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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Mark 10

 

 

Verses 1-12

Mark 10:1-12. He cometh into the coasts of Judea, &c. — This paragraph is explained at large in the notes on Matthew 19:1-11. From the beginning of the creation — Therefore Moses, in the first chapter of Genesis, gives us an account of things from the beginning of the creation of this lower world. Does it not clearly follow from hence, that there was no creation here below, previous to that which Moses describes? Whosoever shall put away his wife, &c. — Though this discourse of Christ be originally about divorce, yet all polygamy is also condemned by it, as the reader may see in the note on Matthew 19:4-6. And if a woman shall put away her husband, &c. — “This practice of divorcing the husband, unwarranted by the law, had been (as Josephus informs us) introduced by Salome, sister of Herod the Great, who sent a bill of divorce to her husband Costobarus; which bad example was afterward followed by Herodias and others. By law, it was the husband’s prerogative to dissolve the marriage. The wife could do nothing by herself. When he thought fit to dissolve it, her consent was not necessary. The bill of divorce which she received was to serve as evidence for her, that she had not deserted her husband, but was dismissed by him, and consequently free.” — Campbell.


Verses 13-16

Mark 10:13-16. They brought little children to him — See the note on Matthew 19:13-15. Jesus was much displeased — At their blaming those who were not blameworthy, and endeavouring to hinder the children from receiving a blessing. And said, Suffer little children to come unto me — Now, and at other convenient times, for I am pleased, rather than offended, to see them brought to me: for of such is the kingdom of God — The members of the kingdom which I am come to set up in the world are such as these, as well as grown persons of a child-like temper. Verily, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child — Divesting himself of those prejudices and those secular views which men contract in their riper years, that he may come, as it were, to the humility and meekness, the simplicity and teachableness, of a little child, (see Psalms 131:2.) He shall not enter therein — He shall not be a member of my kingdom, be his genius ever so sublime, or his circumstances in life ever so considerable. And he took them up in his arms, &c. — He tenderly embraced them with complacency and love, and as a further token of the overflowing kindness of his heart toward them; he put his hands upon them, and blessed them — Recommending them in a solemn manner to the blessing and favour of his heavenly Father; which no doubt descended upon them, and attended them in their future life. “Let ministers view this compassionate Shepherd of Israel, thus gathering the lambs in his arms with all the tokens of tender affection; and let the sight teach them a becoming regard for the lambs of their flock, who should early be taken notice of and instructed; and for and with whom they should frequently pray, remembering how often divine grace takes possession of the heart in the years of infancy, and sanctifies the children of God almost from the womb. Let every first impression, made upon their tender minds, be cherished; and let not those whom Christ himself is ready to receive, be disregarded by his servants, who upon all occasions should be gentle unto all, and apt to teach. Let parents view this sight with pleasure and thankfulness; let it encourage them to bring their children to Christ by faith, and to commit them to him in baptism and by prayer. And if he who has the keys of death and the unseen world, see fit to remove these dear creatures from us in their early days, let the remembrance of this story comfort us; and teach us to hope, that he who so graciously received these children, has not forgotten ours; but that they are sweetly fallen asleep in him, and will be the everlasting objects of his care and love; for of such is the kingdom of God. And let us all commit ourselves to him; and let us be disposed to become as little children, if we desire to enter into his kingdom. Let us not govern ourselves by the vain maxims of a corrupt and degenerate age. Let not pride, ambition, lust, or avarice possess, torment, and enslave our minds; but, with the amiable simplicity of children, let us put ourselves into the wise and kind hands of Jesus, as our guardian, and refer ourselves to his pastoral and parental care; to be clothed and fed, to be guided and disposed of, as he shall see fit. For this purpose, O God, may we be born again by thy Spirit, and formed anew by thy grace! Since by this method alone we can be made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, and be so the children of God as to be at length the children of the resurrection.” — Doddridge.


Verses 17-22

Mark 10:17-22. There came one running, &c. — See notes an Matthew 19:16-22. And he answered, Master, &c. — He stands reproved now, and drops the epithet, Good. Jesus, beholding him — And looking into his heart; loved him — Doubtless for the dawnings of good which he saw in him; and said to him — Out of tender love, One thing thou lackest — The love of God, without which all religion is a dead carcass. In order to this, throw away what is the grand hinderance of it. Give up thy great idol, riches! Go, sell whatsoever thou hast.


Verses 23-27

Mark 10:23-27. Jesus looked round about — On all that were about him; and saith to his disciples, How hardly, πως δυσκολως, with how great difficulty, shall they that have riches — Not only that love them, but that possess them; enter into the kingdom of God — Respecting this difficulty, see note on Matthew 19:23-24. And the disciples were astonished at his words — For they were ready to imagine that ere long all the rich and great people of the country would appear for their Master, and fix him on the throne of Israel. But Jesus answereth again — To that surprise which he saw in their countenances; Children, &c. — See how he softens the harsh truth, by the manner of delivering it! And yet without retracting or abating one tittle: How hard is it for them that trust in riches — Either for defence, or happiness, or deliverance from the thousand dangers that life is continually exposed to. That these cannot enter into God’s glorious kingdom, is clear and undeniable; but it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a man to have riches, and not trust in them. Therefore, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And they were astonished out of measure περισσως εξεπλησσοντο, they were more abundantly struck with astonishment, more even than before; having now heard Christ’s repetition and illustration of what he had said before; saying, Who then can be saved? — Who that are rich can ever get to heaven? and what a discouragement will it be to others, to see the rich and the great neglecting salvation, and turning the means of their happiness and usefulness into the instruments of their destruction? And Jesus looking upon them, &c. — See on Matthew 19:25-26.


Verses 28-31

Mark 10:28-31. Peter began to say, Lo, we have left all — Though the young man would not. Jesus said, There is no man that hath left house, &c. — This is explained Matthew 19:27-29. “Our Lord is not here speaking of such as have actually separated themselves from the persons, and parted with the possessions, here mentioned; for if that had been his meaning, he would not have said that wives and children were to be forsaken, having himself, on a former occasion, expressly prohibited divorce, on any account, except fornication. But he is speaking of those who, for his sake and the gospel’s, have renounced the pleasures and satisfactions which relations and possessions usually afford.” But he shall receive a hundred-fold now in this time, houses, &c. — Not in the same kind; for it will generally be with persecutions: but in value: a hundred-fold more happiness than any or all of these did or could afford. But let it be observed, None is entitled to this happiness, but he that will accept of it with persecutions. “They who have forsaken all for my sake, shall be no losers in the issue; because God, who designs to admit them into heaven, will give them the comforts necessary to support them in their journey thither, and will raise them up friends, who shall be as serviceable to them as their nearest kindred, whom they have forsaken. By the special benignity of his Providence, they shall have every thing valuable that relations or possessions could administer to them. And, besides, shall have persecutions, whose heat will nourish virtues in them of such excellent efficacy, as to yield them, even in this present world, joys a hundred times better than all earthly pleasures; so that they shall be fed by the bread of sorrows. But, above all, in the world to come they shall have everlasting life. Their afflictions contributing to the growth of their graces, which are the wings of the soul, they shall in due time be raised on them even up to heaven, leaving all sorrows behind them, and shall fly swiftly into the bosom of God, the fountain of life and joy, where they shall have full amends made them for all the evils they had undergone on account of Christ and his gospel.” — Macknight. But many that are first, &c. See on Matthew 19:30.


Verses 32-34

Mark 10:32-34. They were in the way to Jerusalem, and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed — At his courage and intrepidity, considering the treatment which he had himself told them he should meet with there: and as they followed, they were afraid — Both for him and themselves: nevertheless, he judged it best to prepare them, by telling them more particularly what was to ensue. The rulers at Jerusalem had issued out a proclamation against our Lord, immediately after the resurrection of Lazarus, and probably promised a reward to any that would apprehend him, John 11:57. This might be the reason why the disciples were astonished at the alacrity which their Master showed in this journey to the capital city, and afraid while they followed him. In such circumstances our Lord knew that a repetition of the prophecy concerning his own sufferings was proper; because it showed the disciples they were entirely voluntary. And as he told them expressly that they had been predicted by the prophets, and consequently decreed of old by God, the opposition that he was to meet with, though it would end in death, instead of weakening their faith, ought to have increased it; especially as he informed them at the same time that he would rise again the third day. Behold we go up to Jerusalem, &c. — See on Matthew 20:18-19.


Verses 35-40

Mark 10:35-40. And James and John come to him, saying — By their mother, (see Matthew 20:20,) for it was she, not they, that uttered the words: Master, we would that thou shouldest do, &c. — Here, again, the disciples show their utter ignorance of the prophecies, and of their Master’s kingdom, by an action which likewise discovered, in the clearest manner, the temper of mind they were in, and the motives from which they followed Christ. They seem to have fancied that by his resurrection, after his sufferings, was meant, his taking possession of the great empire which they believed he was come to erect; and therefore they no sooner heard him mention his rising from the dead, than they came and begged the favour of him, that he would confer on them the chief posts in his kingdom. This they expressed by asking to be seated, the one on his right hand, the other on his left, in allusion to his late promise of placing the twelve apostles on twelve thrones, to judge the tribes. But Jesus said, Ye know not what ye ask — Ye know not that ye are asking for sufferings, which must needs pave the way to glory. Can ye drink of the cup — Can ye bear the inward sufferings which I must undergo? and be baptized with the baptism — Can ye endure the outward sufferings which await me? Our Lord was filled with sufferings within, and covered with them without. They said, We can — Being greatly moved with the prospect of the dignities which they were aspiring after, they replied without hesitation, that they were able to drink of his cup, that is, to undergo any hardship with their Master, which he might suffer in the way to his kingdom. Jesus said, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup, &c. — Ye shall certainly share with me in my lot, which they accordingly did. See on Matthew 20:20-23. But to sit on my right hand, &c., is not mine to give, but to them for whom it is prepared — Them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality. For these only eternal life is prepared. To these only he will give it in that day; and to every man his own reward, according to his own labour.


Verses 41-45

Mark 10:41-45. When the ten heard it — See on Matthew 20:24-28. A ransom for many — Even for as many souls as needed such a ransom, 2 Corinthians 5:15.


Verses 46-52

Mark 10:46-52. And as he went out of Jericho, blind Bartimeus sat by the way-side — Matthew (Matthew 20:29) says, there were two blind men. It seems this Bartimeus was the more eminent of the two, and spoke for them both. See on Matthew 20:29-34. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth — Of some of whose miracles he had doubtless received information; he began to cry out, Jesus, thou son of David, &c. — Our Lord’s name was no sooner mentioned than this blind man, who was well acquainted with his fame, conceived hopes of obtaining a cure; and being deeply impressed with a sense of his own affliction, he cried out so vehemently that the people rebuked him, as they will not fail to rebuke all who, from a sense of their guilt, depravity, and misery, cry after the Saviour of sinners. But he cried the more a great deal — An example worthy to be imitated by those who are concerned to obtain the cure of their spiritual diseases. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called — He would not perform the miracle till the blind man came to him, that, by the manner of his walking, the spectators might be sensible he was truly blind. And they call the blind man — Some of the people, having their expectations raised of seeing Christ work a miracle, ran immediately to call the man and his companion; saying, Be of good comfort — Take courage; rise, he calleth thee — And therefore he doubtless intends to grant thy request. And he, casting away his garment — Through joy and eagerness; rose, and came to Jesus — The other blind man also following as fast as he could. And Jesus said, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee — What is the mercy which thou so earnestly entreatest? The blind man said, Lord, that I might receive my sight — The other also, doubtless, made the same request. and Jesus, who had compassion on them, touched their eyes, and said to each, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole — The strong persuasion which thou hast entertained of my power and goodness, and thy confidence therein, makes thee fit to receive this cure which I now bestow on thee. And immediately he received his sight — As did his companion likewise; and they followed Jesus in the way —

Travelled with him, probably all the way to Jerusalem, being deeply affected with a sense of his power and goodness, and earnestly desirous to show their gratitude, by declaring openly, unto all the persons they met, what a great miracle Jesus had performed for them. “Thus Jesus, by his touch,” says Erasmus, “cures the mind that is blinded with worldly lusts, and gives light for this end, that we may follow his footsteps.”

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Mark 10:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/mark-10.html. 1857.

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