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Mark 3:13 . He calleth to him whom he would. He knew them as he knew Nathaniel; he knew their piety, he knew their worth. They followed him at first as hearers, having no thoughts of the glory that would follow. Therefore, like the ancient scripture characters, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, and the later prophets, they had no hand in their call and elevation. The Lord drew his workmen from the treasures of his providence. “He counted me faithful,” says Paul, “putting me into the ministry.”
Mark 3:17 . Boanerges, which is, sons of thunder, because of their vocal powers. Beza derives this word from the Hebrew bene reghesch, and would write it Benerges. Now, though he brings many proofs of letters suppressed, or words changed, yet he has adduced no substantial argument that the orthography is wrong. Dr. Lightfoot here mentions, from the Talmud, a Samuel who sat in the synagogue and heard the voice of Rigsha, which he diffidently renders “thunder.” The Bath Kol, “daughter of thunder,” was the voice heard from the mercyseat. So on Sinai the voice was terrible, with thunder and earthquake. Yet it is obvious, says the doctor, in what respect erges is applicable to thunder. The greater body of critics however derive this word, Ben-erges, from Ben-rehem, the sons of commotion; for rehem is the same as the Greek word Σειω seio, to move, or Σεισμος seismos, earthquake. The shaking or commotion implied in this term may also be expressed by the Greek Βροντη bronté, thunder. Hence Boanerges was an honourable surname, highly expressive of the power and unction of the ministry of these two brothers: and happy is the man who is favoured with so great a talent. Peter’s ministry was powerful to the circumcision, as Paul’s was to the gentiles.
Mark 3:21 . He is beside himself. Christ’s friends said this when they heard that he had no leisure to eat. The Greek exese often occurs in the LXX, and in the new testament. 2 Corinthians 5:13. See also the Septuagint in Genesis 45:26, and Joshua 2:11, where it implies, to faint. Its general import is to express something out of the common way. Heinsius, distinguished by originality of criticism, illustrates the passage from 2 Kings 9:11: wherefore came this mad fellow to thee?
Mark 3:30 . Because they said, he hath an unclean spirit. His divine and gracious works to heal the sick, and console the wounded mind, were the most signal acts of grace which heaven could confer on man. And for the learned doctors to say, that they were the works of the devil, was malice and vileness surpassing any thing on earth, and indicated the scribes to be reprobate beyond the hope of recovery. By consequence, all persons afflicted with nervous gloom, should avoid charging themselves with the commission of this blasphemy, for they never did, nor were they ever in a situation to commit it. Robert Russel therefore, in his seven sermons, totally mistakes the case, by supposing that both Paul and Peter would have committed this sin, if Peter had denied his Master with Paul’s malice; or, if Paul had wasted the church with Peter’s light. Their crimes would indeed have been double, but we have no authority to drive men to despair. After all, the assertion of our Saviour is not more absolute than the ministry of Jonah. There were, no doubt, pardons concealed for the contrite. They were in danger of eternal damnation, but not as yet delivered to the tormentor.
Mark 3:35 . The same is my brother. Conversion introduces us into the great family of heaven and earth. The aged are parents, the young converts are children, and the body of the church are all brethren. The bonds are sacred, intimate, and eternal, provided we hold last the beginning of our confidence stedfast to the end. If related before conversion, we are then doubly akin, being of one family, and of one spirit. See my translation of Saurin’s sermon on this subject: vol. 7.
Our Lord went about doing good; and he confounded his enemies in the synagogue of Capernaum by asking whether it was lawful to do good? Hence we should imitate our Master, as time and opportunity may suggest. This question was introductory to the restoring of the man with the withered hand, a case highly instructive to us, whose beauty and rectitude are faded and withered away; and we want the Saviour to restore them by his grace. See Matthew 12:13.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Mark 3". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany