

6: Isaias xxix. 13.

10: Exodus xx. 12.; Deuteronomy v. 16.; Ephesians vi. 2. — ** Exodus xxi. 17.; Leviticus xx. 9.; Proverbs xx. 20.

14: Matthew xv. 10.

21: Genesis vi. 5.

24: Matthew xv. 21.

32: Matthew xi. 32.; Luke xi. 14.