corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

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

Mark 9

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 9

Mark 9:1. The arrangement: ὧδε τῶν ἑστηκ., in Tisch., following B D* and one codex of the It., is correct; τῶν ὧδε ἑστηκ. is from the parallels.

Mark 9:3. ἐγένετο] Lachm. and Tisch. have ἐγένοντο, following a considerable amount of evidence. The singular is a correction in recollection of Matthew 17:2.

ὡς χιών] is wanting in B C L δ 1, Sahid. Arm Aeth. Cant. Condemned by Griesb., deleted by Tisch. But had it been interpolated, it would not have been ὡς χιών (comp. Matthew 28:3), but ὡς τὸ φῶς, that would have been supplied from Matthew 17:2, as Or. min. actually have.

Before λευκᾶναι, B C L δ א, min. vss. Or. have οὕτως, which Tisch. has adopted. Rightly; as it was found to be superfluous and cumbrous, it was omitted.

Mark 9:6. Elz. Fritzsche, Scholz, Lachm. have λαλήσῃ. But a preponderance of evidence favours λαλήσει, which, with Matth., is the more to be preferred, as the future seemed objectionable to copyists lacking nice discernment; hence also in א, Or. the reading ἀπεκρίθη (according to Mark 9:5), whence again proceeded, as an emendation, ἀποκριθῇ (Tisch., following B C* L δ, min. Copt.).

σαν γὰρ ἔκφοβοι] is, with Lachm. and Tisch., following B C D L δ א 33, Copt. Sahid. It. Chrys., to be changed into ἔκφ. γ. ἐγένοντο.

Mark 9:7. ἦλθε] B C L δ א, Syr. in the margin, Copt. Arm. have ἐγένετο . Recommended by Griesb. It is from Luke 9:35.

After νεφέλης Elz. Lachm. have λέγουσα, in opposition to very considerable witnesses (yet not to A D L δ; the latter has λέγων). From Matthew 17:5.

αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε] Lachm. Tisch. have ἀκ. αὐτ. The Recepta is from the parallels.

Mark 9:8. ἀλλά] B D א, min. vss. have εἰ μή, which Lachm. has adopted. From Matthew 17:8.

Mark 9:10. τὸ ἐκ υεκρῶν ἀναστῆναι] D, min. Syr. Perss. Vulg. Jer. have ὅταν ἐκ ν. ἀναστῇ. So Fritzsche (retaining τό); already recommended by Griesb., following Mill and Bengel. A gloss, for the sake of more accurate definition.

Mark 9:11. Before οἱ γραμμ. Tisch. has οἱ φαρισ. καί, only following L א, Vulg. codd. It. It would, with stronger attestation, require to be adopted on account of Matthew 17:10 .

Mark 9:12. ἀποκρ. εἶπεν] B C L δ א, Syr. Perss. p. Copt. have ἔφη. Commended by Griesb., adopted by Tisch. Rightly; the more prevalent expression crept in from Matth.; ἔφη is only further found in the Text. rec. of Mark at Mark 14:29.

ἀποκαθιστᾷ] on decisive evidence read, with Lachm. Tisch., ἀποκαθιστάνει.

Mark 9:15. ἰδὼν αὐτ. ἐξεθαμβήθη] B C D I L δ א, min. VSS. have ἰδόντες αὐτ. ἐξεθαμβήθησαν. Rightly approved by Griesb., adopted by Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch. Not the plural, but the singular had its origin in correction.

Mark 9:16. Instead of ἐπηρ. αὐτούς Elz. Scholz have ἐπηρ. τοὺς γραμματεῖς, which Lachm. has in the margin. But B D L δ א, min. Copt. Arm. Aeth. Vulg. It. have αὐτούς ; τοὺς γραμματεῖς is plainly an interpretation in accordance with Mark 9:14.

Mark 9:17. Following B C D L δ א, 33, Copt. Cant. 9 :Verc. read, with Lachm. and Tisch., καὶ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ εἷς ἐκ. τ. ὄχλ.

Mark 9:18. After ὀδόντας Elz. Scholz have αὐτοῦ; it is wanting in B C* D L δ א, min. Vulg. It. By Lachm. it is only bracketed, by Tisch. deleted. A familiar addition.

Mark 9:19. Instead of αὐτοῖς Elz. has αὐτῷ, which Rinck, Lucubr. crit. p. 300, defends. But αὐτοῖς has preponderant attestation, and was changed, as the Father has just spoken, into the singular.

Mark 9:20. ἐσπάραξεν] B C L δ א, 33 have συνεσπάραξεν . So Lachm. Tisch. It is from Luke 9:42. The reading ἐτάραξεν in D also tells in favour of the Recepta.

Mark 9:21. ἐκ παιδιόθεν (Lachm. Tisch.) is found in B C G I L δ א, min., and is, moreover, supported by D, Chrys., which have ἐκ παιδός. The pleonastic ἐκ was passed over.

Mark 9:22. πῦρ] Griesb. Fritzsche, Scholz have τὸ πῦρ, following A E F G K M V γ, min. From Matth.

δύνασαι] Lachm. and Tisch. have δύνῃ here and at Mark 9:23, following B D I L δ א, min. To be adopted; the usual form was substituted.

Mark 9:23. πιστεῦσαι] is, with Tisch. (comp. Ewald), following B C* L δ א, min. Copt. Arm. Aeth. Arr., to be deleted. An addition to the simple εἰ δύνῃ, which was not understood.

Mark 9:24. μετὰ δακρ.] is wanting in A* B C* L δ א, 28, Copt. Aeth. Arm. Rightly deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. It is a gloss on κράξας .

After πιστεύω Elz. Fritzsche have κύριε, in opposition to preponderant evidence.

Mark 9:26. κράξανσπαράξαν] Griesb. Lachm. Tisch. have κράξαςσπαράξας, following B C* D L א, min. ( δ has κράξαςσπαράξαν); the neuter is a correction.

αὐτόν] is, in accordance with nearly the same witnesses and vss., to be deleted, with Griesb. and Tisch. (Lachm. has bracketed it).

πολλούς] Lachm. and Tisch. have τοὺς πολλούς, following A B L δ א, 33. The article, in itself superfluous, was more easily omitted than added.

Mark 9:27. αὐτὸν τῆς χειρός] Lachm. Tisch. have τῆς χειρ. αὐτοῦ, following B D L δ א, min. Copt. Arm. Vulg. It. Vict. A gloss (comp. Mark 1:31, Mark 5:41, Mark 8:23 ; Matthew 9:25; Luke 8:54). Mark 9:28. The genitives εἰσελθόντος αὐτοῦ (Lachm. Tisch.) are found in B C D L δ א, min.; they are, however, to be regarded as an emendation (it is otherwise at Mark 9:2) on account of the double αὐτόν.

Mark 9:29. The omission of κ. νηστείᾳ (Tisch.) is sufficiently attested by B א * and one codex of the It., since the addition from Matthew so very easily suggested itself.

Mark 9:30. παρεπορεύοντο] Lachm. has ἐπορεύοντο, following only B* D, Verc. Brix. Colb. The compound, not being understood, was set aside.

Mark 9:31. τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ] B C * D L δ א, vss. have μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας; approved by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. From Mark 8:31. If τ. τρίτῃ ἡμ. had been introduced from the parallel (in this case, Luke), this would rather have been done at Mark 8:31 (from Matt. and Luke), where it has but very weak attestation.

Mark 9:33. ἦλθεν] Lachm. and Tisch. have ἦλθον, following B D א, min. Syr. Pers. W, Vulg. It. (exc. Brix.). Not sufficiently attested for adoption, since at any rate the plural, after Mark 9:30, occurred more readily to the transcribers.

Before διελογ. Elz. Fritzsche, Scholz have πρὸς ἑαυτούς, which Griesb. condemned, Lachm. and Tisch. have deleted. It is wanting in B C D L δ א, vss., also in Vulg. It. (exc. Brix.), while several cursives place it after διελογ ., and it is to be regarded as added for more precise definition.

Mark 9:34. ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ] is wanting in A D δ, Goth. Cant. 9 :Verc. Brix. Vind. Bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Fritzsche. But, if it had been added from Mark 9:33, it would appear before διελέχθ. Understood of itself, it was easily overlooked.

Mark 9:38. ἀπεκρίθη δέ] B L δ א, Syr. Copt. Tisch. have merely ἔφη . Rightly; comp. on Mark 9:12.

The Recepta, Lachm. Tisch. read: ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. σου. Griesb. Scholz have deleted ἐν. The witnesses on both sides are strong. The simple dative was more precisely defined partly, in accordance with the usual conception “in the name,” by ἐν, partly, in accordance with Mark 9:37; Mark 9:39, by ἐπί (so Fritzsche, although following only U, min.).

After δαιμόνια Elz. Scholz, Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch. have: ὃς οὐκ ἀκολουθεῖ ἡμῖν. But this is wanting in B C L δ א, min. Syr. Arr. Perss. Aeth. Copt. Brix., while D X, min. vss., including Vulg. It. (exc. Brix.), omit the following ὅτι οὐκ ἀκολ. ἡμῖν (so Schulz, Fritzsche, Rinck). Accordingly Griesb. regards both as an addition from Luke. But both are to be retained. The former dropped out, because Luke has it not; witnesses, which had the former reading, left out the latter as superfluous and cumbrous. If it had been a gloss from Luke, μεθʼ ἡμῶν would have been written instead of ἡμῖν; but this only occurs in L.

ἐκωλύσαμεν] B D L δ א, min. have ἐκωλύομεν . So Rinck and Tisch. The aorist is from Luke. Mark 9:40. Elz. Fritzsche, Tisch. have both times ἡμῶν. But A D E F G H K M SV γ, min. and most of the vss., including Vulg. and It., read ὑμῶν; ἡμῶν is an emendation, as it is also in Luke 9:50.

Mark 9:41. Elz. has: ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. μου. But τῷ and μου are wanting in very considerable witnesses, which condemn, although not unanimously, both readings as additions.

Before οὐ μή, ὅτι is to be adopted, following B C* D L δ א, min., with Fritzsche, Lachm. and Tisch.

Lachm. and Tisch. read ἀπολέσει, following only B D E, min.

Mark 9:42. After μικρῶν Fritzsche, Lachm. have τούτων, in accordance, doubtless, with A B C** D L N δ א, min. vss., including Vulg. It.; but from Matthew 18:6, whence also has come the reading μύλος ὀνικός (Lachm. Tisch., following B C D L δ א, min. vss., including Vulg. and It.).

Mark 9:43. καλόν σοί ἐστι] Lachm. and Tisch. rightly read: καλόν ἐστίν σε, following B C L δ א, min. Verc. The Recepta is from Matthew 18:8 ; but to derive thence the order εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τ. ζ. (Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch.) is forbidden by its decisive attestation.

Mark 9:45. σοι] σε is still more strongly attested here than at Mark 9:43, and is likewise to be adopted (with Scholz, Lachm. and Tisch.).

εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ ἂσβεστον] is wanting in B C L δ א, min. vss. Condemned by Griesb., bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch. Even in Mark 9:43 the words are wanting in some, although far weaker witnesses. They are to be retained in Mark 9:43 (had there been an interpolation, we should have expected εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον, in accordance with Matthew 18:8), but in Mark 9:45 they are to be struck out as a mechanical repetition from Mark 9:43.

The words ὅπου σκώληξ αὐτῶν οὐ τελευτᾷ καὶ τὸ πῦρ οὐ σβέννυται are only found in all witnesses at Mark 9:48, whereas in Mark 9:44; Mark 9:46 they are wanting in B C δ א, min. Copt. Arm. They are, with Tisch., to be deleted in Mark 9:44 ; Mark 9:46. They were written on the margin from Mark 9:48.

Mark 9:47. τοῦ πυρός] falls, according to B D L δ א, min. Arr. Copt. Arm. Slav. Cant. Verc. Colb. Corb., with Lachm. and Tisch., to be struck out. From Matthew 18:9 .

Mark 9:50. Instead of the third ἅλας there is to be adopted ἅλα, with Lachm. and Tisch., following A* B D L δ א, 1, 28, 209. ἅλας is a mechanical repetition.


Verse 1

Mark 9:1. See on Matthew 16:28. Comp. Luke 9:27.

εἰσὶ τινὲς ὧδε κ. τ. λ.] see the critical remarks: there are some here among the bystanders.

ἐληλυθ.] having come; otherwise conceived of in Matthew: ἐρχόμενον.

ἐν δυνάμει] in power; comp. Romans 1:3. When, moreover, in this place the coming of the kingdom is spoken of, it is the same nearness of the Parousia that is meant (comp. on Matthew 6:10), as at Matthew 16:28 (in opposition to Schwegler, I. p. 467; Baur, Evang. p. 561; Köstlin, p. 383); not the constituting of the church (Bleek), nor the emergence of the idea of the kingdom of God into historical realization (Weisse, Evangelienfr. p. 232), the triumph of the gospel (Schenkel), and the like. See Mark 8:38. With interpretations of this nature the specification of time εἰσὶ τινὲς κ. τ. λ.—pointing as it does to the term of the existing generation—is not at all in keeping.


Verse 2

Mark 9:2(118)–13. See on Matthew 17:1-12, where on the whole the narrative is presented in its most original form; Matthew has followed a tradition mostly more accurate (in opposition to Schenkel and Weizsäcker) than Mark, and altogether more so than Luke 9:28-36 f.

τὸν ἰάκ. κ. ἰωάνν.] The one article embraces the pair of brothers.

Mark 9:3. ἐγένοντο] plural (see the critical remarks), indicates the different articles of clothing, which became white (a vivid delineation), see Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. I. 2. 33.

οἷα γναφεὺς κ. τ. λ.] i.e. of such nature (they became) as that a fuller on earth is not able to furnish such a whiteness ( οὕτως λευκᾶναι, see the critical remarks). ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς is added with reference to the heavenly nature of that lustre. Bengel well says, moreover: “ χιών natura, λευκᾶναι arte.”

Mark 9:6.(119) τί λαλήσει] what he shall say (future, see the critical remarks), not inappropriate (Fritzsche); but ᾔδει has reference to the point of time, when Peter was just desiring to begin the utterance of what is said at Mark 9:5; and τί λαλήσει expresses the unknown more strongly and more vividly than the deliberative τί λαλήσῃ (what he should say).

ἔκφοβοι γὰρ ἐγένοντο (see the critical remarks): for they became full of terror (Hebrews 12:21; Deuteronomy 9:19; Plut. Fab. 6; Arist. Physiogn. 6), namely, by reason of the appearances, Mark 9:3-4.

Mark 9:7. καὶ ἐγένετο] and there became (there arose, came into manifestation) a cloud. Comp. Luke 9:34.

Mark 9:8. And of a sudden, having looked around, they saw, etc. ἐξάπινα occurs only here in the N. T., frequently in the LXX., but elsewhere is rare and late.

οὐδένα] applies to the persons who had appeared; hence ἀλλά is: but, on the contrary, not equivalent to εἰ μή (Beza, and many others), which Matthew has.

The fear of the disciples is presented by Matthew 17:6 with more of psychological accuracy as only subsequent to the voice (this is the climax of the event), but in such a manner that they fall down, and Jesus Himself delivers them from it. The saying about building tabernacles does not bear the impress of confusion, as Mark presents it, but that of a still fresh ingenuous joy at the ravishing spectacle; nor yet does it bear the impress of drowsiness, as Luke designates it, whose expression, according to Baur’s opinion (see Markusevang. p. 69), Mark has only wished to modify; comp. Baur’s very unfavourable judgment on the narrative of Mark in general in the theol. Jahrb. 1853, p. 82 f. In Luke the later tradition betrays itself; see on Luke 9:28 ff., and Holtzmann, p. 224 f. But all three narratives in this particular, as also in their other features, stand opposed to the boldness of Schenkel, who (following Weisse) reduces the whole matter to this, that Jesus had by His instructive teaching made the two representatives of the old covenant appear to the three confidential disciples on the mountain in a right light, in the light of His own Messianic destination; while, on the other hand, Weizsäcker abides by a vision as the culmination of a deeper process of faith. And assuredly a visionary element was combined with the marvellous event. See on Matthew 17:12, Remark.

Mark 9:10. τὸν λόγον] what Jesus had just said to them, Mark 9:9, not the occurrence of the glorification (Beza); see the following question.

ἐκράτησαν] kept the saying fast; did not let it go out of their consideration, “non neglectim habuerunt” (Bengel). Comp. Test. XII. patr. p. 683: ἐν ψυχῇ σου μὴ κρατήσῃς δόλον, Sirach 21:14 : πᾶσαν γνῶσιν οὐ κρατήσει. Comp. Baruch 4:1; Song of Solomon 3:4 : ἐκράτησα αὐτὸν καὶ οὐκ ἀφῆκα αὐτόν. To explain it in harmony with the ἐσίγησαν in Luke 9:36, we must neither attach to the κρατεῖν in itself the meaning: to keep concealed (on behalf of which Theodotion, Daniel 5:12, and the Scholiast Aesch. Choëph. 78, have wrongly been appealed to), nor bring out that meaning by the addition to it of πρὸς ἑαυτούς (Vulg.: continuerunt apud se; comp. Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Lachmann, Ewald, and many others, including even Euthymius Zigabenus; see, on the other hand, Mark 9:16; Mark 1:27; Luke 22:23; Acts 9:29; comp. Schulz); but simply explain it with Fritzsche, comp. Bretschneider: they held fast to the prohibition of Jesus, that is, they were silent on the matter. But this entire explanation does not agree with πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς συζητοῦντες κ. τ. λ., wherein is contained the accompanying more precise definition of the κρατεῖν τὸν λόγον.

πρὸς ἑαυτούς prefixed with emphasis: among themselves discussing, not questioning Jesus thereupon. To Him they have another question, Mark 9:11. Comp. on Mark 1:27.

τί ἐστι τὸ ἐκ νεκρ. ἀναστ.] relates not to the resurrection of the dead in general (which was familiar as a conception, and expected in fact as a Messianic work), but to the rising just mentioned by Jesus, namely, that the Messiah would rise from the dead, which, in fact, presupposed His dying, and on that account was so startling and enigmatical to the disciples. Comp. Mark 9:32; John 12:34. And in reference to the historical character of the prediction of the resurrection, see on Matthew 16:21.

Mark 9:11. ὅτι λέγουσιν κ. τ. λ.] wherefore say, etc.; that, indeed, is not in keeping with thy prohibition! It is, with Lachmann, to be written: , τι (“quod est διὰ τὶ, simillimum illi notissimo εἴ interrogativo,” Praefat. p. xliii.); and the indirect character of the question (Thucyd. i. 90. 4) lies in the thought that governs it: I would fain know, or the like. See Stallbaum, ad Plat. Euth. p. 271 A Lücke on John 8:25, p. 311 f.; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 218 [E. T. 253]. Comp. Mark 9:28, and Homer, Il. x. 142: , τι δὴ χρειὼ τόσον ἵκει, Barnab. 7, and Dressel in loc. Ewald likewise appropriately takes ὅτι as the recitativum, so that the question would be veiled in an affirmative clause (but at Mark 9:28 : wherefore). Comp. Bleek. Still the bashful expression, which according to our view the question has, appears more in keeping with the circumstances.

Mark 9:12. ἠλίαςπάντα] a concession of the correctness of the doctrinal proposition (comp. on Matthew 17:11), the theoretical form of which (hence the present) is retained.(120) Bengel appropriately says: “Praesens indefinitum uti Matthew 2:4.”

What follows is, with Heinsius and Lachmann, to be punctuated thus: καὶ πῶς γέγραπται ἐπὶ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου; ἵνα πολλὰ πάθῃ κ. ἐξουδ.: and how stands it written as to the Son of man? He is to suffer many things, and be set at nought. The truth of that proposition of Elias as the theocratic restorer, who is destined to precede the Messiah, has side by side with it the Scriptural testimony of the suffering of the Messiah. καί is the simple and, linking what stands written of the Messiah to what was said of Elias. Mark ought, after beginning the construction of the discourse with μέν, to have followed it up by δέ; but he passes over in an anacoluthic fashion from the form of contrast with which he began into the subjunctive. See Nägelsbach on the Iliad, Exc. i. p. 173; Maetzner, ad Antiph. p. 257; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 659. The answer follows in ἵνα κ. τ. λ., and that conceived under the form of the design of the γέγραπται ἐπὶ τ. υἱὸν κ. τ. λ. The entire καὶ πῶςἐξουδ. is usually regarded as a question, containing an objection against the prevailing way in which that doctrine regarding Elias was understood: But how does it agree with this, that it is written of the Messiah that He is to suffer many things? The solution would then be given in Mark 9:13 : “Verum enim vero mihi credite, Elias venit, non est talis apparitio expectanda, qualem expectant Judaei, jam venit Elias, Johannes baptista … et eum tractarunt, etc., neque ergo mihi meliora sunt speranda,” Kuinoel. Comp. Euthymius Zigabenus, Theophylact, Grotius, Bengel, and many others, including de Wette. In substance so also Hofmann, Weissag. und Erfüll. II. p. 80 f. In opposition to this entire view, it may be decisively urged that it would need an adversative particle instead of καί, and that, in Mark 9:13, instead of ὅτι καὶ ἠλίας ἐλήλυθε, the expression would have run: ὅτι καὶ ἐλήλυθεν ἠλίας. Fritzsche, following the reading(121) καθώς too weakly attested (instead of καὶ πῶς), says: “Quod Judaici doctores perhibent, venturum esse Eliam, non minus certum est, quam e V. T. oraculis illud, fore ut ego Messias multa exantlem.” But Fritzsche himself does not fail to see the want of internal connection herein, and hence he conjectures as to Mark 9:12-13 : ἠλίας μὲν ἐλθὼν πρῶτον, ἀποκαθιστᾷ πάντα· ἀλλὰ λέγω ὑμῖν, ὅτι καὶ ἐποίησαν αὐτῷ ὅσα ἠθέλησαν, καθὼς γέγραπται ἐπὶ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, ἵνα πολλὰ κ. τ. λ. Ewald also, with whom Holtzmann agrees, comes ultimately to a conjecture that in Mark, Mark 9:13, there is wanting before καθὼς γέγραπται the clause of Matthew 17:12 : οὕτως καὶ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μέλλει πάσχειν ὑπʼ αὐτῶν. He supposes the discourse to have proceeded thus: “What is said in Malachi 3. of Elias—that, coming before the Messiah, he shall restore all things—retains, doubtless, its truth; but also what the Holy Scripture says about a suffering of the Messiah (as in Isaiah 53:7 f.) must be fulfilled; if, thus, both are to be true, the Elias who is to precede the historical Messiah must in fact have come already, and have been mistaken and set at nought by men, just in the same way as, according to the Holy Scripture, this destiny awaits the Messiah Himself.” [In this view it is at the same time assumed that the clause, Mark 9:12, καὶ πῶς γέγραπται κ. τ. λ. is omitted in Matthew.] According to Mark, however, as his narrative lies before us,(122) the discourse of Jesus rather contains a syllogism with a suppressed conclusion,—in such a way, namely, that the major proposition is conveyed in Mark 9:12, and the minor in Mark 9:13 : “the doctrine of the prior advent and the prior work of Elias is correct, and of the Messiah it is written that He has to endure much suffering and setting at nought (Mark 9:12). But I say unto you, that Elias also (before the Messiah) has come, and they have done to him everything that they have pleased, according to the Scripture (Mark 9:13).” The suppressed conclusion is: “consequently there is now impending over the Messiah the Scriptural destiny of suffering, since the fate of the Elias is already fulfilled.” The suppression of this sad closing inference, to which Matthew, Mark 9:12, gives expression, is dictated by tender forbearance towards the disciples, whom, after so transporting a vision, the Lord will not now introduce any further into the gloomy future. This is assuredly an original feature, in which Mark has the advantage over the narrative of Matthew, who in this history has, on the whole, the more original account.(123)

ἐξουδενωθῇ] The form ἐξουδενηθῇ (Lachmann), as being that which is less prevalent in the LXX., is to be preferred. On the later Greek character of the word in general (only used here in the N. T.—not in 2 Corinthians 10:10), see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 182. The signification may be either: to be esteemed as nothing (contemnatur, Vulgate, and most expositors), as Psalms 15:4; Psalms 53:6; 1 Maccabees 3:14; Sirach 34:22; or: to be annihilated, as Psalms 44:6 (5), Psalms 60:12, Psalms 119:117; Judith 13:17; Sirach 47:7. The latter is here most in harmony with the context after πολλὰ παθῇ.

Mark 9:13. ἀλλά] is the continuative jam vero, atqui, which introduces a new thought in contrast with the previous one. If the continuation of the discourse were formed purely syllogistically (consequently without λέγω ὑμῖν, ὅτι), the classical language would have chosen ἀλλὰ μήν (Becker, Anecd. II. p. 839).

καὶ ἠλίας] Elias also, not merely the Messiah. That the latter had come, was to the disciples undoubted; but as to the advent of the Elias they had scruples. The second καί therefore is and. De Wette wrongly considers the two uses of καί as corresponding, etet; in that case καὶ ἐλήλ. ἠλίας must have been read.

καθὼς γέγραπται ἐπʼ αὐτόν] has reference to the immediately preceding καὶ ἐποιήσαν κ. τ. λ., not to ἠλίας ἐλήλ., as Euthymius Zigabenus, Robert Stephens, Heinsius, Clericus, Homberg, Wolf, Bengel, and many others ambiguously connect it. But in these words Jesus does not mean what is written of the unworthy treatment of the prophets in general (Kuinoel), against which may be urged the definite ἐπʼ αὐτόν, but what the Scripture relates of the fate of Elias (1 Kings 19) as type of the fate of John. Comp. Grotius, Wetstein, Fritzsche. See also Hengstenberg, Christol. III. 2, p. 89. The reference to a lost writing (a conjecture of Bleek) is very unnecessary.


Verses 14-29

Mark 9:14-29. See on Matthew 17:14-21. Comp. Luke 9:37-43. The narrative of Mark is more original, characteristic, fresher, and, for the most part, more detailed than the other two.

συζητ.] according to Mark 9:16-18, on occasion of the circumstance that the disciples had not been able to perform the cure, and so concerning their power of miracles which was now so doubtful.

ἐξεθαμβ.] they were very much amazed (Orph. Arg. 1217; Sirach 30:9; Polyb. xx. 10. 9 : ἔκθαμβοι γεγονότες; in the N. T., used by Mark only). But at what? Euthymius Zigabenus leaves the open choice between two explanations: either at the approach of Jesus so exactly opportune, or at the brightness of His countenance ( καὶ γὰρ εἰκὸς ἐφέλκεσθαί τινα χάριν ἐκ τῆς μεταμορφώσεως, comp. Bengel, de Wette, Bisping). But the latter must have been expressed; moreover, this cause of astonishment would rather have been followed by a remaining at a distance than a προστρέχειν and ἀσπάζειν. Hence (comp. also Bleek) the first explanation of Euthymius Zigabenus (comp. Theophylact and Victor Antiochenus) is, in accordance with the connection, to be preferred. It was the amazement of joyously startled surprise, that, whilst the disciples, who had not been able to help, were in so critical a situation, as was also the father with his unfortunate son, just at that moment the mighty miracle-worker Himself came to their aid. According to Fritzsche, there is denoted generally: “quanta fuerit Jesu … et admiratio in plebe et veneratio.” Much too general and aloof from the context. According to Lange, what is meant is, “the starting back of a multitude, that had become somewhat profanely disposed, at the sudden emergence of a manifestation of punishment”. But Mark has nothing of these psychological presuppositions, and προστρέχοντες κ. τ. λ. is not in keeping therewith. According to Baur, Markusev. p. 70, Mark has only attributed to the people the impression, “with which he himself accompanied the Lord, as He descended from the mount of transfiguration.” With such modes of dealing all exegesis is at an end.

Mark 9:16. ἐπηρώτ. αὐτούς] This αὐτούς cannot without arbitrariness be referred to any but those mentioned immediately before—therefore to the people,(124) who are accordingly to be conceived, Mark 9:14, as likewise taking part in the συζητεῖν, so that there συζητοῦντας also applies jointly to the ὄχλον πολύν. So also Bleek; comp. Ewald. The usual reference to the γρα΄΄ατεῖς is consequently to be rejected (although Fritzsche adopts this, and Lange, who, however, assumes a sympathetic participation of the people); and so, too, is the reference to the disciples and scribes (Griesbach, Paulus, Kuinoel), or merely to the disciples (Mill, Bengel). From the above reference it is plain at the same time that in what follows there must be written, not πρὸς αὑτούς (so usually; hence also the readings πρὸς ἑαυτούς, A א *, and ἐν ὑ΄ῖν, D, Vulg.), but πρὸς αὐτούς (with Bengel, Fritzsche, Lachmann, Tischendorf), since αὐτούς, like αὐτοῖς in Mark 9:14, applies to the disciples.

Mark 9:17. The father, included among this ὄχλος, begins to speak in the natural impulse of the paternal heart, not as if no other would have ventured to do so (Euthymius Zigabenus, Bengel, de Wette). He is designated, in apt delineation of what occurred, as εἷς ἐκ τ. ὄχλου, since it is by his utterance that he first shows himself as father.

πρός σε] that is, thither, where I might presume Thy presence, because Thy disciples were there.

ἄλαλον] according to the point of view, that the condition of the sick man is the effect of the same condition in the demon. Comp. Luke 11:14; Wetstein in loc.

Mark 9:18. καὶ ὅπου ἂν κ. τ. λ.] and wherever he has taken hold of him. The possession (Mark 9:17) is not conceived as constant, but as such that the demon leaves the sick man (epileptic) at times, and then again returns into him (Matthew 12:44), and lays hold of him, etc. Hence Mark 9:35 : ΄ηκέτι εἰσέλθῃς εἰς αὐτόν. The ἔχοντα of Mark 9:17 is not opposed to this (de Wette), for the son had the demon—even although at intervals the latter left him—so long as the μηκέτι εἰσέλθῃς was not yet realized.

ῥήσσει] he tears him, which convulsive effect is not more precisely to be defined (Euthymius Zigabenus and many others: καταβάλλει εἰς γῆν). See on the word, Ruhnken, ep. crit. I. p. 26; Duncan, Lex., ed. Rost, p. 1016. Comp. ῥάσσειν (of the gladiators); Salmasius, ad Ach. Tat. p. 657; and Jacobs, p. 821.

ἀφρίζει] change of the subject; Winer, p. 556 [E. T. 787]. The permanent effect of these paroxysms is: ξηραίνεται, becomes withered, wasted away. Comp. Mark 3:1. See generally the description of the morbus comitialis in Celsus, III. 23.

εἶπονἵνα] I told it … that they.

Mark 9:19. αὐτοῖς] the disciples, Mark 9:18. See, moreover, on Matthew 17:17.

Mark 9:20. ἰδὼν αὐτὸν κ. τ. λ.] when the demoniac (not: the demon, Bleek) had looked upon Jesus, the demon tore him (the patient). On the anacoluthic use of the nominative participle, see Matthiae, ad Eurip. Phoen. 283; Bernhardy, p. 479; Winer, p. 501 [E. T. 711]. Comp. also Nägelsbach, Anm. z. Ilias, ed. 3, p. 385 f.

ἐπὶ τ. γῆς] belongs to πεσών (comp. Mark 14:35; Xen. Cyr. iv. 5. 54).

Mark 9:21-24. It is only the specially graphic Mark that has this dialogue.

Mark 9:21. ὡς] Particle of time: how long ago is it, when this fell upon him?

Mark 9:22. καὶ εἰς πῦρ] even into fire. In John 15:6 also the article is not necessary (in opposition to Fritzsche), although critically attested.

εἴ τι δύνῃ] Euthymius Zigabenus rightly says: ὁρᾶς, πῶς οὐκ εἶχε πίστιν ἀδίστακτον. Hence the answer of Jesus at Mark 9:23; hence also the utterance of the father at Mark 9:24, who felt his faith not to be sufficiently strong. On the form δύνῃ instead of δύνασαι, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 359.

ἡ΄ῖν] the father of the family speaks.

Mark 9:23. After deletion of πιστεῦσαι (see the critical remarks), τὸ εἰ δύνῃ is to be regarded (Winer, p. 163, 506 [E. T. 225, 718]) as nominative absolute: The “if thou canst” … “Everything is possible to him, that believeth,” i.e. as far as concerns thy just expressed “if thou canst,” the matter depends on the faith; the believer is able to attain everything. The article embracing the εἰ δύνῃ substantivally (Kühner, § 492) takes up the word just spoken by the father, and puts it with lively emphasis without connecting it with the further construction, in order to link its fulfilment to the petitioner’s own faith. Griesbach, Tischendorf, Ewald take τὸ εἰ δύνῃ interrogatively, and πάντα δύν. τ. πιστ. as answering it: “Tune dubitans si potes aiebas? Nihil non in ejus, qui confidat, gratiam fieri potest,” Griesbach. Comp. Ewald: Askest thou, that: if thou canst? etc. But the assumption of a question is not indicated by the non-interrogative address of the father (whence we should have expected τί τὸ εἰ δύνῃ, or the like), and so we are not warranted in mentally supplying an aiebas or askest thou? Comp. Bornemann in the Stud. u. Krit. 1843, p. 122. With the Recepta πιστεῦσαι or δύνῃ the explanation is: if thou canst believe (I will help thee); everything is possible, etc., in which interpretation, however, the τό is without warrant disregarded, as if it were of no significance (but comp. Matthew 19:18; Luke 22:37), and taken only “as a sign of quotation of the direct discourse” (de Wette). So also Linder in the Stud. u. Krit. 1862, p. 559. Lachmann(125) places no point at all after πιστεῦσαι, and we might accordingly explain it thus: if thou art in a position to believe that everything is possible to him that believeth (so in my second edition). But even thus the τό causes difficulty, and the thought and the expression would be too diffuse, not in keeping with the concise representation of Mark, especially in so impassioned a connection. Lange takes it thus: “the if thou canst means: canst believe.” How enigmatically would Jesus have so spoken! Bleek takes εἰ interrogatively. But neither the deliberative character of this question (see on Matthew 12:10) nor the τό would be appropriate. Bengel’s interpretation also is impossible: ‘Hoc, si potes credere, res est; hoc agitur.” But he well observes on the state of the case: “Omnipotentiae divinae se fides hominis quasi organon accommodat ad recipiendum, vel etiam ad agendum.” Fritzsche has conjectured either: εἶπεν αὐτῷ· εἰ δύνασαι; πίστευε· πάντα δυνατὰ κ. τ. λ., or: εἶπεν αὐτῷ· τί ἐστι τὸ εἰ δύνασαι; πίστευε· πάντα κ. τ. λ., and Bornemann, l.c. p. 123: εἶπεν αὐτῷ τὸ πάντα δυνατὰ τῷ πιστ.

Mark 9:24. βοήθει μου τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ] help me unbelieving; refuse me not Thy help, notwithstanding my unbelief. Calovius, Bengel,(126) and many others render: assist my unbelief, strengthen my weak faith, which, however, is at variance with the contextual meaning of βοήθει (Mark 9:22). Moreover, the answer of the father, who has just said πιστεύω, but immediately afterwards, in consideration of the greatness of the issue made to depend on his faith, designates this faith in respect of its degree as ἀπιστία, is quite in keeping with the alternation of vehemently excited feeling. Victor Antiochenus rightly says: διάφορός ἐστιν πίστις· μὲν εἰσαγωγικὴ, δὲ τελεία.

The substantive τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ brings more strongly into prominence the condition than would have been done by an adjective. See Winer, p. 211 [E. T. 296]. And the prefixed μου represents at the same time the mihi of interest (Mark 5:30; Romans 11:14, and frequently Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaed. p. 117 A): render for me to my unbelief Thy help.

Mark 9:25. ὅτι ἐπισυντρέχει ὄχλος] that people were thereupon running together. He wished to avoid still greater publicity.

ἐγώ] emphatically, in contrast to the disciples.

μηκέτι] no more, as hitherto. See on Mark 9:18.

Mark 9:26. κράξαςσπαράξας] κράξας: crying out, not speaking. The masculines belong to the constructio κατὰ σύνεσιν; Mark has conceived to himself the πνεῦμα as a person (as δαίμων), and has used the attributive participles accordingly, not therefore by mistake (Fritzsche, de Wette). Comp. Xen. Cyr. vii. 3. 8 : φεῦ, ἀγαθὴ καὶ πιστὴ ψυχὴ, οἴχῃ δὴ ἀπολιπὼν ἡμᾶς; see in general, Matthiae, p. 975; Bornemann in the Sächs. Stud. 1846, p. 40.

τοὺς πολλούς] the multitude. The entire description is true and lifelike, and does not aim, as Hilgenfeld thinks, at attaining a very great miracle.

Mark 9:28 f. εἰς οἶκον] as Mark 7:17.

ὅτι] is to be written , τι, and, as at Mark 9:11, to be explained as wherefore.

τοῦτο τ. γένος] this kind of demons—a view of the words which Ewald also, in his Gesch. Chr. p. 385 (not in his Evang. p. 78, 277), recognises “in the present Mark,” but not in Matthew.

ἐν οὐδενί] by nothing, by no means. That prayer ( κ. νηστ. is not genuine) is meant as a means of increasing faith (Matthew 17:20), Mark does not say indeed, but it follows from Mark 9:19; hence it is not to be concluded that the utterance contains in his case the sense of a reproach that the disciples had not prayed (and fasted) enough (de Wette).


Verses 30-32

Mark 9:30-32. Comp. Matthew 17:22 f., who abridges, and Luke 9:43-45.

ἐκεῖθεν] out of the region of Caesarea Philippi, Mark 8:27.

παρεπορεύοντο] they journeyed along through Galilee, i.e. they passed through in such a way, that (until Capernaum, Mark 9:33) they never tarried anywhere. Comp. Deuteronomy 2:4; Deuteronomy 2:14; Baruch 4:37; also Mark 2:23. The travelling along by-ways (Lange) is not implied in the verb.

καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν, ἵνα τὶς γνῷ (Lachmann, Tischendorf read γνοῖ; see on Mark 5:43): similar to Mark 7:24. But here ( ἵνα) the contents of the wish is conceived as its design. The reason why Jesus wished to journey unknown is given by ἐδίδασκε γὰρ κ. τ. λ., Mark 9:31, for which deeply grave instruction He desired to be entirely undisturbed with His disciples. This ἐδίδασκε was the continuance of the ἤρξατο διδάσκειν of Mark 8:31; hence there is no reason for understanding in the passage before us not the Twelve, but the scattered adherents in Galilee (Lange). Moreover, αὐτούς in Mark 9:33 is decisive against this. Comp. Mark 9:35.

παραδίδοται the near and certain future realized as present.

καὶ ἀποκτανθείς] has in it something solemn. Comp. Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 25.

Mark 9:32. The instructions of Jesus were so opposed to their Messianic expectations, that they not only did not comprehend them, but they, moreover, shrank from any more precise disclosure concerning the inconceivable gloomy fate before them.


Verses 33-37

Mark 9:33-37. See on Matthew 18:1-5. Comp. Luke 9:46-48. Only Matthew 17:24 ff. has the history of the stater. Of subordinate importance, perhaps also belonging to a more local tradition, it seems to have remained unknown to Mark, with which view κ. ἦλθ. εἰς καπ. in Mark 9:33 is not at variance (in opposition to de Wette).

Mark is more original in the historical introduction of the point in question, Mark 9:33 f., whereas Matthew 18:3-4 has rightly completed the narrative from the collection of Logia, but has, on the other hand, withdrawn from the conclusion in Mark 9:5 its completeness, as it appears in Mark Mark 9:37 (Matthew has the thought already at Mark 10:40).

ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ] See Mark 9:30.

ἐσιώπων] from being conscience—struck.

πρὸς ἀλλήλ.] emphatically prefixed: with one another, so that they one against the other claimed the higher place. It was not the general question τίς μείζων in abstracto, but the concrete question of personal jealousy in their own circle of disciples.

τίς μείζων] This brief, certainly primitive, interrogation is in Matthew more precisely defined by ἐν τῇ βασιλ. τ. οὐρ. from the answer (Mark 9:3). This more precise definition, however, is not, with Beza, Heupel, and many others, to be imported also here, but it stands simply: who is of higher rank, although it is self-evident that they had also included in their view their position in the kingdom of heaven.

καθίσας ἐφών. τοὺς δώδεκα] by way of solemn preparation.

If a man desires to be of the first rank, he must, etc. This ἔσται expresses the result (comp. on Matthew 20:26 f.),—the state of things that will arise in consequence of that wish,—and thereby defines the right θέλειν πρῶτ. εἶναι.

Mark 9:36 does not come in unconnectedly (Weisse, Holtzmann), but the progression is: “Of all servants, even of the least, the affectionate reception of whom is a service shown to myself,” etc.

ἐναγκαλισ.] after he had embraced it. Comp. Mark 10:16. An original trait, which is only found in Mark. The verb occurs only in Mark, but is frequent in the classical writers.

Mark 9:37. οὐκἀλλά] not non tam … quam, but with conscious rhetorical emphasis the ἐμὲ δέχεται is absolutely negatived (comp. Matthew 10:20), which is intended to denote in the strongest degree the importance of the reception of such a child (a child-like unassuming believer, see on Matthew 18:5) to fraternal loving fellowship. See Winer, p. 439 ff. [E. T. 623 ff.]; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 9 f.


Verses 38-40

Mark 9:38-40. Comp. Luke 9:49-50 (not in Matthew). The connection of thought lies in ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόμ. μουτῷ ὀνόμ. σου; the disciples had done the opposite of the δέχεσθαι in the case of one, who had uttered the name of Jesus. Comp. Schleiermacher, Luk. p. 153 f.; Fritzsche, Olshausen, Ebrard, p. 447 f. So John came to his question. Bengel well says: “dubitationem hanc videtur in pectore aliquamdiu gessisse, dum opportune earn promeret.” But Strauss, I. p. 642, and de Wette (comp. also Bleek), attribute this connection of thought merely to the reporter (Luke, whom Mark follows), who, on the ground of the ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόμ. μου, has inserted just here the traditional fragment. This is improbable; such casual annexations are more natural in real living dialogue, and the reflection of the reporter would have found more appropriate places for their insertion, such as after Mark 6:30.

τῷ ὀνόμ. σου.] by means of Thy name, by the utterance of it. Comp. Matthew 7:22; Acts 3:6; Acts 19:13. The exorcist in our passage was not an impostor, but a believer; yet not one belonging to the constant followers of Jesus, although his faith was not perhaps merely elementary, but, on the contrary, even capable of miracles. What he had done appeared to the disciples as a privilege still reserved for the narrower circle, and as an usurpation outside of it.

ὃς οὐκ ἀκολ. ἡμῖν, and then again ὅτι οὐκ ἀκολ. ἡμῖν] John brings this point very urgently forward as the motive of the disciples’ procedure (it is no “intolerabilis loquacitas,” of which Fritzsche accuses the textus receptus).

ἐκωλύομεν (see the critical remarks): the imperfect, following the aorist, makes us dwell on the main point of the narrative. See Kühner, II. p. 74.

Mark 9:39 f. Application: Of such a man, who, even without belonging to our circle, has nevertheless attained to such an energetic faith in me as to do a miracle on the basis of my name, there is no reason to apprehend any speedy change into reviling enmity against me. His experience will retain him for us, even although he has not come to his authorization, as ye have, in the way of immediate fellowship with me. It is obvious, moreover, from this passage how powerfully the word and work of Jesus had awakened in individuals even beyond the circle of His constant followers a higher power, which even performed miracles; thus sparks, from which flamed forth the power of a higher life, had fallen and kindled beyond the circle of disciples, and Jesus desires to see the results unchecked. Some have found in this man who followed not with the company of the Twelve the Pauline Christians, whom Mark makes to be judged of by Jesus only with more tenderness and tolerance than at Matthew 7:21 f. (Hilgenfeld, Evang. p. 140(127)); this is more than exaggerated ingenuity; it is the invention of a criticism, the results of which are its own presuppositions.

The construction is regular, and δυνήσεται designates the ethical possibility.

ταχύ] soon (Matthew 5:25, al.; Sirach 6:18; Sirach 48:20; Plato, Conv. p. 184 A Tim. p. 73 A Xen. Cyr. 1:1. 1), not: lightly, which might be signified by τάχα, Romans 5:7; Philemon 1:15.


Verse 41

Mark 9:41. See on Matthew 10:42. There is nothing opposed to the assumption that Jesus uttered such a saying here also, and generally on several occasions.

γάρ refers, by way of assigning a reason, to what immediately precedes, in so far, namely, as the high significance of their position in the world is contained in ὃς οὐκ ἔστι καθʼ ὑμῶν, ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἔστιν. “For ye are such important persons as the Messiah’s disciples in the world, that he who shows to you the smallest service of love,” etc.

ἐν ὀνόματι ὅτι κ. τ. λ.] so that this rendering of service has its impelling reason in the name, in the characteristic designation, that ye are Messiah’s disciples, i.e. for the sake of the name. Comp. Winer, p. 346 f. [E. T. 484]. On εἶναί τινος, addictum esse alicui, see Bremi, ad Dem. Phil. III. p. 125, 56; Seidler, ad Eur. El. 1098; Ast, Lex. Plat. I. p. 621.


Verses 42-48

Mark 9:42-48. See on Matthew 18:6-9. Comp. Luke 17:1-4. Jesus now reverts to the demeanour towards the lowly modest believers, as whose lively type the little child was still standing before Him (Mark 9:36), and administers the warning that none should give offence to such child-like ones (Mark 9:42). To comply with this, we need the most decided sternness towards ourselves and self-denial, so as not to be seduced by ourselves to evil and thereby to incur everlasting torment (Mark 9:43-48). This simple course of the address is often mistaken, and even de Wette (comp. Saunier, p. 111, Köstlin, Baur) thought that Mark had allowed himself to be drawn out of the connection by Luke. The source from which Mark draws is the collection of Logia.

καλόνμᾶλλον] namely, than that he should have accomplished such a seduction.

περίκειται and βέβληται bring vividly before us the state of the case, in which he is sunk with the millstone round his neck.

Mark 9:43 ff. Observe, according to the corrected text (see the critical remarks), how in the three references to the everlasting torment (which, indeed, according to Köstlin, p. 349, are alleged to be in the taste of a later time) it is only at the end, in the case of the third, Mark 9:47, that the awful ὅπου σκώληξ κ. τ. λ., Mark 9:48, comes in and affectingly winds up the representation.

Mark 9:48. A figurative designation of the extremely painful and endless punishments of hell (not merely the terrors of conscience), in accordance with Isaiah 66:24 (comp. Sirach 7:17; Judith 16:17). Against the literal understanding of the worm and the fire it may be urged that in reality (in opposition to Augustine, de civit. xxi. 9) the two together are incompatible, and, moreover, that ἁλί, Mark 9:49, the counterpart of πυρί, is to be understood figuratively.


Verse 49

Mark 9:49. Without any parallel; but the very fact of its enigmatical peculiarity(128) tells in favour of its originality (in opposition to de Wette, Weiss, and many others). See on the passage, Schott, Opusc. II. p. 5 ff., and Dissert. 1819; Grohmann in the bibl. Stud. Sächs. Geistl. 1844, p. 91 ff.; Bähr in the Stud. u. Krit. 1849, p. 673; Lindemann in the Mecklenb. Zeitschr. 1864, p. 299 ff. In order to its correct interpretation the following points must be kept closely in view: (1) The logical connection ( γάρ) is argumentative, and that in such a way that γάρ is related to the πῦρ in Mark 9:48 (because to this the πυρί must correspond), not to the entire thought, Mark 9:43 ff. (2) πᾶς cannot be every disciple (Lindemann), nor yet can it be every one in general, but it must, in accordance with the context, be limited to those who are designated in the 48th verse by αὐτῶν (comp. Luke 6:40), because afterwards with πᾶσα θυσία another class is distinguished from that meant by πᾶς, and something opposed to what is predicated of the latter is affirmed of it. (3) πυρί and ἁλί are contrasts; like the latter, so also the former can only be explained instrumentally (not therefore: for the fire, as Baumgarten-Crusius and Linder in the Stud. u. Krit. 1854, p. 515, will have it), and the former can, according to the context, apply to nothing else than to the fire of hell, not to the fire of trial (1 Corinthians 3:13), as Theophylact and others (including Köstlin, p. 326 f.) would take it, nor yet to the sanctifying fire of the divine word (Lindemann). (4) καί may not be taken as: just as ( ὡς, καθώς), to which, following the majority, Lindemann also ultimately comes, but which καί never expresses; but rather: and, joining on to those who are meant by πᾶς and its predicate others with another predicate. (5) The two futures must be taken in a purely temporal sense; and in accordance with the context (Mark 9:43-48) can only be referred to the time of the Messianic decision at the establishment of the kingdom. Hence, also, (6) it is beyond doubt that πᾶσα θυσία cannot apply to actual sacrifices, but must denote men, who in an allegorical sense may be called sacrifices. (7) The meaning of ἁλισθήσεται may not be apprehended as deviating from the meaning (presupposed by Jesus as well known) which the application of salt in sacrifices had (see Leviticus 2:13, where meat-offerings are spoken of; comp. in respect of the animal offerings, Ezekiel 43:24; Joseph. Antt. iii. 9. 1; and see in general, Lund. Jüd. Heiligth., ed. Wolf, p. 648; Ewald, Alterth. p. 37; Bähr, Symbol. d. Mos. Cult. II. p. 324; and Stud. u. Krit. l.c. p. 675 ff.; Knobel on Lev. p. 369 f.) It was, namely, salt of the covenant ( מלח ברית ) of God (comp. also Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5), i.e. it represented symbolically the covenant with Jehovah as regarded its imperishableness,—represented that the sacrifice was offered in accordance therewith, and for the renewing thereof. Comp. Pressel in Herzog’s Encykl. XIII. p. 343 f.

Consequently we must translate and explain: “With warrant I speak of their fire (Mark 9:48); for every one of those who come into Gehenna will be salted therein with fire, i.e. none of them will escape the doom of having represented in him by means of fire that which is done in sacrifices by means of salt, namely, the imperishable validity of the divine covenant, and (to add now the argumentum e contrario for my assertion concerning the fire, Mark 9:48) every sacrifice, i.e. every pious man unseduced, who, as such, resembles a (pure) sacrifice (comp. Romans 12:1), shall be salted with salt, i.e. he shall at his entrance into the Messianic kingdom (comp. εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τ. ζωήν, Mark 9:43-47), by reception of higher wisdom (comp. Mark 9:50; Colossians 4:6; and as to the subject-matter, 1 Corinthians 13:9-12), represent in himself that validity of the divine covenant, as in the case of an actual sacrifice this is effected by its becoming salted.” Accordingly, it is in brief: for in every one of them the ever-during validity of the divine covenant shall be represented by means of fire, and in every pious person resembling a sacrifice this shall be accomplished by the communication of higher wisdom. It is to be observed, further: (1) that the figure of the salt of the covenant refers, in the case of those condemned to Gehenna, to the threatening aspect of the divine covenant, in the case of the pious, to its aspect of promise; (2) that Jesus does not accidentally set forth the pious as a sacrifice, but is induced to do so by the fact He has just been speaking of ethical self-sacrifice by cutting off the hand, the foot, etc. And the conception of sacrifice, under which He regards the pious, suggests to Him as a designation of its destined counterpart the sacrificial expression ἁλίζεσθαι. (3) Analogous to the twofold distinction of ἁλίζεσθαι in the passage before us, although different in the figurative conception, is the βαπτίζειν πυρί and πνεύματι ἁγίῳ, Matthew 3:11.

Of the many diverging explanations, which in the light of what has just been stated are opposed to the context, or to the language of the passage, or to both, we may note historically the following:—(1) Euthymius Zigabenus: πᾶς πιστὸς πυρὶ τῆς πρὸς θεὸν πίστεως, τῆς πρὸς τὸν πλησίον ἀγάπης ἁλισθήσεται, ἤγουν τὴν σηπεδόνα (corruption) τῆς κακίας ἀποβαλεῖ πᾶσα θυσία πνευ΄ατικὴ, εἴτε διʼ εὐχῆς, εἴτε διʼ ἐλεη΄οσύνης, εἴτε τρόπον ἕτερον γινο΄ένη, τῷ ἅλατι τῆς πίστεως τῆς ἀγάπης ἁλισθήσεται, εἴτουν ἁλισθῆναι ὀφείλει (2) Luther: “In the O. T. every sacrifice was salted, and of every sacrifice something was burnt up with fire. This Christ here indicates and explains it spiritually, namely, that through the gospel, as through a fire and salt, the old man becomes crucified, seared, and well salted; for our body is the true sacrifice, Romans 12.” He is followed by Spanheim, Calovius, L. Cappel, and others: a similar view is given by Beza, and in substance again by Lindemann.(129) (3) Grotius: “Omnino aliqua desumtio homini debetur, aut per modum saliturae (extirpation of the desires), aut per modum incendii (in hell); haec impiorum est, illa piorum;” the godless are likened to the whole burnt-offerings, the pious to the mincha. He is followed by Hammond, comp. Clericus and Schleusner. (4) Lightfoot: “Nam unusquisque eorum ipso igne salietur, ita ut inconsumtibilis fiat et in aeternum duret torquendus, prout sal tuetur a corruptione: … at is, qui vero Deo victima, condietur sale gratiae ad incorruptionem gloriae.” Wolf and Michaelis follow this view; comp. also Jablonsky, Opusc. II. p. 458 ff. (5) Rosenmüller (comp. Storr, Opusc. II. p. 210 ff.): “Quivis enim horum hominum perpetuo igni cruciabitur; … sed quivis homo Deo consecratus sale verae sapientiae praeparari debet ad aeternam felicitatem.” (6) Kuinoel (taking πῦρ, with Flacius and others, as a figurative designation of sufferings): “Quilibet sectatorum meorum calamitatibus (these are held to be the pains that arise by suppression of the desires) veluti saliri, praeparari debet, quo consequatur salutem, sicuti omnes oblationes sale condiri, praeparari debent, quo sint oblationes Deo acceptae.” (7) Schott: “Quivis illorum hominum (qui supplicio Geennae sunt obnoxii) nunc demum hoc igne sale (quod ipsis in vita terrestri versantibus defuit) imbuetur, i.e. nunc demum poenis vitae futurae discet resipiscere. Alio sensu illi salientur, quam victimae Deo sacrae, de quibus loco illo scriptum legitur: victima quaevis sale est conspergenda. His enim similes sunt homines in hac vita terrestri animis suis sapientiae divinae sale imbuendis prospicientes.” (8) According to Fritzsche, γάρ assigns the reason of the exhortation to suffer rather the loss of members of their body than to let themselves be seduced, and the meaning is (in the main as according to Kuinoel, comp. Vatablus): “Quippe omnes (in general) aerumnis ad vitae aeternae felicitatem praeparabuntur, sicut omnes victimae e Mosis decreto sale sunt ad immolationem praeparandae.” So in substance also Bleek. (9) Olshausen: “On account of the general sinfulness of the race every one must be salted with fire, whether by entering voluntarily upon self-denial and earnest cleansing from sins, or by being carried involuntarily to the place of punishment; and therefore [in order to be the symbolical type of this spiritual transaction] every sacrifice is (as is written) to be salted with salt.”(130) Similarly Lange. (10) According to de Wette, πυρὶ ἁλίζεσθαι is nearly (?) tantamount to “the receiving by purification the holy seasoning and consecration (of purity and wisdom),” and καί is comparative. (11) Grohmann takes the first clause in substance as does Olshausen, and the second thus: “as every sacrifice shall be made savoury with salt, so also shall every one, who desires to offer himself as a sacrifice to God, be salted,—that is, shall from without, by sufferings, privations, and the like, be stirred up, quickened, and pervaded by a higher, fresh spiritual power.” (12) Bähr: “As according to the law there must in no sacrifice be wanting the symbol of the covenant of sanctification that consecrates it the salt; so also must every one be purified and refined in and with the sacrifice of self-surrender; … this refining process, far from being of a destructive nature, is rather the very thing which preserves and maintains unto true and eternal life.” (13) According to Ewald, the meaning is that every one who yields to seductive impulses, because he allows the salt—wherewith from the beginning God has seasoned man’s spirit—to become insipid, must first be salted again by the fire of hell, in order that this sacrifice may not remain without the salt which, according to Leviticus 2:13, belongs to every sacrifice; no other salt (no other purification) is left save the fire of hell itself, when the salt in man has become savourless. (14) By Hilgenfeld the fire, is alleged to be even that of internal desire, through which (this is held to mean: by overcoming the desire!) one is said to be salted, i.e. led to Christian wisdom; thereby one is to offer a sacrifice of which the salt is Christian discernment.

This great diversity of interpretation is a proof of the obscurity of the utterance, which probably was spoken by Jesus in an explanatory connection which has not been preserved.

The second clause of the verse has been held by Gersdorf, p. 376 f., on linguistic grounds that are wholly untenable, to be spurious; and, as it is wanting also in B L δ א, min. and some vss. (on account of the twice occurring ἁλισθήσ by transcriber’s error), it is declared also by Schulz to be a gloss.


Verse 50

Mark 9:50. καλὸνἀρτύσετε] a maxim of experience drawn from common life, in which τὸ ἅλας is to be taken literally. Then follows with ἔχετε κ. τ. λ. the application, in which the spiritual meaning of the salt (wisdom, see on Mark 9:49, and Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 1208) emerges. The connection with what precedes is: In order to experience in yourselves on the establishment of the kingdom the truth: πᾶσα θυσία ἁλὶ ἁλισθήσεται, ye must—seeing that salt, which in itself is so excellent a thing, when it has become insipid, can in no wise be restored—preserve in your hearts the salt of true wisdom(131) and withal be peaceful one with another. Against both the disciples had sinned by their dispute about precedence (Mark 9:34), from which the entire discourse of Jesus, Mark 9:35 ff., had started, and to which He now again at the close points back. This contest about precedence had been foolish (opposed to the ἅλας) and unpeaceful.

ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας ἄναλον κ. τ. λ.] Comp. on Matthew 5:13.

αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε] wherewith shall ye restore it? so that it shall again be provided with saline efficacy (comp. on Colossians 4:6).

ἔχετε] emphatically placed first: keep, preserve, which is not done, if the analogue of the ἄναλον γίνεσθαι sets in with you.

ἐν ἑαυτοῖς] in yourselves, correlative to the subsequent ἐν ἀλλήλοις (reciprocally). Comp. Bengel: “prius officium respectu nostri, alterum erga alios.”

ἅλα (see the critical remarks) from ἅλς. See Lobeck, Paralip. p. 93.

καὶ εἰρην. ἐν ἀλλ.] The annexing of this exhortation was also suggested by the conception of the salt, since the salt was symbol of a covenant. Hence the course of thought: And—whereof ye are likewise reminded by the symbolic significance of salt—live in peace one with another.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Mark 9:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/mark-9.html. 1832.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology