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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Mark 14



Verse 1

Mark 14:1 . ἦν δὲ τὸ π .: the first hint that the visit of Jesus to Jerusalem took place at passover season. τὸ πάσχα καὶ τὰ ἄζυμα : full name of the feast, which consisted of the passover proper beginning on the 14th Nisan, and the seven days of unleavened bread. Mt. and Lk. give each only one of the designations; Mt. the former, Lk. the latter. Mk.’s dual designation a manifest combination of Mt. and Lk., say the followers of Griesbach. μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας , indicates the point of time at which the Sanhedrists began seriously to consider how they could safely get rid of Jesus. Mt. turns this into an announcement by Jesus. Lk. generalises the precise note of time into a statement that the feast was approaching ( ἤγγιζεν ). ἐν δόλῳ , in or with craft. ἐν = בְּ in Heb. Mt. has simply δόλῳ , the dative instr.

Verses 1-2

Mark 14:1-2 . Introduction (Matthew 26:1-5 , Luke 22:1-2 ).

Verse 2

Mark 14:2 . ἔλεγον γάρ is a more difficult reading than ἔλ . δὲ of Mt., hence the correction in T.R. The γάρ presupposes that the murder of Jesus during the feast was from the first regarded as out of the question, and the clause following partly makes that fact explicit, partly assigns a reason for it. They wanted to compass His death, but they were in a difficulty, for they felt and said to one another: it may not be on the feast, lest there be a popular disturbance. μήποτε ἔσται : the fut. ind. instead of the more usual subjunctive after μήποτε ( cf. Colossians 2:8 , Hebrews 3:12 ), implying the almost certain occurrence of a θόρυβος if an attempt were made on the life of Jesus during the feast. This shows how highly the Sanhedrists estimated the influence of Jesus.

Verse 3

Mark 14:3 . ὄντος αὐτοῦ , κατακειμένου αὐτοῦ : two genitive absolute clauses whereof Weiss makes critical use (Marcus-Evang.); in which Schanz sees simply an instance of Mk.’s helplessness in style. The first indicates generally the time and place, the second the position of Jesus (at table) when the woman approached Him ( ἦλθεν ). ἀλάβαστρον . Vide in Mt. πιστικῆς : a puzzling word recurring in the fourth Gospel (Mark 12:3 ). It has been variously explained. (1) As one of Mk.’s Latinisms = spicatus , turned into πιστικὸς like Sextarius into ξέστης (Mark 7:4 ). In favour of this view is the Vulgate nardi spicati reproduced in “spikenard” (spiked-nard), A. V [126] , and it has been adopted by Wetstein, Grotius, Rosenmüller, etc. (2) As meaning liquid, potable, from πίω , πιπίσκω , Fritzsche and others. (3) As derived from the name of a place whence the ointment was obtained, Augustine; also Bengel: “Pista urbs Indorum in regione Cabul; quâ ex regione pleraque aromata jam tum petebantur”. But he adds: “Ex nomine proprio potius formaretur πισταῖος ”. (4) As = πιστός , trusty, genuine, to distinguish it from spurious imitations which abounded (Pliny, H. N., xii., 26). Instances of the use of the word in this sense are cited from Greek authors, e.g. , from Artemidorus, ii., 32: πιστικὴ γυνὴ καὶ οἰκουρὸς ( vide Beza and Kypke). The choice lies between (1) and (4); most modern commentators (following Theophy. and Euthy.) adopt the latter. The following account of nard from Tristram’s Natural History of the Bible is interesting: “An Indian product procured from the Nardostachys Jatamansi, growing on the Himalaya Mountains in Nepaul and Bhotan. It was well known to the Greeks and Romans, and is mentioned by classic authors as derived from the hills on the banks of the Ganges. One peculiarity of the plant which is mentioned by old writers aids in its identification, viz. , that it has many hairy spikes shooting from one root. These shaggy stems are caused by the root leaves shooting up from the ground and surrounding the stalk. It is from this part of the plant that the perfume is procured and prepared simply by drying it.” πολυτελοῦς (1 Timothy 2:9 , 1 Peter 3:4 ), dear, hence the temptation to produce cheap counterfeits. συντρίψασα : she broke the narrow-necked vase that the contents might be poured out quickly, not drop by drop, and perhaps that the vessel used for so sacred a purpose might never be employed again (Kloster., Weiss, Schanz, etc.).

[126] Authorised Version.

Verses 3-9

Mark 14:3-9 . The anointing in Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13 ).

Verse 4

Mark 14:4 . τινὲς , certain persons; who, not indicated; Mt. says the disciples, John singles out Judas. τοῦ μύρου γέγονεν : these words omitted in Mt. Observe the repetition in Mark 14:5 , τοῦτο τὸ μύρον ( [127] [128] [129] , etc.). Mt. simply has τοῦτο (so here in T.R.). Mt. more elegant in style, but Mk. truer to life = “To what purpose this waste of the myrrh? For this myrrh might, etc.” the style of men speaking under emotion.

[127] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[128] Codex Ephraemi

[129] Codex Regius--eighth century, represents an ancient text, and is often in agreement with א and B.

Verse 5

Mark 14:5 . ἐπάνω , etc., for above three hundred pence. The cardinal number is here in the genitive of price after πραθῆναι . In 1 Corinthians 15:6 ἐπάνω is followed by a dative depending on ὤφθη .

Verse 6

Mark 14:6 . ἐν ἐμοί , in me ( cf. Matthew 17:12 ), for the more usual εἰς ἐμέ (in Mt., and imported into Mk. in T.R.).

Verse 7

Mark 14:7 . καὶ ὅταν θέλητε , etc., and when ye wish ye can do them a kindness; a thought implied in the previous clause (the poor ye have always), and probably an expansion by Mk. ( cf. Mt.), yet not superfluous: suggesting the thought that expenditure in one direction does not disqualify for beneficent acts in another. The willing-minded will always have enough for all purposes.

Verse 8

Mark 14:8 . ὃ ἔσχεν (suppl. ποιεῖν ), what she had to do she did; the reference being not to the measure of her power (wealth) but to her opportunity: she did what lay to her hand, and could only be done then . προέλαβε μυρίσαι , she anticipated the anointing; the latter verb here only, the former in 1 Corinthians 11:21 , Galatians 6:1 . ἐνταφιασμόν : the noun answering to the verb in Mt., here and in John and in one place in the classics.

Verse 9

Mark 14:9 . εἰς ὅλον τ . κ . for ἐν ο ., etc., in Mt.; a constr. praeg. , the idea of going to all parts of the world with the gospel being understood.

Verses 10-11

Mark 14:10-11 . Judas offers to betray his Master (Matthew 26:14-16 , Luke 22:3-6 ).

Verse 11

Mark 14:11 . ἐχάρησαν , they rejoiced ; when one of the twelve companions of Jesus unexpectedly turned up ready to deliver his Master into their hands. A most vivid feature omitted by Mt. in his summarising way. Well might they rejoice, as but for this windfall they might have been totally at a loss how to compass their end. ἐπηγγείλαντο , they promised to pay, did not actually pay on the spot, as Mt.’s statement implies ( ἔστησαν , Mark 14:15 ). ἐζήτει , cf. ἐζήτουν , Mark 14:1 , in reference to the Sanhedrists. They were seeking means of getting rid of Jesus; Judas was now on the outlook for a chance of betraying Him into their hands. εὐκαίρως here and in 2 Timothy 4:1 , the adjective and verb in Mark 6:21 ; Mark 6:31 , the noun in Matthew 26:16 .

Verse 12

Mark 14:12 . τῇ π . ἡμέρᾳ τ . ἀ . ὅτε τ . πάσχα ἔθυον : again a double note of time, the second clause indicating precisely that by the first day is meant the 14th Nisan. Schanz, following the Greek Fathers, takes πρώτῃ in the first clause as = προτέρᾳ , yielding the same sense as πρὸ τ . ἑορ . τ . πάσχα in John 13:1 . ποῦ θέλεις : the disciples would ask this question in good time, say in the forenoon of the 14th.

Verses 12-16

Mark 14:12-16 . Arrangements for paschal feast (Matthew 26:17-19 , Luke 22:7-13 ). Mk. is much more circumstantial in this section than Mt., his apparent aim being to explain how Judas did not find his opportunity at the paschal supper, the place of celebration being carefully concealed beforehand.

Verse 13

Mark 14:13 . δύο : more exact than Mt.; of course all the disciples would not be sent on such an errand. Lk. names the two. ὑπάγετε , etc.: the instructions in Mk. are sufficient to guide the messengers. Mt.’s πρὸς τὸν δεῖνα is manifestly too vague, and could not have been spoken by Jesus. ἄνθρωπος : water-carrying was generally the occupation of women; hence a man performing the office would be more noticeable. κεράμιον (neuter of adjective κεράμιος , earthen), an earthen pitcher, here and in Luke 22:10 .

Verse 14

Mark 14:14 . τὸ κατάλυμά μου , my guest chamber. This μου of the best texts is interesting as suggesting a previous understanding between Jesus and the householder. It is not necessary to import the miraculous into the narrative.

Verse 15

Mark 14:15 . ἀνάγαιον ( ἀνά , γαῖα = γῆ ), a room above the earth, an upper room. μέγα , large, enough for the company. ἐστρωμένον , furnished with table-cushions. ἕτοιμον , perhaps a synonym for ἐστρωμένον = furnished, all ready; possibly pointing to the removal of leaven (C.G.T.).

Verse 17

Mark 14:17 . ἔρχεται : after sunset He cometh to the place appointed for the feast, presumably after the two who had been sent to make arrangements had rejoined the company.

Verses 17-21

Mark 14:17-21 . The presence of a traitor announced (Matthew 26:20-25 , Luke 22:21-23 ).

Verse 18

Mark 14:18 . ὁ ἐσθίων μετʼ ἐμοῦ : this clause, omitted in Mt., is designed to indicate, not the culprit, but the gravity of his offence = one of you, one who eats bread with me, a table companion .

Verse 19

Mark 14:19 . εἶς κατὰ εἶς , one by one = εἶς ἕκαστος in Mt.; κατὰ is used adverbially, and hence is followed by εἶς instead of ἕνα . For other instances of this usage of late Greek vide John 8:9 , Romans 12:5 , and cf. Winer, § xxxvii. 3.

Verse 20

Mark 14:20 . To the anxious questioning of the disciples Mk. makes Jesus reply: one of the Twelve ; he who dippeth with me in the dish . A repetition of the original declaration with variations: the Twelve for you , and dipping in the dish for eating ; the former bringing out the gravity of the fact, the Twelve chosen to be Apostles of the faith, one of them the traitor of its Author; the latter narrowing the circle within which the traitor is to be found. Twelve ate with Jesus, only three or four would dip with Him. ἐμβαπτόμενος , middle, dipping with his own hand: “haec vis medii verbi,” Bengel.

Verse 21

Mark 14:21 . ὅτι , assigns a reason for the fact just stated. To fulfil Scripture (Psalms 41:9 ) the Son of Man must go from the earth through betrayal by an intimate. This verse contains an instance in Mk. of the construction μὲν δὲ (again in Mark 14:38 and in Mark 16:19-20 ). καλὸν αὐτῷ , good for him, without the ἦν as in Mt. For the construction vide on Mt. and Burton, M. and T. in N. T., § 248. ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος : this repetition ( vide τῷ ἀ . ἐκ . above) gives a tragic solemnity to the utterance = good for aim, if he had not been born, that man! Cf. Mark 2:20 , “days will come, etc., and then shall they fast, in that day”.

Verse 22

Mark 14:22 . ἐσθιόντωνα ., while they were eating, as in Mark 14:18 ; a very general indication of time. This and the announcement of the betrayal are for Mt. and Mk. the two memorabilia of the paschal feast of Jesus with His disciples, and all they know is that they happened during feast-time. λάβετε , take, without φάγετε , as in Mt.; the more laconic expression likely to be the original. “Take” implies “eat”.

Verses 22-25

Mark 14:22-25 . The Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-29 , Luke 22:19-20 ), vide notes on Mt.’s account, to which Mk.’s closely corresponds.

Verse 23

Mark 14:23 . καὶ ἔπιον , etc., and they drank of it, all. In Mt.’s account Jesus bids them drink, as He had previously bidden them eat. Mk.’s version strikes one as the more primitive; Mt.’s as influenced by liturgical usage.

Verse 24

Mark 14:24 . καὶ εἶπεν : while they drank the cup (not after they had drunk it, De Wette: nor before they began to drink, as Mt.’s narrative by itself would suggest), Jesus explained to them the symbolic import of the cup. The important point in Mk.’s account of the words, as compared with Mt.’s, is the omission of the expression, εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν .

Verse 26

Mark 14:26 , exactly as in Matthew 26:30 , states that after singing the paschal hymn the company went forth towards the Mount of Olives.

Verses 26-31

Mark 14:26-31 . On the way to Gethsemane (Matthew 26:30-35 , Luke 22:39 ).

Verse 27

Mark 14:27 . πάντες σκανδαλισθήσεσθε , ye all shall be made to stumble; absolutely, without the addition of ἐν ἐμοὶ ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ταύτῃ imported into the text from Mt. in T.R. It was a startling announcement in broad general terms that the disciple-circle was about to experience a moral breakdown. The announcement was made not by way of reproach, but rather as a preface to a more cheering prophecy of an early reunion.

Verse 28

Mark 14:28 . ἀλλὰ μ .: stronger than Mt.’s μ . δὲ = ye shall be offended, but (be of good cheer) after my resurrection I will go before you, as your Shepherd ( προάξω ὑμᾶς ) into Galilee.

Verse 29

Mark 14:29 . It is the former part of the Master’s speech that lays hold of Peter’s mind; hence he promptly proceeds to make protestations of fidelity. εἰ καὶ , etc.: even if (as is likely) all the rest shall be offended (the future, because the case put is conceived to be probable), yet certainly ( ἀλλʼ strongly opposing what follows to what goes before; vide Klotz, p. 93, on the force of ἀλλὰ in the apodosis of a conditional proposition) not I .

Verse 30

Mark 14:30 . To this over-confident ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐγώ of the disciple, the Master returns a very pointed and peremptory reply: I tell thee that thou ( σὺ emphatic) to-day ( σήμερον ), on this night (more precise indication of time), before the cock crow twice (still more precise indication of time), shall deny me, not once, but again and again and again ( τρίς ).

Verse 31

Mark 14:31 . ἐκπερισσῶς , abundantly in matter and manner, with vehemence and iteration; a ἅπαξ λεγ . ἐλάλει , kept saying: that he would not deny his Master even if he had to die for it. ὡσαύτως , a stronger word than Mt.’s ὁμοίως = in the same way, and probably in the same words. But the words of the others were simply a faint echo of Peter’s vehement and copious talk. They feebly said once ( ἔλεγον = εἶπον ) what he said strongly again and again ( ἐλάλει ).

Verses 32-42

Mark 14:32-42 . In Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46 , Luke 22:40-46 ).

Verse 33

Mark 14:33 . ἤρξατο , introduces the description of our Lord’s awful experience in the garden. ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι , to be amazed; in Mk. only, first in Mark 9:15 , where see remarks on its meaning. Though Jesus had long known, and had often with realistic plainness spoken of, what was to befall Him, yet the vivid sense of what it all meant came upon His soul at this hour, as a sudden appalling revelation. The other two words used by Mk. to describe Christ’s state of mind ( ἀδημονεῖν . περίλυπος ) occur in Mt. also.

Verse 35

Mark 14:35 . ἔπιπτεν ( [130] [131] [132] , ἔπεσεν T.R. as in Mt.), imperfect: He fell again and again on the ground. It was a protracted desperate struggle. καὶ προσηύχετο ἵνα : Mk. first indicates the gist of Christ’s prayers (= that if possible the hour might pass from Him), then reports what Jesus said (Mark 14:36 ). In the prayer of Jesus the experience dreaded is called the cup , as in Mt. The Hour and the Cup both alike solemn, suggestive names.

[130] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[131] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[132] Codex Regius--eighth century, represents an ancient text, and is often in agreement with א and B.

Verse 36

Mark 14:36 . Ἀββᾶ ὁ πατήρ : in the parallels simply πάτερ . In the Apostolic Church the use of the double appellation among Gentile Christians was common ( vide Romans 8:15 , Galatians 4:6 ), Ἀββά having become a proper name and πατὴρ being added as its interpretation = God our Father. Mk. imparts into the prayer of our Lord this apostolic usage. Jesus doubtless would use only one of the names, probably the Aramaic. παρένεγκε τ . π . τ ., remove this cup; equivalent to παρέλθῃ in Mark 14:35 (Luke 22:42 ). ἀλλʼ οὐ , etc.; “ but not what ( τί for ὃ ) I will, but what Thou”; elliptical but clear and expressive: γενήσεται or γενέσθαι δεῖ (not γενέσθω which would demand μὴ before θέλω ) is understood ( vide Holtzmann, H. C., and Weiss in Meyer).

Verse 37

Mark 14:37 . τῷ Πέτρῳ : to the disciple who had been so confident of his loyalty, but also from whom Jesus expected most in the way of sympathy. Σίμων : the old, not the new, disciple, name; ominous.

Verse 38

Mark 14:38 . This exhortation to watch and pray is given in almost identical terms in Mt. and Mk. It looks like a secondary version of what our Lord actually said.

Verse 39

Mark 14:39 . Mk., like Mt., divides the agony into three acts, but he reports the words spoken by Jesus in prayer only in the first. Mt. gives the prayer of Jesus in the second act, as well as in the first, generalising in the third, where he repeats the formula here used by Mk.: τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον εἰπών .

Verse 40

Mark 14:40 . καταβαρυνόμενοι , “their eyes were very heavy”; R. V [133] , weighed down with irresistible sleep. καταβαρύνω , here and occasionally in the Sept [134] = the more usual καταβαρέω (from the simple verb βαρέω comes βεβαρημένοι in T.R.). καὶ οὐκ ᾔδεισαν , etc.: this remark recalls the experience of the same three on the hill of transfiguration ( cf. Mark 9:6 ). But in the earlier instance the reference is to the stupidity produced by sleep, here probably to shame on account of unseasonable sleep. They felt that they ought to have kept awake during their Master’s hour of trial, and knew not how to excuse themselves.

[133] Revised Version.


Verse 41

Mark 14:41 . ἀπέχει , “it is enough,” A. V [135] = sufficit in Vulgate; one of the puzzling words in Mk.’s vocabulary to which many meanings have been given. Beza, in doubt as to Jerome’s interpretation, was satisfied at last by a quotation from Anacreon coming into his mind, in which the poet, giving instructions to a painter for the portrait of his mistress, concludes: ἀπέχει . βλέπω γὰρ αὐτήν · τάχα , κηρέ , καὶ λαλήσεις = “Enough! the girl herself I view: so like, ’twill soon be speaking, too”. Elsner and Raphel follow Beza. Kypke dissents and renders: ἀπέχει , ἦλθεν ἡ ὥρα , as if it were ἦλθε καὶ ἀπ . ἡ ὥ . = the hour (of my passion) is come and calls you and me away from this scene. Most modern commentators accept the rendering, “it is enough”. Vide an interesting note in Field’s Otium Nor . The meaning is: I have conquered in the struggle; I need your sympathy no longer; you may sleep now if you will.

[135] Authorised Version.

Verse 43

Mark 14:43 . εὐθὺς , etc. ( ἰδοὺ in Mt.), straightway, even while He is speaking, appears Judas, who is carefully defined by surname and position as one of the Twelve. At what point of time the traitor left the company on his nefarious errand is not indicated. According to Weiss (in Meyer) the evangelist conceives of Judas as going with the rest to Gethsemane and stealing away from the nine, after the three had been taken apart, having now satisfied himself as to the Master’s whereabouts. παρὰ τ . ἀρχ ., etc.: παρὰ goes along with παραγίνεται , and implies that Judas and those with him had an official commission from the authorities, the three classes of whom are carefully specified.

Verses 43-52

Mark 14:43-52 . The apprehension (Matthew 26:47-56 , Luke 22:47-53 ).

Verse 44

Mark 14:44 . δεδώκει : the pluperfect, but without augment, vide Winer, § xii. 9. σύσσημον (neuter of adjective σύσσημος : σύν , σῆμα ): a sign previously agreed on ( σημεῖον in Mt.), a late word severely condemned by Phrynichus, p. 418, here only in N. T. In Sept [136] for נֵם an “ensign” (Is. Mark 5:26 ). ἀσφαλῶς may mean either: lead Him away with an easy mind (He will not attempt escape), or: lead, etc., cautiously, carefully He may slip out of your hands as He has done before (Luke 4:30 ). Judas was just the kind of man to have a superstitious dread of Christ’s preternatural power.


Verse 45

Mark 14:45 . ἐλθὼν εὐθὺς προσελθὼν = arrived on the spot he without delay approaches Jesus; no hesitation, promptly and adroitly done. Ραββί : without Mt.’s χαῖρε , and only once spoken (twice in T.R.), the fervour of false love finding expression in the kiss ( κατεφίλησεν , vide notes on Mt.) rather than in words.

Verse 47

Mark 14:47 . εἷς τ . παρ ., one of those standing by, i.e. , one of the three, Peter according to the fourth gospel (John 18:10 ). τὴν μάχ ., the sword = his sword, as if each disciple was armed; vide on Mt. ὠτάριον = ὠτίον , T.R., diminutive of οὖς ; the use of diminutives for the members of the body was common in popular speech. Vide Lobeck, Phryn., p. 211.

Verses 47-52

Mark 14:47-52 . Attempt at rescue .

Verse 48

Mark 14:48 . On this and the following verse vide notes on Mt.

Verse 49

Mark 14:49 . ἵνα πληρωθῶσιν αἱ γ .: this may be a case of ἵνα with the subjunctive used as an imperative = let the Scriptures be fulfilled. Cf. 2 Corinthians 8:7 , last clause, and consult Winer, § xliii. 5 d.

Verse 50

Mark 14:50 . καὶ ἀφέντες , etc., and deserting Him fled all ( πάντες last, vide above): the nine with the three, the three not less than the nine all alike panic-stricken.

Verse 51

Mark 14:51 introduces a little anecdote peculiar to Mk., the story of an unknown friend, not one of the Twelve, who had joined the company, and did not fly with the rest. συνηκολούθει α ., was following Jesus; when He was being led away, and after the disciples had fled. περι βεβλημένος σινδόνα ἐπὶ γυμνοῦ : this suggests that the youth, on hearing some sudden report, rose out of his bed and rushed out in his night-shirt, or, being absolutely naked, hurriedly threw about his body a loose cotton or linen sheet. The statement that on being laid hold of he cast off the garment favours the latter alternative.

Verse 52

Mark 14:52 . γυμνὸς ἔφ ., fled naked , in the literal sense, whereon Bengel remarks: “on a night not without a moon; fear conquers shame in great danger”. (A few years ago a young wife chased a thief, who had been stealing her wedding presents, through the streets of Glasgow, in the early hours of the morning, in her night-gown; not without success. Her husband modestly stayed behind to put on his clothes.) Who was this young man? Mk. the evangelist, say many, arguing: the story was of no interest to any one but the hero of it, therefore the hero was the teller of the tale. A good argument, unless a motive can be assigned for the insertion of the narrative other than merely personal interest. Schanz suggests a desire to exhibit in a concrete instance the danger of the situation, and the ferocity of the enemies of Jesus. On the whole one feels inclined to acquiesce in the judgment of Hahn, quoted by Holtz., H. C., that in this curious incident we have “the monogram of the painter (Mk.) in a dark corner of the picture”. Brandt, however ( Die Ev. Gesch. , p. 28), dissents from this view.

Verse 53

Mark 14:53 . συνέρχονται α . πάντες , etc.: again all the three orders of the Sanhedrists are named, who have been summoned to meet about the time the party sent to apprehend Jesus might be expected to arrive.

Verses 53-65

Mark 14:53-65 . Before Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57-68 , Luke 22:54 ; Luke 22:66-71 ).

Verse 54

Mark 14:54 . ὁ Πέτρος : the story of Peter’s denial begins here, and, after being suspended by the account of the trial, is resumed at Mark 14:66 . ἀπὸ μακρόθεν , from afar ( ἀπὸ redundant here as elsewhere), fearful, yet drawn on by love and curiosity. ἕως ἔσω εἰς : a redundant but expressive combination, suggesting the idea of one stealthily feeling his way into the court of the palace, venturing further and further in, and gaining courage with each step ( vide Weiss, Mk.-Evan., p. 470). θερμαινόμενος : nights cold even at Easter in Palestine; a fire in the court welcome in the early hours of morning, when something unusual was going on. “However hot it may be in the daytime, the nights in spring are almost always cold” Furrer, Wanderungen , p. 241. πρὸς τὸ φῶς , at the fire; here called light, because it was there to give light as well as heat. Elsner and Raphel cite instances of the use of φῶς for fire from Xenophon. Hesychius gives πῦρ as one of its meanings.

Verse 55

Mark 14:55 . μαρτυρίαν : Mt. has ψευδομαρτυρίαν , justly so characterised, because the Sanhedrists wanted evidence for a foregone conclusion: evidence that would justify a sentence of death.

Verses 55-65

Mark 14:55-65 . The trial and condemnation .

Verse 56

Mark 14:56 . ἴσαι , equal, to the same effect, as the testimonies of true witnesses would, of course, be. Grotius takes the word as meaning, not equal to one another, but equal to the demands of weighty evidence and justifying condemnation. Elsner agrees, arguing from the use of the word again, in reference to the evidence about the temple logion of Jesus. These witnesses, he holds, are not represented as making conflicting statements, but simply as making statements not sufficiently weighty not equal to the occasion. There is some force in this.

Verse 57

Mark 14:57 . τινες , some, for which Mt. has the more definite δύο , the smallest number necessary to establish a matter.

Verse 58

Mark 14:58 . ὅτι , etc.: Mk.’s version of the testimony borne by the witnesses differs in important respects from that of Mt.; viz. , by the insertion of the words τὸν χειροποίητον and ἄλλον ἀχειροποίητον . Mt.’s form doubtless comes nearest to what the witnesses actually said. Mk.’s puts into their mouths, to a certain extent, the sense in which he and his fellow-Christians understood Christ’s saying, viz. , as a prophecy that the material temple would be superseded by a spiritual temple = the community of believers in Jesus. If they had really spoken, as here reported, the falsehood would have lain rather in the animus of their statement than in its meaning: the animus of men who regarded it as impious to speak of the temple of God being destroyed, as contemptuous to characterise it as hand-made, and as blasphemous to suggest that another could take its place.

Verse 60

Mark 14:60 . εἰς μέσον : a graphic feature in Mk., suggesting that the high priest arose from his seat and advanced into the semi-circle of the council towards Jesus the action of an irritated, baffled man. οὐκ ἀποκρίνῃ : on the high priest’s question vide notes on Mt.

Verse 61

Mark 14:61 . ἐσιώπα καὶ , etc.: one of Mk.’s dualisms, yet not idle repetition = He maintained the silence He had observed up to that point (imperfect), and He answered nothing to the high priest’s pointed question (aorist). πάλιν : the high priest makes another attempt to draw Jesus into some self-condemning utterance, this time successfully. τοῦ εὐλογητοῦ , the Blessed One, here only, absolutely, as a name for God. Usually, an epithet attached to Κύριος (Wünsche, Beiträge ).

Verse 62

Mark 14:62 . Ἐγώ εἰμι . On Christ’s reply to the high priest affirming the Messianic claim, vide notes on Mt.

Verse 63

Mark 14:63 . τοὺς χιτῶνας , his tunics, or undergarments, of which persons in good position wore two.

Verse 64

Mark 14:64 . τί ὑμῖν φαίνεται , what appears to you to be the appropriate penalty of such blasphemous speech? = τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ in Mt. Nösgen denies the equivalence, and renders Mk.’s peculiar phrase: what lies for you on the hand, what is now your duty? with appeal to Xenophon, Anab., v., 7, 3.

Verse 65

Mark 14:65 . τινες : presumably Sanhedrists. περικαλύπτειν : Mt. says nothing of this, but he as well as Mk. represents them as asking Jesus to prophesy. Mt.’s version implies that Jesus was struck from behind, Mk.’s in front. οἱ ὑπηρέται : following the example of their masters. ῥαπίσμασιν αὐτὸν ἔλαβον , received Him with slaps of the open hand: a phrase recalling the Latin, accipere aliquem verberibus .

Verse 66

Mark 14:66 . κάτω ἐ . τ . α ., below in the court, implying that the trial of Jesus had taken place in a chamber on a higher level. ἔρχεται μία , etc., cometh one of the maids of the high priest a servant in his palace, on some errand that night when all things were out of their usual course. That a maid should be astir and on duty at that unseasonable hour was itself a sign that something extraordinary was going on.

Verses 66-72

Mark 14:66-72 . Peter’s denial (Matthew 26:69-75 , Luke 22:54-62 ).

Verse 67

Mark 14:67 . ἰδοῦσα : Peter, sitting at the fire, catches her eye, and she sees at once that he is a stranger. Going closer to him, and looking sharply into his face in the dim fire-light ( ἐμβλέψασα ), she comes at once to her conclusion. καὶ σὺ , etc., thou also wert with the Nazarene that Jesus; spoken in a contemptuous manner, a faithful echo of the tone of her superiors. The girl had probably seen Peter in Christ’s company in the streets of Jerusalem, or in the temple during the last few days, and doubtless she had heard disparaging remarks about the Galilean prophet in the palace.

Verse 68

Mark 14:68 . οὔτε οἶδα , etc., I neither know nor understand, thou , what thou sayest. οὔτε - οὔτε connect closely the two verbs as expressing inability to comprehend what she means. The unusual emphatic position of σὺ ( σὺ τί λέγεις , smoothed down into τί σὺ λ . in T.R.) admirably reflects affected astonishment. ἐξῆλθεν : he slunk away from the fire into the forecourt προαυλίον , here only in N. T. καὶ ἀλέκτωρ ἐφώνησε : these words, omitted in [137] [138] [139] , are of very dubious authenticity. Weiss and Holtzmann think they were inserted by copyists under the impression that the words of Jesus to Peter, Mark 14:30 , meant that the cock was to crow twice in close succession, whereas the δὶς referred to the second time of cock-crowing, the beginning of the second watch after midnight. Schanz, while regarding this explanation of δὶς as unnatural, admits that it is difficult to understand how this first crow did not remind Peter of the Lord’s warning word.

[137] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[138] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[139] Codex Regius--eighth century, represents an ancient text, and is often in agreement with א and B.

Verse 69

Mark 14:69 . ἡ παιδίσκη : the article naturally suggests that it is the same maid, and probably but for harmonistic interests there would have been no doubt on the subject. Yet the fact that Mt. makes it another obliges us to ask whether Mk.’s expression necessarily means the same person. Grotius, whom Rosenmüller follows, says ἡ may here, as occasionally elsewhere = τις . Of more weight is the suggestion that it means the maid on duty in that particular place, the forecourt (Schanz and Klostermann; the remarks of the latter specially worthy of notice). On first thoughts one might deem πάλιν decisive as to identity, but (1) it is wanting in [140] , and (2) its most probable position is just before λέγειν , and the meaning, that Peter was a second time spoken to (or at) on the subject of his connection with Jesus, not that the same person spoke in both cases. On the whole a certain element of doubt remains, which cannot be eliminated by exegetical considerations. In favour of one maid is the consideration that two able to recognise Peter is more unlikely than one. Yet the two might be together when they saw Peter previously, or the one might point him out to the other that night. In Mt.’s narrative the standers-by seem also to have independent knowledge of Peter. In Mk. the maid gives them information. On the whole, Mk., as was to be expected, gives the clearer picture of the scene. τοῖς παρεστῶσιν , to those standing by; pointing to Peter, and speaking so that he could hear.

[140] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

Verse 70

Mark 14:70 . Now, it is the bystanders who persecute Peter with the charge of being a disciple. ἀληθῶς : they are quite sure of it, for two reasons (1) the maid’s confidence not specified but implied in the καὶ γὰρ , which introduces an additional reason; (2) Γαλιλαῖος εἶ = you are (by your speech) a Galilean. The addition in some MSS., καὶ ἡ λαλία σ ., etc., explanatory of the term Galilean, would be quite in Mk.’s manner, but the best authorities omit it.

Verse 71

Mark 14:71 . ἀναθεματίζειν : used absolutely, to call down curses on himself in case he was telling lies. Mt. has καταθ ., which is probably a contraction from καταναθ . (in T.R.).

Verse 72

Mark 14:72 . εὐθὺς : omitted in the MSS. which insert a first cock-crow in Mark 14:68 , as implying that this was the first crow at that hour, as in Mt. ἐκ δευτέρου (omitted in [141] [142] because apparently implying a first cock-crow during the denial, which they omit) must be understood with Weiss as referring to the second time of cock-crowing (three in the morning), the first being at midnight. ἐπιβαλὼν : another puzzle in Mk.’s vocabulary; very variously interpreted. Most modern interpreters adopt the rendering in the A. V [143] and R. V [144] , “when he thought thereon” ( ἐπιβαλὼν τὸν νοῦν ). Weizsäcker: “er bedachte es und weinte”. Theophylact took ἐπιβ = ἐπικαλυψάμενος τὴν κεφαλήν , having covered his head (that he might weep unrestrainedly), a rendering which Fritzsche and Field ( Otium Nor. ) decidedly support. Field remarks: “it may have been a trivial or colloquial word, such as would have stirred the bile of a Phrynichus or a Thomas Magister, who would have inserted it in their Index Expurgatorius , with a caution: ἐπιβαλὼν μὴ λέγε ἀλλὰ ἐγκαλυψάμενος ἢ ἐπικαλυψάμενος ”. Brandt ( Die Ev. Gesch. , p. 31), adopting a suggestion by Holwerda, thinks the original word may have been ἐκβαλὼν = going out, or flinging himself out. Klostermann ingeniously suggests: “stopped suddenly in his course of denial, like a man, running headlong, knocking suddenly against an obstacle in his way”. The choice seems to lie between the renderings: “thinking thereon” and “covering his head”.

[141] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[142] Codex Regius--eighth century, represents an ancient text, and is often in agreement with א and B.

[143] Authorised Version.

[144] Revised Version.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Mark 14". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.