Mark 2:27
And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
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2:23-28 The sabbath is a sacred and Divine institution; a privilege and benefit, not a task and drudgery. God never designed it to be a burden to us, therefore we must not make it so to ourselves. The sabbath was instituted for the good of mankind, as living in society, having many wants and troubles, preparing for a state of happiness or misery. Man was not made for the sabbath, as if his keeping it could be of service to God, nor was he commanded to keep it outward observances to his real hurt. Every observance respecting it, is to be interpreted by the rule of mercy.The sabbath was made for man - For his rest from toil, his rest from the cares and anxieties of the world, to give him an opportunity to call off his attention from earthly concerns and to direct it to the affairs of eternity. It was a kind provision for man that he might refresh his body by relaxing his labors; that he might have undisturbed time to seek the consolations of religion to cheer him in the anxieties and sorrows of a troubled world; and that he might render to God that homage which is most justly due to him as the Creator, Preserver, Benefactor, and Redeemer of the world. And it is easily capable of proof that no institution has been more signally blessed to man's welfare than the Sabbath. To that we owe, more than to anything else, the peace and order of a civilized community. Where there is no Sabbath there is ignorance, vice, disorder, and crime. On that holy day the poor and the ignorant, as well as the learned, have undisturbed time to learn the requirements of religion, the nature of morals, the law of God, and the way of salvation. On that day man may offer his praises to the Great Giver of all good, and in the sanctuary seek the blessing of him whose favor is life. Where that day is observed in any manner as it should be, order prevails, morals are promoted, the poor are elevated in their condition, vice flies away, and the community puts on the appearance of neatness, industry, morality, and religion. The Sabbath was therefore pre-eminently intended for man's welfare, and the best interests of mankind demand that it should be sacredly regarded as an appointment of merciful heaven intended for our best good, and, where improved aright, infallibly resulting in our temporal and eternal peace.

Not man for the sabbath - Man was made "first," and then the Sabbath was appointed for his welfare, Genesis 2:1-3. The Sabbath was not "first" made or contemplated, and then the man made with reference to that. Since, therefore, the Sabbath was intended for man's "good," the law respecting it must not be interpreted so as to oppose his real welfare. It must be explained in consistency with a proper attention to the duties of mercy to the poor and the sick, and to those in peril. It must be, however, in accordance with man's "real good on the whole," and with the law of God. The law of God contemplates man's "real good on the whole;" and we have no right, under the plea that the Sabbath was made for man, to do anything contrary to what the law of God admits. It would not be for our "real good," but for our real and eternal injury, to devote the Sabbath to vice, to labor, or to amusement.

Mr 2:23-28. Plucking Corn-ears on the Sabbath Day. ( = Mt 12:1-8; Lu 6:1-5).

See on [1410]Mt 12:1-8.

Ver. 27. See Poole on "Mark 2:23"

And he said unto them,.... Continuing his answer to them, and adding, in confirmation of what he had said, and for the further vindication of his disciples,

the sabbath was made for man; for his good, and not for his hurt; both for the good of his soul, that he might have an opportunity of attending divine worship, both in public and private; and for the good of his body, that he might have rest from his labour; and this was the end of the original institution and appointment of it; and therefore works of necessity are not forbidden on this day; such as are for the necessary comfort, support, and preservation of life; or otherwise it would be apparent, that the sabbath was not appointed for the good, but for the hurt of men. By "man", is not meant all mankind; for the sabbath was never appointed for all mankind, nor binding upon all; only the Jews, who are emphatically called "man", or "men"; see Ezekiel 34:30, upon which the Jewish writers remark (o), that

"they are called, "man"; but the idolatrous Gentiles, and nations of the World, are not called "men";''

but dogs, beasts, &c. Our Lord may here be thought to speak in their language, as he does in Mat_. 15:26; see Gill on Matthew 15:26. And that the observation of the seventh day, was only designed for the children of Israel, seems manifest from Exodus 31:16, "wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant; it is a sign between me and the children of Israel"; and not between him and the rest of the world: and in Exodus 31:14, "ye shall keep the sabbath, for it is holy unto you": on which the Jews (p) make this remark, , "to you, and not to the rest of the nations": nor did they ever think that the Gentiles were obliged to observe their sabbath, only such who became proselytes to their religion; even those who were proselytes of righteousness: for a proselyte of the gate, was not bound to observe it; for so says (q) Maimonides,

"those who take upon them the seven commandments of Noah only, lo! they are as a proselyte of the gate, and they are free to do work on the sabbath day for themselves, openly, as an Israelite on a common day.''

Yea, they not only say, they were not obliged to keep the sabbath, but that it was not lawful for them to observe it; and that it was even punishable with death them to regard it; for so they say (r),

"a Gentile that keeps the sabbath before he is circumcised, is guilty of death, because it is not commanded him.''

They judged them unworthy of having this precept enjoined them, as being not men, but beasts, and worse than they, and had not the privilege the ass has: hence one of their commentators (s) says,

"concerning the rest of an ass, thou (O Israelite!) art commanded; but concerning the rest of a Gentile, thou art not commanded.''

And not man for the sabbath; who was in being long before that was appointed and enjoined.

(o) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 114. 2. Zohar in Exod. fol. 35. 4. (p) Zohar in Exod. fol. 26. 4. (q) Hilchot Sabbat, c. 20. sect. 14. (r) Debarim Rabba, sect. 1. fol. 234. 4. (s) Bartenora in Misn. Sabbat, c. 24. sect. 1.

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
Mark 2:27. καὶ ἔλεγεν, etc., and He said to them; this phrase is employed to introduce a saying of Jesus containing a great principle. The principle is that the Sabbath is only a means towards an end—man’s highest good. Strange that Mk. should have been allowed to have a monopoly of this great word! For this saying alone, and the parable of gradual growth (Mark 4:26-29), his Gospel was worth preserving.

Mark 2:27 Ἔλεγεν He was saying) Again beginning to address them; comp. Mark 4:21; Mark 4:24; Mark 4:26; Mark 4:30; Mark 7:20; Mark 9:1; Luke 4:24; Luke 5:36; Luke 6:5; Luke 15:11; John 1:52.—διὰ, for the sake of) An axiom. So almost similarly 2Ma 5:19 : οὐ διὰ τὸν τοπον τὸ ἔθνος, ἀλλὰ διὰ τὸ ἔθνος τὸν τόπον ὁ Κύριος ἐξελέξατοἐγένετο, was made) The origin and end of things is to be kept in view. The blessing of the Sabbath, Genesis 2:3, has regard to man.

Verse 27. - The sabbath was instituted for the benefit of man, that he might refresh and renew his body, fatigued and worn by six days' labour, with the restful calm of the seventh; and that he might have leisure to apply his mind to the things which concern his everlasting salvation; to consider and meditate upon the Law of God; and rouse himself, by the remembrance of the Divine greatness and goodness, to true repentance, to gratitude, and to love. The force of the argument is this: The sabbath was made on account of man, not man on account of the sabbath. The sabbath, great and important as that institution is, is subordinate to man. If, then, the absolute rest of the sabbath becomes hurtful to man, a new departure must be taken, and some amount of labour must be undergone, that man may be benefited. Therefore was Christ justified in permitting to his disciples a little labour in plucking these ears of corn on the sabbath day, in order that they may appease their hunger. For it is better that the rest of the sabbath should be disturbed, though but a little, than that any one of those for whose sake the sabbath was instituted should perish. Mark 2:27For man (διά)

On account of, or for the sake of. This saying is given by Mark only.

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