Mark 8
Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them,
Chap. 8:1-10.] Feeding of the four thousand. Matthew 15:32-39. The accounts agree almost verbatim. Mark adds καί τινες αὐτῶν ἀπὸ μακ. εἰς. ver. 3, and again omits χωρὶς γυναικ. κ. παιδ. Matt. ver. 38.

7.] We have a curious instance here of correction and confusion in the principal mss.

10.] Matt. mentions Magadan, ver. 39. Dalmanutha was probably a village in the neighbourhood,—see note on Matt., and The Land and the Book, p. 393;—a striking instance of the independence of Mark: called by the Harmonists “an addition to St. Matthew’s narrative, to shew his independent knowledge of the fact.” Wordsw. What very anomalous writers the Evangelists must have been!

11-13.] Request of a sign from heaven. Matthew 16:1-4, who gives the account more at length: without however the graphic and affecting ἀναστ. τῷ πν. αὐ. ver. 12.

12.] εἰ δοθ., a Hebrew form of strong abjuration: see reff., and Winer, § 55 end.

14-21.] Warning against the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. Matthew 16:5-12. Our account is fuller and more circumstantial,—relating that they had but one loaf in the ship, ver. 14; inserting the additional reproofs, ver. 18, and the reference to the two miracles of feeding more at length, vv. 19-21. Mark however omits the conclusion in Matt.,—that they then understood that He spake to them of the doctrine, &c. Possibly this was a conclusion drawn in the mind of the narrator, not altogether identical with that to be drawn from our account here—for the leaven of Herod could not be doctrine (καὶ τ. ζ. Ἡρ., ver. 15—Mark only), but must be understood of the irreligious lives and fawning worldly practices of the hangers-on of the court of Herod.

14.] ἐπελ. is not pluperfect: see on Matt. ver. 5. The subject to the verb is the disciples, unexpressed: see next verse.

15.] ὁρᾶτε is merely take heed, and does not belong to ἀπό.

βλέπ. ἀπό is not ‘turn your eyes away from’ (Tittm. and Kuin. in Meyer), but as in reff.

The ζύμη Ἡρώδου here seems to answer to the ζ. Σαδδουκαίων in Matt. But we must not infer from this that Herod was a Sadducee. He certainly was a bad and irreligious man, which would be quite enough ground for such a caution. We have a specimen of the morals of his court in the history of John the Baptist’s martyrdom. In the last οὔπω, ver. 21, Meyer sees a new climax, and refers the not yet to the moment even after the reminiscence of vv. 18-20. It may doubtless be so, and the idea would well accord with the graphic precision of St. Mark.

22-26.] Healing of a blind man at Bethsaida. Peculiar to Mark. This appears to have been Bethsaïda Julias, on the n.e. side of the lake. Compare ver. 13: and see on this Bethsaïda, Jos. Antt. xviii. 4. 6: B. J. iii. 10. 7: Plin. Nat. Hist. v. 15. Wieseler, Chron. Synops. p. 273 f. See however against the idea that there were two Bethsaïdas, The Land and the Book, pp. 373 f.

23.] The leading of this blind man out of the town appears as if it had been from some local reason. In ver. 26 we find him forbidden expressly to enter into or tell it in the town, and with a repetition of κώμη, which looks as if the place had been somehow unworthy of such a work being done there. (This is a serious objection against Meyer’s reason, that the use of spittle in both miracles occasioned the same privacy here and in ch. 7:33.) Or we may perhaps find the reason in our Lord’s immediate departure to such a distance (ver. 27); and say, that He did not wish multitudes to gather about and follow Him.

πτύσας … ἐπιθεὶς …] See above on ch.7:33.

We cannot say what may have induced our Lord to perform this miracle at twice—certainly not the reason assigned by Dr. Burton, “that a blind man would not, on suddenly recovering his sight, know one object from another, because he had never seen them before,” and so would require a double miracle;—a second to open the eyes of his mind also, to comprehend what he saw. This assumes the man to have been born blind, which he was not, from ver. 24; for how should he know how trees appeared? and besides, the case of the man born blind in Joh_9 required no such double healing. These things were in the Lord’s power, and He ordered them as He pleased from present circumstances, or for our instruction.

24.] I see men, because I see them walking as it were trees; i.e. not distinct in individual peculiarity, but as trees in the hedge-row flit by the traveller. It is a minute mark of truth, that he describes the appearance of persons as he doubtless had often had occasion to do during the failing of sight which had ended in his blindness. By no possibility can the words convey, as Wordsw., three different stages of returning vision: “I see men. I see them standing still, and dimly, as trees. I see them walking.” For thus the ὅτι is altogether passed over, and περιπατοῦντας taken out of its government, and most unnaturally made into a sentence by itself.

25.] The distinction in the text here adopted, between διέβλεψεν and ἐνέβλεπεν, would be he saw clearly (the work of that instant), and was thoroughly restored, and (thence-forward) saw all things plainly. But the text is in much uncertainty.

26.] See above in this note,—and var. readd. The first and second μηδέ both carry a separate climax with them: he was not even to go into the village, no, nor so much as tell it to any who dwelt in the village.

27-30.] Confession of Peter. Matthew 16:13-20. Luke 9:18-21. With the exception of the introduction in Luke, which describes the Lord to have been alone praying, and joined by his disciples,—and the omission of the praise of and promise to Peter by both Mark and Luke, the three are in exact accordance. On this latter omission no stress must therefore be laid as to the character of Mark’s Gospel, as has been done. (Thl. in 1.—cited by De W.)

31-9:1.] Announcement of His approaching death and resurrection. Rebuke of Peter. Matthew 16:21-28. Luke 9:22-27. Luke omits the rebuke of Peter. Mark adds, ver. 32, παῤῥησίᾳ τ. λ. ἐλάλει: and, in the rebuke of Peter, that the Lord said the words ἰδὼν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ. In vv. 34, 35, the agreement is close, except that Luke adds καθʼ ἡμέραν, . τὸν στ. αὐτοῦ, and Mark καὶ τοῦ εὐαγγ. aft. ἐμοῦ, ver. 35 (it is perhaps worthy of remark that St. Mark writes ἀκολουθεῖν in ver. 34: possibly from the information of him, to whom it was said, τί πρός σε; σύ μοι ἀκολούθει, John 21:22); and informs us, in ver. 34, that our Lord said these words, having called the multitude with his disciples. This Meyer calls a contradiction to Matt. and Luke,—and thinks it arose from a misunderstanding of Luke’s πάντας. Far rather should I say that our account represents every detail to the life, and that the πρὸς πάντας contains traces of it. What wonder that a crowd should here, as every where else, have collected about Him and the disciples?

37.] If (see var. readd.) the words in brackets be omitted, the sense will be, For what can be an equivalent for his life?

38.] Mark and Luke here agree: and Matt., ver. 27, bears traces of this verse, having apparently abridged it in transcribing his report, not to repeat what he had before said, in ch. 10:33.

On μοιχαλίδι, see Matthew 12:39, and observe the addition ἐν τῇ γ. ταύ. τῇ μ. καὶ ἁμ. as belonging to the precision and graphic character of our Evangelist’s narrative.

Henry Alford - Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

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