Bible Commentaries
Mark 7

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1 The Pharisees were a religious sect of the Jews, and the scribes were those whose business it was to copy the law of Moses and expound it unto the people. Both of these groups were constant foes of Jesus because he rebuked their hypocrisies.

Verse 2

2 These people were always watching to find a cause of complaint. They thought they had found something when they saw the disciples eating without washing.

Verse 3

3 This did not refer to ordinary cleansing but to a tradition of the elders.

Verse 4

4 The tradition required that they wash their hands as a ceremony under certain conditions, regardless of whether the act was necessary or not.

Verse 5

5 They based their criticism on the fact that the disciples had disregarded the tradition of the elders, not that they had gone contrary to the rules of sanitation.

Verse 6

6 Jesus directly called those people hypocrites and said that Esaias (Isaiah) had prophesied about them. They spoke one way and their heart was interested in another.

Verse 7

7 Regardless of the apparent goodness of the worship that is offered to God, if it is based on the command ments of men the worship is vain or useless.

Verse 8

8 A person would have the privilege of maintaining his own notions about such things as ceremonial washing of hands and service vessels, provided that was as far as it went. But these people exalted those practices above the commands of God, even to the extent of substituting them for the divine law.

Verse 9

9 Full well applies to the truthfulness of the statement and not to what the Pharisees were doing; truly, ye reject, etc. That ye may keep denotes they could not keep such traditions as theirs in the way they desired without disregarding the commandments of the Lord.

Verse 10

0 The kind of traditions Jesus was condemning is specified in this and a few following verses. First, he cited one of the positive commandments God gave through Moses, that a man should honor his parents. And this honor included the obligation of administering to their needs.

Verse 11

1 Corban is defined in the lexicon, "a gift offered to God." These Pharisees pretended to have put their money into the Lord's treasury instead of using it to provide some benefit for their parents.

Verse 12

2 On the pretense that they had put their money into the treasury, they claimed exemption from considering their parents as dependents.

Verse 13

3 In the aforesaid practice they made their traditions more important than the inspired law that had been delivered to them by the hand of Moses.

Verse 14

4 Jesus next turned his attention to the people in general. He wished them not to misunderstand what he had said about washing the hands.

Verse 15

5 He did not mean to belittle the importance of cleanliness. The Pharisees were dealing with the subject in a ceremonial way only, as if the soil on one's hands would cause some moral or spiritual bad effect. Jesus was denying that and then stating what would in reality defile one. This is as far as he went in his explanation to "the people." (See the reason why at Mat 13:11.)

Verse 16

6 This means for every man to use his opportunities for hearing the truth.

Verse 17

7 After getting to themselves, the disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable to them. He did so as explained by the note cited at verse 15.

Verse 18

8 Jesus repeated the statement about the outward filth entering a man.

Verse 19

9 The reason it does not defile a man is because it is not retained, but is eliminated from the body along with other waste matter. A draught was similar to our modern sanitary stool.

Verse 20

0 The mere fact of its coming out is not what defiles a man. The idea is that such things as will soon be named are what makes a man defiled, and the issuing forth of them reveals what the defilements are.

Verse 21

1 The things named in this and the following verse are not done "on the spur of the moment," but are the deliberate intentions of the heart, and that is why they are said to defile a man. Adulteries can be committed first in the heart (Mat 5:28). Fornication is virtually the same in the eyes of the Lord, but human laws make a difference and the scripture condemns both so there will be no doubt. Murder is taking human life unlawfully after it has been premeditated which is done in the heart.

Verse 22

2 A man does not steal accidentally but plans to do it. Laciv-iousness is filthy desire and they are begun in the heart. An evil eye. Thayer says, "Since the eye is the index of the mind, the following phrases have arisen," then he includes the one italicized. Blasphemy is wicked speech that is prompted by the heart.

Verse 23

3 These things defile a man because they corrupt his heart and then his life through the manner of conduct they induce him to practice.

Verse 24

4 Jesus left the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee and went on across the country to that lying near the Medi-terranean Sea in which were the cities of Tyre and Sidon. He wished to have some privacy and entered into a house for that purpose. Could not be hid. Jesus did not wish to be always performing miracles to accomplish his purposes, but often took the same course that other men would take under the same circumstances. In the present case the shelter of a house was not enough to hide him.

Verse 25

5 This woman's daughter had an unclean spirit which means was possessed with a devil. This daughter was young and ordinarily would not be unrighteous in her man- er of life, but the possession of a devil was an affliction and not a fault.

Verse 26

6 In the time of Christ all persons who were not Jews were regarded as Gentiles whatever their nationality might be, hence this woman being Greek is rendered Gentile in the margin. By nation she was a Syro-phenician which is a compound word meaning a mixture of the Phoenician and Syrian territories. The writer mentions this as an explication of the attitude that Jesus at first maintained in testing her faith.

Verse 27

7 The Greek word for dog is not the one ordinarily used for that animal, but one that Thayer defines as "a little dog." It refers to a creature that would be like a child's pet and allowed to play about the table while its master was eating. The crumbs that fell would not be denied the dog and the circumstance was used for an illustration. Jesus purposely used that story to suggest the humble speech the woman made.

Verse 28

8 The woman did not resent the comparison, but was willing to accept the temporal healing of her daughter as crumbs, and leave the bread of the Lord's teaching to the children of his Father's family, namely, the Jews.

Verse 29

9 The woman said just what, Jesus wished her to say, and as a reward he assured her that the devil had been driven out of her daughter.

Verse 30

0 She found it as Jesus stated upon her return home. After such an experience as the girl had suffered (Mat 15:22 says she was "grievously vexed"), she would be somewhat prostrated, so the mother found her daughter lying on a bed.

Verse 31

1 Decapolis was a region on the east side of the Jordan. So Jesus left the western part of Palestine, crossed the country and over Jordan and on to the coast of the Sea of Galilee.

Verse 32

2 This man was suffering with a bodily ailment of his hearing, and that had caused him to be defective in his speech. People learn to talk from childhood by hearing others, and if they cannot hear they may not learn to talk.

Verse 33

3 This physical contact was the plan that Jesus saw fit to use in this case, not that he could not have healed the man otherwise.

Verse 34

4 EPHPHATHA is a Greek word and the King James translators retained it in the text, then gave the definition of it which is the same that is in Thayer's lexicon, namely, "be thou opened." Looking up to heaven indicated that he was looking to God for cooperation as he always worked as a partner with his Father.

Verse 35

5 As usual, the cure was straightway and not a prolonged affair.

Verse 36

6 Charged them tell no man. Jesus did not want the people to think that he was working miracles just with the motive of becoming famous.

Verse 37

7 The proof these people had that Jesus did all things well was the fact that visible changes came to the man with whom they were so well acquainted.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Mark 7". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.