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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: Chapter 9)

9:1 {Till they see the kingdom of God come with power} (\heōs an
idōsin tēn basileian tou theou elēluthuian en dunamei\)
. In
8:38 Jesus clearly is speaking of the second coming. To what is
he referring in 9:1? One is reminded of Mr 13:32; Mt 24:36
where Jesus expressly denies that anyone save the Father himself
(not even the Son) knows the day or the hour. Does he contradict
that here? It may be observed that Luke has only "see the kingdom
of God," while Matthew has "see the Son of man coming"
(\erchomenon\, present participle, a process). Mark has "see the
kingdom of God come" (\elēluthuian\, perfect active participle,
already come)
and adds "with power." Certainly the second coming
did not take place while some of those standing there still
lived. Did Jesus mean that? The very next incident in the
Synoptic Gospels is the Transfiguration on Mount Hermon. Does not
Jesus have that in mind here? The language will apply also to the
coming of the Holy Spirit on the great Day of Pentecost. Some see
in it a reference to the destruction of the temple. It is at
least open to question whether the Master is speaking of the same
event in Mr 8:38; 9:1.

9:2 {By themselves} (\monous\). Alone. This word only in Mark.
See on ¯Mt 17:1-8 for discussion of the Transfiguration. Lu
9:28 adds "to pray" as the motive of Jesus in taking Peter,
James, and John into the high mountain.

9:3 {Glistering, exceeding white} (\stilbonta leuka lian\). Old
words, all of them. Mt 17:2 has {white as the light} (\leuka
hōs to phōs\)
, Lu 9:29 "white and dazzling" (\leukos
like lightning. {So as no fuller on earth can
whiten them}
(\hoia gnapheus epi tēs gēs ou dunatai houtōs
. \Gnaphō\ is an old word to card wool. Note \houtōs\,
so, so white. Some manuscripts in Matthew add \hōs chiōn\, as
snow. Probably the snow-capped summit of Hermon was visible on
this very night. See on ¯Mt 17:2 for "transfigured."

9:4 {Elijah with Moses} (\Eleias sun Mōusei\). Matthew and Luke
have "Moses and Elijah." Both, as a matter of fact were prophets
and both dealt with law. Both had mysterious deaths. The other
order in Mr 9:5.

9:6 {For he wist not what to answer} (\ou gar ēidei ti
. Deliberative subjunctive retained in indirect
question. But why did Peter say anything? Luke says that he
spoke, "not knowing what he said," as an excuse for the
inappropriateness of his remarks. Perhaps Peter felt embarrassed
at having been asleep (Lu 9:32) and the feast of tabernacles or
booths (\skēnai\) was near. See on ¯Mt 17:4. Peter and the
others apparently had not heard the talk of Moses and Elijah with
Jesus about his decease (\exodon\, exodus, departure) and little
knew the special comfort that Jesus had found in this
understanding of the great approaching tragedy concerning which
Peter had shown absolute stupidity (Mr 8:32f.) so recently. See
on ¯Mt 17:5 about the overshadowing and the voice.

9:8 {Suddenly looking round about} (\exapina periblepsamenoi\).
Mt 17:8 has it "lifting up their eyes." Mark is more graphic.
The sudden glance around on the mountain side when the cloud with
Moses and Elijah was gone. {Jesus only with themselves} (\meth'
heautōn ei mē Iēsoun monon\)
. Mark shows their surprise at the
situation. They were sore afraid (Mt 17:6) before Jesus touched

9:9 {Save when} (\ei mē hotan\). Matthew has "until" (\heōs
. {Should have risen} (\anastēi\). Second aorist active
subjunctive. More exactly, "should rise" (punctiliar aorist and
futuristic, not with any idea of perfect tense)
. Lu 9:36 merely
says that they told no man any of these things. It was a high and
holy secret experience that the chosen three had had for their
future good and for the good of all.

9:10 {They kept the saying} (\ton logon ekratēsan\) to themselves
as Jesus had directed, but {questioning among themselves} (\pros
heautous sunzētountes\)
. Now they notice his allusion to rising
from the dead which had escaped them before (Mr 8:31).

9:12 {Restoreth all things} (\apokatistanei panta\). This late
double compound verb, usual form \apokathistēmi\ in the papyri,
is Christ's description of the Baptist as the promised Elijah and
Forerunner of the Messiah. See on ¯Mt 17:10-13. The disciples
had not till now understood that the Baptist fulfilled the
prophecy in Mal 3:5f. They had just seen Elijah on the
mountain, but Jesus as Messiah preceded this coming of Elijah.
But Jesus patiently enlightens his dull pupils as they argue
about the exegesis of the scribes.

9:14 {And scribes questioning with them} (\kai grammateis
sunzētountes pros autous\)
. Mark alone gives this item. He is
much fuller on this incident (9:14-29) than either Matthew (Mt
or Luke (Lu 9:37-43). It was just like the
professional scribes to take keen interest in the failure of the
nine disciples to cure this poor boy. They gleefully nagged and
quizzed them. Jesus and the three find them at it when they
arrive in the plain.

9:15 {Were greatly amazed} (\exethambēthēsan\). First aorist
passive ingressive aorist with perfective compound \ex-\. The
sudden and opportune appearance of Jesus in the midst of the
dispute when no one was looking for him turned all eyes to him.
He would not fail, however the disciples might do so. The people
were awed for the moment and then running began to welcome him
(\protrechontes ēspazonto\). Present participle and imperfect
middle indicative.

9:16 {What question ye with them?} (\Ti sunzēteite pros
. Jesus had noticed the embarrassment of the nine and at
once takes hold of the situation.

9:17 {I brought unto thee my son} (\ēnegka ton huion mou pros
. The father stepped out and gave the explanation of the
excited dispute in direct and simple pathos.

9:18 {Wheresoever it taketh him} (\hopou ean auton katalabēi\).
Seizes him down. Our word catalepsy is this same word. The word
is used by Galen and Hippocrates for fits. The word is very
common in the papyri in various senses as in the older Greek.
Each of the verbs here in Mark is a graphic picture. {Dashes
(\rēssei\). Also \rēgnumi, mi\ form. Convulses, rends,
tears asunder. Old and common word. {Foameth} (\aphrizei\). Here
only in the N.T. Poetic and late word. {Grindeth} (\trizei\).
Another _hapax legomenon_ in the N.T. Old word for making a
shrill cry or squeak. {Pineth away} (\xērainetai\). Old word for
drying or withering as of grass in Jas 1:11. {And they were not
(\kai ouk ischusan\). They did not have the strength
(\ischus\) to handle this case. See Mt 17:16; Lu 9:40 (\kai ouk
ēdunēthēsan\, first aorist passive)
. It was a tragedy.

9:19 {Bring him unto me} (\pherete auton pros me\). The disciples
had failed and their unbelief had led to this fiasco. Even the
disciples were like and part of the {faithless} (\apistos\,
generation in which they lived. The word {faithless}
does not here mean treacherous as it does with us. But Jesus is
not afraid to undertake this case. We can always come to Jesus
when others fail us.

9:20 {Tare him grievously} (\sunesparaxen auton\). Lu 9:42 has
both \errēxen\ (dashed down, like Mr 9:18, \rēssei\) and
\sunesparaxen\ (convulsed). This compound with \sun-\ (together
, strengthens the force of the verb as in \sunpnigō\ (Mr
and \suntēreō\ (6:20). The only other instance of this
compound verb known is in Maximus Tyrius (second century B.C.).
{Wallowed} (\ekulieto\). Imperfect passive, was rolled. A pitiful
sight. Late form of the old \kulindō\.

9:22 {But if thou canst} (\all 'ei ti dunēi\). Jesus had asked
(verse 21) the history of the case like a modern physician. The
father gave it and added further pathetic details about the fire
and the water. The failure of the disciples had not wholly
destroyed his faith in the power of Jesus, though the conditional
form (first class, assuming it to be true) does suggest doubt
whether the boy can be cured at all. It was a chronic and
desperate case of epilepsy with the demon possession added. {Help
(\boethēson hemin\). Ingressive aorist imperative. Do it now.
With touching tenderness he makes the boy's case his own as the
Syrophoenician woman had said, "Have mercy on me" (Mt 15:21).
The leper had said: "If thou wilt" (Mr 1:40). This father says:
"If thou canst."

9:23 {If thou canst} (\to ei dunēi\). The Greek has a neat idiom
not preserved in the English translation. The article takes up
the very words of the man and puts the clause in the accusative
case of general reference. "As to the 'if thou canst,' all things
can (\dunata\) to the one who believes." The word for "possible"
is \dunata\, the same root as \dunēi\ (canst). This quick turn
challenges the father's faith. On this use of the Greek article
see Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 766.

9:24 {Cried out} (\kraxas\). Loud outcry and at once (\euthus\).
The later manuscripts have "with tears" (\meta dakruōn\), not in
the older documents. {I believe; help my unbelief} (\Pisteuō:
boēthei tēi apistiāi\)
. An exact description of his mental and
spiritual state. He still had faith, but craved more. Note
present imperative here (continuous help) \boēthei\, while aorist
imperative (instant help) \boēthēson\, verse 22. The word comes
from \boē\, a cry and \theō\, to run, to run at a cry for help, a
vivid picture of this father's plight.

9:25 {A multitude came running together} (\episuntrechei
. A double compound here alone in the N.T. and not in the
old Greek writers. \Epitrechō\ occurs in the papyri, but not
\episuntrechō\. The double compound vividly describes the rapid
gathering of the crowd to Jesus and the epileptic boy to see the
outcome. {Come out of him} (\exelthe ex autou\). Jesus addresses
the demon as a separate being from the boy as he often does. This
makes it difficult to believe that Jesus was merely indulging
popular belief in a superstition. He evidently regards the demon
as the cause in this case of the boy's misfortune.

9:26 {Having torn much} (\sparaxas\). The uncompounded verb used
in verse 20. {Became as one dead} (\egeneto hōsei nekros\). As
if dead from the violence of the spasm. The demon did him all
possible harm in leaving him.

9:28 {Privately, saying} (\kat' idian hoti\). Indoors the nine
disciples seek an explanation for their colossal failure. They
had cast out demons and wrought cures before. The Revisers are
here puzzled over Mark's use of \hoti\ as an interrogative
particle meaning {why} where Mt 17:19 has \dia ti\. Some of the
manuscripts have \dia ti\ here in Mr 9:28 as all do in Mt
17:19. See also Mr 2:16 and 9:11. It is probable that in
these examples \hoti\ really means {why}. See Robertson,
_Grammar_, p. 730. The use of \hos\ as interrogative "is by no
means rare in the late Greek" (Deissmann, _Light from the Ancient
East_, p. 126)

9:29 {Save by prayer} (\ei mē en proseuchēi\). The addition of
"and of fasting" does not appear in the two best Greek
manuscripts (Aleph and B). It is clearly a late addition to help
explain the failure. But it is needless and also untrue. Prayer
is what the nine had failed to use. They were powerless because
they were prayerless. Their self-complacency spelled defeat. Mt
17:20 has "because of your little faith" (\oligopistian\). That
is true also. They had too much faith in themselves, too little
in Christ. "They had trusted to the semi-magical power with which
they thought themselves invested" (Swete). "Spirits of such
malignity were quick to discern the lack of moral power and would
yield to no other" (_ibid_.).

9:30 {He would not that any man should know it} (\ouk ēthelen
hina tis gnoi\)
. Imperfect tense followed by ingressive aorist
subjunctive (\gnoi = gnōi\, the usual form). He was not willing
that any one should learn it. Back in Galilee Jesus was, but he
was avoiding public work there now (cf. 7:24). He was no longer
the hero of Galilee. He had left Caesarea Philippi for Galilee.

9:31 {For he taught} (\edidasken gar\). Imperfect tense, and the
reason given for secrecy. He was renewing again definitely the
prediction of his death in Jerusalem some six months ahead as he
had done before (Mr 8:31; Mt 16:21; Lu 9:22). Now as then Jesus
foretells his resurrection "after three days" ("the third day,"
Mt 17:23)

9:32 {But they understood not the saying} (\hoi de ēgnooun to
. An old word. Chiefly in Paul's Epistles in the N.T.
Imperfect tense. They continued not to understand. They were
agnostics on the subject of the death and resurrection even after
the Transfiguration experience. As they came down from the
mountain they were puzzled again over the Master's allusion to
his resurrection (Mr 9:10). Mt 17:23 notes that "they were
exceeding sorry" to hear Jesus talk this way again, but Mark adds
that they "were afraid to ask him" (\ephobounto auton
. Continued to be afraid (imperfect tense), perhaps
with a bitter memory of the term "Satan" hurled at Peter when he
protested the other time when Jesus spoke of his death (Mr 8:33;
Mt 16:23)
. Lu 9:45 explains that "it was concealed from them,"
probably partly by their own preconceived ideas and prejudices.

9:33 {In the house} (\en tēi oikiāi\). Probably Peter's house in
Capernaum which was the home of Jesus when in the city. {What
were ye reasoning in the way?}
(\Ti en tēi hodōi
. Imperfect tense. They had been disputing (verse
, not about the coming death of the Master, but about the
relative rank of each of them in the political kingdom which they
were expecting him to establish. Jesus had suspected the truth
about them and they had apparently kept it up in the house. See
on ¯Mt 18:1 where the disciples are represented as bringing the
dispute to Jesus while here Jesus asks them about it. Probably
they asked Jesus first and then he pushed the matter further and
deeper to see if this had not been the occasion of the somewhat
heated discussion on the way in.

9:34 {But they held their peace} (\Hoi de esiōpōn\). Imperfect
tense. Put thus to them, they felt ashamed that the Master had
discovered their jealous rivalry. It was not a mere abstract
query, as they put it to Jesus, but it was a canker in their

9:35 {He sat down and called the twelve} (\kathisas ephōnēsen
tous dōdeka\)
. Deliberate action of Jesus to handle this delicate
situation. Jesus gives them the rule of greatness: "If any man
would be first (\prōtos\) he shall be last (\eschatos\) of all,
and minister (\diakonos\) of all." This saying of Christ, like
many others, he repeated at other times (Mr 10:43f.; Mt 23:8ff.;
Lu 22:24f.)
. Mt 18:2 says that he called a little child, one
there in the house, perhaps Peter's child. Lu 9:47 notes that
he "set him by his side." Then Jesus {taking him in his arms}
(\enagkalisamenos\, aorist middle participle, late Greek word
from \agkalē\ as in Lu 2:28)
spoke again to the disciples.

9:37 {One of such little children} (\hen tōn toioutōn paidiōn\).
Mt 18:5 has "one such little child" and Lu 9:48 "this little
child." It was an object lesson to the arrogant conceit of the
twelve apostles contending for primacy. They did not learn this
lesson for they will again wrangle over primacy (Mr 10:33-45; Mt
and they will be unable to comprehend easily what the
attitude of Jesus was toward children (Mr 10:13-16; Mt 19:13-15;
Lu 8:15-17)
. The child was used as a rebuke to the apostles.

9:38 {Because he followed not us} (\hoti ouk ēkolouthei hēmin\).
Note vivid imperfect tense again. John evidently thought to
change the subject from the constraint and embarrassment caused
by their dispute. So he told about a case of extra zeal on his
part expecting praise from Jesus. Perhaps what Jesus had just
said in verse 37 raised a doubt in John's mind as to the
propriety of his excessive narrowness. One needs to know the
difference between loyalty to Jesus and stickling over one's own
narrow prejudices.

9:39 {Forbid him not} (\mē kōluete\). Stop hindering him (\mē\
and the present-imperative)
as John had been doing.

9:40 {He that is not against us is with us} (\hos ouk estin kath'
hēmōn huper hēmōn estin\)
. This profound saying throws a flood of
light in every direction. The complement of this logion is that
in Mt 12:30: "He that is not with me is against me." Both are
needed. Some people imagine that they are really for Christ who
refuse to take a stand in the open with him and for him.

9:41 {Because ye are Christ's} (\hoti Christou este\). Predicate
genitive, belong to Christ. See Ro 8:9; 1Co 1:12; 2Co 10:7.
That is the bond of universal brotherhood of the redeemed. It
breaks over the lines of nation, race, class, sex, everything. No
service is too small, even a cup of cold water, if done for
Christ's sake. See on ¯Mt 18:6f. for discussion on
stumbling-blocks for these little ones that believe on Jesus (Mr
, a loving term of all believers, not just children.

9:43 {Into hell, into the unquenchable fire} (\eis tēn geennan,
eis to p–r to asbeston\)
. Not Hades, but Gehenna. \Asbeston\ is
alpha privative and \sbestos\ from \sbennumi\ to quench. It
occurs often in Homer. Our word asbestos is this very word. Mt
18:8 has "into the eternal fire." The Valley of Hinnom had been
desecrated by the sacrifice of children to Moloch so that as an
accursed place it was used for the city garbage where worms
gnawed and fires burned. It is thus a vivid picture of eternal

9:44 The oldest and best manuscripts do not give these two
verses. They came in from the Western and Syrian (Byzantine)
classes. They are a mere repetition of verse 48. Hence we lose
the numbering 44 and 46 in our verses which are not genuine.

9:46 See on ¯44

9:47 {With one eye} (\monophthalmon\). Literally one-eyed. See
also Mt 18:9. Vernacular _Koinē_ and condemned by the
Atticists. See Mt 18:8f. Mark has here "kingdom of God" where
Mt 18:9 has "life."

9:48 {Their worm} (\ho skōlēx autōn\). "The worm, i.e. that preys
upon the inhabitants of this dread realm" (Gould). Two bold
figures of Gehenna combined (the gnawing worm, the burning
. No figures of Gehenna can equal the dread reality which
is here described. See Isa 66:24.

9:50 {Have salt in yourselves} (\echete en heautois hala\). Jesus
had once called them the salt of the earth (Mt 5:13) and had
warned them against losing the saltness of the salt. If it is
\analon\, nothing can {season} (\artuō\) it and it is of no use
to season anything else. It is like an exploded shell, a
burnt-out crater, a spent force. This is a warning for all

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: Chapter 9)