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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: 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

8:2 {Now three days} (\ēdē hēmerai treis\). This text preserves a
curious parenthetic nominative of time (Robertson, _Grammar_, p.
. 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

8:8 {Broken pieces that remained over} (\perisseumata
. 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
. 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
(\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
. 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.
, 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
. 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

8:16 {They reasoned one with another} (\dielogizonto pros
, 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,
. 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).

8:18 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
(\pherousin\). This incident in Mark alone (verses

8:23 {Brought him out of the village} (\exēnegken auton exō tēs
. 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

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
, and kept on seeing (\eneblepen\, imperfect, continued
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.

8:28 {And they told him} (\hoi de eipan\). They knew only too
well. See on ¯Mt 16:14,28 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
. 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
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
. 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

8:38 {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.
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

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: Chapter 8)