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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Mark 16

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 16

Mark 16:2. τῆς μιᾶς] Lachm. has μιᾷ τῶν, following B 1. From John 20:1, as is also τῇ μιᾷ τῶν in L δ א, Eus. Tisch.

Mark 16:8. After ἐξελθ. Elz. has ταχύ, in opposition to decisive evidence, from Matthew 28:8.

Mark 16:9. ἀφʼ ἧς] Lachm. has παρʼ ἧς, following C D L 33. Rightly; ἀφʼ is from Luke 8:2.

Mark 16:14. After ἐγηγερμ. A C* X δ, min. Syr. p. Ar. p. Erp. Arm. have ἐκ νεκρῶν, which Lachm. has adopted. A mechanical addition.

Mark 16:17-18. The omission of καιναῖς, as well as the addition of καὶ ἐν ταῖς χερσίν before ὄφεις, is too feebly attested. The latter is an exegetical addition, which, when adopted, absorbed the preceding καιναῖς.

Instead of βλάψῃ Elz. has βλάψει, in opposition to decisive evidence.

Mark 16:19. After κύριος read, with Lachm. and Tisch., ἰησοῦς, which is found in C* K L δ, min. most of the vss. and Ir. As an addition in the way of gloss, there would be absolutely no motive for it. On the other hand, possibly on occasion of the abbreviation κσ., ισ., it dropped out the more easily, as the expression κύριος ἰησοῦς is infrequent in the Gospels.

The entire section from Mark 16:9-20 is a non-genuine conclusion of the Gospel, not composed by Mark. The external grounds for this view are: (1) The section is wanting in B א, Arm. mss. Ar. vat. and in cod. K of the It. (in Tisch.), which has another short apocryphal conclusion (comp. subsequently the passage in L), and is designated in 137, 138 with an asterisk. (2) Euseb. ad Marin, qu. 1 (in Mai, Script, vet. nov. coll. I. p. 61 f.), declares that σχεδὸν ἐν ἅπασι τοῖς ἀντιγράφοις the Gospel closes with ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ. Comp. qu. 3, p. 72, where he names the manuscripts which contain the section only τινα τῶν ἀντιγράφων. The same authority in Victor Ant. ed. Matth. II. p. 208, states that Mark has not related any appearance of the risen Lord that occurred to the disciples. (3) Jerome, ad Hedib. qu. 3; Gregor. Nyss. orat. 2 de resurr. Chr.; Vict. Ant. ed. Matth. II. p. 120; Sever. Ant. in Montfauc. Bibl. Coisl. p. 74, and the Scholia in several codd. in Scholz and Tisch., attest that the passage was wanting in very many manuscripts (Jerome: “omnibus Graeciae libris paene”). (4) According to Syr. Philox. in the margin, and according to L, several codd. had an entirely different ending(179) of the Gospel. (5) Justin Martyr and Clem. Al. do not indicate any use made by them of the section (how precarious is the resemblance of Justin, Apol. I. 45 with Mark 16:20!); and Eusebius has his Canons only as far as Mark 16:8, as, indeed, also in codd. A U and many min, the numbers really reach only thus far,(180) while certainly in C E H K M V they are carried on to the very end. These external reasons are the less to be rejected, seeing that it is not a question of a single word or of a single passage of the context, but of an entire section so essential and important, the omission of which, moreover, deprives the whole Gospel of completeness; and seeing that the way in which the passage gradually passed over into the greater part of the codd. is sufficiently explained from Euseb. ad Marin. qu. 1, p. 62 ( ἄλλος δέ τις οὐδʼ ὁτιοῦν τολμῶν ἀθετεῖν τῶν ὁπωσοῦν ἐν τῇ τῶν εὐαγγελίων γραφῇ φερομένων, διπλῆν εἶναί φησι τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν, ὡς καὶ ἐν ἑτέροις πολλοῖς, ἑκατέραν τε παραδεκτέαν ὑπάρχειν, τῷ μὴ μᾶλλον ταύτην ἐκείνης, ἐκείνην ταύτης, παρὰ τοῖς πιστοῖς καὶ εὐλαβέσιν ἐγκρίνεσθαι). See Credner, Einl. I. p. 107. And when Euthymius Zigabenus, II. p. 183, designates those who condemn the section as τινὲς τῶν ἐξηγητῶν, not, however, himself contradicting them, the less importance is to be attached to this after the far older testimonies of Eusebius, and others, from which is apparent not the exegetical, but the critical point of view of the condemnation. Moreover, this external evidence against the genuineness finds in the section itself an internal confirmation, since with Mark 16:9 there suddenly sets in a process of excerpt-making in contrast with the previous character of the narration, while the entire section in general contains none of Mark’s peculiarities (no εὐθέως, no πάλιν, etc.,—and what a brevity, devoid of vividness and clearness on the part of the compiler!); in individual expressions it is quite at variance with the sharply defned manner throughout of Mark (see the notes on the passages in detail, and Zeller in the theol. Jahrb. 1843, p. 450); it does not, moreover, presuppose what has been previously related (see especially Mark 16:9 : ἀφʼ ἧς ἐκβεβλ. ἑπτὰ δαιμ., and the want of any account of the meeting in Galilee that was promised at Mark 16:7), and has even apocryphal disfigurements (Mark 16:18 : ὄφειςβλάψῃ).

If, in accordance with all this, the section before us is decidedly to be declared spurious, it is at the same time evident that the Gospel is without any conclusion: for the announcement of Mark 16:7, and the last words ἐφοβοῦντο γάρ themselves, decisively show that Mark did not intend to conclude his treatise with these words. But whether Mark himself left the Gospel unfinished, or whether the conclusion has been lost, cannot be ascertained, and all conjectures on this subject are arbitrary. In the latter case the lost concluding section may have been similar to the concluding section of Matthew (namely, Matthew 28:9-10, and Matthew 28:16-20), but must, nevertheless, after Mark 16:8 have contained some incident, by means of which the angelic announcement of Mark 16:6 f. was still, even in spite of the women’s silence in Mark 16:8, conveyed to the disciples. Just as little with reference to the apocryphal fragment(181) itself, Mark 16:9-20,—which already in very early times (although not by Mark himself, in opposition to Michaelis, Hug, Guericke, Ebrard, and others) was incorporated with the Gospel as a conclusion (even Syr. has it; and Iren. Haer. iii. 10. 6 quotes Mark 16:19, and Hippol. Mark 16:17-18),—is there anything more definite to be established than that it was composed independently of our Gospel, in which case the point remains withal undecided whether the author was a Jewish or a Gentile Christian (Credner), as indeed at least πρώτῃ σαββάτων, Mark 16:9 (in opposition to Credner), might be used by one who had been a Jew and had become conversant with Hellenic life.

Against the genuineness the following have declared themselves: Michaelis (Auferstehungsgesch. p. 179 ff.; Einl. p. 1059 f.), Thies, Bolten, Griesbach, Gratz, Bertholdt, Rosenmüller, Schulthess in Tzschirner’s Anal. III. 3; Schulz, Fritzsche, Schott (Isag. p. 94 ff., contrary to his Opusc. II. p. 129 ff.), Paulus (exeget. Handb.), Credner, Wieseler (Commentat. num. loci Marc. xvi. 9–20 et Joh. xxi. genuini sint, etc., Gott. 1839), Neudecker, Tischendorf, Ritschl, Ewald, Reuss, Anger, Zeller, Hitzig (who, however, regards Luke as the author), Schenkel, Weiss, Holtzmann, Keim, and various others, including Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 4). In favour of the genuineness: Richard Simon (hist. crit. p. 114 f.), Mill, Wolf, Bengel, Matthaei, Eichhorn, Storr, Kuinoel, Hug, Feilmoser, Vater, Saunier, Scholz, Rinck (Lucubr. crit. p. 311 ff.), de Wette, Schwarz, Guericke, Olshausen, Ebrard, Lange, Bleek, Bisping, Schleiermacher also, and various others.(182) Lachmann, too, has adopted the section, as according to his critical principles it was necessary to do, since it is found in most of the uncials (only B א have it not), Vulg. It. Syr., etc. We may add that he did not regard it as genuine (see Stud. u. Krit. 1830, p. 843).


Verses 1-8

Mark 16:1-8. See on Matthew 28:1-8. Comp. Luke 24:1-11.

διαγενομ. τοῦ σαββ.] i.e. on Saturday after sunset. See Mark 16:2. A difference from Luke 23:56, which is neither to be got rid of, with Ebrard and Lange, by a distortion of the clear narrative of Luke; nor, with Beza, Er. Schmid, Grotius, Wolf, Rosenmüller, and others, by taking ἠγόρασαν as a pluperfect. For examples of διαγίνεσθαι used of the lapse of an intervening time (Dem. 541. 10, 833. 14; Acts 25:13; Acts 27:9), see Raphel, Polyb. p. 157; Wetstein in loc.

They bought aromatic herbs ( ἀρώματα, Xen. Anab. i. 5. 1; Polyb. xiii. 9. 5) to mingle them with ointment, and so to anoint the dead body therewith ( ἀλείψ.). This is no contradiction of John 19:40. See on Matthew 27:59.

Mark 16:2 f. πρωΐ] with the genitive. Comp. Herod. ix. 101, and see generally, Krüger, § 47. 10. 4.

τῆς μιᾶς σαββ.] on the Sunday. See on Matthew 28:1.

ἀνατειλαντ. τοῦ ἡλίου] after sunrise; not: when the sun rose (Ebrard, Hug, following Grotius, Heupel, Wolf, Heumann, Paulus, and others), or: was about to rise (so Krebs, Hitzig), or: had begun to rise (Lange), which would be ἀνατέλλοντος, as is actually the reading of D. A difference, from John 20:1, and also from Luke 24:1; nor will it suit well even with the πρωΐ strengthened by λίαν; we must conceive it so, that the sun had only just appeared above the horizon.

πρὸς ἑαυτούς] in communication with each other. But of a Roman watch they know nothing.

ἐκ τῆς θύρας] The stone was rolled into the entrance of the tomb, and so closed the tomb, John 20:1.

Mark 16:4. ἦν γὰρ μέγας σφόδρα] Wassenbergh in Valckenaer, Schol. II. p. 35, would transpose this back to Mark 16:3 after μνημείου, as has actually been done in D. Most expositors (including Fritzsche, de Wette, Bleek) proceed thus as respects the meaning; holding that γάρ brings in the reason for Mark 16:3. An arbitrary view; it refers to what immediately precedes. After they had looked up (their look was previously cast down) they beheld (“contemplabantur cum animi intentione,” see Tittmann, Synon. p. 120 f.) that the stone was rolled away; for (specification of the reason how it happened that this perception could not escape them after their looking up, but the fact of its having been rolled away must of necessity meet their eyes) it was very great. Let us conceive to ourselves the very large stone lying close by the door of the tomb. Its rolling away, however, had not occurred while they were beside it, as in Matthew, but previously; so also Luke 24:2; Luke 24:23; John 20:1. As to σφόδρα at the end, comp. on Matthew 2:10.

Mark 16:5. νεανίσκον] Mark and Luke (who, however, differ in the number: ἄνδρες δύο) relate the angelic appearance as it presented itself ( κατὰ τὸ φαινόμενον); Matthew (who, however, places it not in the tomb, but upon the stone), as that which it actually was ( ἄγγελος κυρίου). On the form of a young man assumed by the angel, comp. 2 Maccabees 3:26; Joseph. Antt. v. 8. 2 f., and Genesis 19:5 f.

ἐν τ. δεξ] on the right hand in the tomb from the entrance, therefore to the left hand of the place where the body would lie.

Mark 16:6. Simple asyndeta in the lively eagerness of the discourse.

Mark 16:7. ἀλλʼ] breaking off, before the summons which suddenly intervened, Kühner, II. p. 439; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 78 f.

καὶ τῷ πέτρῳ] to His disciples and (among these especially) to Peter. Comp. Mark 1:5; Acts 1:14; and see Grotius. The special prominence of Peter is explained by the ascendancy and precedence, which by means of Jesus Himself (Matthew 16:18) he possessed as primus inter pares (“dux apostolici coetus,” Grotius; comp. also Mark 9:2; Mark 14:33), not by the denial of Peter, to whom the announcement is held to have given the assurance of forgiveness (Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Victor Antiochenus, Calovius, Heumann, Kuinoel, Lange, and others), which is assumed with all the greater arbitrariness without any indication in the text, seeing that possibly Peter might have concluded just the contrary.

ὅτι] recitative, so that ὑμᾶς and ὑμῖν apply to the disciples as in Matthew.

καθὼς εἶπεν ὑμῖν] Mark 14:28. It relates to the whole of what precedes: προάγει ὑμᾶς κ. τ. λ. and ἐκεῖ αὐτ. ὄψ. The latter was indirectly contained in Mark 14:28.

The circumstance that here preparation is made for a narrative of a meeting together in Galilee, but no such account subsequently follows, is an argument justly brought to bear against the genuineness of Mark 16:9 ff. That the women did not execute the angel’s charge (Mark 16:8), does not alter the course of the matter as it had been indicated by the angel; and to explain that inconsistency by the fact that the ascension does not well agree with the Galilean meeting, is inadmissible, because Mark, according to our passage and Mark 14:28, must of necessity have assumed such a meeting,(183) consequently there was nothing to hinder him from representing Jesus as journeying to Galilee, and then again returning to Judaea for the ascension (in opposition to de Wette).

Mark 16:8. δέ] explicative, hence also γάρ has found its way into codd. and vss. (Lachmann, Tischendorf).

οὐδενὶ οὐδὲν εἶπον] The suggestion that we should, with Grotius, Heupel, Kuinoel, and many more, mentally supply: on the way, is devised for the sake of Luke 24:9; rather is it implied, that from fear and amazement they left the bidding of the angel at Mark 16:7 unfulfilled. It is otherwise in Matthew 28:8. That subsequently they told the commission given to them by the angel, is self-evident; but they did not execute it.

εἶχε δὲ αὐτὰς κ. τ. λ.] Hom Il. vi. 137; Herod. iv. 15; Soph. Phil. 681; also in the LXX.


Verse 9-10

Mark 16:9-10. Now begins the apocryphal fragment of some other evangelical treatise (doubtless written very much in the way of epitome), which has been added as a conclusion of our Gospel. In it, first of all, the appearance related at John 20:14-18 is given in a meagre abstract, in which the remark, which in Mark’s connection was here wholly inappropriate (at the most its place would have been Mark 15:40), πὰρ ἧς ἐκβεβλ. ἑπτὰ δαιμ., is to be explained by the fact, that this casting out of demons was related in the writing to which the portion had originally belonged (comp. Luke 8:2).

πρωῒ πρώτῃ σαββ.] is joined by Beza, Castalio, Heupel, Wolf, Rosenmüller, Paulus, Fritzsche, de Wette, Ewald, and others with ἀναστὰς δέ, but by Severus of Antioch, Gregory of Nyssa, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Victor, Grotius, Mill, Bengel, Kuinoel, Schulthess, and others, with ἐφάνη. We cannot decide the point, since we do not know the connection with what went before, in which the fragment originally occurred. If it were an integral part of our Gospel, it would have to be connected with ἐφάνη, since Mark 16:2 already presupposes the time of the resurrection having taken place, and now in the progress of the narrative the question was not about this specification of time, but about the fact that Jesus on the very same morning made His first appearance.

As well πρώτῃ as the singular σαββάτου (comp. Luke 18:12) is surprising after Mark 16:2. Yet it is to be conceded that even Mark himself might so vary the expressions.

παρʼ ἧς] (see the critical remarks): away from whom (French: de chez). See Matthiae, p. 1378. The expression with ἐκβάλλειν is not elsewhere found in the N. T.

Mark 16:10. Foreign to Mark is here—(1) ἐκείνη, which never occurs (comp. Mark 4:11, Mark 7:15, Mark 12:4 f., Mark 14:21) in his Gospel so devoid of emphasis as in this case. As unemphatic stands κἀκεῖνοι in Mark 16:11, but not at ver 13, as also ἐκείνοις in Mark 16:13 and ἐκεῖνοι, at Mark 16:20 are emphatic. (2) πορευθεῖσα, which word Mark, often as he had occasion for it, never uses, while in this short section it occurs three times (Mark 16:12; Mark 16:15). Moreover, (3) the circumlocution τοῖς μετʼ αὐτοῦ γενομένοις, instead of τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ (the latter does not occur at all in the section), is foreign to the Gospels. The μαθηταί in the more extended sense are meant, the apostles and the rest of the companions of Jesus; the apostles alone are designated at Mark 16:14 by οἱ ἕνδεκα as at Luke 24:9; Luke 24:33; Acts 2:14.

πενθοῦαι κ. κλαίουσι] who were mourning and weeping. Comp. Luke 6:25, although to derive the words from this passage (Schulthess) is arbitrary.


Verse 11

Mark 16:11. Comp. Luke 24:10-11; John 20:18.

The fact that θεᾶσθαι apart from this section does not occur in Mark, forms, considering the frequency of the use of the word elsewhere, one of the signs of a strange hand. By ἐθεάθη is not merely indicated that He had been seen, but that He had been gazed upon. Comp. Mark 16:14, and see Tittmann, Synon. p. 120 f.

ἀπιστεῖν does not occur in Mark except here and at Mark 16:16, but is altogether of rare occurrence in the N. T. (even in Luke only in chap. 24)


Verse 12-13

Mark 16:12-13. A meagre statement of the contents of Luke 24:13-35, yet provided with a traditional explanation ( ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ), and presenting a variation ( οὐδὲ ἐκείνοις ἐπίστευσαν) which betrays as its source(184) not Luke himself, but a divergent tradition.

μετὰ ταῦτα] (after what was narrated in Mark 16:9-11) does not occur at all in Mark, often as he might have written it: it is an expression foreign to him. How long after, does not appear. According to Luke, it was still on the same day.

ἐξ αὐτῶν] τῶν μετʼ αὐτοῦ γενομένων, Mark 16:10.

περιπατοῦσιν] euntibus, not while they stood or sat or lay, but as they walked. More precise information is then given in πορευομένοις εἰς ἀγρόν: while they went into the country.

ἑφανερώθη] Mark 16:14; John 21:1, He became visible to them, was brought to view. The expression does not directly point to a “ghostlike” appearance (in opposition to de Wette), since it does not of itself, although it does by ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ, point to a supernatural element in the bodily mode of appearance of the risen Lord. This ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ is not to be referred to other clothing and to an alleged disfigurement of the face by the sufferings borne on the cross (comp. Grotius, Heumann, Bolten, Paulus, Kuinoel, and others), but to the bodily form, that was different from what His previous form had been,—which the tradition here followed assumed in order to explain the circumstance that the disciples, Luke 24:16, did not recognise Jesus who walked and spoke with them.

Mark 16:13. κἀκεῖνοι] these also, as Mary had done, Mark 16:10.

τοῖς λοιποῖς] to the others γενομένοις μετʼ αὐτοῦ, Mark 16:10; Mark 16:12.

οὐδὲ ἐκείνοις ἐπίστ.] not even them did they believe. A difference of the tradition from that of Luke 24:34, not a confusion with Luke 24:41, which belongs to the following appearance (in opposition to Schulthess, Fritzsche, de Wette). It is boundless arbitrariness of harmonizing to assume, as do Augustine, de consens. evang. iii. 25, Theophylact, and others, including Kuinoel, that under λέγοντας in Luke 24:34, and also under the unbelievers in the passage before us, we are to think only of some, and those different at the two places; while Calvin makes the distribution in such a manner, that they had doubted at first, but had afterwards believed! Bengel gives it conversely. According to Lange, too, they had been believing, but by the message of the disciples of Emmaus they were led into new doubt. Where does this appear? According to the text, they believed neither the Magdalene nor even the disciples of Emmaus.


Verse 14

Mark 16:14. ύστερον] not found elsewhere in Mark, does not mean: at last (Vulgate, Luther, Beza, Schulthess, and many others), although, according to our text, this appearance was the last (comp. Matthew 21:37), but: afterwards, subsequently (Matthew 4:2; Matthew 21:29; John 13:36), which certainly is a very indefinite specification.

The narrative of this appearance confuses very different elements with one another. It is manifestly (see Mark 16:15) the appearance which according to Matthew 28:16 took place on the mountain in Galilee; but ἀνακειμένοις (as they reclined at table) introduces an altogether different scenery and locality, and perhaps arose from a confusion with the incident contained(185) in Luke 24:42 f., or Acts 1:4 (according to the view of συναλιζόμενος as convescens); while also the reproaching of the unbelief is here out of place, and appears to have been introduced from some confusion with the history of Thomas, John 20, and with the notice contained in Luke 24:25; for which the circumstance mentioned at the appearance on the mountain, Matthew 28:17 ( οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν), furnished a certain basis.

αὐτοῖς τοῖς ἕνδεκα] ipsis undecim. Observe the ascending gradation in the three appearances—(1) to Mary; (2) to two of His earlier companions; (3) to the eleven themselves. Of other appearances in the circle of the eleven our author knows nothing; to him this was the only one. See Mark 16:19.

ὅτι] equivalent to εἰς ἐκεῖνο ὅτι, Luke 16:3; John 2:18; John 9:17; John 11:51; John 16:9; 2 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 11:10.


Verse 15

Mark 16:15. Continuation of the same act of speaking.

πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει] to the whole creation, i.e. to all creatures, by which expression, however, in this place, as in Colossians 1:23, all men are designated, as those who are created κατʼ ἐξοχήν, as the Rabbinic הבריות is also used (see Lightfoot, p. 673, and Wetstein in loc) Not merely the Gentiles (who are called by the Rabbins contemptuously הבריות, see Lightfoot, l.c.) are meant, as Lightfoot, Hammond, Knatchbull, and others would have it. This would be in accordance neither with Mark 16:16 f., where the discourse is of all believers without distinction, nor with ἐκήρυξαν πανταχοῦ, Mark 16:20, wherein is included the entire missionary activity, not merely the preaching to the Gentiles. Comp. on πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, Matthew 28:19. Nor yet is there a pointing in τῇ κτίσει at the glorification of the whole of nature (Lange, comp. Bengel) by means of the gospel (comp. Romans 8), which is wholly foreign to the conception, as plainly appears from what follows ( δέ). As in Col. l.c., so here also the designation of the universal scope of the apostolic destination by πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει has in it something of solemnity.


Verse 16

Mark 16:16. He who shall have become believing (see on Romans 13:11), and have been baptized, shall attain the Messianic salvation (on the establishment of the kingdom). The necessity of baptism—of baptism, namely, regarded as a necessary divinely ordained consequent of the having become believing, without, however (as Calvin has observed), being regarded as dimidia salutis causa—is here (comp. John 3:5) expressed for all new converts, but not for the children of Christians (see on 1 Corinthians 7:14).

δὲ ἀπιστήσας] That in the case of such baptism had not occurred, is obvious of itself; refusal of faith necessarily excluded baptism, since such persons despised the salvation offered in the preaching of faith. In the case of a baptism without faith, therefore, the necessary subjective causa salutis would be wanting.


Verse 17

Mark 16:17. σημεῖα] marvellous significant appearances for the divine confirmation of their faith. Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:22.

τοῖς πιστεύσουσι] those who have become believing, generically. The limitation to the teachers, especially the apostles and seventy disciples (Kuinoel), is erroneous. See Mark 16:16. The σημεῖα adduced indeed actually occurred with the believers as such, not merely with the teachers. See 1 Corinthians 12. Yet in reference to the serpents and deadly drinks, see on Mark 16:18. Moreover, Jesus does not mean that every one of these signs shall come to pass in the case of every one, but in one case this, in another that one. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:4.

παρακολ.] shall follow them that believe, shall accompany them, after they have become believers. The word, except in Luke 1:3, is foreign to all the four evangelists, but comp. 1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:10.

ταῦτα] which follow. See Krüger, Xen. Anab. ii. 2. 2; Kühner, ad Anab. ii. 5. 10.

ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου] in my name, which they confess, shall the ground be, that they, etc. It refers to all the particulars which follow.

δαιμ. ἐκβαλ.] Comp. Mark 9:38.

γλώσσ. λαλ. καιναῖς] to speak with new languages. The ecstatic glossolalia (see on 1 Corinthians 12:10), which first appeared at the event of Pentecost, and then, moreover, in Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6, and is especially known from the Corinthian church, had been converted by the tradition with reference to the Pentecostal occurrence into a speaking in languages different from the mother-tongue (see on Acts 2:4). And such is the speaking in new languages mentioned in the passage before us, in such languages, that is, as they could not previously speak, which were new and strange to the speakers. Hereby the writer betrays that he is writing in the sub-apostolic period, since he, like Luke in reference to the Pentecostal miracle, imports into the first age of the church a conception of the glossolalia intensified by legend; nay, he makes the phenomenon thereby conceived as a speaking in strange languages to be even a common possession of believers, while Luke limits it solely to the unique event of Pentecost. We must accordingly understand the γλώσσ. λαλεῖν καιναῖς of our text, not in the sense of the speaking with tongues, 1 Corinthians 12-14, but in the sense of the much more wonderful speaking of languages, Acts 2, as it certainly is in keeping with the two strange particulars that immediately follow. Hence every rationalizing attempt to explain away the concrete designation derived, without any doubt as to the meaning of the author, from the Acts of the Apostles, is here as erroneous as it is in the case of Acts 2, whether recourse be had to generalities, such as the newness of the utterance of the Christian spirit (Hilgenfeld), or the new formation of the spirit-world by the new word of the Spirit (Lange), the ecstatic speaking on religious subjects (Bleek), or others. Against such expedients, comp. Keim in Herzog, Encykl. XVIII. p. 687 ff. The ecstatic phenomena of Montanism and of the Irvingites present no analogy with the passage before us, because our passage has to do with languages, not with tongues. Euthymius Zigabenus: γλώσσαις ξέναις, διαλέκτοις ἀλλοεθνέσιν.


Verse 18

Mark 16:18. ὄφεις ἀροῦσι] They shall lift up serpents (take them into the hand and lift them up). Such a thing is not known from the history of the apostolic times (what took place with the adder on the hand of Paul in Acts 28:2 ff. is different); it would, moreover, be too much like juggling for a σημεῖον of believers, and betrays quite the character of apocryphal legend, for which, perhaps, a traditional distortion of the fact recorded in Acts 28:2 f. furnished a basis, whilst the serpent-charming so widely diffused in the East (Elsner, Obss. p. 168; Wetstein in loc.; Winer, Realw.) by analogy supplied material enough. The promise in Luke 10:19 is specifically distinct. Others have adopted for αἴρειν the meaning of taking out of the way (John 17:5; Matthew 24:39; Acts 21:36), and have understood it either of the driving away, banishing (Luther, Heumann, Paulus), or of the destroying of the serpents (Euthymius Zigabenus, Theophylact, both of whom, however, give also the option of the correct explanation); but the expression would be inappropriate and singular, and the thing itself in the connection would not be sufficiently marvellous. The meaning: “to plant serpents as signs of victory with healing effect,” in which actual serpents would have to be thought of, but according to their symbolical significance, has a place only in the fancy of Lange excited by John 3:14, not in the text. The singular thought must at least have been indicated by the addition of the essentially necessary word σημεῖα (Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 11:12), as the classical writers express raising a signal by αἴρειν σημεῖον (comp. Thuc. i. 49. 1, and Krüger thereon).

κἂν θανάσ. τι πίωσιν κ. τ. λ.] Likewise an apocryphal appendage, not from the direct contemplation of the life of believers in the apostolic age. The practice of condemning to the cup of poison gave material for it. But it is not to be supposed that the legend of the harmless poison-draught of John (comp. also the story of Justus Barsabas related by Papias in Euseb. H. E. iii. 39) suggested our passage (in opposition to de Wette and older expositors), because the legend in question does not occur till so late (except in Abdias, hist. apost. v. 20, and the Acta Joh. in Tischendorf, p. 266 ff., not mentioned till Augustine); it rather appears to have formed itself on occasion of Matthew 20:23 from our passage, or to have developed itself(186) out of the same conception whence our expression arose, as did other similar traditions (see Fabricius in Abd. p. 576). On θανάσιμον, which only occurs here in the N. T., equivalent to θανατηφόρον (James 3:8), see Wetstein, and Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 610 C.

καλῶς ἕξουσιν] the sick.(187) Comp. Acts 28:8 f.


Verse 19-20

Mark 16:19-20. The Lord Jesus therefore (see the critical remarks). οὖν annexes what now emerged as the final result of that last meeting of Jesus with the eleven, and that as well in reference to the Lord (Mark 16:19) as in reference also to the disciples (Mark 16:20); hence μὲνδέ. Accordingly, the transition by means of μὲν οὖν is not incongruous (Fritzsche), but logically correct. But the expression μὲν οὖν, as well as κύριος ἰησοῦς, is entirely foreign to Mark, frequently as he had occasion to use both, and therefore is one of the marks of another author.

μετὰ τὸ λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς] cannot be referred without harmonistic violence to anything else than the discourses just uttered, Mark 16:14-18 (Theophylact well says: ταῦτα δὲ λαλήσας), not to the collective discourses of the forty days (Augustine, Euthymius Zigabenus, Maldonatus, Bengel, Kuinoel, Lange, and others); and with this in substance agrees Ebrard, p. 597, who, like Grotius and others, finds in Mark 16:15-18 the account of all that Jesus had said in His several appearances after His resurrection. The forty days are quite irreconcilable with the narrative before us generally, as well as with Luke 24:44. But. if Jesus, after having discoursed to the disciples, Mark 16:14-18, was taken up into heaven ( ἀνελήφθη, see Acts 10:16; Acts 1:2; Acts 11:22; 1 Timothy 3:16; Luke 9:51), it is not withal to be gathered from this very compendious account, that the writer makes Jesus pass from the room where they were at meat to heaven (Strauss, B. Bauer), any more than from ἐκεῖνοι δὲ ἐξελθόντες it is to be held that the apostles immediately after the ascension departed into all the world. The representation of Mark 16:19-20 is so evidently limited only to the outlines of the subsequent history, that between the μετὰ τὸ λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς and the ἀνελήφθη there is at least, as may be understood of itself, sufficient space for a going forth of Jesus with the disciples (comp. Luke 24:50), even although the forty days do not belong to the evangelical tradition, but first appear in the Acts of the Apostles. How the writer conceived of the ascension, whether as visible or invisible, his words do not show, and it must remain quite a question undetermined.

καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐκ δεξιῶν τ. θεοῦ] reported, it is true, not as an object of sense-perception (in opposition to Schulthess), but as a consequence, that had set in, of the ἀνελήφθη; not, however, to be explained away as a merely symbolical expression (so, for example, Euthymius Zigabenus: τὸ μέν καθίσαι δηλοῖ ἀνάπαυσιν καὶ ἀπόλαυσιν τῆς θεῖας βασιλείας· τὸ δὲ ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ οἰκείωσιν καὶ ὁμοτιμίαν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα, Kuinoel: “cum Deo regnat et summa felicitate perfruitur”), but to be left as a local fact, as actual occupation of a seat on the divine throne (comp. on Matthew 6:9; see on Ephesians 1:20), from which hereafter He will descend to judgment. Comp. Ch. F. Fritzsche, nova opusc. p. 209 ff.

As to the ascension generally, see on Luke 24:51.


Verse 20

Mark 16:20. With the ascension the evangelic history was at its end. The writer was only now concerned to add a conclusion in keeping with the commission given by Jesus in Mark 16:15. He does this by means of a brief summary of the apostolic ministry, by which the injunction of Jesus, Mark 16:15, had been fulfilled, whereas all unfolding of its special details lay beyond the limits of the evangelic, and belonged to the region of the apostolic, history; hence even the effusion of the Spirit is not narrated here.

ἐκεῖνοι] the ἕνδεκα, Mark 16:14.

δέ] prepared for by μέν, Mark 16:19.

ἐξελθόντες] namely, forth from the place, in which at the time of the ascension they sojourned. Comp. πορευθέντες, Mark 16:15; Jerusalem is meant.

πανταχοῦ] By way of popular hyperbole; hence not to be used as a proof in favour of the composition not having taken place till after the death of the apostles (in opposition to Fritzsche), comp. Romans 10:18; Colossians 1:6.

τοῦ κυρίου] nor God (Grotius, and also Fritzsche, comparing 1 Corinthians 3:9; Hebrews 2:4), but Christ, as in Mark 16:19. The σημεῖα are wrought by the exalted One. Comp. Matthew 28:20. That the writer has made use of Hebrews 2:3-4 (Schulthess, Fritzsche), is, considering the prevalence of the thought and the dissimilarity of the words, arbitrarily assumed.

διὰ τῶν ἐπακολουθ. σημείων] by the signs that followed (the λόγος). The article denotes the signs spoken of, which are promised at Mark 16:17-18, and indeed promised as accompanying those who had become believers; hence it is erroneous to think, as the expositors do, of the miracles performed by the apostles. The confirmation of the apostolic preaching was found in the fact that in the case of those who had become believers by means of that preaching the σημεῖα promised at Mark 16:17-18 occurred.

ἐπακολουθ. is foreign to all the Gospels; it occurs elsewhere in the N. T. in 1 Timothy 5:10; 1 Timothy 5:24; 1 Peter 2:21; in classical Greek it is very frequently used.

REMARK.

The fragment before us, Mark 16:9-18, compared with the parallel passages of the other Gospels and with Acts 1:3, presents a remarkable proof how uncertain and varied was the tradition on the subject of the appearances of the Risen Lord (see on Matthew 28:10). Similarly Mark 16:19, comp. with Luke 24:50 f., Acts 1:9 ff., shows us in what an uncertain and varied manner tradition had possessed itself of the fact of the ascension, indubitable as in itself it is, and based on the unanimous teaching of the apostles.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Mark 16:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/mark-16.html. 1832.

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