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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: Chapter 3)

3:1 {Had his hand withered} (\exērammenēn echōn tēn cheira\). He
had his ({the} in the Greek, common idiom with article as
hand (right hand, Lu 6:6) in a withered state,
perfect passive participle (adjective \xēran\ in Matthew and
, showing that it was not congenital, but the result of
injury by accident or disease. Bengel: _Non ex utero, sed morbo
aut vulnere_.

3:2 {They watched} (\paretēroun\). Imperfect tense, were watching
on the side (or sly). Luke uses the middle voice, \paretērounto\,
to accent their personal interest in the proceedings. It was the
sabbath day and in the synagogue and they were there ready to
catch him in the act if he should dare to violate their rules as
he had done in the wheat fields on the previous sabbath. Probably
the same Pharisees are present now as then. {That they might
accuse him}
(\hina katēgorēsōsin autou\). So Mt 12:10. Luke has
it "that they might find how to accuse him" (\hina heurōsin
katēgorein autou\)
. They were determined to accuse him. The
sabbath controversy offered the best opening. So here they are
ready for business.

3:3 {Stand forth} (\egeire eis to meson\). Step into the middle
of the room where all can see. It was a bold defiance of the
Christ's spying enemies. Wycliff rightly puts it: {They aspieden
. They played the spy on Jesus. One can see the commotion
among the long-bearded hypocrites at this daring act of Jesus.

3:4 {But they held their peace} (\hoi de esiōpōn\). Imperfect
tense. In sullen silence and helplessness before the merciless
questions of Jesus as the poor man stood there before them all.
Jesus by his pitiless alternatives between doing good
(\agathopoieō\, late Greek word in LXX and N.T.) and doing evil
(\kakopoieō\, ancient Greek word), to this man, for instance, {to
save a life or to kill}
(\psuchēn sōsai ē apokteinai\), as in
this case. It was a terrible exposure.

3:5 {When he had looked round on them with anger}
(\periblepsamenos autous met' orgēs\). Mark has a good deal to
say about the looks of Jesus with this word (3:5,34; 5:37; 9:8;
10:23; 11:11)
as here. So Luke only once, Lu 6:10. The eyes of
Jesus swept the room all round and each rabbinical hypocrite felt
the cut of that condemnatory glance. This indignant anger was not
inconsistent with the love and pity of Jesus. Murder was in their
hearts and Jesus knew it. Anger against wrong as wrong is a sign
of moral health (Gould). {Being grieved at the hardness of their
(\sunlupoumenos epi tēi pōrōsei tēs kardias autōn\). Mark
alone gives this point. The anger was tempered by grief (Swete).
Jesus is the Man of Sorrows and this present participle brings
out the continuous state of grief whereas the momentary angry
look is expressed by the aorist participle above. Their own heart
or attitude was in a state of moral ossification (\pōrōsis\) like
hardened hands or feet. \Pōros\ was used of a kind of marble and
then of the _callus_ on fractured bones. "They were hardened by
previous conceptions against this new truth" (Gould). See also on
¯Mt 12:9-14.

3:6 {And straightway with the Herodians took council} (\euthus
meta tōn Hērōidianōn\)
. The Pharisees could stand no more. So out
they stalked at once in a rage of madness (Lu 6:11) and outside
of the synagogue took counsel (\sumboulion epoiēsan\) or gave
counsel (\sumboulion edidoun\, as some MSS. have it, imperfect
tense, offered counsel as their solution of the problem)
their bitter enemies, the Herodians, on the sabbath day still
"how they might destroy him" (\hopōs auton apolesōsin\), a
striking illustration of the alternatives of Jesus a few moments
before, "to save life or to kill." This is the first mention of
the Herodians or adherents of Herod Antipas and the Herod family
rather than the Romans. The Pharisees would welcome the help of
their rivals to destroy Jesus. In the presence of Jesus they
unite their forces as in Mr 8:15; 12:13; Mt 22:16.

3:7 {Withdrew to the sea} (\anechōrēsen eis tēn thalassan\).
Evidently Jesus knew of the plot to kill him, "perceiving it"
(Mt 12:15). "He and His would be safer by the open beach"
(Swete). He has the disciples with him. Vincent notes that on
eleven occasions Mark mentions the withdrawals of Jesus to escape
his enemies, for prayer, for rest, for private conference with
his disciples (1:12; 3:7; 6:31,46; 7:24,31; 9:2; 10:1; 14:34).
But, as often, a great multitude (\polu plēthos\) from Galilee
followed him.

3:8 {Hearing what great things he did} (\akouontes hosa poiei\).
Masculine plural present participle, though \plēthos\ is neuter
singular (construction according to sense in both number and
. This crowd by the sea came from Galilee, Judea,
Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond Jordan (Decapolis and Perea), Tyre and
Sidon, Phoenicia, North, South, East, and Northwest, even from
Idumea (mentioned here alone in the N.T.) won by John Hyrcanus to
Palestine. "In our Lord's time Idumea was practically a part of
Judea with a Jewish circumcised population" (George Adam Smith).
Many of these were probably Gentiles (Phoenicia and Decapolis)
and may have known only the Greek language. The fame of Jesus had
spread through all the regions round about. There was a jam as
the crowds came to Jesus by the Sea of Galilee.

3:9 {That a little boat should wait on him} (\hina ploiarion
proskarterēi autōi\)
. The boat was to keep close (note present
tense subjunctive of \proskartereō\)
to the shore in constant
readiness and move as Jesus did. Whether he needed it or not is
not told, but it was there at hand. {Lest they should throng him}
(\hina mē thlibōsin auton\). Press or crush him. Jesus stayed
with the crowds for they needed him. Present subjunctive again.

3:10 {Pressed upon him} (\epipiptein autōi\). Were falling upon
him to such an extent that it was dangerous. They were not
hostile, but simply intensely eager, each to have his own case
attended to by Jesus. {That they might touch him} (\hina autou
. If only that much. They hoped for a cure by contact
with Christ. Aorist subjunctive. It was a really pathetic scene
and a tremendous strain on Jesus. {As many as had plagues}
(\hosoi eichon mastigas\). Strokes or scourges, terms used by us
today as a paralytic stroke, the influenza scourge. Our word
plague is from \plēgē\ (Latin _plaga_), from \plēgnumi\, to
strike a blow. Common in ancient Greek in this sense. See Mr
5:29,34; Lu 7:21 for the same use of \mastiges\ and also 2Macc.

3:11 {Whensoever they beheld him} (\hotan auton etheōroun\).
Imperfect indicative with \hotan\ of repeated action. They kept
falling down before him (\prosepipton\) and crying, (\ekrazon\)
and he kept charging or rebuking (\epitimā\) them, all
imperfects. The unclean spirits (demons) recognize Jesus as the
Son of God, as before. Jesus charged them not to make him known
as he had also done before. He did not wish this testimony. It
was a most exciting ordeal and is given only by Mark. Note
non-final use of \hina\.

3:13 {He goeth up into the mountain} (\anabainei eis to oros\).
So Matthew (Mt 5:1) and Luke (Lu 6:12), "to pray" Luke adds.
Historical present so common in Mark's vivid narrative. Neither
Gospel gives the name of the mountain, assuming it as well known,
probably not far from the lake. {Whom he himself would} (\hous
ēthelen autos\)
. Emphatic use of \autos\ (himself) at end of
sentence. Whether by personal imitation or through the disciples
Jesus invites or calls to himself (\proskaleitai\, historical
middle present indicative)
a select number out of the vast crowds
by the sea, those whom he really wished to be with him. {They
went off to him}
(\apēlthon pros auton\). Luke states that Jesus
"continued all night in prayer, to God." It was a crisis in the
ministry of Christ. This select group up in the hills probably
respected the long agony of Jesus though they did not comprehend
his motive. They formed a sort of spiritual body-guard around the
Master during his night vigil in the mountain.

3:14 {He appointed twelve} (\epoiēsen dōdeka\). This was a second
selection out of those invited to the hills and after the night
of prayer and after day came (Lu 6:13). Why he chose twelve we
are not told, probably because there were twelve tribes in
Israel. It was a good round number at any rate. They were to be
princes in the new Israel (cf. Mt 19:28; Lu 22:30; Re
. Luke (Lu 6:13-16) also gives the list of the twelve
at this point while Matthew (Mt 10:1-4) postpones giving the
names till they are sent out in Galilee. There is a fourth list
in Ac 1:13. See discussion of the names of the apostles on ¯Mt
10:1-4 and pp. 271-3 of my _Harmony of the Gospels for Students
of the Life of Christ_. The three groups of four begin alike
(Simon, Philip, James). There are some difficulties. {Whom he
also named apostles}
(\hous kai apostolous ōnomasen\). Margin of
Revised Version, the text of Westcott and Hort after Aleph, B, C,
etc. Genuine in Lu 6:13 and probably so here. The meaning is
that Jesus himself gave the name apostle or missionary
(\apostellō\, to send) to this group of twelve. The word is
applied in the New Testament to others besides as delegates or
messengers of churches (2Co 8:23; Php 2:25), and messenger
(Joh 13:16). It is applied also to Paul on a par with the
twelve (Ga 1:1,11f., etc.) and also to Barnabas (Ac 14:14),
and perhaps also to Timothy and Silas (1Ti 2:6f.). Two purposes
of Jesus are mentioned by Mark in the choice of these twelve,
{that they might be with him} (\hina ōsin met' autou\), {and that
he might send them forth}
(\kai hina apostellēi autous\). They
were not ready to be sent forth till they had been with Jesus for
some time. This is one of the chief tasks of Christ to train this
group of men. See Bruce's _The Training of the Twelve_. The very
word \apostolos\ is from \apostellō\. There were two purposes in
sending them forth expressed by two infinitives, one to preach
(\kērussein\, from \kērux\, herald), the other to have power to
cast out demons (\echein exousian ekballein ta daimonia\). This
double ministry of preaching and healing was to mark their work.
The two things are, however, different, and one does not
necessarily involve the other.

3:16 {Simon he surnamed Peter} (\epethēken onoma tōi Simōni
. The Greek idiom seems awkward, but it is not. Peter is
in apposition with _name_ or \onoma\ (accusative). This surname
Jesus gave in addition (\epethēken\) to Simon (dative case). Here
then is a direct reference to what is told in Joh 1:42 when
Jesus met Simon for the first time. Mark here reflects Peter's
own words. Luke (Lu 6:14) simply says "Whom he also surnamed
Peter." See Mt 16:18 for the full explanation of the name
Peter, a Rock, Cephas.

3:17 {Boanerges, which is Sons of thunder} (\Boanērges ho estin
huioi brontēs\)
. This Hebrew nickname is given only by Mark and
the reason for it is not clear. It may refer to the fiery
temperament revealed in Lu 9:34 when James and John wanted to
call down fire on the Samaritan villages that were unfriendly to
them. The word literally means {sons of tumult, sons of thunder}
in Syriac. No other epithets are given by Mark save descriptions
to distinguish as Simon the Cananaean (or Zealot) and Judas
Iscariot, who also betrayed him (verse 19). Andrew, (from
\anēr\, a man)
and Philip (Philippos, fond of horses) are both
Greek names. Bartholomew, son of Tolmai, is the Nathanael of
John's Gospel (Joh 21:2). He probably had both names. Matthew
is a Hebrew name meaning gift of God (\Maththaios\). Thomas is
Hebrew and means Twin (Didymus, Joh 11:16). There are two uses
of the name of James (\Iacōbos\, Jacob). Thaddeus is another name
for Lebbaeus.

3:19 {He cometh into a house} (\erchetai eis oikon\). Historical
present again and no article with noun. He comes home from the
mountain, probably the house of Simon as in 1:29. Mark passes
by the Sermon on the Mount given by Matthew and Luke on the
mountain (plateau on the mountain in Luke). We have to allow a
reasonable interval for Mark's narrative. Mark's Gospel is full
of action and does not undertake to tell all that Jesus did and

3:20 {So that they could not so much as eat bread} (\hōste mē
dunasthai autous mēde arton phagein\)
. Note infinitive with
\hōste\. Apparently Jesus and the disciples indoors with the
great crowd in the house and at the door as in 1:32; 2:2 to
which Mark refers by "again." The jam was so great that they
could not rest, could not eat, and apparently Jesus could not
even teach. The crowd reassembled at once on Christ's return from
the mountain.

3:21 {His friends} (\hoi par' autou\). The phrase means literally
"those from the side of him (Jesus)." It could mean another
circle of disciples who had just arrived and who knew of the
crowds and strain of the Galilean ministry who now come at this
special juncture. But the idiom most likely means the kinspeople
or family of Jesus as is common in the LXX. The fact that in
verse 31 "his mother and his brothers" are expressly mentioned
would indicate that they are "the friends" alluded to in verse
21. It is a mournful spectacle to think of the mother and
brothers saying, {He is beside himself} (\exestē\). Second aorist
active indicative intransitive. The same charge was brought
against Paul (Ac 26:24; 2Co 5:13). We say that one is out of
his head. Certainly Mary did not believe that Jesus was in the
power of Beelzebub as the rabbis said already. The scribes from
Jerusalem are trying to discount the power and prestige of Jesus
(3:22). See on ¯Mt 9:32-34; 10:25; 12:24 for Beelzebub and
Beelzebul. Mary probably felt that Jesus was overwrought and
wished to take him home out of the excitement and strain that he
might get rest and proper food. See my _The Mother of Jesus: Her
Problems and Her Glory_. The brothers did not as yet believe the
pretensions and claims of Jesus (Joh 7:5). Herod Antipas will
later consider Jesus as John the Baptist _redivivus_, the scribes
treat him as under demonic possession, even the family and
friends fear a disordered mind as a result of overstrain. It was
a crucial moment for Jesus. His family or friends came to take
him home, to lay hold of him (\kratēsai\), forcibly if need be.

3:23 {In parables} (\en parabolais\). In crisp pungent thrusts
that exposed the inconsistencies of the scribes and Pharisees.
See on ¯Mt 13 for discussion of the word {parable} (\parabolē\,
placing beside for comparison)
. These short parabolic quips
concern Satan's casting out (\ekballei\, the very word used of
casting out demons)
Satan (rhetorical question), a kingdom
divided (\meristhēi\, for a mere portion) against itself, a house
divided (\meristhēi\) against itself, two conditions of the third
class undetermined, but with prospect of determination.

3:27 {Spoil} (\diarpasai\). Plunder, compound verb, thoroughly
ransack. Picture of Satan plundering the demons, the very tools
(\skeuē\) by which he carried on his business. A _reductio ad
absurdum_. Jesus is the conqueror of Satan, not in league with

3:29 {Guilty of an eternal sin} (\enochos estin aiōniou
. The genitive of the penalty occurs here with
\enochos\. In saying that Jesus had an unclean spirit (verse
they had attributed to the devil the work of the Holy
Spirit. This is the unpardonable sin and it can be committed
today by men who call the work of Christ the work of the devil,
Nietzsche may be cited as an instance in point. Those who hope
for a second probation hereafter may ponder carefully how a soul
that eternally sins in such an environment can ever repent. That
is eternal punishment. The text here is \hamartēmatos\ (sin), not
\kriseōs\ (judgment), as the Textus Receptus has it.

3:31 {Standing without} (\exō stēkontes\). A late present from
the perfect \hestēka\. Pathetic picture of the mother and
brothers standing on the outside of the house thinking that Jesus
inside is beside himself and wanting to take him home. They were
crowded out. {They sent unto him, calling him} (\apesteilan pros
auton kalountes auton\)
. They were unwilling to disclose their
errand to take him home (Swete) and so get the crowd to pass word
unto Jesus on the inside, "calling him" through others. Some of
the MSS. add "sisters" to mother and brothers as seeking Jesus.

3:32 {Was sitting about him} (\ekathēto peri auton\). They sat in
a circle (\kuklōi\) around Jesus with the disciples forming a
sort of inner circle.

3:34 {Looking round on them} (\periblepsamenos\). Another of
Mark's life-like touches. Jesus calls those who do the will of
God his mother, brothers, and sisters. This does not prove that
the sisters were actually there. The brothers were hostile and
that gives point to the tragic words of Jesus. One's heart goes
out to Mary who has to go back home without even seeing her
wondrous Son. What did it all mean to her at this hour?

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: Chapter 3)