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Chapter 8

8:1 Had nothing to eat [mē echontōn ti phagōsin]. Genitive absolute and plural because [ochlou] a collective substantive. Not having what to eat (deliberative subjunctive retained in indirect question). The repetition of a nature miracle of feeding four thousand in Decapolis disturbs some modern critics who cannot imagine how Jesus could or would perform another miracle elsewhere so similar to the feeding of the five thousand up near Bethsaida Julias. But both Mark and Matthew give both miracles, distinguish the words for baskets [kophinos, sphuris], and both make Jesus later refer to both incidents and use these two words with the same distinction (Mr 8:19f.; Mt 16:9f.). Surely it is easier to conceive that Jesus wrought two such miracles than to hold that Mark and Matthew have made such a jumble of the whole business.

8:2 Now three days [ēdē hēmerai treis]. This text preserves a curious parenthetic nominative of time (Robertson, Grammar, p. 460). See on Mt 15:32.

8:3 Are come from far [apo makrothen eisin]. This item alone in Mark.

8:4 Here [hōde]. Of all places, in this desert region in the mountains. The disciples feel as helpless as when the five thousand were fed. They do not rise to faith in the unlimited power of Jesus after all that they have seen.

8:6 Brake and gave [eklasen kai edidou]. Constative aorist followed by imperfect. The giving kept on. To set before them [hina paratithōsin]. Present subjunctive describing the continuous process.

8:7 A few small fishes [ichthudia oliga]. Mark mentions them last as if they were served after the food, but not so Mt 15:34f.

8:7 Broken pieces that remained over [perisseumata klasmatōn]. Overplus, abundance, remains of broken pieces not used, not just scraps or crumbs.

8:10 Into the parts of Dalmanutha [eis ta merē Dalmanoutha]. Mt 15:39 calls it “the borders of Magadan.” Both names are unknown elsewhere, but apparently the same region of Galilee on the western side of the lake not far from Tiberias. Mark here uses “parts” [merē] in the same sense as “borders” [horia] in 7:24 just as Matthew reverses it with “parts” in Mt 15:21 and “borders” here in Mt 15:39. Mark has here “with his disciples” [meta tōn mathētōn autou] only implied in Mt 15:39.

8:11 And the Pharisees came forth [kai exēlthon hoi Pharisaioi]. At once they met Jesus and opened a controversy. Mt 16:1 adds “and Sadducees,” the first time these two parties appear together against Jesus. See discussion on Mt 16:1. The Pharisees and Herodians had already joined hands against Jesus in the sabbath controversy (Mr 3:6). They began to question with him [ērxanto sunzētein autōi]. Dispute, not mere inquiry, associative instrumental case of [autoi]. They began at once and kept it up (present infinitive).

8:12 He sighed deeply in his spirit [anastenaxas tōi pneumati]. The only instance of this compound in the N.T. though in the LXX. The uncompounded form occurs in Mr 7:34 and it is common enough. The preposition [ana-] intensifies the meaning of the verb (perfective use). “The sigh seemed to come, as we say, from the bottom of his heart, the Lord’s human spirit was stirred to its depths” (Swete). Jesus resented the settled prejudice of the Pharisees (and now Sadducees also) against him and his work. There shall no sign be given unto this generation [ei dothēsetai tēi geneāi tautēi sēmeion]. Mt 16:4 has simply [ou dothēsetai], plain negative with the future passive indicative. Mark has [ei] instead of [ou], which is technically a conditional clause with the conclusion unexpressed (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1024), really aposiopesis in imitation of the Hebrew use of [im]. This is the only instance in the N.T. except in quotations from the LXX (Heb 3:11; 4:3,5). It is very common in the LXX. The rabbis were splitting hairs over the miracles of Jesus as having a possible natural explanation (as some critics do today) even if by the power of Beelzebub, and those not of the sky (from heaven) which would be manifested from God. So they put up this fantastic test to Jesus which he deeply resents. Mt 16:4 adds “but the sign of Jonah” mentioned already by Jesus on a previous occasion (Mt 12:39-41) at more length and to be mentioned again (Lu 11:32). But the mention of the sign of Jonah was “an absolute refusal of signs in their sense” (Bruce). And when he did rise from the dead on the third day, the Sanhedrin refused to be convinced (see Acts 3 to 5).

8:14 Bread [artous]. Loaves, plural. More than one loaf [ei mē hina arton]. Except one loaf. Detail only in Mark. Practically for thirteen men when hungry.

8:15 Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod [Horāte, blepete apo tēs zumēs tōn Pharisaiōn kai tēs zumēs Hērōidou]. Present imperatives. Note [apo] and the ablative case. [Zumē] is from [zumoō] and occurs already in Mt 13:33 in a good sense. For the bad sense see 1Co 5:6. He repeatedly charged [diestelleto], imperfect indicative), showing that the warning was needed. The disciples came out of a Pharisaic atmosphere and they had just met it again at Dalmanutha. It was insidious. Note the combination of Herod here with the Pharisees. This is after the agitation of Herod because of the death of the Baptist and the ministry of Jesus (Mr 6:14-29; Mt 14:1-12; Lu 9:7-9). Jesus definitely warns the disciples against “the leaven of Herod” (bad politics) and the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees (bad theology and also bad politics).

8:16 They reasoned one with another [dielogizonto pros allēlous], implying discussion. Imperfect tense, kept it up. Mt 16:7 has [en heautois], in themselves or among themselves.

8:17 Mark here (vv. 17-20) gives six keen questions of Jesus while Mt 16:8-11 gives as four that really include the six of Mark running some together. The questions reveal the disappointment of Jesus at the intellectual dulness of his pupils. The questions concern the intellect [noeite], from [nous, suniete], comprehend), the heart in a hardened state [pepōrōmenēn], perfect passive predicate participle as in Mr 6:52, which see), the eyes, the ears, the memory of both the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand here sharply distinguished even to the two kinds of baskets [kophinous, sphuridōn]. The disciples did recall the number of baskets left over in each instance, twelve and seven. Jesus “administers a sharp rebuke for their preoccupation with mere temporalities, as if there were nothing higher to be thought of than bread” (Bruce). “For the time the Twelve are way-side hearers, with hearts like a beaten path, into which the higher truths cannot sink so as to germinate” (Bruce).

8:17 See on 17.

8:19 See on 17.

8:20 See on 17.

8:21 Do ye not yet understand? [oupō suniete;]. After all this rebuke and explanation. The greatest of all teachers had the greatest of all classes, but he struck a snag here. Mt 16:12 gives the result: “Then they understood how that he bade them not beware of the loaves of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They had once said that they understood the parables of Jesus (Mt 13:51). But that was a long time ago. The teacher must have patience if his pupils are to understand.

8:22 Unto Bethsaida [eis Bēthsaidan]. On the Eastern side not far from the place of the feeding of the five thousand, Bethsaida Julias. Note dramatic presents they come [erchontai], they bring [pherousin]. This incident in Mark alone (verses 22-26).

8:23 Brought him out of the village [exēnegken auton exō tēs kōmēs]. It had been a village, but Philip had enlarged it and made it a town or city [polis], though still called a village (verses 23, 26). As in the case of the deaf and dumb demoniac given also alone by Mark (Mr 7:31-37), so here Jesus observes the utmost secrecy in performing the miracle for reasons not given by Mark. It was the season of retirement and Jesus is making the fourth withdrawal from Galilee. That fact may explain it. The various touches here are of interest also. Jesus led him out by the hand, put spittle on his eyes (using the poetical and Koinē papyri word [ommata] instead of the usual [opthalmous], and laid his hands upon him, perhaps all this to help the man’s faith.

8:24 I see men, for I behold them as trees walking [Blepō tous anthrōpous hoti hōs dendra horō peripatountas]. A vivid description of dawning sight. His vision was incomplete though he could tell that they were men because they were walking. This is the single case of a gradual cure in the healings wrought by Jesus. The reason for this method in this case is not given.

8:25 He looked steadfastly [dieblepsen]. He saw thoroughly now, effective aorist [dieblepsen], he was completely restored [apekatestē], second aorist, double compound and double augment), and kept on seeing [eneblepen], imperfect, continued action) all things clearly or at a distance [tēlaugōs], common Greek word from [tēle], afar, and [augē], radiance, far-shining). Some manuscripts (margin in Westcott and Hort) read [dēlaugōs], from [dēlos], plain, and [augē], radiance.

8:26 To his home [eis oikon autou]. A joyful homecoming that. He was not allowed to enter the village and create excitement before Jesus moved on to Caesarea Philippi.

8:27 Into the villages of Caesarea Philippi [eis tās kōmas Kaisariās tēs Philippou]. Parts [merē] Mt 16:13 has, the Caesarea of Philippi in contrast to the one down on the Mediterranean Sea. Mark means the villages belonging to the district around Caesarea Philippi. This region is on a spur of Mount Hermon in Iturea ruled by Herod Philip so that Jesus is safe from annoyance by Herod Antipas or the Pharisees and Sadducees. Up here on this mountain slope Jesus will have his best opportunity to give the disciples special teaching concerning the crucifixion just a little over six months ahead. So Jesus asked [epērōtā], descriptive imperfect) Who do men say that I am? [Tina me legousin hoi anthrōpoi einai;]. Mt 16:13 has “the Son of Man” in place of “I” here in Mark and in Lu 9:18. He often described himself as “the Son of Man.” Certainly here the phrase could not mean merely “a man.” They knew the various popular opinions about Jesus of which Herod Antipas had heard (Mr 3:21,31). It was time that the disciples reveal how much they had been influenced by their environment as well as by the direct instruction of Jesus.

8:27 And they told him [hoi de eipan]. They knew only too well. See on Mt 16:14,27 for discussion.

8:29 Thou art the Christ [Su ei ho Christos]. Mark does not give “the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16) or “of God” (Lu 9:20). The full confession is the form in Matthew. Luke’s language means practically the same, while Mark’s is the briefest. But the form in Mark really means the full idea. Mark omits all praise of Peter, probably because Peter had done so in his story of the incident. For criticism of the view that Matthew’s narrative is due to ecclesiastical development and effort to justify ecclesiastical prerogatives, see discussion on Mt 16:16,18. The disciples had confessed him as Messiah before. Thus Joh 1:41; 4:29; 6:69; Mt 14:33. But Jesus had ceased to use the word Messiah to avoid political complications and a revolutionary movement (Joh 6:14f.). But did the disciples still believe in Jesus as Messiah after all the defections and oppositions seen by them? It was a serious test to which Jesus now put them.

8:30 Of him [peri autou]. As being the Messiah, that he was the Christ (Mt 16:20). Not yet, for the time was not yet ripe. When that comes, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the very stones will cry out, if men will not (Lu 19:40).

8:31 He began to teach them [ērxato didaskein autous]. Mark is fond of this idiom, but it is not a mere rhetorical device. Mt 16:21 expressly says “from that time.” They had to be told soon about the approaching death of Jesus. The confession of faith in Jesus indicated that it was a good time to begin. Death at the hands of the Sanhedrin (elders, chief priests, and scribes) in which Pharisees and Sadducees had about equal strength. The resurrection on the third day is mentioned, but it made no impression on their minds. This rainbow on the cloud was not seen. After three days [meta treis hēmeras]. Mt 16:21 has “the third day” [tēi tritēi hēmerāi] in the locative case of point of time (so also Lu 9:22). There are some people who stickle for a strict interpretation of “after three days” which would be “on the fourth day,” not “on the third day.” Evidently Mark’s phrase here has the same sense as that in Matthew and Luke else they are hopelessly contradictory. In popular language “after three days” can and often does mean “on the third day,” but the fourth day is impossible.

8:32 Spake the saying openly [parrēsiāi ton logon elalei]. He held back nothing, told it all [pān], all, [rēsia], from [eipon], say), without reserve, to all of them. Imperfect tense [elalei] shows that Jesus did it repeatedly. Mark alone gives this item. Mark does not give the great eulogy of Peter in Mt 16:17,19 after his confession (Mr 8:29; Mt 16:16; Lu 9:20), but he does tell the stinging rebuke given Peter by Jesus on this occasion. See discussion on Mt 16:21,26.

8:33 He turning about and seeing his disciples [epistrapheis kai idōn tous mathētās autou]. Peter had called Jesus off to himself [proskalesamenos], but Jesus quickly wheeled round on Peter [epistrapheis], only [strapheis] in Matthew). In doing that the other disciples were in plain view also (this touch only in Mark). Hence Jesus rebukes Peter in the full presence of the whole group. Peter no doubt felt that it was his duty as a leader of the Twelve to remonstrate with the Master for this pessimistic utterance (Swete). It is even possible that the others shared Peter’s views and were watching the effect of his daring rebuke of Jesus. It was more than mere officiousness on the part of Peter. He had not risen above the level of ordinary men and deserves the name of Satan whose role he was now acting. It was withering, but it was needed. The temptation of the devil on the mountain was here offered by Peter. It was Satan over again. See on Mt 16:23.

8:34 And he called unto him the multitude with his disciples [kai proskalesamenos ton ochlon sun tois mathētais autou]. Mark alone notes the unexpected presence of a crowd up here near Caesarea Philippi in heathen territory. In the presence of this crowd Jesus explains his philosophy of life and death which is in direct contrast with that offered by Peter and evidently shared by the disciples and the people. So Jesus gives this profound view of life and death to them all. Deny himself [aparnēsasthō heauton]. Say no to himself, a difficult thing to do. Note reflexive along with the middle voice. Ingressive first aorist imperative. See on Mt 16:24 about taking up the Cross. The shadow of Christ’s Cross was already on him (Mr 8:31) and one faces everyone.

8:35 And the gospel’s sake [kai tou euaggeliou]. In Mark alone. See on Mt 16:25f. for this paradox. Two senses of “life” and “save.” For the last “save” [sōsei] Mt 16:25 has “find” [heurēsei]. See on Mt 16:26 for “gain,” “profit,” and “exchange.”

8:37 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words [hos gar ean epaischunthēi me kai tous emous logous]. More exactly, whosoever is ashamed (first aorist passive subjunctive with indefinite relative and [ean = an]. See Robertson, Grammar, pp. 957–9.) It is not a statement about the future conduct of one, but about his present attitude toward Jesus. The conduct of men toward Christ now determines Christ’s conduct then [epaischunthēsetai], first future passive indicative). This passive verb is transitive and uses the accusative [me, auton]. In this adulterous and sinful generation [en tēi geneāi tautēi tēi moichalidi kai hamartōlōi]. Only in Mark. When he cometh [hotan elthēi]. Aorist active subjunctive with reference to the future second coming of Christ with the glory of the Father with his holy angels (cf. Mt 16:27). This is a clear prediction of the final eschatological coming of Christ. This verse could not be separated from Mr 9:1 as the chapter division does. These two verses in Mr 8:38; 9:1 form one paragraph and should go together.

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