A TRANSLATOR’S HANDBOOK ON THE GOSPEL OF MARK –BY ArchBishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz

MARK

A TRANSLATOR’S HANDBOOK

ON

THE GOSPEL OF MARK

BY

Robert G. Bratcher

AND

Eugene A. Nida

United Bible Societies

London, New York, Stuttgart

© 1961 by the United Bible Societies

All Rights Reserved

No part of this book may be translated or reproduced in any form without the written permission of the United Bible Societies.

The text of the Revised Standard Version used in this publication is copyrighted 1946, 1952 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and used by permission.

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ISBN 0-8267-0135-3

ABS-1992–250–3, 900–CM–7–102666.

INTRODUCTORY INFORMATION

INTRODUCTION

The reader may rightly wonder why the United Bible Societies should publish a “Translator’s Handbook,” when there are so many excellent commentaries available on all the books of the Bible. Why are these commentaries not sufficient? How can a “Translator’s Handbook” possibly differ sufficiently from them so as to warrant an additional publication of this nature?

In the first place we must emphasize the fact that the present volume is not designed to take the place of commentaries, not even for the translator. Commentaries are indispensable for any translator who is going to do justice to his work. There are, however, some essential differences between this volume and commentaries, and in order that the special relevance of this and the volumes of the Handbook series which are to follow may be more fully understood, we need to examine briefly some of these differences.

For the average translator commentaries tend to present something of a problem, for they often contain a great deal of material which seems irrelevant to his task, such as expository insights, homiletical suggestions, and historical developments in theology and doctrine. At times it is difficult to see the exegetical trees because of the homiletical forest. Many of these matters, of course, which may at first appear somewhat marginal to the translator’s immediate task, are nevertheless important to his ultimate work, but if he is to appreciate them fully they need to be presented in such a way as to indicate clearly their particular significance to the task of translating. At the same time, not only do writers of commentaries present a vast variety of information, since they are attempting to write for an audience of widely different backgrounds and interests, but more often than not they tend to have certain special points of view which they try to promulgate or defend, sometimes to the neglect of other orientations or possibilities of interpretation. If the translator, however, is to do his work well, he must have guidance as to the relevance of the background data, and he needs to be shown the entire range of possible interpretations and, whenever possible, the particular exegesis which reflects the majority view of scholarly opinion.

In addition, however, to an introduction to the problem of the meaning of the Greek, any translator who is working in a language which is outside the Indo-European family of languages will need to have help on just how the various interpretations, as may exist in the Greek, can be adequately rendered in some other language. For these problems the commentaries are relatively useless, for there is no real need and, consequently, little attempt to explore these difficulties. In English, for example, the explanation that the Greek term for “repent” means “to change the mind” offers little difficulty to the reader. In many languages, however, “to change the mind” means merely “to change one’s opinion,” which is a far cry from the radical change envisaged by the original Greek term. It is necessary, therefore, to add that the meaning of “repent” in Kekchi, a language of Guatemala, is brought out by the phrase “it pains my heart”; in Baouli, of the Ivory Coast, “it hurts so much I want to quit” is the proper equivalent; in Northern Sotho, of South Africa, one must say “it becomes untwisted,” and in Tzeltal, of Mexico, the correct expression is “my heart returns because of my sin.” The idiom “to beat the breast” needs no explanation for English readers, but translators working in many of the languages of Africa need to be warned that this idiom, when literally translated, may mean “to congratulate oneself” (the equivalent to the English “pat oneself on the back”). Similarly, there are problems of cultural contrasts which need to be brought to a translator’s attention, or the resulting translation may be utterly meaningless or entirely misleading.

Perhaps the most serious obvious problem for translators is the fact that many languages have obligatory categories which simply do not exist in Greek. For example, there may be two types of first person plural pronouns, inclusive and exclusive, resulting in a number of translation problems. Even more frustrating are the honorifics which exist in many languages of India and other countries of Asia, where in both the choice of words and grammatical forms one must attempt to indicate the relative social position of the participants in any communicative event.

On the other hand, these difficulties of lexicon, involving the meanings of words, idioms, and categories, though very striking are not so complex as those which involve syntax. For example, many of the long sentences of Greek must be broken up into more understandable units, the involved Greek hypotaxis must be rendered into the parataxis of many indigenous tongues, and the numerous transitional particles, which are the symbol of Greek grammatical elegance, must be radically altered if an equivalent message is to be communicated in another language.

It is quite understandable why such problems are not treated in commentaries, for many of these lexical and syntactic difficulties do not occur in translating Greek into English and other European languages. With respect to syntax and accidence these modern languages are quite similar to Koine Greek, and a commentary written in one of these languages will not deal with problems which appear at every step to a translator working in another language. Some problems, of course, do appear even in modern European languages, such as the precise equivalent of the Greek aorist; and an exegetical commentary will deal adequately with these problems. It is only when we confront the problems of interpretation in quite different languages spoken by people having very diverse cultures that we come face to face with many and unusually acute difficulties.

In order to meet the particular needs of the average Bible translator working in any one of the hundreds of tongues in which work is now in process, this volume has been specially designed in what are essentially two parts: the first, dealing with textual notes, punctuation, and exegesis, written by Robert G. Bratcher, and the second, treating the ways in which the various meanings may be translated into other languages, prepared by Eugene A Nida. Though it has been quite impossible to be exhaustive in the handling of either the exegetical or translational phase, the authors, with the generous help of many translators and colleagues, have endeavored at least to suggest something of the range of difficulties and the nature of some of the more satisfactory solutions.

Though textual problems cannot, of course, be treated in anything like a comprehensive manner, it is felt that the translator should be aware of some of the textual problems in connection with the Greek text he is translating. The textual notes, however, make reference only to the most important printed editions of the Greek text, and very rarely to the original manuscripts and early versions of the New Testament.

Due to the still widespread use of the Textus Receptus (the text underlying the King James version, 1611, and many other major versions), it was felt that the translator should see for himself, in a convenient form, the Textus Receptus readings which are today rejected by most, if not by all, major critical Greek texts. Accordingly, where significant meaning is involved, most variants of the Textus Receptus have been duly noted.*

It is clear that the brief textual notes given in this Handbook are designed simply to inform the translator concerning textual problems and allow him to ascertain the position of the most important modern critical Greek texts with regard to disputed readings.

As is well known, all punctuation is the work of editors, since the Greek manuscripts themselves are devoid of punctuation. In most cases editors are agreed; where, however, differences of opinion arise affecting the meaning of the Greek text, notice is taken of the various ways in which the text is punctuated (cf. 1:1, 8:18).

The exegetical notes are meant to make clear the meaning of the text, in terms of the translator’s problems and needs. Consequently, as noted above, matters of derived theological or doctrinal import are rarely, if ever, touched upon. Abundant use is made of grammars, lexicons, and commentaries. The Lexicon of Bauer, as translated by Arndt and Gingrich, is quoted at almost every step, in the hope that every translator will constantly avail himself of this invaluable tool or its equivalent in other languages.

Where there are grounds for different meanings in a given verse or sentence, the attempt is made to set forth these different valid interpretations; sometimes preference is given to one over other interpretations, and at times no preference is expressed. Ancient versions and major modern translations in European languages have been consulted at every step.

Commentaries are referred to by the name of the author alone, as well as grammars and lexicons (cf. Bibliography); Greek texts are cited by the name of their editor (cf. Bibliography), while translations are referred to either by conventional abbreviations (AV, Authorized Version, 1611; ERV, English Revised Version, 1881; ASV, American Standard Version, 1901; RSV, Revised Standard Version, 1946), or by the name of the translator. The English text quoted in this commentary is that of the Revised Standard Version (1946) [edition of 1960] used by permission of the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Though the RSV is employed as a “running text” preceding the discussion of each section (usually individual verses), the exegetical section is not based on the RSV, but on the Greek text itself, usually the Nestle 24th edition. The Greek is given, however, in transliterated form, for it is recognized that many Bible translators, especially those working in so-called “primitive languages,” do not have a ready working knowledge of Greek. On the other hand, the citation of the Greek forms provides a much more satisfactory basis for explanation and can be of real usefulness to translators who may wish to use concordances or wordbooks having transliterated forms. At the same time, translators who are familiar with Greek can readily adjust themselves to the use of transliteration, even though this may seem somewhat awkward at first.

The Greek expressions are cited in terms of primary and secondary levels of comments, with two steps of indentation. The primary level, which often includes an entire phrase, is given in the grammatical forms of the Greek text, while the secondary comments, which are largely lexical, are cited in their traditional lexical forms so as to facilitate use of lexicons.

One important feature of the lexical discussions is the fact that except for very common terms, each word is followed at its first point of occurrence by a list of all passages in which it is to be found in the book of Mark. This provides the translator with a kind of built-in concordance for these key words.

No attempt has been made to cite the full range of scholarly works which might be noted as supporting or opposing certain interpretations. However, in most instances of significant differences of opinion a number of authorities are noted, not only as means of indicating to the reader the extent of the scholarly support for the position in question, but also as a way of guiding the translator to sources of fuller information on such points.

There are, of course, numerous interesting lexical and grammatical points which are not touched, simply because they do not seem to be specifically related to serious translational problems.

In the sections of the Handbook identified as Translation, there are essentially two different types of problems: lexical and syntactic, but these are not treated separately since so often they are interrelated. For example, an equivalent expression for “love” may involve not only the mention of a psychological focus of the personality, e.g. the liver, spleen, abdomen, throat, etc., but also the fact that such an expression must be cast as a verbal, rather than as a nominal phrase. The range of translation difficulties for any given passage is only illustrative, for one simply could not, nor need not, introduce constantly all the types of problems that would occur where languages differ radically in such categories as aspect, voice, number, gender, distance, participation, viewpoint, source of information, etc. We have, however, tried to cite a sufficient range of difficulties as to warn the translator of the problems which he is likely to encounter.

The selection of problems for the translational section has not depended, however, upon our having had some illustrative data on the problem in question. Rather, these difficulties are treated because they are recognized as involving (1) features of grammar which are known to require reorganization of form because of the structural complexities involved or the lack of ready correspondences between languages, and (2) features of meaning which tend not to have direct equivalents in other languages due to differences of word classes, cultural backgrounds, figurative extensions of meaning, and/or levels of generic or abstract usage. The citations of renderings in various languages are incorporated in order to illustrate the diversity of usage and to suggest possible alternatives. They are certainly not to be conceived as prescriptive models, nor do they delimit the range of the problems considered. In other words, the analysis of the semantic problems is not restricted to available illustrations.

The data which are cited in the section under Translation are drawn from a number of sources, including principally: (1) The Bible Translator, which during the last ten years has included a wide variety of translational problems and solutions; (2) the field notes of Eugene A. Nida and his colleagues, who have checked translations in over one hundred and fifty languages; (3) correspondence from translators in the field, who have sent in their difficulties and solutions; (4) results of translators’ conferences (including especially the Djakarta Translators’ Conference in 1952, sponsored by the Netherlands Bible Society and the Indonesian Bible Society, and the yearly Translators’ Conference in Guatemala); and (5) the generous assistance of Dr. van der Veen, of the Netherlands Bible Society, who supplied a number of examples of translations in various Indonesian languages.

Despite, however, a file of some 25,000 different translational problems and solutions, which constituted the major source of the data cited in the translation section, it is fully recognized that this is by no means exhaustive. It is hoped, however, that this source will grow as more translators are willing to share their problems and solutions with others.

When citing a rendering which is misleading or incorrect, we have purposely not indicated the language. There is no need to engage in such unnecessary criticism, since the name of the language is not essential to an understanding of the problem. Where there are commendable translations, however, we have consistently tried to indicate the language, wherever this is known to us, for it is felt that credit should go where credit is due. In a number of instances, however, the notes which we have made of translation problems and solutions reflect not a final but an evolving stage of the work, and hence the translators working in these languages may have in the meantime modified their renderings or adopted quite different forms of expression. It has not been possible, of course, to revalidate all of these details, but the authors will certainly welcome correspondence from translators whose data are cited here and who may have now found still more satisfactory solutions.

Though the major thrust of this Handbook is admittedly in the direction of Bible translators working in languages which are outside of the Indo-European family and which reflect very different cultural backgrounds, nevertheless, translators working in Indo-European languages and in those with a long literary heritage will find much that is very useful for their study, since the basic principles and procedures of effective communication, which underlie good translation work in whatever language, have been carefully followed and generously illustrated.

No attempt has been made in this volume to provide an introduction to the theory of Bible translating. These problems have been fully dealt with from time to time in The Bible Translator, and are discussed in a general handbook, Bible Translating by Eugene A. Nida. One useful tool, referred to frequently in this volume, is Mark, a Greek-English Diglot For the Use of Translators (1958), published by the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Greek text of which has been edited by Prof. G. D. Kilpatrick, and the English text translated by a highly competent committee. For translators familiar with various languages in India, Hooper’s Indian Workbook is an important tool, though it does not contain discussions of the meaning of various words as they are used in different Indian languages.

In a very real sense it must be recognized that this volume is a “dependent” one, for it does not attempt any novel exegetical solutions nor does it presume to suggest translational equivalents which have not already been proven by experience. In this sense, therefore, it is a volume which must be dedicated to those who as scholars of the Greek text or as translators of it into other languages have provided the basic data of which the authors have only been collators. It is hoped, therefore, that the results may prove useful to the student who is seeking a useful guide to the exegesis of the Greek text, and most especially to the translator who can profit from the wide variety of solutions found by his fellow workers facing similar problems in other parts of the world.

United Bible Societies

Sub-Committee on Translation

Bibliography

Greek Texts

Kilpatrick, G. D., Mark, A Greek-English Diglot for the use of Translators. London, 1958.

Lagrange, M.-J., Évangile selon Saint Marc. Paris, 1947.

Legg, S. C. E., Novum Testamentum Graece. Secundum Marcum. Oxford, 1935.

Merk, Augustinus, Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine (editio septima). Rome, 1951.

Nestle, Erwin, Novum Testamentum Graece (editio vicesima prima). Stuttgart, 1952.

Soden, H. F. von, Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments (Teil II Text und Apparat). G”ttingen, 1913.

Souter, Alexander, Novum Testamentum Graece. Oxford, 1910. Taylor, Vincent, The Gospel According to St. Mark. London, 1952.

Textus Receptus F. H. A. Scrivener, Novum Testamentum, Textus Stephanici A.D. 1550. Cambridge, 1877.

Tischendorf, Constantinus, Novum Testamentum Graece (editio octava critica maior). Leipzig, 1869.

Turner, C. H., “A Textual Commentary on Mark I,” Journal of Theological Studies, xxviii, 1926–7, 145–58.

Vogels, H. J., Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine (editio quarta). Barcelona, 1955.

Westcott, B. F., and Hort, F. J. A., The New Testament in the Original Greek. London, 1890.

Septuaginta (editio quarta), ed. Alfred Rahlfs. Stuttgart, 1950.

Translations

AV: The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Authorized Version, 1611.

ASV: The New Covenant, commonly called The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. American Standard Edition of the Revised Bible. New York, 1901.

Berkeley: Berkeley Version of the New Testament (6th edition), by Gerrit Verkuyl. Grand Rapids, 1945.

BFBS: Mark, A Greek-English Diglot for the Use of Translators. London, 1958.

Brazilian: O Novo Testamento de Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo. Revisão Autorizada. Rio de Janeiro, 1955.

Goodspeed: The New Testament. An American Translation, by Edgar J. Goodspeed. Chicago, 1923.

Knox: The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. A New Translation, by Ronald P. Knox. New York, 1952.

Manson: The Beginning of the Gospel, by T. W. Manson. London, 1950.

Moffatt: New Testament. A New Translation (new edition, revised), by James Moffatt. New York, 1934.

Montgomery: The New Testament in Modern English, by Helen B. Montgomery. Philadelphia, 1924.

RSV: The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Revised Standard Version. New York, 1946.

Synodale: Le Nouveau Testament. Version Synodale (7e édition entièrement revisée). Paris, 1952.

Vulgate: Novum Testamentum Latine secundum editioneum Sancti Hieronymi (editio minor), ed. by J. Wordsworth and H. J. White. Oxford, 1950.

Weymouth: The New Testament in Modern Speech, by R. F. Weymouth. Newly Revised, by J. A. Robertson (5th edition). London, 1929.

Williams: The New Testament. A Translation in the Language of the People, by Charles B. Williams. Chicago, 1950.

Zürich: Das Neue Testament, Verlag der Zwingli-Bibel. Zürich, 1954.

Commentaries on Mark (cited by name of author, alone)

Bengel, J. A., Gnomon of the New Testament: Notes on St. Mark [E. T. by A. R. Fausset] (6th edition). Edinburgh, 1866.

Branscomb, B. H., The Gospel of Mark (Moffatt New Testament Commentary). New York, n. d.

Bruce, A. B., The Synoptic Gospels (The Expositor’s Greek Testament). Grand Rapids, n. d.

Gould, E. P., The Gospel According to St. Mark (International Critical Commentary). Edinburgh, 1896.

Grant, F. C., The Gospel According to St. Mark. Introduction and Exegesis (The Interpreter’s Bible, vol. VII). New York, 1951.

Lagrange, M.-J., Évangile selon Saint Marc (édition corrigée et augmentée). Paris, 1947.

Rawlinson, A. E. J., St. Mark (Westminster Commentaries Series) (7th edition). London, 1953.

Swete, H. B., The Gospel According to St. Mark. London, 1905.

Taylor, Vincent, The Gospel According to St. Mark. London, 1952.

Turner, C. H., The Gospel According to St. Mark (A New Commentary on Holy Scripture, ed. by C. Gore, H. L. Goudge, A. Guillaume). New York, 1928.

Lexicons

Arndt, W. F. and Gingrich, F. W., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago, 1957.

Abbott-Smith, G. A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (3rd edition). Edinburgh, 1944.

Brown, F., Driver, S. R. and Briggs, C. A., A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. New York, 1907.

Koehler, Ludwig and Baumgartner, Walter, Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros. Leiden, 1953.

Liddell, H. G. and Scott, Robert, A Greek-English Lexicon. A New Edition revised and augmented throughout, by H. S. Jones. Oxford, 1948.

Moulton, J. H. and Milligan, George, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament illustrated from the Papyri and other non-literary sources. London, 1914–1929.

Souter, Alexander, A Pocket Lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Oxford, 1916.

Thayer, J. H., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (corrected edition). New York, 1889.

Other Literature

Allen, W. C., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to S. Matthew (3rd edition). Edinburgh, 1947.

Bernard, J. H., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John. Edinburgh, 1942.

Black, Matthew, An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts (2nd edition). Oxford, 1954.

Bouquet, A. C., Everyday Life in New Testament Times. New York, 1954.

Burton, E. D., Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek (3rd edition). Chicago, 1923.

Creed, J. M., The Gospel According to St. Luke. London, 1953.

Dalman, Gustaf, The Words of Jesus [E. T. by D. M. Kay]. Edinburgh, 1902.

———, ———, Sacred Sites and Ways [E. T. by P. P. Levertoff]. London, 1935.

Daube, David, The New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism. London, 1956.

Deissmann, G. Adolf, Bible Studies [E. T. by Alexander Greive]. Edinburgh, 1923.

———, ———, Light from the Ancient East [E. T. by L. R. M. Strachan]. New York, 1927.

Dodd, C. H., The Parables of the Kingdom. London, 1946.

Edersheim, Alfred, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Grand Rapids, 1940.

———, ———, The Temple. New York, n. d.

Farrer, Austin, A Study in St. Mark. Westminster, 1951.

Field, F., Notes on the Translation of the New Testament. Cambridge, 1899.

Fuller, R. H., The Mission and Achievement of Jesus. London, 1954.

Goodspeed, E. J., Problems of New Testament Translation. Chicago, 1945.

Hatch, Edwin, Essays in Biblical Greek. Oxford, 1889.

Howard, W. F., A Grammar of New Testament Greek, vol. II. Edinburgh, 1924.

Jackson, F. J. and Lake, K. (edd.), The Beginnings of Christianity. Part I: The Acts of the Apostles, vol. V, Additional Notes. London, 1933.

Jeremias, Joachim. The Eucharistic Words of Jesus [E. T. by A. Ehrhardt]. Oxford, 1955.

———, ———, The Parables of Jesus [E. T. by S. H. Hooke]. New York, 1955.

Kennedy, H. A. A., Sources of New Testament Greek. Edinburgh, 1895.

Kümmel, W. G., Promise and Fulfilment [E. T. by D. M. Barton]. London, 1957.

Lightfoot, J. B., Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians (6th edition). London, 1881.

———, ———, Saint Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon. London, 1892.

Lightfoot, R. H., The Gospel Message of St. Mark. Oxford, 1950.

Major, H. D. A … Manson, T. W. and Wright, C. J., New York, 1947.

Manson, T. W. (ed.) A Companion to the Bible. Edinburgh, 1946.

———, ———, The Teaching of Jesus. Cambridge, 1945.

McNeile, A. H., The Gospel According to St. Matthew. London, 1915.

Milligan, George, The New Testament Documents. London, 1913.

Moule, C. F. D., An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek. Cambridge, 1953.

Moulton, J. H., A Grammar of New Testament Greek. Vol. I, Prolegomena (3rd edition). Edinburgh, 1920.

Nineham, D. E. (ed.) Studies in the Gospels. Essays in Memory of R. H. Lightfoot. Oxford, 1955.

Richardson, Alan (ed.) A Theological Word Book of the Bible. New York, 1950.

Robertson, A. and Plummer, A., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (2nd edition). New York, n. d.

Robertson, A. T., A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (5th edition). New York, 1931.

Robinson, J. Armitage, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. London, 1903.

Robinson, J. M., The Problem of History in Mark. London, 1957.

Simpson, E. K., Words Worth Weighing in the Greek New Testament. London, 1946.

Smith, Morton, Tannaitic Parallels to the Gospels. Philadelphia, 1951.

Streeter, B. H., The Four Gospels. New York, 1925.

Taylor, Vincent, Jesus and His Sacrifice. London, 1948.

Vincent, M. R., Word Studies in the New Testament. New York, 1914.

Warfield, B. B., An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament. London, 1886.

Westcott, B. F., The Epistle to the Hebrews (3rd edition). London, 1909.

Westcott, B. F. and Hort, F. J. A., The New Testament in the Original Greek. Vol. II, Introduction, Appendix. London, 1881.

Williams, C. S. C., Alterations to the Text of the Synoptic Gospels and Acts. Oxford, 1951.

TREATMENT OF THE TEXT

Title: The Gospel according to Mark

The Greek text has only ‘according to Mark,’ but it has been traditional in most translations to expand this title to ‘The Good News according to Mark’ or ‘The Gospel according to Mark’ (or ‘Saint Mark’). In some publications designed especially for distribution to people who are not already familiar with the Scriptures, and to whom ‘the Good News according to Mark’ might mean little or nothing, there has been a tendency to employ certain supplementary titles indicative of the theme of the book. For example, in the Illustrated series, published by certain Bible Societies, this volume has been called “The Field is the World,” with an appropriate picture of the Sower on the cover.

Even though for some particular publication a translator may wish to employ a supplementary title (this should be worked out in close consultation with the Bible Society), he must nevertheless solve the basic problem of the conventional title. The choice of the portion ‘the Good News’ or ‘the Gospel’ will depend of course on what expression is used in the first verse (see below), but there are two other problems: (1) the syntactic form of the title and (2) a title used with the name Mark.

In some languages an expression such as ‘Good News according to Mark’ would not be meaningful, since all such expressions must be complete sentences. This usually requires the addition of a verb, for example, in the Tzeltal language of Mexico, where the title reads, ‘the Good News written by San Marcos.’ (A verb of ‘writing’ or ‘reporting’ is usually adequate.) Note, however, that in this Tzeltal form of the title the word San (Spanish ‘saint’) has been added. In many regions which have had some familiarity with Christendom Mark may be known only as ‘Saint Mark,’ and to say anything less than this would be completely confusing, since the name of the person in question is a kind of fused title-name combination (something which happened historically in Spanish with Santo Jacobo ‘Saint James,’ a phrase which ultimately became Santiago, a single word). The employment of the title ‘saint’ is therefore not necessarily a matter of theologically dictated accretion but of employing a term already intimately associated with the name and without which not only would misunderstanding be likely to arise, but there might be a genuine feeling of offense to deep religious sentiments.

Mark Chapter 1

Mark 1:1

Text huios theou ‘the Son of God’ is missing in some important mss. and some of the early Fathers, and so is omitted by Tischendorf, Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Kilpatrick: its presence is attested by most of the external evidence, however, and the phrase is included by Soden (in brackets), Vogels, Souter, Lagrange, Taylor, Merk, Turner (see the evidence set forth by C. H. Turner, Journal of Theological Studies 28. 150, 1926–7).

Punctuation The verse is not a complete sentence, and its relation to the verses which follow has been proposed in three ways: (1) the verse is taken to be a title, with a full stop placed at the end: so Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Vogels, Merk, Soden, Tischendorf, AV, ASV, RSV, other translations and commentators (Gould, Taylor, Grant); (2) verses 2–3 are treated parenthetically, and v. 1 is connected to v. 4 “The beginning … was John …” so Rawlinson, Branscomb, Turner (Journal of Theological Studies 26. 146, 1924–5); (3) the verse is connected directly to v. 2 “The beginning … (was) as it stands written in Isaiah”: so BFBS. For a discussion of the question see Goodspeed Problems, 47–48. The overwhelming majority of translations and commentators favor the first solution.

Exegesis archē (10:6, 13:8, 19) ‘beginning’ has several possible meanings, but its sense here is simply temporal, ‘the starting-point,’ ‘the beginning.’ The absence of the article does not necessarily make the word indefinite, and it has been suggested that such absence favors understanding the verse as a title. Modern languages, as required, may or may not use the definite article: cf. Zürich Anfang, Synodale Commencement, Brazilian Princípio.

euaggeliou (1:14, 15, 8:35, 10:29, 13:10, 14:9, 16:15) ‘of the gospel.’ From the earlier meaning of ‘reward for good news’ and ‘good news’ the word developed into a technical Christian term, i.e. the content of the Christian faith, the good tidings of God’s redemptive act in Jesus Christ. Lagrange: “It is the proclamation of salvation in Jesus … the announcement of the salvation contained in the words and acts of Jesus.” Only after N.T. times did the word take on the further specialized meaning of ‘a book relating the words and deeds of Jesus’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 3, 4 and literature referred to).

Iēsou Christou (only here in Mark) ‘of Jesus Christ.’ The genitive may mean: (1) the gospel about Jesus Christ, or (2) the gospel that comes from Jesus Christ. Almost without exception the translations and commentators prefer the first interpretation.

Christos is no longer a title ‘The Anointed One’: it is a proper name, just as Jesus is a proper name. As a title, ‘Messiah’ (or ‘The Anointed’) has its origins in the O.T. concept of God anointing the individual or people of his choice with his Spirit and power. In the case of Jesus, however, the title becomes a proper name.

huiou (tou) theou (3:11, 5:7, 15:39; cf. 14:61; cf. 1:11, 9:7) ‘(the) Son of God.’ Though there is no article with huiou ‘son’ it is nevertheless definite, ‘the Son of God’ or (what amounts to the same thing) ‘Son of God.’

huios ‘son’: wherever the word refers to Jesus, in Mark, it is always followed by a qualifying genitive, with the single exception of 13:32 where ho huios ‘the Son’ is used absolutely.

Translation The translator is faced with two principal types of problems in this verse: (1) lexical, involving the words for gospel and God; and (2) syntactic: (a) how to relate the four principal lexical units: beginning, gospel, Jesus Christ, and Son of God, and (b) how to relate this verse to the following verses.

In choosing a word for gospel there are two principal alternatives: (1) borrowing a term from a more dominant language, e.g. the use of Spanish evangelio in some Indian language translations in Latin America, or (2) constructing a phrase meaning ‘good news,’ ‘joyful report’ or ‘happiness-bringing words.’ The latter method is almost always preferable. In some instances such a phrase may be slightly expanded in order to convey the proper meaning, e.g. ‘new good word’ (Tzotzil). or it may involve some special local usage, e.g. ‘good message’ (Mazatec) or ‘good story’ (Navajo, Ifugao). or ‘joyful telling’ (Joloano); ‘joyful message’ (South Toradja).

An adequate term for God is one of the major problems for any translator and its full exposition is beyond the limits of this volume. See, therefore, The Bible Translator (hereafter abbreviated as TBT). 1.86–87, 1950; 2.36, 1951; 3.173–74, 193–94, 1952; 5.87, 96, 1954; 6.24–28, 110–19, 174–75, 1955, also Bible Translating (hereafter abbreviated as BT) pp. 204–9, and God’s Word in Man’s Language (hereafter abbreviated as GWIML). pp. 160–61. Cf. also Hooper’s Indian Word List, pp. 86–87.

Wherever, of course there is a generic term used to designate ‘a god’ or ‘gods’ this should be used, and the context must be counted on to make the reference definite and unique, while at the same time permitting the radical contrast of the Bible between “the God of the believer” and “the gods of the heathen.” One must not, however, imagine that a “high-god concept” (which is relatively widespread throughout the world) is the same as biblical monotheism, for the high god may have few if any of the moral qualifications of the God of the Scriptures. Moreover, his name may not permit generic extension or pluralization. In such instances one may be forced to use a more generic term for ‘spirit’ and add a qualifier, e.g. ‘the Great Spirit’ (Mazahua) and ‘the Eternal Spirit’ (Navajo, which, however, also employs the English borrowing God). In other instances one may take an indigenous phrase and “Christianize” its meaning by context, e.g. ‘the Great Father’ (San Blas) or Nhialich ‘one in the above’ (Ngok Dinka). or camaq ‘he who is sufficient’ (Chanca Quechua). or Jehoba (which accidentally resembles Jehovah ‘the great ruler.’ a kind of generic descriptive term used among the Kipsigis.

In trying to discover an adequate word for God one must recognize that there is little or no likelihood that one will encounter a fully adequate term within the indigenous language, for the very significance of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ is that He is radically different from what men have devised. This means that an indigenous term will be considerably less than perfect, even at best. But this should not, however, lead one to resort automatically to a borrowed term, with its essentially zero meaning. Such a word is likely to imply only ‘the white man’s God’ or be equated, as a proper name, with an already known high god. Accordingly, whenever at all possible one should employ some indigenous equivalent, even though it is a descriptive title. However, the particular form which this expression must take within any given situation must be determined by a very careful, exhaustive study of all the religious beliefs and practices of the people; otherwise there is entirely too much chance of having the message distorted by an unfortunately chosen key term.

If we assume that this first verse is in the nature of a title (which is by far the most widely accepted interpretation—see above). the principal syntactic problems involve the internal arrangements of the principal constituent parts. The first of these is the relationship between ‘beginning’ and ‘good news.’ What makes this combination somewhat of a problem, however, is the fact that in most languages ‘beginning’ (which is essentially a process and not an object) is a verb-like word, not a noun. That is to say, in most languages one may say ‘something begins’ but one cannot talk about ‘the beginning of something.’ This means that the expression must often be recast so as to read, ‘the good news about … began this way,’ or ‘… begins thus’ (Cakchiquel, Bolivian Quechua). In Maninka one may translate ‘here begins the good news.…’

In relating the constituents ‘good news’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ one should be sure that this is the ‘good news about Jesus Christ,’ not the ‘good news that Jesus Christ announced.’ This of course, does not deny the fact that Jesus announced good news, but the viewpoint of the Gospel writers was that Jesus Christ was in himself the good news, hence this must be a so-called objective, rather than subjective construction.

The expression the Son of God is in apposition with Jesus Christ. In some languages, however, one cannot express such identity merely by juxtaposing expressions. One must use more specific relators, e.g. ‘Jesus Christ, He is the Son of God’ or ‘Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.’

If verse 1 is to be interpreted as a title and if in the language in question the title needs to be a complete sentence, as is often the case, one can render this verse as ‘the good news about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, began thus’ (or ‘… in this way,’ or ‘… here’). If, on the other hand, one relates the first verse to what follows (alternatives 2 and 3 under Punctuation, above,) one may translate either: ‘… began as it is written in …’ (alternative 3) or ‘… began (As it is written in …) when John the baptizer …’ (alternative 2).

Compare the following renderings, retranslated more or less literally from the languages in question: ‘Here begins the good word, the good word regarding God’s child Jesus Christ’ (Shipibo, in which ‘good word’ must be repeated because of syntactic requirements and ‘child’ is the appropriate generic term for such a context). ‘This is the beginning of the good news about the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God’ (Balinese, in which an obligatory honorific pattern requires the addition of ‘Lord’) and ‘The good news’ beginning is this, about Jesus Christ God’s Son’ (Kpelle).

Mark 1:2

Text Instead of tō E̅saia tō prophētē ‘Isaiah the prophet’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has tois prophētais ‘the prophets’: this late reading is an obvious correction which a scribe introduced into the original text because the first O.T. passage quoted by Mark is not from Isaiah but from Malachi 3:1.

After tēn hodon sou ‘your (sg.) way’ Textus Receptus adds emprosthen sou ‘before you (sg.)’ in harmonizing the quotation with Mt. 11:10 and Lk. 7:27. This addition, supported only by later mss., is rejected by the modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis kathōs (4:33, 9:13, 11:6, 14:16, 21, 15:8, 16:7) ‘according as,’ ‘even as’: this adverb of manner begins a new sentence whose conclusion is v. 4 (the quotations from the O.T. in vv. 2–3 being parenthetical): ‘As it is written … John the Baptizer appeared …’ (see Goodspeed Problems, 48).

gegraptai (7:6, 9:12, 13, 10:4, 5, 11:17, 12:19, 14:21, 27) ‘(it) has been written’: the perfect tense expresses permanent Scriptural authority. In the proclamation of the Christian message the O.T. Scriptures were often quoted, not simply as an illustration, but as cause and origin of the events proclaimed. Where indicated, full force must be given to this expression of the early Christian preaching: these things came to pass and happened thus and so because it was on record in the O.T. The meaning of the Greek perfect is perhaps best represented in English by the present tense: ‘it is written,’ ‘it stands on (Scriptural) record.’

en tō E̅saia tō prophētē ‘in (the roll of) Isaiah the prophet.’ (for this use of en ‘in’ see Arndt & Gingrich I.1.d)

tō prophētē (6:4, 15, 8:28, 11:32) ‘the prophet’: the words, in this position, limit or define the individual called Isaiah: ‘Isaiah the prophet.’ He is quoted by name once more (7:6–7) and without being identified in 11:17.

idou (3:32, 4:3, 10:28, 33, 13:23, 14:41, 42) ‘see!,’ ‘behold!,’ ‘look!’ As an imperative of eidein ‘to see’ the word is used as a demonstrative particle, especially in the LXX and N.T., calling attention to what follows.

apostellō (3:14, 31, 4:29, 5:10, 6:7, 17, 27, 8:26, 9:37, 11:1, 3, 12:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 13, 13:27, 14:13) ‘I send’: the present tense of the verb is essentially timeless in this context, a declaration rather than a promise, though the original context in the LXX it had the force of a future. Though here simply in a quotation, this is an extremely significant verb in the N.T., conveying a sense of commission, authority and responsibility in the transmission of God’s word to man (cf. Moulton & Milligan for papyri examples illustrating “the frequent N.T. sense of ‘commissioning’ “). The subject of the verb, of course, is God.

ton aggelon mou ‘my (i.e. God’s) messenger’ (further use of the word aggelos in Mark is restricted to ‘angels’ as such: 1:13, 8:38, 12:25, 13:27, 32). The figure, that of an oriental monarch or conqueror who sends heralds ahead of him to announce his imminent arrival, here applies to John in his specific task of Forerunner.

pro prosōpou sou literally ‘before your face.’ The Semitic phrase means ‘ahead of you,’ ‘in front of you,’ ‘in your presence.’ For an example of its use in the LXX see Micah 6:4, and for further examples in the N.T. see Mt. 11:10, Lk. 7:27 (see further Lk 9:52, 10:1, Acts 13:24). ‘Your’ refers to Jesus Christ, ahead of whom John goes as herald of his coming.

hōs kataskeuasei tēn hodon sou ‘who will prepare your road.’ The relative clause expresses purpose, a common Attic idiom. The relative hos ‘who’ has for its antecedent aggelos ‘messenger.’

kataskeuazō (only here in Mark) ‘make ready,’ ‘prepare.’ Moulton & Milligan quote a passage in which the verb is used with hodoi ‘roads’ along which the procession of devotees of Zeus and Dionysus was to pass. The sense in a passage such as this is not simply that of building or repairing the road, but that of making all necessary arrangements to insure a fitting welcome and reception for the heralded king or conqueror.

Translation The following expressions tend to cause lexical difficulty for the translator: in Isaiah, prophet, behold, before thy face, and prepare. In a high percentage of languages it is necessary to add ‘roll’ or ‘book’ to the expression ‘in Isaiah’ or the expression becomes ludicrous. For example, in some of the Mayan languages the equivalent of in is ‘stomach,’ and when speaking of a house it is quite obvious that one is speaking of the inside of a house, but when a person is referred to, the meaning of ‘stomach’ may be readily understood. Hence one often needs to say, ‘written in the book of Isaiah’ or ‘Isaiah wrote in a book’ (where the active form may be required).

Discovering an adequate term for prophet is not easy (see BT p. 234 and GWIML p. 20). In general there are two types of alternatives: (1) an expression which specifies foretelling the future, and which, as such, is often equivalent to soothsayer, fortune-teller, and clairvoyant, and (2) a phrase which describes the prophet’s function as one who speaks out on behalf of God, a particularly important aspect of the New Testament usage of this term. Though words of the first type are usually readily available, the connotations are often undesirable, and hence most translators have chosen the latter emphasis, without of course implying any denial of the foretelling function. The following expressions are typical: ‘interpreter for God’ (Pame, Vai), ‘one who speaks the voice of God’ (San Blas). ‘one who speaks for God’ (Cakchiquel, Navajo, Yaka), ‘God’s town crier’ (Gbeapo), ‘one who causes them to know,’ in the sense of ‘revealer’ (Totonac), ‘foreteller’ (Toba Batak). ‘God’s sent-word person’ (Putu), ‘one who speaks God’s word’ (Shipibo, Valiente), ‘one who speaks-opens’ a compound meaning ‘one who discloses or reveals’ (Zoque). Cf. Hooper’s Indian Word List, pp. 194–95.

Too often translators have rendered Behold by a verb which means only ‘to look,’ but obviously the context does not refer to literal viewing of an object, but the need of paying close attention to God’s promise. Accordingly, one should employ an expression which can also include the ideas of ‘pay attention’ or ‘listen’ (somewhat like the archaic English expression harken).

The phrase before thy face is a Semitism which means simply ‘in front of one,’ (see above) but translated literally it may mean, as in some languages, ‘to be face to face with,’ and in this context the resultant meaning is rather ridiculous; for it implies that the viewer had to back up as the messenger went forth.

The preparation of the way is not constructing the road but getting it ready to receive a dignitary. In Pame the equivalent is ‘to clear the way’ implying in the local culture cutting down the trees and bushes which may have grown in the path, and which must always be removed when a visiting government official is to be received in a town. In many parts of Africa the equivalent would be sweeping and clearing the path (see TBT, 1.32–33, 1950).

The syntactic constructions in this verse are often complex because of the numerous explicit and implicit relationships. In the first place the whole of verses 2 and 3 should be combined in such a way as to form a kind of introduction to verse 4 (see above). This cannot be done easily in some languages because of the included direct discourse and the quadruple shift of subjects: ‘Isaiah writes,’ ‘God sends,’ ‘the voice cries, and ‘you (subject of the imperative) prepare.’ The difficulties are made even greater by the fact that after an introductory expression such as, ‘Isaiah wrote …’ a following (I) in direct discourse would seem to refer to Isaiah, rather than to God. Because of the high probability of misunderstanding at this point, some translators have added ‘God’ in apposition with ‘I,’ e.g. ‘I God send my messenger.…’

Because of the problems involved in relating the whole of verses 2 and 3 to verse 4, some translators have made declarative statements in the beginning of 4, e.g. ‘It says in the book of Isaiah.… So, too, came John …’ (Balinese), and ‘God’s spokesman Isaiah wrote … So the baptizer John came.…’

The combination Isaiah the prophet should be treated as any appositive expression, e.g. ‘Isaiah, who was a prophet’ or ‘Isaiah, he was a prophet’ or ‘the prophet Isaiah’ (by reversing the order in some languages, ‘prophet’ may serve as a kind of title). In all such expressions one must discover the closest syntactic equivalent in the receptor (or target) language.

Mark 1:3

The quotation from Isa. 40:3, does not reproduce the Hebrew text word for word.

Exegesis phōnē boōntos ‘(the) voice of one shouting.’ There is no article before phōnē ‘voice: the participle boōntos ‘shouting,’ however, makes ‘voice’ definite. The sense, however, can be expressed in English by the absence of any article, definite or indefinite: ‘Voice of one who shouts.…’

phōnē (1:11, 26, 5:7, 9:7, 15:34, 37) ‘sound,’ ‘voice,’ ‘cry,’ ‘call’ (see Arndt & Gingrich).

boaō (15:34) ‘cry aloud,’ ‘shout.’ The present participle here could be masculine or neuter; the context clearly shows it to be masculine, i.e. ‘someone (is) shouting,’ ‘someone is calling in the desert!’ (see Arndt & Gingrich). The RSV crying should not be understood in the sense of ‘weeping.’

en tē erēmō ‘in the desert’: this clause is connected in the LXX with the preceding phrase, although the Hebrew text connects it to the following verb ‘prepare.’ If necessary, a complete sentence may be constructed: ‘It is the voice of one who in the wilderness shouts.…’

erēmos (1:4, 12, 13, 35, 45, 6:31, 32, 35) ‘wilderness,’ ‘wild country.’ The word does not necessarily stand for an arid desert, such as exists in Africa or Asia: it means an uninhabited territory, ‘wild open country’ (Grant). in contrast with the cultivated and inhabited sections of the land: cf. American “Bad Lands.”

hetoimasate (10:40, 14:12, 15, 16, 15:1) ‘prepare,’ ‘keep in readiness.’ Moulton & Milligan give examples of the word used almost as a technical term for preparations in view of an approaching visit. The aorist imperative of the verb carries overtones of urgency: ‘Prepare now!’ The plural shows that the order is directed not to an individual but to a group, to the people or nation to whom the Lord is about to come.

tēn hodon kuriou ‘the road of the Lord,’ i.e. ‘the road over which the Lord shall come.’

kurios ‘Lord’: the word appears 18 times in Mark, with the following meanings: (1) ‘the Lord’ meaning ‘God’ in 5:19; 13:20 and in the quotations from the O.T. in 11:9, 12:11, 12:29–30 and 12:36–37 (in the last passage there are two different “Lords,” one of whom is God and the other the Messiah—cf. Exegesis of the passage); (2) ‘master,’ ‘owner’ in 2:28. 11:3, 12:9, 13:35; (3) in the vocative, ‘sir’ in 7:28; and (4) ‘the Lord’ referring to Jesus in 16:19–20. In the present instance, in the original O.T. passage ‘the Lord’ refers, of course, to Yahweh: here in Mark, however, the term probably refers to (the Lord) Jesus (cf. Lagrange who points out that in the next clause the LXX ‘of our God’ has been substituted, in Mark, by ‘his’—i.e. the Lord’s; cf. also Rawlinson, Gould, Taylor: Arndt & Gingrich II.2. c.a; Black (Aramaic, 73): “The Lord is Jesus, announced as Christ, the Son of God, and it is His paths that John the Forerunner summons men to make straight”).

eutheias poieite tas tribous autou ‘make ye his paths straight,’

eutheias ‘straight: the thought is not simply that of eliminating curves, but of doing everything necessary to make travel easy and rapid (cf. Lk. 3:4–5 where the quotation from Isaiah is continued). Cf. Synodale aplanissez.

tribos (only here in Mark) ‘a beaten track,’ ‘path’: from the verb tribō ‘to beat.’

Translation Perhaps the most difficult problem in this verse is the use of the expression ‘voice of one crying …’ introducing direct discourse. In most languages it is quite easy to say, ‘a man cries out with his voice …’ (note this is the ‘crying out’ of shouting, not the ‘crying’ of weeping), but to say that ‘a voice cries out …’ may involve complications for the reader. Where, of course, one can reproduce the Semitic expression intact, one should do so; if not, one may employ a kind of indirect equivalent ‘there is the voice of a man crying in …’ (Balinese) or ‘he is the person whose voice is rising in …’ (Kpelle); ‘the voice of a man (someone). who cries’ South Toradja, Bare’e, Indonesian).

The wilderness was essentially an uninhabited place. It is also true that it was lacking in vegetation, but this was a secondary feature and in many instances must not be introduced if one is to make sense. for example, if in some languages spoken in tropical areas of the world one translates ‘a place without vegetation,’ almost the only meaning it can have is ‘a recently prepared field’ or ‘the open space in the middle of the village.’ In Shipibo the equivalent of wilderness is ‘where no house is,’ in Bandi the term is literally ‘grasslands’ (no one lives there). in Indonesian ‘the uninhabited land in between the inhabited areas,’ and in Kpelle it is ‘rocky region.’ One must, however, be sure not to introduce some contradictory term at this point. For example, one can often use ‘where no one is’ (or ‘exists’) as an equivalent of wilderness (Mark 1:12). but in this verse ‘to shout where there was no one’ would not make much sense.

In Greek the terms translated ‘prepare’ in verses 2 and 3 are different, but the meaning is essentially the same: ‘to make ready,’ ‘fix up’ (not ‘to construct a new road’).

The expression way of the Lord involves a subtle ambiguity, for if translated literally into some languages, e.g. Ponape, it would mean ‘the path on his land,’ obviously not what the prophet was talking about. This must be the ‘path which the Lord is to use’ or ‘the way for the Lord.’

Though Lord in the O.T. source of this verse refers to Jehovah (Yahweh). it is necessary here to use a term which identifies the Lord Jesus Christ. N.T. translations should preserve a calculated ambiguity at this point, for this was precisely what the N.T. writers did.

There are few terms more difficult to render adequately than Lord; see TBT, 1.87, 106–9, 1950; 2.165, 1951; 3.173, 176, 179–80, 1952; 4.135–36, 1953; BT., pp. 182, 210, and GWIML, p. 159. The Greek term kurios had a range of meaning in secular usage all the way from a title for the emperor to a polite ‘sir,’ used in speaking to one of higher social rank. In the LXX kurios translates Hebrew Adonai and Yahweh, and this same usage comes into the N.T., with additional specific application of kurios to Jesus Christ. In translating into another language it is generally quite impossible to find an exact equivalent for this entire range of meaning. The alternatives are usually (1) a term which is an honorific title of respect for a high-ranking person and (2) a word meaning ‘boss,’ ‘master,’ or ‘chief.’ There are certain inherent dangers in either of these types of terms. In the first place, a word which is primarily a title for a highly prestigeful person will deprive the Scriptures of the emphasis on a man’s immediate loyalty to and dependence upon a ‘master’ or ‘chief’; and as a result the ‘Lord’ will imply a distant, impersonal relationship. On the other hand, a word which denotes essentially a ‘boss’ or ‘chief’ may have connotations of resistance and disfavor. On the whole, however, it has generally seemed better to employ a word of the second category, in order to emphasize the immediate personal relationship, and then by context to build into the word the prestigeful character, since its very association with Jesus Christ will tend to accomplish this purpose. If, however, a word of the first category is employed, it is sometimes impossible to teach the personal relationship, for the cultural overtones of the word place too much distance between the ‘lord’ and the people. The following terms, as indicated in the literal translations (and explanations where necessary) indicate certain of the major types of solutions to this problem of finding an adequate term for Lord ‘the one who has charge’ (Navajo), ‘person-owner,’ a term which may be applied to a chief (Kpelle), ‘the one who commands’ (Amuzgo), ‘the big one,’ used commonly of one in authority (Piro), ‘the one who has the head’ in other words, ‘the leader’ (More), ‘chief’ (Uduk), the one who owns us’ (or ‘commands us’) (Pame, and ‘the great one over all’ (San Blas).

One additional problem is involved in the choice of a term for Lord, namely the fact that in many languages it is always possessed. That is to say, a person who is a chief or leader is always related to a particular group, and hence in speaking of such an individual, the grammatical structure requires that one specify whether this person is ‘our chief,’ ‘their chief,’ ‘his chief,’ etc. In this particular context one would need to use ‘our chief’ (inclusive, if the inclusive-exclusive contrast but in each context the appropriate form would need to be selected.

Note: Many languages possess for the first person plural two forms: (1) the inclusive ‘we’ meaning the speaker and those spoken to, and (2) the exclusive ‘we’ identifying only the speaker and certain others, but specifically excluding the audience. Failure to recognize these problems adequately has led to numerous serious mistakes in translating (see BT, p. 256).

Mark 1:4

Text Instead of egeneto Iōannēs ho baptizōn en tē erēmō kērussōn ‘John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness preaching’ of the majority of editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus and Soden have egeneto Iōannēs baptizōn en tē erēmō kai kērussōn ‘John was baptizing in the wilderness and preaching’ (for a discussion of the problem see Goodspeed Problems, 50–52).

Punctuation This verse stands as the conclusion of v. 1 ‘As it is written … John the Baptizer appeared.…’ (cf. v. 1)

Exegesis ho baptizōn (6:14, 24) ‘the one baptizing’: this is a title, ‘the Baptizer,’ equal in meaning to ho baptistēs ‘the Baptist’ in 6:25, 8:28 (and in Matthew and Luke). For a discussion of the verb baptizō ‘baptize’ see v. 5.

egeneto ‘appeared’: the verb ginomai has several shades of meaning, including that of ‘come,’ ‘go,’ ‘appear’ (cf. Jn. 1:6, 2 Pe. 2:1. 1 Jn. 2:18; cf. Arndt & Gingrich II.5). The phrase egeneto en tē erēmō could conceivably mean ‘was in the wilderness’ or ‘came into the wilderness’ (for this use of en see 1:16, en tē thalassē “into the sea’) In keeping with the O.T. passages being quoted, however, John, as a voice, appears, rather than comes, for nothing is said about his previous history (cf. Taylor). egeneto could be taken with kērussōn ‘came … preaching.’ It is more probable, however, that egeneto functions as the principal verb, while kērussōn is an independent participle which modifies ‘John.’

erēmos ‘wilderness’ (cf. v. 3): here refers to the wild uncultivated country west of the Dead Sea (cf. Taylor)

kērussōn (1:7, 14, 38, 39, 45, 3:14, 5:20, 6:12, 7:36, 13:10, 14:9, 16:15, 20) ‘announcing,’ ‘proclaiming.’ The word has an official, authoritative sense: it is not simply a shouting, as such, but the public announcement or proclamation by an authorized herald (kērux) who is, in this case, God’s own messenger.

baptisma metanoias eis aphesin hamartiōn ‘a baptism of repentance for remission of sins’: the whole phrase is the direct object of the participle kērussōn ‘preaching,’ and as such describes the content of John’s proclamation.

baptisma metanoias (cf. Lk. 3:3, Acts 13:24, 19:4 for the same phrase) ‘a baptism of repentance.’ The genitive metanoias ‘of repentance’ qualifies and defines the baptism John proclaims: the rite was characterized by repentance. Grant: “a Semitism, meaning ‘a baptism which symbolized or expressed repentance.’ ”

baptisma (10:38, 39, 11:30) ‘baptism’: a noun with the ending -ma ordinarily expresses the result of the action contained in the verb. In the N.T., however, baptisma is the rite itself, not the result of the practice of the rite (see v. 5 for baptizō).

metanoia (here only in Mark) ‘change of mind,’ ‘repentance.’ The word indicates more than an intellectual process: it involves a deliberate ‘turning’ cf. O.T. shubh, and see Taylor, 167, on 1:15), involving heart and will, as well as mind. Moulton & Milligan: “a coming to one’s sense, resulting in a change of conduct.” The implication is that of turning from (apo Acts 8:22, Heb. 6:1) sin and to (eis Acts 20:21, epi Acts 26:20) God. The rite John proclaimed was qualified by metanoia ‘repentance’: as the next verse shows, the performance of the rite, by John, included the open confession of sin, by the candidate, as an expression of his repentance. Cf. the following translations: “a baptism based on repentance” (Manson); auf Grund der Busse (Zürich).

eis aphesin hamartiōn ‘for (leading to, pointing toward) remission of sins.’

eis ‘to,’ ‘into’ may indicate, in this context, either purpose or result. Moule Idiom Book, 70, prefers the former: “with a view to.” What is the exact shade or significance of eis in this passage is determined not by grammar alone, but by the context as well. The English preposition for with its various shades of possible meanings, and its equivalent in other languages, is the best translation (AV, RSV, Weymouth, Moffatt; Manson “leading to”; Synodale pour; Zürich zu; Brazilian para).

aphesis (3:29) ‘remission,’ ‘passing over,’ ‘forgiveness’ (from aphiēmi ‘send away,’ ‘drive out’). The word corresponds to the O.T. nasa’ ‘lift up,’ ‘carry away.’ The Biblical meaning of the word is that of the act of God whereby sin, as a debt, is canceled, or, as a transgression of the Law, is pardoned or remitted (Moulton & Milligan give examples from the papyri of this use of the word in connection with remission from debt or punishment). N. H. Smith (“Forgiveness,” Richardson Word Book) connects the word with the rites of the Hebrew sacrificial system, “by which the taking away of sins involved in the forgiveness which follows repentance was symbolically set forth.”

hamartia (1:5, 2:5, 7, 9, 10) ‘sin’: this is the common N.T. word for sin, conceived of, fundamentally, as disobedience to the revealed will of God. The verb from which it is derived,. hamartanō means “to miss the mark” (cf. O.T. ḥaça’).

On the whole phrase Grant comments: “a baptism of immersion, undertaken at John’s direction and in response to his preaching, preceded by repentance … and followed by the divine forgiveness.”

Translation This verse may seem to be simple, but it is probably the most difficult verse in the entire Gospel of Mark, not only because of some of the difficult terms, but because of the unsuspected complication in the syntax (see TBT, 3.97–102, 1952).

For a discussion of ‘baptize’ see verse 5, but in this verse there is a problem of relating the participial form of Greek baptizōn to the proper name ‘John.’ If, of course, the language in question has a regular means of designating a person who habitually or professionally does a particular type of work, such a form may be used in this context (such formations occur in a number of Bantu languages).

In order to obtain an adequate equivalent for preaching one needs to discover the way in which so-called “official pronouncements” are made within a particular society, for this is essentially the meaning of the Greek term. It is unfortunate that in English preach has acquired such a specialized meaning that it is understood almost entirely as a religious activity. This was not true of the Greek word kērussō. Accordingly, one should not attempt to import religious connotations (these will come soon enough); what is more important is the emphasis upon the authoritative character of the pronouncement. This means that one will want a term more equivalent to ‘declare,’ ‘announce,’ or ‘proclaim.’ In Tzeltal there is a fascinating kind of compound meaning ‘he explains, they hear’ (the goal of all preachers) and in Zoque a preacher is ‘one who speaks-scatters’ (a figure based on the scattering of seed in the process of sowing).

Forgiveness is a concept, which though it exists in all languages, is expressed in quite varied ways (see TBT, 1.26–27, 1950; 2.57, 1951; 4; 25, 136, 185–86, 1953; 5.95, 1954; and GWIML, pp. 60, 141–42). Perhaps the most common figures of speech involved in describing forgiveness are (1) ‘forgetting about’ (Tswa, Barrow Eskimo, Huanuco Quechua), (2) ‘to give back’ based on the idea that sin produces an indebtedness, which only the one who has been sinned against can restore (Navajo), (3) ‘erase,’ ‘wipe out,’ ‘blot out’ (Huichol, Shipibo, Eastern Otomi, Uduk), (4) ‘to lose,’ ’cause to be lost,’ ‘to make lacking’ (Totonac, Mazatec) and ‘to lose another’s sin out of one’s heart’ (Tzeltal), (5) ‘to be released’ or ‘to be freed’ (Lahu, Burmese), (6) ‘to level off’ (Chanca Quechua), (7) ‘to cast away’ (Villa Alta Zapotec), (8) ‘to pass by’ (Chol) or ‘to make pass’ (Goajira), (9) ‘to turn one’s back on’ (Kpelle), (10) ‘to cover over’ (Trique), a figure of speech which is also employed in Hebrew, but which in many languages is not acceptable, because it implies ‘hiding’ or ‘concealment,’ (11) ‘to take away sins’ (Chontal of Tabasco, Huichol), and (12) ‘to do away with sins’ (South Toradja, Javanese).

In some instances figures of speech conveying the meaning of forgiveness are highly specialized in form and cultural significance. In both the San Blas (‘to erase the bad heart’) and in Juarez Zapotec (‘to repair the peace of heart’) the emphasis is upon the guilt felt by the sinner rather than upon the sins, certainly a perfectly valid viewpoint. In the Shilluk language forgiveness is expressed as ‘spit is returned to the ground for us by God’ or more idiomatically ‘God spit on the ground in front of us.’ This is an expression arising from the requirement that the plaintiff and the defendant, upon the conclusion of a trial and the termination of punishment or the payment of fines, spit on the ground in front of each other to signify that the case is finished, forgiveness has been accomplished, and the accusations can never come into court again—a very apt analogy to God’s forgiveness.

In Kipsigis forgiveness is expressed as ‘healing the neck,’ for since sin is spoken of as causing a mortal wound in the neck of the offender, so forgiveness is the healing of this wound.

It is generally not too difficult to find a word meaning ‘forgiveness,’ but what may be more of a problem is choosing between two or three alternative forms, which may have slightly different connotations and which may be required in different types of context. For example, in Huichol there are three expressions: (1) ‘to pass over’ (meaning essentially ‘to excuse’), (2) ‘to rub out,’ ‘sweep out,’ ‘wipe off,’ and (3) ‘to take away.’ All of these expressions are useful in particular contexts. On the other hand, one may find that some expressions may be widely used, but not fully adequate, at least in some contexts, as for example in Palau in the use of ‘to throw away,’ for which ‘to erase’ would be in most instances a better substitute. In some languages it is wise to choose the most intensive of any alternative expressions. For example, in Conob one could say ‘to erase,’ but the more adequate equivalent is a rather full, descriptive phrase, ‘to erase and make fall,’ implying that the sin has been made to disappear completely.

The difficulties encountered in discovering an adequate term for sin (see TBT, 1.21, 1950; 1.88–89, 1950; 2.57–58, 1951; 1951; 4.73, 138–40, 149–52, 1953; BT, pp. 219–20; and GWIML, pp. 37, 148–49) are not the result of the scarcity of the phenomenon, but the utterly diverse ways in which people regard it. In general the translator’s problems are of five types: (1) classifying words according to the various grades and types of transgressions, (2) distinguishing between words indicating acts and those implying guilt, (3) eliminating terms which apply almost exclusively to certain special sins or which may have ranges of meaning quite different from the Biblical expressions, (4) determining the degree of moral responsibility which is involved in the use of any one word, and (5) discovering a sufficient number of expressions, so that if possible, one may be able to parallel such Biblical distinctions as are implied in such words as sin, transgression, trespass, evil, wickedness, and iniquity (this last problem is beyond the immediate scope of this volume, but needs to be taken into consideration by any translator right from the beginning of his work)

It is quite common for languages to have several words for sins, ranging from terms which designate very mild kinds of ‘mistakes’ to words used almost exclusively of ‘horrible crimes.’ The tendency in such languages is usually to play down the extent of a person’s sins (especially in speaking of one’s own) by using as the most common term one which tends to excuse the offender. As the result such a word may mean little more than ‘error.’ For example, a word which may be said to be equivalent to English sin may actually be restricted in most contexts to the meaning of ‘adultery,’ which in some societies is the one sin which acquires the greatest social significance, but its very frequency may seem to make it more excusable. Such a term is unlikely therefore to imply much guilt. On the other hand, one does not wish to use a term for ‘sin’ which means only ‘guilt,’ even though the implication of guilt should not be missing in the expression chosen. In Valiente the transgression and the guilt are rather neatly linked in the phrase ‘that which makes one guilty,’ implying not only a transgression of an established norm (i.e. violation of the law and will of God) but the resultant guilt which inevitably follows.

One of the more serious problems in analyzing the meanings of words for sin is the tendency for terms to be too specific in their significance or to include areas of meaning quite outside the Biblical range. For example, in Huichol it was found that the term xuriki, which at first seemed to be quite acceptable because it included stealing, murder, and adultery, was not correct, for it also meant getting married and harvesting a cornfield. The underlying meaning was ‘destroying the value or character of something,’ and in the latter two instances xuriki referred to destroying the virginity of the bride and ruining the cornfield by gathering the ears of corn. As a result, in Huichol there are now in use two expressions, (1) meaning ‘bad action,’ used to denote the act of sin and (2) describing a ‘bad heart,’ employed to designate the sinner.

Quite frequently one finds that where there are several words for sin, some may be almost totally lacking in the connotation of moral responsibility. That is to say, people speak of sin as happening, but do not always assign a factor of choice or decision to such an act. This is overcome to some extent in Conob by designating sinners as ‘people with bad hearts’ (not just people who do bad things). The fact of decision is expressed in Loma by describing certain types of sin as ‘leaving the road,’ an expression which also implies a definite standard, the transgression of which is sin. This same concept of violation of standard is contained in the Navajo expression for sin: ‘that which is off to the side.’

Once a translator has found the appropriate equivalents for the lexical units of this verse, the problem has in a sense only begun, for an even more complex difficulty is involved in stating accurately the relationships between the parts. The first half of the verse, of course, presents no special problems, but the latter half involves very special difficulties. The syntactic problems of this verse are caused by two types of factors: (1) the series of process words linked by prepositions (i.e. in English, but by case endings in certain of the Greek forms), and (2) the abrupt shifts in the persons participating in these processes. In the first place, we find that in a high percentage of languages most processes, e.g. walking, running, eating, speaking, and also baptizing, repenting, forgiving, and sinning, are expressed by verb forms. In some cases these verbs may be made into noun-like words, but such noun formations may be quite uncommon in actual usage and especially in the complex kind of arrangement such as occurs in this verse. That is to say, in the series of processes involving baptism, repentance, forgiveness, and sins the predominant pattern in many languages is to treat such words as verbs. However, as verbs such words require the explicit indication of the persons who participate in these processes, and this involves the second major difficulty, the fact that there are such abrupt changes in the participants. For example, after the introductory verb of which John is the subject, it is John who does the baptizing and the people who are baptized, but the people are the subject of the repenting, God is the subject of the process of forgiving, and the people do the sinning.

There is a further problem involved in relating the four components baptism, repentance, forgiveness, and sins (these four are, of course, all the object of the preaching). The relationship between the third and fourth units is clear enough, for sins are the goal (i.e. object, in grammatical terms) of the process of the forgiving: cf. South Toradja ‘repentance which treads forgiveness as path.’ On the other hand, what is the relationship between the processes of baptism and repentance? The grammar books describe the second unit as a “genitive of characteristic” but that is not much help. However, if the second process is to characterize the first process, just how can this be stated clearly, when the two processes are to be treated as verb expressions, with their own subject constituents? There are probably two most satisfactory means of dealing with this problem: (1) the repenting can be described as simply preceding the baptism (in which case the character or quality is implied by the temporal sequence) e.g. ‘preached that the people should repent and be baptized’ or ‘preached that the people should be sorry on account of their sins and be baptized’ (Trique) and (2) the baptism can apply specifically to those who repent, e.g. ‘whosoever had changed his mind, he ought to be baptized.…’ (Balinese) The same meaning is conveyed in Tzotzil, but in a different order ‘declares that he gives baptism to whoever receives his heart’ (the last expression is the Tzotzil idiom for repentance).

One further complication is involved in the relationship between the preaching and the rest of the clause, namely, that in many languages such a verb of speaking demands direct, rather than indirect discourse (in the Balinese translation, noted above, there is a shift in this direction, but not the use of the second person). That is to say, one must render this passage as, ‘John preached, You must repent and be baptized.…’ If then, we put the entire second clause together, it could be rendered in the indirect form as ‘John preached that the people should repent and be baptized so that their sins would be forgiven’ (changes into the direct form would be more or less automatic). On the other hand, in languages which have no passive form of the verbs, the problems are even more complex, for the subjects of the corresponding active verbs must be introduced and the resultant translation may be roughly parallel to, ‘preached that the people should repent and he would baptize them so that God would forgive the bad deeds which they had committed.’

Mark 1:5

Text pantes ‘all’ in Textus Receptus is placed after ebaptizonto ‘all were baptized’: this reading, based on later mss., is rejected by modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis exeporeueto (6:11, 7:15, 19, 20, 21, 23, 10:17, 46, 11:19, 13:1) ‘was going out’: the imperfect stresses the continuous procession of people as they kept going out to hear John’s preaching and receive his baptism. The force of the preposition ek is, naturally, to go out of the Judean countryside and the city of Jerusalem to the Jordan where John was preaching and baptizing.

pasa hē Ioudaia chōra kai hoi Ierosolumitai pantes ‘all the region (of) Judea and all the citizens of Jerusalem.’

chōra (5:1, 10, 6:55) ‘country,’ ‘region,’ ‘land.’ The words pasaall (the region of Judea)’ and pantesall (the citizens of Jerusalem)’ are not intended literally (cf. similar expressions in 1:32, 33, 37; see also Mt. 2:3, 21:10; Lk. 7:29; Acts 21:30). The language describes forcefully and vividly the effect of John’s ministry upon many people from both the countryside and the city. Although possible in some contexts, pasa and pantes “all’ in this passage should not be taken in a qualitative sense (as is done by Weymouth: “people of all classes”).

ebaptizonto hup’ autou ‘were being baptized by him.’ The preposition hupo ‘by’ clearly shows that the verb is passive: the rite was not self-administered, as in the case in Jewish proselyte baptism, but was administered by John ‘the Baptizer.’ Again the imperfect of the verb stresses the continuity of the action: the people came, one by one, and were baptized by John.

baptizō (1:8, 9, 7:4, 10:38, 39, 16:16) ‘dip,’ ‘bathe,’ ‘immerse,’ ‘baptize’ (see Arndt & Gingrich): used only in ritual sense in the N.T.: (1) of Jewish ritual ablution, Lk. 11:38 (and Mk. 7:4, if the true reading); (2) of John’s baptism and Christian baptism (all other occurrences of the verb not listed here); (3) figuratively, as a metaphor of suffering and martyrdom, Mk. 10:38–39, Lk. 12:50, and of Israel’s passage through the Red Sea, 1 Co. 10:2.

en tō Iordanē potamō ‘in the Jordan river’: the construction is parallel to hē Ioudaia chōra in which the proper name has the force of an adjective modifying the noun, i.e. ‘the Judean region,’ ‘the Jordanian river.’ The sense, however, is accurately represented by ‘Jordan river’ or ‘river Jordan.’

exomologoumenoi (only here in Mark) ‘as they were confessing.’ In the active form the verb means ‘promise,’ ‘consent,’ ‘agree’ (cf. Lk. 22:6); in the middle, ‘confess,’ ‘admit,’ ‘acknowledge’ (cf. Kennedy Sources, 118; Moulton & Milligan give examples from the papyri for ‘acknowledge,’ ‘avow openly’—see also Acts 19:18, Ph. 2:11). In the LXX the verb stands chiefly for yadhah ‘confess,’ ‘praise’ (cf. Field Notes, 75). The present tense of the participle in the present passage, in its relation to the principal verb baptizō ‘baptize’, shows clearly what is meant by John’s preaching: a baptism of repentance for remission of sins.’ Those who repented and responded to his proclamation came to receive baptism at the hands of John: included in the performance of the rite was their confession of sins, in audible demonstration of their repentance, baptism being its visible representation, the purpose of all of which was the forgiveness granted by God to repentant sinners. Confession here is open confession: if an indirect object is to be supplied, it would naturally be God to whom confession of sins was made, presumably in a loud voice, and so heard by John (cf. Vincent Word Studies 1, 24, on Mt. 3:6).

Translation The use of the English expletive there in the construction there went out to him … is an attempt to reproduce the effect of the initial verb in the Greek text. However, in most languages it is necessary to use the more direct form, ‘all the country of Judea went out to him.…’

On the other hand, it is frequently impossible to say ‘all the country (i.e. region) went out …’ for in many languages ‘regions’ cannot ‘go,’ only people can go. Hence one must introduce some more acceptable immediate subject, e.g. ‘people from all over Judea went’ (if ‘all’ is to be related to Judea) or ‘all the people from Judea went’ (if ‘all’ is to be taken with ‘people’). The resultant meanings are essentially similar, though the first may reflect more accurately the relative use of ‘all’ (the Greek pasa and pantes are certainly not to be taken in their literal sense, any more than the corresponding words thus construed in English or most other languages).

A further syntactic rearrangement may be required in some languages in order that both parts of the subject may be preposed to the verb, e.g. ‘people all over Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him.’

Baptize has given rise not only to an immense amount of discussion in terms of its meaning within the Judaeo-Christian historical context, but also continues to introduce serious problems for translators today (see TBT, 2; 57, 166, 1951; 3.231–32, 1952; 5.76, 1954; and BT, p. 232). In many instances the recommendation has been to transliterate, i.e. employing some indigenous equivalent of the sounds of the word in some more prestigeful language spoken in the region, e.g. English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese. Though this solution tends to remove some theological controversies, it does not completely satisfy everyone, for not only does it avoid the problem of the mode of baptism, but it leaves the Scriptures with a zero word. Unfortunately, many of the controversies over the indigenous equivalent of baptism arise because of a false evaluation of a word’s so-called etymology. For example, in Maya the word for baptism means literally ‘to enter the water,’ but this term is used freely by both Presbyterians and Roman Catholics, even though it might appear to be strictly “Baptist nomenclature.” Similarly, in Kekchi, an even “stronger” term ‘to put under the water’ is employed by Nazarenes and Roman Catholics. Obviously the meanings of these Maya and Kekchi words are not derivable from their literal significance but from the fact that they now designate a particular kind of Christian rite. To insist on changing such a well established usage (and one to which immersionists could certainly not object) would seem quite unwarranted. The situation may, on the other hand, be reversed. There are instances in which immersionists are quite happy to use a term which though it means literally ‘to put water on the head’ has actually lost this etymological value and refers simply to the rite itself, regardless of the way in which it is performed. A translator should not, however, employ an already existing expression or construct a new phrase which will in its evident meaning rule out any major Christian constituency.

There are, of course, a number of instances in which traditional terms for ‘baptism’ need modification. In some situations the word may mean only ‘to give a new name to’ (one aspect of christening) or ‘to be one who lights’ (referring to a custom in some traditions of lighting a candle at the time of baptism). However, in order to reproduce the core of significant meaning of the original Biblical term, it is important to explore the entire range if indigenous usage in order that whatever term is chosen may have at least some measure of cultural relevance. In Navajo, for example, there were four principal possibilities of choice: (1) borrowing some transliterated form of the English word, (2) constructing a phrase meaning ‘to touch with water’ (an expression which would have been acceptable with some groups in the field, but not with others), (3) using a phrase meaning ‘ceremonial washing’ (but this expression seemed to be too closely related to indigenous practices in healing ceremonies), and (4) devising an expression meaning ‘to dedicate (or consecrate) by water,’ without specifying the amount of water employed. This last alternative was chosen as the most meaningful and the best basis for metaphorical extension and teaching.

On the other hand, it would be wrong to think that the meaning of ‘washing’ must be rejected in all languages. For example, it is quite appropriate in Kpelle culture, since it ties in with male puberty rites, and in the San Blas society, since washing is a very important aspect of female puberty ceremonies, in some translations ‘water’ is introduced into the expression for baptism, but the quantity and means of administrating it are left quite ambiguous, e.g. ‘to get (take, receive) water’ (Tzeltal). South Toradja, Bare’e and Toba Batak render the verb ‘to pour water over, give a bath.’

One would assume that an equivalent of confess would not be difficult to find, but such is not always the case (see TBT, 3.92, 157, 1952; 4.176–78, 1953; and GWIML, p. 155). In general the principal problem is to avoid some technical, ritualistic term which will carry over too many non-Christian associations. One of the best translations is simply ‘to say openly’ (Zacapoastla Aztec, Tzeltal, since this was certainly public confession. There are, however, a number of idiomatic equivalents of confession, e.g. ‘to accuse oneself of his own evil’ (San Blas). ‘telling the truth about their sins’ (Kankanae). and ‘to take aim at one’s sin’ (Huastec, an idiom which is derived from the action of a hunter taking aim at a bird or animal).

The principal syntactic difficulty in the second clause involves relating the confession of sins to the process of being baptized. The Greek text implies that confession was an essential element of the process of being baptized, and though the participle meaning ‘confessing’ follows the main verb and can be rendered with a degree of ambiguity in English, this is usually not possible in other languages. More often than not, one must select the temporal order of the processes, and if this is required by the syntactic structure of the language in question, it is valid to follow the same implied temporal order of verse 4, in which the repentance, if it is to characterize the baptism, is likely to have preceded it. Therefore in this verse, ‘confessing’ may be described as preceding, e.g. ‘after confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the river Jordan’ (Ifugao). In Shipibo, the necessity of using direct discourse after the verb of speaking results in a modification of order, but temporal sequence is the same: ‘Then he washed them, at the Jordan stream, when they said: It is true. We have sinned.’ (In Shipibo, a language spoken in the Amazon river basin, one must use a special word designating a mountain stream, so as not to give the impression that the Jordan was in any sense like the vast major tributaries of the Amazon.)

Mark 1:6

Exegesis: ēn…endedumenos ‘was clothed’; this verbal phrase, consisting of the auxiliary verb eimi ‘to be’ plus the participle of the main verb enduô ‘to clothe’ does not mean, as it would in classical Greek (cf. Turner, Journal of Theological Studies 28.349, 1926–7). ‘had been clothed’; it rather denotes the habitual nature of John’s dress. ‘And John clothed himself,’ or: was clothed.’

enduō (6:9, 15:20) ‘clothe,’ ‘dress’: the forerunner’s dress and diet mark him as a man of the wilderness, an ascetic, a Nazirite (Lk. 1:15); his clothing is similar to that worn by Elijah (2 Kings 1:8; cf. Zech. 13:4). Such simple and hardy manner of life was characteristic of one who lived in the wilderness (Lk 1:80) and was the object of comment by Jesus (Mt. 11:8, Lk. 7:25).

trichas kamēlou ‘hairs of a camel’ does not mean a camel’s skin. It stands for a robe, long and loose (cf. Mt 3:4, to enduma autou ‘his garment’ woven from camel’s hair (cf. Moulton & Milligan; cf. Zürich: Und Johannes war bekleidet, mit [einem Gewand aus] Kamelhaaren).

zōnēn dermatinēn ‘leather girdle’: a waistband, or girdle, which holds the robe at the waist, enabling it to be tucked up for rapid walking. The zônê is not exactly a belt, such as used by modern Western men, but more in the nature of a waistband wherein money (cf. Mk. 6:8) and other things could be kept (cf. Lagrange; A. C. Bouquet Everyday Life in N.T. Times, 60).

osphus (only here in Mark) ‘waist’: the place where a belt or girdle is fastened (cf. Arndt & Gingrich).

kai (ēn) ēsthōn ‘and was eating’: this verbal phrase, consisting of the imperfect of the verb eimi ‘to be’ plus the present participle of the main verb is quite common in Mark (16 instances in all—cf. Taylor, 45). ‘He (habitually) ate,’ ‘his food was.…’

akris ‘locust’: to this day the locust is eaten especially by the poorer people in Arabia, Africa, and Syria (cf. Arndt & Gingrich).

meli agrion ‘wild honey’: there is no need to think of vegetable substances which are found on the leaves of certain trees (cf. Lagrange, 7; Arndt & Gingrich). Natural wild honey is meant.

Translation The word now used to introduce this verse in the RSV (cf. and in ASV and KJ is an attempt to represent the transitional value of Greek kai, literally ‘and,’ It should not, of course, be taken in any temporal sense. In most translations it is probably best to omit any transition, though if some appropriate particle can be found to soften the abrupt transition between verses 5 and 6, such would be justified.

In parts of the world in which camels are not known, one is immediately confronted with the problem of what to do with the name of this strange animal. Some people have thought that Eskimos would want to say ‘cloth made of polar bear fur’ and people from the South Pacific would understand most satisfactorily if one used ‘rough cloth made from palm fiber.’ These types of adaptations can be meaningful, but they do not solve the real problems. In the first place, even the most isolated peoples after the introduction of reading, soon become familiar with many areas of the world around them, and very quickly they learn that people in other parts of the world are quite different. Even a very rudimentary education soon teaches them that the life of the Middle East is not similar to their own. Accordingly, they tend to react to such artificially adapted translations as being paternalistic, since they seem to imply that the native people would never learn about the differences in the outside world. On the other hand, it is not very meaningful simply to borrow the word camel in transliterated form and give the people no idea what sort of creature this is. One way to solve this problem is to employ certain descriptive classifiers, which may be used in initial translations and then discarded as the level of education in an area rises. For example, one may say ‘hair of an animal called camel,’ which helps to identify the transliterated form as a name and specifies the class of objects involved. In some of the Quechua dialects of South America translators have used ‘hair of a llama-like animal called camel,’ a somewhat fuller descriptive classifier. In general, however, it is preferable to use the shortest possible expression which will provide the basis for correct, even though partial, understanding.

Since many different peoples in the world eat one or more varieties of locusts or grasshoppers, this verse does not seem to them so strange as it does to us. However, it is important that in obtaining a word for locusts one be sure an edible variety is specified. In some languages, for example, there must be as many as ten different words for such insects, and only certain classes are regarded as edible.

In regions where such insects are not known, one can likewise use a descriptive device, e.g. ‘insects called locusts’ or simply a generic term ‘a kind of insect.’

‘Wild honey’ is most often translated ‘honey from the forest’ (cf. Indonesian ‘wood-honey’). In Zoque it is actually called ‘gentle honey,’ since it is made by wild bees in the forest, which, however, are stingless.

Mark 1:7

Exegesis ekērussen ‘he proclaimed’ (cf. v. 4): the imperfect continues to describe John’s habitual activity, the message which accompanied his baptism.

ekērussen legōn ‘he preached saying’: this construction, consisting of a verb plus the participle of another verb, which is practically a synonym of the first, is common and reflects Semitic influence. There is no need, in English translation, to reproduce both verbs (cf. BFBS, Manson, Weymouth, Moffatt, Knox, Zürich).

erchetai ‘he comes’: the present tense is often used with a future meaning (Moffatt “is to come”); in this verse there is an emphasis on the immediacy of the action, ‘is coming’ (BFBS). ‘is on the way,’

ho ischuroteros mou ‘the one stronger than I’: ischus ‘strength’ refers primarily to physical strength—by extension it takes on the idea of power, might, greatness (cf. 3:27): ‘mightier’ (Weymouth, Moffatt, RSV, Manson, Knox). ‘greater’ (BFBS).

opisō mou ‘behind me’: the phrase goes with erchetai ‘is coming behind me,’

opisō (1:17, 20, 8:33, 34, 13:16) ‘behind,’ ‘after’: as an adverb it refers both to time and place (not used of time in the N.T.); as a preposition, with the genitive case, as here, it is also used of time and place (Abbott-Smith sees LXX influence). Here the idea is clearly that of time (cf. Acts 13:25 erchetai met’ eme ‘comes after me’). although some commentators see the idea of rank, ‘a follower of mine’ (see reff. in Arndt & Gingrich).

houautou ‘whose … of him’: this use of the relative hos ‘who’ and the pronoun autos ‘he,’ both in the genitive case, is a construction which reflects Semitic influence (Black Aramaic. 75: “clear proof of its origin”), although, as Lagrange points out, it is not unknown in Greek itself. In translation, therefore, there is no need to reproduce both the relative hou ‘whose’ and the pronoun autou ‘of him’ since both refer to the same thing, i.e. ton himanta tōn hupodēmatōn ‘the throng of the sandals’ (cf. a similar construction in 7:25, and see Taylor, 60 and literature referred to). The relative hou ‘whose,’ it is to be noticed, does not refer to hikanos ‘worthy’ as though it meant ‘worthy of him‘ rather, like autou ‘of him,’ it refers to ‘the thong of the sandals.’

hikanos (10:46, 15:15) “competent, qualified, able, with the connotation worthy … for something” (Arndt & Gingrich).

kupsas lusai ‘stooping to loose’: such a verbal construction is quite common, in which two different actions are described by the participle of one verb plus the regular form (required by grammar) of the other. The meaning is the same it would be if both verbs were in the infinitive: kupsai kai lusai ‘to stoop and to loose,’

kuptō (only here in Mark) ‘stoop (down)’: the participle modifies the subject of eimi ‘I am,’ not ‘the thong of his sandals.’

luō (7:35, 11:2, 4, 5) ‘loose,’ ‘unbind,’ ‘release’: to untie the thong of the sandal was the menial task of a slave. On the difference between ‘untie’ here and ‘bear’ in Mt. 3:11, see Daube New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, 266 f.

Translation In most translations the first problem to be encountered in this verse is the existence of the double verbs of speaking, preached, saying. In many languages one must use one verb or the other, but not both, or people will say, “What did he do, preach or say?” Often these terms are mutually exclusive. On the other hand, there are a number of languages, e.g. several of the Quechua dialects of South America, which use double verbs of speaking, but one is used at the beginning of an utterance, and the other at the end, somewhat parallel to “he said … said he.” In a sense they serve in the place of quotation marks and as such are very convenient. In still other instances this Semitic type of expression fits quite naturally, e.g. in Barrow Eskimo.

Having noted (Mark 1:4) that some indirect expressions must be turned into direct ones, we must also indicate the fact that frequently the reverse process is obligatory. For example, in Maninka verses 7 and 8 must be cast into an indirect form: ‘he said that after him would come one.…’

Comparatives, such as mightier than I are seemingly very awkward to translate in some languages, for in such instances comparison is only accomplished by means of a combined positive-negative statement, e.g. ‘there is more his power; more there is not my power’ (Tzotzil). ‘he has great power; I do not have great power’ (as in the case of a number of so-called Bantu tongues). These types of positive-negative statements must not be interpreted on the basis of their literal retranslation into English. They are just as much genuine “comparatives” (if we may use the term) as the construction with which we are familiar in Indo-European languages. Another common form of comparative uses a verb meaning ‘to surpass,’ e.g. ‘his power surpasses my power.’

What, however, adds to the difficulty of this verse is the fact that the adjective worthy is difficult to translate in many languages, for close equivalents are often not adjectives. This should not be surprising, for worthy is not an abstraction of easily definable qualities (cf. red, good, beautiful). but of relative social position and capacity. In Amuzgo the phrase I am not worthy to is translated ‘I can’t be used to.…’ In Huichol worthy is ‘to have the right to.…’ In Barrow Eskimo the equivalent is ‘to be on the same level so as to …’; in Tzotzil a possible rendering is ‘measure up to …’; and in Huave one must say ‘reach to.’

The expression after me comes must be treated in some languages as a kind of comparative. For example, in the Chontal of Oaxaca this verse reads ‘I come first; he comes later.’

Mightier must be interpreted in terms of authority, and not physical strength, e.g. ‘will order more people around’ (Huichol) or ‘will be more a chief’ (Huave).

Sandals must often be translated by a type of footgear with parallel functions, even though some details of construction are dissimilar, e.g. ‘boots’ (Barrow Eskimo) or ‘thongless sandals’ (Villa Alta Zapotec), which are ‘removed’ rather than ‘untied’ (‘removing’ is the functional equivalent).

In any translation the arrangement of the constituent parts of this verse must be entirely dependent upon requirements of the structure involved, e.g. ‘He spoke God’s word, saying, Someone is coming after me, his power surpasses mine. I am not worthy to bend over and untie his shoestrings’ (Kpelle).

Mark 1:8

Text Before ‘water’ and ‘Holy Spirit’ Textus Receptus has en ‘in.’ Support for the second en is stronger than the first: Souter, Merk, Kilpatrick, and Soden include en in both places, while Tischendorf, Lagrange, and Vogels include it only before ‘Holy Spirit’; Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Taylor, and Turner reject en in both instances. (It is to be noticed that although in other passages in the N.T. en is sometimes used and sometimes not used before ‘water’ it is always used before ‘Holy Spirit’: Mt. 3:11, Lk. 3:16, Jn. 1:33, Acts 1:5, 11:16).

Exegesis egoautos ‘I … he‘: the personal pronouns, not being essential in Greek, are emphatic: ‘I, on my part.… he, on his part.’

ebaptisa ‘baptized’: the force of the aorist has been the subject of considerable comment. The majority of translations and commentators agree with Lagrange’s interpretation: the ministry of the Baptist ends when that of Jesus begins (cf. Howard II, 458f.: “the aorist of the thing just happened”). In English the perfect ‘have baptized’ (AV, RSV, Knox, Weymouth, Moffatt, Manson, BFBS; cf. Zürich, Synodale, Brazilian) may convey the meaning ‘I have baptized and am baptizing no more‘. According to such a view the present baptizō ‘I baptize’ of the parallels Mt. 3:11, Lk. 3:16, represents a change of meaning.

There is, however, an alternative way of viewing the aorist tense: without any particular reference to past time it describes or conveys a general truth (called a “gnomic” aorist: cf. Burton Moods and Tenses, 43, Moule Idiom Book, 11). When the full force of ekērussen legōn ‘he was preaching’ in the previous verse is noticed, John’s message is not represented as having been delivered once, but repeatedly, throughout his ministry. The aorist ebaptisa ‘I baptized’ does not mean, therefore, that the action is past and finished; it is rather the reference to an action in which time is not emphasized, best translated into English by the present, ‘I baptize’ (see Black Aramaic, 93, who argues for this meaning on the basis of the force of the Semitic perfect tense, with examples; cf. Taylor 64, 157; Rawlinson, 8; cf. Expository Times 64.286, 1953).

(en) ‘in’: whether or not the preposition is included before ‘water’ and/or ‘Holy Spirit,’ the sense adopted by the majority of translations and commentators is ‘with,’ that is, the instrumental. For this very common use of en ‘in’ see Moule Idiom Book. 77; Arndt & Gingrich I.4.c, III.1.a. Lagrange, however, prefers the local sense: ‘in the water … in the Holy Spirit.’

pneuma hagion (3:29, 12:36, 13:11; cf. to pneuma ‘the Spirit’ 1:10, 12) ‘the Holy Spirit’—and so throughout Mark (and the N.T.). The presence or absence of the definite article, in Greek, before ‘Holy Spirit’ does not establish a difference between the operation, power, or gifts of the Spirit, and the person of the Spirit. With or without the article pneuma hagion is always ‘the Holy Spirit.’ Whatever may have been the original significance of the phrase in the preaching of John the Baptist (see Taylor and reff.). especially with the addition of kai puri ‘and with fire’ in Matthew and Luke, the meaning intended by the author of the Gospel is fully Christian, i.e. the Holy Spirit of God.

Translation Undoubtedly no word has given quite so much trouble to the Bible translator as spirit, for (1) it includes such a wide range of meaning, from ‘evil spirit’ to ‘poor in spirit’ to ‘Holy Spirit’ and (2) it touches so vitally the crucial comparison and contrast between Christianity and so-called “animism.” We cannot go into a detailed examination of all the problems involving in either ‘spirit’ or ‘Holy Spirit,’ but for some important treatments see TBT. 1.3, 131–32, 1950; 2.56, 109, 1951; 6.37–39, 62, 72, 1955; BT. pp. 210–15; and GWIML. pp. 20–21, 37, 44, and 54 (cf. Hooper, Indian Word List. pp. 176–77). There are four principal dangers in the choice of a word for Holy Spirit: (1) the term may identify an essential malevolent spirit, and no mere addition of the word ‘holy’ or ‘good’ is likely to change the basic connotation of the word, (2) the word may mean primarily the spirit of a deceased person (hence God must have died—a not infrequent error in Bible translations), (3) the expression used to mean ‘spirit’ may denote only an impersonal life force, a sort of soul-stuff which may be conceived as indwelling all plant, animal, and human substances (therefore, to say that ‘God is spirit’ is to deny His essential personality), and (4) a borrowed term may signify next to nothing to the people, and can only be explained by another term or terms, which, if they are adequate to explain the borrowing, should have been used in the first place. It is true that in some instances a borrowed word has seemed to be the only alternative, but it should be chosen only as a last resort.

There is no easy formula to be employed in finding an adequate equivalent for Holy Spirit. for what seems to work quite well in one area may not serve in another. One thing, however, is certain: one should not select a term before making a comprehensive study of all kinds of words for spirits and for parts or aspects of personality and thus having as complete a view as possible of all indigenous beliefs about supernatural beings. (The use of the question outline suggested on pp. 212–13 of Bible Translating may prove to be very useful for such necessary investigations.)

An almost equally difficult element in the phrase Holy Spirit is the unit meaning ‘holy,’ which in the Biblical languages involves a concept of separation (i.e. unto God or for His service). In general, however, it is difficult to employ a term meaning primarily ‘separated,’ for this often leads to the idea of ‘cast out.’ One must make sure that the concept of ‘separated’ implies not merely ‘separated from’ (hence, often culturally ostracized). but ‘separated to’ (in the idea of consecrated, dedicated, or ‘taboo’—in its proper technical sense). Perhaps the most naive mistakes in rendering Holy have been to assume that this word can be translated as ‘white’ or ‘clean,’ for we assume that “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” a belief which is quite foreign to most peoples in the world. Holy may, however, be rendered in some languages as ‘clear,’ ‘pure’ (in South Toradja, Bare’e and Javanese ‘clean’ or ‘pure’), ‘shining,’ or ‘brilliant’ (with the connotation of awesomeness), concepts which are generally much more closely related to ‘holiness’ than is ‘whiteness’ or ‘cleanness.’

If one encounters any particular difficulties in finding an adequate expression for Holy Spirit, it is recommended that the translator get in touch with the Translations Department of the Bible Society for special help and guidance, since a proper solution to this problem is so basic to any and all communication of the Gospel message.

In so far as possible the phrases ‘baptize you with water’ and ‘baptize you with the Holy Spirit’ should be parallel. However, if the term for ‘baptism’ includes the term ‘water,’ then some adjustment must be made. One would not want to say, for example, in Tzeltal ‘you take water with the Holy Spirit’ in the second clause, even though a combined idiom ‘he gives and you take water’ describes the total process of baptism. The parallelism is attained, therefore, in Tzeltal by translating, ‘I have given you and you have taken water; but he will give and you will take the Holy Spirit.’

Mark 1:9

Exegesis kai egeneto ‘and it was’ plus the verb in the indicative (ēlthen ‘came’) is one of the three ways in which the LXX and the N.T. translate the Hebraism wa-yehiwa (‘and it was … and’); in the Greek, the clause that follows is logically the subject of egeneto ‘it was’ (cf. Burton Moods and Tenses 357–59; Arndt & Gingrich ginomai I.3.f). This connective phrase has virtually no meaning and is disregarded by RSV.

en ekeinais tais hemerais (8:1, 13:17, 24) ‘in those days’ is another Hebraism (cf. Ex. 2:11). and relates in a general way that which follows with what precedes.

apo ‘from’ goes with ēlthen ‘came’ not with Iēsous ‘Jesus’: ‘came from Nazareth of Galilee.…’

ebaptisthē eis ton Iordanēn ‘he was baptized in the Jordan.’ There is no difference between ‘baptized en‘ (v. 5) and ‘baptized eis‘ here (cf. Robertson Grammar, 525; Turner Journal of Theological Studies 26.15, 1924–5; see further reff. in Taylor).

Translation If a language has a kind of introductory and transitional particle equivalent to the Greek kai egeneto ‘and it happened’ (translated traditionally as ‘it came to pass’), one can and should employ it, but more frequently than not, it is better simply to omit such elements, particularly if instead of contributing to the meaning, they tend to interrupt the sequence, distract the reader or lead to misunderstanding.

In those days may be rendered in some languages as ‘at that time’ or ‘then.’ This Semitic idiom is only a general phrase indicating temporal sequence.

In some languages proper names which are entirely unfamiliar may require some type of descriptive classifier. Hence one may translate ‘from Nazareth town in the Galilee province … Jordan river’ (Otetela). In view of the fact, however, that ‘river’ is used with ‘Jordan’ in verse 5, this last classifier may not be necessary.

In languages in which passive constructions must be or are usually shifted to active ones, the second part of this verse may be readily changed to read, ‘John baptized Jesus.…’

Mark 1:10

Text Instead of ek ‘out of’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has apo ‘from.’

Instead of eis auton ‘into him’ (see Exegesis, below) of the majority of modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus and Souter have ep’ auton ‘upon him’ (for a discussion of the question see Goodspeed Problems, 52, who attributes the epi to “harmonistic assimilation with Mt. 3:16 and Lk. 3:22”).

Exegesis euthus ‘immediately’ occurs some 47 times in Mark. Kilpatrick “Notes on Marcan Usage” (TBT, 7.3–4, 1956) concludes that “the evidence suggests that we are dealing not with an adverb of time, but with a connecting particle.” Howard (II, 446) finds the inferential meaning ‘so then’ in 1:21, 23, 29, 30 (cf. also Moulton & Milligan). RSV rightly connects euthus ‘immediately’ with the main verb eiden ‘he saw’ and not with the participle anabainon ‘coming up’ (see further Daube New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, 243).

anabainōn (3:13, 4:7, 8, 32, 6:51, 10:32, 33, 15:8) ‘coming up’: the participle is temporal ‘as he was coming up … he saw’ (cf. Moule Idiom Book. 102; BFBS ‘just as he was coming up …’). The subject is Jesus. As Lagrange points out anabainōn ‘coming up’ presumes a previous katabainōn ‘going down’ (on the full force of this participle see Daube New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, 111f.).

ek ‘out of’: not precisely the same as apo ‘from’ in Mt. 3:16 (cf. Robertson Grammar. 561, 597). Turner (Journal of Theological Studies 29.281 f., 1927–8) notes that Mark has ek half as often again as apo, in which he sees reflected a “Semitic atmosphere.”

eiden ‘he saw’: the verb itself cannot indicate whether a vision or an objective phenomenon is meant; the verb means simply ‘he saw’ and nothing else. The author doubtlessly means to describe actual happenings. There are two direct objects: tous ouranouskai to pneuma ‘the heavens … and the Spirit.’

schizomenous tous ouranous ‘the heavens as they were being rent.’

schizō (15:38) ‘rend,’ ‘divide,’ ‘tear’: the verb is used of garments (Isa. 36:22, Lk. 5:36, Jn. 19:24), a veil (Mk. 15:38), a net (Jn. 21:11), rocks (Isa. 48:21, Mt. 27:51), a mountain (Zech. 14:4), wood (Gen. 22:3). The present participle describes the action in progress (cf Gould). Grammar does not decide whether the participle is middle (‘opening themselves,’ cf. Synodale, Zürich), or passive (‘being opened’): the latter, however, is probably to be preferred. The idea of violence is present in the verb; here is a breach in the firmament which separates the abode of God from earth. Bengel: “is rent open, is said of that which had not previously been open.”

tous ouranous ‘the heavens’: some hold, with Arndt & Gingrich, that the plural hoi ouranoi ‘the heavens’ refers to the abode of God; others see reference to the firmament, the sky (cf. Weymouth). At any rate the Voice comes from heaven, as the abode of God, not just from the sky (cf. Rawlinson on the plurality of heavens and the Voice).

to pneuma (v. 8) is ‘the (Holy) Spirit.’

katabainōn (3:22, 9:9, 13:15, 15:30, 32) eis auton ‘descending upon him.’ The meaning of eis here is debated; in the nature of the case a precise parallel to katabainon eis auton ‘descending into him’ is not to be found (Mt. 3:16 and Lk. 3:22 have epi ‘upon,’ as well as some manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark; cf. Text. above). In the LXX the phrase katabainein eis ‘descend into’ is often used of ‘descend into Egypt’ (cf. Gen. 12:10, 26:2, 43:15, 46:3, Num. 20:15); ‘descend into Hades’ (Gen. 37:35, Num. 16:30, Job 7:9, 17:16, Ps. 55, 113:25 (115:17), 138 (139):8, Isa. 14:11, 15, 19, Ezek. 31:15, 17, 32:27); ‘descend into the darkness (of death)’ (Tobit 14:10), and of water which descends into the sea (Joshua 3:16). In all these passages the meaning ‘descend into‘ is the natural one, generally offering no difficulties.

So far as spirit possession is concerned, the normal way for the LXX to narrate the coming of the Spirit of God upon someone is by the use of the phrase ginesthai epi ‘to come upon’ (cf. Num. 23:7, 24:2; Judges 3:10, 11:29; 1 Sam. 19:9, 20, 23; 2 Chr. 15:1, 20:14), or hallesthai epi, ephallesthai epi ‘to leap upon,’ ‘to overpower’ (cf. Judg. 14:6, 19, 15:14; 1 Sam. 10:6, 10, 11:6, 16:13). Other phrases less frequently used are einai epi ‘to be upon’ (1 Sam. 16:16, 23), piptein epi ‘to fall upon’ (1 Sam. 18:10), anapauein epi ‘to rest upon’ (Is. 11:2) and epelthein epi ‘to come upon’ (Is. 32:15); cf. also dounai epi ‘give upon’ (Is. 42:1).

Closer parallels to the Marcan phrase are to be found in Ezek. 37:5, 6, 14 in which God says, ‘I will put breath in you’ (dōsō pneuma mou eis humas), and 37:10 ‘the breath went into them’ (eisēlthen eis autous to pneuma); in Is. 37:7 the Lord says of the king of Assyria, ‘I will put a spirit in him’ (embalō eis autôn pneuma). while in Eccl. 3:21 the question is asked, ‘Does the spirit of an animal descend into the earth?’ (ei katabainei auto eis tēn gēn).

Attention has been called to Isa. 63:11ff. as a possible background of the Marcan language (Journal of Theological Studies. NS 7.74f., 1956). In this passage God is spoken of as ho theis en autois to pneuma to hagion ‘he who placed in them the Holy Spirit’ (v. 11), and the statement is further made katebē pneuma para kuriou kai hōdēgēsen autous ‘the Spirit descended from the Lord and guided them’ (v. 14).

These verbal parallels in the LXX are sufficient to show, (1) that if Mark had meant to say ‘the Spirit descended upon him’ the preposition epi would have been used (as Mt. 3:16 and Lk. 3:22 have it), and (2) that katabainon eis means ‘descending into‘ unless Marcan usage or the context clearly forbids this meaning.

So far as Marcan usage is concerned it is to be noticed that the preposition eis follows verbs of motion with ‘house’ (2:11, 3:20, 5:19), ‘mountain’ (3:13, 9:2, 13:14, 14:26), ‘region’ (7:24, 10:1) and ‘road’ (10:17): wherever the meaning ‘into’ cannot be literally pressed, the meaning ‘to’ or ‘toward’ is to be presumed. More instructive parallels are found in passages in which a person is the object: ‘the word which has been sown in them‘ (4:15), ‘something that enters into a man‘ (7:15, 18, 19). Passages which deal with spirit possession are particularly pertinent: the spirits of Legion request they be sent into the hogs, and they go into the hogs (5:12, 13), and Jesus commands the spirit to come out of the lad and never more enter into him (9:25). According to Marcan usage, therefore, to pneumakatabainon eis auton may certainly mean ‘the Spirit descending (to enter) into him.’

The majority of translations render eis ‘upon,’ and Robertson (Grammar, 1393) cites examples of eis with the meaning of epi ‘upon’: none of the examples quoted, however, is decisive for this passage. The meaning ‘descending into’ is supported by Arndt & Gingrich (katabainō 1, b) who translate ‘come down and enter into him.’ Goodspeed discusses the passage at length (Problems. 52–54) and concludes that it means ‘coming down to enter into him’ (cf. also Weymouth, Appendix p. 658: ” ‘into’ i.e. ‘to enter into’ “).

In the light of all this it seems reasonably clear that Mark does not say that the Spirit came upon Jesus at his baptism as the Spirit of God came upon the Old Testament leaders: rather he says that the Spirit entered into and possessed Jesus, who henceforth acts with the authority and power of God, as God’s Spirit-filled and Spirit-led Son.

hōs peristeran (11:15) ‘as a dove.’ There are two possible meanings: (1) ‘He saw … the Spirit descending like a dove (descends) …’ or (2) ‘He saw … the Spirit, as (though it were) a dove, descending.…’ In the first case the figure modifies the mode of descent, and in the second it modifies the Spirit as such, with the meaning ‘in the appearance of’ i.e. ‘in the form of.’ Most English translations are ambiguous, even as the Greek is. Matthew (probably) and Luke (certainly) take the narrative to mean that a dove was to be seen. No significant parallels to the phrase are to be found in the Old Testament or early Jewish literature (cf. Taylor). The natural meaning of eidento pneuma hōs peristeran is ‘he saw … the Spirit in appearance as a dove‘ (cf. 8:24), and this certainly seems to be the meaning intended here (cf. Lagrange: “it is the Spirit himself who is like a dove”).

Translation In order to indicate the force of the Greek word euthus ‘immediately’ as a kind of transitional temporal relator, it is possible to translate, ‘Just as … then he …’ (Balinese) or ‘Then just as … he saw’ (Shipibo). On the other hand one may translate ‘and when he came …, right then he saw.…’ In any case the force of euthus must be with the second verb, even though a temporal particle may precede the first.

In some languages (e.g. Ifugao) there are distinct expressions for ‘coming out of a stream’ and ‘coming out from underneath the surface of the water.’ The choice of one or the other expression will be determined by one’s views on the mode of baptism practiced by John. Where, however, it is possible to use a noncommittal term which will not provoke unnecessary controversy this should be employed.

A word which will properly designate the rending of the heavens is not always easy to find, for the Greek term in question does not mean merely that Jesus saw that the heavens were open, but that he saw them being rent open. In the Black Bobo language, for example, one must choose between two words for opening: (1) one which designates the way a box is opened (whether with care or violently), and (2) one which characterizes the splitting of a goat skin. The latter term was found to fit this context more satisfactorily.

Despite the fact that the Voice comes from heaven (cf. verse 11) as the abode of God, the heavens of this verse may refer to the sky. In a language in which heaven as God’s abode is clearly distinguished from the sky (e.g. ‘God’s house’ in contrast with ‘the place of the clouds’). it would be important to use the latter in this verse, for one would not wish to give the impression that ‘God’s house’ was being destroyed.

In general there is no difficulty in finding a word for the sky. In Loma, for example, it is simply ‘up.’ The more complex problem is discovering some expression which will convey at least some of the meaning of heaven in English. To do this various expressions have been employed, e.g. ‘God’s place’ (Loma), ‘God’s town’ (Kaka), ‘the up above’ (More nyingeri, in contrast with saase ‘the sky’ which is regarded as lower), and ‘the home above’ (San Blas). (See also BT. pp. 161, 231).

When an indigenous word for ‘Spirit’ generally indicates a malevolent spirit, it is important that the qualifier ‘Holy’ be added if the context in question is not very plain. Of course, in this particular verse the addition of ‘Holy’ may not be required, because of the connection with ‘heaven’ and the ‘voice’ announcing the sonship of Jesus. However, in verse 12 the addition of ‘Holy’ is essential in many languages, and even in this verse it can in some instances eliminate considerable misunderstanding.

Whether one translates ‘descended upon him’ or ‘descended into him’ (see above) is somewhat related to the treatment of ‘as a dove,’ for if one says that the Spirit had the precise form of a dove (or pigeon) and then that it entered into him, the resultant impression may be confusing and disconcerting to the reader. Where, of course, one can preserve the Greek ambiguity, so that the phrase ‘as a dove’ may refer to either mode of descent or form, the problem can be readily resolved, but this is not a solution to the Matthaean and Lucan expressions. One can, however, eliminate some of the semantic difficulties by making two clauses out of one (in fact, this is often necessary) and translate as ‘the Holy Spirit appeared there like a dove and came down upon him’ (Kpelle). As in this Kpelle rendering the particle ‘as’ must often be expanded into an expression containing a verb, e.g. ‘appearing like.’

Mark 1:11

Text Instead of soi ‘with thee’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has ‘with whom.’

The construction is quite abrupt. Perhaps egeneto ‘came’ should be omitted, as is done by Turner (cf. Journal of Theological Studies 28.151, 1926–7). Tischendorf and Kilpatrick; Nestle and Westcott and Hort include it in brackets; other modern editions of the Greek text include it without any question.

Exegesis phōnē ek tōn ouranōn ‘a voice from the heavens’: the voice is God’s, addressing itself to Jesus. Lagrange: “the voice comes from heaven where God dwells.”

su ei ho huios mou ho agapētos ‘you are my beloved son’: the phrase is a compound of familiar O.T. phrases (Ps. 2:7, Isa. 42:1; cf. also Gen. 22:2, Isa. 44:2, 62:4), full of meaning.

su ei ‘you are’: a statement of fact, not a promise; it is either a revelation of a truth previously not known or confirmation of a truth already grasped (see Taylor, 162).

hō agapētos (9:7, 12:6) ‘the beloved’: used in the LXX (and classical Greek as well) of ‘favorite’ ‘only.’ In the LXX agapētos seven times out of fifteen translates yaḥidh ‘only one.’ Lagrange comments: “in the O.T. there is no great difference between ‘beloved’ and ‘only. “Turner devotes a lengthy study to the phrase (Journal of Theological Studies 27.113–29, 1925–6) and concludes: “From Homer to Athanasius the history of the Greek language bears out, I venture to think, the argument of this paper that agapētos huios is rightly rendered ‘Only Son.’ ” The majority of translations, however, have ‘beloved’ rather than ‘only,’ which is in the nature of an interpretation (see BFBS).

Grammatically ho agapētos may modify ho huios ‘the son’ and be translated ‘beloved Son’ (ASV, RSV, Lagrange, Knox, Zürich, Synodale, Brazilian), or it may stand independently, as a title, ‘my Son, the Beloved (one)’ (Manson, Moffatt, Weymouth, Berkeley).

en soi eudokēsa ‘in thee I am well pleased.’ The force of the aorist eudokēsa has been studied, both from the viewpoint of the Greek (Moule Idiom Book. 11; Burton Moods and Tenses, 55) and the possible Semitic perfect underlying it (Black Aramaic. 93; Howard II, 458). There is agreement that the meaning is best represented in English by the present tense: ” ‘punctiliar’ present” (Moule), “present of general truth” (Black). Cf. Jerome: in te complacui.

eudokeō en ‘be well pleased,’ ‘take delight’ with or in someone (see Arndt & Gingrich): cf. in the LXX Mal. 2:17, Ps. 43:4, 2 Sam. 22:20; in the N.T. see 1 Co. 10:5, 2 Co. 12:10. The translations reflect the meaning in various ways: “be pleased” (AV, ASV, RSV, BFBS); “delight” (Moffatt, Weymouth, Berkeley); “choice” (Manson).

Translation In some languages one cannot say ‘a voice came.’ One may, on the other hand, find that the use of some such expression as ‘words (or sounds) of a voice were heard coming …’ is fully satisfactory (so Indonesian ‘a voice was heard’). Though, of course, this is God’s voice (i.e. ‘God spoke from heaven’) it is best, wherever possible, to try to preserve the indefiniteness of the original form, despite its somewhat greater lack of clarity.

For a discussion of “heaven” see under verse 10.

Though there is justification for the translation of ‘only’ for Greek agapētos. generally rendered ‘beloved,’ it is probably more satisfactory to retain the translation used by the vast majority of translators, for undoubtedly even in the Greek expression there is something of the connotation of ‘love,’ despite what may be the more predominant denotation of ‘only.’

My beloved Son must be translated in a paratactic form, ‘… my Son; I love you,’ or ‘… my Son, the one I love’ (Zoque).

With thee I am well pleased is a concept which is often translated in other languages by a wide variety of figurative expressions, e.g. ‘you are the heart of my eye’ (Huastec), ‘you arrive at my gall’ (More, in which the gall is regarded as the seat of the emotions and intelligence), ‘I see you very well’ (Tzotzil), ‘you make me very happy’ (Popoluca), and ‘my bowels are sweet with you’ (Shilluk). One must not, however, assume that all languages will have such figurative expressions (in Barrow Eskimo the equivalent of this entire phrase is just a single word, with a strictly non-figurative meaning). Nevertheless, there are problems in the choice of an appropriate phrase, for it is entirely too easy to select inadvertently an expression which may refer primarily to satisfaction with food or pleasure in sensual entertainment.

Mark 1:12

Exegesis to pneuma ‘the (Holy) Spirit,’ ‘the Spirit (of God),’

ekballei ‘drives out’: the historic present is characteristic of Mark’s style. In Mark ekballō ‘drive out’ always denotes strong and, at times, violent action being used mainly of the expulsion of demons (1:34, 39, 3:15, 22, 23, 6:13, 7:26, 9:18, 28, 38, 16:9, 17); where people are involved force is always indicated (1:43, 5:40, 11:15, 12:8), while once it is used of the removal of an eye (9:47). In the present passage, the parallels in Matthew (anagesthai ‘be led’) and Luke (agesthai ‘be led’) may argue in favor of force for the Marcan ekballei ‘drives out.’ Cf. Jerome expellit and in English “drive” (AV, ASV, RSV, Moffatt, Berkeley); Zürich treiben.

Force is certainly involved. There is no need, however, of inferring resistance or unwillingness on the part of Jesus.

tēn erēmon (cf. v. 4) ‘uninhabited places,’ traditionally the haunt of evil powers.

Translation In this context it is quite important that one make sure that a word used for ‘Spirit’ carries the proper connotation, for ‘driving one out into an uninhabited region’ is precisely what demons are usually credited with doing. Hence, in many translations ‘Spirit of God’ or ‘Holy Spirit’ should be used here (Balinese, Kpelle, Bolivian Quechua, Shipibo).

There is no doubt about the fact that the Greek word ekballō implies a strong action, but it is possible to translate this word in such a way as to give quite a wrong impression. In one language in West Africa the term used meant literally ‘to chase him away’ and in one Eskimo dialect the word was one generally used of ‘driving dogs.’ The force of this Greek verb applies primarily to the psychological compulsion, not any physical violence, and hence to use an expression which emphasizes the physical aspects may ultimately result in a distortion of the meaning. Accordingly, many translations simply use a causative form, ‘the Holy Spirit made him go’ or ’caused him to go.’ In Balinese the expression is ‘by the might of the Holy Spirit, Jesus went,’ meaning that the Holy Spirit was the force which caused Jesus to go.

For a discussion of “wilderness” see 1:3.

Mark 1:13

Text With the support of later mss. Textus Receptus and Kilpatrick include ekei ‘there’ after (the first) ēn ‘he was’; the majority of modern editions of the Greek text omit it.

Exegesis ēn peirazomenos ‘was … tempted’: may be taken as a verbal phrase, ‘he was being tempted,’ or the particle peirazomenos ‘being tempted’ may be independent of the verb ēn ‘was,’ and modify ‘he’: in this case ēn would mean ‘he was,’ ‘he abode,’ ‘he remained.’ Although most translations favor this rendition, separating the participle from the verb ēn. Marcan usage is probably decisive in favor of the first meaning. Kilpatrick (TBT 7.8–9, 1956): “In Mark

einai (‘to be’). usually in the imperfect, and the present participle may be presumed to form a single tense” (cf. Turner Journal of Theological Studies 28.349, 1926–7).

peirazō (8:11, 10:2, 12:15) ‘put to the test’; peirazomai ‘be tried.’ ‘be tempted’: here with hostile intent (cf. Kennedy Sources. 106–7, Hatch Essays, 71–73). The action is portrayed as taking place throughout the whole period of forty days.

Satanas (3:23, 26, 4:15, 8:33) is the transliteration of the Aramaic satana’ (the O.T. satan is ‘accuser.’ ‘adversary’). In the N.T. the same as ho diabolos ‘the devil.’ ruler of the powers of evil, opponent of God, enemy of man.

meta tōn thēriōn ‘with the beasts’: hyenas, jackals, foxes, gazelles (cf. Swete, Lagrange). The purpose of this clause is to accentuate the wildness of the desert into which the Spirit drove Jesus, the haunt of wild animals, suitable locale for the presence of supernatural forces both good and evil (for possible theological overtones cf. Isa. 13:21, Ps. 91:11–13, Job 5:22f.; Testament Naphtali viii.4, 6; Testament Benjamin v. 2).

kai hoi aggeloi diēkonoun autō ‘and the angels were serving him.’

hoi aggeloi (cf. v. 2) ‘the angels’: with the single exception of aggelos ‘messenger’ in v. 2, the word, in Mark, always refers to celestial messengers, sent by God.

diēkonoun (1:31, 10:45, 15:41) ‘they were serving’: the primary meaning is that of waiting on someone at table, from which it passes over to the general meaning of service of any kind (cf. Arndt & Gingrich). The reference here is to physical needs, particularly food (cf. 1:31), recalling the experience of Elijah (1 Kings 19:5–8). The imperfect tense would seem to describe a ministration which continued throughout the forty days’ stay in the wilderness (cf. C. S. Emden, “St. Mark’s Use of the Imperfect Tense,” Expository Times 55.146–49, 1954).

Translation Tempted is a difficult term, for though it means ‘to tempt to evil’ or ‘to try’ (or ‘test’). in this context it obviously must not be rendered in such a way as to imply that Jesus succumbed to the temptation. In many instances one finds that words for temptation imply yielding, rather than resisting. They are rarely neutral in connotation. In such instances, one must attempt to indicate the attempt by Satan, but not the success, or the entire meaning of the passage will be distorted, e.g. ‘tried to make him sin’ (Maninka, Tzotzil, Huave, Kekchi).

In general it is preferable to transliterate, rather than attempt to translate, the word Satan. However, in some languages Satan and devil are translated the same way (however, Greek diabolos ‘devil’ does not occur in Mark).

In order to combine ‘tempted by Satan’ with the preceding clause it is often necessary to use a paratactic construction, sometimes with a shift in grammatical voice, e.g. ‘There in the wilderness Jesus remained forty days; Satan tried Jesus’ (Mazatec).

In saying that Jesus was ‘with the wild beasts’ one should not give the impression (1) that he ‘was sitting right there with them’ (as in one translation in the Philippines) or (2) that he was a kind of animal trainer, there in company with lions, tigers, and leopards. In Greek there is no special emphasis on ‘wild’; these were simply the animals of the wilderness (see above). One may translate, ‘he was there where the animals of the deserted places were.’

One must also make certain that it was Jesus and not Satan who was with the wild beasts, since in many popular beliefs demonic spirits are associated with wild animals. Hence, one is often justified in introducing ‘Jesus’ as the subject of this clause, ‘Jesus was with the wild beasts’ (Mitla Zapotec, and Huastec).

Finding an appropriate word for angels is not easy. In the first place, one is quite likely to run into false ideas, especially in Latin America, where in one Indian language angels had been called ‘flying saints’ and in another ‘dead babies’ (since according to popular belief children who died in infancy became angels). It is, however, difficult to employ the precise equivalent of Greek ‘messenger,’ since often this term does not bear the proper connotation. For example, in Mixtec a messenger is literally ‘hands and feet,’ but this term must usually be modified if it is to serve in the Scriptures, e.g. ‘… heavenly,’ or ‘… of God,’ or ‘… of the Lord,’ etc. This same problem has occurred in many translations, and as a result a number of possible solutions have been found, ‘word-carriers from heaven’ (Shipibo), ‘heavenly messengers’ (Otetela, Kpelle, Balinese), ‘spirit messengers’ (Shilluk), ‘messengers of God’ (Piro), ‘envoys, messengers’ (Toba Batak), and ‘holy servants’ (Navajo). Some of these terms developed and became somewhat current among believers prior to actual Bible translating, and in other instances the words were accepted through being used in the Scriptures.

The word ministered includes so much that it is often difficult to discover just the right equivalent, without being too specific. In some languages the closet equivalent is ‘helped him’ and in others ‘provided what he needed’ or ‘took care of him’ (South Toradja).

Mark 1:14

Text After euaggelion ‘gospel’ Textus Receptus has tēs basileias. ‘gospel of the kingdom of God‘. with considerable mss. support. Although ‘of the kingdom’ is rejected by Tischendorf, Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Vogels, Kilpatrick, Merk, Souter, Turner argues for its originality, in which he is followed by F. C. Grant. Considerable weight, notwithstanding mss. evidence, must be given Turner’s arguments: “the gospel of God” is far less probable, in Mark, that “the gospel of the kingdom of God.”

Exegesis meta de to paradothēnai ton Iōannēn ‘after John had been arrested’: an introductory temporal clause; ton Iōannēn ‘John’ is the subject of the passive infinitive to paradothēnai ‘to be arrested.’ A free translation could be ‘after the arrest of John.’

paradidōmi (20 times in Mark): ‘hand over,’ ‘turn over,’ ‘give up a person’; as a technical term of police and courts, ‘hand over into (the) custody (of)’ (Arndt & Gingrich, 1.b). Moulton & Milligan quote examples from the papyri with the meaning ‘deliver up’ to prison or judgment.

kērussōn ‘proclaiming’ (cf. v. 4).

euaggelion ‘the gospel’ in the technical sense, Christian sense: the contents of the Christian message (cf. v. 1).

tou theou ‘of God’ (omitting tēs basileias ‘of the kingdom’): the meaning is ‘the gospel proceeding from God‘ (cf. Gould, Turner). The phrase to euaggelion tou theou ‘the gospel of God’ is called a “Pauline phrase” (cf. Rom. 1:1, 15:16, 2 Cor. 11:7, 1 Thess. 2:8, 9; cf. 1 Pet. 4:17). This observation has no bearing, however, on whether or not tēs basileias ‘of the kingdom’ should be read in this passage.

Translation Arrested may be translated in a number of different ways, depending upon the manner in which such an event is described in the language in question, e.g. ‘taken prisoner’ (Kpelle, Bare’e, Javanese) or ‘put in jail’ (Balinese).

The verbs for come and go tend to create all sorts of confusion in translating, since the viewpoint of the writer is so differently interpreted in various languages. There is no help in the Greek at this point for the same verb erchomai may be rendered either ‘come’ or ‘go,’ though ‘come’ is the more usual meaning. However, Mark does not always preserve the same geographic orientation, for in 10:46 he speaks of ‘coming to Jericho.’ The systems of geographical orientation are, of course, quite different as one goes from one language to another. In some instances one is supposed to preserve the viewpoint of the position of the writer; in others, the position of the eye-witness, i.e. of Jesus’ disciples or followers. But whatever may be the type of orientation employed in indigenous narration, it is extremely important that one use this system, for otherwise the reader will be badly confused. In this particular instance, many languages require a verb meaning ‘to go,’ since the viewpoint of the writer is assumed to be that of a companion of Jesus, and hence Jesus would be going to a point away from the writer, rather than coming to a place where the writer was.

If one follows a Greek text omitting ‘of the kingdom,’ the relationship between ‘good news’ and ‘God’ is probably subjective. That is to say, this would be ‘the good news that comes from God,’ He being the source of the glad tidings (the possible interpretation ‘good news about God,’ though theoretically possible, is rather unlikely).

If, however, we include ‘of the kingdom’ the construction becomes distinctly objective (in the grammatical sense), for in this instance the text is certainly speaking about ‘the good news about the kingdom of God.’ But this expression is very difficult to translate in some languages, for there is simply no ready equivalent of ‘kingdom,’ as this is popularly understood. In the first place, most people do not have kings, but they almost always have rulers, chiefs, headmen, etc. In the second place, in so many societies there is not the emphasis upon geographical extension or territory which the English word kingdom seems to imply. However, this should not provide special difficulty, for in the Greek the central meaning of basileia is not the region, but the rule. In other words, the Greek word applies primarily to the fact of God’s rule, rather than the territory over which he governs. Once we understand these two principal limitations, it is not too difficult to construct a functional equivalent. For example, in San Blas the ‘kingdom of God’ is ‘God’s government,’ in Navajo ‘what God has charge of,’ in Kabba-Laka ‘God’s commanding,’ in Tzeltal ‘the jurisdiction of God’ (in the sense of where God has the authority), in Zacapoastla Aztec ‘the leadership of God,’ in Goajira ‘where God is chief,’ in Kekchi ‘power (or authority) of God,’ and in Javanese ‘the rule of God.’

Mark 1:15

Exegesis hoti ‘that’ is recitative, introducing direct speech (cf. 1:37, 40, 2:12, etc.). Turner (Journal of Theological Studies 28.9–14, 1926–7) catalogues some 45 instances of this use of hoti ‘that’ in Mark.

peplērōtai (14:49) ‘is fulfilled.’ The verb plēroō ‘fill up,’ ‘complete’ when used of time indicates that a period of time has reached its end (cf. Gen. 29:21). Moulton & Milligan show that this use of the word is not peculiar to Scriptures, quoting a papyrus: “the period of the lease has expired.” The verb is used only in the passive in the N.T. and early Christian literature. “The time has run its course and reached its end: the appointed hour has arrived.” The implied subject of plēroō is God: Jeremias (Parables. 12 et passim) has abundantly shown that the passive in the N.T. is often a “circumlocution … to indicate the divine activity.”

ho kairos (10:30, 11:13, 12:2, 13:33) ‘the time’: not simply chronological time, but opportune time, appointed time, “season” (Kennedy Sources. 153). Cf. ‘appointed time’ Eze. 7:12, Dan. 12:4, 9 (cf. Eph. 1:10). The word (as Arndt & Gingrich 4, point out) is one of the chief eschatological terms in the Bible: kairos is supremely God’s time.

kai ēggiken hē basileia tou theou ‘and the kingdom of God has drawn near’ (or, ‘has arrived’).

eggizō (11:1, 14:42) ‘approach,’ ‘draw near.’ The force of the perfect has been the object of much debate. Dodd (Parables. 44). Lagrange, Black (Aramaic. 260–62) argue that the meaning is ‘has come’ or ‘has arrived’ (Manson). Kilpatrick (TBT 7.53, 1956) rightly observes that one’s conclusion “must be determined in part by other considerations” than purely grammatical ones. Black’s argument that the words ho kairos peplērōtai ‘the time is fulfilled’ are decisive for the meaning ‘has come’ is not lightly to be denied (for a forceful presentation of the meaning ‘has drawn nigh’ see R. H. Fuller The Mission and Achievement of Jesus, 20–49, and W. G. Kummel Promise and Fulfilment, 19–25).

hē basileia tou theou ‘the kingdom of God.’ Dalman (Words, 91–147) has conclusively demonstrated that the meaning of basileia is that of exercise of royal power. Arndt & Gingrich: “kingship, royal power, royal rule, especially the royal reign of God.”

metanoeite (6:12) ‘repent (you, pl.)’ (cf. v. 4).

pisteuete en tō euaggeliō ‘believe (you, pl.) in the gospel.’

pisteuō (5:36, 9:23, 24, 42, 11:23, 24, 31, 13:21, 15:32, 16:13, 14, 16, 17) ‘believe.’ Here only in the N.T. is the construction pisteuō en ‘believe in’ to be found (John 3:15 and Eph. 1:13 are not true parallels). Moulton (Prolegomena. 67f.) at one time agreed with Deissmann that pisteuō is here used in an absolute sense, being correctly translated “believe in (the sphere of) the Gospel” (cf. Moule Idiom Book. 80 f.). Later, however (cf. Howard II, 464). Moulton changed his mind and accepted the construction as translation Greek, meaning simply, “believe the Gospel.” Gould comments: “The rendering ‘believe in the Gospel’ is a too literal translation of a Marcan Semitism.” Manson translates: “Believe the Good News.”

euaggelion (cf. v. 1) ‘gospel’: some (Taylor, Gould, Lagrange) hold that the meaning here is literally ‘the good news’ (cf. Weymouth: “this Good News”), while others maintain it has the technical Christian sense of “the Christian message.” In the light of v. 1 the latter is to be preferred.

Translation In rendering and saying one must often separate it from the preceding verse and make it an independent verb expression ‘he said,’ with whatever appropriate connective (if any) may be employed.

Since time in this instance is a point of time (an opportunity or occasion), its equivalent in many languages is ‘day.’ One must avoid using a word which implies extent of time (which is an entirely different Greek term, see above).

Is fulfilled is admittedly a difficult expression, unless one translates the idea, rather than the word—this, of course, is fundamentally what one must always do. One can either say ‘the day has come’ or as in some languages ‘this is the day.’ In Shipibo there is an interesting idiom ‘the when-it-is (referring to any occasion) is already coming-up’—very appropriate equivalent of the Greek. In some languages, however, one cannot speak of ‘days coming’ but only of ‘people coming to the day,’ which is equally acceptable, if this is the normal way in which people describe the fulfillment of time.

If in verse 1:14 the Textus Receptus is adopted, it is possible to speak of the kingdom of God as ‘where God rules’; in this verse, however, we must speak of the kingdom of God in terms of time. Accordingly, in Huastec, even though in 1:14 kingdom is translated as ‘where God rules’ (the more usual form of the expression), in 1:15 it must be rendered as ‘now is when God is going to reign.’ The idea of immediate future implied in the expression is at hand is rendered in Zoque as ‘God is soon going to rule.’ In Pame the translation is ‘God is soon going to make himself the ruler.’ Another possibility is ‘God the ruler is here.’

For repent see 1:4.

A key word in any Scripture translation is believe. However, finding suitable equivalents (several are usually necessary depending upon the context) is admittedly very complex, for such expressions as believe a report, believe a person and believe in a person are frequently treated in other languages as quite different types of expressions. For discussions of some of the problems relating to the translation of believe and faith (these contain the same basic root in Greek), see TBT, 1.139, 161–62, 1950; 2.57, 107–8, 1951; 3.143, 1952; 4.51, 136, 167, 1953; 5.93, 1954; 6.39–41, 1955; BT, 230; GWIML, 21, 118–22, 125. Cf. Hooper Indian Word List, pp. 172–73.

Since belief or faith is so essentially an intimate psychological experience, it is not strange that so many terms denoting faith should be highly figurative and represent an almost unlimited range of emotional ‘centers’ and descriptions of relationships, e.g. ‘steadfast his heart’ (Chol), ‘to arrive on the inside’ (Trique), ‘to conform with the heart’ (Timorese), ‘to join the word to the body’ (Uduk), ‘to hear in the insides’ (Kabba-Laka), ‘to make the mind big for something’ (Putu), ‘to make the heart straight about’ (Mitla Zapotec), ‘to cause a word to enter the insides’ (Lacandon), ‘to leave one’s heart with’ (Kuripako), ‘to catch in the mind’ (Valiente), ‘that which one leans on’ (Vai), ‘to be strong on’ (Shipibo), ‘to have no doubts’ (San Blas), ‘to hear and take into the insides’ (Karré), ‘to accept’ (Bare’e).

Though these are the expressions used in a variety of languages to express faith, one must not conclude that they can be used automatically in all types of contexts. For example, though in Uduk to believe in God is generally translated as ‘to join God’s word to the body,’ in this context one must speak of ‘joining the joyful word to the body’ (‘joyful word’ is the gospel). In Valiente, however, it is possible to speak of ‘catching the word in the mind’ (if one is talking about believing a statement), but ‘catching God in the mind’ (if one is speaking of faith in God). In some instances one must use a kind of paratactic construction to indicate faith in a statement, e.g. ‘to declare, It is true.’ This type of inserted direct discourse may be rather awkward, but it is an effective equivalent in some languages.

One special problem should be noted, namely, the tendency for some languages to make no distinction between words for ‘believe’ and ‘obey.’ At first this may seem to be a clear case of deficiency in the language, but it can be a distinct gain in the task of evangelism, for it prevents people from saying that they believe the gospel when they have no intentions of obeying its implications.

Mark 1:16

Text Instead of kai paragōn ‘and passing along’ of all the modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has peripatōn de ‘and walking.’

Instead of the unusual compound verb amphiballontas ‘casting a net’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has the more common ballontas amphiblēstron ‘casting a net.’

Exegesis paragōn (2:14, 15:21) ‘passing along’: the present participle, modifying ‘he’ (Jesus), indicates manner, and in time is simultaneous with the main verb eiden ‘he saw’: ‘as he passed along … he saw.’ The phrase paragō para ‘along-passing along’ is rather unusual: Arndt & Gingrich translate ‘pass by along’ and Lagrange describes it as going by along the lake from the south to the north.

hē thalassa tēs Galilaias (7:31) ‘the Sea of Galilee.’ The use of thalassa ‘sea’ for the more precise limnē ‘lake’ is characterized by Black (Aramaic. 96) and Lagrange as a Semitism. hē thalassa occurs further in 2:13, 3:7, 4:1, 5:1, 13, 21—all referring to the Lake of Galilee.

amphiballō (only here in the N.T.) ‘cast a net’: it is the word used to describe the throwing out of the circular casting-net (Arndt & Gingrich), called the amphiblēstron (cf. Mt. 4:18). The net was wound around the arm and thrown out in a rapid circular movement of the arm; this, as Lagrange says, is the meaning of amphiballō without a direct object.

en ‘in’ equals eis ‘into’: cf. Turner, Journal of Theological Studies 26.15, 1924–5.

Translation Passing along must be rendered in some languages by a more specific ‘walking along.’

Sea must be changed in many languages to ‘lake,’ since this was an inland body of fresh water. The use of the Greek thalassa for both lake and sea is simply a Semitism (see above and compare Luke’s use of ‘lake’).

Along by may be rendered as ‘walking along the shore of the lake.’

Sea of Galilee must in some languages be ‘lake in the province (or region) of Galilee.’

The phrase the brother of Simon tends to cause complications for the translator, for languages reflect such utterly different systems for the classification of family lines relationships. For example, the words for brother may differ depending on such factors as (1) relative age (a younger or an older brother), (2) sex of the person to whom the ‘brother’ is related (brother of a woman or brother of a man), and (3) father or mother’s line (i.e. brothers by the same father or brothers by the same mother). Because of the general practice among Jews of Biblical times to list the name of the older brother first, we may assume that Simon was older than Andrew, and that both had the same father and mother. However, the order of the expressions ‘Simon and Andrew’ and ‘the brother of Simon’ must be arranged in accordance with the natural form of expression in any language into which one is translating (the receptor language), e.g. ‘Simon and his brother Andrew,’ ‘Simon and Andrew his brother,’ ‘Simon and Simon’s brother Andrew,’ ‘the brothers Simon and Andrew,’ or ‘Simon and Andrew; they were bothers.’

It must be noted that both men were casting nets into the lake, but these nets were the circular variety (as much as twenty feet across) which were thrown by a single person in relatively shallow water along the shore. In areas where people are not accustomed to catching fish by nets, one can, however, almost always describe a net (e.g. ‘a large fish-trap made of strings’).

Fishermen may be translated in languages which do not have an equivalent specialized term as ‘men who customarily caught fish’ or ‘those who lived by catching fish.’

Mark 1:17

Exegesis deute (6:31, 12:7) ‘come!’ ‘come here!’ is used as the plural of the adverb deuro ‘here!’ come!’ which is regarded as an imperative. The meaning of the word in this context is not simply that of a physical going after, but of discipleship.

poiēsō genesthai ‘I will make … to become’: the full force of the verbal phrase is ‘I will make you become in the future.’ after a course of preparation (as Grant says). The verb takes a double accusative: humas ‘you’ and haleeis anthrōpōn ‘fishers of men.’

haleeis anthrōpōn ‘fishers of men’: for the figure cf. Jer. 16:16, Ezek. 29:4–5. The genitive anthrōpōn ‘of men’ is not possessive, of course: the meaning is ‘fishers who fish (or catch) men.’

Translation Fishers of men is such a well-known phrase to us that we seldom suspect that it can provide the basis for considerable misunderstanding in translations. However, it does, for if the expression used for ‘catching fish’ contains the same verb as is used in speaking of those who round up forced labor (as in parts of Africa) or who arrest people, there will inevitably be misunderstanding. In one language ‘I will make you catchers of men’ implied that Jesus was going to make his disciples into policemen. In still another language the word for ‘getting men’ implied that the disciples would become assassins. One of the difficulties is the bold form of the metaphor which does not provide a linguistic clue to the reader that this expression is not to be taken literally. However, by changing the metaphor into a simile most of the trouble is avoided, e.g. ‘you will catch men as if you were catching fish’ (Barrow Eskimo) and ‘just like you catch fish, I will make you catch men’ (San Blas). In some instances some of the metaphorical power of the expression is lost but the essential truth can be preserved, e.g. ‘give power to bring men’ (Black Bobo) or ‘make you become ones who are men bringers’ (More).

Mark 1:18

Instead of ta diktua ‘the nets’ of the majority of modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus and Kilpatrick have ta diktua autōn ‘their nets’ (cf. Exegesis, below).

Exegesis aphentes ēkolouthēsan ‘leaving … they followed’ is equal to ‘they left and followed.’ The verb aphiēmi is used in the sense of ‘abandon’ ‘leave’ some fifteen times in Mark (cf. 2:5; cf. Arndt & Gingrich, 3).

akoloutheō ‘follow’: used both in the literal sense, and with the meaning ‘follow as a disciple.’ Kilpatrick (TBT 7.6–7, 1956) sees the primary sense of physical following in 5:24, 6:1, 10:32, 52, 11:9, 14:13, 54 the derived sense of discipleship in 1:18, 2:14, 8:34, 9:38, 10:21, 28, 15:41 (cf also Arndt & Gingrich, 3: Turner Journal of Theological Studies, 26. 238–40, 1924–5).

ta diktua ‘the nets’: in this context ‘their nets’ is meant (cf. Turner), without the addition of the possessive autōn ‘their.’ diktuon (1:19) is the generic word for “net” of any kind (cf. amphiblēstron ‘casting net’ Mt. 4:18, and sagēnē ‘drag net’ Mt. 13:47).

Translation In verses 17 and 18 it is essential that an appropriate word for ‘follow’ be found, since a poor choice at this point may be almost disastrous. There are three principal types of meanings which must be distinguished: (1) to follow a long way off (implying either disinterest or avoidance), (2) to follow in the sense of tracking down (obviously not desirable for disciples), and (3) to follow in the sense of accompaniment, e.g. as a child follows an adult, as a dog its master, or as a friend his companion. One must make certain, however, that such a term does not imply ‘failure to work or to participate in an enterprise,’ in the sense that those who follow along may not take part or do their share.

It is essential that the nets spoken of in this verse be the same as are mentioned or implied in verse 16.

Mark 1:19

Text After probas ‘going on’ Textus Receptus adds ekeithen ‘thence,’ which is rejected by all modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis probainō (only here in Mark) ‘advance,’ ‘go forward.’

oligon ‘a little’ is the accusative of the neuter adjective oligos ‘little,’ used adverbially to modify the verb probainō ‘go forward.’

ton adelphon autou ‘his brother’ refers, of course, to James, not to Zebedee.

kai autous katartizontas ‘and they (were) mending’: this participial clause is a rather clumsy Greek construction reflecting, as Black points out (Aramaic, 63, 66), its Semitic character. It is best translated by “while (or, when) they were mending …” (cf. also Howard II, 423). The pronoun autous ‘they’ and the participle katartizontas ‘mending’ are in the accusative case because they stand in apposition to Iakōbon kai Iōannēn ‘James and John,’ the direct objects of the verb eiden ‘he saw.’ To translate literally ‘they (or, who) also were … mending’ is inaccurate (Weymouth, Knox, ASV). The best translation will make this clause subordinate to the main one, either in a temporal sense ‘while they were mending’ or as a relative clause ‘who were mending’ (RSV).

en tō ploiō ‘in the boat.’ Grant observes that the definite article need not always be translated (cf. Synodale dans une barque). and Lagrange observes that both in Hebrew and in classical Greek the definite article is used to indicate an object naturally to be found in the situation described. On the other hand, ‘their boat’ (RSV, Moffatt, Weymouth, Berkeley) is a possible translation (cf. Turner, and see v. 18 ta diktua ‘their nets’).

katartizontas ta diktua ‘mending the nets.’

katartizō (only here in Mark) “to render artios, i.e. ‘fit,’ ‘complete’ ” (Abbot-Smith). The sense is not exclusively that of repairing; the word means ‘to adjust,’ ‘to put right.’ It may mean here preparing the nets for the next fishing (Vincent Word Studies I, 31, on Mt. 4:21). Moulton & Milligan also give evidence for this meaning of the word. Arndt & Gingrich: “put in order, restore; put into proper condition.

Translation The expression James the son of Zebedee and John his brother can only rarely be translated literally into another language. In general it must be reorganized to fit the syntactic and lexical requirements of the receptor language, e.g. ‘James and John, the sons of Zebedee’ (with the relationship of ‘brother’ left implicit); ‘James and his younger brother John, the sons of Zebedee’ (Chontal of Oaxaca); ‘James and his brother John; their father was Zebedee’; or ‘James and John, two brothers, sons of Zebedee’ (Mitla Zapotec). The selection of one of these formulae, or some other, will depend entirely upon what type of expression is the closest natural equivalent in the language into which one is translating.

It is not necessary that the nets of verse 19 be the same as those of 16 and 18. The fact that the men were in the boat may suggest that these were long nets let out from boats. The Greek term translated “mending” in the RSV is equivalent to English ‘fixing them up.’

While in some parts of the world it may be impossible to find an indigenous term for boat (e.g. along the Sahara the Mossi people have no word for boat, but they call it a ‘water-box’). in others one is faced with the problem of selecting out of a number of different terms the name of a craft which would be approximately the size and shape of the fishing boats used on the Lake of Galilee. There were obviously different-sized boats employed for fishing on the lake, but it is probably safest to estimate that the boats which the disciples used would be capable of holding anywhere from six to a dozen persons. They were not, however, huge ships, for they could be drawn up on the shore by hand and they were of relatively shallow draft (so that Jesus could speak to the people on the shore, while being only a little distance off the land).

Mark 1:20

Exegesis ekalesen (2:17, 3:31, 11:17) ‘call’: from this basic meaning there develops further the meaning ‘to invite,’ ‘to summon’ and the word becomes a technical term meaning ‘to summon before a court.’ From this latter meaning the sense of the verb in this passage is derived ‘call to discipleship’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.e; 2).

aphentes apēlthon ‘leaving … they went off’ means ‘they left and went,’

misthōtōn (only here in Mark) ‘hired men’: the literal meaning of the noun (from misthos ‘pay’ ‘wage’) should be observed; these are not douloi ‘slaves’ or diakonoi ‘servants,’ but helpers hired for the job (cf. Lagrange).

en tō ploiō ‘in the boat’ and meta tōn misthōtōn ‘with the hired men’ are connected with Zebedee, not ‘they’ (i.e. James and John).

apēlthon opisō autou ‘went off after him’: here is the same idea of discipleship as in ēkolouthēsan autō ‘followed him’ in v. 18 and deute opisō mou ‘come after me’ in v. 17.

Translation In translating call one must make certain that the term chosen in the receptor language conveys something of the meaning of ‘call to follow,’ ‘summon to accompany,’ or ‘invite to come,’ for if not, it may signify only that Jesus shouted at the men. Where necessary, one may use the phrase ‘called them to accompany him.’

In some languages it is difficult (and unnecessarily awkward) to distinguish precisely between the two senses in which Zebedee, on the one hand and he hired servants, on the other, were left by James and John. For example, in Ifugao one would say ‘left Zebedee their father and the hired servants in the boat’ rather than ‘Zebedee with the hired servants.’ The important mistake to avoid is linking the hired servants with James and John and hence implying that they went off with Jesus and the disciples, as has been the case in some translations.

In some instances one needs to be very specific about personal reference, but sometimes it is possible to be overly repetitious. In Villa Alta Zapotec, for example, one should not repeat Zebedee in verse 20, for he is already specifically identified in the previous sentence and to repeat the name would be misleading, implying some other Zebedee was meant.

Hired servants are simply ‘the workmen’ or ‘the day laborers.’

Mark 1:21

Text Instead of eiselthōn eis tēn sunagōgēn edidasken ‘entering into the synagogue he taught’ in Textus Receptus, Westcott and Hort, Souter, Vogels, Nestle, Lagrange, and Merk, the reading edidasken eis tōn sunagōgēn ‘he taught in the synagogue’ is adopted by Tischendorf, Soden, Turner, Taylor, and Kilpatrick. The evidence, both external and internal, entitles this reading to consideration.

Exegesis eisporeuontai eiselthōn edidasken ‘they went into … he entered … and taught’: on the change from the third plural of the first verb to the third singular of the next two verbs cf. Turner, Journal of Theological Studies, 26.228, 1924–5.

eisporeumai (4:19, 5:40, 6:56, 7:15, 18, 19, 11:2) ‘enter’: here is another use of the Marcan historical present (cf. Moule Idiom Book, 7).

euthus tois sabbasin ‘immediately on the sabbath’: the phrase indicates the following Sabbath (cf. Weymouth, Lagrange).

tois sabbasin ‘on the sabbath.’ The plural sabbata ‘Sabbaths’ is a Greek transliteration of the Aramaic sabatha’, taken as a plural form; the singular sabbaton ‘sabbath’ was formed from this (spurious) plural (cf. Abbott-Smith). The LXX uses both sabbaton (sg.) and sabbata (pl.). The meaning is not that of several Sabbaths; when feasts are mentioned the plural form is commonly used (cf. 6:21, 14:1; John 10:22; cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.b.b). The dative case used to indicate time is, as Lagrange points out, a classical construction.

edidasken (17 times in Mark ‘taught’; although some do not agree (e.g. Turner, Journal of Theological Studies 28.351, 1926–7). Moule (Idiom Book, 9) sees in the imperfect tense of this verb what is called the inceptive force, i.e. an emphasis upon the beginning of the action ‘he began to teach’ (cf. also C. S. Emden Expository Times, 65.146–49, 1954). The Synodale translates se mit á enseigner.

sunagōgē (1:23, 29, 39, 3:1, 6:2, 12:39, 13:9) ‘synagogue.’ The original meaning of the word is that of the act of ‘gathering’ from sunagō ‘gather,’ ‘collect); the name is then applied to the place, or building in which this gathering takes place.

Translation Went into must in some languages be changed to ‘arrived at’ (Zapotec), for though one may ‘enter into’ a house, a town is regarded as a different type of object, and hence one may ‘arrive at’ but not ‘go in.’

At least at this first occurrence of Capernaum it may be wise to introduce a classifier, e.g. ‘they arrived at town Capernaum, its name’ (Tzeltal).

Immediately on the sabbath may be rendered as ‘as soon as it was …’ or ‘scarcely was it the sabbath when.…’

Sabbath (see BT, 239–40) is most generally translated as ‘rest day’ or ‘day for resting’ (Tarahumara, Bolivian Quechua, Kituba, Maya, Totonac, Tarascan, Chol, Cashibo, Ifugao, Tagalog, Joloana); cf. ‘day of standstill (of work)’ in South Toradja. Some persons have used ‘God’s day,’ but this tends to be confused with Sunday. One translation employed a phrase ‘fear day,’ a traditional form of expression which was supposed to mean ‘day for reverence,’ but it was quite an inadequate means of expression. One can, of course, transliterate the word sabbath, but in some regions this may lead to difficulty, too. For example, the Spanish equivalent is sabado ‘Saturday,’ and any transliterated (or borrowed) form will suggest ‘Saturday,’ which is in no sense recognized as a day of rest or one with any special religious significance.

Some translators have transliterated synagogue, but on the whole this is not a very satisfactory procedure, despite the fact that there are difficulties in translation since an expression chosen for synagogue tends to be confused with forms used for ‘temple’ and ‘church.’ In South Toradja a synagogue is ‘meeting house for discussing matters concerning religious customs’; a church is ‘house where one meets on Sunday’ and a temple is ‘house that is looked upon as holy, that is sacred, that is taboo and where one may not set foot’ (lit. ‘house where one gets a swollen stomach’). In Bambara a synagogue is ‘a worship house’ and the temple is ‘house of God’; a church is designated by a borrowed term eglise. In Navajo a synagogue is a ‘house of gathering’ and the temple ‘a house of worship.’ In some languages it has seemed expedient to identify the difference between a church and a synagogue by qualifying a synagogue as being used by Jews, e.g. ‘Jews’ praise-God house’ (Black Bobo). An even closer parallel to church is found in ‘church of Jews’ for synagogue (Mitla Zapotec, Chontal of Oaxaca). Because of the fact that the ancient synagogues were also used as a place for the instruction of children during the week, some translators have used ‘school house,’ but this is inadequate to convey the religious significance of the structure.

Mark 1:22

Exegesis exeplēssonto (6:2, 7:37, 10:26, 11:18) ‘they were astonished’: the compound verb is from plessō ‘strike,’ ‘smite’ (cf Rev. 8:12), and has a very strong meaning ‘they were amazed,’ ‘they were overwhelmed.’ Abbott-Smith: ‘strike with panic or shock, amaze, astonish.’ The third person plural of the verb is appropriately called an “impersonal plural” by Turner: “Mark meant … simply ‘people were astonished.’ ” (Journal of Theological Studies 25.378, 1923–4; cf. Black Aramaic, 91; Howard II, 447f).

epi tē didachē autou ‘at his teaching.’

epi ‘at’ ‘on the ground of’: after verbs which express feelings, opinions, etc. it means ‘at,’ ‘because of,’ ‘from’ ‘with’ (cf Arndt & Gingrich II.l.b.g).

didachē ‘teaching’: either in the active sense of the act of teaching itself (cf. 4:2, 12:38), or in the passive sense of that which is taught, teaching, doctrine (cf. 1:27, 11:18). There is difference of opinion over the meaning here (cf. Arndt & Gingrich); the context, however, seems to favor the active sense of the word (in v. 27, however, didachē kainē ‘new teaching’ has the passive sense).

ēn didaskōn ‘was teaching’: this verbal phrase is better translated into English by ‘he was teaching’ rather than by ‘he taught’ (cf. Turner Journal of Theological Studies, 28.349, 1926–7; Brazilian ensinava).

hōs exousian echōn ‘as one having authority’: the phrase describes the “manner of an action” (Burton Moods and Tenses, 445–46), here, of course, the manner of teaching (cf. the parallel Lk 4:32).

echōn ‘having’: ‘as one who has authority’ (cf. Brazilian como quem tem autoridade). This participle, however, instead of being independent “one having” (as most translations have it), may modify the subject of the main verb ‘he was teaching them as though he had authority,’

exousian (1:27, 2:10, 3:15, 6:7, 11:28, 29, 33, 13:34) ‘authority’: the word has several shades of meaning: ‘freedom of choice, right to act’: ‘ability, capacity, might, power’; ‘authority, absolute power’ (Arndt & Gingrich).

The whole phrase has been examined by Daube New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism 205–12, who concludes that it here refers to “Rabbinic [i.e. one ordained] authority, and not like the ordinary teachers.” The meaning ‘like a king’ has been advocated (Expository Times, 66.254 1955; 66.350, 1955; 67.17, 1955), receiving some support from Manson: ‘with a right to command,’

hoi grammateis (21 times in Mark) ‘the scribes.’ By the time of the N.T. the word had developed from its original sense of a copyist of the law to that of an authorized interpreter ‘a biblical scholar, teacher of the law’ (Abbott-Smith), ‘experts in the law, scholars versed in the law’ (Arndt & Gingrich). Luke uses also nomikoi ‘lawyers’ and nomodidaskaloi ‘teachers of the law.’

Translation To be astonished at, as might be expected of such a psychologically significant expression, is translated in a variety of ways, some of which are highly figurative, e.g. ‘confusing the inside of the head’ (Mende), ‘shiver in the liver’ (Uduk, Kabba-Laka), ‘to lose one’s heart’ (Miskito, Tzotzil), ‘to shake’ (Black Bobo), ‘to be with mouth open’ (Huanuco Quechua).

Since the subject of were astonished has not been previously identified, one must usually either specify a noun as the object of ‘taught’ (verse 21) or introduce a subject such as ‘the people’ as the subject of ‘were astonished’ in verse 22. More often than not, however, the verb ‘to teach’ requires an object, and hence an object introduced at the end of 21 provides the appropriate referent for the subject of verse 22. (For a discussion of some of the lexical problems in “teach” see 2:13).

Since teaching should probably be taken in the active sense in this context, it is often rendered best as ‘astonished at the way he taught.’ In Tarahumara this is rendered idiomatically as ‘when he taught them they kept quiet.’

Authority is a term with a very wide area of meaning, and in this situation it must usually be qualified in such a way as to make it contextually appropriate. In some languages, of course, one can speak of ‘power,’ ‘right,’ or ‘strength to command’; but in other languages one must say ‘taught them like a chief not like the writers of the law’ or ‘taught like a person who had the power to command them.’ Cf. Bare’e ‘someone who thrones upon (sits on the chair of) authority.’

The scribes (see above) were more than mere writers of the law. They were the trained interpreters of the law and expounders of tradition. In Kiyaka, spoken in the Congo, the scribes are designated as ‘clerks in God’s house’ and in Ifugao these are ‘men who wrote and taught in the synagogue.’ In Navajo a compound expression ‘teaching-writers’ is used, as an attempt to emphasize their dual function. In Shipibo, however, it seemed enough simply to call such people ‘book-wise persons’ (knowledge of books and writing would of necessity mean a distinct prestige class to these rather primitive Shipibo people in Upper Amazonia). In San Blas an excellent descriptive phrase has been employed, namely, ‘those who knew the Jews’ ways.’ Among the Loma people of Liberia it has seemed quite enough to call the scribes ‘the educated ones,’ while in Huave the area of learning is more circumscribed, e.g. ‘those knowing holy paper,’ and in Mazahua the equivalent is ‘writers of holy words.’ In Indonesian they are called ‘experts in the Torah’ and in Bare’e ‘men skilled in the ordinances.’

Some languages require the full form of clauses which in Greek or English may be left elliptical, e.g. and not as the scribes becomes ‘he did not teach as the scribes taught’ (Black Bobo).

Mark 1:23

Text Textus Receptus omits euthus ‘immediately’: its inclusion, however, is accepted by all modern editions of the Greek text.

RSV ends the verse at “unclean spirit”: all editions of the Greek text, however, include also in this verse kai anekraxen ‘and he cried out’; the following discussion conforms to the RSV division.

Exegesis euthus ēn ‘immediately (there) was’: as it stands this phrase is difficult to translate RSV “immediately there was” is impossible English, unless was can mean ‘came,’ ‘entered’ (which Weymouth’s “all at once there was” actually means; cf. BFBS, Berkeley: “just then there was.” The weakened sense ‘now’ is adopted by some (Manson; “now … there was”); Moffatt connects ‘immediately’ with ‘cried out’: “who at once shrieked out.” Two alternatives offer themselves: (1) euthus may be understood in a general sense ‘now,’ ‘then’; (2) ēn ‘was’ may be taken as equivalent to egeneto ‘came,’ ‘appeared,’ The second is probably to be preferred, cf. Gould: “No sooner [was Jesus] in the synagogue than this demoniac appeared.” Cf. Brazilian: Nao tardou que aparecesse. A man with an unclean spirit would not normally be in attendance at the worship service in the synagogue.

anthrōpos ‘man’ here equals the indefinite pronoun tis ‘a certain one’ (cf. Black Aramaic, 251).

ēn pneumati akathartō ‘in an unclean spirit’ (1:26, 27, 3:11, 30, 5:2, 8, 13, 6:7, 7:25, 9:25; cf. pneuma alalon ‘dumb spirit’ 9:17, 25; and to pneuma ‘the spirit’ 9:20).

en ‘in,’ ‘with’ has the force of the Hebrew Be with the meaning ‘having’ (cf. 5:2, and Lk. 4:33); Howard (II, 464) calls it a “Semitism of thought.” Arndt & Gingrich (I.5.d.) translate “under the special influence of a demonic spirit” (cf. Swete “under spiritual influence”), while Lagrange, with particular reference to Rom. 8:9, suggests “a man in whom was an unclean spirit.”

pneuma akatharton is best understood as ‘a spirit (which makes the man) unclean.’ Grant (Interpreter’s Bible) suggests physical impurity; what is probably meant, however, is ceremonial, moral, or spiritual defilement or pollution. Moulton & Milligan quote a magical papyrus in which the word has the “moral sense of an unclean demon” (cf. Zech. 13:2).

Translation If was is to be interpreted in the sense of ‘appeared,’ which is probably the most likely (demoniacs would not normally be in a synagogue service since the possession of a spirit would make them unclean and hence ceremonially unacceptable), one may translate ‘right then a man with an unclean spirit appeared.’

There are a number of different ways in which people speak of demon control …’ (one Chinese translation), ‘someone hit by an evil spirit’ (South Toradja), ‘… standing around inside of’ (Navajo), ‘a man has an unclean spirit’ and ‘an unclean spirit has a man.’

In many languages it is impossible to distinguish between the word used for ‘spirit’ in this context (speaking of ‘unclean spirit’) and the word for ‘demon.’ Any attempt to make a distinction, when none actually exists in the language in question, may only lead to misunderstanding. Accordingly, unclean spirit may simply be ‘unclean demon.’

At the same time, it is not always easy to distinguish between ‘unclean spirit’ and ‘evil spirit.’ The latter is not too difficult because such spirits are often regarded as morally bad, hence, evil. However, in many cultures there is no use of ‘unclean’ in the sense of ceremonially or religiously unacceptable. Some translators have tried to use the equivalent of ‘dirty demon,’ but this has often appeared to be a very strange expression. What is more, the real significance of the term ‘unclean’ is not primarily the appearance of the spirit itself so much as the fact that the possession of such a spirit made the person in question unclean, i.e. ceremonially in some languages a word meaning ‘unclean’ may have no moral significance, but a term such as ‘ugly’ may. For example, in Chontal of Tabasco the closest equivalent of unclean spirit is ‘ugly spirit.’

Since in many languages there are a number of different kinds of spirits, it is of extreme importance that one carefully study all the types and be sure that any word chosen for ‘spirit’ in this context is appropriate. One thing is quite certain, namely, that in most instances it will be different from the word employed in the phrase ‘Holy Spirit.’

Mark 1:24

Text The interjection ea ‘ah!’ included by Textus Receptus (before ti ‘what’). is accepted also by Vogels and Soden (who places it in brackets): it is rejected, however, by Tischendorf, Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Kilpatrick, Souter and Turner.

Instead of oida ‘I know’ of most editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus, Tischendorf and Soden have oidamen ‘we know.’

Exegesis anekraxen legōn ‘cried out, saying’: modern translations need not adopt Marcan style and translate both the main verb and the participle (cf. the similar construction in v. 7); one verb is sufficient: ‘cried out,’ ‘shouted.’ It is to be noticed that the subject of the verb is he (the man) and not it (the spirit); the participle legōn is masculine.

ti hēmin kai soi (this same construction is found in 5:7; Mt. 8:29, 27:19; Lk 4:34, 8:28; Jn 2:4) literally ‘what to us and to you?’ In classical Greek the phrase would mean ‘What have we in common?’ Here, however, it corresponds to the Hebrew ‘What do you meddle with me?’ (cf. Taylor; in LXX see Judg. 11:12, 2 Sam. 16:10, 19:23, 1 Kg. 17:18, etc.) BFBS: “Why are You interfering with us?” Goodspeed (Problems, 100f) discusses the phrase at length, and Lagrange succinctly defines its meaning: “It is employed to reject an intervention which is at least premature, not to say inopportune” (cf. H. M. Buck, TBT 7.149–50, 1956).

Notice the plurals hēmin and hēmas ‘us’: not simply this demonic spirit, but the whole class of unclean spirits is involved. Or else the plural may reflect the feeling of multiple personalities, common in persons suffering from demon possession (cf. 5:1–13).

ēlthes apolesai hēmas; ‘have you come to destroy us?’ The phrase is thus understood as a question by Greek editions of the text (Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Kilpatrick, Souter), commentators and translations (Lagrange, AV, ASV, RSV, BFBS, Manson, Knox, Synodale, Zürich, Brazilian, Weymouth, Berkeley); others have taken it to be an assertion (Tischendorf, Soden, Merk, Vogels, Taylor, Turner, Swete, Rawlinson). There is nothing in grammar or context definitely to decide which should be preferred.

ēlthes ‘you came’: a few see here the meaning, ‘you came into the world‘ (Swete, Taylor); this interpretation, however, has not commended itself to many.

apolesai ‘to destroy’: the infinitive here expresses purpose. The verb apollumi is used in three ways in Mark: (1) in the active ‘to destroy,’ ‘to cause to perish,’ 1:24, 3:6, 9:22, 11:18, 12:9; (2) ‘to lose,’ 8:35 (twice), 9:41; (3) in the middle or passive ‘to be destroyed,’ ‘to perish’ ‘to be lost,’ 2:22, 4:38.

oida se tis ei literally ‘I know you who you are’: the personal pronoun se ‘you’ is the object of oida ‘I know,’ and the interrogative clause tis ei ‘who you are’ explicitly defines the content of ‘I know.’ The interrogative pronoun tis ‘who,’ though in apposition to se ‘you’ (which is in the accusative case), is in the nominative case because it is the subject of ei ‘you are’ (cf. Robertson Grammar, 488).

ho hagios tou theou (also in Lk. 4:34, Jn 6:69) ‘the Holy (One) of God’: although the majority of commentators and translations treat this phrase as a Messianic title, Lagrange points out that the phrase is not known in the relevant literature as a Messianic title. The phrase could very well be vocative ‘you holy man of God!’ (Grant). Whatever may have been the meaning of the words as spoken by the possessed man, it is certain that in Mark the meaning is Christian, i.e. fully Messianic, ‘the Holy One of God.’ Between the two possible meanings, ‘the Holy One who comes from God,’ and ‘the Holy One who belongs to God,’ probably the latter is to be preferred.

Translation Cried out means a ‘shout’ or ‘scream’ (terms meaning ‘weeping’ must be carefully avoided).

Note that there are significant shifts in persons in this verse (as in other contexts dealing with demon possession, cf. Mark 5:6–12). The subject of the verb, however, is the man.

The Semitic idiom rendered in the RSV as “What have you to do with us” is variously translated in other languages, e.g. ‘why do you bother us,’ ‘what are you going to do to us,’ ‘why do you disturb us,’ and ‘why are we any of your business.’

Jesus of Nazareth must often be rendered as ‘Jesus from Nazareth town.’

To destroy may be translated in some languages as simply ‘to kill’ when speaking of the destruction of demons, since they regard them as a somewhat different type of being. Accordingly, one must in some instances say ‘to cause to end’ (Tzeltal), ‘to put out of sight’ (Mitla Zapotec), or ‘to blot out completely.’

The Greek verb translated ‘know’ in this verse implies somewhat more than mere recognition. In some languages the equivalent is ‘I know full well.’

The Holy One of God presents a number of problems for the translator. In the first place, some languages do not permit the use of an indefinite ‘one’ in such a construction. They would require ‘person,’ but this is also a source of difficulty, for ‘person’ in some languages will not admit of grammatical possession. Hence, in such languages one must use ‘Son,’ if the passage is to make sense (Huichol, Tzeltal, Kekchi). On the other hand, Maninka can quite readily use ‘God’s Holy Person.’ If, however, one adopts the meaning of ‘comes from God’ some of the grammatical problems are eliminated, e.g. ‘the Holy One who comes from God’ (Huastec, Ifugao, Kiyaka, South Toradja, Bare’e, Indonesian).

Mark 1:25

Exegesis epetimesēn (3:12, 4:39, 8:30, 32, 33, 9:25, 10:13, 48) ‘he rebuked.’ The verb literally means ‘to lay a timē [price, value] upon’ and originally it had a favorable meaning (cf. Abbott-Smith); in the N.T. however, it has the unfavorable meaning of ‘censure,’ ‘rebuke’ and even ‘punish,’ Moulton & Milligan: ‘censure,’ ‘lay under a penalty.’ This idea of censure, however, disappears in many instances; Arndt & Gingrich remark: “speak seriously, warn in order to prevent an action or bring one to an end,” and Kilpatrick (TBT, 7.6, 1956) finds this meaning uniformly in Mark; it is a command, rather than a reproof, and is specifically a prohibition, “desist from an action being performed” (cf. Lagrange: “issue a formal command”). In this verse, therefore, ‘prohibit,’ ‘stop,’ ‘command’ is to be preferred to ‘rebuke,’

autō ‘him’ or ‘it’: although, as we saw above, the subject of the verb ‘cried out’ is the man, not the spirit, the pronoun autō in this verse refers to the unclean spirit, as the content of the order which follows shows. A translation should make this clear: “him” (AV, ASV, RSV, BFBS, Manson, Knox) is ambiguous and possibly misleading; ‘it’ (Moffatt) is clear (cf. Weymouth, “the spirit”).

phimōthēti (4:39) ‘be silent!’: the literal meaning of the verb phimoō ‘bridle,’ ‘muzzle’ does not survive in Mark (cf. Arndt & Gingrich, 2); Moulton & Milligan quote Rohde on the use of this word with the sense of binding a person by means of a spell so as to make him powerless to harm, and give examples from the papyri. Notice that the only other place it is used in Mark (4:39), it is addressed to the storm.

Translation The introductory verb in this verse may be translated as ‘rebuke’ (in the sense of ‘scold’ or ‘censure’), but it is probably more accurately rendered as ‘to command sternly.’

The second verb of direct discourse, namely, saying is probably better omitted in most languages.

If the language in question distinguishes in pronominal reference between a demon and a man, one should make certain that the object of the command is the demon. In some instances it may even be wise to introduce the noun object, e.g. ‘sternly commanded the unclean spirit.’

Be silent is in Greek a firm, but not undignified way of demanding silence, equivalent more to English keep quiet than to shut up.

Whether one can translate literally ‘come out’ depends largely upon the manner in which people speak of demon possession. For example, in Kiyaka demons do not get into people, but are spoken of as ‘grabbing people,’ hence the appropriate term in this case would be ‘let go.’ In Ifugao the normal way of speaking would be ‘get out,’ not ‘come out.’ The appropriate term in any language will, as in all such types of problems, depend upon the traditional perspective reflected in normal usage.

Mark 1:26

Exegesis sparaxan (9:26) ‘convulsing.’ The word clearly points to a seizure, a convulsion (cf. 9:20, Lk. 9:39). A man suffering an attack of this sort is described as anthropos sparattomenos ‘a man convulsed’ (Arndt & Gingrich).

to pneuma to akatharton ‘the unclean spirit’ is in the nominative case, and is the subject of all the verbs in the verse.

sparaxan kai phōnēsan ‘convulsing … and shouting’ are both aorist participles, whose action is simultaneous with that of the main verb exēlthen ‘went out.’ The RSV “crying” should not be understood in the sense of weeping.

Translation Convulsing him should be translated by a term used to identify such types of seizures as occur in epilepsy. It is not enough to say ‘shook him.’ Such fits may of course be described in various ways in different languages. In Tzeltal, for example, such an attack is spoken of as ‘his wind was stopped.’

Crying with a loud voice is simply ‘yelled,’ but note that the spirit is the one who is credited with the scream, not the man.

In some languages the three actions of ‘convulsing,’ ‘yelling,’ and ‘coming out’ may have to be placed in a temporal sequence, but generally they can be rendered as ‘as the unclean spirit caused the man to have a fit and screamed out it came out of him.’

Mark 1:27

Text The reading pros hautous (=heautous) ‘among themselves’ of Textus Receptus is accepted also by Soden, Souter, Vogels, Merk, Lagrange, Kilpatrick, and (apparently) RSV; the reading autous ‘they’ is preferred by Tischendorf, Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Taylor, Turner.

Instead of didachē kainē kat’ exousian (disregarding punctuation) ‘a new teaching according to authority’ of the majority of modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus and Kilpatrick have tis hē didachē hē kainē hautē hoti kat’ exousian ‘what (is) this new teaching for according to authority,’ an obvious expansion of the original for the sake of smoothness.

Punctuation The clause kat’ exousian ‘according to authority’ may be joined either to didachē kainē ‘new teaching’ or to epitassei ‘he commands.’ The first is preferred by Tischendorf, Nestle, Vogels, Soden, Turner, Lagrange, Moffatt, Berkeley, Weymouth, Zürich, Gould, Taylor; the second is favored by AV, ASV, RSV BFBS, Knox, Synodale, Brazilian, Swete. Field (Notes, 24) believes the second is confirmed by the parallel passage Lk. 4:36. Daube’s lengthy discussion of the phrase (New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, 212–16) favors the first construction.

Although there is division of opinion on this passage, it would seem that the prepositional phrase, with adverbial force, rather modifies the verb epitassei ‘he commands’ than the noun didachē ‘teaching.’

Exegesis ethambēthēsan (10:24, 32) ‘were amazed’: a strong word, meaning ‘be astounded, amazed’ (Arndt & Gingrich; cf. Lagrange).

hōste suzētein ‘so as to question’: the consecutive particle hōste ‘so that’ plus the infinitive of the verb, to express result, is found also in 1:45, 2:2, 12, 3:10, 20, 4:1, 32, 37, 9:26, 15:5.

suzētein (8:11, 9:10, 14, 16, 12:28) ‘discuss,’ ‘debate’ (cf. Moulton & Milligan; Kennedy Sources, 155). As Marcan usage demonstrates, a group is always implied (even when the verb is used absolutely, as at 12:28), so that the sense is that of an exchange (if not conflict) of opinions. Even if autous ‘they’ of the Nestle text is read (instead of pros hautous ‘among themselves’ of the RSV), the sense will still be that of debate or discussion.

didachē ‘teaching’: here in the passive sense of the content of the teaching, “doctrine” (cf. 1:22).

kainē (2:21, 22, 14:25, 16:17) ‘new’: the old distinction between kainos ‘new’ of quality and neos ‘new’ of time (cf. Taylor) is not always observed in the New Testament (cf. R. A. Harrisville “The Concept of Newness in the New Testament,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 74.69–79, 1955, who concludes that the terms are synonymous in the N.T., implying both qualitative and temporal newness).

kat’ exousian epitassei ‘with authority … he commands,’ ‘authoritatively … he orders,’

exousia ‘authority’ (cf. v. 22).

epitassō (6:27, 39, 9:25) ‘order,’ ‘command,’

kai ‘and’ has what is called the ascensive force, meaning ‘even’ (cf. Robertson Grammar, 1181).

hupakoousin (4:41) ‘they obey’: from the literal idea of ‘listen,’ ‘attend’ (Abbott-Smith) follows the idea of ‘be subject to.’ Arndt & Gingrich see here the element of unwillingness, ‘they are forced to obey him.’

Translation It is essential that ‘they’ refer to the people, not to the immediately preceding referents, namely, Jesus, the man, and the demon. Hence, it is often necessary to introduce a noun subject ‘the people.’

It is not easy to distinguish readily between the two Greek terms translated ‘amazed’ in this verse and ‘astonished’ in verse 22. In many languages one must use the same expression in both cases. Possibly, however, the expression in verse 27 should be even stronger than in 22, for a miracle had taken place in the meantime and the amazement of the people should have been greatly heightened. (The Tzeltal expression ‘felt like dying’ is an interesting idiom for extreme amazement.’

Questioned among themselves may be rendered as ‘kept saying to one another.’ Note, however, that in some languages one must be precise about words which introduce direct discourse. If, for example, a question follows, one must use a word meaning ‘to ask’ or ‘to question.’ If a statement is involved, the introductory verb must be ‘to say,’ ‘to declare,’ etc. If an exclamation follows, some other appropriate term must be chosen. Certain languages require constant attention to such details.

Where it is possible to distinguish neatly between the qualitative and temporal values of ‘new,’ it is entirely legitimate to use a term in this context which implies ‘different’ (for this type of context this can be the significance of the Greek kainos, in contrast with neos): hence, ‘different teaching’ (Ifugao).

If teaching is to be taken in the passive sense in this context (and this certainly seems to be the correct interpretation), one may translate ‘What different words he teaches!’ or ‘what different (or new) teachings.’

In some languages authority must in this context be made concrete rather than left abstract, e.g. ‘as a ruler he commands’ or ‘as one who has power (or is powerful) he commands.’

Most languages have quite acceptable terms meaning ‘to obey,’ but in this context the specific nature of the obedience may require some descriptive phrase, e.g. ‘do what he says,’ ‘take hold of his words’ (Black Bobo), or ‘accept his orders.’

Mark 1:28

Text Textus Receptus omits pantachou ‘everywhere’: all modern editions of the Greek text include it. As Turner (Journal of Theological Studies, 28.155, 1926–7) says: “A redundant expression quite in Mark’s style.”

Exegesis hē akoē autou ‘the report about (concerning) him,’

akoē (7:35, 13:7) has here the passive sense of something heard, ‘fame,’ ‘report,’ ‘rumor’; in the plural in 7:35 it means ‘ears’ (cf. Lk 7:1, Acts 17:20).

autou ‘of him’ means ‘about him,’

pantachou (16:20) ‘everywhere,’ ‘in all directions,’ an adverb modifying exēlthen ‘went out,’

holēn tēn perichōron tēs Galilaias ‘all the region of Galilee,’

tēn perichōron ‘surrounding territory,’ ‘region round about.’ The phrase may be understood in three senses: (1) ‘the region which surrounds Galilee’ (so AV, BFBS); apparently Matthew understood it thus, in writing holē hē Suria ‘all Syria’ (4:24); (2) ‘the whole neighbourhood of Galilee,’ that is, Galilee itself; the majority take it in this sense (Manson, Knox, Moffatt, RSV; Synodale: dans toute la contrée environnante, en Galilée); and (3) ‘all the region of Galilee around Capernaum‘. so Gould and Taylor, who refers to Lk 4:37 for confirmation. The majority of translations and commentators prefer the second interpretation.

Translation His fame spread is a phrase which must be syntactically reconstructed in many languages, for his actually identifies the goal of the process of spreading reputation. For example, in Zacapoastla Aztec one can only say ‘they heard about him in all Galilee.’ In other languages one may say ‘his matter was spoken of much.’ In most instances, however, ‘fame does not spread’ but ‘people speak much of a person’—which of course is semantically equivalent to the same thing.

If one adopts the second interpretation of the phrase throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee (see above), one may translate ‘all the region which was Galilee’ or ‘in all the area round about there, namely, in Galilee.’

Mark 1:29

Text exelthōn ēlthen ‘he left and came’ of the RSV is the text preferred by Swete, Merk, Taylor; the reading exelthontes ēlthon ‘they left and came’ is preferred by the majority. Turner (Journal of Theological Studies, 28.155, 1926–7) is of the opinion that the plural is correct since it would be easier for scribes to change the plural to the singular than vice-versa.

Exegesis meta Iakōbou kai Iōannou ‘with James and John’ goes with ‘they left and came’ Cf. Weymouth: “They came at once, with James and John, to the house.…”

Translation Immediately in this kind of context is in many languages equivalent to ‘and then’ or ‘and next.’

Because this verse begins a new section, which is often set off by some sort of section heading or title, it may be advisable to employ ‘Jesus’ rather than ‘he,’ since the reference tends to be ambiguous, especially when four other persons are specifically named in this verse.

With James and John must be so translated that it does not mean that these two men were also co-owners of the house with Simon and Andrew, a meaning which has been inadvertently implied in a number of translations. In order to avoid the difficulty one may (1) combine James and John with the subject, ‘Jesus, accompanied by James and John, …’ (Chol, Sans Blas) or ‘he besides James and John they went into …’ (Kpelle), (2) set off James and John as a separate clause or sentence at the end of the verse, ‘… James and John went along’ (Mazahua), ‘followed by James and John’ (Balinese).

In order to specify that a house belongs to two different people, it is necessary in some languages to be quite specific, e.g. ‘house of Simon; he owned it with Andrew’ (Popoluca).

Mark 1:30

Exegesis katekeito (2:4, 15, 14:3) ‘she was lying down,’ ‘she lay sick.’ Moulton & Milligan give examples from the papyri with the meaning ‘to be ill’ and Field (Notes, 25) translates “kept her bed, being sick of a fever.”

puressousa (only here in Mark) ‘feverish,’ ‘(with) a fever.’ The present participle is in the nominative case modifying penthera ‘mother-in-law,’ and has a causative force: “Simon’s mother-in-law, because she had a fever, was in bed.…” Lagrange and Taylor point out that the participle itself does not necessarily mean that a prolonged siege of the fever is implied; all it says is that when Jesus and the others entered the house, she was in bed, sick.

legousin ‘they tell’: with considerable probability Turner (Journal of Theological Studies, 25–378, 1923–4) classifies this as an impersonal plural, meaning simply ‘he (Jesus) was told’; Mark does not mean that Simon and Andrew with James and John told him. Taylor, however, is of the opinion that the companions of Simon are meant (cf. Swete and Lagrange).

Translation The RSV now is purely transitional, not temporal.

Simon’s mother-in-law may be rendered ‘the mother of Simon’s wife,’ unless there are more idiomatic or specific terms for designating such a relationship.

To have a fever seems to us as English speakers to be a perfectly legitimate way of talking about a fever, but in other languages fevers may ‘have people.’ There are, in fact, a number of different ways in which one may speak of this type of illness, e.g. ‘heat was hers’ (Black Bobo), ‘thrown down by a fever’ (Tzeltal), ‘making a fever’ (Shipibo), or ‘taken by God with fever’ (Shilluk, in which all illness is spoken of as ‘being taken by God,’ an idiom which cannot be avoided in the Scriptures).

The Greek text implies two elements in ‘lay sick’ one that the mother-in-law was in bed and the second that she was sick with a fever. Both of these circumstances must be specifically indicated.

If a language distinguishes case, gender, and number (as in most Indo-European languages), it is quite easy to translate the clause they told him of her by the use of three pronouns. However, in Mazatec (see TBT, 1.136–37, 1950) there are no such distinctions indicated in the verb construction and as a result there can be as many as 32 ambiguities unless nouns are used to distinguish clearly who speaks to whom about what. In fact, if the ‘him’ and ‘her’ are ambiguous, this clause is almost inevitably misunderstood, for it would be more natural for the people to tell the woman about Jesus than the reverse. In many languages, therefore, it is necessary to employ nouns rather than pronouns to identify the participants, e.g. ‘the people there told Jesus about the woman.’ In some languages, however, a phrase ‘about the woman’ does not fit the context, because of the specific nature of the information and so the clause must be changed to read ‘told Jesus that she was sick’ (Tarahumara).

Mark 1:31

Text With considerable mss. support Textus Receptus, Vogels, Soden and Kilpatrick have eutheōs ‘immediately’ after ho puretos ‘the fever,’ a reading rejected by the majority of modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis proselthōn ēgeiren autēn kratēsas tēs cheiros ‘approaching he raised her by (means of) seizing (her by) her hand,’ i.e. “he came near, grasped her hand and raised her.”

proserchomai (6:35, 10:2, 12:28, 14:35, 45) ‘approach,’ ‘come to,’ ‘draw near’: the precise application here is a matter of discussion, the majority taking it to mean ‘approaching the patient‘ (cf. Swete); Lagrange, however, takes it to mean ‘entering the room‘.

egeirō ‘rise’ ‘raise’ appears in Mark 19 times: (1) without an object, ‘rise,’ ‘arise’ from a recumbent or sitting position, 3:3, 10:49; from sleep, 4:27 (cf. diegertheis in 4:39), 14:42; from illness, 2:9, 11, 12; from death, 5:41 (cf. Exegesis of 5:39), 6:14, 16, 12:26, 14:28, 16:6, 14; figuratively ‘rise up,’ ‘appear,’ 13:8, 22; (2) with an object, ‘raise,’ ‘arouse,’ ‘lift up’ from sleep, 4:38; from illness, 1:31, 9:27.

krateō ‘grasp,’ ‘seize,’ ‘lay hold (of)’: the verb is used in three ways in Mark: (1) ‘seize,’ ‘grasp’ with the genitive (as here): 1:31, 5:41, 9:27 (2) ‘take hold of,’ ‘dominate,’ subdue,’ ‘arrest’ with the accusative: 3:21, 6:17, 12:12, 14:1, 44, 46, 49, 51; and (3) ‘hold on (to),’ ‘retain,’ ‘observe’ with the accusative: 7:3, 4, 8, 9:10.

diēkonei (cf. v. 13) ‘she served’: the subject is penthera ‘mother-in-law.’

Translation Came is probably best taken in the sense of ‘came to where she was.’

Lifted her up must be carefully translated, for some languages make quite fine distinctions, e.g. ‘raise from a reclining position to a sitting one,’ ‘raise from a sitting position to a standing one,’ and ‘lift entirely off the ground.’ (In more than one translation examined this last meaning has been employed, much to the amazement of the readers.) Obviously the first meaning is here most appropriate.

A fever may leave us, but in other languages a patient may ‘leave the fever’ (Shipibo) or ‘become cool’ (Huichol), or ‘the heat may be driven out’ (Black Bobo).

She served them may be rendered as ‘she gave them food to eat,’ ‘she took care of their needs,’ or ‘she worked for them’ (Kpelle).

Mark 1:32

Exegesis hote edusen ho hēlios ‘when the sun set’ means ‘after the sun had set’ (cf. Manson, Weymouth, Berkeley; Zürich nach Sonnenuntergang, Synodale apres le coucher du soleil).

epheron ‘they carried,’ ‘they brought’: in his study of the word Turner (Journal of Theological Studies, 26.12–14, 1924–5) shows that Mark uses pherō in the sense of ‘bring’ rather than the restricted sense of ‘carry.’ He finds that meaning in this passage and in 2:3, 7:32, 8:22, 9:17, 9:20, 11:2, 7, 15:22. The third person plural ‘they brought’ is another example of the impersonal plural (cf. ‘they told’ in v. 30). The imperfect tense of the verb describes a continued process ‘they kept bringing.’

tous kakōs echontas (1:34, 2:17, 6:55) literally ‘those having (it) badly.’ This phrase includes all sorts of sickness and disease, but is always distinguished from demon-possession. Moulton & Milligan cite examples from the papyri of the use of this phrase to describe sick people.

tous daimonizomenous (5:15, 16, 18) ‘the demon-possessed (ones)’: the verb daimonizomai ‘to be under the power of a demon’ always appears as a participle in Mark describing the condition of the person, or persons, under the power of a demon, or unclean spirit.

Translation The expression that evening, at sundown is not to be interpreted purely as tautological or meaninglessly repetitious. There is a point to this very emphatic statement, for it shows clearly that the people who attended the synagogue and saw the miracle were, however, very pious Jews and would not bring their sick to Jesus until after the Sabbath had passed, namely, until the sun was completely down. The equivalent in some languages is ‘late in the day’ after the sun had set’ (or ‘disappeared’).

They must often be rendered as ‘the people in that place.’ Otherwise it will be assumed that the persons mentioned in the immediately preceding section are meant, namely, those of the household of Simon and Andrew.

Sick in this verse should include the most generic term to indicate any and all varieties of ailments.

Possessed with demons (see 1:23) is a phrase which must be carefully studied in the light of the indigenous religious beliefs,—not that the translation should conform to local superstitions, but that the terms employed may not be misleading or meaningless. For example, in Loma one cannot say ‘possessed with demons’ but ‘they had demons behind them.’ In Kekchi one must not say that ‘demons are in a person’ (this may mean simply in the stomach of the victim), but ‘with a person.’ In Timorese the demon ‘mounts the person.’

In a number of languages there is a distinction between two different types of malevolent spirits: (1) those which are disembodied spirits of dead persons and (2) those which inhabit the forest, caves, or forbidden places and which are linked in some cases in an elaborate hierarchy to other even more malicious spirits of the universe, such as the devil. The latter are the spirits which should be identified as demons.

Mark 1:33

Exegesis holē hē polis ‘the whole city’: another instance of a popular and vivid way of describing an event which draws the attention of a large number of people (cf. v. 5).

ēn episunēgmenē ‘was gathered’: another example (cf. v. 6) of a verbal phrase consisting of the auxiliary verb eimi ‘to be’ plus the perfect participle of the main verb, who meaning is not past perfect ‘had been gathered’ but perfect ‘was gathered’ (cf. Turner Journal of Theological Studies, 28.349, 1926–7).

pros tēn thuran ‘toward the door.’ Swete: “the accusative dwells on the thought of the flocking up to the door … and the surging, moving mass before it” (cf. 2:2, 11:4).

Translation Obviously in many languages one cannot say ‘the whole city gathered together.’ This figure of speech, in which one object is used as a name for another, must be adjusted in numerous instances, e.g. ‘all the inhabitants of the city came together (Balinese), ‘all those of the city were gathered’ (Shipibo), ‘and all who belonged to the same town’ (Toba Batak), and ‘all people of the town came’ (Chontal of Tabasco).

Door is the door of the house, not the gate, but many languages have two words for ‘door’: (1) the object which closes the aperture and (2) the opening through which people pass. Because of the crowd and the likelihood that Jesus was in or near the doorway or that people were passing in and out, it would be better to employ the second, rather than the first meaning.

Mark 1:34

Exegesis etherapeusen (3:2, 10, 6:5, 13) ‘he healed,’ ‘he cured,’ ‘he restored’: as the context indicates, both in this passage and elsewhere, the meaning is not that of caring for, or treating a sick person; it means to effect a cure.

pollous kakōs echontas poikilais nosois ‘many who were gravely ill with various diseases,’

kakōs echontas (see v. 32) ‘sick,’ ‘ill,’

poikilais nosois (only here in Mark) ‘with various diseases’: the words are in the dative instrumental case.

kai daimonia polla exebalen ‘and he cast out many demons’: notice that hoi daimonizomenoi ‘the demon-possessed ones’ in v. 32 are the same as the man en pneumati akathartō ‘in an unclean spirit’ of vv. 23, 26. No distinction is drawn between ‘the unclean spirits’ and ‘the demons’; they are the same.

ekballō (cf. 1:12) ‘cast out,’ ‘drive out,’ i.e. cast out the demon, or spirit, from the person possessed by it.

hoti ‘because’: here it is causative, not declarative (as Synodale translates it).

ēdeisan auton ‘they knew him’: the demons recognized Jesus himself and knew who he was, not merely what was his mission (Lagrange).

Translation Sick with various diseases is not to be understood that the same people had numerous different diseases. The sense is distributive, many people and different diseases.

Cast out … demons is an expression which must in many instances be adapted to the local psychological viewpoint. For example, in one instance a native speaker asked, “How could Jesus ‘throw out’ the demons? Was he inside the man in order to do it?” Obviously, the translation in that language had failed to take into consideration the appropriate manner in which one must speak of the process of healing demon-possessed persons. In many languages one must say ‘to cause to come out’ (More), in others ‘take out demons’ (Mazatec), ‘drove many evil spirits from behind them (Kpelle, Loma).

The same verb for ‘know’ employed in verse 24 should be used here.

Mark 1:35

Exegesis prōi ennucha lian ‘exceedingly early, while still dark’: the piling up of three adverbs indicates that it was very early, long before sunrise. The whole adverbial phrase modifies the verb ‘to rise.’

prōi (11:20, 13:35, 15:1, 16:2, 9) ‘early,’ ‘in the morning.’

ennucha (only here in N.T.), an adverb, properly the neuter plural form of ennuchos ‘in the night,’ ‘at night time.’

lian (6:51, 9:3, 16:2) ‘very,’ ‘exceedingly.’

anastas exēlthen kai apēlthen ‘rising he went out and (went) away’: Turner (Journal of Theological Studies, 28.155, 1926–7) notes this use of two almost synonymous verbs as characteristically Marcan.

anastas occurs 17 more times in the sense of ‘rise’ (it does not appear in Mark with the meaning ‘raise’), ‘rising up (from bed or from sleep),’

exēlthen ‘he went out (from the house)’: some see the additional idea of the town (Capernaum) also (Swete, Turner).

apēlthen ‘he went away.’ Manson: “went out and away”; Moule (Idiom Book, 72) “he left the house and went away.”

erēmon topon ‘lonely place,’ ‘isolated spot,’ ‘solitary place’: there is no desert around Capernaum.

prosēucheto (6:46, 11:24, 25, 12:40, 13:18, 14:32, 35, 38, 39) ‘he prayed,’ ‘he was praying’: the imperfect tense may have the meaning ‘he started praying.’

Translation The equivalent of in the morning, a great while before day may be ‘it was still very dark’ or ‘it was a long time before the sun would come up,’ or ‘long before heavens-open-door’ (Maninka).

Rose means got up from sleeping.

While in English we must use several words to describe this process of getting up early in the morning before sunup and going out from the town, in More this entire idea is expressed by a single verb, this being a very common experience of the people, who set off for their fields very early in the morning hours.

In N.T. Greek proseuchomai is one of the most common verbs for praying and as such is the most neutral term. However, in attempting to discover adequate equivalents in other languages the situation is complicated by the fact that Christian prayer is in many respects so different from pagan prayer. In general there are three alternatives: (1) a traditional term which often implies primarily incantation and reciting, e.g. ‘to speak doctrine’ or ‘repeat words,’ (2) a word which identifies primarily the process of requesting, begging, and seeking, and (3) an expression which implies ‘talking with God’ (e.g. Pame, Tzeltal, Chol, Ecuadorian Quechua, Shipibo, Cakchiquel, Cuicatec, Zoque, Tarahumara). Though in general the last alternative seems to be the most productive, it does not mean that the first two must never be employed, especially since in certain contexts they fit very well. Moreover, there may be certain connotations of these words which render them quite acceptable. For example, in Tzotzil the word for prayer means primarily ‘to beg’ or ‘to ask,’ but the full expression is ‘to ask with one’s heart coming out’ (in the sense of ‘entreaty’), implying a degree of self-exposure and sincerity, all of which seems to make the expression quite adequate. South Toradja at first used mangimbo ‘to invoke the gods’; the difficulty was this ‘invocation’ was always accompanied by sacrifice, and later it was discovered that the word had the meaning of ‘curse’ in certain districts. Then the word masambajang borrowed from Malay began to be used for ‘pray.’

In some instances a word for prayer is not to be interpreted in its literal, etymological sense. For example, in Tarascan prayer is literally ‘to say poor,’ but no Indian would ever think of this meaning. The word is simply a local equivalent of ‘to pray.’ Huichol uses a verb meaning ‘to cause God to know’ and Miskito and Lacandon say ‘to raise up one’s words to God,’ the latter implying an element of worship, as well as communication.

What one should try to avoid in the selection of a term for prayer is (1) an expression which will mean only the recitation of largely meaningless word formulae and (2) a word which connotes begging insistence, equivalent to teasing God. Neither of these types of expressions can form an adequate basis for the Scriptural teaching about prayer, and they certainly do not fit in this context. For further discussions of terms for prayer, see BT, p. 233, and GWIML, pp. 42, 158.

Mark 1:36–37

Exegesis katediōxen (only here in N.T.) ‘he followed’: the verb literally means ‘to track down,’ ‘hunt down,’ and has a hostile sense in such passages as Gen. 31:36; it may also have a good sense as in Ps. 23:6. More is indicated by the verb than the RSV ‘followed’ there is an intentness, a determination, not present in the word ‘follow.’ Cf. Manson “tracked him down”; Swete “tracked him to his retreat”; Brazilian ‘searched diligently.’

Simōn kai hoi met’ autou ‘Simon and those with him,’ i.e. the other three mentioned in v. 29.

hōti ‘that’: here recitative, introducing direct speech, and thus correctly omitted in translation.

pantes ‘all’: notice the same use of this word in 1:5, 32, and similar expressions in 1:28, 33.

Translation Simon and those who were with him means ‘Simon and those who were with Simon,’ presumably, Andrew, James, and John, but it may have included others. However, the word him in this phrase does not refer to Jesus, but to Simon.

Followed is a misleading word, especially when translated literally in some languages, for it might imply that the disciples got up immediately after Jesus did and followed him (keeping him in view all the time) as he went out of the town. This of course is not the case. Evidently, the disciples awoke to find that Jesus had already left, and then they went looking for him. Accordingly, Mezquital Otomi has simply ‘went looking’ and Shipibo ‘went to seek him.’ Other languages use expressions which imply that the disciple followed his tracks. The important thing is that the translation realistically reflect what happened.

Many languages have two words corresponding to English found (1) a word which implies that something was discovered which people were not at the time trying to find and (2) a term which indicates that the object found is the result of a planned search. The latter expression is, of course, the one desired here.

The Greek verb zēteō, translated in the RSV as “searching,” could perhaps be better translated as “looking for you.” It may also imply that the people were ‘asking about,’ ‘inquiring for,’ etc.

Mark 1:38

Text allachou ‘elsewhere’ is omitted by Textus Receptus; all modern editions of the Greek text, however, include it.

Exegesis agōmen (13:11, 14:42) ‘let us go’: the subjunctive mode, in this context, has almost the force of an imperative. Here it is not so much a plea, a request, as an exhortation.

allachou (only here in the N.T.) ‘elsewhere.’ Arndt & Gingrich prefer the meaning ‘in another direction’ for this passage.

eis tas echomenas kōmopoleis ‘to the neighboring towns,’

tas echomenas (cf. Lk. 13:33, Acts 20:15, 21:26) ‘neighboring.’ The present participle of the verb echomai ‘have’ is used in the specialized sense of ‘next,’ ‘adjoining,’ ‘neighboring’ either with reference to time or to space.

kōmopolis (only here in the N.T.) ‘town,’ ‘village,’ ‘market town’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich). Swete quotes Lightfoot who defines the word as referring to a small country town.

kai ekei ‘and there’: kai here has the meaning of ‘also,’

kēruxō ‘I may proclaim,’ ‘I may preach’ (see v. 4).

exēlthon ‘I came out.’ The ordinary meaning of ‘I came out (from Capernaum)’ is understood by most commentators (Gould, Turner, Rawlinson, Manson, Weymouth); Vincent Taylor takes it to mean ‘I came out (on the Galilean mission).’ Swete and Lagrange, however, see a theological meaning ‘I came forth (from the Father)’; this meaning, however, has not commended itself to many (although it appears that Luke understood the words in this sense; at least that is what Lk. 4:43 means).

Translation If it is necessary to be more specific in the pronominal reference he and them may be translated by the appropriate noun expressions. However, all such substitutions, whether of nouns for pronouns or pronouns for nouns must conform to the syntactic requirements of the receptor language in question.

Towns (in Greek a compound word meaning literally ‘village-city’) in this context refers to places half-way between cities and villages. In some languages this would be ‘big villages’ and in others ‘small cities,’ depending of course upon the more acceptable way of designating such a place.

For preach see 1:4, but note that in this context there is no object of the verb. In many languages, however, one must add a grammatical object to the verb of speaking, (e.g. ‘to hand down the Way’ (Union Version in Chinese), ‘declare the word’ (Kekchi), or ‘speak God’s word’ (Kpelle).

If it is possible to preserve the ambiguity of ‘that is why I came out,’ well and good, but for the most part one must be more specific about the meaning of came out, hence stating specifically either ‘I came to this earth’ or ‘I came out of the city.’ The second meaning is recommended, though some translations have followed the first, e.g. Balinese.

Mark 1:39

Text Instead of ēlthen ‘he went’ of the majority of modern editions of the Greek text, ēn ‘he was’ is read by Textus Receptus, Turner, Taylor, and Kilpatrick. The evidence of the Greek mss. favors ēlthen, but the early versions (Old Latin, Vulgate, Syriac versions) favor ēn. Turner’s remarks in favor of ēn ‘he was’ have considerable force; besides conforming to Marcan usage, ‘he was’ is supported by the parallel passage Lk. 4:44, while in Mk. 1:14 we are told that Jesus came into Galilee preaching, and here he continues preaching in Galilee (cf. Journal of Theological Studies, 28.156, 349, 1926–7).

Exegesis ēlthen kērussōn kai … ekballōn ‘came preaching … and … casting out’: with this reading (Nestle and others) ēlthen ‘he went’ goes with eis holēn tēn Galilaian ‘he went throughout all Galilee,’ while the two participles kērussōn ‘preaching’ and ekballōn ‘casting out’ function independently and modify ‘he’ (i.e. Jesus), indicating the manner in which he went into Galilee, ‘he went throughout all Galilee, preaching … and casting out.’ Should ēn ‘he was’ be preferred, the prepositional phrase eis holēn tēn Galilaian ‘in all Galilee’ will modify tas sunagōgas autōn, ‘their synagogues throughout all Galilee,’ while the two verbal phrases ēn kērussōn kai ekballōn ‘was preaching … and … casting out’ will stress the continued aspect of the ministry. Cf. Manson “went on making the proclamation,” Knox “continued to preach.”

autōn ‘their’ i.e. of the neighboring villages referred to in the previous verse.

Translation As noted above, the syntactic relationships of the various parts of this verse depend very largely upon the text which is followed, whether, for example, one says, ‘he was preaching in their synagogues throughout Galilee’ or ‘he went throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues.’

Galilee may be identified as ‘Galilee region’ (or ‘province’), though by this point in the text the reader should have become somewhat familiar with the significance of Galilee, if classifiers have been used in previous verses.

Their represents a kind of general, impersonal use of the third person plural. In some languages such a pronoun would refer to the immediately preceding third person plural, namely, the disciples addressed by Jesus at the beginning of verse 38. Hence, ‘the synagogues of the people’ must be employed in some languages (so South Toradja, Bare’e and Javanese).

For casting out demons see 1:34.

Mark 1:40

Exegesis lepros (14:3) ‘a leper’ (cf. the parallel Lk. 5:12 anēr plērēs lepras ‘a man full of leprosy’). The exact meaning of lepra (and of the Hebrew c̣araʿath, of which it is the translation) is by no means certain. Arndt & Gingrich point out that in pre-Biblical Greek the term meant psoriasis: there is widespread agreement that, even if the term sometimes denoted leprosy in the Bible, it also included other skin diseases (cf. Arndt & Gingrich, Koehler, Lagrange). Dr. K. P. C. A. Gramberg (TBT 11.10–23, 1960) argues that c̣araʿath and lepra did not denote leprosy at all. Dr. J. L. Swellengrebel (TBT 11.69–80, 1960), in a review of the Biblical evidence, shows that these terms certainly denoted some kind of disease which could be of a serious nature and which carried with it ceremonial uncleanness.

parakalōn kai gonupetōn legōn ‘pleading … and kneeling saying’: the three participles describe the manner in which the man erchetai ‘came’ to Jesus.

parakalōn (5:10, 12, 17, 18, 23, 6:56, 7:32, 8:22) ‘entreating,’ ‘pleading,’ ‘beseeching.’

gonupetōn (10:17) ‘kneeling’: literally ‘to fall (piptō) on the knee’ (gonu).

hoti ‘that’: again recitative, introducing direct speech (cf. v. 37).

katharisai (1:41, 42, 7:19) ‘to make clean’: in the LXX the verb is used of physical and ceremonial cleansing, and means ‘to make clean’ or ‘to declare clean.’ Here it is used in the former sense, ‘to make clean.’

Notice that the request of the leper is conditioned not on Jesus’ ability to make him clean (“you can make me clean”) but on his desire or willingness (“if you will” or “if you wish”).

Translation A great deal of confusion has existed with respect to the word leper (and leprosy), for the area of meaning of this word is not the same in the Bible as it is in contemporary medical usage (see above). Moreover, leprosy is not known in certain parts of the world, and in other areas where it does exist, it may be spoken of in quite idiomatic ways, e.g. ‘lazaro sickness’ (Shipibo, an expression borrowed into Shipibo from Spanish, which associates leprosy with Lazarus) and ‘disease of animals’ (Shilluk).

Where leprosy is not known, it is necessary to employ some type of descriptive expression which will indicate something of the seriousness of the disease, but not badly distort its real significance. The following types of expressions are used: ‘sickness of skin rotting’ (Huichol), ‘ulcer sickness’ (Tzeltal, in which ulcer refers generally to all types of skin diseases), and ‘decaying sores’ (Barrow Eskimo).

However, even where leprosy is known, since the meaning of the Biblical term is uncertain, it may be wise to use a more general term or descriptive phrase which none the less conveys the seriousness of the condition, and if possible also carries the connotation of ceremonial uncleanness, e.g. as suggested in Balinese ‘ominous disease.’ A meaningless loan-word should certainly be avoided.

Beseech may be translated as ‘to ask strongly’ or ‘to ask insistently.’ In Huichol the equivalent is ‘to give one a desire,’ an interesting shift of psychological viewpoint.

Kneeling must sometimes be described more specifically as ‘kneeling in front of,’ depending upon local idiomatic requirements.

If you will means ‘if you desire to’ or ‘if you want to.’

Though the “cleansing of lepers” seems to us to be an entirely normal way of speaking, this is quite impossible in many languages. Lepers may ‘be healed,’ but ‘not cleansed,’ for cleansing would imply only washing out of wounds. For example, in several translations it was found that this expression ‘to cleanse’ or ‘to make clean’ meant only ‘to give a bath to’ or ‘to wash.’ Accordingly in such instances a translator must render the passage as ‘if you want to heal me, you can do so.’ Moreover, it may be necessary to choose between different words for ‘heal,’ e.g. in Black Bobo kiri means to heal external diseases and kuru internal ones. Without a careful distinction at this point the reader could become quite confused.

Mark 1:41

Text Instead of splagchnistheis ‘moved with pity’ a few manuscripts and versions read orgistheis ‘moved with anger.’ This reading has been adopted as original by Kilpatrick, Turner, Taylor and Manson. Turner’s comments aptly summarize the arguments in favor of orgistheis (Journal of Theological Studies, 28.157, 1926–7): (1) it is the more difficult reading; (2) Matthew and Luke have nothing corresponding to either ‘moved with pity’ or ‘moved with anger’ but there is nothing to explain why they would omit ‘moved with pity’; they further omit embrimēsamenos ‘sternly urged’ in v. 43 (as well as met’ orges ‘with anger’ in 3:5); and (3) embrimēsamenos ‘sternly urged’ in v. 43 shows that there is indignation on the part of Jesus. There are various explanations for the anger of Jesus, e.g. (1) indignation at the disease or the evil power which caused the disease and (2) anger at the doubt placed on Jesus’ willingness to cure the leper (cf. Taylor; Rawlinson 22.256; Turner; E. Bevan, Journal of Theological Studies, 33.186–88, 1931–2; Manson). The observation has been made that no reason is actually given, but there can be no doubt that there was anger and irritation on the part of Jesus toward the man; embrimēsamenos ‘sternly urged’ and exebalen ‘drove him out’ in v. 43 clearly reveal that Jesus was angry with the man. The suggestion is made that perhaps the man approached Jesus as the Messiah.

Exegesis splagchnistheis (6:34, 8:2, 9:22) ‘moved with pity’: the verb is derived from splagchnon, whose plural splagchna ‘the inward parts’ included heart, liver, lungs, etc., as the seat of emotion (the same as heart in current English). The verb splagchnizomai ‘have pity,’ ‘feel sympathy,’ first appears in Biblical Greek. The participle in this verse is causal, ‘because he was moved with pity he extended his hand.…’

ekteinas (3:5) ‘stretching out,’ ‘extending,’ ‘reaching out,’

hēpsato (3:10, 5:27, 28, 30, 31, 6:56, 7:33, 8:22, 10:13) ‘he touched’: the verb haptomai literally means ‘fasten to,’ ‘cling to,’ ‘take hold of.’ Cf. Arndt & Gingrich 2.b.

Translation Probably either in verse 40 or 41 it will be necessary to substitute ‘Jesus’ for one of the third person singular pronouns (e.g. in Subanen), since otherwise the reference can become obscure, especially for the slow reader or for one who begins a section at verse 40.

Moved with pity is often paralleled by a figurative expression in other languages, e.g. ‘to see someone with sorrow’ (Piro) and ‘to suffer with someone’ (Huastec), and ‘one’s mind to be as it were out of one’ (Balinese). The dependent expression may, of course, be made coordinate in some languages, e.g. ‘he pitied the man and stretched out his hand.’

Touched him, perhaps no more than with the fingers, but this was what others would not do, in view of the unclean state of the man.

The translation of I will should be as closely related as possible to the corresponding expression in 1:40 ‘if you will.’ In some languages it is simply ‘I desire to do so.’

Be clean involves two difficulties: (1) the use of a verb meaning ‘to clean’ when speaking of a disease such as leprosy (see 1:40), and (2) the passive form of the verb in an imperative mode, a form for which many languages have no close equivalent. In some languages the nearest approximation is ‘I make you well,’ ‘I heal you now,’ or ‘now you are well’ (Popoluca).

Mark 1:42

Text The words eipontos autou ‘when he spoke’ after the first ‘and’ are included by Textus Receptus, Soden and Vogels, but omitted by the majority of modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis lepra (Mt. 8:3, Lk. 5:12, 13) ‘leprosy’: cf. the discussion of lepros ‘leper’ in v. 40.

Translation The leprosy left him seems such a natural expression that we almost inevitably assume that it can be translated literally into another language. On the contrary, in some languages one must say simply ‘he got well’ (Cakchiquel). In Black Bobo the correct phrase is ‘the leprosy was driven out’; in Toba Batak ‘the leprosy became loose from him.’

He was made clean is in some languages necessarily translated as ‘he became well’ or ‘he was healed.’

Mark 1:43

Exegesis embrimēsamenos autō ‘sternly charging him,’

embrimaomai (14:5; cf. also Mt. 9:30, Jn. 11:33, 38) ‘be indignant,’ ‘scold,’ ‘censure’: the verb is rare in classical Greek and in the LXX, and Moulton & Milligan do not have any examples from the papyri to quote. Hatch (Essays, 25) is of the opinion that the word is best explained as a translation either of za˓am ‘to be angry’ or of ga˓ar ‘to rebuke.’ It has also been pointed out that the word means not merely to feel anger, but to show it, while the dative of the personal pronoun autō ‘with him’ indicated the object rather than the cause of the anger. Most translations carry the meaning of ‘sternly (or, strictly) charged’ (AV, ASV, RSV, Weymouth, Moffatt, Berkeley, Manson); Knox has ‘spoke threateningly’ while BFBS translates ‘was indignant with him.’ Some commentators do not agree with the idea of anger. Swete, for example, appeals to the use of the word in Jn. 11:33, 38 as indicating “depth and strength of feeling expressed in tone and manner”; Lagrange sees a certain degree of severity, avec sévérité; and Taylor quotes with approval Bernard (International Critical Commentary, Gospel of John, 392f.): “inarticulate sounds which escape men when they are physically overwhelmed by a great wave of emotion.”

The further use of the verb in Mark (14:5), however, and the next verb exebalen ‘he drove out’ seem to show that at least some degree of anger is indicated by the verb in this passage.

exebalen (cf. v. 12) ‘he drove out’: it is not agreed whether ‘house’ or ‘synagogue’ should be supplied, while some are of the opinion that neither is implied, the idea being simply that of driving away from his (i.e. Jesus’) presence. RSV ‘sent away’ seems plainly inadequate, for the idea of forcible expulsion appears to be clearly indicated (cf. study of the word in v. 12).

Translation One of the problems in verses 43 and 44 is the apparent contradiction in temporal sequence. If translated literally (and with certain tense forms), the reader may wonder how it is possible for Jesus to send a man away (verse 43), and still speak to him, apparently later (in verse 44). This may require in some languages the subordination of verse 43 to 44, e.g. ‘As he sternly charged … at once, he said to him.…’ On the other hand, some translations (e.g. Kekchi) reverse the process, and introduce verse 43 as the independent expression and then start verse 44 as ‘after he had said to him.…’

Sternly charged may be translated as ‘commanded him with strong words,’ ‘spoke to him with hard words.’

Mark 1:44

Exegesis hora (8:15, 24, 9:4, 13:26, 14:62, 16:7) ‘see to it!’: the command enforces the prohibition ‘say nothing to any one,’

hupage (15 times in Mark) ‘depart,’ ‘go,’ ‘away with you,’

seauton deixon tō hierei kai prosenegke ‘show yourself to the priest and make (the) offering’: cf. Lev. 14:2–32 where Levitical laws concerning purification rites are set forth.

tō hierei (2:26) ‘to the priest’: that is, the serving priest, the officiating priest (cf. Taylor; Creed Commentary on Luke 5:14). There is division of opinion whether this means the priest in Jerusalem or a local priest, but the majority of commentators seem to agree that Jerusalem is implied (cf. Rawlinson).

eis marturion autois (6:11, 13:9) ‘for a testimony to them.’ There is general agreement that marturion here means ‘proof,’ ‘evidence’ (cf. Manson, Moffatt, Abbott-Smith). There is no agreement, however, concerning autois ‘to them.’ Who is meant? “People” in general is the opinion of some (RSV, Lagrange, Creed, Moffatt). Lagrange conjectures that when the rites had been completed the priest certified in writing that the man had been pronounced clean, and this document would serve as proof for one and all. Others, however, think that “priests” is meant, i.e. those upon whom would devolve the task of officiating at the purification rites (Swete, Turner, Taylor). For translation purposes, if language allows, it is probably better to retain the ambiguity of the Greek and say simply ‘to them.’

Translation See must, of course, not be taken in the literal sense, as it has been in some translations. It is equivalent to ‘beware lest you’ or ‘be sure that you do not.…’

In contrast with the prophet, who spoke to the people on behalf of God, the priest represents the people before God. However, in many instances the small, growing Christian community is so strongly opposed to the ways of the religious practices of the paganism around them that they cannot readily accept a word for priest which is even neutral in its connotation. For example, in one area a translator insisted on using a word for priest which carried a very bad connotation whenever the Scriptures spoke of Jewish priests (especially those whom Jesus condemned). In this way the translator thought he could indirectly undermine the influence of the local pagan priests. However, when Jesus is called “our high priest” in Hebrews, this same translator wanted to use an entirely different term. At the same time the problem is complicated by the fact that the priest had many functions: sacrificing of animals, burning of incense, pouring of libations, offering of prayers, and participation in processions. An additional difficulty is that in many areas there are two levels of priesthood. For example, among the Huichol in Mexico there are (1) the local priests (shamans) of the indigenous religion and (2) the Roman Catholic priests, whom the people respect, but of whose ministry they understood very little. In such instances should one use the indigenous term which would imply a shaman-like person or borrow the Spanish term, which would seem to imply that the priests of the Bible were similar to Roman Catholic priests?

However, rather than borrow local names for priests, some of which have unwanted connotations, a number of translations have employed descriptive phrases based on certain functions: (1) those describing a ceremonial activity: Bare’e uses tadu, the priestess who recites the litanies in which she describes her journey to the upper or under-world to fetch life-spirit for sick people, animals or plants; Toba Batak uses the Arabic malim, ‘Muslim religious teacher’; ‘one who presents man’s sacrifice to God’ (Bambara, Maninka), ‘one who presents sacrifices’ (Baouli, Navajo), ‘one who takes the name of the sacrifice’ (Kpelle), and ‘to make a sacrifice go out’ (Habbe); (2) those describing an intermediary function: ‘one who speaks to God’ (Shipibo) and ‘spokesman of the people before God’ (Chontal of Tabasco). (See also BT, pp 113, 139, 235.)

Offer for your cleansing may be translated in this context as ‘make an offering, seeing that now you have been healed’ (or ‘cleansed’), or ‘… because you have been healed.’ Because of the temporal sequence involved, the Greek preposition peri, which normally would mean ‘about,’ ‘concerning,’ must here imply ‘with regard to the fact that …’ or ‘because of.…’ (Union Version of Chinese)

What Moses commanded may be expanded, because of its elliptical form, to read ‘what Moses commanded you to offer.’ In some translations this entire expression reads, ‘now that you have been healed, offer what Moses commanded you to offer.’

For a proof to the people may be rendered as ‘this will show the people that you are healed’ (Black Bobo) or ‘to show the people that you have been cleansed’ (Subanen). If, of course, one understands the priests as implied in the expression for a proof to them, such an interpretation may be suggested by the rendering ‘in order to show the priests that you are healed.’

Mark 1:45

Exegesis ho de ‘but he’: the leper, that is, not Jesus. Some, indeed, in view of kērussein ton logon ‘proclaim … the word’ (on which, see below) have concluded that Jesus is meant; as Kilpatrick points out, however, (TBT, 7.2, 1956), ho de in Mark always implies a change of subject.

exelthōn ‘went out’: probably, of the house (cf. exebalen ‘drove out’ in v. 43).

ērxato kērussein kai diaphēmizein ‘began to proclaim … and spread abroad,’

ērxato ‘he began’: as an auxiliary this verb occurs some 26 times in Mark. There is general agreement that this use of the verb reflects Semitic speech patterns and, with some exceptions (8:31, 10:47, 14:19, 33, 15:8), is actually redundant, so far as meaning is concerned (cf. the study of the word by Turner, Journal of Theological Studies, 28.352–53, 1926–7; Taylor, 48, 63–64; Black Aramaic, 91).

kērussein (cf. v. 4) ‘proclaim,’ ‘preach,’

diaphēmizein (only here in Mark) ‘spread widely,’ ‘disseminate,’

polla ‘much’: the word is adverbial, modifying kērussein ‘proclaim,’ not adjectival ‘many things,’

ton logon (21 times in Mark) literally ‘the word.’ The expression is variously translated: “news” (RSV, Weymouth, Moffatt), “matter” (ASV, Abbott-Smith, Zürich die Sache, Lagrange la chose), “story” (Manson, Taylor, Knox), “report” (Berkeley); Synodale le fait; Brazilian a noticia; Swete “the tale.” Kilpatrick, in a study of the word in Mark (TBT, 7.2–3, 1956), finds that the eleven times the word appears in chapters 1–4 the meaning is “the (Christian) Message,” and concludes that in this passage what is meant is that the man proclaimed the cure not simply as an isolated event but as proof of the Messiahship of Jesus. BFBS accordingly translates “the Word.” Whether or not this theological meaning is carried by the expression, Mark certainly means to say that the man told to one and all his cure at the hands of Jesus.

dunasthai eiselthein ‘(be) able … to enter’: Turner’s study of the verb dunamai in Mark (Journal of Theological Studies, 28.354f., 1926–7) concludes that in many cases the meaning of the verb is weakened in Mark and it becomes almost an auxiliary, meaning ‘can,’ ‘could,’ or ‘may,’ ‘might.’ This passage is an example of this weakened sense, and the verb is properly translated ‘could (not)’ (most translations).

eis polin eiselthein ‘enter a (any) town’: the sense is indefinite. In English the word “town” is a better translation than “city” (ASV, Manson, BFBS, Knox).

erēmois topois ‘solitary places,’ ‘lonely places’ (cf. v. 35) here means in contrast with polin ‘town,’ ‘country’ (RSV) or ‘open country’ (Manson).

ērchonto ‘they were coming’ is another example of the impersonal plural (cf. vv. 30, 32), and the imperfect indicates a continued process ‘people kept coming’ (cf. v. 32).

Translation Went out whether of the town or a house, is not clear, but in some languages the distinction must be made. Where there is no evidence, as in this case, for or against either choice, either may be selected, though perhaps ‘house’ fits the context a little more satisfactorily. One must make certain, however, that ‘he’ refers to the healed man, not to Jesus, which is the subject of the preceding two verses, and is likely to be interpreted as the subject of v. 45, unless clearly indicated to the contrary.

Began to talk freely is ‘to tell everyone’ (or ‘many’). Actually this is the verb translated elsewhere as ‘to preach,’ but its basic meaning is ‘to deliver (or proclaim) a message.’

The precise nature of the news we do not know (see above), but it would certainly not be wrong to translate this entire phrase as ‘he kept telling more people about what had happened.’ In Shilluk the idiom for this type of process is ‘to visit about it from one to another’ and in Puebla Aztec one may say ‘to let it drop out of his mouth much.’

So that is in a sense an ambiguous phrase, for though it often refers to purpose, in this instance the meaning is, of course, result. Where necessary a clause introduced by so that may be separated from the preceding by a transitional expression, e.g. ‘because of this Jesus could not.…’

A frequent equivalent of openly is ‘when people were looking’ (Black Bobo, Ifugao).

In the country does not mean the wilderness, as in Judaea, but only out in the country where there were no habitations.

In the last clause an indefinite subject ‘people’ must very frequently be introduced.

Mark Chapter 2

Mark 2:1

Exegesis di’ hēmerōn‘ after some days,’ literally, ‘through (the interval of) days.’ These words are rightly connected with eiselthōn ‘entering’ (RSV “returned”), not with ēkousthē ‘it was heard’ (cf. Swete).

ēkousthē ‘it was heard’ which actually means ‘it was said,’ ‘it was reported.’ The impersonal use of the verb in the passive voice is quite common.

hoti ‘that’: some (e.g. Vincent Word Studies I, 169) take this to be recitative, introducing direct speech (cf. 1:40); the majority, however, take it to be declarative ‘that’ introducing indirect speech.

en oikō (cf. eis oikon 3:19 [or 3:20] 7:17, 9:28) ‘in a house’: the correct meaning, however, is ‘at home‘ (cf. Goodspeed Problems, 54; Kilpatrick TBT 7.5, 1956). Moulton & Milligan quote examples from the papyri in which the phrase has this meaning. AV and ASV “in the house” are incorrect, as well as Knox “in a house” (cf. Manson, Moffatt, Weymouth, BFBS, Berkeley; Brazilian em casa).

Translation It was reported may be rendered as ‘the people heard’ (Barrow Eskimo), if as in so many languages a passive with indefinite subject cannot be employed.

Because of a possible paragraph break and a section heading introducing this passage, it may be advisable to substitute one of the pronouns (he) by ‘Jesus.’

At home should be rendered in the appropriate, idiomatic manner, which in some instances requires the addition of a possessive pronoun, e.g. ‘in his house.’

Mark 2:2

Text After the first kai ‘and’ Textus Receptus, Soden, Vogels and Kilpatrick add euthus ‘immediately,’ omitted by all other editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis sunēchthēsan (4:1, 5:21, 6:30, 7:1) ‘they were gathered together,’ ‘brought together,’ ‘collected’ (cf. episunagō in 1:33).

hōste mēketi chōrein ‘so as no longer to be room’: for the use of hōste with the infinitive of the verb to express result see 1:27.

chōrein (only here in Mark) ‘to have space for,’ ‘to hold,’ ‘to contain,’ ‘to be room (for),’

ta pros tēn thuran (cf. 1:33) ‘the (places, space) near (toward, about) the door’: the meaning is that such a crowd was gathered in the house and overflowing into the street, that not even on the street, near the door, was there room for any more people.

elalei (some 22 times in Mark) ‘he was speaking’: RSV “preaching,” while not incorrect, is not completely consistent. It is better to reserve “preach” for kērussō ‘proclaim’ or euaggelizomai ‘preach the Gospel.’ The imperfect, describing action in progress, tells us what Jesus was doing when the paralytic was brought to him (next verse). Some translations join the last clause of this verse ‘and he was speaking the Word to them’ directly to the next verse: “And he was speaking to them the Word when …” (Moffatt, Weymouth, Manson, Berkeley).

ton logon ‘the word’ i.e. the Christian message, the Gospel (cf. Arndt & Gingrich, 1.b.b); Lagrange “the good tidings of salvation.” Rather than “the word” it may be preferable to use capitalization—”the Word” or something similar. “The Message” would accurately convey the meaning (cf. 1:45 and Kilpatrick’s note on logos “word” in Mark, there referred to).

Translation The Greek verb translated were gathered together, though a passive in form, is generally best translated as an active, implying not that the people were brought, carried, or forced to come together by the actions of others, but that ‘they came together,’ or ‘crowded together.’

In some languages a verb implying the gathering of a crowd may require some statement as to the type of place in which such a gathering may occur. In this instance it is the home of Jesus.

The second clause may be rendered ‘so that there was no space for anyone else.’

About the door refers of course to the space outside the house, and the door is in this instance better taken as the opening (where a distinction is made—see 1:33), since obviously the door would be open at such a time.

Though laleō is a more colloquial term for ‘speaking,’ it is the combination with logon ‘word’ which gives it the strictly theological connotation of ‘preaching.’ The only equivalent of the word in many languages is ‘the good news.’ In South Toradja and Indonesian ‘the word of God’ must be used. Certainly this phrase means much more than merely ‘he was talking.’

Mark 2:3

Exegesis erchontai ‘they come’ is another example of the impersonal plural (cf. Turner Journal of Theological Studies 25.379, 1923–4). (Luke 5:18) has it ‘and behold men were bringing.’ Who ‘they’ are is a matter of conjecture: Lagrange thinks they were the parents of the paralytic, as distinct from the bearers. BFBS “men came,” RSV “and they came” is likely to be misleading in light of the immediately preceding “them” of the previous verse.

pherontes ‘bringing’: here is proof that the verb does not always mean ‘carry,’ since airomenon ‘being carried’ is added to make clear the manner in which the paralytic was brought to Jesus (cf. 1:32).

paralutikon (2:4, 5, 9, 10) ‘paralyzed man,’ ‘paralytic,’ ‘lame,’

airomenon (some 20 times in Mark) ‘(who was) being carried.’

Translation They came, because of its indefinite antecedent, must in many languages be rendered as ‘some people came.’ If this is not done the impression may be given that the crowd which was gathered together (the last third person plural referent) brought the man.

Because of the two verbs bringing and carried, it may be that the total number of persons coming with the paralytic were more than four. However, in some languages it is difficult to distinguish between ‘bringing’ and ‘carrying,’ in view of the fact that the only way to bring this man was to carry him. Many languages distinguish between the processes of (1) leading, (2) accompanying, and (3) carrying, but a verb of such indefinite reference as ‘bringing’ is often lacking. However, in order to render the two verbs in the passage one may translate ‘they had with them a paralytic; four men were carrying him.’

Paralysis is spoken of in a number of different ways in various languages, as one or another feature of the disease is selected as a descriptive base, e.g. ‘a sickness which causes one not to be able to move’ (Mazahua), ‘all dried up’ (San Blas), ‘one half his body is dead’ (Subanen), and ‘he could not move’ (Zacapoastla Aztec). Since there are paralytics in all societies, there is no difficulty in finding an appropriate term to describe this man’s condition.

One problem, however, is posed by the fact that in some languages one must specifically distinguish between maladies which are congenital (occurring at birth) and those which have occurred later in life. In the Scriptures, unless there is a specific statement as to the fact that a person has been suffering from birth, it is to be understood that the disease was not congenital. On the other hand, in languages which distinguish between chronic and acute illnesses, one should probably in this case assume that the paralysis was of some duration.

Mark 2:4

Text Instead of prosenegkai ‘bring to’ of the majority of editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus, Souter, Kilpatrick and Soden have proseggisai ‘approach.’

Exegesis mē dunamenoi ‘not being able’: the participle is causal ‘because (or, since) they were unable.…’

prosenegkai (10:13) ‘bring to’ in its literal sense, not in the meaning of ‘bring (a sacrifice) to (the altar),’ as in 1:44.

ton ochlon (some 37 times in Mark; once in the plural ochloi ‘crowds’ 10:1) ‘the crowd.’ Here not in the sense of a disorganized or an unruly mob, but of the people gathered to hear Jesus speak.

apestegasan tēn stegēn ‘they unroofed the roof’ (literally).

apostegazō (only here in the N.T.) ‘remove the roof,’

stegē (only here in Mark) ‘roof’: although Mark does not specify it, the roof would be reached, of course, by the outside steps (cf. 13:15). “The roof would be flat, and not made of very thick material, perhaps rough rafters with branches laid across, and the whole plastered with mud, so that ‘to take off the roof’ and let someone down through it … would be quite easy” (A. C. Bouquet Every Day Life in New Testament Times, 28). (Notice that Luke 5:19 speaks of the tiled roof of Roman or Hellenistic construction; cf. Lagrange; Creed, p. 79).

hopou ēn ‘where he was,’ i.e. just above the place where Jesus was: Manson “above the spot where Jesus was”; Weymouth “just over His head”; Moffatt “under which he stood.”

exoruxantes (only here in Mark) ‘digging out,’ ‘digging through.’ This verb further defines the nature of the roof. Arndt & Gingrich: “making an opening by digging through the clay of which the roof was made, and putting the debris to one side, so that it does not fall on the heads of those in the house.”

chalōsi ton krabaton ‘they let down the pallet,’

chalaō (only here in Mark) ‘let down,’ ‘lower’ (cf. Acts 9:25). How they lowered the pallet is not made clear. The general presumption is that ropes would be used: Vincent, however, is of the opinion that no ropes would be required (Word Studies I, 170). In any case no great distance would be involved since the roof would be quite low.

krabatos (2:9, 11, 12, 6:55) ‘pallet,’ ‘mat’: Moulton & Milligan define it: ‘the poor man’s bed or mattress,’ a word better suited to the narrative than klinj ‘bed’ in Mt. 9:2 and Lk. 5:18.

katekeito (cf. 1:30) ‘he was lying.’

Translation Because any reference to Jesus is several clauses removed, it is often necessary to translate ‘and when they could not get near Jesus.’

Crowd is often just ‘many people.’

To remove the roof poses not only problems for the translator but for many readers, especially those who cannot imagine a flat roof such as was common in Palestine in the time of Jesus (and still is). In many instances it is preferable to use rather generalized statements at this point, unless by some picture to be used in the text the fact of flat roofs can be made clear. The first verb may then be translated as ‘they took away part of the roof’ and the second ‘when they had made a hole’ (or ‘an open place’). Of course, the Greek describes graphically the process of digging out a hole, but this may be difficult, if not impossible, to communicate in another language, especially where people are acquainted only with very steep, thatch-covered dwellings.

Since in most areas of the world people use improvised stretchers to carry people, such a term as is used for these objects can be employed here for pallet.

Let down must often be made specific, i.e. ‘by hand’ or ‘with ropes.’ Probably the latter is preferable.

Mark 2:5

Exegesis kai idōn ‘and seeing’ is temporal, ‘when he saw.’

tēn pistin autōn ‘the faith of them’: the phrase refers primarily to the four who were carrying the paralytic, but does not necessarily exclude the paralytic himself (cf. Gould, Lagrange).

pistis (4:40, 5:34, 10:52, 11:22) ‘faith,’ ‘belief,’ ‘confidence’: in this context, faith in Jesus’ ability to cure the man (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 2.b)

teknon (7:27, 10:24, 29, 30, 12:19, 13:12) ‘child,’ ‘(my) son’: a term of endearment. Nothing may be inferred as to the age of the paralytic from the use of this term; he could have been a lad (Luke 5:18, 20 specifically calls him a man). Moulton & Milligan quote examples from the papyri of the word used as it is in this verse, and some English translations stress the meaning of the term by adding “my son” (cf. Zürich Mein Sohn).

aphientai sou hai hamartiai ‘your sins are forgiven’: the Gospels record no instance of Jesus’ saying “I forgive your sins.” In this particular instance it is noteworthy that the Gospel writer has employed the passive ‘your sins are forgiven’ without defining the subject of the action of the verb ‘forgive,’ even though he goes on to relate that the scribes charge Jesus with blasphemy in assuming the prerogative that belongs to God alone. Again, in v. 10, Jesus says, with reference to himself, “the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”: he does not say, “I forgive sins.” Both the title ‘the Son of man’ and the qualifying phrase ‘upon the earth’ are significant. The present tense aphientai ‘are forgiven’ should not be translated ‘are being forgiven’: this is an example of what is called an aoristic present (Burton Moods and Tenses, 13).

aphiēmi ‘send forth,’ ‘go away’ (from apo ‘from’ and hiēmi ‘go’): the verb is used in Mark with three main meanings: (1) ‘let,’ ‘allow,’ ‘permit’: 1:34, 5:19, 37, 7:12, 27, 10:14, 11:6, 16, 15:36; (2) ‘forgive,’ ‘remit,’ ‘pardon’: 2:5, 7, 9, 10, 3:28, 4:12, 11:25; (3) ‘leave’: 12:19, 20, 22, 13:2 (‘leave alone’ 14:6); with the sense of ‘go away from,’ ‘abandon,’ ‘forsake’: 1:18, 20, 31, 4:36, 7:8, 8:13, 10:28, 29, 12:12, 13:34, 14:50; with the sense of ‘let loose’: 15:37.

Translation Rather than translate their to mean only the faith of the carriers (as is often the case), it would seem better to say ‘the faith of these men,’ so that the paralytic himself might be included in that group, since undoubtedly his confidence that Jesus could help him was an important factor in his having been brought.

For terms for ‘faith’ and ‘believe’ see 1:15, but note that in this instance the faith is not in a declaration, as in 1:15, but in what a particular person, namely, Jesus could do. Hence, the expression used here must imply confidence.

The Greek term teknon ‘child,’ which is rendered by the more appropriate “my son” in the RSV, cannot be translated literally into other languages. In the first place, people would immediately question why four men would be required to carry a child and furthermore the statement of Jesus relative to the forgiveness of the paralytic’s sins would seem to imply an adult (compare Luke). However, any literal rendering of my son is equally subject to trouble, since in many languages one cannot speak in this manner except to one’s own offspring. Several different types of expression can be employed: ‘young man’ (Piro, Zacapoastla Aztec), in which ‘young’ has been used to represent something of the value of teknon; ‘friend’ (Zoque), ‘my friend’ (Mazatec).

Are forgiven is a passive expression, which, if it can be reproduced without reference to a logical subject, should be retained. However, in languages where passive expressions simply do not exist or where a passive such as this one cannot occur without the agent of the action, one must make certain modifications by employing the most logical subject ‘God,’ i.e. ‘God forgives your sins’ or ‘May God forgive your sins.’

For forgive see 1:4. In this context, however, certain special adaptations of this expression for forgiveness may be required because of the use in some languages of ‘I’ as the subject and the immediacy of the act. For example, in Black Bobo the rendering is ‘I command your sins be cast away from you.’ In Tzeltal the appropriate formula is ‘your sins are lost.’

Mark 2:6

Exegesis ēsan kathēmenoi kai dialogizomenoi ‘were … sitting and questioning’: these verbal phrases, consisting of the imperfect of eimi ‘to be’ plus the present participle of the main verbs, denote continuous action.

tines tōn grammateōn (cf. 1:22) ‘some scribes.’

kathēmenoi (2:14, 3:32, 34, 4:1, 5:15, 10:46, 12:36, 13:3, 14:62, 16:5) ‘(were) sitting.’

dialogizomenoi (2:8, 8:16, 17, 9:33, 11:31) ‘considering,’ ‘pondering,’ ‘reasoning.’ Moulton & Milligan note that in the N.T. the word always has the sense of “inward deliberation or questioning.”

en tais kardiais autōn ‘in their hearts’: the meaning is the same as ēn heautois ‘in themselves’ of v. 8.

kardia (2:8, 3:5, 6:52, 7:6, 19, 21, 8:17, 11:23, 12:30, 33) ‘heart’: in Hebraic thought the heart is the center of intellectual activity. Lagrange points out that the same concept was true also of the Latins and even of the Greeks. The narrative throughout makes clear that this questioning carried on by the scribes was wholly internal and not outwardly expressed. Cf. Abbott-Smith: “say to oneself, i.e. think, reflect, without saying anything aloud.”

Translation ‘Now’ is transitional, introducing a new aspect of the situation; it is not temporal.

For scribes see 1:22.

Questioning can be quite well translated as ‘thinking’ or even ‘speaking to themselves in their hearts.’

Though the heart is spoken of in the Bible as the center of intellectual and emotive elements of human experience, in other languages the heart may have no such value. In some languages the corresponding centers are the viscera (Conob), the liver (Kabba-Laka), the stomach (Uduk), the gall (South Toradja) and the head (Anuak), though in the neighboring Shilluk demons may be in one’s head, but the liver and heart are the center of most other psychological activities. Whether one is to use ‘heart’ or some other part or organ of the body depends entirely upon the manner in which in any language such psychological experiences are described.

Mark 2:7

Exegesis ti ‘why?’: the question is thoroughly rhetorical: ‘Can it be that he thus blasphemes?’ i.e. ‘Why! He thus blasphemes!’ (cf. Black Aramaic, 88).

houtos ‘this one’ is probably contemptuous (cf. Taylor)—perhaps something like ‘this fellow!’

lalei blasphēmei ‘he speaks, he blasphemes’ (disregarding punctuation): although most commentators and translations separate the two verbs, translating blasphēmei ‘he blasphemes,’ Black (Aramaic, 47f.) holds that we have here an example of an Aramaic construction in which the second verb has the force of an adverb, modifying the first one: ‘What is this man thus blasphemously saying?”

blasphēmei (3:28, 29, 15:29) ‘he blasphemes’; the verb in this passage contemplates God as the object of the blasphemy, ‘to speak impiously (of God),’ ‘to profane (God).’ As such, by O.T. law, it was punishable by death (Lev. 24:15, 16, 1 Kings 21:13).

tis dunatai ei mē ‘who is able … except …?’: the scribes felt Jesus was usurping the right of God and actually forgiving sins, not simply declaring them to be forgiven, as Nathan did (2 Sam. 12:13).

heis ho theos ‘one, (even) God,’ ‘God alone’: it has been suggested (Expository Times, 49.363–66, 1938) that the phrase means, in accordance with Hebrew theology, ‘the One God’ (cf. TBT, 2.126, 1951).

Translation It is blasphemy is much more conveniently translated as a verb expression, following the Greek text. In almost all languages there are adequate terms for such behavior, but they are quite diverse in form and cultural content (see TBT, 6.44–46, 1955): ‘speak evil of God’ (Huanuco Quechua), ‘to hurt God’ (Conob), ‘to break God’s name (Black Bobo), ‘to spoil the name of God’ (Loma), ‘to insult God’ (Luvale), ‘to slander God’ (Bare’e, Malay), ‘to defame God’ (Javanese), ‘to bring curses (or ‘calamitous words’) against God’ (Tae), and ‘to talk to pieces’ (Timorese). In some languages translators have introduced an expression here meaning ‘to make oneself equal with God,’ but this does not seem to be required by the context. It is the insulting of God, rather than the usurping of God’s prerogatives, which should be brought out by this second clause. The following sentence specifically indicates the degree to which Jesus was accused of usurping divine authority.

The elliptical expression but God alone, in combination with the preceding clause, must in some languages be expanded into a kind of paratactic expression, ‘Who can forgive sins? Only God can forgive sins.’

The direct discourse of this entire verse must in some languages be introduced more specifically with a verb of direct address, e.g. ‘saying to themselves’ or ‘asking themselves.’ Note that the meaning here is reflexive, not reciprocal, for they did not speak openly to one another but only questioned within their own hearts.

Mark 2:8

Exegesis epignous (5:30, 6:33, 54) ‘perceiving,’ ‘recognizing.’ Some think that the preposition epi ‘upon’ has what is called the perfective force, and that the verb would therefore mean ‘to know thoroughly‘, ‘to be fully aware’ (cf. Vincent Word Studies I, 170; Lagrange). J. A. Robinson (Ephesians, 248ff), however, has convincingly demonstrated that the verb denotes knowledge reached by directing attention epi ‘upon,’ ‘toward’ a particular person or object. Moulton & Milligan quote examples from the papyri which bear out this sense.

tō pneumati autou ‘in his spirit,’ i.e. ‘in himself’ (not ‘in his (Holy) Spirit’). Taylor calls this phrase the ‘dative of sphere’; Manson and BFBS translate ‘by his spirit.’

pneuma ‘spirit’: this is the third meaning given the word in Mark (cf. 1:8 and reff. for ‘Holy Spirit’; 1:23 and reff. for ‘unclean spirit’). The meaning here (and in 8:12 and 14:38) is, as Arndt & Gingrich define it, “the source and seat of insight, feeling, and will, generally as the representative part of the inner life of man.” In 14:38 it is opposed to the outer life, the physical.

ti ‘why?’: Black (Aramaic, 88) takes this to be another example of a rhetorical question, expressing dismayed surprise (cf. previous verse).

Translation It is often difficult to use for spirit in this verse the same term which may be employed for Holy Spirit, and it is especially important to avoid a word for spirit which will imply a demon or a familiar spirit. That is to say, one must not give the impression that Jesus was using a familiar spirit to ferret out the thoughts of the scribes (the technique ascribed often to mediums) or that he had some magic power to send out his spirit to pry into the thought of others (a not infrequent idea of the activity of shaman). On the other hand, this spirit was not the Holy Spirit, but the spirit of Jesus as a focus of intellectual activity and discernment. The equivalent of this aspect of personality is, however, in many other languages spoken of as distinct from any word for spirit. For example, in Bolivian Quechua, Black Bobo, and Chol one must use ‘heart’ and in Conob one must employ a term which identifies the ‘viscera.’

In some languages one cannot ‘question within oneself,’ for the word ‘to question’ means to ask another. Hence, in this verse, as well as verse 6, one must use a verb such as ‘to think’ or ‘to wonder’ (Ifugao).

Because of the shift in subjects, i.e. Jesus as the subject of the perceiving and the scribes as the subject of the questioning, it is often advisable to break the sentence and to begin the latter half as a new sentence, e.g. ‘he said to them.…’ (Shilluk)

Mark 2:9

Exegesis ti estin eukopōteron ‘what is easier?’ The question answers itself: it is easier to say “Your sins are forgiven” because this statement is not susceptible of proof, while to say “Rise, take up your pallet and walk” would expose Jesus to ridicule should the paralytic not be able to obey the order. By proving he could do the harder Jesus proved he could do the (apparently) easier (on this type of argumentation cf. Daube New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, 68: Rabbinic qalwa-homer

“light and heavy”; cf. Lagrange).

eukopōteron (10:25) ‘easier’: appears only in the comparative form in the New Testament (eukopos ‘easy’).

egeire (cf. 1:31) ‘rise,’ ‘get up.’

peripatei (5:42, 6:48, 49, 8:24, 11:27, 12:38, 16:12; used once figuratively of manner of life, 7:5) ‘walk,’ ‘go about.’

Translation Opposites such as ‘easy’ and ‘hard,’ ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ and ‘smooth’ and ‘rough,’ etc., may consist of words having contrastive meanings, or they may occur as positives and negatives. For example, in Tzotzil ‘easy’ is literally ‘not hard’ and in Maya ‘good’ is literally ‘not bad.’ Accordingly in this verse in Tzotzil one must say, ‘what is more not hard.’

Comparatives are expressed in a variety of ways, and hence this sentence must be recast to fit the syntactic and lexical requirements of the language into which one is translating, e.g. ‘shall I say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven, or shall I say, Rise …, which of the two is not hard’ (Black Bobo). The reverse order is used in Tarahumara: ‘What manner is not hard? To say … or to say.…’

Rise means ‘stand up,’ not as in one translation ‘to rise miraculously off the ground.’

Take up your pallet may be rendered in some cases as ‘roll up your mat’ (Tzeltal) or ‘pick up your stretcher.’

Walk does not imply here ‘to go home’ or ‘to leave,’ but to demonstrate the ability to walk, i.e. ‘to walk about.’

Mark 2:10

Exegesis hina de eidēte ‘but in order that you may know’: as it stands the sentence is grammatically incomplete. Properly something like the following is to be understood: ‘But, in order that you may know … I will do this‘ or, ‘I will say this‘ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich, hina I.6). Instead of saying it, however, Jesus directly addresses himself to the paralytic, thus saying and doing what was necessary in order that the scribes should know.

exousian (cf. 1:22) ‘authority’ rather than ‘power’ of ASV.

ho huios tou anthrōpou ‘the Son of man’: much has been written on the origin and meaning of this title in the Gospels. In order that the meaning of the phrase, as used by Jesus in the Gospels, be properly carried over into modern languages, it is necessary either literally to translate the words as a Christian technical term, a title, “The Son of man” or else use some phrase or title that will convey if possible a (messianic) sense of dignity, authority, and responsibility. Strictly to be avoided is any translation which would equate the title merely with ‘man,’ ‘a human being.’ In Mark the title appears here and in 12 other passages (2:28, 8:31, 38, 9:9, 12, 31, 10:33, 45, 13:26, 14:21, 41, 62).

epi tēs gēs ‘upon earth’: RSV rightly connects the phrase with ‘has authority’ (cf. Manson, Weymouth, Synodale, Brazilian).

Translation There is no easy way to resolve the problem of a grammatical break at the end of the first clause. The expression is simply not completed. However, the sense is relatively clear, and for the most part readers can understand the transition. It is best to leave the expression incomplete, rather than try to edit it, for the translator’s task is not to try to improve on the original (which contains the break), but to attempt to discover its closest equivalent. Accordingly, the only thing is to leave the incomplete statement as it is, but to employ some type of mark of punctuation which will reflect this fact.

The phrase Son of man is one of the most difficult in the entire N.T., for there are almost innumerable problems, many of which have subtle theological implications. The principal difficulties with this phrase are caused by (1) highly specialized terms for ‘son,’ e.g. ‘son of a man,’ ‘son of a woman,’ ‘son of a person’ without specification of sex, (2) the absence in some languages of a generic term for ‘mankind’ (though all languages may speak of mankind in the aggregate as ‘people’), and (3) the fact that this expression has a double semantic value in the N.T. In the first place, it is related to the numerous other idioms, having the structure ‘son of …,’ e.g. ‘son of peace,’ ‘son of perdition,’ ‘sons of thunder,’ in which the meaning is ‘one who has the essential quality of …’; and in the second place, in the N.T. Son of man has become a kind of title with Messianic import, whether derived primarily from the book of Daniel or not. A still further complication exists in this verse by virtue of the fact that in many occurrences of this phrase Jesus speaks of himself in the third person. This is, of course, possible in some languages, but in many translations one must add ‘I,’ e.g. ‘I who am the Son of man’ or people will insist that Jesus is speaking of someone else, not himself.

In some translations the expression used for Son of man has constituted a complete denial of the virgin birth. In some of these languages there are two words for son, one used in speaking of the son of a woman and the other the son of a man. Quite understandably, because of the last part of the phrase ‘of man,’ the latter word for ‘son’ was chosen, but the resultant meaning was to state emphatically that Jesus was the offspring of a male. Even if a generic term for ‘mankind’ had been used, the very occurrence of the specialized word for ‘son’ would have resulted in essentially the same meaning. Accordingly, in these languages, including a number in South America, the phrase which was ultimately chosen meant ‘he who was born man’ or ‘he who was truly man,’ expressions which would not deny his being the Son of God, but which would be a stereotyped expression to emphasize his humanity. In other languages ‘he who became man’ or ‘he who was born for man’ have been employed (cf. South Toradja ‘the Son who descended into the world as man’) but in any case a good deal of teaching must be undertaken if people are to understand the appropriate significance of the Biblical title. However, the basic phrase should be such as not to suggest immediately an entirely wrong meaning.

Authority is the ‘right’ or the ‘power.’ In some languages this is expressed figuratively or in descriptive phrases, e.g. ‘power in his hand’ (Loma), ‘being able to command’ (Chanca Quechua), ‘place to show power,’ ‘to hold the handle’ (Valiente).

Mark 2:11

Exegesis soi legō ‘to you I say’: the order of the Greek makes the personal pronoun soi ‘to you’ emphatic: cf. BFBS ‘to you I am speaking.’

eis ton oikon sou ‘to your house,’ i.e. ‘go home‘ (presumably in Capernaum itself, where the incident occurred). ASV ‘into thy house’ is an example of extreme literalism in translation. Cf. en oikō ‘at home’ in 2:1.

Translation In all such verses as this one, in which most of the words are identical with expressions used in previous verses, but where some (the last) are slightly different, one must be sure to maintain parallelism where the wording is the same but not to overlook the minor differences.

Mark 2:12

Exegesis euthus ‘immediately’: Taylor thinks no special emphasis is carried by the word here and BFBS translates ‘then’ (see the note in 1:10).

emprosthen (9:2) ‘before,’ ‘in the presence of.’

existasthai (3:21, 5:42, 6:51) ‘to be astonished,’ ‘to be amazed’: Arndt & Gingrich note that this meaning of the verb existamai is peculiar to the Bible and (Greek) works influenced by it. In 3:21 it means ‘to be beside himself,’ ‘to be mad.’

doxazein (only here in Mark) ‘to glorify,’ ‘to praise,’ ‘to honor’: Moulton & Milligan quote examples of this use of the verb in the papyri. Taylor: “ascribing to God the splendour (doxa) due to His name.”

hoti ‘that’ is recitative, introducing direct speech.

oudepote (2:25) ‘at no time,’ ‘never.’

Translation Rose equals ‘stood up.’

Went out before them all may be translated ‘walked out while all saw him’ (Ifugao). The order of elements may also be changed to read ‘all the people saw him walk out.’ The reasons for such adaptations are largely determined by the rendering of before them. In some languages there are no equivalent prepositional constructions, and hence a verb expression is the only satisfactory parallel.

For amazed see 1:22 and 27. In this particular context, however, it may be useful to employ some other more appropriate idiom which may be generally used for indicating amazement, e.g. ‘they all opened their eyes’ (Mazahua).

Glory and the related word glorify occur in such a wide variety of Scriptural contexts and reflect in different languages such a diverse series of cultural settings that it is no wonder that these terms provide a number of complications (see TBT, 1.28–29, 1950; 4.72, 169–72, 1953; cf. Hooper Indian Word List, 52–53). In general glorify (in the sense of glorifying God) is translated by two different types of expressions: (1) those which attribute praise to God, whether (a) directly as ‘to praise’ (Totonac, Mitla Zapotec, Karre, Black Bobo) or (b) indirectly in the form of direct discourse: ‘to say that God is very great’ (Tarahumara), ‘How good God is, they said’ (Tzotzil), and ‘they spoke about God as good’ (Tzeltal), and (2) those which introduce some special attribute as a significant feature of God’s glory, whether of appearance or position, e.g. ‘to give God a great name’ (Zacapoastla Aztec), ‘to give God highness’ (Kipsigis), ‘to take God out high,’ in the sense of ‘to exalt’ (Mazatec), ‘to make great, to exalt’ (South Toradja, Javanese), ‘to lift up God’s brightness’ (Kpelle), ‘to show God to be great’ (Pame), ‘to make God shine’ (Goajira), ‘to make God’s name big’ (Huastec), and ‘to make God important’ (Isthmus Zapotec). However, in addition to these more usual types of expressions there are some rather strange idioms which are nevertheless entirely acceptable in certain languages; for example, in Amuzgo to glorify God is ‘to wake God up.’

The last clause may be slightly adapted to fit indigenous forms of speech, e.g. ‘there never was a day when we saw this’ (Isthmus Zapotec) and ‘this kind of happening has never been seen’ (Shilluk, which requires a passive expression in this context).

Mark 2:13

Exegesis exēlthen ‘he went out,’ i.e. of the house and town (cf. Swete).

palin ‘again’: probably refers back to 1:16, although Lagrange thinks the reference is to 1:45.

thalassa ‘sea’ is the Lake of Galilee (cf. 1:16).

pas ho ochlos ‘all the crowd’: not the same ‘crowd,’ of course, referred to in 2:4 (for the same expression pas ho ochlos ‘the whole crowd,’ ‘all the people’ cf. 4:1b, 9:15).

ērcheto kai edidasken ‘came … and he taught’: the imperfect tense of the verbs portrays repeated acts of coming, on the part of groups of people, and of teaching, on the part of Jesus.

ērcheto pros auton ‘was coming to him’: RSV “gathered about him” is not quite consistent with the translation of the phrase elsewhere (cf. 1:45 “came to him” and 2:3 “came, bringing to him”), but is not out of keeping in this context.

autous ‘them’: that is, the people who composed ho ochlos ‘the crowd.’

Translation It may be necessary to introduce ‘Jesus’ as the subject of this verse, since the immediately preceding third person singular reference is the paralytic who was healed.

One must be consistent in the translating of sea which in most instances will be the equivalent of ‘lake’ (see 1:16).

One must make certain that the translation of all the crowd does not refer to the crowd of 2:4, for although undoubtedly some of the same people were in attendance on the two occasions, this is not the same group of people. It is better to translate ‘all the people.’

It is most important that a word for teach is not such as to imply merely class-room instruction, something which not infrequently happens in translations, since translation helpers assume that the educational processes introduced in mission schools are the only legitimate form of teaching. (We ourselves are often deceived in somewhat the same way, not realizing that the classroom technique, though useful for mass production methods is highly inefficient in essential communication.) One should employ either a descriptive term of common usage, e.g. ‘to give to be learned’ (Tzeltal), or some well-known figurative phrase which will be fully meaningful, e.g. ‘to engrave the mind’ (Valiente) and ‘to cause others to imitate’ (Huichol).

Mark 2:14

Exegesis paragōn (cf. 1:16) ‘passing by.’

ton tou Alphaiou ‘the (son) of Alphaeus’: the regular way of denoting filial relationship.

kathēmenon epi ‘sitting at’ (not ‘upon’).

to telōnion ‘revenue office,’ ‘custom house,’ ‘toll house’: BFBS “customs office.” This customs office in Capernaum would be in the service of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee.

akolouthei moi ‘follow me (in discipleship)’ (cf. 1:18).

Translation In some languages the transition between ‘taught them’ and ‘passed on’ is somewhat too abrupt. This may require the addition of some temporal particle such as ‘then,’ so as to show the proper sequence of events and to avoid the words ‘passing on’ being confusedly taken as more or less part of the teaching.

The tax office is ‘where they received taxes’ (or ‘customs’). This does not refer to the collection of personal taxes on wealth, but to the collection of customs on produce being transported to or through Capernaum. The equivalent of this type of tax in many communities are the levies imposed on merchants or farmers from surrounding regions who come into a market town to sell their wares or produce.

For an adequate translation of follow see 1:17.

Mark 2:15

Exegesis auton autou ‘he … his’: there is some disagreement as to who is referred to in the opening clause. Luke 5:29 expressly says it was Levi’s house, and there is general agreement that that is the meaning here: ‘his house’ is Levi’s house. Although some think that ‘he sat at table’ refers also to Levi, the majority understand this to be a reference to Jesus, an interpretation supported throughout by Marcan usage (cf. BFBS).

katakeisthai (14:3; cf. 1:30) ‘recline (on a couch at table),’ ‘dine’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich). Lagrange says that this manner of eating was universal in the time of Jesus, but others, e.g. Jeremias, insist that such was not the case. With the same meaning of ‘recline at meal’ or ‘dine’ Mark uses other verbs as well: anakeimai (6:26, 14:18, 16:14), anaklinō (6:39), anapiptō (6:40, 8:6), sunanakeimai (here and 6:22).

telōnai kai hamartōloi (Mt. 9:10, 11, 11:19, Lk. 5:30, 32, 7:34, 15:1, 18:13) ‘tax collectors and sinners.’

telōnai (2:16) ‘tax collectors’: these are to be thought of as the portitores, men who actually collected the dues, rather than the publicani to whom the revenues were farmed out (cf. Arndt & Gingrich).

hamartōloi (2:16, 17, 8:38, 14:41) ‘sinful (men)’: the adjective is always used in Mark (with the exception of 8:38) in the plural, as a noun, hoi hamartōloi ‘the sinners.’ There is widespread agreement that ‘sinners’ were people in general who were not so careful in their observance of the Law, especially with regard to dietary laws, as were the Pharisees. “The ʿam ha-‘arets (people of the land) who are sinners, not because they transgress the law, but because they do not hold the Pharisaic interpretation of it” (K. Grayston, Richardson’s Word Book, article “Sin”). Cf. the discussion in Goodspeed Problems, 28f., who translates “irreligious people” (cf. Rawlinson, Turner, Taylor).

kai tois mathētais autou ‘and his disciples’: this is the first mention of the disciples as such, in Mark. The word mathētēs ‘disciple’ occurs some 43 times in Mark and should always be translated ‘disciple,’ ‘follower,’ ‘adherent,’ while ‘apostle’ should be kept exclusively for apostolos, in Mark only at 6:30 and, perhaps, 3:14.

ēsan gar polloi kai ēkolouthoun autō ‘for they were many and they were following him’: who is referred to by ‘the many’ who were following Jesus? Some (Rawlinson, Taylor, and others) understand it to refer to a large company of disciples who were now following Jesus; Turner (Journal of Theological Studies, 26.239, 1924–5) observes that this is the first mention of the disciples, and “we are told that they were now many and that they were beginning to ‘follow him about.’ ” Others (Swete, Moffatt, Manson, Weymouth, Brazilian) understand that publicans and sinners are referred to. Although there is no way by which definitely to prove one or the other interpretation, it would seem that the context favors the second interpretation.

kai ēkolouthoun autō ‘and they were following him’: this clause has been interpreted in two ways: (1) as suggested by Tischendorf, some connect this clause to the next verse, by making it the beginning of the sentence, as follows: “And there were following him also the scribes of the Pharisees …” (Gould, BFBS; cf. Kilpatrick TBT, 7.7, 1956). (2) The majority, however, like RSV, connect the clause with what precedes, and translate it as a relative clause, in accordance with normal Semitic syntax: ‘who also were following him’ (Rawlinson, Lagrange, Manson, Weymouth, Synodale, Zürich).

Translation Because of the confusion of pronominal reference in the first clause of this verse (a confusion which also exists in the Greek, but which needs to be resolved in order for the passage to be intelligible in some languages and which if not made more specific may give an entirely wrong meaning in other languages), it is advisable in many instances to translate, ‘and as Jesus was dining in Levi’s house.…’

The rendering sat at table is an obvious adjustment to the requirements of the English cultural setting, since in the Greek the verb means ‘to recline.’ However, the important thing is that this verb means ‘to eat’ or ‘to dine.’ The particular position assumed by the participants surrounding the table, whether reclining or sitting, is not important. What matters is the function.

The tax collectors are the ‘ones who take the money’ (Cashibo) or as in some instances ‘those who take the money for the government,’ in order to specify their function as being different (at least officially) from those who steal, rob, or cheat.

There is no doubt about the special meaning of sinners in this context, for undoubtedly the essential meaning is ‘those people who consistently violated religious regulations,’ in contrast with the Pharisees and others who scrupulously kept all the detailed requirements of the law. However, in most languages it is almost impossible to find a term which accurately describes such persons, without introducing certain alien concepts. Accordingly, for the most part translators have used one word for sinners throughout the Scriptures, whether the context happens to imply those who were morally reprehensible or those who violated certain religious taboos. For a treatment of the lexical problems in words for sin see 1:4.

Terms for disciple are generally of three types: (1) those which employ a verb ‘to learn’ or ‘to be taught,’ (2) those which involve an additional factor of following, or accompaniment, often in the sense of apprenticeship, and (3) those which imply imitation of the teacher. Expressions which are based on the first class of semantic base include: ‘word searchers for’ (Valiente), ‘those who learned from Jesus’ (Kiyaka), ‘those who learned’ (Navajo, Tarascan, Cuicatec, Lacandon), ‘those who studied with Jesus’ (Mixteco Alto), ‘the ones Jesus taught’ (Gbeapo); South Toradja ‘child (i.e. follower) of the master’; Indonesian and Javanese ‘pupil.’ There is, however, always a danger in this first type of expression, namely, that the reader will think that the disciples were simply school boys that Jesus was teaching. Accordingly, in order to convey something of the meaning of continued association and fellowship which was involved in the rabbi-disciple relationship of N.T. times, the Mazahua has ‘companions whom Jesus taught.’ Kipsigis, Loma, and Zoque use a form which means essentially ‘apprentices,’ implying continued association and learning. In Cashibo the meaning is ‘those who followed Jesus’ and in Mazatec the expression ‘his people’ means essentially his followers and is used of the political adherents of a leader.

In Zacapoastla Aztec the word for disciples is based on the root ‘to imitate,’ and as such has a good deal to recommend it. For further discussion of disciple see TBT, 2.109, 1951; 3.168–69, 1952; and 4.180, 1953.

If in the last clause of this verse one follows the second interpretation noted above (one strong support for this interpretation is the occurrence of many with tax collectors and sinners in the second clause), one must make certain that the reference is clear. In some instances one may have to repeat ‘tax collectors and sinners,’ but in many instances languages possess pronominal elements which refer to the earlier of two such third person plural referents. The confusing element in this last clause, however, is the word followed, which is generally used in speaking of disciples, not of tax collectors and sinners.

Mark 2:16

Text Instead of tōn Pharisaiōn ‘of the Pharisees’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has kai hoi Pharisaioi ‘and the Pharisees.’

After the second esthiei ‘he eats’ Textus Receptus, Tischendorf, Vogels, Merk, Souter, Soden, and Kilpatrick add kai pinei ‘and drinks’; Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Lagrange, and Taylor omit kai pinei.

Exegesis hoi grammateis tōn Pharisaiōn ‘the scribes (who belonged to the party) of the Pharisees’ (cf. Acts 23:9).

hoi grammateis ‘the scribes’ (cf. 2:6).

tōn Pharisaiōn ‘of the Pharisees’: on the origin and particular beliefs of this religious group, the largest among the Jews in the time of Jesus, cf. the standard dictionaries and commentaries. They are mentioned by name ten more times in Mark (2:18, 24, 3:6, 7:1, 3, 5, 8:11, 15, 10:2, 12:13).

hoti ‘why?’: although some take hoti here as recitative, introducing a direct statement (Souter, ASV, Manson, Weymouth, Synodale), the great majority of commentators and translators take it to be interrogative (cf. Turner Journal of Theological Studies 27.58, 1925–6; Moule Idiom Book, 159).

Translation The scribes of the Pharisees are ‘the scribes who belong to the sect of the Pharisees’ or ‘the scribes who were Pharisees.’ The scribes might be members of one of several different religious sects, of which the three most important were the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes.

The word Pharisees is derived by most scholars from a verb meaning ‘to separate’ (T. W. Manson, however, suggests it represents the Aramaic ‘Persian’). These persons undertook to separate themselves from the Hellenistic influences which threatened Judaism during the times of the Maccabees. However, by the N.T. period the name had become almost entirely a proper name, and as such should be transliterated, rather than translated. It may, however, be useful in initial contexts to introduce a classifier such as ‘sect’ or ‘religious group,’ in order to identify something of its significance.

To eat with … must in some languages be restated in terms of a different arrangement of constituents, e.g. ‘Jesus and the sinners and the tax collectors were eating in the same place’ (Loma).

The verbs for eating (and drinking) are often troublesome, for they may either require an object, which states what is eaten or drunk, or they may imply in their own form the type of food or drink which is consumed. For example, some languages have several words for ‘eat,’ depending upon whether one eats meat, vegetables, roots, or fruit. Similar contrasts occur with words for ‘drink.’ When the terms are so specific as to make the context entirely too restricted in meaning, it may be better to use a more generic expression, e.g. ‘to sit down at a meal with’ or ‘to gather with … at a meal’ (or ‘feast,’ for this was obviously a special occasion).

Mark 2:17

Text After hamartōlous ‘sinners’ Textus Receptus adds eis metanoian ‘to repentance’ (assimilated from the parallel passage Lk. 5:32): all modern editions of the Greek text reject eis metanoian.

Exegesis autois ‘to them’: that is, to those who asked the question.

chreian (2:25, 11:3, 14:63) ‘need,’ necessity’: echein chreian means ‘be in need,’ ‘lack something’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich).

iatrou (5:26) ‘of a physician.’

hoi ischuontes ‘those who are strong,’ ‘those who are healthy’: the verb ischuō ‘be strong,’ ‘be able’ occurs further in 5:4, 9:18, 14:37. In contrast, in this verse, with hoi kakōs echontes (cf. 1:32) ‘those who are ill,’ hoi ischuontes are ‘those who are well,’ ‘those who are in good health.’

ēlthon ‘I came’: the meaning here is more than merely local and temporal (cf. the same use of the verb in 10:45). There is reference here to the whole mission and purpose of Jesus’ ministry (whether or not we understand, with Lagrange, that ‘I came’ means ‘I came into the world‘ with a reference to his preexistence).

kalesai ‘call’: the word in this passage carries theological content, and does not mean ‘invite to eat’ (cf. 1:20 see Arndt & Gingrich 2).

dikaious hamartōlous ‘righteous … sinners’: the words reflect the attitude of the Pharisees toward themselves (cf. Lk. 16:15) and others (cf. John 7:49). There is, perhaps, a tinge of irony in Jesus’ use of these words (cf. Rawlinson).

Translation Heard it may be in some languages best translated as ‘heard what they said,’ in order to make the reference precise.

To them, referring to the scribes, must often be made quite explicit, for there are three other intervening third person plural referents: the sinners, the tax collectors, and the disciples.

Well is often ‘strong,’ ‘healthy’ or just ‘not sick.’

To have no need may be variously rendered: ‘do not go looking for’ (Subanen), ‘do not have to consult’ (Barrow Eskimo), ‘do not go in search of a physician’ (Bare’e).

Physician should be translated by a respectful term applied to the medical profession. This may be either the word used for the foreign mission doctor (if there is a special usage applied to this type of person) or the name of the indigenous medicine man, who may not be highly regarded by foreigners but who may enjoy a great deal more prestige among the local people than a translator may suspect.

The extent of ellipsis which may be employed in translating the clause but those who are sick depends upon the syntactic requirements of the receptor language. In some instances the full form must be given, ‘but those who are sick need a doctor.’

In order that came may mean more than simply ‘to come to this banquet,’ it may be useful to employ the most generic expression possible, which would also be used in phrases referring to ‘the coming of the Lord.’ This would then permit this phrase to express more of its theological content.

There is a tendency to translate righteous merely as ‘the good ones.’ This may be all that can be done in some languages, but wherever possible it is advantageous to attempt to find some word which will indicate more of the idea of conformity to standard, so that a differentiation may be made between ‘good’ and ‘righteous.’ On the other hand, it is not advisable to translate righteous as ‘to have no sin,’ for this involves many theological problems which are better not introduced in such a general word as ‘righteous.’

The most common expression for righteous involves the concept of ‘straightness,’ though this may be expressed in a number of ways: ‘to be straight’ (Bambara, Black Bobo, Chokwe, Ifugao, Chol, Maninka, South Toradja, Bare’e, Toba Batak), ‘to follow the straight way,’ ‘to straight-straight,’ a reduplicated form (Kabba-Laka), and ‘to have a straight heart’ (Zacapoastla Aztec, Kekchi). Some languages imply conformity to truth, e.g. ‘to do the truth’ (Kipsigis), ‘to do according to the truth’ (Mesquital Otomi), and ‘to have truth’ (Mazatec). The sense of obligation is highlighted in other instances, e.g. ‘to fulfill what one should do’ (Piro), ‘people who are true’ (Indonesian), ‘to do just so’ (Navajo), and ‘to do as it should be’ (Anuak). In some languages, of course, certain highly figurative expressions are used, e.g. ‘to have a white stomach’ (Moré).

In Nuer there is a complex concept of ‘right’ vs. ‘left,’ in which ‘right’ indicates that which is masculine, strong, good, and moral, and ‘left’ denotes what is feminine, weak, and sinful (a strictly masculine viewpoint!) The ‘way of right’ is therefore righteousness, but of course women may also attain this way, for the opposition is more classificatory than descriptive.

But sinners may need expansion into its fuller implied form, i.e. ‘but I came to call sinners.’

If the translation in question must follow a text having to repentance, see 1:4 for comments on the lexical problems involved in repentance. The syntactic problems often require an expansion, e.g. ‘call sinners so that they would change their hearts.’

Mark 2:18

Text Instead of hoi Pharisaioi ‘the Pharisees’ of most modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has hoi tōn Pharisaiōn ‘the (disciples) of the Pharisees’ (with slight difference, Soden has this reading also).

Exegesis ēsan nēsteuontes ‘they were … fasting’: the meaning is not, as AV has it, ‘used to fast’; rather it is a historical reference to fasting that was then going on. It is impossible to determine the occasion of this particular fast.

nēsteuō (2:19, 20) ‘to fast (as a religious practice).’ The Mosaic Law required only one day of fasting, the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:29) but the Pharisees, in addition, fasted twice a week (cf. Lk. 18:12), on Mondays and Thursdays (cf. Richardson Word Book, article “Fast”).

hoi mathētai Iōannou (6:29) ‘the disciples of John (the Baptist).’

erchontai ‘they come’: here, clearly, an impersonal plural (cf. Turner Journal of Theological Studies, 25.379, 1923–4). The meaning is not that ‘the disciples of John and the Pharisees’ came to Jesus and asked him something, but that ‘men came,’ ‘people came’ (the parallels Mt. 9:14 and Lk. 5:33 understand it differently): cf. BFBS, Manson, Moffatt; Zürich die Leute; Brazilian alguns.

hoi mathētai tōn Pharisaiōn ‘the disciples of the Pharisees’: this phrase appears only here in the N.T.

Translation In order that the temporal setting of the first clause may be properly identified (to the extent that it is equivalent to what is implied in the Greek imperfect), one may translate ‘at that time … were fasting.’

For disciples see 2:15.

Fasting as an act of religious observance is relatively uncommon in the world. On the other hand, religious feasting is quite common, and hence to speak of going without food as a kind of religious observance often strikes the reader as strange, if not incomprehensible. There is a rather widespread custom of abstaining from food as a symbol that one is angry or distressed about something (e.g. the fasts of Ghandi) or is determined to prove the justice of one’s cause (hunger strikes in prisons), but in such situations the hunger is supposed to impress people to such an extent that the provoking circumstances will be altered. On the other hand, the fasting of the Scriptures involves a kind of religious abstention from food designed to stimulate greater piety or gain more merit, concepts which are quite alien to most people’s concepts of fasting. It is for this reason that expressions for fasting must in some languages be expanded so that they will be contextually conditioned. For example, to say ‘not to eat’ would mean little or nothing in Navajo. It might be that there was no food in the house or that the persons in question were so ill that they could not eat. Accordingly, one must say ‘to put food away reverently’ (that is, with religious intent). Similarly in Cakchiquel one says ‘to cause oneself not to eat,’ that is, to abstain from it purposely.

Frequently said to him must be changed to ‘questioned him …,’ for what follows is not a statement, but a question. Close attention to these matters must be given in many languages.

Mark 2:19

Exegesis mē dunantai …: ‘are they able …?’: the implied answer to this form of the question in Greek is negative, ‘No!’

hoi huioi tou numphōnos literally ‘the sons of the chamber of the bridegroom’: the Greek form of the Semitic idiom benei ha-ḥepah (cf. Koehler: ḥepah ‘chamber of bridegroom’). Commentators are divided over whether the word means, generally, ‘wedding guests’ (RSV, Weymouth, Berkeley, Torrey, Manson; cf. Vincent Word Studies I, 172), or, in a more restricted sense, ‘the bridegroom’s attendants’ (Arndt & Gingrich; cf. Abbott-Smith: “the bridegroom’s friends who have charge of the nuptial arrangements”), ‘groomsmen’ (cf. Turner, BFBS, Knox, Synodale).

For other examples of the Semitic idiom ‘sons of …’ see 3:17; Mt. 23:15, Lk. 10:6, 16:8, 20:34, 36.

en hō ‘in (the time) which,’ ‘during the time,’ ‘while.’

hoson chronon ‘so long a time (as)’: the accusative case is used to express duration of time.

hosos (12 more times in Mark) ‘as long,’ ‘how long’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich).

chronos (9:21) ‘time.’

Translation Said must in some languages be ‘asked’ (e.g. Trique).

There are few languages in which the idiom sons of the bridechamber can be reproduced literally. In fact, in some languages it implies the illegitimate children of the couple and in others a crude reference to the consummation of the marriage. One must therefore generally adopt an expression meaning ‘wedding guests’ or ‘friends of the bridegroom,’ and for either of these terms there are usually very satisfactory equivalents (cf. Bare’e ‘those who accompany the bridegroom on the way to the bride’s house’). In a number of cultures the second meaning is particularly acceptable since there are customs closely paralleling the wedding practices of N.T. times.

The Greek form of the verse implies a negative reply, hence, ‘the wedding guests cannot fast can they.…’ Many languages clearly distinguish between questions implying positive or negative replies, and accordingly, this subtle, but important, distinction in the Greek should be indicated. (The RSV tends to overlook such distinctions.)

In asking the question as to fasting during the time that the bridegroom is with the wedding guests, the real problem is not whether the guests can, but whether they would want to fast. However, the form of the question occurs with can, for this makes the question all the more forceful, and hence the assumed inability to fast should, if possible, be clearly noted.

Mark 2:20

Exegesis hotan aparthē ‘when he is taken away’: the subjunctive mode of the verb is required by the sentence construction; its meaning, however, is not ‘when he may be taken away,’ as though doubt were expressed, but, simply, ‘when he is taken away,’ a statement of future fact.

apairō (the word occurs only here and parallel passages Mt. 9:15, Lk. 5:35, in the N.T.) ‘take away,’ ‘remove’: the verb, as such, does not state whether the removal is natural, or sudden and violent. The context of the whole saying, however, implies a violent removal which will provoke sorrow (cf. the use of the verb in the LXX Isa. 53:8).

nēsteusousin ‘they will fast’: a declaration of what will happen in the future, not a command.

Translation In place of the days some languages employ ‘the day’ as an expression of indefinite temporal reference (Ifugao). One may, of course, also translate ‘the time will come.’

Is taken away may in some languages be paralleled by ‘is caused to go away’ or ‘is led away,’ since objects may ‘be taken’ but people are either ’caused to go’ or ‘are led.’

Mark 2:21

Text Instead of ap& autou ‘from it’ of most modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has autou ‘of it’ (with considerable change in syntax and meaning; instead of RSV, above, the Textus Receptus would be translated ‘its new patch takes away from the old’); Kilpatrick changes the word order to airei ap& autou to plērōma to kainon apo tou palaiou “the new patch takes away some of the old cloth” (BFBS).

Exegesis epiblēma (only here in Mark) literally ‘something placed upon,’ i.e. ‘a cover,’ ‘a patch’ (cf. Abbott-Smith).

rakous agnaphou ‘of unshrunk cloth.’

rakos (only here and in Mt. 9:16 in the N.T.) ‘a rag,’ ‘remnant,’ ‘piece of cloth’ (cf. Moulton & Milligan).

agnaphos (only here and in Mt. 9:16 in the N.T.) ‘unshrunk,’ ‘uncarded,’ ‘not fulled’ (i.e. not treated by the gnapheus ‘the fuller’): the new, unbleached cloth would shrink considerably with the first washing. Moulton & Milligan quote a papyrus which refers to kitōna agnaphon leukon ‘a new white shirt.’

epiraptei (only here in N.T.) ‘sews on,’ ‘sews upon.’

himation palaion ‘old garment.’

himation (5:27, 28, 30, 6:56, 9:3, 10:50, 11:7, 8, 13:16, 15:20, 24) ‘cloak,’ ‘garment,’ ‘clothes’ (in the plural): as distinguished from the inner garment chitōn (6:9, 14:63) ‘tunic,’ the himation is ‘mantle,’ ‘cloak’; when used generally, as here, it means simply ‘garment.’

palaion (2:22) ‘old’: not simply with reference to time, but to usage, ‘worn’ by use.

ei de mē ‘but if not,’ ‘otherwise’: these words (actually a negative clause) negate the (negative) statement ‘no one sews’ and therefore have an affirmative meaning: ‘but should he (contrary to the statement) sew.…’

airei to plērōma ap& autou to kainon tou palaiou ‘the fullness takes (away) from it, the new from the old’: most translations give some such meaning as this to these words, the last four words to kainon tou palaiou ‘the new from the old’ standing as an additional explanation of the first clause.

airō ‘take away,’ ‘remove’: the verb requires a direct object and in this verse it will be something like ‘takes away some (of the old garment),’ removes part (of the old)’; cf. BFBS “the new patch takes away some of the old cloth”; RSV “tears away” (meaning ‘comes loose,’ ‘tears off’), is not supported by usage of the Greek verb airō (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 4).

to plērōma (6:43, 8:20) ‘that which fills’ in the sense of a supplement, a complement (here obviously equivalent to epiblēma ‘a patch’ of the previous clause). As the subject of airei ‘removes’ the word is in the nominative case, being translated ‘the patch removes (part).…’

ap& autou ‘from it,’ i.e. from the old garment.

to kainon tou palaiou ‘the new (patch) from the old (garment)’: an additional clause which explains the previous one.

kai cheiron schisma ginetai ‘and a worse tear results.’

cheiron ‘worse’: the comparative form of kakos ‘bad’; here ‘worse’ than the original tear the patch was supposed to mend.

schisma (only here in Mark) ‘tear,’ ‘crack,’ ‘rent’ (cf. the verb schizō ‘to tear’ in 1:10).

ginetai ‘takes place,’ ‘happens,’ ‘results’: for this use of the verb see Arndt & Gingrich I.1.b.b.

For another possible translation of the text cf. Expository Times, 60.26f., 1944. The meaning of the text as it stands is accurately conveyed by RSV (with exception of airei ‘removes’ as seen above); cf. BFBS: “No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on to an old garment, otherwise the new patch takes away some of the old cloth, and the rent becomes worse.”

Translation The basic difficulty of this verse in many languages is that it poses a seemingly insurmountable problem in intelligibility for the reader, not by virtue of any words used but because of the idea expressed, something which is so entirely contrary to what happens in so many parts of the world. The idea that one would even hesitate to sew a new, unshrunk piece of cloth on an old garment seems almost incredible to many people, for as one may observe in many regions of the world there are garments so patched that it is not always easy (in fact, at times very difficult) to determine what was the cloth of the original garment. Nevertheless, despite the problems of understanding, as posed by the cultural diversities, the only thing which we may do is to translate, leaving the matter of cultural discrepancies to explanation, whether oral or written.

The use of no one is a means of introducing a generic negative. However, in some languages, the equivalent is ‘we (incl.) do not …’ (Trique), ‘you do not …’ (Tzeltal), ‘people do not …,’ or ‘they do not.…’

Unshrunk may be translated as ‘unwashed’ (Ifugao, Subanen) or ‘entirely new’ (Barrow Eskimo, Indonesian, Javanese). Most people are well aware of the effects of cloth which has not been shrunk by the process of washing, and hence there is generally little difficulty at this point. The best way to find the appropriate vocabulary is to spend time observing proficient seamstresses, and finding out how they would describe such processes as sewing, ripping, shrinking, etc.

If he does may in some instances require expansion, e.g. ‘if one does sew on such a patch.’ (Note the generic English pronoun he, a purely grammatical relationship.)

The patch may be variously rendered, depending upon the degree of description required or the usage of the receptor language, e.g. ‘the cloth that was sewn on,’ ‘the small piece of cloth,’ or ‘the cloth that was added.’ It is ‘this new cloth which tears away some of the cloth of the old garment, thus making the hole bigger’ (Barrow Eskimo).

Mark 2:22

Text After (second) ho oinos ‘the wine’ Textus Receptus adds ho neos ‘new’: all modern editions of the Greek text reject this addition.

Instead of kai ho oinos apollutai kai hoi askoi ‘and the wine is lost and the skins also’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus (from the parallels Mt. 9:17, Lk. 5:37) has kai ho oinos ekcheitai kai hoi askoi apolountai ‘and the wine is poured out and the wineskins are ruined.’

After the last words askous kainous ‘fresh skins’ Textus Receptus adds blēteon (from the parallel Lk. 5:38) ‘must be put’: all modern editions of the Greek text reject this addition.

Exegesis ballei (some 17 times in Mark) here in the sense of ‘place,’ ‘put,’ ‘pour’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 2.b): Moulton & Milligan illustrate from the papyri this unemphatic use of the verb.

oinon neon ‘new wine,’ i.e. still fermenting. On neos ‘new’ as distinguished from kainos ‘new’ see 1:27 and reff.

askous palaious ‘old wineskins’ (AV ‘bottles’ is quite misleading today).

askos ‘a leather bag,’ particularly a wineskin (cf. Arndt & Gingrich).

palaios ‘old’ has here the same meaning as in the previous verse; an “old wineskin” is one which has long been used and lost its elasticity, being unable to expand with the fermenting wine.

rēxei (cf. 9:18) ‘will burst,’ ‘will tear,’ ‘will break.’

kai ho oinos kai hoi askoi ‘and the wine … and the skins’: this construction in Greek is translated ‘both the wine … and the skins.’

apollutai (cf. 1:24) ‘is lost,’ (is destroyed,’ ‘is ruined.’

eis ‘into’: instead of RSV “new wine is for fresh skins,” it is probably better to translate ‘new wine (is to be poured) into fresh skins.’

Translation The generic negative expression used to introduce verse 21 should also be used in the parallel construction in verse 22.

In the selection of a term for wine in this passage it is essential that in so far as possible the concept of fermentation be present or at least understandable in the context. For that reason, for example, most translations in central Africa have used the local equivalent of palm wine, in which the processes of fermentation are well-known. Some missionaries have, however, insisted on the use of a borrowed word which would be more likely to relate the meaning to the foreign product, which may be known but rarely consumed by the local population, e.g. ‘drink called vin’ (or ‘wain’ or ‘vino,’ depending upon the source of the borrowing). There may be special reasons for the choice of a nonindigenous term for wine in other contexts, but for this particular passage it would seem that a well-known local product would be considerably more meaningful than any foreign one. New wine may be rendered as ‘wine beginning to ferment.’

Wineskins are variously described as ‘leather containers for wine’ (Subanen), ‘bottle-like objects made of leather for wine,’ ‘animal skins used as containers for wine,’ and ‘animal skins into which wine is poured, to be kept.’ South Toradja uses a loan word; Bare’e has ‘goat-skin,’ and Javanese ‘bladder (of an ox).’

Old in this context should refer to ‘used’ or ‘worn out.’

As may be required, the ellipsis in if he does may be expanded (see verse 2:21).

In some languages different verbs must be used to describe what happens to the wine and the skins. For example, ‘the wine runs out and the skins are ruined’ or ‘the wine is lost and the skins are made useless.’

The last clause may be translated as ‘fermenting wine should be put into new skin containers.’

Mark 2:23

Text Instead of paraporeuesthai ‘go along’ of most modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus, Souter, and Westcott and Hort prefer diaporeuesthai ‘go through.’

Exegesis kai egeneto paraporeuesthai ‘and it happened … (that he) went along’: for this Semitic construction see 1:9.

en tois sabbasin ‘on the sabbath day’ (on the use of the plural cf. 1:21).

paraporeuesthai dia tōn sporimōn ‘to go along through the grain fields’: the subject, of course, is auton ‘he’ (it is understood that the disciples were accompanying him).

paraporeuomai (9:30, 11:20, 15:29) ‘go by,’ ‘pass by’: plus dia ‘through,’ it means ‘go through.’

sporimos (only here in Mark) is an adjective ‘sown,’ ‘fit for sowing’; as a plural substantive ta sporima means here ‘grain fields,’ ‘standing grain’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich). It is to be noticed that ‘cornfield’ of AV, ERV and BFBS is not what American ‘corn’ (i.e. maize) is: the grain referred to is wheat or barley; see Goodspeed Problems, 55f.

ērxanto hodon poiein tillontes ‘they began to make way plucking’: it is agreed that hodon poiein means what in classical Greek would be hodon poieisthai ‘journey,’ ‘go along’ (cf. Latin iter facere), and does not mean ‘make a road’ (for the same use of this idiom see LXX Judges 17:8). The words hodon poiein, therefore, are to be translated ‘as they went’ (ASV, BFBS, Manson, Weymouth): cf. Field Notes, 25; Vincent Word Studies 1, 172f. The disciples were going along a regular path through the wheat fields (cf. Rawlinson).

ērxanto tillontes ‘they began … plucking’: according to rules of grammar ērxanto ‘they began’ should go with hodon poiein ‘to make (their) way’; it is generally agreed, however, that here the meaning is rather ‘they began plucking’ (cf. Lagrange, Taylor). As Gould says, there is not actually much difference between ‘they began to go along, plucking the ears’ and ‘they began, going along, to pluck.’ tillō ‘pluck,’ ‘pull off’ is found only here in Mark.

tous stachuas (4:28) ‘the ears (or, heads) of grain’ (i.e. wheat).

Translation Since the last specific previous reference to Jesus is in verse 19, and there are several intervening third person singular referents, it is often necessary to employ ‘Jesus’ as the subject of the first clause.

For sabbath see 1:21.

It is quite evident that Jesus was going along with his disciples, and that they were not walking out through a grainfield, but along a path. However, in order that the reader may properly understand the obvious intent of the Greek text, it is sometimes necessary to regroup the subject constituents, e.g. ‘Jesus and his disciples were going along a path through the grainfields’ (Ifugao).

The grainfields refer to fields of wheat. In some parts of the world there is practically no equivalent, and hence ‘corn’ (in the meaning of ‘Indian corn’ or ‘maize’) is used, even though the particular activities are in such instances not accurately represented. In some languages the wheat is described as ‘ricelike grain’ (Kiyaka) or ‘millet-like grain’ (Gurunse), and in other languages it may have some special designation, e.g. ‘Mexican grain’ vs. ‘Indian grain,’ that is to say, wheat vs. maize (Tzeltal), and ‘field for grain for flour’ (Barrow Eskimo, in which there is a perfectly good word for wheat ‘flour,’ but no knowledge of wheat as a grain).

Ears of grain must in some languages be variously rendered as ‘stalks of seeds,’ ‘heads of grain,’ ‘clusters of seeds,’ or ‘fruit of seeds.’

Note that though Jesus and the disciples were walking together, only the disciples are described as plucking off the heads of grain. The question of the Pharisees, however, is directed only to Jesus.

Mark 2:24

Exegesis hoi Pharisaioi ‘the Pharisees’: cf. 2:16.

ide (3:34, 11:21, 13:1, 21, 15:4, 35, 16:6) ‘look!,’ ‘see!’: no longer strictly an imperative of the verb but an interjection (cf. hora ‘see’ in 1:44).

ti …; ‘why …?’: again a rhetorical question (cf. 2:7): this is not a request for information, but is an accusation of wrong doing (cf. Black Aramaic, 88). Cf. Moffatt: “Look at what …! That is not allowed.”

ho ouk exestin ‘that which is not lawful’: i.e. reaping, which the Mosaic law prohibited on the sabbath (cf. Ex. 34:21). It is to be noticed that the disciples are not accused of stealing or plundering someone else’s field; the charge has to do with work prohibited on the sabbath.

exestin (2:26, 3:4, 6:18, 10:2, 12:14) ‘it is lawful,’ ‘it is permitted,’ ‘it is proper’ (an impersonal verb).

Translation Said may need to be translated as ‘asked,’ because of the interrogative form of the following.

They must be rendered in some languages more specifically as ‘your disciples.’

Not lawful is a somewhat complex idea, which in a number of languages must be translated in a more descriptive manner, e.g. ‘what the law does not allow’ (Mitla Zapotec), ‘what the law says should not be done,’ ‘what the law prohibits people from doing,’ or ‘what the law says is bad,’ if specific reference is to be made to the ‘law’ as codified rules of behavior. Rather, however, than the ‘law speaking’ (which it cannot do in some languages), one can translate ‘what people read in the law should not be done.’ On the other hand, it is more satisfactory in some instances to translate ‘what people should not do’ (South Toradja has simply ‘that which is not done’), without attempting to identify the codified form of the commandment, though the Greek text clearly implies a challenge to the authority of the Law.

Mark 2:25–26

Text pōs ‘how’ in v. 26 is omitted by Kilpatrick, but included by all other modern editions of the Greek text (Nestle and Westcott and Hort have it in brackets).

Exegesis oudepote anegnōte …; ‘have you never read …?’: another rhetorical question. There is no doubt that they had read; the point is they are being accused of not having understood what they read (cf. Daube New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, 433).

anaginōskō (12:10, 26, 13:14) ‘read,’ ‘read aloud’: the incident referred to is related in 1 Sam. 21:1–6.

chreian eschen (cf. 2:17) ‘he had need,’ ‘he had necessity.’

epeinasen (11:12) ‘he got hungry’ (to be distinguished from nēsteuō ‘fast’; cf. 2:18).

hoi met’ autou ‘those with him,’ ‘his companions’ (cf. 1:36).

pōs ‘how?’: in omitting this interrogative, BFBS places the question mark at the end of v. 25 and makes of v. 26 a statement; in including pws ‘how?’ the other editions of the Greek text extend the question to the end of v. 26 (as does RSV).

ton oikon tou theou ‘the house of God’: in the time of David, of course, it was the Tabernacle (not the Temple).

epi Abiathar archiereōs ‘when Abiathar was high priest.’

epi ‘upon’ with the genitive here indicates time: ‘in the time of,’ ‘under’ (cf. Lk. 3:2, Acts 11:28); see Arndt & Gingrich 1.2.

Abiathar ‘Abiathar’: for the problem involved in the fact that the high priest was actually Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar (cf. 1 Sam. 21:1, 22:20), see the commentaries. It has been suggested (Journal of Theological Studies NS 1.156, 1950) that the phrase here employed, like epi tou batou ‘in the passage about the bush’ in 12:26 (which see), means ‘at the passage of Scripture concerning (or, entitled) Abiathar the High Priest.’ The suggestion, however, is none too convincing (cf. Journal of Theological Studies NS 2.44–45, 1951, and see also Lagrange).

archiereus ‘high priest’ (the singular is found further in 14:47, 53, 54, 60, 61, 63, 66; the plural hoi archiereis ‘the chief priests’ occurs 14 times in Mark: see 8:31).

tous artous tēs protheseōs literally ‘the loaves of the presentation’: a translation of leḥem ha-panim ‘bread of the face (of God)’ (see Lev. 24:5–9 for instructions concerning the twelve loaves laid on tables before God every week by the priests). For the Greek phrase see LXX Lev. 24:8. In keeping with the meaning and purpose of these loaves, the accurate translation is ‘bread of the Presence (of God)’ (RSV, BFBS).

hous ouk exestin phagein ei mē tous hiereis ‘which (bread) it is not lawful (for anyone) to eat except the priests’: though a rather awkward construction, the meaning is clear.

kai edōken kai tois sun autō ousin ‘and he gave it also to those who were with him.’

kai (the second one) means here ‘also,’ ‘furthermore,’ ‘in addition.’

tois sun autō ousin ‘to his companions’ (the meaning is the same as that of hoi met’ autou of v. ‘

Translation Said is in this verse more specifically ‘answered’ or ‘asked,’ depending upon the requirements of the context as specified in a receptor language.

In some languages there are special forms of questions which are essentially rhetorical, i.e. asking not for the sake of the information communicated but asked to make a point in the very asking. Since this question directed to the Pharisees by Jesus is so obviously rhetorical—the Pharisees had read the Scriptures many times but had not taken them to heart—it may be essential to give the sentence a special form characteristic of such questions.

Because of the unusual placement of the appositional double subject he and those who were with him after the principal subject David (and separated from the latter by an intervening clause), it is often necessary to regroup the constituents as follows: ‘what David did when he and those who were with him were in need and were hungry’ (Ifugao).

To be in need may be translated as ‘had nothing,’ or in some instance as ‘were in difficulty.’

Because of the syntactic awkwardness of continuing the question with the beginning of verse 26, thus making two clauses dependent upon read namely, ‘What David did …’ and ‘how he entered …,’ it is sometimes preferable to begin verse 26 as a statement, ‘he entered.…’

One should use ‘house of God,’ despite the fact that this may have been selected as a term for the temple rather than for the tabernacle. In some languages, however, it is ‘the house for God’ rather than ‘God’s house,’ which could refer only to heaven.

High in the phrase high priest is generally translatable as ‘the biggest,’ ‘the strongest,’ ‘the most important,’ or ‘the chief.’ Rarely does elevation, i.e. literally ‘high,’ come into the figure.

Bread of the Presence involves two principal problems: (1) the traditional translation as ‘showbread,’ which would give rise to translations meaning ‘bread which was displayed,’ ‘bread put out to be seen,’ or ‘bread laid out’ (Tzeltal) and (2) the problems of rendering presence, without specifying whose presence is involved. The meaning in this latter type of phrase is that the bread was displayed before the presence of God, in which case the word ‘Presence’ would signify God Himself. In so many languages, however, it is quite impossible to talk about ‘presence’ without stipulating whose presence one is referring to, a problem not only presented by the semantic character of the phrase but by the very syntactic relationships of words, e.g. ‘presence’ is often either a verb which must have a subject or a noun which demands an actor possessor. In either case, therefore, ‘God’ would have to be specified. In some languages, accordingly, the closest equivalent of bread of the Presence would be ‘bread set before God’ or ‘bread set before the face of God’ (Luvale); ‘loaves which are laid before the face (of God)’ (South Toradja).

It is not lawful for any but involves a double negative, reproduced in some languages as ‘only the priests could eat.’

It is essential that the last clause be fully reproduced in any translation, for so much of the meaning is attached to the fact that David gave to those with him, a specific parallel to what Jesus was doing in permitting his disciples to do what was forbidden on the Sabbath.

Mark 2:27–28

Exegesis dia ton anthrōpon ‘on account of man,’ ‘for the sake of man’: the preposition dia indicates here the reason for the institution of the sabbath (cf. Arndt & Gingrich B.II.1; Moule Idiom Book, 55).

egeneto ‘became,’ i.e. ‘was made,’ ‘was established’ (for this use of ginomai ‘become’ see Arndt & Gingrich 1.2.a).

hōste (with the indicative, 10:8) ‘therefore,’ ‘consequently,’ ‘so,’ ‘accordingly’ (cf. Moule Idiom Book, 144; for hōste with the infinitive see 1:27).

kurios ‘lord,’ ‘owner,’ ‘ruler,’ ‘master’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich II.I.a.a).

ho huios tou anthrōpou ‘the Son of man’ (cf. 2:10).

kai tou sabbatou ‘even of the sabbath’ (for this use of kai ‘and’ see 1:27); the meaning could possibly be ‘also (i.e. in addition to being lord of other things) of the sabbath’: most translations and commentators, however, prefer the first meaning.

Translation Since Jesus is not only the one who asked the question beginning in verse 25, but who also made the statement in this and the succeeding verse, it is sometimes necessary to make this relationship explicit, frequently by repeating the noun subject, i.e. ‘Jesus.’ Them refers to the Pharisees and may be translated as such if there is danger of any other intervening third person plural referent being understood.

Such aphoristic expressions as occur in this verse are almost always difficult to translate because of (1) their shortness (much is left implicit), (2) the double meanings of words involved (it is one thing to speak of man being ‘made,’ but for ‘a sabbath to be made’ is often quite a different matter), and (3) the somewhat tenuous relationship to the context. In this instance the context assists materially in the understanding of the passage, but this is not always true, and even in this instance what is evident to the translator may not be equally clear to the reader.

For sabbath see 1:21.

In many languages one must use different verbs in speaking of instituting the sabbath and of creating man (in Greek and in English the verb ‘to make’ serves quite well). For example, in some instances one must say ‘the sabbath was set aside’ (or ‘ordained,’ ‘commanded’), or if an active rather than passive expression is required ‘God ordered the day of rest for the sake of people; he created people, but not just in order that they could keep the laws of the rest day.’ This expansion involves several matters: (1) the need of employing a fully generic term for man (in English and Greek we may use a singular for a generic, but in many languages a plural is necessary for the same meaning), (2) the necessity of placing a negative with the element negativized (e.g. one cannot say in some languages ‘he did not create men for the sabbath,’ for by placing the negative particle with the verb one would imply a negation of creation; the negative must go properly with the negativized element, namely, the purpose), and (3) the lack of parallelism in (a) the principal verbs (‘ordered’ and ‘created’) and (b) the expressions of ‘for,’ since something done for a person often requires quite a different type of expression than the fact of a person existing for the sake of a particular institution. This means that one must employ quite different descriptions of the relationships between the individuals and the institutions, depending upon the so-called actor-goal relationship. The complex relationships are expressed in a temporal context in Trique ‘God first made people, then the day of rest for the sake of people; he did not first make the day of rest and then make people for the day of rest.’ The relationship between the sabbath and man is defined somewhat more explicitly in Mazahua as ‘the day of rest was made to help people; people were not created to help the day of rest’; Toba Batak ‘the sabbath was instituted for man; man has not been formed for the sabbath.’

For Son of Man see 2:10.

Because of the third person reference to himself in this passage, it may be necessary to specify the relationship between the speaker and the subject by saying ‘I, the Son of man’ (cf. 2:10).

Lord of … is equivalent to ‘has the right to command’ (Huave) or ‘has control over’ (Tarahumara), or ‘says what should be done on the rest day’ (Huastec).

Mark Chapter 3

Mark 3:1

Exegesis palin ‘again’: refers back to 1:21.

eis sunagōgēn ‘into a synagogue’: the exact shade of meaning would be akin to the idiom in English “he went to church” (cf. Taylor); Lagrange translates en synagogue.

anthrōpos echōn ‘a man … having’ i.e. ‘a man who had.’

exērammenēn tēn cheira ‘withered … the hand’: the definite article tēn ‘the’ is customary with parts of the body, and means ‘his hand’ (cf. 1:41).

xēraino (4:6, 5:29, 9:18, 11:20, 21) ‘dry up,’ ‘wither’: what is indicated is a stiffness, an inability to use the hand (cf. Arndt & Gingrich). It is an overrefinement to see in the use of the perfect passive participle an indication that the paralysis of the hand was due to an accident, rather than being congenital (as do Swete, Vincent).

Translation For synagogue see 1:21.

Withered, which is in itself a figurative expression, corresponds to different types of figurative and descriptive terms, e.g. ‘dead hand’ (Ifugao, Subanen, Gurunse), ‘a weak hanging-down hand’ (South Toradja), ‘a crooked-grown hand’ (Javanese), ‘dried up hand’ (Black Bobo), ‘stiff hand,’ ‘a hand which could not be moved,’ and ‘a hand without flesh’ (Shipibo).

Languages differ considerably in the divisions of the human anatomy. For example, one term may include only the hand, and not the wrist, but in another language a word for the hand may include the entire forearm, or even the arm as a whole. In other instances the palm of the hand is distinguished from the fingers. The Greek term may itself even include the entire arm, but probably in this context the best correspondence is what we would understand by hand, wrist, and probably forearm, since the ‘withering’ often includes the entire portion.

Mark 3:2

Exegesis paretēroun (only here in Mark) ‘they were watching’: it is not necessary to suppose with Turner (Journal of Theological Studies, 25.379, 1923–4) that this is an impersonal plural ‘people were watching.’ The context indicates that it was the adversaries of Jesus who were watching, identified as the Pharisees in v. 6.

paratēreō ‘watch closely,’ ‘observe with care’: when used in a hostile sense, as here, it means ‘lie in wait for’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich). Moulton & Milligan quote an example of the word in the papyri in the sense of keeping a careful watch over criminals.

ei therapeusei ‘if … he shall heal’: the future tense is used from the point of view of the spectators. Though the use of the future tense of the verb in such a construction as this is rare, it is perfectly correct (cf. Lagrange).

ei ‘if’: here it is used as an interrogative particle, in an indirect question, ‘whether.’ In direct form, it would be ‘Will he heal?.’ For this use of ei cf. Arndt & Gingrich V.2.a.

hina katēgorēsōsin autou ‘in order that they might accuse him.’

hina ‘in order that’ goes back to paretēroun ‘They were watching him … in order that …’.

katēgoreō (15:3, 4) ‘accuse,’ ‘bring charge against’: a technical term meaning to bring charge in court against someone.

Translation They (identified specifically as Pharisees in verse 6) may probably be best rendered as ‘the people there,’ for no doubt more than just the Pharisees were intent to see what Jesus would do, since they would be acquainted with his fame as a healer and his reputed defiance of certain Sabbath traditions.

The succession of pronouns him, he, him, may require some clarification in languages which do not have the same system of pronominal reference as Greek, e.g. ‘the people watched Jesus in order to see whether he would heal the man on the sabbath.’

Verbs for healing are not infrequently quite specific in their area of reference, e.g. internal disorders vs. external ones, sores vs. dislocations, organs of movement vs. those of sense, etc.

Accuse may be translated simply as ‘to say that he had done wrong.’

Mark 3:3

Exegesis xēran (only here in Mark) ‘dried up,’ ‘withered,’ ‘immobile’ (the same meaning as exērammenēn in v. 1).

egeire eis to meson ‘rise (and stand) in the middle’ (cf. Lk. 6:8).

to meson as a noun means ‘the middle,’ ‘the center,’ meaning ‘in the sight of all’: cf. Manson “stand up where everybody can see you”; Synodale Lève-toi et tiens-toi au milieu de nous. RSV. “come here” is not completely accurate, while BFBS “stand in the middle” may be misleading. Better, “Rise and come forward” (Moffatt; cf Goodspeed, Weymouth). Cf. eis meson ‘in the midst,’ 14:60.

egeire (cf. 1:31) ‘rise,’ ‘get up.’

Mark 3:4

Exegesis exestin (cf. 2:24) ‘it is lawful.’ As in 2:24 the standard of reference is the Mosaic Law.

agathon poiēsai ē kakopoiēsai ‘to do good or to do bad’: it is debated whether the verbs are to be understood in a moral sense ‘do right … do wrong’ or in the sense of assistance ‘to help … to harm.’ Hatch (Essays, 7) contends that Biblical usage favors the second meaning. AV, BFBS, Weymouth, Manson, have ‘to do evil’; ASV, RSV, Knox, Moffatt, Torrey, translate ‘to do harm.’ The context, especially the words that follow, would seem to support the second meaning.

psuchēn sōsai ē apokteinai ‘to save life or to kill’; these words further define what is meant by ‘do good … do harm.’

psuchē (8:35, 36, 37, 10:45, 12:30, 14:34) ‘life,’ ‘soul,’ ‘self’: the various meanings of the word can be traced back to its use in the LXX (cf. Hatch Essays, 101–2. In Mark three general uses may be distinguished: (1) of earthly life itself, including the reflexive sense of ‘oneself,’ 8:35a, b, 10:45, 14:34; (2) of the inner life of man, his feelings and emotions, 12:30 (possibly 14:34 should be included here); (3) of the life which transcends earthly existence, 8:36, 37. The precise meaning of the word here is probably to be included in the first category in the sense of a living creature, person: ‘to save a person’s life or to destroy it?’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich; for psuchē as “person,” “man” cf. Acts 27:37).

sōzō ‘save’: this word in Mark is used in the following senses: (1) ‘rescue’ (from death) 15:30, 31, ‘preserve’ (life) 3:4, 8:35a, and in the passive, ‘survive’ 13:20; (2) ‘heal,’ ‘cure’ 5:23, 28, 34, 6:56, 10:52; (3) of ‘salvation’ in the theological sense, 8:35b (probably: cf. Arndt & Gingrich 3), 10:26, 13:13 (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 2b), 16:16. In the present passage the word falls into the first category: “Is it better to preserve a man’s life or destroy it?”

apokteinō (6:19, 8:31, 10:34, 12:5, 7, 8, 14:1) ‘kill.’

hoi de esiōpōn ‘but they were silent.’

siōpaō (4:39, 9:34, 10:48, 14:61) ‘keep silence,’ ‘be silent’: the meaning here is best expressed by ‘they remained silent.’

Translation Said may be changed to ‘asked’ if the following question requires such an introductory verb.

Lawful in this context (as in 2:24) refers to ‘what one should do’ or ‘what one is allowed to do’ (hence, lawful). That is to say, ‘On the Sabbath ought one to do good …,’ ‘is it proper to do good …,’ ‘is it allowable to do good …,’ or as in Tzeltal, ‘on the rest day is it good for one.…’

Some languages require objects of expression such as ‘to do good’ and ‘to do harm.’ The logical grammatical objects would be persons, e.g. ‘to do good for people or to do them harm.’ The following clause is a further elaboration, and may need to be introduced by another main verb, ‘is it proper to save a man’s life or to kill him.’

Mark 3:5

Text At the end of the verse Textus Receptus adds hugiēs hōs hē allē ‘sound as the other (hand)’ (from the parallel passage Mt. 12:13): all modern editions of the Greek text omit this phrase.

Exegesis periblepsamenos (3:34, 5:32, 9:8, 10:23, 11:11) ‘looking around’: the aorist participle indicates manner, and this verb is used in Mark (with the exception of 9:8 and 11:11) of Jesus’ looking upon friends or enemies.

met’ orgēs (only here in Mark) ‘with anger,’ ‘wrathfully.’

sullupoumenos (only here in N.T.) ‘grieved’: in ordinary usage this compound verb means ‘to grieve with (somebody),’ ‘to sympathize,’ and Lagrange and Swete suggest that here it indicates a mixture of grief with anger; most commentators, however, see here only a strengthened form of the simple verb ‘deeply grieved’ (cf, Arndt & Gingrich), or else the Greek equivalent of the Latin contristare ‘grieve,’ ‘mourn’ (Moule Idiom Book, 192).

epi tē pōrōsei tēs kardias autōn ‘at the hardness of their heart.’

epi ‘at,’ ‘because’: for this use of epi, see 1:22.

pōrōsis (only here in Mark) ‘hardness’: it is generally agreed that the word in the N.T. (also Rom. 11:25, Eph. 4:18) has the meaning of ‘dullness,’ ‘insensibility,’ ‘insensitiveness,’ ‘obstinacy’ (J. A. Robinson Ephesians,264–74: “obtuseness or intellectual blindness”), BFBS Glossary, Manson “stupidity,” Moffatt “obstinacy.”

kardia ‘heart’ (see 2:6 for the meaning of ‘heart’).

ekteinon ‘you stretch out’ (cf. 1:41).

apekatestathē (8:25, 9:12) ‘it was restored,’ i.e. returned to its original soundness.

Translation Since the clause grieved at their hardness of heart describes the reason for the anger, it must in some languages precede (Navajo). In all such instances, however, the proper antecedent of ‘their’ must be clearly evident.

Since anger has so many manifestations and seems to affect so many aspects of personality, it is not strange that expressions used to describe this emotional response are so varied: ‘to be warm inside’ (Trique), ‘to have a cut heart’ (Mende), ‘to have a split heart’ (Miskito), ‘to have a hot heart’ (Tzotzil), ‘a swollen heart’ (Moré), ‘fire of the viscera’ (Conob), ‘pain in the heart’ (San Blas), ‘not with good eye’ (Ecuadorean Quechua).

There are, of course, differing degrees of anger which may be indicated in various languages, but there is no reason to think that some relatively weak form of anger should be referred to here, just because Jesus is the subject of the sentence. This was genuine indignation and anger because of the callous disregard of the people for human welfare.

Since ‘anger’ is so often expressed as a process, it must be combined with the main verb of its clause as another related event, e.g. ‘Jesus’ heart was hot as he looked around’ or ‘as he looked around … his heart was swollen.’

In this verse grieve is not to be associated with weeping or mourning for the dead (a common meaning of the term), but with the concept of deep emotional upheaval and disturbance, often described in very figurative language, e.g. ‘his liver was ruined because of …’ (Shilluk).

Hardness of heart is one idiom which in a great many languages must be replaced by quite different types of expressions. For one thing, ‘hard heart’ may have quite different meanings in other languages: ‘brave’ (Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Shilluk), ‘bad character’ (Trique), ‘endurance’ (Popoluca), and ‘to be in doubt’ (Piro). In still other languages a phrase such as ‘hard heart’ would not mean any more than a ‘stony lung’ would mean to English-speaking persons. If, then, we are to make sense in such languages, we must adopt an expression which is the natural equivalent in this type of context as e.g. ‘large heart’ (Huave), ‘tightness of heart’ (Shilluk), ‘blind in their thoughts’ (Zoque), ‘hard heads’ (Trique), ‘ears without holes’ (Shipibo), ‘do not have pain in their heart’ (Tzotzil, Tzeltal).

Restored may be rendered as ‘was made like it was before’ or ‘became good again.’

Mark 3:6

Text Instead of edidoun ‘they were giving’ of the majority of modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus and Souter have epoioun ‘they were making,’ and Tischendorf has epoiēsan ‘they made.’

Exegesis exelthontes ‘going out (of the synagogue).’

Hērōdianōn (12:13) ‘Herodians’: partisans and friends of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee.

sumboulion edidoun ‘they held counsel,’ ‘they plotted,’ ‘they planned’: not simply the idea of consultation, but that of deliberation, resolution (cf, Lagrange). Arndt & Gingrich (sumboulion 1) take this phrase to be the equivalent of the Latin consilium capere ‘to plan,’ ‘to purpose.’ The imperfect tense of the verb here may have the meaning ‘they began to counsel.’

hopōs ‘in order that,’ ‘so that’: as an adverb hopōs expresses manner ‘how’ (so RSV); if used as a conjunction, it indicates purpose, ‘so that they might destroy him’ (Burton Moods and Tenses, 205, 207); or, following a verb meaning ‘to plan,’ hopōs may mean ‘with a view to’ (Arndt & Gingrich 2.b).

apolesōsin (cf. 1:24) ‘they might destroy him,’ i.e. put him to death.

Translation Went out, i.e. of the synagogue.

Herodians, the political followers and friends of Herod, may be identified as ‘those who walked with Herod’ (Mitla Zapotec).

The Shilluk idiom for taking counsel is an interesting and typical one, ‘gathered mouths together.’

Against him, how to destroy him may give rise to serious difficulties if one attempts to translate literally. However, the expression can be efficiently related to the preceding by translating as ‘got together with the followers of Herod in order to plan how they could destroy Jesus’ (or ‘kill him’). This was no plot merely against his influence, but against his life.

Mark 3:7–8

Text Verse 8 … Before peri ‘about’ Textus Receptus and Soden (in brackets) add hoi ‘the (people)’; it is omitted by all other modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis anechōrēsen (only here in Mark) ‘he withdrew,’ ‘he retired’: whether flight is implied is a debated question; Moulton & Milligan cite examples from the papyri with the meaning ‘take refuge.’

tēn thalassan ‘the sea’ is the Lake of Galilee (see 1:16).

plēthos (in these two verses only) ‘quantity,’ ‘large number’: used generally of a crowd.

The ‘great multitude’ comes from Galilee and all points of the compass; Judea, Jerusalem and Idumea, in the south; beyond the Jordan, to the east; and the regions of Tyre and Sidon, to the northwest.

peran tou Iordanou (10:1) ‘beyond the Jordan’: a set phrase in the New Testament to designate the country east of the river Jordan called by Josephus and others Peraia ‘Perea.’ peran is an adverb of place and means ‘on the other side.’

peri Turon kai Sidōna ‘the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich peri 2.a.g; Moule Idiom Book, 62).

akouontes ‘hearing’: either temporal ‘when they heard’ (BFBS), or possibly causal ‘because they heard.’

hosa ‘how many things,’ ‘everything that’: indicates quantity.

Translation Withdrew may be rendered as ‘went away with.’

A multitude is simply a ‘very large crowd’ or ‘many, many people.’

Followed should be translated in the sense of ‘went along with’ (or ‘behind’), but not in the meaning of ‘tracked down’ (see 1:17) or in the sense of ‘to be his disciples.’ The crowd is composed of interested listeners, but not committed adherents.

The order of the elements in the clause also from Judea … came to him must frequently be changed, because of the awkward relationship of constituent parts, e.g. ‘Also those which were of the land of Judea and the city Jerusalem and the land Idumea and from the land on the other side of the Jordan river and from the country around the cities Tyre and Sidon they heard all that Jesus did; therefore very many of them came to him.’ This type of recasting may be necessitated by several syntactic requirements: (1) the use of classifiers with unfamiliar place names, e.g. Tyre, Idumea, Sidon, etc., (2) the shift from subordinate (hypotactic) to paratactic structure (rather than, ‘… when those which … heard … that Jesus did … they came,’ a structure containing three dependent clauses which telescope one within another and are all dependent upon the last clause), and (3) the parallelism of subject-predicate structure (what is important is not the relative order of constituents but the tendency toward parallelism, which tends to re-enforce correct interpretation, rather than produce confusion).

Mark 3:9–10

Exegesis hina ploiarion proskarterē autō ‘that a boat be ready for him’: in this clause hina does not denote purpose ‘in order that’ but simply indicates the content of the order given the disciples (cf. Moulton Prolegomena, 206–9).

ploiarion (only here in Mark) ‘a boat’: the diminutive of ploion (cf. 1:19) ‘boat.’ It is not necessary to suppose, however, that a very exact distinction between the two is made by the evangelist.

proskartereō (only here in Mark) ‘attend constantly,’ ‘wait on’: used here of a boat it means ‘stand ready, be in constant attendance’ (cf. Gould).

hina mē thlibōsin auton ‘in order that they not crush him’: here is the purpose (hina ‘in order that’) of the command that a boat be at hand.

thlibō (7:14) ‘press upon,’ ‘crowd,’ ‘crush’: ‘they’ refers to ho ochlos ‘the crowd’ of the preceding clause.

etherapeusen (cf. 1:34) ‘he healed’: ASV and RSV “had healed” is not to be understood in the sense that the healing ministry was finished; cf. “healed” of Moffatt, BFBS (cf. Manson “made many cures”).

hōste epipiptein (cp. 1:27 for this construction) ‘so as to press upon’: the verb epipiptō (only here in Mark) means literally ‘to fall upon’ and is here used in the sense ‘to crowd upon,’ ‘to approach impetuously’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich).

autou hapsōntai (cp. 1:41) ‘that they might touch him.’

hosoi eichon mastigas ‘as many as had diseases,’ ‘all who had diseases.’

mastix (5:29, 34) ‘whip,’ ‘scourge,’ ‘torment’: used of disease and suffering as divine chastisement. It is probable, however, that the word had lost its original sense of ‘scourge’ inflicted by the gods and meant simply ‘disease’ (cf. Lagrange). Cf. the similar use, in English, of the word ‘plague.’

Translation After the verb told it is quite frequent that the following order of Jesus must be stated in a direct form, e.g. ‘told his disciples: Have a boat ready for me because.…’

To have a boat ready is not always an easy idea to translate literally. Some languages may speak of people being ‘ready’ (i.e. ‘prepared for action’) but inanimate objects such as boats cannot be spoken of as ‘ready.’ the closest equivalent in Huave, for example, is to say ‘to have a boat tied (anchored) near by,’ Bare’e and Javanese, ‘a little ship had to be close-by.’ On the other hand, one can usually speak of ‘preparing a boat for a person’ and this may be the best equivalent in some languages.

The two expressions (1) because of the crowd and (2) lest they should crush him are better coalesced into one clause in some languages since the logical subject is identical for each, e.g. ‘in order that the crowd would not push hard against him.’

The conjunction for introducing verse 10 may pose certain difficulties, since, if it is understood to suggest a reason for the immediately preceding action, there is a non sequitur, that is to say, people will not be able to understand why the people would crush him because he had healed so many. Actually, this conjunction introduces a reason, not for the immediately preceding action, but for the previous statement by Jesus, namely, that the disciples should keep a boat ready for him. In order, to make the relationship quite clear one may render the passage as ‘Jesus did this because he had healed many and as a result all who.…’

Pressed upon him to touch him must be translated with care, for ‘to press upon’ may imply by its very form physical contact. Accordingly, readers may wonder why the phrase ‘to touch him’ should be added. However, the description of what was happening in this crowd can be readily described as ‘they kept pushing one another in order to touch him’ (Ifugao) or ‘kept shoving toward him in order to touch him’ (Chontal of Tabasco).

Mark 3:11–12

Exegesis hotan auton etheōroun, prosepipton autō kai ekrazon ‘whenever they saw him, they fell before him and shouted.’

hotan whenever,’ ‘at the time,’ ‘when’: with the three verbs in the imperfect tense, the action is portrayed as being repeated (cf, 11:19). Cf. Arndt & Gingrich on hotan ‘whenever’: “of an action that is conditional, possible, and repeated.”

theōreō (5:15, 38, 12:41, 15:40, 47, 16:4) ‘look (upon),’ ‘gaze,’ ‘behold.’

prospiptō (5:33, 7:25) ‘fall before,’ ‘fall at the feet of.’

krazō (11 times in Mark) ‘call,’ ‘call out’: of evil spirits, ‘shriek,’ ‘scream.’

polla (cf. 1:45) used adverbially ‘strongly,’ ‘insistently’: it does not mean here ‘many times,’ ‘often’; cf. Vulgate vehementer, Lagrange enjoignant fortement, BFBS ‘warned strongly.’

epetima (cf. 1:25) ‘he commanded,’ ‘he warned.’

hina ‘that’: as in v. 9 hina denotes here the content of the order, not purpose ‘in order that.’

phaneron poiēsōsin ‘they should make known,’ ‘they should reveal’ (cf. Mt. 12:16): the meaning is ‘reveal the identity of (someone),’ cf. 1:34.

Translation There is a tendency for translators to render this passage as ‘whenever people who had unclean spirits looked at Jesus, they fell …’ despite the fact that this may seem to make better sense, it is advisable not to depart from the original in this regard. Even though passages which speak of evil spirits seem to involve certain confusion between the action of the demonic spirits and the men in whom they dwelt, this very confusion is a highly significant factor (see 1:24).

For unclean spirits see 1:26, 32.

Not to make him known may be translated in some languages as ‘not to say who he was.’ If this must be adapted to the requirements of direct discourse the form would be ‘he strictly ordered them: You must not say: He is the Son of God’ (or as may be necessary in some instances ‘You are the Son of God,’ using the expression of verse 11). Such a series of included direct discourse is not uncommon.

Mark 3:13

Exegesis anabainei cf. (1:10) ‘he goes up.’

eis to oros (cf. 6:46, 13:14) literally ‘into the hill’: what is meant is the hill district as distinct from the lowlands, especially above the Lake of Galilee, (cf. Arndt & Gingrich, Turner, Swete).

proskaleitai hous ēthelen autos ‘he calls to himself those whom he himself wished.’

proskaloumai ‘summon,’ ‘call to oneself,’ ‘invite’: with one exception (15:44, Pilate to the centurion) this verb in Mark is used always of Jesus’ calling the disciples (3:13, 6:7, 8:1, 10:42, 12:43) or the crowd (3:23, 7:14, 8:34).

thelō (some 24 times in Mark) ‘desire,’ ‘will,’ ‘wish’: Arndt & Gingrich hold that the verb here indicates purpose and will, rather than desire; and Turner (Journal of Theological Studies, 28.356, 1926–7) concludes that thelō in Mark must not be translated ‘wish’ or ‘desire,’ and that in the present passage the sense of the verb is that of choice: ‘whom he willed.’

autos ‘he’: since the personal pronoun is unnecessary with the verb, in Greek, it is normally emphatic when used: ‘he himself.’ Turner, however, takes it to be unemphatic in Mark, meaning, simply ‘he.’

kai apēlthon pros auton ‘and they went off (from the crowd) to him.’

Translation Into the hills, if translated literally, can be badly misunderstood. In Kekchi, for example, one must translate ‘on the face of the hill.’ In other languages it must be ‘in the region of the hills’ or ‘among the hills.’

For call see 1:20.

Desired in this context should not be understood in the sense of ‘personal pleasure in’ (a not uncommon mistake, and one which can lead to gross misinterpretation). The appropriate area of meaning in some languages seems to lie about half-way between ‘want’ and ‘choose.’

Mark 3:14–15

Text After dōdeka ‘twelve’ Westcott and Hort add hous kai apostolous ōnomasen ‘whom he also called apostles’: the great majority of the modern editions of the Greek text reject this clause (cf. Swete’s arguments, however, for its inclusion).

Verse 15. After exousian ‘authority’ Textus Receptus adds therapeuein tas nosous kai ‘to heal the sicknesses and’: this reading is rejected by all modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis epoiēsen dōdeka ‘he appointed twelve’: for this use of poieō ‘do,’ ‘make,’ cf. (in the LXX) Ex. 18:25, 36:1. and in the N.T. Heb. 3:2. The influence of the LXX is seen in this use of the verb (cf. Rawlinson, Lagrange).

The two hina ‘in order that’ clauses indicate purpose and are coordinate: ‘that they be with him and that he send them’ are the two purposes for which Jesus appointed the twelve men.

hina apostellē autous ‘that he should send them out’: it is better to translate the verb as an active form, with Jesus as subject, than to translate it by a passive (as does RSV) ‘to be sent out.’

apostellō (cf. 1:2) ‘send out’: from this verb the noun apostolos (6:30) ‘apostle’ is formed (cf. 6:7 for the ‘sending out’).

kērussein kai echein exousian ‘to preach and to have authority’: the two infinitives ‘to preach’ and ‘to have authority’ are coordinate, and are both the object of apostellō ‘send out.’ A translation should preserve this construction if possible rather than make the second infinitive a subordinate clause (as does BFBS).

kērussō (cf. 1:4) ‘proclaim,’ ‘announce,’ ‘preach.’

echein exousian (cf. 1:22) ‘to have authority.’

ekballein ta daimonia (cf. 1:34) ‘to cast out the demons’: this infinitive clause is the object of echein exousian ‘to have authority.’

Translation Appointed is not always an easy term to translate. In general the cultural background which may provide an adequate equivalent is to be found in many societies in the practice of (1) medicine men who appoint associates or (2) chiefs or kings who designate certain men to offices of responsibility. When this is done the process is often described in more concrete terms, e.g. ‘gave them jobs to do,’ ‘gave then important names,’ or ‘chose them for tasks.’ Such expressions can generally be adapted to this type of context. Cf. South Toradja ‘he exalted (the status of) twelve people’; Bare’e and Indonesian ‘he appointed twelve people for good.’

Twelve must usually have some added noun, e.g. ‘twelve men,’ ‘twelve persons,’ or even ‘twelve followers.’ Most languages require some type of classifier with a numeral such as ‘twelve.’

If the full meaning of to be with him is to be understood it must often be elaborated in one of two directions: (1) by some verbal mode or aspect which would indicate that the apostles were to remain with him in some more permanent relationship than the crowds which followed, or (2) by related lexical elements, e.g. ‘to remain with him,’ ‘to be associated with him,’ or ‘to be with him more constantly.’ Note, however, that their appointment was for a double purpose—not only association, but commission to go out. the words used at this point should not be contradictory. On the other hand, their close association with the Master was to precede their being sent out on their own.

For preach see 1:4.

For authority see 2:10, but note that the important aspect of the word exousia ‘authority’ is that of delegated power. Accordingly, in this passage ‘to receive power (or strength) to cast out’ would be quite satisfactory.

For cast out, in speaking of demons, see 1:34.

Mark 3:16

Text At the beginning of the verse Tischendorf, Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Soden, Vogels, Kilpatrick, Lagrange, and Merk add kai epoiēsen tous dōdeka “and he appointed the twelve”: this clause is omitted by Textus Receptus, Souter, ASV, RSV, Taylor (cf. Taylor for arguments for omitting it). Although not decisive, the evidence for retaining the clause with Nestle and others, seems to outweigh the evidence for omitting it.

Exegesis kai ‘and’: here with the meaning ‘so’ (BFBS, Manson).

tous dōdeka (4:10, 6:7, 9:35, 10:32, 11:11, 14:10, 17, 20, 43) ‘the Twelve’: not simply a number, as in v. 14, but a title: ‘the Twelve’ (BFBS); Lagrange les Douze.

kai epethēken onoma tō Simōni Petron ‘and he added to Simon the name Peter.’

epitithēmi (3:17, 5:33, 6:5, 7:32, 8:23, 25, 16:18) ‘lay,’ ‘set,’ ‘place upon’: the phrase epitithenai onoma means ‘give a surname’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 1.a.b).

Translation Verses 16 through 19 consist of a list of the names of the apostles, but this list is grammatically in apposition with the twelve, spoken of in verse 14. In most languages this type of apposition is so distant that without some clarification or more explicit reference, misunderstanding is likely to arise. For example, in one translation the list of names (all strange ones) was taken to be a list of the demons that were to be cast out, for the list immediately followed reference to the demons. accordingly, verse 16 must often begin as ‘these men were …’ (Chontal of Oaxaca) or ‘the ones he appointed were.…’ (Trique).

Surnamed is ‘to give an additional name to’ or ‘to give a second name to.’ this practice is a good deal more common in many cultures than in our own, and hence is not likely to be misunderstood.

For problems of transliteration of proper names and the adjustments which must be made in the case of certain familiar names see Bible Translating, 243–46. Note, however, that in many instances there are strong pressures for the adoption of arbitrary orthographic conventions in the case of well-known proper names (e.g. taking over spelling of French, Spanish, or Portuguese, despite the fact that the people do not pronounce the names according to such consonant-vowel representations). In most instances one must accede to these pressures and use the orthographically approved form of the prestige language of the area. This principle often applies to such names as Peter, James, John, Philip, and Thomas, but would not be likely to apply to Bartholomew, Alphaeus, or Thaddaeus.

Mark 3:17

Text Instead of onoma ‘name,’ Textus Receptus, Tischendorf, Soden, Souter, Vogels, Lagrange, and Merk have onomata ‘names’; the singular is preferred by Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Taylor and Kilpatrick.

Exegesis Iakōbon ton tou Zebedaiou ‘James the son of Zebedee’ (cf. the same construction in 2:14).

Boanērges ‘Boanerges’: cf. Dalman Words, 49, and Arndt & Gingrich for problems connected with the correct understanding of this proper name, and possible solutions.

huioi brontēs ‘sons of thunder’: the Semitic idiom means that the men thus named are characterized by a wrathful disposition, and so are like thunder (cf., same idiom 2:19 huioi numphōnos ‘sons of the bridegroom’s chamber’).

Translation For a discussion of the order of names and attributive expressions in James the son … of James, see 1:19. In this passage a frequently acceptable equivalent is ‘James and his younger brother John, both sons of Zebedee.’

Whom he surnamed Boanerges may be translated as ‘he also called them a second name Boanerges.’ This last term should be transliterated, following the principles of sound equivalence established for the handling of such infrequent proper names.

That is (reflecting Greek ho estin) is a kind of formula for ‘which means.’ The interpretation of such strange names in a language may need to be introduced as ‘which means in our language’ or ‘which tries to say.’

Sons of thunder, translated literally, has been misunderstood in a number of translations in which readers have assumed that Jesus was actually describing these men as the supernatural offspring of the local deity “Thunder” (the fact that the men had a stated human father seemed either noncontradictory, or as in one instance, Zebedee was taken to be the name of Thunder). In order that the reader may understand precisely what is the meaning of this Semitic idiom, many translations have used certain equivalent phrases, e.g. ‘men like thunder’ (Huave, Navajo, Pame), ‘sons like thunder’ (Ifugao), and ‘men who are strong like thunder’ (Sierra Aztec, Chontal of Oaxaca). In some languages one may find that the phrase ‘sons of thunder’ is already in use in a very specialized meaning. For example, in Trique the expression is the name of a small toad, so named after an ancient pagan rain god. However, by changing the phrase somewhat by the introduction of ‘noise,’ the proper referent was understood, e.g. ‘sons of the noise of thunder.’

Mark 3:18–19

Text In verse 19 instead of erchetai ‘he goes’ of Tischendorf, Merk, Souter, Westcott and Hort, Taylor, and Nestle, the plural erchontai ‘they go’ is preferred by Textus Receptus, Soden, Vogels, Lagrange, and Kilpatrick.

Exegesis Iakōbon ton tou Alphaiou ‘James the sons of Alphaeus’ (cf. 2:14).

Simōna ton Kananaion ‘Simon the Cananaean’: this is not Simon from Cana’ (which would be Kanaios) or ‘Simon the Canaanite’ (which would be Chananaios, cf. Mt. 15:22); rather as a transliteration of the Aramaic qun’an ‘enthusiast,’ ‘zealous,’ it means ‘Simon the Zealot’ (cf. Lk. 6:15 and Acts 1:13). Instead of “Cananaean” (RSV, BFBS), therefore, it would be better, in order to avoid misunderstanding, to translate “Zealot” (Goodspeed, Moffatt, Brazilian, Lagrange); some (Swete, Lagrange) see the name as an indication of religious fervor, rather than adherence to the extremist party of Zealots (cf. Manson, “the Zealous”).

kai Ioudan Iskariōth, hos kai paredōken auton ‘and Judas Iscariot, who also delivered him up.’

Iskariōth ‘Iscariot’: generally taken to be a transliteration of ‘ish qerioth ‘man from Kerioth’ (for other suggestions cf. Taylor).

kai ‘also’: should not be omitted, as does RSV (cf. Swete): it means ‘in addition to being one of the Twelve’; it does not mean ‘who also (besides other men) delivered him up.’

paradidōmi (cf. 1:14) ‘hand over,’ ‘deliver up (to judgment or prison)’: in certain contexts it is better to preserve the literal sense of the word in a translation rather than use the common ‘betray’ (cf. 1:14 and Mt. 26:15 as striking examples of the use of the verb where ‘betray’ would be grossly inaccurate). The ‘delivering up’ of Jesus was in fact a betrayal on the part of Judas; that does not mean, however, that paradidōmi means ‘betray’ (cf. prodidōmi ‘betray,’ Liddell and Scott).

eis oikon ‘home’ (RSV), ‘His home’ (BFBS): cf. en oikō ‘at home’ in 2:1 (see Goodspeed Problems, 56f).

Translation Cananaean should be translated in the same manner as Zealot. In general this term, which comes out of a complex religious, social and political context, is perhaps most appropriately related to what might be primarily a political entity in another culture (though politics are rarely separable from social and religious considerations). Some translators have used designations which would imply that Simon was one of the ‘nationalist party.’ Others have characterized him as ‘always campaigning’ (i.e. politically zealous, without specifying his cause). The Subanen describe this type of zealous, politically-minded person as ‘brave to speak.’ Within this general area of significance it is usually possible to find some relatively adequate equivalent.

Judas Iscariot should in general be transliterated, rather than translated, in the sense of ‘the man from Kerioth.’

Betrayed in this context may be rendered as ‘handed him over to enemies’ (Conob) or ’cause his enemies to apprehend him’ (or ‘to arrest him’).

Mark 3:20

Exegesis kai sunerchetai palin ochlos ‘and the crowd gathers again.’

sunerchomai (14:53) ‘assemble,’ ‘gather,’ ‘come together.’

palin ‘again’: looks back at 3:7. It would not be correct to say ‘the same crowd’: it is simply the gathering together again of a crowd about Jesus.

hōste mē dunasthai autous (cf. 1:27 for this construction) ‘so that they were unable,’ ‘so that they could not.’

autous ‘they’: the reference is most likely to Jesus and his disciples (cf. Bruce Expositor’s Greek Testament I, 360).

mēde arton phagein ‘not even to eat bread,’ i.e. eat, “take food” (BFBS).

Translation In order to avoid the impression that this was identically the same crowd following Jesus (though admittedly made up of many of the same people), one may say, ‘And again a crowd gathered together there.…’ The occurrence of the article in Greek does not require one to translate as ‘the crowd,’ identifying these people with the group in 3:9.

They is likely to be badly misunderstood unless the reference is made more specific, for in many languages the only antecedent would be the ‘crowd.’ Accordingly in some languages the subject is made explicit as ‘Jesus and his disciples’ (Huave, Ifugao).

Mark 3:21

Exegesis hoi par’ autou literally ‘those along with him’: this idiom may mean ‘his followers,’ ‘his friends,’ or ‘his family.’ AV, ASV, RSV prefer ‘his friends’; it would seem, however that ‘his family,’ ‘his relatives’ is what is indicated, in the light of vv 31ff. (cf. Arndt & Gingrich para I.4.b.b; Moulton & Milligan; Moule Idiom Book, 52; Field Notes, 25f.): this rendering is adopted by Manson, Moffatt, Goodspeed, Weymouth, BFBS, Brazilian, Synodale.

kratēsai (cf. 1:31) ‘to seize,’ ‘to take control of’ (BFBS), ‘to seize by force’ (Weymouth).

elegon gar ‘for they were saying’: there is division of opinion over who is referred to by ‘they were saying’. Most translations assume that the subject is ‘his relatives’ (‘his friends’) of the previous clauses; following Turner (Journal of Theological Studies, 25.383f., 1923–4), however, some see here another example of the impersonal plural (cf. 2:18) whose meaning would be ‘people were saying,’ ‘it was being said’: so Moffatt, BFBS; Lagrange on disait. There is no way finally to determine which interpretation is correct.

hoti ‘that’: recitative, introducing direct speech.

exestē (cf. 2:12) ‘he is beside himself,’ ‘he has lost his senses’ (Arndt & Gingrich). As Burton (Moods and Tenses, 47) points out, this aorist describes a present state, the result of a past action, and is best translated by the present tense.

Translation It would seem from the context that a somewhat more intimate group than ‘friends’ were those so concerned about Jesus’ health as the result of his being constantly with the thronging crowd. Accordingly, one may use ‘those of his household’ (a common equivalent of family and relatives) or ‘those who were close to him’ (a close rendering of the Greek phrase). Indonesian and Javanese render ‘his blood-relations.’

Seize must be carefully translated or the wrong connotation may be given. After all, his family wanted to rescue him from the importuning crowd, not to manhandle him, a not uncommon connotation of words meaning ‘to seize.’

Two types of mistakes tend to occur in translating He is beside himself (1) that Jesus was demented and (2) that he was demon possessed (particularly in view of the following charge by the scribes). There is no doubt that the Greek term is a strong one, and often does signify complete mental derangement, but in this context it means that Jesus’ family thought he was demented. It was this fear which prompted his solicitous associates to try to rescue him. In Tzeltal the appropriate equivalent is ‘his head had been touched,’ which is an expression to identify what might be called the half-way stage to insanity. In Ifugao one may say ‘he acts as though he were crazy.’ In Shilluk the equivalent is ‘he is acting like an imbecile,’ and in Shipibo one may say ‘his thoughts have gone out of him.’ In Bare’e the translation is ‘he is outside his senses,’ in Indonesian ‘he is not by his reason.’

Mark 3:22

Exegesis hoi apo Ierosolumōn katabantes ‘who came down from Jerusalem’: one went up to the capital (cf. 10:32) and came down from it (cf. similar usage with regard to London) (cf. Lk. 2:51, 10:30f., Acts 8:26).

For hoi grammateis ‘the scribes’ cf. 1:22.

elegon hoti kai hoti ‘they were saying that … and that’: both times hoti is recitative, introducing direct speech. This being so, it would be more accurate to punctuate the translation in such a way as to indicate two direct statements: The scribes … were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he casts out demons.”

elegon ‘they were saying’: the statement was repeated (cf. C. S. Emden, Expository Times, 65.147, 1954, cf. Taylor).

Beelzeboul echei ‘he has Beelzebul,’ i.e. ‘he is possessed by Beelzebul.’ On the variant forms of the name and possible etymologies cf. Arndt & Gingrich, Rawlinson. Commentators are divided over whether or not ‘Beelzebul’ and ‘the prince of the demons’ are the same one, or refer to two different evil spirits.

en tō archonti tōn daimoniōn ‘in the ruler of the demons.’

en ‘in,’ ‘by,’ i.e. ‘in the name of,’ ‘by the power of’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich en III.1.b: “with the help of”).

ho archōn (only here in Mark) ‘ruler,’ ‘chief’: in form it is the present participle of the verb archo ‘to rule.’

ekballei ta daimonia ‘he drives out the demons’ (cf. 1:34).

Translation For scribes see 1:22.

In many languages expressions of coming and going, whether up to or down from, are used with great precision and care, something which is not typical of the Gospels. Accordingly, if one is to use such expressions in a translation in a language which maintains a scrupulous consistency in such details of movement, it is obligatory that one maintain the same expressions throughout. Otherwise the reader is likely to be utterly confused.

For expressions dealing with possession see 1:23. A literal translation of this type of expression ‘has Beelzebul’ or ‘is possessed by Beelzebul’ can give rise to entirely wrong meanings. For example in Izthmus Zapotec to say only ‘is possessed by’ would mean ‘to speak filthy words.’ On the other hand, if one wants to designate demon possession, one must say ‘he talks with Beelzebul.’ Despite the fact that the literal expressions in this language do not seem to carry this proportionate scale of intensity in meaning, nevertheless, they do, and what counts is not the literal words but the meaning.

If one wishes to identify Beelzebul with the prince of the demons, one may translate ‘and by this prince of demons’ (Huave).

The last clause of this verse introduces a difficult problem of secondary agency. That is to say, the primary agent is he (i.e. Jesus), but the secondary agent (secondary in terms of the grammatical structure, but primary in importance as far as the scribes were concerned) is the prince of demons. In languages in which such secondary agency can be expressed by a prepositional phrase, as in Greek or English, the problem is simple enough, but in many languages this is not possible. The alternatives are of two types: (1) the secondary agent becomes the primary agent of a causative expression, e.g. ‘the prince of demons causes him to cast out demons’ or ‘… gives him power to cast out …’ (Zoque) and (2) the secondary agent becomes the source of power for the accomplishment of an activity, e.g. ‘Jesus receives power from the prince of demons so that he can cast out demons.’

Prince is ‘the chief’ (Zoque, Black Bobo) or ‘the ruler.’ In Shipibo one may say ‘the strong one among the demons.’

For demons see 1:26, 32.

Mark 3:23

Exegesis proskalesamenos (cf. 3:13) ‘calling,’ ‘summoning,’ ‘calling to oneself.’

en parabolais ‘in parables,’ ‘by means of parables,’ ‘in figurative language’: the phrase indicates the manner in which he spoke to them.

parabolē ‘parable,’ ‘figure,’ ‘comparison,’ ‘analogy,’ ‘illustration’: in the LXX parabolē translates mashal which covers a whole range of figurative language: ‘parables,’ ‘proverbs,’ ‘figures’ and even ‘riddles’ (cf. Hatch Essays, 64–71). The word appears 13 times in Mark: 3:23, 4:2, 10, 11, 13 (twice), 30, 33, 34, 7:17, 12:1, 12, 13:28. As a technical Christian term designating (in the Synoptics) Jesus’ customary form of teaching, parable serves as a translation in all these passages with the exception of two: 7:17, where “figure” (Goodspeed) or even “lesson” (Berkeley) better fits the context, and 13:28 where “illustration” or “lesson” (RSV, Weymouth, Goodspeed) is meant.

satanas (cf. 1:13) ‘Satan,’ the ruler of the demons. The meaning is not that of one satan driving out another, but of Satan driving out himself. That is what Satan would be doing were he to drive out the demons who compose his empire (cf, Lagrange).

Translation Them is of uncertain reference in this passage, but taken literally in many languages it would mean only the scribes, the closest third person plural referent, other than the demons. Probably, however, one should make the reference more explicit by substituting ‘the people.’

In some languages there are quite good equivalents of parable, since such forms of expression are common. However, in other cases one must develop some type of expression which conveys the meaning implied by parable, without being too elaborate and detailed a definition. Such descriptive terms are of two types: (1) those which emphasize the nature of the parable as a comparison or illustration and (2) those which specify its use in teaching and instruction. The first type may be illustrated by ‘picture with words’ (Piro), ‘message in the manner of a comparison’ (Bare’e), ‘comparison word’ (Totonac, Bolivian Quechua), ‘picture story’ (Tzeltal), ‘likeness word’ (Maya, Tarahumara), and ‘story which says like that’ (Cashibo). The second type may be found in ‘story told for teaching’ (Trique, Goajiro), ‘story from which understanding comes’ (Navajo), ‘notice from which comes teaching’ (Conob).

In a number of languages a literal translation of Satan cast out Satan will imply that there are at least two Satans. In such a language one should translate ‘How can Satan cast himself out’ (Tzeltal, Huastec).

Mark 3:24–25

Exegesis basileia (cf. 1:15) ‘kingdom’: here a political entity, in the sense of a country ruled by a king (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 2).

eph’ heautēn ‘upon itself,’ i.e. ‘against itself’ (Arndt & Gingrich epi III. I.a.e).

meristhē (3:24, 25, 26, 6:41) ‘be divided,’ ‘be split,’ ‘be disunited.’

dunatai dunēsetai ‘it cannot … it will not’: simply a stylistic change from the present to the future tense.

stathēnai stēnai ‘stand … stand’: the meaning of both infinitives is the same, though one is passive and the other active: ‘stand,’ ‘maintain itself,’ ‘endure’ (the verb histēmi used absolutely, without an object, may mean ‘stand firm’).

oikia ‘house’: not simply a building, but the people who live in it: ‘household,’ ‘family’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 2). Rawlinson points out that in Aramaic usage the word may be used in a broad sense for a political domain.

Translation In some languages one cannot speak of a ‘kingdom’ as ‘being divided against itself.’ This type of passive is especially complex because there is no agent, other than the kingdom itself. Therefore, one must often render this passage in terms of ‘the people of a kingdom’ causing this type of division.

The division spoken of in this verse is essentially a state of enmity and war among the people of a region, not an actual division of a territory. Accordingly, this clause must often be translated as ‘if the people of a kingdom fight against each other’ (Mitla Zapotec, Tarahumara). However, this division may also be spoken of in terms of antipathy, e.g. ‘hate one another’ (Zoque).

Cannot stand is rendered in some languages as ‘cannot continue to exist,’ ‘cannot remain,’ or ‘cannot be any longer.’

A literal rendering of verse 25 can also be interpreted in a completely materialistic manner, thus missing the significance of the passage. As in the case of verse 24, one may translate ‘the people of a family fight among themselves’ (Zoque). Since clan squabbles are not at all uncommon in many societies, this reference to the family, especially in its extended clan form, can be very meaningful (cf. South Toradja ‘the members of a family,’ Indonesian ‘the inmates of the house’).

Mark 3:26

Text Instead of kai emeristhē ‘and is divided’ read by the majority of the modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus and Soden read kai memeristai ‘and has been divided’; Tischendorf and Kilpatrick read emeristhē kai ‘is divided and.’

Exegesis anestē eph’ heauton kai emeristhē ‘he rose against himself and is divided’: i.e. if Satan is at war against himself, if there is faction or division in his kingdom, among his subordinates.

telos echei (cf. Heb. 7:3) ‘he has an end,’ i.e. “he is done for” (Manson). “he is finished,” “that is the end of him” (BFBS). What is meant is the end of his power, or his kingdom (cf. Lagrange), rather than the end of his existence (as Brazilian perece has it).

Translation Risen up against himself may be rendered as ‘Satan fighting against himself’ (Ifugao, Shilluk). On the other hand, one may employ a less violent, but equally meaningful type of equivalent, as in Kekchi e.g. ‘if Satan hates himself’ (literally, ‘looks mean at himself’).

To speak of Satan as being ‘divided’ may mean that he is literally cut into two pieces, obviously not the meaning of the passage. On the other hand, it is quite possible to speak of ‘his power is divided,’ and by this means employ a very close equivalent.

Cannot stand may be treated as in the preceding two verses.

In some languages a person cannot ‘come to an end,’ but ‘his power will end’ (Loma). In others, one may translate ‘he will disappear’ or ‘he will no longer exist.’

It should be noted, that though these conditional sentences (verses 24–26) are given as simple conditionals: ‘if … is …, is (or, will)’; nevertheless, they are essentially conditions contrary to fact: ‘if … should be …, then … would be.…’ One must often be quite careful to distinguish between simple conditions, which in this case would imply that Satan cannot stand, as of now, and conditions contrary to fact, implying that Satan was not divided against himself, for certainly Jesus was not acting on the authority of Beelzebul.

Mark 3:27

Exegesis all’ ‘but’: does not contradict the statement of the previous verse, but the charge that Jesus is acting in the name of the ruler of the demons. On the contrary, the household of the strong man can be plundered only if he is bound by a stronger man.

dunatai eiselthōn diarpasai ‘able … entering … to plunder,’ ‘able to enter and plunder.’

tou ischurou ‘of the strong man’: RSV, BFBS and others translate “of a strong man” in a general sense since figurative language is being employed, however, it is perhaps better to translate literally ‘the strong man’ (which may mean Satan himself: cf. Taylor, and footnote in BFBS).

ta skeuē autou (11:16) ‘his goods,’ ‘his belongings’; rather than the restricted sense of ‘implement,’ ‘instrument’ (cf. Gould) the meaning here is broader, including all goods or possessions. To ‘plunder his goods’ in this clause is the same as to ‘plunder his house’ in the next.

diarpasai (here only in Mark) ‘to plunder,’ ‘ransack,’ ‘rob.’

dēsē (5:3, 4, 6:17, 11:2, 4, 15:1, 7) ‘he should restrict,’ ‘he should bind,’ ‘he should tie.’

Translation Despite the more or less concrete form of this statement, it is essentially generic (unless there is a subtle reference to Satan, an allusion which would be difficult to render, even at best). Hence, though the Greek form speaks of ‘no one,’ in many languages generic forms must be either plural, e.g. ‘people cannot enter the houses of strong men …’ or second person, e.g. ‘you cannot enter a strong man’s house …’ (Tzeltal).

Enter here is ‘force an entrance,’ ‘go in by force,’ or ‘push your way in.’ This distinction must be maintained in some languages.

Strong refers primarily to physical strength, but having great socio-political power or reputation is in some cultures the closest equivalent. This is suggested in the Chontal of Tabasco as ‘one who is not afraid of anything’

Plunder his goods is equivalent to ‘take away what a person has.’

The order of temporal sequence may be of such importance in a language that one must reorder the clauses of this verse, e.g. ‘First, you must bind a strong man, then and only then can you enter his house and take away all he has in his house.’

Mark 3:28

Punctuation of the Text As Nestle, Textus Receptus, Tischendorf, Kilpatrick, Merk, and Souter are punctuated, with no comma after anthrōpōn ‘men,’ the word panta ‘all’ modifies ta hamartēmata ‘sins,’ i.e. ‘all sins’ (so AV, ASV, RSV, BFBS, Moffatt, Weymouth); if, however, a comma be placed after anthrōpōn ‘men’ as is done by Westcott and Hort, Lagrange, Taylor, panta ‘all’ is used absolutely as the subject of aphethēsetai ‘will be forgiven,’ i.e. ‘all (things) will be forgiven,’ while ta hamartēmata kai hai blasphēmiai ‘the sins and the blasphemies’ stand in apposition to ‘all,’ further explaining it (so Manson, Goodspeed, Brazilian).

Exegesis amēn (13 times in Mark) ‘truly,’ ‘verily,’ ‘solemnly’: the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew ‘amen from the verb ‘aman ‘to be firm.’ This Hebrew adverb is used to emphasize the importance of the statement that follows.

aphethēsetai (cf. 2:5) ‘will be forgiven’: the statement is not to be understood absolutely as if Jesus were saying that all sins will assuredly be forgiven by God, whether or not men change or repent. As the context makes clear, he is saying that there is forgiveness for all sins, all sins are capable of being forgiven, except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which cannot be forgiven.

tois huiois tōn anthrōpōn ‘to the sons of men’: the Semitic way of saying ‘men’ in a general way.

ta hamartēmata (here and next verse) ‘sins’: in Mark the distinction between hamartēma as ‘specific act of sin’ and hamartia as ‘sin in general,’ ‘the sinful principle,’ is not observed (cf. 1:5).

hai blasphēmiai hosa ean blasphēmēsōsin ‘and whatever blasphemies they may utter.’

hai blasphēmiai (7:22, 14:64) ‘blasphemies,’ i.e. impious or irreverent speech against God.

hosa (cf. 3:8) ‘as many … as’: though the neuter form of the word does not agree with the feminine hai blasphēmiai ‘the blasphemies’ the sense is quite clear: ‘as many times as they may blaspheme,’ ‘however often they utter blasphemies.’

blasphēmeō (cf. 2:7) ‘blaspheme’: “defiant hostility to God … in speech which defies His power and majesty” (Vincent Taylor).

Translation Truly qualifies the certainty of the statement all sins will be.… In many languages this type of qualifier must be more closely associated with the verb expression which it modifies, e.g. ‘I tell you, All sins will certainly be forgiven.…’

For sins see 1:4; for forgiveness see 1:4; and for blasphemies see 2:7. In this context, however, an expression such as ‘bad words’ or ‘harmful sayings’ (often used as an equivalent of blasphemy, at least in certain contexts) is often inadequate. At the same time, one cannot use ‘to make oneself equal with God’ (as a rendering of blaspheme), for this is too specific. The better rendering would be more or less equivalent to ‘speaking against God’ or ‘talking God down.’

Sons of men, if translated literally into some languages, would mean nothing more than ‘children’ (Huave, Shilluk). Of course, God is usually regarded as being quite forgiving toward children, and hence the reader is likely to miss completely the significance of this passage, in which the real meaning is simply ‘will be forgiven people.’ South Toradja uses the expression ‘the offspring of Adam.’

Since there are two subjects of will be forgiven, namely, all sins and whatever blasphemies … (see above, under Punctuation of the Text for the alternative), it is necessary in many languages to change the order so that both of the subject expressions are in a parallel relationship to the verb, whether preceding or following, e.g. ‘all sins and whatever blasphemies … will be forgiven.’

Mark 3:29–30

Text Instead of hamartēmatos ‘sin’ Textus Receptus has kriseōs ‘judgment,’ ‘condemnation’: this clearly inferior reading is rejected by all modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis eis to pneuma to hagion ‘into the Holy Spirit’: eis here has a hostile meaning ‘against’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 4.c.a).

aphesin (cf. 1:4) ‘forgiveness’ (for the verb aphiēmi ‘forgive’ see 2:5).

eis ton aiōna ‘into the age,’ i.e. the ‘future age.’

eis ‘into’ indicates duration of time (Arndt & Gingrich 2.b).

aiōn (4:19, 10:30, 11:14) ‘age’: the word reflects the Hebrew concept of time as divided into ages, generally the present age (cf. 4:19) and the future age, the age to come (cf. 10:30). In this passage the phrase means ‘eternally,’ ‘forever’ as the parallel in Mt. 12:32 makes explicit: ‘either in this age or in the coming age.’ Cf. Vulgate in aeternum; Lagrange à jamais.

enochos (14:64) ‘guilty of,’ ‘charged with,’ here indicates the crime of which the man is guilty, not the punishment to which he is liable.

aiōniou ‘of the age,’ ‘age-long’: that is ‘eternal,’ ‘endless.’

hoti elegon ‘because they were saying’: these are words of explanation which the evangelist adds. hoti is causative ‘because,’ giving the reason why Jesus said what he did concerning the unforgivable sin.

elegon ‘they were saying’ is better than ‘they had said’ of RSV (cf. Expository Times, 65.147, 1954; Vincent Word Studies I, 180). ‘They’ are the scribes referred to in v. 22.

pneuma akatharton ‘unclean spirit,’ the same as saying ‘he has Beelzebul’ (v. 22) or ‘he has a demon’ (cf. 1:34).

Translation Blasphemes against the Holy Spirit may be rendered as ‘to speak against the Holy Spirit’ or ‘to say evil words about the Holy Spirit’ (for “Holy Spirit” see 1:7).

Has forgiveness is a difficult expression to translate literally, for in general one must speak of ‘to be forgiven’ or ‘to receive forgiveness’ (but for numerous idioms for forgiveness see 1:4). In languages in which an active form of the verb is required the subject ‘God’ must be introduced, ‘God will never forgive a man who speaks evil of the Holy Spirit.’

To be guilty of an eternal sin can only rarely be translated literally. Rather, this phrase must be rendered by various types of idiomatic expressions, e.g. ‘his sin stays on his head for the time that never ends’ (Gurunse), ‘he carries the weight of his sin that lasts forever’ (Kiyaka), ‘his sins will be continually taken into account’ (Bare’e), ‘he will always have his sin’ (Chontal of Oaxaca), and ‘he has a sin that will never be taken away’ (Huichol).

In some way, the abrupt transition before the clause for they had said … must be marked, either by some kind of a dash, or by a complete new sentence, or by some transitional expression, e.g. ‘Jesus said this because they had said …’ (Bolivian Quechua). The reason for making this break evident is that one must not translate as ‘he is guilty of an eternal sin because of what they had said’ (though indirectly this is true). Nevertheless, the last sentence must be construed with all that precedes, not merely with the last clause.

Mark 3:31

Exegesis exō stēkontes ‘standing outside (the house)’: Jesus is inside (see vv. 32, 34).

stēkō (11:25) ‘stand’: in the LXX and N.T. this verb is equal in meaning to the intransitive use of histēmi ‘stand’ (cf. Kennedy Sources, 158).

apesteilan pros auton ‘they sent (a message) to him’ (or, ‘they sent for him’).

kalountes auton ‘calling him’: this is the message they sent.

Translation Brothers should be understood as ‘younger brothers’ by the same mother, where as in so many languages special words are employed for brothers, whether younger or older (Zoque, Tzeltal), or of the same mother or father (Navajo, Gurunse).

Because of the distance of this verse from any previous reference to Jesus it would probably be necessary in some languages to introduce ‘Jesus’ (Huave).

Mark 3:32

Text After hē mētēr sou ‘your mother’ Tischendorf, Nestle, Soden, Vogels, and Kilpatrick add kai hai adelphai sou ‘and your sisters’: this clause is omitted by Textus Receptus, Westcott and Hort, Taylor, Lagrange, Merk, RSV. Since the manuscript evidence is not decisive one way or the other, internal evidence will determine whether or not the words should be included (cf. Westcott and Hort Notes on Selected Readings, 24, for arguments for omitting them).

Exegesis idou (cf. 1:2) ‘look,’ ‘see’: should not be omitted (as is done by RSV).

exō zētousin se ‘outside they are asking for you.’

exō ‘outside’: ordinarily taken with ‘mother and brothers’: ‘your mother and brothers are outside‘. Moffatt, however, joins it to the verb, ‘wanting you outside.’

zēteō ‘search for,’ ‘ask,’ ‘request’: here in the latter sense of ‘asking,’ ‘wanting’: they were not looking for him since they knew him to be there. In Mark zēteō is used in both ways: (1) ‘search for,’ ‘seek’ (1:37, 14:55, 16:6); with the idea of ‘examine,’ ‘consider’ (11:18, 14:1, 11); (2) ‘want,’ ‘request’ ‘ask’ (3:32, 8:11, 12); with the idea of ‘attempt,’ ‘try’ (12:12).

Translation Though the equivalent of Greek idou ‘behold,’ ‘look,’ ‘pay attention’ should be rendered in some manner, it is not always easy to find just the right introductory particle. Probably, the meaning here is really not ‘look,’ but rather a kind polite way in which the crowd could interrupt Jesus, in order to call his attention to the request of mother and brothers. One must choose a form which would be appropriate for the context, e.g. ‘listen’ (Tzeltal), ‘but listen’ (Shilluk).

Mark 3:33–35

Text In v. 33 instead of kai ‘and’ of all other modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus and Soden have ē ‘or.’

In v. 34 the order of words in Textus Receptus is changed so as to make kuklō ‘in a circle’ modify periblepsamenos ‘looking,’ i.e. ‘looking around’; all modern editions of the Greek text follow the same word order as Nestle’s whereby kuklō modifies tous kathēmenous, i.e. ‘those seated in a circle.’

Exegesis apokritheis legei ‘answering … he says’: there are some 15 instances of this construction throughout the gospel of Mark. A translation in English need only give the sense ‘he answered’ without reproducing both verbs in a literal form (cf. 1:7 and 1:24 for similar constructions).

periblepsamenos (cf. 3:5) ‘looking around (him).’

tous peri auton kuklō kathēmenous ‘those seated in a circle about him.’

kuklō (6:6, 36) is adverbial ’round about,’ ‘around.’

ide (cf. 1:2) ‘see!’ ‘here.’

hos an poiēsē ‘he who does’: the subjunctive mode of the verb is required by the construction of the sentence; there is no idea, however, of doubt or futurity. The meaning is ‘whoever does,’ ‘he who does.’

thelēma (only here in Mark) ‘will.’

Translation The form of the question Who are my mother … is ambiguous from the standpoint of some languages which must distinguish between identificational questions and qualificational ones, i.e. ‘who are these …’ and ‘what sort of person are.…’ Note, however, in languages which must translate this sentence as qualificational, one does not question the characteristics of Jesus’ mother and brothers, but asks what sort of characteristics of people make it possible for them to be recognized as ‘mother and brothers.’ The equivalent would be ‘Who are the sort of people who are my mother and my brothers?.’

The adverb here may be translated by a gesture-like word or phrase ‘these here’ or ‘right here.’

Does the will of God is often translated as ‘does what God wants him to do.’ In Huichol this is ‘follow God’s heart.’

In a number of languages brothers and sisters of the same mother are grouped under a single term, meaning siblings of the same maternal line. In such languages, e.g. Totonac, Barrow Eskimo, Navajo, and Sierra Aztec, it would be quite wrong to try to use two words just because Greek has two words, when a single word is the more accurate and satisfactory term. This same word can be employed for ‘brothers’ throughout this passage, beginning with verse 31.

Mark Chapter 4

Mark 4:1

Exegesis ochlos pleistos ‘a very large crowd,’ ‘a huge crowd’: pleistos is the superlative of polus ‘many,’ ‘much.’

sunagetai (cf. 2:2) ‘gathers together,’ ‘collects’ (cf. 3:20).

hōste auton kathēsthai (cf. 1:27 for this construction) ‘so that he … sat.’

eis ploion embanta ‘having entered a boat’: the two clauses together may be translated as coordinate: ‘so that he entered a boat and sat (in it).’

embainō (5:18, 6:45, 8:10, 13) ‘enter’: in Mark used only in connection with a boat: ’embark.’

en tē thalassē ‘in the sea’ (i.e. the Lake of Galilee: cf. 1:16): the words are connected with kathēsthai ‘he sat in the Lake,’ but the meaning is clear enough. Jesus was in (or, on) the Lake, seated in a boat, while the crowd was pros tēn thalassan ‘on the beach,’ ‘near the water,’ epi tēs gēs ‘on land.’

en ‘on’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.1.b).

(Note: care should be taken to avoid the error into which several translations have fallen, namely, that of having Jesus sitting in the water! Cf. The Bible Translator, 2.143, 1951. Most English translations say simply ‘on the water,’ no misunderstanding resulting. Some, however, use a descriptive phrase: Weymouth ‘a little away from the land’; Manson ‘lie off-shore’; cf. Brazilian ‘pulling away from the beach.’)

pros tēn thalassan ‘by the sea-side’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich pros III.7) i.e. on the shore.

Translation Beside the sea must be specific in some languages, i.e. ‘on the shore, along the lake,’ or ‘at the mouth of the sea’ (Conob).

It is essential that one be consistent in the size and shape of boats depicted as being used on the Lake of Galilee (cf. 1:19).

In order to avoid the common mistake of having Jesus sit down in the water, it is necessary in some languages to specify that ‘he got into a boat which was floating in the water and he sat down.’ After all, it is possible to get into a boat which has been drawn up onto the shore, hence this detailed rearranging of the semantic components is required in some languages (e.g. Trique, Barrow Eskimo, Mazahua, and Kekchi).

In a number of languages there is no ambiguous way of speaking about the crowd as ‘being beside the sea on the land.’ One must specify whether the people were seated, standing, moving about, etc. In general it is preferable to employ a word meaning ‘to be seated,’ since this is often also the most generic term indicating ‘to be in a place’

Mark 4:2–3

Exegesis en parabolais (cf. 3:32) ‘in parables,’ ‘by means of parables.’

polla ‘many things’ (adjectival), not adverbial ‘much’ (cf. 1:45, 3:12).

en tē didachē autou (cf. 1:22) ‘in his teaching,’ i.e. ‘as he taught’: the sense of didachē here is active ‘the act of teaching’ and not passive ‘the thing taught,’ ‘doctrine.’

akouete. idou ‘listen! (impv.) look!’ (cf. 1:2). The second word simply strengthens the note of urgency and demand in the first, and need not be translated literally (cf. RSV, BFBS, and the majority of English translations which omit it).

ho speirōn ‘the sower,’ ‘the man who sows’ (4:14): the present participle of the verb is to be taken as an active noun.

speirō (4:4, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 31, 32) ‘sow’—only in this chapter, in Mark. The infinitive speirai ‘to sow’ indicates purpose: ‘the sower went out in order to sow‘. It should be noticed that the method employed in sowing was that of scattering the seed over the soil, as the sower walked through the field, and not that of dropping each seed individually into a hole previously dug in the ground for that purpose.

Translation For parables see 3:23.

In his teaching may be rendered ‘as he was teaching them,’ in order to emphasize the active process, not the passive content of the teaching.

In many regions of the world this parable causes almost unbelievable difficulty because the method of sowing is not understood. For example, in a great many parts of the world the common process of sowing involves the use of a dibble stick by which a hole is made in prepared soil and in this hole a number of grains are dropped, after which the hole is carefully covered up and the soil sometimes tamped. The idea that a sower would be so utterly profligate as to throw seed broadcast is sometimes interpreted as a sure sign of incurable laziness or even of insanity. The reader then judges that for some of the seed to be lost to the birds, choked by weeds, or ruined by sprouting too soon in shallow soil is only to be expected in view of such an incredibly stupid method of sowing. On the other hand, it is impossible to change the method of sowing as spoken of in this parable, for the parable itself is not understandable except in terms of such a procedure. The only thing that one can do is to make certain that one does indicate that this was broadcast sowing ‘scattering the seed on plowed ground’ (or ‘prepared ground’), ‘to sow-scatter,’ used of upland rice (Ifugao), and ‘to plant by throwing’ (Chontal of Oaxaca). This is much better than implying that the sower was so utterly lacking in judgment that he would have used a dibble stick on stony ground or in a path.

Fundamentally, the translator is confronted by three types of meaning: syntactic (the meanings of grammatical constructions), lexical (the meanings of individual words and phrases), and cultural. The first two he must deal with in terms of the closest natural equivalent (the meanings of concepts within a cultural framework). The latter can only be treated in commentaries, or at best through necessary marginal notes. What he must avoid, however, is deciding upon syntactic and lexical solutions which will make cultural meanings more difficult.

It is not necessary to repeat the lexical items ‘sower’ and ‘sow.’ If this would be stylistically awkward in a receptor language, one may say only ‘a man went out to sow.’

Mark 4:4

Text After ta peteina ‘the birds’ Textus Receptus adds tou ouranou ‘of the heaven’: all modern editions of the Greek text omit this addition.

Exegesis kai egeneto ‘and it was’ plus the indicative epesen ‘it fell’: for this Semitic construction see 1:9, 2:23.

en tō speirein (cf. 6:48 for identical construction) ‘in the sowing,’ ‘as he sowed’: a Semitic construction (Taylor, 62), but found also in Greek (Moulton Prolegomena, 249; Moule Idiom Book, 76f.).

ho men epesen ‘some (seed) fell’: throughout the whole parable (vv. 5, 7, 8) sperma ‘seed’ is to be understood.

ho (‘some’) is the neuter of the relative hos ‘who,’ ‘which’: it is here used as a demonstrative ‘this (seed),’ ‘this portion (of the seed)’: cf. Arndt & Gingrich hos II.2. In connection with allo (v. 5) alla (v. 7) and alla (v. 8) the whole series may be translated: ‘some … and other … and other … and others.’ Notice that ho ‘some’ and auto ‘it’ are collective, meaning ‘some seed’ (not singular, ‘a seed’).

piptō (4:5, 7, 8, 5:22, 9:20, 13:25, 14:35) ‘fall.’

para tēn hodon literally ‘by (alongside) the path’: some (Black Aramaic, 120) see in the Greek phrase a mistranslation of the underlying Aramaic, since the meaning, clearly, is ‘on‘ the beaten path that ran through the field, on which the sower walked as he scattered his seed (cf. Lk. 8:5 ‘and it was trodden upon’). “Along” (RSV) is ambiguous enough; some (Manson, Moffatt, Berkeley) have “on.”

ta peteina (4:32) ‘the birds.’

katephagen (12:40) ‘they ate,’ ‘they ate up,’ ‘they devoured.’

Translation Probably ‘on the path’ is a more justified translation, if one cannot use an ambiguous expression for the Greek phrase (see above).

The birds (as indicated in the added phrase of heaven) refer to the undomesticated song birds or wild birds, to be distinguished in a number of languages from domesticated fowl. In Tzeltal these former are the ‘field birds.’

Many languages distinguish carefully the way in which a bird eats from the manner in which people or animals eat. One must make certain to employ the right term.

Mark 4:5–6

Exegesis epi to petrōdes hopou ouk eichen gēn pollēn ‘on rocky (stony) ground where it did not have much soil’: what is meant is a shallow layer of soil covering the outcropping of an underlying bedrock (cf. Vincent Word Studies I, 77 on Mt. 13:5).

Grammatically allo ‘other (seed)’ is the subject of ouk eichen ‘it had not’ and to mē echein ‘not to have’: this other portion of seed did not have much soil, and it sprang up immediately because it did not have any depth of soil. The same meaning, however, may be achieved in another way: ‘where there was not much soil … because there was no depth of soil’ (cf. Goodspeed, Brazilian).

euthus exaneteilen ‘immediately it sprang up,’ ‘quickly it sprouted.’

hote aneteilen ho hēlios (16:2) ‘when the sun rose,’ ‘after the sun had risen’ (cf. 1:32 ‘when the sun set’). This does not mean ‘at sunrise’: what is meant is that the sun, high in the sky, was sufficiently hot to scorch the newly sprouted plant.

ekaumatisthē (only here in Mark) ‘it was burned,’ ‘it was scorched.’

dia to mē echein rizan ‘because it had no root’: dia ‘on account of’ with the infinitive indicates cause.

riza (4:17, 11:20) ‘root’: due to lack of soil the roots barely developed.

exēranthē (cf. 3:1) ‘it was withered,’ ‘it was shriveled up.’

Translation Rocky ground in this passage must be translated in such a way that people understand it not as soil having many stones, but as soil consisting of a thin overlayer on bedrock. This is done in some languages by saying ‘fell into thin soil which was lying on huge rocks’ (as a way of combining the first two clauses into one).

Some translators have failed to translate the second part of verse 5 correctly because they themselves did not understand it. This passage refers to the fact that in the spring of the year thin soil over bedrock or near outcroppings becomes warm faster than deep soil. This contributes to the more rapid germination of the seed. Hence, the seeds do actually spring up quickly, precisely because the soil is thin.

In the English text the seed is referred to collectively, and the pronominal reference in the singular it identifies the portion of seeds which fell in one place or another. In many languages, however, plurals are required, e.g. ‘other seeds fell … and immediately they sprang up.…’

When the sun rose should not be restricted merely to the position of the sun in the eastern sky (a typical mistake), but to the sun high in the heavens, scorching the vegetation (the early morning sun is not likely to scorch any vegetation).

In verse 6 it refers to the germinated seeds, hence, ‘the plants.’ Accordingly, in some languages one must speak of ‘the seeds’ in verse 5 and ‘the small plants’ in verse 6.

Since it had no root must not be taken in the absolute sense, or these plants would be quite miraculous. The meaning therefore is ‘because they did not have much root’ or ‘because they did not have deep roots.’

It might seem that in indicating the extent to which a translator is required in some languages to be more specific than the text we are being unnecessarily pedantic or quibbling. This is not the case. We are only calling to the attention of the translator the fact that in many languages, especially of predominantly horticultural peoples, lexical distinctions between words require the selection of forms which are more specific than the corresponding Greek text.

Mark 4:7

Exegesis eis tas akanthas ‘among the thorns’: in clearing the ground for planting, the roots of these thorns and weeds had not been removed, and in time they sprang up and choked the tender plants (cf. Rawlinson).

akanthai (4:8) ‘thorns,’ ‘thistles,’ ‘weeds’: cf. Arndt & Gingrich for identification; Dalman Sacred Sites and Ways, 247f.

eis ‘among’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.a.b).

anebēsan (cf. 1:10) ‘came up’: here as a synonym of exanatellō (v. 5) ‘spring up,’ ‘sprout.’

kai sunepnixan auto ‘and they choked it,’ i.e. the plant sprouting from the seed which had been sown, not (clearly) the seed itself in the ground.

sumpnigō (4:19) ‘crowd together,’ ‘choke off.’

karpon ouk edōken ‘it yielded no fruit’: referring to grain, “yielded no grain” (Goodspeed, RSV), “bore no crop” (cf. BFBS).

karpos (4:8, 29, 11:14, 12:2) ‘fruit.’

Translation Other seed (which is collective) may be rendered as ‘other seeds’ or ‘other grains.’ In Chontal of Oaxaca one may say ‘two and three seeds,’ for this is the idiomatic way of saying ‘some.’ In Tzeltal the equivalent expression is ‘another hand-full of seeds.’

These seeds did not actually fall among thorns, in the sense of growing plants, but where thorns had been growing or where there were roots of thorn plants, for note that the effect upon the seed is not seen until the “thorns grew up.” In some languages, therefore, one may translate ‘where thorn plants had been’ or ‘where thorn-plant roots were.’

Choked is a good idiom in English and Greek, but not acceptable in many languages. In Kekchi one must say, ‘the thorns grew up and made a shadow’ (thus preventing the growth of the grain). In Tzeltal one may say ‘the plants made it to stop growing’; in Tarahumara and Subanen ‘made them unable to grow’; in Huave ‘shaded them under’; in Chontal of Tabasco ‘took them under’; in South Toradja and Javanese ‘they held it under’ and in Bare’e ‘they overshadowed it.’

Mark 4:8

Text The reading eis en en ‘in … in … in’ of the Nestle text is also adopted by Westcott and Hort, Merk, and Vogels: Textus Receptus, Lagrange, Kilpatrick, and Taylor have hen hen hen ‘one … one … one’ (cf. Vulgate unum … unum … unum); Soden has heis … heis … heis ‘one … one … one’; Swete, Souter and Tischendorf have eis … eis … eis ‘in … in … in.’ Although there is considerable division of opinion over the exact form of the expression, there is no doubt as to the meaning (cf. Exegesis, below). Lagrange and Taylor consider the Nestle reading intolerable and bizarre; in light of probable Semitic correspondence, it is probable that their reading hen … hen … hen is to be preferred.

Exegesis alla ‘other seeds’ (in contrast with ho allo allo (vv. 4, 5, 7) ‘some … other … other,’ which speak of portions in general): the plural is here used since different individual returns are to be listed.

tēn gēn tēn kalēn ‘the good soil.’

kalos “primarily of outward form, fair, beautiful

“(Abbott-Smith): from this primary meaning there developed the sense of ‘good,’ ‘useful.’ In Mark the word is used in three different ways: (1) ‘good,’ ‘useful,’ ‘fine’ 4:8, 20, 9:50, 14:6; (2) ‘advantageous,’ ‘fitting,’ ‘right’ 7:27, 9:5; and (3) the comparative sense ‘better’ 9:42, 43, 45, 47, 14:21.

kai edidou karpon kai epheren ‘and it yielded grain … and bore’: the two imperfects are coordinate, the second explaining the first.

pherō (cf. 1:32) ‘bear (fruit)’: cf. Arndt & Gingrich 2.

anabainonta kai auxanomena ‘springing up and growing’: the two participles modify alla ‘other seeds’; as to time, they are properly simultaneous with edidou karpon ‘yielded grain, as they sprang up and grew, (and bore).’ BFBS “and coming up and growing produced a crop and bore …” admirably ties together the two verbs and the two participles.

anabainō (cf. v. 7) ‘come up,’ ‘spring up,’ ‘sprout.’

auxanō (only here in Mark) ‘grow,’ ‘increase,’ ‘develop.’

eis en en (Nestle) ‘in … in … in’ (or, better, hen hen hen ‘one … one … one’—see Text). The use of heis ‘one’ as a distributive (cf. Arndt & Gingrich heis 4) is patterned after the Semitic fashion (cf. Black Aramaic, 90): hen triakonta kai hen exēkonta kai hen hekaton means ‘one, thirty, and one, sixty, and one, a hundred,’ i.e. ‘thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.’

Translation Because of the complications of temporal order involved in the sequence as translated in the RSV, it is preferable to shift to an approximation of the BFBS order, which however must be rendered in some languages as four coordinate expressions, ‘sprang up, grew, bore mature seeds, and gave thirtyfold …’ (Tarahumara).

The statements of ratio (thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold) almost always cause certain complications in translating, unless one is fortunate enough to discover some ready-made formula for this type of expression. However, the ideas expressed in this verse can always be stated, even if they seem somewhat paraphrastic: ‘some plants produced thirty grains, other plants produced sixty grains, and still other plants produced one hundred grains’ (Tzotzil, Tetelcingo Aztec, Gurunse, Ifugao, and Barrow Eskimo). In Loma, however, one must refer to the head of wheat, e.g. ‘one head of seed had thirty seeds, another had sixty seeds.…’ A different perspective is used in Totonac, ‘people got thirty grains from some plants, sixty from other plants.…’ Statements which describe the increase in terms of the number of seeds produced by various plants are quite justified, since each plant results from a single seed and hence a plant producing thirty, sixty, or a hundred seeds would represent this extent of increase.

Mark 4:9

Exegesis For the whole expression cf. 4:23, 7:16, and in the O.T. Deut. 29:4, Psalm 115:6. The meaning is “If any one is able (and willing) to learn, let him pay attention!”

ōta (4:23, 7:33, 8:18) ‘ears.’

akouein ‘to hear’: the infinitive indicates purpose (cf. 4:3).

Translation This aphoristic expression is a very effective one, but in some languages it must be slightly modified in order to be intelligible. In the first place, its generic quality sometimes must be altered from singular to plural ‘all those who have.…’ In the second place, in a number of languages the ears must be the inner ears, by which one hears, not the outer projections from the head (cf. Spanish, Totonac). In the third place let him hear is not an expression of permission, but of exhortation, therefore, equivalent to ‘he ought to listen’ or ‘they should pay attention’ (Shilluk). Ears to hear may be rendered as ‘ears with which he (or ‘they’) can hear.’

Mark 4:10

Exegesis kata monas (only here and Lk. 9:18 in N.T.) ‘alone’: no place is specified in the text; it is simply indicated that Jesus withdrew from the crowd.

ērōtōn (7:26, 8:5) ‘they asked,’ ‘they asked a question’ (in this passage and in 8:5); in late Greek it came to mean ‘request,’ ‘ask for’ (as in 7:26): see Field Notes, 101–2.

hoi peri auton ‘those about him,’ i.e. ‘his followers’ (cf. Lk. 22:49, Acts 13:13): see Arndt & Gingrich peri 2.A.D. Compare par’ autou, 3:21.

sun tois dōdeka ‘with the Twelve’: a title, not simply a number (cf. 3:16).

Translation The clause when he was alone can, in a literal rendering, introduce a very confusing contradiction. People often ask, “How could he be alone, and still be in the presence of those who could ask him questions?” Obviously, the expression was alone must not be taken in the absolute sense, or it cannot be harmonized with the following clause. In some languages the only way to treat this expression satisfactorily is to render it ‘when he was no longer with the crowd’ or ‘when the crowd was no longer there,’ for this is the meaning of the expression in the Greek text.

Those who were about him with the twelve poses a problem in some languages: “Who asked the question? Those who were about him, not including the twelve apostles, or should the twelve be included in the group of interrogators?” The English form of this expression might lead one to think that those who asked the question were the ones around Jesus and the twelve. The Greek text, however, makes it clear that Jesus was questioned by the twelve and those who clustered around, namely, his somewhat larger band of followers. In many languages this relationship must be made more explicit, e.g. ‘when the twelve and those who were also around Jesus …’ (Kiyaka), ‘those who were around Jesus and also the twelve …’ in which it is quite clear that the preposition ‘around’ goes only with Jesus and not with the twelve (Chontal of Oaxaca).

As noted in 3:14, it is often necessary to add some classifier to the expression ‘the twelve.’

For parables see 3:23.

Mark 4:11

Text Before to mustērion ‘the secret’ Textus Receptus and Kilpatrick add gnōnai ‘to know,’ which is omitted by all other editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis to mustērion tēs basileias tou theou ‘the mystery of the kingdom of God’: the probable meaning is ‘the mystery concerning the kingdom of God’ (although another meaning is possible: ‘the mystery which is the kingdom of God’).

mustērion (only here in Mark) ‘mystery,’ ‘secret’ (cf. Hatch Essays, 57–62).

hē basileia tou theou ‘the kingdom of God’: cf. 1:14.

humin dedotai ‘to you … has been given,’ i.e. by God (cf. Jeremias Parables, 13; cf. peplērotai ‘has been fulfilled’ in 1:15).

ekeinois de tois exō ‘but to those who are outside,’ i.e. those who, in contrast with humin ‘you,’ do not belong to the immediate group of disciples to whom God has given the secret (cf. Swete); some (cf. Gould) refer the ‘outsiders’ to those who are outside the Kingdom.

en parabolais ‘in parables,’ ‘by means of parables’ (Moule Idiom Book, 77). The sense of ‘parables’ here is clearly that of something hard to understand, i.e. ‘riddles’ (cf. Jeremias Parables, 14), after the Hebrew mashal ‘parable’ (cf. 3:23). In the Marcan context, however, parabolē ‘parable’ is a Christian technical term and means the stories Jesus used as illustrations in his teaching about the kingdom of God.

ta panta ginetai ‘all things are,’ ‘all things come’: Arndt & Gingrich ginomai I.3.b.g, ‘those outside receive everything in parables‘, Lagrange tout arrive en paraboles. ta panta ‘all things’ in this context refer to the teachings, the truths, the explanations concerning the kingdom of God.

Translation In the expression to you has been given the secret … there is a passive construction which cannot be translated into a number of languages. However, two adaptations are possible: (1) the introduction of the agent, e.g. ‘God has given (or ‘is giving’) to you the secret …’ (Mezquital Otomi) or (2) the substitution of the active correspondent of give, namely, ‘receive,’ e.g. ‘you have received the secret.…’

A mystery in the Biblical sense is essentially knowledge which has not been known to people in general, but revealed to the initiated, i.e. to the believers. Some translators have employed a phrase meaning ‘that which is not known’ (as the closest equivalent of secret), but this obviously will not do, for a mystery is not an unknown fact, but a specially revealed one. This particular value of the Greek expression can be expressed in various ways, e.g. ‘that which was hidden’ with the connotation that it is no longer so (Huave), ‘that which has not been known’ with the implication that it is now known (Mazahua), ‘what is hard to understand,’ in which the meaning of ‘riddle,’ ‘difficult saying’ is approximated (Barrow Eskimo).

If, as is most generally the case, one assumes the relationship between ‘secret’ and ‘Kingdom’ to be an objective one, the translation may be ‘what was previously hidden about God’s rule’ (Huave), ‘you have learned what was not formerly known about God’s government’ (Putu), and ‘secret about how God rules’ (Zoque).

If the appositional interpretation is followed, the problems of rendering are much greater, e.g. ‘learned about the secret, and the secret is how God rules.’

Those outside if translated literally may mean nothing more than ‘those outside the house’ or ‘those outside the village.’ In many languages the contrasting expression with ‘you’ is simply ‘the others’ (Kiyaka) or ‘other people.’

Everything may be rendered as ‘all knowledge’ or ‘all the truth,’ e.g. ‘other people receive all the knowledge in likeness-stories.’

Mark 4:12

Text After aphethē autois ‘it be forgiven them’ Textus Receptus adds ta hamartēmata ‘the sins,’ which is omitted by all modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis This verse poses great difficulties to the interpreter; to the translator, however, there are somewhat fewer complications, for despite the difficulties in understanding, it should be rendered in a simple, straightforward manner.

hina ‘in order that’ expresses purpose. As the commentators note, with special reference to the divine will, purpose and result in Jewish thought are united into one. Cf. Arndt & Gingrich hina II.2: “purpose and result are identical in declarations of the divine will.” The words which follow are a free paraphrase of Isa. 6:9–10. (On the whole verse see commentaries in loc.; Jeremias Parables, 14–15; Black Aramaic, 153–58).

blepontes blepōsin akouontes akouōsin ‘seeing they may see … hearing they may hear’: a Semitic way of intensive statement: ‘that they may look and look … that they may listen and listen.’

kai mē idōsin kai mē suniōsin ‘and not see … and not understand,’ i.e. ‘yet not really see … yet not understand at all.’

suniēmi (or, suniō) (6:52, 7:14, 8:17, 21) ‘understand,’ ‘comprehend,’ ‘gain insight.’

mēpote epistrepsōsin ‘lest they should turn,’ ‘so that they should not turn’

mēpote ‘lest’: denotes purpose ‘in order that … not’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 2.b.a): cf. Brazilian para que não; Zürich damit … nicht etwa.

epistrephō (5:30, 8:33, 13:16) ‘turn,’ ‘return’: in the spiritual sense of repent (cf. Act. 3:19, 26:20). The equivalent of the O.T. shubh ‘turn’: cf. 1:4 on metanoia ‘repentance.’

kai aphethē autois ‘and it be forgiven them’: that is, ‘and God should forgive them.’ Cf. aphiēmi ‘forgive’ in 2:5, and aphesis ‘forgiveness’ 1:4.

Translation It is not always easy to relate the purpose clause of verse 12 to the preceding expression in verse 11. In some languages one may insert a transitional element ‘this happens in order that.…’

Despite those who would assume some sort of result clause at this point, rather than purpose, it seems quite certain that Mark meant to express the purpose of God’s way of revealing the mystery, an aspect of the providence of God which is almost incomprehensible to man, but which is as much a part of the Biblical perspective as any other (cf. God’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart). To try to “water down” or alter this essential meaning which Mark evidently intended at this point is to do violence to one’s commission as a translator.

These clauses pose a problem in some languages because of the positive-negative sequence within the purpose clause itself. In other words there are two purposes, one that people may see, but at the same time not perceive (the parallel is that they may hear, but at the same time do not understand). The first of these must be considered as a kind of concessive clause in some languages, and placed after the primary purpose (in this case the negative purpose), e.g. ‘in order that it may not reach the heart (i.e. perceive), even though the people look and look at; and in order that they may not understand it, even though they listen and listen’ (Tzeltal). In other languages the order of the Greek may be retained, and the concessive clause preposed, e.g. ‘it is for this reason that though they look and look they do not see.…’ (Kiyaka).

To turn again is the translation of the Greek word traditionally rendered as ‘to be converted.’ This type of expression is translated in a number of ways in different languages, e.g. ‘to change completely’ (Barrow Eskimo), ‘to turn around’ (Tarascan), ‘to have one’s life changed’ (Totonac), ‘to make pass over bounds within’ (Mazatec), ‘turn the heart toward God’ (San Blas), ‘the heart turns itself back’ (Chol), ‘self-heart change’ (Zacapoastla Aztec), ‘to turn away from, unlearn something’ (Bare’e), ‘to turn around from the breast’ (Cuicatec), and ‘to return’ (Luvale). One of the difficult distinctions to be made in translating is the difference between repentance and conversion, words which in some contexts are not perceptively different in areas of meaning. Both are closely related spiritual experiences, but the one is generally described as preceding the other and the second as being a more complete transformation than the former. The following contrasting sets are illustrative:

Language

‘repentance’

‘conversion’

Ngok Dinka

‘to turn the heart’

‘to turn oneself’

Balinese

‘to put on a new mind’

‘to put on a new behavior’

Tzeltal

‘to cause one’s heart

‘to cause one’s heart


 

to return

to return


 

because of one’s sin’

to God’s presence’

Northern Sotho

‘to become untwisted’

‘to retrace one’s steps’

Timorese

‘to turn the heart

‘to return’


 

upside down’


 

The final clause introduced by lest in English is an expression of negative purpose, which is dependent, not upon the immediately preceding clause, but upon the final clause of verse 11. Because of the grammatical distance involved in this relationship, one must introduce in some languages a further transitional element, ‘this has happened in order that.…’

For forgiveness see 1:4.

Mark 4:13

Exegesis ouk oidate tēn parabolēn tautēn; ‘do you not understand this parable?’: as a question, this is purely rhetorical, since it is not a request for information, but stands as an accusation. It may be taken as a statement, however: ‘You don’t understand this parable! How then …?’ Or it may be taken as a condition: ‘If you don’t understand this parable … how will you …?’ (cf. Goodspeed, Berkeley, Williams).

oidate gnōsesthe ‘you know … you will know’: it is precarious to try to maintain a strict distinction between oida ‘know by intuition or insight’ and ginōskō ‘know by experience or observation’ as do Swete, Taylor. oida occurs some 23 times in Mark and ginōskō 12.

Translation Note that the direct discourse may consist of questions, in which case the introductory verb must often be ‘questioned’ rather than ‘said.’ On the other hand, the first expression may be a statement (see above), followed by a question. In any event the questions are strictly rhetorical, and if such questions are treated in any particular manner in the receptor language this fact should be consistently indicated.

Mark 4:14–15

Text Instead of eis autous ‘in them’ in v. 15 read by Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Souter, Taylor, and Kilpatrick, Textus Receptus has en tais kardiais autōn ‘in their hearts’; Tischendorf, Soden, Vogels, Merk, and Lagrange have en autois ‘in them.’

Exegesis houtoi hoi para tēn hodon ‘these … (are) the ones along the path’: it is to be noticed that in the explanation of the parable (vv. 15–20) the demonstratives, prepositional phrases and participles are all masculine, not neuter. The explanation of the parable has in view men (not seeds), i.e. the listeners, those who in one way or another receive the word (proclaimed to them).

hoi para tēn hodon ‘the ones along the path’: it is not said of these (as it is of the others, vv. 16, 18, 20) ‘sown on the path’ since they were not properly sown at all-they fell on the path without penetrating the soil.

In the explanation, by a change of figure, the various kinds of soil become various kinds of men who (literally) are sown therein. Properly what is sown is the (same) Word, and the soils represent the different classes of hearers: in the explanation, however, the various classes of hearers are sown. Though there is inconsistency in figures between the parable and its explanation, the meaning is clear throughout, and a straightforward translation will reproduce the meaning accurately.

ho logos ‘the Word,’ ‘the (Christian) Message’ (cf. 2:2).

eis autous ‘in them’ (not, ‘among’).

airei (some 20 times in Mark) ‘carry away,’ ‘take off.’

Translation In some languages a metaphor such as ‘the sower sows the word’ is meaningless, but a simile is completely understandable, and in fact is the closest natural equivalent, e.g. ‘the sower, as it were, sows the word.’ This little element ‘as it were’ (whether a complete phrase, a particle, or even a suffix on the verb) gives the clue to the reader that this is not to be understood literally, but in a figurative sense. Such shifts from strict metaphors to similes are frequently required for proper sense.

The word is in this context ‘the message,’ ‘the pronouncement,’ or even ‘the good news,’ for this is the technical use of Greek logos to represent the Christian message.

There is a certain difficulty in the words used to introduce the series of four types of persons. In the RSV the words used are these (verse 15), these (verse 16), others (verse 18) and those (verse 20). In other languages one may need to adapt this series somewhat in order to produce an intelligible sequence, e.g. ‘some … others … still others … finally those.’

These are the ones along the path … is a metaphorical expression which may be shifted into the form of a simile by some verb such as ‘represent,’ ‘stand for,’ or ‘mean,’ e.g. ‘some represent the people along the path.…’

Sown in them must in many languages be ‘sown in their hearts.’

Mark 4:16–17

Exegesis homoiōs (15:31) ‘likewise,’ ‘in like manner’: that is, these are (like those, in v. 15, who are along the path) those who are sown upon rocky places.

hoi epi ta petrōdē speiromenoi ‘they who are sown upon rocky places’: notice plural petrōdē ‘rocky places’ instead of the sing. petrōdes in v. 5.

meta charas lambanousin auton ‘with joy receive it.’

chara (only here in Mark) ‘joy,’ ‘happiness.’

lambanō (some 20 times in Mark) ‘receive,’ ‘accept.’

ouk echousin rizan en heautois ‘they have no root in themselves,’ that is, have no depth of conviction or belief: due to the sparsity of soil the roots do not develop and sink as deeply as they should. The figure is that of lack of firmness, stability, endurance: they are proskairoi ‘lasting only for a time,’ ‘temporary.’

eita genomenēs thlipseōs ē diōgmou ‘then when affliction or persecution comes.’

thlipsis (13:19, 24) ‘tribulation,’ ‘affliction,’ ‘distress’ (BFBS “trouble” is not quite adequate): cf. Lagrange.

diōgmos (10:30) ‘persecution.’

euthus skandalizontai ‘immediately they are scandalized’: this clause parallels that of v. 16 ‘immediately they receive it with joy.’

skandalizomai literally ‘to be ensnared,’ ‘be trapped’ (cf. Moulton & Milligan, Lagrange). The word appears in Mark in the active and in the passive: (1) in the active it is causative, ’cause to be ensnared,’ ’cause to stumble,’ 9:42, 43, 45, 47; (2) in the passive ‘to be ensnared,’ ‘be offended,’ 4:17, 14:27, 29; in 6:3 ‘to be offended by (someone).’

The English “scandalize” does not adequately translate the Greek verb, and other verbs are used to convey the meaning: “fall away” (RSV, BFBS, Montgomery), with its note of finality, is perhaps too strong; “are repelled” (Moffatt), “stumble” (ASV), “stumble and fall” (Berkeley, Weymouth), Zürich nehmen sie Anstoss ‘they take offense,’ are other possibilities. The idea conveyed by the Greek verb is that of being offended and repelled to the point of abandoning (whether temporarily or permanently, the word itself does not specify) belief in the Word (cf. Lk. 8:13), or one’s relation with Jesus (14:27, 29).

Translation The phrase in like manner helps to indicate the symbolic character of the passage, and may serve to make the figurative expression more like a simile, e.g. ‘in a similar way others are the people who are sown.…’ At this point, however, one must be careful that the resulting phrase ‘sown on the rocky ground’ does not mean ‘thrown down on the rocks’ (as in some translations). It is all right to speak of ‘seed being thrown into the rocky ground’ but to speak of ‘people being thrown into rocky ground’ may completely destroy the value of the figure. This difficulty may be solved by translating ‘others are the people who are there where the rocky ground is.…’

The syntax of the constructions ‘these … the ones … who, when …; then when …’ is very complex, and usually some drastic alterations must be made to adapt this to the grammatical requirements of the receptor language, e.g. ‘these are the people in the rocky ground; just as soon as they hear the word they hold it in their heart (Shilluk) accept it and are happy. But they do not have a sort of root in themselves, and they only last for a little while. When difficulties come and people hate them because of the good news, they immediately give up.’

Since the phrase receive with joy involves two processes, it is often translated as two related events, e.g. ‘agree quickly and are happy’ (Loma), ‘they hear it and are glad’ (Popoluca), ‘they receive it while their heart is glad’ (Toba Batak). In other cases the expression may be combined as a single phrase ‘hold it in their heart’ (Shilluk), which involves the meaning of not only accepting the truth but receiving it with gladness.

They have no root in themselves must be treated as a simile in many languages, e.g. ‘they do not have as it were any root’ or ‘their hearts do not have any root-like thing.’

Endure for a while is idiomatically translated in Kekchi as ‘they are like passers by,’ an apt description of the transient enthusiast for Christianity. Cf. South Toradja ‘their heart is shallow,’ Javanese ‘they are not steadfast,’ Bare’e ‘only a moment is their heart quiet.’

Tribulation may be rendered as ‘difficulties,’ ‘hardships,’ ‘troubles.’ These are events which may or may not have human instigation. The persecution, however, is the result of hatred, enmity, or malintent of others, e.g. ‘being hated’ (Zoque), ’caused to see trouble,’ or ‘being stoned’—an expression used in Pame to include all types of persecution.

There are a number of senses in which the Greek verb skandalizō may be taken in this context and only rarely can one use the meaning of ‘to stumble.’ In various languages the resulting equivalent expressions vary widely, e.g. ‘to give up’ (Tzeltal, Tarascan), ‘no longer like it’ (Navajo, Zoque), ‘get rid of it right away’ (Kituba—reminding one of our game of “hot potato”), ‘to turn back’ (Huichol), and ‘to go by another road’ (Piro). This last expression is particularly suggestive of the moral and spiritual issues involved.

Mark 4:18–19

Exegesis kai (at the beginning of v. 19) is adversative ‘but’: so the great majority of modern translations have it.

hai merimnai tou aiōnos ‘the anxieties of (this) age,’ that is, of the present life.

merimna (only here in Mark) ‘anxiety,’ ‘worry,’ ‘care.’

aiōn (cf. 3:29) ‘age’: here it means the present age; by an extension of meaning the word denotes the scene of this age, the place where this age is effective, i.e. “this world” (RSV, BFBS).

hē apatē tou ploutou ‘the deceit of riches.’

apatē (only here in Mark) may mean ‘deceitfulness’ (ASV, Weymouth, BFBS) or ‘pleasure’ (in a bad sense) (Goodspeed, Montgomery, RSV; cf. Lagrange les délices de la richesse). Williams combines the two ideas ‘deceiving pleasures’; Manson has ‘glamour’; Brazilian ‘fascination.’

ploutos (only here in Mark) ‘wealth,’ ‘riches.’

hai peri ta loipa epithumiai ‘and the desires for other things.’

epithumia (only here in Mark) ‘desire,’ ‘longing,’ ‘craving’: usually in a bad sense; Arndt & Gingrich classify its use here as neutral.

to loipon (14:41, 16:13) ‘the remaining,’ ‘the rest’; ta loipa means ‘the other things’ (i.e. besides riches of the previous clause). peri ta loipa ‘for other things.’

eisporeuomenai (cf. 1:21). ‘entering,’ ‘coming in’: all these things come into the individual’s heart, or life, where the seed has been planted.

sumpnigousin ton logon ‘they choke the (Christian) message’ (cf. v. 7) which has been sown.

kai akarpos ginetai ‘and it (the Word) becomes fruitless’: this is not to be taken in the sense of becoming fruitless after having been fruitful; rather, the Word bears no fruit at all.

Translation Even though it may be necessary to introduce the other classes of persons (or soil) (verses 15 and 16) by some sort of simile (or equivalent expression), it may be that by this verse the metaphor may be preserved without any clue phrase. But if not, or if the parallel construction would make the passage more intelligible, then all four elements in the series may be introduced in a similar manner.

The word must be translated the same in each instance, cf. verses 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18. There should be no confusion at this point that the word refers to the Christian message.

The basic problem encountered by many translators in rendering verse 19 is the fact that those factors which make the persons unfruitful are given in Greek as nouns, but they really refer to processes, i.e. events, and as such, must be translated in many languages as verbal expressions, often with a full complement of subjects and objects. The cares of the world is in some languages rendered as follows: ‘they think very much about these days now,’ in which for Greek aiōn a time equivalent of ‘days’ is better than a spatial one of ‘world’ (Kekchi); ‘they begin to worry about this world-things’ (Gurunse); ‘their hearts are gone doing what they do when they pass through world,’ in which the last phrase is an idiomatic equivalent for ‘this life’ (Tzeltal); ‘they think intensely about things in this world’ (Mitla Zapotec, Huave); ‘all the time they think about things in the world’ (Eastern Otomi), ‘the longing for this world’ (Bare’e); ‘they are very occupied about things in the world’ (Tzotzil); ‘they are very much afraid about what will happen in the world’ (Tarahumara); and ‘the heavy talk about things in the world’ (Shilluk).

The traditional interpretation of deceitfulness of riches generally causes more complications than the exegetically preferable delight in riches since the former phrase breaks the sequence of objective relationships (i.e. ‘cares about the world’ and ‘desire for other things,’ in which the second element is the object of the process implied in the first) with a subjective relationship, i.e. ‘riches deceive.’ However, this idea may be translated, but it must in many languages be somewhat expanded in form, e.g. ‘because they have much in their pockets they are deceived’ (Huichol), ‘fooled themselves in wishing to get rich’ (Tarascan), ‘they wanted to get rich; but they deceived themselves’ (Mixtec), and ‘their money deceives them’ (Zacapoastla Aztec). The objective relationship, in which the riches are the object of the delight, may be translated as follows: ‘they are happy with riches’ (Gurunse), ‘they are so delighted to be rich,’ and ‘they take much pleasure in all the things they have.’

The desire for other things must frequently be translated as a verb expression, and with some type of contrastive generic value added to ‘other things,’ i.e. ‘all sorts of other things,’ since the equivalent of riches is often a word meaning abundance of ‘things,’ ‘possessions,’ and ‘objects,’ e.g. ‘they get all tied up for other sorts of things’ (Shilluk), ‘they crave many things’ (Zacapoastla Aztec), ‘they intensely desire other things’ (Gurunse), and ‘they covet all sorts of things’ (Navajo).

If one has translated the processes ‘cares … delight … and … desire’ by verbs, it is usually impossible to talk of these experiences as ‘entering in.’ The equivalent is simply that ‘people care … delight in … and desire …; therefore the word cannot grow’ (or ‘gets shut off’), ‘gets shaded over,’ or ‘is closed off’). Proves unfruitful means ‘does not produce anything,’ ‘did not grow anything’ (Barrow Eskimo), and ‘was killed.’

Mark 4:20

Text Instead of en en en ‘in … in … in’ read by Tischendorf, Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Soden, Vogels, Merk, and Souter, hen hen hen ‘one … one … one’ is read by Textus Receptus, Lagrange, Kilpatrick, and Taylor (cf. v. 8).

Exegesis ekeinoi hoi sparentes ‘those … who … (were) sown’: probably some distinction should be made between ekeinoi ‘those’ and houtoi ‘these’ of vv. 15, 16 (alloi ‘others’ v. 18); some difference, likewise, is probably intended by the use of the aorist participle sparentes ‘sown’ in the present verse, instead of the present participle speiromenoi ‘sown’ of vv. 16, 18.

hoitines (9:1, 12:18, 15:7) ‘those who,’ i.e. ‘the very ones who‘ (referred to in the previous clause).

paradechontai (only here in Mark) ‘they receive,’ ‘they accept’: here used as a synonym for lambanousin ‘they receive’ of v. 16.

karpophorousin (4:28) ‘they bear fruit,’ ‘they produce a crop.’

Translation Accept it must mean more than simply ‘receive it’ or ‘hear it.’ The implication here is that people believe the word, e.g. ‘put it in their hearts’ (Tzeltal), ‘take the word with truth’ (Loma), or ‘to hear and understand’ (Tumbuka).

Bear fruit is all right when speaking of plants, but the figure may not be acceptable when speaking of persons. Hence, one must often substitute a phrase meaning ‘to produce results’ or ‘to cause blessing.’

For an analysis of thirtyfold, and sixtyfold and a hundredfold see 4:8.

Mark 4:21

Text Instead of tethē ‘put’ (after luchnian ‘lampstand’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has epitethē ‘put upon.’

Exegesis The verse contains three questions, the first two of which expect a negative answer, and the last a positive answer. A translation should make this clear.

mēti erchetai ‘does it come (to be put under a bushel)? (No!)’: the verb erchetai ‘come’ is here used with the meaning ‘is brought’ (Arndt & Gingrich I.1.c.b).

luchnos (only here in Mark) ‘lamp’: this is an oil-burning wick lamp, the wick lying in a shallow bowl filled with oil.

hina hupo ton modion tethē ‘in order that it be placed under the bushel.’

modios (only here in Mark) ‘bushel’: a dry measure of about two gallons; in this passage as Lagrange points out, the reference is probably to a large bowl used to hold (and measure) the grain, under which the lamp would be placed at bedtime. Cf. BFBS “measuring-vessel.”

tithēmi ‘place,’ ‘put’: in Mark used in the passive here and 15:47; in the active, 4:30, 6:29, 56, 8:25, 10:16, 12:36, 15:19, 46, 16:6.

klinēn (7:30) ‘bed’ ‘couch’: perhaps the couch that went with the table at which they reclined for meals. Not to be confused with the krabatos ‘pallet’ of 2:4.

luchnian (only here in Mark) ‘lampstand’: “candle” and “candlestick” (AV) are not, of course, an accurate translation of the Greek words.

Translation said must be translated as ‘asked’ in some languages because of the questions which follow.

Since two of the questions imply negative answers and one a positive one, some languages require that these be split, e.g. ‘People do not bring a lamp in and put it under a bushel or under a bed, do they? Don’t they bring it in and put it on a stand?’

As noted above, the lamp in this context is a kind of oil lamp, not a candle or a torch.

The equivalent of ‘measuring vessel’ may be in some languages ‘bucket,’ ‘pail,’ or ‘vessel.’ In some instances there are a number of terms, each denoting a special shape and size of container. In so far as possible the most general object of the approximate equivalent size should be chosen, provided that it is not of material which would immediately ignite (as was done in one language in which the name of a small loosely woven basket was used).

In some instances people do not have an indigenous word for bed, since they sleep either on skins or mats on the floor or in hammocks. In such instances one may use ‘benches for sleeping’ or ‘wide shelf for sleeping’ (Tarahumara). Since most South Toradjas still sleep on a mat on the floor the expression is here translated ‘in the space under the house’ (the house being built on piles).

The stand may be described as ‘the elevated (or high) place for the lamp.’

Mark 4:22–23

Text ti ‘anything’ in v. 22 is omitted by Westcott and Hort, Lagrange, and Taylor, but retained by Textus Receptus and the great majority of modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis The two parallel clauses, in Semitic style, both state the same truth: ‘if something is hidden, it is in order that it (eventually) be manifested; if something is covered up, it is in order that it (eventually) be brought out into the open.’

krupton (only here in Mark) ‘hidden.’

phanerōthē (16:12, 14) ‘that it be revealed,’ ‘that it be manifested.’

apokruphon (only here in Mark) ‘covered up,’ ‘secret.’

elthē eis phaneron (cf. 3:12) ‘that it come into the open,’ ‘that it become known.’

For v. 23 see 4:9.

Translation It is often quite difficult to treat the double negatives in verse 22, literally ‘nothing … if not.’ In some languages such a construction must be rendered by positives (e.g. Cashibo and Amuzgo) ‘everything that is hidden is that way in order that it may be made to be seen.’

In the word ‘hid’ there is no implication that such objects were purposely hidden. The Greek does not imply in this first instance any process, only a state of being. On the other hand, in the second form of essentially this same concept (typical of Hebrew parallelism) the Greek verb egeneto may imply that something ‘has become hidden,’ e.g. ‘if there is anything that has become hidden, it is that way in order that it will be put out in the light’ or ‘everything that has become hidden.…’ On the other hand, egeneto may be only a stylistic variant of the previous estin.

For verse 23, see 4:9.

Mark 4:24–25

Exegesis blepete ti akouete ‘see what you hear,’ i.e. ‘pay attention to what you are listening to!’

en hō metrō metreite metrēthēsetai ‘in the (same) measure you measure (for others) it will be measured out (to you).’

metron (only here in Mark) ‘measure’: a measure of capacity.

metreō (only here in Mark) ‘measure out’: Arndt & Gingrich 2, ‘give out,’ ‘apportion,’ ‘deal out’ something to someone.

prostethēsetai (only here in Mark) ‘more shall be given,’ ‘shall be added,’ ‘shall be given in addition.’ The two passives metrēthēsetai humin kai prostethēsetai humin ‘shall be measured out to you and more shall be added to you’ are to be referred to God, as the subject (cf. v. 11; cf. Dalman Words, 224).

dothēsetai arthēsetai ‘shall (more) be given … shall be taken away’: these two passives also, as in the previous verse, are to be referred to God as the subject.

hos ouk echei, kai ho echei ‘he who has not, even what he has’: the meaning, naturally, is ‘he who has very little, even the little that he has will be taken away’—it would, of course, be impossible to take away from someone something he actually does not have.

Translation Take heed what you hear is translated in two different ways: (1) ‘pay attention to what you hear’ (the preferred rendering) and (2) ‘discriminate carefully between the things which you might hear,’ e.g. ‘select the right things to listen to.’ This latter rendering does not seem to fit this type of context, especially after verse 23.

Take heed is translated in Conob as ‘to hear dying.’ The word ‘dying’ added to the admonition ‘to hear’ indicates the importance of listening, a kind of “life or death matter.” ‘

In some languages the order of constituents in the expression the measure … you get must be changed so that the persons participating are the active subject, rather than the measure, e.g. ‘you will receive the same kind of measure that you measure out to others.’ In other languages the measure is treated in somewhat more generic terms, ‘what you have given to others will be what you get’ in which the meanings ‘to give’ and ‘to measure out to’ are rendered by the same word (Subanen).

The last clause in verse 24 must in some instances be shifted so that the grammatical subject is the personal participant, even as in the previous clauses, e.g. ‘and you will receive even more’ (Shipibo). If Textus Receptus is followed, there maybe even greater need of a shift in subject expression, e.g. ‘you who hear will receive more’ (Zoque, Eastern Otomí).

The passive expression in the first clause of verse 25 may be shifted to active, e.g. ‘the one who has some will receive even more’ (or in the passive form, ‘will be given even more’). Where, however, the logical subject of the process of giving must be introduced, one may translate as ‘God will give even more to the one who has some.’

The hyperbole about taking away from a man what he does not have can often be rendered as ‘even if a man does not have anything, even the little that he does have will be taken away,’ thus preserving some measure of the extreme statement.

Mark 4:26–27

Exegesis hōs balē ‘as though he might throw’ (cf. Moule Idiom Book, 23).

ballō (cf. 2:22) ‘throw’: here used of scattering seed upon the ground in the process of sowing (cf. 4:3).

sporon (4:26, 27) ‘seed’: used as a synonym for sperma ‘seed’ (4:31).

kai katheudē kai egeirētai ‘and he should sleep and rise’: notice the two present tenses here in contrast with the aorist balē ‘throw.’ ‘Sleep and rise night and day’ means ‘sleep at night and rise by day’ (cf. Moffatt) i.e. the normal routine of daily activities: cf. Lagrange sa vie tranquille.

katheudō (4:38, 5:39, 13:36, 14:37, 40, 41) ‘sleep.’

egeirō ‘rise’: here, rise from sleep (cf. 1:31).

blasta (only here in Mark) ‘it sprouts,’ ‘it buds.’

mēkunētai (only here in Mark) ‘it becomes long’ (from mēkos ‘length), ‘it grows.’

hōs ouk oiden autos ‘he doesn’t know how’: i.e. the man does not know how this process of germination and growth of the seed he planted takes place.

Translation For kingdom of God see 1:15 and 4:11.

Is as if introduces a difficult grammatical construction, which requires some expansion in some languages, e.g. ‘This is how God rules; it is as a man who …’ (Zoque).

For scatter seed in the sense of ‘sowing’ see 4:3.

Ground should be ‘prepared soil’ or some other expression denoting the ground for planting, not just thrown on the ground indiscriminately.

The generic seed must often be translated as plural ‘seeds’ or ‘grains’ (Chontal of Tabasco).

If one translates literally sleep and rise night and day it may mean as in one language that the person is constantly disturbed night and day while he is sleeping. Many languages require that the sleeping and rising be properly paired with the night and day, e.g. ‘sleep in the night and rise in the day’ (Mazahua, Zacapoastla Aztec, Trique, Subanen, Black Bobo). However, in some languages one must shift the order of ‘night and day’ to ‘day and night,’ since the ordinary way of speaking of such succession is first to mention the day and then the night (Tetelcingo Aztec).

He does not know how must in some instances be expanded because of the implied ellipsis following how, e.g. ‘he does not know this happens’ (or ‘how they grow’), referring to the germination and growing process (Barrow Eskimo; cf. South Toradja and Indonesian ‘but he does not know how the growth goes’).

Mark 4:28

Exegesis automatē (only here and in Acts 12:10 in the N.T.) ‘of itself’: of something which happens without visible cause (Arndt & Gingrich).

karpophorei (cf. 4:20) ‘it bears fruit,’ ‘it produces,’ ‘it yields a crop.’

chorton (6:39) ‘grass,’ ‘hay’: also refers to stalks of grain in their early grass-like stages (cf. BFBS “green shoot”).

stachun (cf. 2:23) ‘head’ or ‘ear’ (of grain).

plērēs (8:19) ‘full’: here in the sense of ‘full grown,’ ‘mature,’ ‘ripe.’

sitos (only here in Mark) ‘wheat’ or ‘grain.’

Translation In some languages the relationship of the earth to the production of vegetation is quite easily expressed, e.g. ‘the earth is the mother of the seed’ (Tzeltal), but in others one cannot say that the ‘earth’ (which may mean only ‘the dirt’) produces plants of itself. In such instances one can say ‘plants come from the ground’ or ‘plants grow out of the earth’ (Kekchi).

The first three stages of growth are variously described in different languages, e.g. ‘first the leaf, then the seed-container and then the grain’ (Subanen), and ‘first the grass, then the green wheat, and then the ripe wheat’ (Mitla Zapotec).

Ear must be altered in many languages, e.g. ‘eyes of the grain’ (Shilluk), referring to the tender grain in formation, and ‘heads of the grain,’ denoting the ripened grain.

In this context it is not necessary to try to specify the details of the growth of wheat, especially in areas where such plants are not known. One can just as appropriately use Indian corn (Kekchi, Totonac, Zoque).

Mark 4:29

Exegesis hotan de paradoi ho karpos ‘when the fruit allows,’ i.e. ‘when the crop permits’: so, in a general sense, “when the grain is ripe” (RSV).

paradidōmi here has the sense of ‘permit,’ ‘allow’ (Arndt & Gingrich, 4; cf. Turner; cf. Taylor, who quotes examples from classical Greek; Black Aramaic, 121f., agrees that this is the sense of the Greek text, but thinks that the underlying spoken Aramaic probably meant ‘when the fruit has been produced’). For the use of paradidōmi ‘hand over’ see 1:14, 3:19.

apostellei to drepanon, hoti parestēken ho therismos ‘he sends forth the sickle, because the harvest has come’: the words reflect an O.T. passage, Joel 3:13 (LXX, 4:13).

apostellō ‘send’: Field (Notes, 26) argues for the meaning ‘put forth’ on the basis of the Hebrew verb shalah ‘send forth,’ ‘stretch out’ which in Joel 3:13 the LXX translates exapostellō ‘send forth.’

to drepanon (only here in Mark) ‘sickle’: by a change of figure ‘sends forth the sickle’ stands for ‘sends out the reapers‘ (Gould; cf. Weymouth).

hoti here is causative ‘because.’

paristēmi (14:47, 69, 70, 15:35, 39) ‘is present’ ‘stands by’; ‘is ready’ (Arndt & Gingrich 2.b.b).

ho therismos (only here in Mark) ‘harvest,’ ‘time of harvest,’ ‘harvesting.’

Translation Ripe is rendered variously as ‘hard,’ ‘complete,’ ‘ready,’ and ‘fully grown.’

Puts in the sickle may refer to either (1) the immediate process of cutting the grain (by the grammatical subject of the expression), e.g. ‘he cuts it down’ (Zoque, Subanen) or ‘cuts with a rounded machete’ in which ’rounded machete’ is the name of the harvesting sickle (Chontal of Tabasco), or (2) the sending of workmen into the harvest fields to do the work (seemingly the preferable rendering), e.g. ‘sends those who bear the knives,’ in which ‘knives’ is the cultural equivalent of sickle (Shipibo); ‘gives the order to those who cut with the sickle’ (Toba Batak).

Harvest is ‘the time of cutting’ (Barrow Eskimo) or ‘harvesting-time’ (Shipibo).

Mark 4:30

Text Instead of pōs ‘how’ of all modern editions of the Greek text Textus Receptus has tini ‘with what.’

Instead of tini ‘with what’ (in the second clause) of all modern editions of the Greek text Textus Receptus has poia ‘what kind.’

Instead of thōmen ‘may we put’ of most modern editions of the Greek text Textus Receptus and Kilpatrick have parabalōmen ‘may we compare.’

Exegesis homoiōsōmen (only here in Mark) ‘shall we compare,’ ‘shall we liken.’

parabolē (cf. 3:23) ‘parable’: here the sense ‘figure’ (Goodspeed), ‘similitude’ (Taylor), ‘comparison’ is indicated, as the parallelism of the two clauses shows. In light of the whole Marcan context, however, parable as a technical Christian term is probably meant (cf. 4:11).

thōmen (cf. 4:21) ‘shall we place (it)’: the meaning is ‘present’ (Brazilian; cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.1.b.e); cf. ASV ‘set forth’; Weymouth, Synodale ‘represent’; Lagrange le mettre en.

Translation For kingdom of God see 1:15 and 4:11, and for parable see 3:23.

Compare must be rendered in some languages by a somewhat expanded descriptive expression, e.g. ‘saying what shall we say they are like’ (Tarahumara) and ‘with what things can we make it equal’ (Shipibo).

Use for it is equivalent in some languages to ‘use in speaking about it.’

Mark 4:31

Exegesis kokkō sinapeōs (only here in Mark) ‘grain (seed) of mustard’: the plant is identified as the sinapsis nigra (cf. Lagrange). The mustard grows wild in Palestine: it is an annual plant, growing from seed, and, especially when cultivated, may reach a height of 10 to 12 feet. A garden herb (cf. lachanon ‘herb’ next verse), it is, not quite accurately, called a ‘tree’ (Lk. 13:19), due to its large size.

mikroteron on ‘being smaller (than)’: as is common, the comparative ‘smaller than’ is used for the superlative ‘smallest of.’ The neuter tense of the adjective and participle is probably due to the neuter spermatōn ‘seeds’ which follows.

on ‘being’: the participle is concessive ‘though it is’ (Burton Moods and Tenses, 437).

spermatōn (12:19, 20, 21, 22) ‘seeds’ (notice sporos ‘seed’ in v. 27, and kokkos ‘grain,’ ‘seed’ in this verse).

Translation It must be translated so as to refer to ‘the kingdom of God.’

Grain of mustard seed may be rendered as ‘a seed of a plant called mustard‘, employing a word borrowed from the dominant prestige language of the area (Tarahumara, Eastern Otomi). Frequently, one can find a type of local mustard plant, which, though somewhat different, can still be used as a basis for the translation, e.g. ‘a seed of a kind of … plant’ (in which the appropriate close equivalent can be used; cf. Taungthu). South Toradja, Indonesian and Javanese use sawi, a sort of mustard plant (Brassica rubosa), the leaves of which are eaten as vegetables.

The constructions introduced by which, when are such that they frequently require some radical readjustments, e.g. ‘it is like the grains of a plant called mustard; when these seeds are sown in the earth, they are the smallest.…’ In this rendering we have suggested the plural for singular since in a number of languages such generic statements must be regularly in the plural form. However, for the sake of the following verse, it is preferable, if at all possible, to employ the singular throughout. Note also the change of sown upon to ‘sown in,’ as in a number of languages.

Despite the fact that the statement smallest of all the seeds on earth cannot be taken in any absolute sense, one should nevertheless translate the text as it is.

Mark 4:32

Exegesis kai ‘and’ (the first word): here with the meaning ‘but,’ ‘yet.’

anabainei (cf. 4:7) ‘it grows.’

meizon pantōn tōn lachanōn ‘bigger than all the shrubs’: as in the previous verse the comparative ‘bigger than’ is used with the meaning ‘biggest of.’ The neuter meizon ‘bigger’ is due either to spermathe seed is bigger’ implied in the statement, or to tōn lachanōn ‘of the shrubs’ which follows.

lachanōn (only here in Mark) ‘vegetable,’ ‘edible garden herb’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich).

poiei kladous megalous ‘it makes large branches.’

poieō here means ‘produce,’ ‘send out’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.1.b.h).

klados (13:28) ‘branch,’ ‘limb.’

hōste dunasthai kataskēnoun (for the construction see 1:27) ‘so that they (the birds) are able to live.’

kataskēnoō (only here in Mark) ‘live,’ ‘dwell,’ ‘settle’: of birds, ‘nest.’ The saying about the birds nesting in the shade reflects O.T. passages such as Dan. 4:12 (cf. Ezek. 17:23, 31:6; Ps. 104:12).

tēn skian autou ‘its shade,’ i.e. of the grown mustard plant.

skia (only here in Mark) ‘shadow,’ ‘shade.’

Translation The Greek term translated here as shrubs refers primarily to large annuals. One should not render this as ‘trees of the forest’ (as in some translations, merely in order to emphasize the extent of growth of the plant). Where a language possesses a generic term for annuals (a not infrequent classification), one can make ready use of this word. In some instances, however, in order to use some relatively satisfactory equivalent, translators have used ‘plants that grow for a year’ (Totonac).

For birds of the air see 4:4. A literal translation of this expression can be quite misleading. In one language in Latin America this phrase was taken to refer to the Holy Spirit, for it was understood to mean ‘doves from heaven,’ and since the dove is employed in Roman Catholic ritual as a symbol for the Holy Spirit, the meaning of the passage was entirely misconstrued. The meaning here is simply ‘field birds,’ ‘birds of the forest,’ or ‘undomesticated fowl.’

Nests in its shade must in some instances be more precise, i.e. ‘nests in its branches under its shade,’ or the use of ‘shade’ would imply nests on the ground beneath the plant.

Mark 4:33–34

Exegesis toiautais parabolais pollais ‘with many parables such as these.’

toioutos (6:2, 7:13, 9:37, 10:14, 13:19) ‘such,’ ‘of this kind,’ ‘of this sort.’

elalei autois ‘he was speaking to them (all)’: autois ‘them’ includes the crowd (4:1) and the disciples; only to the disciples was the explanation given (cf. parallel Mt. 13:34).

kathōs ēdunanto akouein ‘as they were able to hear,’ ‘in proportion to their ability to hear’ (cf. Jn. 16:12, 1 Cor. 3:2).

chōris (only here in Mark) ‘apart from,’ ‘without.’

kat’ idian (6:31, 32, 7:33, 9:2, 28, 13:3) ‘privately,’ ‘alone.’

tois idiois mathētais ‘to his disciples’: although idios is properly ‘one’s own’ (as distinct from ‘another’s own’) it is often used simply as a synonym of the possessive pronoun ‘his’—and that would appear to be its meaning in this passage.

epeluen (only here in Mark) ‘he interpreted,’ ‘he explained.’

Translation For parables see 3:23.

Spoke the word is the equivalent of ‘to preach,’ ‘to announce,’ or ‘to tell them the message.’ For preach see 1:4.

Because of the double reference in this verse, first to the people in general, identified as them, and later to the disciples, it may be necessary in some languages to translate as ‘Jesus told the good news to the people by means of many likeness-stories such as these.’ In Tarahumara this passage is rendered as ‘when he spoke … he only told them stories.’

As they were able to hear involves a rather complex type of proportion, rendered in Tzeltal as ‘as much as they could put in their hearts,’ in Barrow Eskimo as ‘just as long as they could understand,’ and in Indonesian ‘according as they could understand,’

The double negative not … without must in some languages be rendered in a positive form: ‘he only spoke to them with parables.’

Privately is translatable as ‘when he was alone with his disciples.’

Explained everything maybe translated as ‘he told them what the stories meant.’

Mark 4:35–36

Exegesis opsias genomenēs (1:32, 6:47, 14:17, 15:42) ‘when evening had come’: presumably at, or after sunset.

dielthōmen eis to peran ‘let us go to the other side.’

dierchomai (10:25) ‘go through‘ literally; here ‘go,’ ‘go across,’

eis to peran ‘to the other side’: normally, as here, meaning Perea, the country east of the Lake of Galilee (cf. 5:1), or of the Jordan river (cf. 3:8, 10:1). In the literal sense ‘to the other side’ it is used in 5:21, 6:45, 8:13.

kai aphentes paralambanousin ‘and leaving … they take’: the subject is ‘the disciples.’

aphiēmi (cf. 1:18, 2:5) ‘leave,’ ‘abandon’; some translate “dismiss,” which is not supported by Marcan usage (apoluō is ‘dismiss,’ ‘send away’: cf. 6:36, 45, 8:3, 9).

paralambanō (5:40, 7:4, 9:2, 10:32, 14:33) ‘take,’ ‘take with’ (or ‘along’): there is no idea of force implied (cf. Lagrange).

hōs ēn en tō ploiō ‘as he was in the boat’: hōs ‘as,’ denoting comparison, means that Jesus still was in the boat in which he had pushed off from shore to teach the crowd (4:1), without having gone ashore. BFBS takes hōs as temporal ‘while’: the great majority of translations, however, assume the meaning ‘as.’

alla ploia ēn met’ autou ‘other boats were with him’: so the great majority of translations; BFBS, however, has “it” (the boat).

Translation Because of possible confusion in rendering them, in view of the fact that for the most part the crowd has been referred to by such a third person plural pronoun, it may be advisable to translate ‘said to the disciples.’

Go across must be made quite specific in some languages. For example, in Aymara, a language spoken by about one million Indians around Lake Titicaca in the Andes between Bolivia and Peru, one must specify whether ‘going across’ denotes from one side of the lake to another or from one projection of land (into the lake) to another such projection. In this context, one would seem to be dealing with a passage across the main body of the lake to Perea.

To the other side must often be elaborated to mean ‘to the land on the other side of the lake’ (Kekchi).

One must be quite careful in translating took him, for in some languages the connotation is one of ‘forcible arrest’ or ‘manhandling.’ One may, however, say go with him’ or ‘have him go with them.’

Just as he was does not refer to Jesus’ appearance, but his place, already in the boat. This meaning may be indicated by some paratactic constructions, e.g. ‘the disciples had him go with them in the boat; he was already there in the boat.’

For problems involving the size of the boat, see 1:19.

Were with him is equivalent in some languages to ‘went along at the same time.’ Note, however, that verbs used in speaking of boats ‘going’ may be entirely different from those used of motion by birds, animals, or persons.

Mark 4:37

Exegesis lailaps megalē anemou ‘a great storm of wind’; Arndt & Gingrich: ‘a fierce gust of wind.’

lailaps (only here in Mark) ‘whirlwind,’ ‘hurricane,’ ‘squall.’

anemos (4:39, 41, 6:48, 51; 13:27) ‘wind.’

ta kumata epeballen ‘the waves were spilling on (into the boat)’

kuma (only here in Mark) ‘wave.’

epiballō (11:7, 14:46, 72) ‘throw upon’: without an object, in the active voice, as here, the verb means ‘to throw oneself’ or ‘to beat upon’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 2.a).

hōste ēdē gemizesthai (see 1:27) for this construction) ‘so that it was already getting full (of water).’

gemizomai (15:36) ‘be filled,’ ‘become full.’

Translation In some languages one cannot say ‘a great storm of wind arose.’ The only equivalent maybe ‘suddenly the wind blew very fiercely’ or ‘the wind ran with strength.’

The waves may be spoken of as ‘falling into the boat,’ rather than beating into the boat.

Rather than the boat … was filling one may need to say in some languages ‘water was filling the boat’ or ‘the boat was already getting full of water.’

Mark 4:38

Text Instead of en ‘in’ of all modern editions of the Greek text Textus Receptus has epi ‘upon.’

Exegesis kai autos ēn katheudōn ‘and he was … sleeping’: a verbal phrase, in accordance with Marcan usage (cf. 1:6 ēn esthōn ‘he was eating.’

prumnē (only here in Mark) ‘stern.’

proskephalaion (only here in Mark) ‘pillow,’ ‘cushion’: probably the sailor’s cushion used in rowing. The phrase ‘on the cushion’ means, of course, that Jesus was sleeping with his head on the cushion.

egeirousin auton (cf. v. 27) ‘they rouse him (from sleep’ (cf. 1:31)

didaskale (5:35, 9:17, 38, 10:17, 20, 35, 12:14, 19, 32, 13:1, 14:14) ‘Teacher,’ ‘Master’—the equivalent to the Aramaic ‘Rabbi’ (which Mark uses only 4 times—see 9:5). Cf. Dalman Words, 336–40.

ou melei soi ‘is it no concern to you?,’ ‘do you not care?’: the implied rebuke is unmistakable.

melei (12:14) ‘it is a care,’ ‘it is a concern’: an impersonal verb.

apollumetha (Cf. 1:24) ‘we are perishing,’ ‘we are dying’ (the middle voice of apollumi ‘kill,’ ‘destroy’). As the context makes clear, ‘do you not care that we are perishing?,’ the ‘we’ refers to the disciples. The present tense ‘we are perishing’ here means, probably, ‘we are about to perish.’

Translation He may be rendered as ‘Jesus’ if the pronominal reference is not clear.

In a number of rough-draft translations people have discovered that Jesus was described as being asleep in the water, out behind the boat. The trouble is that we too often describe boats in terms of our own ideas, e.g. the front, the back, etc. In Shilluk, for example, boats may be described as having ‘a throat’ (the prow), ‘a foot’ (the stern), and ‘a back’ (the bottom). Words for position within a boat must be carefully chosen, e.g. ‘he was sleeping in the boat’s tail’ (Zoque).

On a cushion does not mean that he was curled up on a pillow (in the position of a dog—as discovered in one translation, but asleep in the stern of the boat, with his head on a pillow, literally, ‘rest for the head’ in Kekchi.

For teacher see 2:13.

Because of the specialized nature of this context do you not care may be rendered in a number of ways, e.g. ‘don’t you have a heart’ (Tzeltal), ‘aren’t you going to do anything’ (Piro), ‘we are drowning: do you think: What is that to me?’ (Navajo), ‘does it not burden you, that we are perishing?’ (Bare’e).

For languages in which there is a contrast between inclusive and exclusive first person plural, i.e. between forms which include those spoken to and those which exclude them, this verse presents somewhat of a problem. Should one translate “we” by an exclusive form, implying that the disciples thought that they would drown, but that Jesus would not, or are they to be understood as using an inclusive form, with the implication that all would perish together? Of course, there is no hint in the Greek grammatical forms as to which rendering to employ, for Greek does not make such a distinction. On the other hand, in a language with such an inclusive-exclusive contrast (and this includes hundreds of languages throughout the world) there is no way to avoid a decision. One can decide such a problem, however, only on the basis of the context. Are the disciples so concerned about their own safety that they would use an exclusive form, quite without regard to a concern for Jesus’ own welfare, or are they more likely to think of Jesus as so preoccupied with his spiritual ministry as to be utterly unaware of material dangers to himself as well as to the disciples? If one chooses the exclusive form, it is possible to interpret this passage as meaning that the disciples thought that Jesus would in some way make a miraculous escape, leaving them to their doom, while if the inclusive form is employed, there is some lessening of the intense concern of the disciples for their own welfare. In general, translators have seemed to prefer the inclusive form, but many are equally sure that the exclusive is better. This is an instance in which the more precise limitations of meaning imposed by more subtle categories do not materially improve understanding or appreciation of a passage.

Mark 4:39

Exegesis diegertheis (only here in Mark) ‘awakening,’ ‘arousing.’

epitimēsen (cf. 1:25) ‘he stopped,’ ‘he checked.’

pephimōso (cf. 1:25) ‘Be silent!,’ ‘Be quiet!’ (used with the unclean spirit in 1:25).

ekopasen (6:51) ‘it abated,’ ‘it ceased,’ ‘it stopped.’

galēnē (only here in Mark) ‘calm,’ ‘stillness.’

Translation Rebuked is equivalent in some instances to ‘scold,’ but in many instances must be translated as ‘commanded the wind strongly.’

The sea is ‘the lake’ or ‘the water in the lake.’

Peace is often translated by two different types of expressions: (1) a term indicating cessation of war and (2) one denoting quietness, inactivity, or calm. It is the latter meaning which is important here, e.g. ‘be quiet,’ ‘be calm.’ In Subanen one may say ‘calm; that’s enough.’

In Greek the word translated in the RSV as be still refers primarily to quietness, in contrast with noise. However, in some languages the figure of cessation of violent movement (speaking of the waves) would be more meaningful, especially as the second part of the command to the waters of the lake.

The wind ceased is expressed in a number of ways ‘the wind stopped,’ ‘the wind went down,’ ‘the wind stood still,’ ‘the wind passed over’ (Chontal of Tabasco), and ‘the wind healed’ (Bolivian Quechua).

There was a great calm is in Piro ‘the water was doing nothing at all.’ ‘There were no waves’ can also be used.

Mark 4:40–41

Text In v. 40 after este ‘you are’ Textus Receptus, Nestle, Tischendorf, Soden, Vogels, Taylor and Kilpatrick add houtōs ‘thus’ which is omitted by Westcott and Hort, Lagrange, Souter, Merk and RSV.

In v. 40 instead of pōs ouch echete ‘how (is it that) you do not have’ read by Textus Receptus, Tischendorf, Merk and Nestle; oupō echete ‘do you not (yet) have’ is preferred by Westcott and Hort, Souter, Soden, Vogels, Lagrange, RSV, Kilpatrick.

Exegesis deiloi (only here in Mark) ‘timid,’ ‘fearful,’ ‘cowardly.’

pōs ‘how?,’ ‘how is it possible that …?’

pistin (cf. 2:5) ‘faith,’ ‘belief,’ ‘trust’: whether in God, or in Jesus himself, the text does not specify.

ephobēthēsan phobon megan ‘they feared a great fear’: a Semitic manner of intensive statement ‘they feared greatly,’ ‘they were very much afraid.’

phobeomai (5:15, 33, 36, 6:20, 50, 9:32, 10:32, 11:18, 32, 12:12, 16:8) ‘to be afraid,’ ‘to be awed.’

pros allēlous (8:16, 9:34, 15:31; en allēlois 9:50) ‘to themselves,’ i.e. ‘to one another’ (not privately, each one to himself, but in the group, one to the other).

ara (11:13) ‘then,’ ‘therefore’: as an inference from all that has preceded; ‘In light of this, who, then, is this man?’

kai ho anemos ‘even the wind’: so the great majority of modern translations (ASV, RSV, Goodspeed, Berkeley, Manson, Weymouth, Williams, Montgomery, Zürich, Brazilian); BFBS, however, “both wind and …” hupakouei (cf. 1:27) ‘they obey.’

Translation Them must in some languages be clearly indicated as ‘disciples’ because of the immediately preceding reference to the ‘wind and sea.’

The description of fear leads to a number of idioms, e.g. ‘your heart trembles’ (Tzeltal), ‘shiver in your liver’ (Uduk), and ‘to have such little hearts’ (Tzotzil). This fear must be carefully distinguished from the meaning of fear as reverence or respect.

For faith see 1:15. In some languages, however, one cannot speak of faith without indicating the object of the faith. Despite the fact that the Greek does not specify whether this is faith in Jesus or God, it is probably more acceptable to translate as ‘faith in God,’ since it would seem that faith is here spoken of in terms of its widest application to experiences of confidence and trust, rather than with regard to specific reliance on Jesus’ own leadership and provision for their needs.

Filled with awe is equivalent in some instances to ‘completely amazed,’ ‘their thoughts left them,’ ‘their hearts fell.’

Who, introducing the last question is not a simple interrogative pronoun relating to identity. It rather asks ‘what sort of person is this that.…’ Or, as in some languages, ‘who is this sort of person that.…’ At any rate, there must usually be some type of qualifier to supplement the words as they stand in the English text.

Obey him may be rendered as ‘do what he says’ (or ‘commands’).

Mark Chapter 5

Mark 5:1–2

Text Instead of Gerasēnōn ‘Gerasenes’ of the great majority of modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus and Vogels have Gadarenōn ‘Gaderenes’ (the correct reading in Mt. 8:28).

Exegesis tēn chōran tōn Gerasēnōn ‘the region of the Gerasenes’ (cf. 1:5 for chōra ‘region’): for the exact identification of this region, which is disputed, see the commentaries in loc.; Dalman Sacred Sites and Ways, 177–179.

hupēntēsen (only here in Mark) ‘he met,’ ‘he encountered’; sometimes in a hostile sense (cf. Lk. 14:31).

ek tōn mnēmeiōn ‘out of the tombs,’ i.e. ‘coming out of the tombs’ (cf. Goodspeed, Manson, Weymouth).

mnēmeion (6:29, 15:46, 16:3, 5, 8) ‘grave,’ ‘tomb’ (synonym of mnēma ‘tomb’ vv. 3, 5).

Translation For difficulties involved in expressions of ‘going to the other side,’ see 4:35.

The country of the Gerasenes may be variously translated, depending upon the usage of the receptor language in question, e.g. ‘land where the Gerasenes lived,’ ‘land which belonged to the Gerasene people,’ ‘region inhabited by the Gerasene tribe.’

The apposition involved in the expressions to the other side … to the country … may be treated in some instances as two paratactically combined clauses: ‘they went to the other side of the lake; this was the land of the Gerasene people.’

For problems involved in verbs for ‘coming’ and ‘going’ see 1:14. In many languages one must translate came to the other side as ‘arrived at the other side’ and come out of the boat as ‘went out of …’ or ‘climbed out of.…’

The word tombs refers either to cave-like rooms cut into the rock or small mausoleum-like structures, which might provide some shelter for the demoniac. If people have a custom of burying the dead in such places, there is generally no problem, except where, as in one language, the informants insisted that the demoniac could not come out of more than one tomb at a time, hence, ‘met him, coming out of the tomb’ or ‘met him, coming from where the tombs were.’ On the other hand, if people bury only in holes in the ground, it would be quite misleading to imply that the demoniac came out of the graves in the ground. In such instances, the closest equivalent is usually ‘came from where the dead were buried,’ i.e. from the cemetery.

For unclean spirit see 1:26.

Mark 5:3–4

Exegesis katoikēsin (only here in the N.T.) ‘dwelling,’ ‘residence,’ ‘home’: ‘who made his home …, ‘who lived.…’

en tois mnēmasin ‘among the tombs’: these would probably be caverns, natural and artificial, in the rocks (cf. Rawlinson; Vincent Word Studies I, 186).

mnēma (5:5, 15:46, 16:2) ‘tomb,’ ‘grave.’

halusei (only in these two verses in Mark) ‘with a chain,’ ‘with a bond.’

kai oude halusei ouketi oudeis (notice the repetition of negatives) ‘and not even with a chain (could) any one any longer (bind him).’

dēsai (cf. 3:27) ‘bind, ‘restrict,’ ‘confine,’ ‘keep prisoner.’

dia to auton dedesthai kai diespasthai kai suntetriphthai ‘because he … had been bound, and (the chains) had been shattered … and (the fetters) … had been smashed’: the three verbal infinitives, all perfect passives, are governed by the preposition dia ‘on account of,’ ‘because.’ As Burton (Moods and Tenses, 408) points out, this clause presents the evidence for the preceding statement (that the man no longer could be bound) rather than the cause.

diaspaō (only here in Mark) ‘tear apart,’ ‘shatter.’

suntribō (14:3) ‘crush,’ ‘smash,’ ‘break.’

It is to be noticed that the perfect infinitive dedesthai describes an action in the past whose result no longer existed at the time of speaking, but had ceased at an undefined point in the past: ‘he had been bound’ (cf. Burton Moods and Tenses, 108).

pedais (only here in Mark) ‘with fetters,’ ‘with shackles,’

kai oudeis ischuen auton damasai ‘and no one was strong enough to subdue him’: a summary statement of the whole detailed description of the demoniac’s superhuman strength.

ischuō (cf. 2:17) ‘to be strong,’ ‘to be able’; Field Notes, 26 (against RSV) contends for the weakened sense ‘was able,’ ‘could.’ The use of edunato ‘could’ in the previous verse, however, would seem to require for ischuen the meaning RSV gives it.

damazō (only here in Mark) ‘subdue’; of animals, ‘tame.’

Translation Lived among the tombs is equivalent to ‘had his home among the tombs’ or ‘continually stayed among the tombs.’

It should be noted that in the RSV text verses 2–4 are punctuated as one sentence. Because of the complex nature of the clauses, involving as they do several shifts in subject expressions, it is necessary in many languages to break these up into several complete sentences, depending upon the syntactic requirements of the receptor language into which one is translating.

Chains are known as ‘iron ropes’ in some areas (Tarahumara, Bolivian Quechua), and in the second part of verse 3 may be incorporated as follows: ‘no one could tie him up any more, not even when they used iron ropes.’ In some instances no one could is more naturally rendered as ‘people could not.’

Fetters were used to bind the legs and feet and the chains were used to bind the hands and arms. Where a specific word for fetters is not known, it is possible to translate this passage as ‘put chains on his hands and feet’ (Tetelcingo Aztec, Tarahumara); South Toradja has ‘block in which the feet are put.’

The chains he wrenched apart refers to the violent action of his arms in breaking the chains and the fetters he broke may refer to his smashing of the fetters by stones or slamming them against rocks or on the ground, translated in some instances as ‘he pulled in two the chains around his arms and he smashed into pieces the iron that was fastened on his legs’

Had the strength to is in some languages equivalent to ‘was strong enough to’ or ‘was able to.’

Subdue may be translated either as a reference to taming wild animals, e.g. ‘to teach him to drink’ (Shilluk), or to controlling possessed persons, e.g. ‘to keep him quiet’ (Tzotzil).

Mark 5:5

Exegesis dia pantos nuktos kai hēmeras ‘continually, night and day’ (cf. Moule Idiom Book, 39).

ēn krazōn kai katakoptōn ‘he was shrieking and cutting.’

krazō (cf. 3:11) ‘shriek,’ ‘cry out,’ ‘shout.’

katakoptō (only here in N.T.) ‘cut,’ ‘gash’: Field (Notes, 27) contends for the meaning ‘beating himself,’ which the verb sometimes has. The great majority of commentators and translations, however, prefer the usual meaning.

lithois (12:10, 13:1, 2, 15:46, 16:3, 4) ‘with stones,’ ‘with rocks.’

Translation Night and day, as an expression of ‘all the time’ or ‘continually,’ may in some instances need to be altered in order, e.g. ‘day and night,’ depending on the more usual order of speaking. On the other hand, it may be necessary to expand the phrase somewhat, e.g. ‘all the time, both night and day,’ in order that the reader may understand this action as continuous.

Crying out is here ‘shrieking,’ ‘howling,’ and ‘screaming.’

Mark 5:6–7

Exegesis apo makrothen (8:3, 11:13, 14:54, 15:40) ‘from afar,’ ‘from a distance.’

ed ramen kai prosekunēsen auton ‘he ran and prostrated himself before him.’

trechō (15:36) ‘run.’

proskuneō (15:19) ‘do reverence,’ ‘make obeisance,’ ‘bow down to,’ ‘worship’: not in the technical Christian sense of worshipping Jesus, but in the general sense of paying him reverence (cf. 3:11 prosepipton autō ‘they fell down before him’; cf. the parallel Lk. 8:28 prosepesen autō ‘he fell down before him’) Most English translations have “knelt before him.”

ti emoi kai soi (cf. 1:24) ‘why do you bother me?’

huie tou theou tou hupsistou ‘son of the Most High God.’

hupsistos (11:10) ‘(the) Most High’: title of the God of the Jews. The word is the superlative form of the adverb hupsi ‘on high.’

horkizō se ton theon ‘I implore you by God’: the accusative ton theon ‘God’ denotes the thing (or, name) by which one swears (cf. Acts 19:13 ton Iēsoun ‘by Jesus’).

horkizō (only here in Mark) ‘put on oath’ (horkos ‘oath’), ’cause to swear,’ ‘adjure,’ ‘entreat earnestly,’ ‘implore.’

basanisēs (6:48) ‘torment,’ ‘torture’: here probably with the idea of temporal punishment (Mt. 8:29 and Lk. 8:28, 31 interpret it of eschatological punishment).

Translation Worshiped is most generally rendered as ‘knelt down before’ or ‘fell down before in reverence.’

Crying with a loud voice is equivalent to ‘shouted out strong’ or ‘yelled.’

For a discussion of some of the problems in the idiom “What have you to do with me,’ see 1:24. In this context Tzotzil has ‘what does it serve you to me’ and Loma has ‘what is your palaver on me.’

The superlative Most High cannot always be translated literally. In some instances, even though a superlative form does not exist, some relatively satisfactory equivalent may be used, e.g. ‘extremely high above’ (Kekchi). In other cases, one must substitute location, e.g. ‘high in heaven’ (Huichol), for an expression meaning ‘highest’ would refer only to physical size. In still other languages, one must substitute general size for height, as an expression of distinction, e.g. ‘really great’ (Conob).

Adjure is variously translated, e.g. ‘tell you before God’ (Zoque), ‘ask in front of God’ (Mazatec) ‘ask you by God’ (Eastern Otomi), ‘ask you in God’s presence’ (Subanen), ‘I swear, calling on the name of God, requesting you’ (South Toradja), ‘I want your oath by God’ (Indonesian), ‘will assure me by using a curse on yourself calling on the name of God,’ (Bare’e), and ‘ask you; God has seen it’ (Tzotzil). The concept of adjure involves two relationships: (1) the asking of the person and (2) the witness or participation of the deity called to witness or validate the request. Such actions, though rather unfamiliar to people in our Western culture, are common enough in most societies.

Torment may be rendered as ’cause to suffer.’

Mark 5:8–9

Exegesis elegen gar autō ‘for he was saying to him’ (so Goodspeed, Montgomery, Williams); ‘for he said,’ (ASV, BFBS); ‘for he had said’ (RSV, Moffatt, Berkeley); ‘for he had been saying’ (Taylor). The imperfect indicates either (1) that Jesus was in the act of exorcising the unclean spirit when interrupted by the demoniac; or (2) Jesus was repeating his command (cf. Goodspeed and others). Manson’s “Jesus was already saying to him,” favors the first interpretation. The meaning of the verb legō ‘say’ here is ‘command,’ ‘order’ (cf. Black Aramaic, 236; Arndt & Gingrich II.1.c).

autō ‘to him’: refers to the unclean spirit, to whom the command to come out is addressed. The confusion between the man and the unclean spirit (or spirits) who possessed him is seen throughout.

to pneuma to akatharton ‘you unclean spirit’: though the form is nominative, this is the vocative use, the case of address.

kai epērōta auton ‘and he (Jesus) asked him (the man)’: the masculine pronoun auton ‘him’ shows that the man is being addressed. Again, in such cases, it is impossible to separate the man from the spirit.

eperōtaō (some 25 times in Mark; cf. erōtaō in 4:10) ‘ask a question,’

legiōn (5:15) ‘Legion’: a Latin loan-word. In the time of Augustus a legion of soldiers comprised 6000 men.

hoti polloi esmen ‘because we are many’: the masculine polloi ‘many’ does not agree in gender with ta pneumata ta akatharta ‘the unclean spirits’ (v. 13) It must be understood in a general sense (cf. the masculine participle legontes ‘saying’ in v. 12; cf. 9:26 where masculine participles modify the neuter ‘spirit’), as applying to the spirits themselves (although it is possible that the masculine is influenced by legiōn which is masculine—cf. v. 15.

Translation In order that the sequence of actual events between verses 7 and 8 may be made clear, it is necessary to indicate explicitly that the statement made by the demon-possessed man is in response to what Jesus had already said, e.g. ‘For Jesus had already said to the man, …’ (or ‘was already saying’).

Despite the apparent confusion between words addressed to the man and the responses of the demon (or demons), it is important in so far as possible to preserve this confusion, as being an essential element in the psychological situation. In the beginning of verse 8, it is vital that one have as the object of the verb ‘said’ a pronominal element (or noun) which will identify the demon, since the following words are specifically addressed to the unclean spirit. However, in the beginning of verse 9, asked him is probably better interpreted as being addressed to the man, even though the demons reply.

What is your name is rendered in a number of different ways in various languages, e.g. ‘how do you call yourself,’ ‘what name has been given to you,’ ‘what do people speak in calling you,’ and ‘what are you named.’

Legion has been treated in several different ways: (1) by transliteration, but this is usually quite meaningless, (2) by some reference to a number of soldiers, e.g. ‘many soldiers’ (Mazahua), ‘an army’ (Trique), ‘thousands of soldiers’ (Kekchi), and (3) by some word or phrase indicating a large crowd or group, e.g. ‘a multitude’ (Black Bobo), ‘ten thousand’ (Toba Batak), ‘a crowd’ (Ifugao, Subanen, Bolivian Quechua), and ‘many’ (Amuzgo). Either of these latter types of alternatives seems to be quite adequate.

For we are many may be ‘for there are many of us’ or ‘for our number is great.’

Mark 5:10

Exegesis kai parekalei auton polla ‘and he entreated him strongly’: the subject could be ‘the unclean spirits’ (with which auta ‘them’ would be in agreement) as Moffatt, Taylor, Manson and Goodspeed interpret it (cf. the parallel Lk. 8:31 ‘and they begged him’); it is probable, however (with ASV, RSV, BFBS, Weymouth, Brazilian, Lagrange and others), that the subject is ‘he’ (the man himself), as it is in the identical form parekalei ‘he begged’ in v. 18 (and notice the plural of the verb parekalesan ‘they (the spirits) begged’ in v. 12).

polla (cf. 1:45, 3:12) is adverbial ‘insistently,’ ‘strongly,’ ‘urgently.’

hina mē auta aposteilē ‘that he did not send them off’: the clause begun with hina ‘that’ denotes the content of the request—it is not a purpose clause (cf. 3:9, 12).

apostellō (cf. 1:2) ‘send away,’ ‘send.’

exō tēs chōras ‘outside the region’ (i.e. of the Gerasenes, v. 1): for chōra ‘region’ see 1:5.

Translation Begged him eagerly indicates the heart-felt nature of the entreaty, expressed in Tzotzil as ‘he asked with his heart coming out.’

In many languages the object of the entreaty must be in the form of direct discourse, e.g. ‘the man asked Jesus strongly, Do not send the unclean spirits away from this place.’ This type of expression need not imply any fond attachment which the man had for the demons which possessed him, but he uttered this request as the spokesman of the demons.

Mark 5:11–12

Text Verse 12. After auton ‘him’ Textus Receptus adds pantes hoi daimones ‘all the demons’ which is omitted by all modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis ēn boskomenē ‘it was … feeding’: according to Marcan usage, the two are to be taken together as a single verbal phrase (cf. ēn esthōn ‘he was eating’ in 1:6).

boskō (5:14) ‘graze,’ ‘feed’ (in the passive, of livestock); ‘tend,’ ‘feed,’ (in the active, of herdsmen—v. 14).

agelē (5:13) choirōn (5:13, 16) ‘a herd of pigs’ (this would be in Gentile territory, on the east side of the Lake of Galilee—c.f. Lagrange).

kai parekalesan auton legontes ‘and they begged him saying’: the subject is neuter ‘the unclean spirits’ and the nominative masculine participle legontes ‘saying’ must be taken in a general way, the concordance not being precise.

parakaleō (cf. 1:40) ‘beg,’ ‘entreat,’ ‘implore.’

pempson hēmas eis tous choirous ‘send us to the hogs.’

pempō (only here in Mark) ‘send.’

eis ‘into’ (ASV, BFBS, Moffatt), ‘among’ (Manson), or ‘to’ (RSV, Weymouth, Berkeley, Brazilian, Synodale). The translation of this eis will depend on the translation of the next clause; ‘to,’ however, seems preferable here.

hina eis autous eiselthōmen ‘so that we might enter (into) them’: if hina here be taken to denote purpose ‘in order that,’ ‘so that,’ it would seem that eis in the former clause (see above) means ‘to,’ since eis here is manifestly ‘into.’ It is possible, however, to take hina in the imperative sense (as it is often used in the N.T.) and understand this second clause simply as a repetition of the first clause, which is imperatival (pempson ‘send’): ‘Send us to (into, among) the hogs, let us enter them’ (so Goodspeed, BFBS, RSV).

Translation In some languages careful distinctions are made in words designating a ‘herd,’ depending upon what types of animals are involved. (Compare the English use of herd of cattle, flock of geese, swarm of bees, and covey of quails.)

Swine must be domesticated variety, or the following portion of the story will be incomprehensible. Where pigs are not known, a borrowed word may be used with a classifier, e.g. ‘animals called pigs,’ or some descriptive expression, if possible one already employed by the people, e.g. ‘queer deer,’ a phrase in use among the Barrow Eskimo.

Note that though the man is the subject of the entreaty in verse 10, the unclean spirits are specifically identified as the subject of the begging in verse 12.

Let us is equivalent to ‘permit us’ or ‘allow us.’

Was feeding may be rendered in terms of ‘being pastured’ or ‘hunting for something to eat’ (Chontal of Tabasco).

Mark 5:13

Text After autois ‘them’ Textus Receptus, Soden, and Kilpatrick add eutheōs ho Iēsous ‘immediately Jesus,’ which is omitted by the rest of the modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis epetrepsen (10:4) ‘he permitted,’ ‘he allowed,’ ‘he consented.’

hōrmēsen (only here in Mark) ‘it rushed,’ ‘it swarmed.’

kata tou krēmnou eis tēn thalassan ‘down (from) the cliff into the lake.’

kata ‘down,’ ‘down from’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.1.a).

krēmnos (only here in Mark) ‘steep slope (or, bank),’ ‘cliff.’

thalassa (cf. 1:16) ‘lake (of Galilee).’

epnigonto (only here in Mark; cf. sunpnigō in 4:7) ‘they choked,’ ‘they strangled,’ i.e. ‘they drowned.’

Translation Gave them leave is an obsolescent expression in English, meaning ‘he permitted them to go’ or, as in some languages, ‘he said, You may go.’

Came out must be more explicitly defined in some instances as ‘came out of the man.’

In speaking of the demons entering the swine it is probably necessary to adopt the same type of expression as in the case of demons entering into people, e.g. ‘went into the hearts of the pigs’ (Trique).

In many languages numbers of large magnitudes, such as this figure of 2,000, are very difficult to express in the indigenous system of numeration. For example, in Maya, which has a system based on 20’s, such a figure though apparently easy, is actually much more complicated than the Spanish terms, which are used almost exclusively for such higher numbers. In some cases, however, one can use the receptor language system, e.g. ‘two hundred ten times’ (Shilluck) and ‘twenty one-hundreds’ (Barrow Eskimo). However, in the choice of such a number the important consideration is not the apparent relative ease or difficulty of the expression, but which type of term would be more readily understandable.

There are usually no difficulties in finding adequate terms for ‘drowning,’ but some are quite specialized and descriptive, e.g. ‘choked on water’ (Tzeltal) and ‘went under up the nose’ (Maya).

Mark 5:14

Exegesis kai hoi boskountes autous ‘and the men tending them (the pigs),’ i.e. ‘the (their) herdsmen.’

ephugon (13:14, 14:50, 52, 16:8) ‘they fled,’ ‘they ran away.’

apēggeilan (5:19, 6:30, 16:10, 13) ‘they announced,’ ‘they told,’ ‘they related.’

eis tēn polin kai eis tous agrous ‘in the city and in the country towns.’

hē polis ‘the city,’ would be here the important city of that region.

agros ‘field,’ ‘country’: the word is used in three ways in Mark: (1) meaning literally ‘field’ (i.e. a plot of ground) in singular and plural, 10:29, 30, 11:8, 13:16; (2) meaning ‘country towns,’ ‘hamlets,’ in the plural only, 5:14, 6:36, 56; (3) meaning ‘rural region,’ ‘country district’ (as opposed to the urban region), in the singular and without the definite article, 15:21, 16:12.

ti estin to gegonos ‘what is it that has happened’: the neuter perfect participle of ginomai ‘happen,’ ‘take place.’

ēlthon ‘they came’: another impersonal plural, i.e. ‘people’ in general (RSV), ‘men’ (BFBS). Cf. Turner Journal of Theological Studies 25.380, 1923–4.

Translation The herdsmen are ‘those who watched the pigs,’ or ‘those who took care of the pigs,’ or ‘those who guarded the pigs while they ate.’

Told it must in some instances be expanded to ‘told the people what had happened.’

In the city and in the country must usually modify ‘people,’ i.e. ‘told the news to the people in the city and the people in the country.’ The repetition of ‘people’ may be required because the same people could not be both in the city and in the country at the same time.

Mark 5:15

Exegesis erchontai ‘they come’: the same people referred to in the previous verse ēlthon ‘they came.’

kai theōrousin tōn daimonizomenon ‘and they see the demon-possessed man.’

theōreō (cf. 3:11) ‘look upon,’ ‘gaze,’ ‘behold.’

ho daimonizomenos (cf. 1:33) ‘the demon-possessed man’: simply identifying the man, not stating that he was still possessed.

kathēmenon himatismenon kai sōphronounta ‘seated, clothed and sane’: the three participles describe the man.

kathēmai (cf. 2:6) ‘seated,’ i.e. as a disciple (at the feet of Jesus, Lk. 8:35).

himatizomai (only here in Mark) ‘be dressed,’ ‘be clothed’ (he had gone about naked, Lk. 8:27): from himation ‘clothes’ (cf. 2:21)

sōphroneō (only here in Mark) ‘to be of sound mind,’ ‘be sane.’

ton eschēkota ton legiōna ‘he who had the Legion’: the perfect participle here is to be translated ‘he who had had’—since he had it no longer (cf. Burton Moods and Tenses, 156).

ton legiōna ‘the Legion’: it seems better to take it as a proper name (BFBS) than as a common noun (RSV).

kai ephobēthēsan (cf. 4:41) ‘and they were afraid.’

Translation Demoniac must be translated with care, so as not to imply that he was still possessed by demons. Therefore, it is often advisable to employ a phrase, e.g. ‘the man who had had the unclean spirits’ or ‘the man in whom unclean spirits had lived’ (see 1:26).

Sitting there, clothed and in his right mind are three rather diverse expressions, which must in some instances be divided into separate clause, e.g. ‘he was sitting there; he had clothes on and his thoughts were straight.’

In his right mind is rendered in a variety of ways, e.g. ‘his mind had returned’ (Ifugao), ‘his heart was sitting down’ (Tojolabal), ‘his head was healed’ (Trique), ‘his mind was straightened’ (Tzotzil), ‘with a clear mind again’ (Javanese), and ‘come to his senses’ (Indonesian).

The appositive phrase the man who had had the legion is in some instances better handled as a separate clause, e.g. ‘this was the man who had had the legion,’ or as interpreted by some ‘this was the man who had had the name Legion.’

For afraid see 4:40.

Mark 5:16–17

Exegesis kai diēgēsanto autois hoi idontes ‘and the eye-witnesses described to them.’

diēgeomai (9:8) ‘relate,’ ‘describe,’ ‘narrate,’ ‘explain.’

pōs egeneto tō daimonizomenō ‘what had happened to the demon-possessed man’: pōs usually means ‘how’ (cf. 2:26) and could be so translated here ‘how it happened to the demon-possessed man’; it may mean, as it probably does here, ‘what’ (RSV, BFBS, cf. Arndt & Gingrich ginomai I.3.b.b).

kai peri tōn choirōn ‘and (also) about the pigs’: additional explanation supplied by the eye-witnesses.

tōn horiōn autōn ‘their regions’: the word horiōn (7:24, 31) ‘boundary,’ ‘limit’ in the N.T. is always used in the plural ‘boundaries,’ with the resultant meaning of the region encompassed by the boundaries—’region,’ ‘district,’ ‘province’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich).

Translation The syntax of verse 16 is complicated by the double grammatical reference to the same event through the use of it and what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine. These eyewitnesses simply reported what they had seen. This means that in some languages the descriptive statement ‘what happened to the demoniac and the swine’ must be attached to the verb of ‘seeing,’ e.g. ‘those who had seen what happened to the demoniac and to the swine told this to the people.’

As in verse 15, the translation of demoniac must not indicate his continued possession.

They of verse 17 refers to the people in general, not just to the eyewitnesses specified in verse 16. That is to say, after the people heard what had happened, they asked Jesus to depart out of their country or territory.

Mark 5:18

Exegesis embainontos autou eis to ploion ‘as he was embarking’: the present participle is to be thus translated.

embainō (cf. 4:1) ‘enter,’ ‘go into.’

parekalei auton ho daimonistheis ‘he who had been demon-possessed begged him’: the aorist participle describes the past condition of the man.

hina met’ autou ē ‘that he might stay with him’: i.e. accompany Jesus about as a disciple (cf. 3:14).

hina ‘that’: describes the content of the request, not the purpose of it (cf. Arndt & Gingrich II.1.a.g).

Translation Getting into the boat may be described in various ways: ‘climbing into …,’ ‘going down into …,’ ‘jumping into …’ One should employ the typical manner of describing the boarding of this type of small craft.

Begged him that he might be with him may result in obscurity unless some of the pronouns are made more specific, e.g. ‘Begged Jesus that he could remain with him.’ For languages in which this type of expression must be in direct discourse, the following pattern may be followed: ‘begged Jesus, I want to stay with you.’

In a number of translations it has been found that the last clause of verse 18 was understood as a request by the former demoniac that Jesus would remain there in the land of the Gerasenes, a not unusual type of interpretation, but one which should be carefully avoided.

Mark 5:19–20

Text Instead of kai ‘and’ (at the beginning of v. 19) of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has ho de Iēsous ‘and Jesus.’

Exegesis ouk aphēken (cf. 2:5) ‘he did not allow,’ ‘he did not permit.’

hupage eis ton oikon sou (cf. 2:11) ‘go home.’

pros tous sous ‘to your own family (or people)’ (cf. BFBS), rather than ‘friends’ (RSV).

hosa ho kurios soi pepoiēken kai ēleēsen se ‘how much the Lord has done for you an (how) he had pity on you.’

hosa (cf. 3:8) is here adverbial ‘how much,’ ‘how greatly’ (modifying both ‘has done’ and ‘had pity’), rather than adjectival ‘how many things’ (cf. Lagrange).

pepoiēken kai ēleēsen ‘he has done and he showed mercy’: the proper distinction should be observed, where language allows, in translating the two tenses, the perfect of the first verb and the aorist of the second verb (cf. Taylor). RSV ‘he has had mercy’ is not fully satisfactory translation of ēleēsen.

kērussein (cf. 1:4) ‘proclaim.’

en tē Dekapolei (7:31) ‘in the Decapolis’: a league originally consisting of 10 cities, east of the Jordan. It is not necessary to suppose that the man proclaimed his cure in all the cities, but simply that he announced it in the region of the Decapolis.

kai pantes ethaumazon ‘and all men (who heard of it) marveled.’

thaumazō (6:6, 15:5, 44) ‘marvel,’ ‘wonder.’

Translation Probably the use of ‘Jesus’ as subject of ‘refused’ is justified, in order to avoid ambiguity.

Your friends, as a rendering of the Greek tous sous, is equivalent in many languages to ‘your clan,’ implying the man’s family, both immediate and extended.

Lord is here undoubtedly a reference to God, but probably employed purposely by Mark with a kind of double reference, to God and to Christ. For a discussion of problems relative to Lord see 1:3, but note also the fact that in some languages ‘Lord’ must always be possessed. A man cannot be ‘lord’ without being ‘lord of someone.’ This means that in a verse such as this one must translate ‘how much your Lord has done.’

Mercy is not a process which is easy to describe, for it involves a psychological state and an overt response in the form of behavior. As in the case of so many related words, e.g. love, kindness, grace, and goodness, this term likewise has a number of different types of equivalents, of which the most common are: (1) those based on the quality of heart, or other psychological center, e.g. ‘tender heart’ (Valiente), ‘white heart’ (Miskito), ‘what arises from a kind heart’ (Ifugao), and ‘purity of heart’ (Vai); (2) those which introduce the concept of weeping or extreme sorrow, e.g. ‘his abdomen weeps’ (Conob), ‘to cry inside’ (Kipsigis), ‘to cry continually within’ (Shilluk), and ‘to feel great sorrow,’ with the connotation of being about to cry (Navajo); (3) those which involve willingness to look upon and recognize the condition of others, e.g. ‘to see misery’ (Kpelle) and ‘to know misery’ (Habbe); and (4) those which involve a variety of intense feelings, e.g. ‘to be in pain for’ (Tarascan), ‘to be very sorry for’ (Mixteco Alto) and ‘to have increasing love for’ (Mezquital Otomi). In one language, Cuicatec, mercy is closely identified with grace as ‘showing undeserved goodness.’

Decapolis may be rendered ‘in the country of ten cities’ or ‘in the region called Ten Cities.’

The type of marveling referred to in this verse may be described in different ways, e.g. ‘listened quietly’ (Tarahumara), ‘they forgot listening’—in which the meaning is that they were so absorbed in what they heard that they forgot everything else (Mixtec), and ‘it was considered very strange by them’ (Tzeltal).

Mark 5:21

Text Instead of placing palin ‘again’ before eis to peran ‘to the other side,’ as do the majority of the modern editions of the Greek text, Lagrange, Taylor, and Kilpatrick place it after eis to peran ‘to the other side’ (so that it thus modifies sunēchthē ‘gathered’); although Tischendorf also places palin after eis to peran, by putting a comma after it he joins it to eis to peran ‘again to the other side.’

Exegesis diaperasantos palin eis to peran ‘going across … again to the other side,’ this time to the west side of the Lake.

diaperaō (6:53) ‘go across,’ ‘go over.’

eis to peran (cf. 4:35) ‘to the other side.’

sunēchthē ochlos polus ep’ auton ‘a great crowd gathered around him.’

sunagō (cf. 2:2) ‘gather together’: cf. 3:20 and 4:1 for other instances.

epi ‘upon’: here, ‘around’ or ‘to’ (Arndt & Gingrich III.1.a.g).

kai ēn para tēn thalassan ‘and he was by the sea’ (cf. 2:13, 4:1).

thalassa (cf. 1:16) ‘sea’: the Lake of Galilee.

Translation For a discussion of crossed … to the other side see 4:35.

A great crowd may be equivalent to ‘very many people,’ though in general it is not difficult to find words which designate a throng.

In some languages one must specify more exactly what is meant by beside the sea. Was he, for example, ‘on the very shore of the lake,’ within a distance of a hundred yards or so, or with the lake at a distance of a mile or so on the horizon? All of these are different ways of being ‘beside the lake.’ Where a choice is required in designating distance, probably the first alternative is preferable (though the second is not incorrect), for it would indicate the immediacy with which the crowd thronged around him as he returned to his disciples. Cf. Indonesian ‘he was close by the sea,’ South Toradja ‘He was there, where the beach of the sea is.’

Mark 5:22–23

Exegesis heis tōn archisunagōgōn ‘one of the rulers of the synagogue.’

heis ‘one’ may be the equivalent of tis ‘a certain one’: ‘a certain ruler of the synagogue’ (cf. Black Aramaic, 249).

archisunagōgos (cf. 5:35, 36; Luke 8:49) ‘leader of the synagogue’ charged with administrative duties, not spiritual (cf. Swete). The plural here ‘rulers of the synagogue’ is not to indicate that there were necessarily several in that particular place: it indicates simply the class to which Jairus belonged.

piptei pros tous podas autou ‘he falls at his feet,’ ‘he prostrates himself.’

piptō (cf. 4:4) ‘fall.’

pous (6:11, 7:25, 9:45, 12:36) ‘foot.’

parakalei auton polla ‘he begged him urgently,’ ‘he entreated him insistently.’

parakaleō (cf. 1:40) ‘request,’ ‘beg,’ ‘entreat.’

polla (cf. 5:10) is adverbial ‘much,’ ‘strongly,’ ‘urgently ‘

eschatōs echei (only here in Mark) ‘is in a critical stage,’ ‘is at the point of death’: for a similar construction cf. kakōs echei ‘is in a bad way’ in 1:32. Notice that (Matthew 9:18) has arti eteleutēsen ‘just now died’ and (Luke 8:42) says apethnēsken ‘is dying.’

hina elthōn epithēs ‘so that you may come and place’: it is generally agreed that this construction represents the use of hina to express an imperative (here a request, rather than a command): ‘Come and place …’ (cf. RSV, BFBS, Manson, Goodspeed, Moffatt; Arndt & Gingrich hina III.2; Moule Idiom Book, 144; Moulton Prolegomena, 178–79).

epitithēmi (cf. 3:16) ‘place upon,’ ‘lay,’ ‘set’: for the phrase ‘place the hand (hands) upon’ in Mark see 6:5, 7:32, 8:23, 25, 16:18.

hina sōthē kai zēsē ‘that she may be healed and live’: the two verbs represent two ideas, both of which should be expressed.

sōzō (cf. 3:4) ‘save’; here, in the passive, ‘be healed,’ ‘be made well.’

zaō (12:27, 16:11) ‘live.’

Translation Since the phrase one of the rulers of the synagogue does not refer to Jairus as being one of several rulers of the particular synagogue in question, but simply to him as being a person with a particular function, one must in some languages recast this phrase as ‘a man, named Jairus, who was a ruler in a synagogue’ or ‘a man, he was called Jairus, was one who had command over the affairs of the synagogue.’

Jairus by name is an awkward construction even in English. The equivalent is more likely to be ‘he was called Jairus,’ ‘people called him Jairus,’ or ‘he had the name Jairus,’ often expressed as a paratactically combined clause.

The order of the constituents in the first part of verse 22 must often be rearranged, for the order is unusual in that Jairus is separated from the pronominal referent ‘one.’

The pronouns him, he … his may need more specific identification, e.g. ‘when Jairus saw Jesus, he fell at his feet.’

In translating the expression fell at his feet one must make certain that the phrase in the receptor languages does not mean—as it often has—stumbled and collapsed at Jesus’ feet. The equivalent in many languages is ‘bowed himself to the ground at Jesus’ feet’ or ‘lay face down at the feet of Jesus.’

As in so many instances besought … saying may be better translated by a single verb.

At the point of death may be rendered as ‘about to die.’

Live must be translated with care in some languages which clearly indicate aspectual differences. For example, in Kekchi one cannot use the verb ‘to live’ in the future. One may ‘continue to live,’ but ‘will live’ means ‘will be born.’ A better rendering at this point, however, is ‘so that she may … not die.’

Mark 5:24

Exegesis ēkolouthei (cf. 1:18) ‘it was following’: here simply in a physical sense, and not as disciples.

ochlos polus (cf. v 21) ‘a large crowd.’

sunethlibon (5:31; cf. thlibō 3:9) ‘pressed upon,’ ‘crowded about.’

Translation Note the importance of a paragraph break in the middle of this verse (cf. RSV). Followed is better translated in some languages as ‘went along with him,’ for ‘followed’ might give the idea of stringing out behind him.

Thronged may be translated as ‘kept pushing around him’ or ‘pushed in against him.’

Mark 5:25–26

Exegesis ousa en rusei haimatos ‘being in a flow of blood,’ ‘had a hemorrhage.’

ousa ‘being’: the present participle describes a state begun in the past and still in effect in the present (cf. Burton Moods and Tenses, 131)

en ‘in’: describes the condition or state, the woman was in (cf. Arndt & Gingrich eimi III.4; cf. en pneumati akathartō ‘in an unclean spirit’ 1:23).

rusis (only here in Mark) haimatos (5:29, 14:24) ‘flow of blood,’ ‘hemorrhage.’

dōdeka etē ‘during twelve years’: the accusative case describes duration of time (cf. 2:19 hoson chronon ‘so [long] a time [as]’) It is not to be inferred that the woman had had an unchecked hemorrhage lasting twelve years: what is said is that she suffered from hemorrhage during these twelve years without being cured. In such condition she was ceremonially unclean (Lev. 15:25) as well as physically ill.

kai pathousa kai dapanēsasa kai mēden ōphelētheisa alla elthousa ‘and suffering … and spending … and not improving a bit but … getting (worse)’: all four aorist participles describe the condition of the woman during the twelve years.

polla (cf. 1:45) pathousa (8:31, 9:12) ‘suffering much.’

hupo pollōn iatrōn ‘under (the care of) many physicians,’ ‘at the hands of many physicians’ (iatros ‘physician’ cf. 2:17).

dapanēsasa ta par’ autēs panta ‘having spent all she had,’ ‘spent all her property’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich para I.4.b.a; Moule Idiom Book, 51f.).

kai mēden ōphelētheisa ‘yet profiting nothing,’ ‘yet benefiting nothing.’

ōpheleō (7:11, 8:36) ‘profit,’ ‘benefit,’ ‘help’; in the passive, as here, ‘receive help,’ ‘be benefited’: the meaning here is ‘she didn’t improve …’

alla mallon (7:36, 9:42, 10:48, 15:11) ‘rather, on the contrary.’

eis to cheiron elthousa ‘she got worse,’ ‘her condition grew worse.’

eis ‘into’ expresses degree (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 3).

cheiron (cf. 2:21) ‘worse’: the comparative of kakos ‘bad.’

elthousa ‘coming (into a worse condition)’: for this use of erchomai ‘come’ cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.2.c.

Translation The Greek of verses 25 and 26 consists of a series of connected participial constructions which must usually be broken into several complete sentences. However, in order to introduce this woman it is often necessary to “locate” her with respect to the actual context, i.e. ‘a woman was there who.…’

Flow of blood (or as in the AV “fountain of blood”) has frequently been badly translated. In one language the translator had employed a literal ‘fountain of blood,’ which people assumed was a miraculous source of blood which the woman had, apparently in her courtyard or somewhere on her property. However, the people could not understand why the woman would be so poor, since blood in that region was sold at a good price for use in preparing food. In another language the translation referred not to menstrual flow, but to blood coming from a wound, and to have had an open wound for twelve years seemed entirely incredible to the people. Accordingly, it must be made quite clear—though not vulgarly so—that this flow of blood refers to a menstrual disorder. Ways of speaking of this are varied: ‘for twelve years her water was running out,’ in which menstrual flow is always called ‘water’ in contrast to blood from a wound (Mazahua,’ ‘her month did not pass for twelve years’ (Tojolobal), ‘suffered month for twelve years’ (Eskimo). In Shilluk menstrual flow is always called ‘blood of the moon.’

Suffered much under many physicians is translatable in two different ways: (1) ‘suffered much while she was being treated by many doctors’ or (2) ‘many doctors who treated her caused her to suffer much.’

Spent may be equivalent to ‘had paid out’ or in some instances to ‘this cost her all that she had.’

The last clause may be rendered as ‘she did not get better; she got worse,’ or ‘rather than getting better, she got worse.’

Mark 5:27

Exegesis akousasa ‘hearing’: the participle may express time ‘when she heard’ or cause ‘because she heard.’ Notice that in Greek the whole sentence runs from v. 25 through v. 27, without a break: the subject gunē ‘woman’ at the beginning of v. 25 is followed by seven participial clauses, with the principal verb hēpsato ‘she touched’ coming at the end of v. 27.

ta peri tou Iēsou ‘the things concerning Jesus,’ ‘reports about Jesus,’ i.e. specifically his miracles of healing.

elthousa opisthen ‘coming from behind’: as the crowd accompanied Jesus own the road toward the house of Jairus, the woman came from behind, working her way through the crowd toward Jesus.

hēpsato (cf. 1:41) ‘she touched’: not accidentally but on purpose.

himatiou (cf. 2:21) ‘clothes,’ ‘garment.’

Translation Reports about Jesus are often ‘what people were saying about Jesus.’

One must be careful about the word ‘garment,’ since more may be communicated than one may think. For example, in some languages there is no general word for ‘garment,’ only the specific names for various articles of clothing: pants, shirt, loin cloth, sheet, blanket, etc. If one selects one or another of these garments, Jesus may be immediately identified as a foreigner, a proud person, a non-conformist, etc. This difficulty may be avoided in some languages by using a clause ‘what he was wearing.’

Garments, both here and in verse 30, must usually be rendered by a singular ‘garment’ (or the equivalent), since it is not likely that the woman touched more than one article of clothing.

Mark 5:28–29

Exegesis elegen gar ‘for she said’: not aloud, but to herself (cf. Mt. 9:21) Verse 28 is parenthetical, being added to show why the woman did what she did.

ean apsōmai kan tōn himatiōn autou ‘if I get to touch at least his clothes.’

kan (the contraction of kai ean ‘and if’) (6:56, 16:18) ‘if only,’ ‘at least,’ ‘just’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 3): modifies ‘his clothes,’ not ‘if I touch.’

sōthēsomai (cf. v. 23) ‘I shall be made well,’ ‘I shall be healed.’

exēranthē (cf. 3:1) ‘it became dry,’ i.e. ‘ceased,’ ‘stopped.’

pēgē (only here in Mark) ‘spring,’ ‘fountain.’

kai egnō tō sōmati hoti iatai ‘and she knew in her body that she has been healed’: notice the distinction between the aorist egnō ‘she knew’ and the perfect iatai ‘she has been healed.’

iaomai (only here in Mark) ‘heal’: in the passive ‘to be healed.’

mastigos (cf. 3:10) ‘of (her) affliction,’ ‘suffering.’

Translation It may be necessary to specify the manner in which the woman spoke about her intention expressed in verse 27, for languages may distinguish between ‘speaking to people’ and ‘speaking to oneself.’ Obviously, the woman speaks to herself (see above), for she was trying to remain unnoticed by the crowd.

The same Greek verb (here sōthēsomai) may mean ‘to be saved’ and ‘to be healed.’ It is rarely possible to combine these two ideas in any single word in a receptor language (though this does happen to be the case in Tzeltal). In this context the meaning must obviously be related to the healing process.

Some languages have a number of verbs meaning ‘touch,’ depending upon the degree of contact and the manner in which it is done. Here the contact was no doubt with the fingers and as slight as possible, for fear of detection.

The hemorrhage ceased is expressed in various ways, e.g. ‘her disease sat down’ (Chontal of Tabasco), ‘she became well,’ and ‘she no longer suffered.’

Was healed is a passive construction, which may be changed to an active one ‘that Jesus had healed her’ (where active expressions containing agents are required) or which may be shifted to one expressing state of being ‘was well,’ ‘no longer had the disease,’ or ‘the sickness had left her.’

Mark 5:30–31

Exegesis epignous en heautō (cf. 2:8 epignous tō pneumati autou) ‘perceiving in himself,’ ‘sensing in himself’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich epiginōskō 2.c).

tēn ex autou dunamin exelthousan ‘the power from him which had gone out’: the meaning here, clearly, is ‘sensing that (the) power had gone out from him.’ Taylor, however, following Swete, argues that ex autou ‘from him’ is an additional statement concerning the power that resided in Jesus, and defends the ASV rendition ‘the power proceeding from him had gone forth.’ As Field (Notes, 27) points out, however, what is said is not that Jesus was conscious of his power: he was conscious that it had gone forth. This is the meaning that practically all modern translations give to the phrase.

dunamis ‘power,’ ‘strength’ is used in Mark in three ways: (1) in the sense of ‘power’ as such, 5:30, 9:1, 12:24, 13:26; (2) with the meaning ‘miracle’: in the sg. 6:5, 9:39, in the pl. 6:2, 14 (3) personalized, 13:25 (‘the powers in the heavens’) and 14:62 (‘the Power,’ i.e. God).

epistrapheis (cf. 4:12) ‘turning,’ ‘turning around’—here in a physical sense.

sunthlibonta (v. 24) ‘pressing,’ ‘crowding,’ ‘jostling.’

Translation Power must be translated with care, since a literal rendering may result in bad distortion of the meaning of the passage. For example, in Loma a literal rendering would denote that Jesus had lost his strength, i.e. had become helpless. In another language, this expression about ‘power going out of a person’ is a euphemistic, but common, way of speaking about the male function in sexual intercourse. In some languages, therefore, certain adaptations must be made, e.g. ‘person-heal-power’ (Loma) and ‘medicinal power,’ in which ‘medicinal’ means essentially ‘healing’ (Chontal of Tabasco), and ‘know-how’ (Chontal of Oaxaca) in which one must use ‘know-how’ rather than literally ‘power’ or ‘strength,’ for the latter would be equivalent to saying that having lost his strength, he could do nothing in the future, until this was magically recovered—a parallel to common practices in witchcraft. Bare’e renders ‘a miracle-power had gone out from Him,’ a precise and accurate expression.

It is not easy to render the obvious irony in the voice of the disciples who exclaim and yet you say.… This may be approximated in some languages by employing a double question, e.g. ‘You see the crowd pressing around you; then how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’ Cf. South Toradja ‘But you see that the crowd is pressing round you, and then you say.…’

Mark 5:32–33

Exegesis perieblepeto (cf. 3:5) ‘he looked around him.’

idein ‘to see’: the infinitive indicates purpose; here the verb is practically equivalent to ‘to discover,’ ‘to find.’

tēn touto poiēsasan ‘the one who had done this’: literally, ‘the (woman) who did this.’ This, of course, is from the author’s viewpoint, not from the point of view of Jesus, who did not know whether man or woman had touched him. It is fanciful to suppose that from the touch Jesus sensed it was a woman (as does Bruce Expositor’s Greek Testament I, 375).

phobētheisa (cf. 4:41) ‘afraid,’ ‘fearful.’

tremousa (only here in Mark) ‘trembling.’

eiduia ‘knowing’: probably causal, ‘because she knew’ (cf. BFBS).

prosepesen autō (cf. 3:11) ‘she prostrated herself before him.’

pasan tēn alētheian ‘the whole truth’: not only about her cure, but all the facts concerning her illness (narrated in vv. 25–28).

alētheia (12, 14, 32) ‘truth.’

Translation Fear and trembling must in some languages be related subordinately, rather than coordinately, as in Greek (and English). For example, in Zoque the equivalent expression is ‘for fear she was trembling.’ This type of arrangement with and makes possible an implication which is readily understood by English speakers, but not by certain others, namely, the specific connection between ‘fear’ and ‘trembling’ or the fact that ‘trembling’ designates a psychologically significant experience.

For problems in translating fall down, see 5:22.

Where languages may lack an abstract term truth, which can be used in this type of context, it may be possible to employ a phrase ‘she told him exactly what had happened.’

Mark 5:34

Exegesis thugatēr (5:35, 6:22, 7:26, 29) ‘daughter’—a term of endearment (cf. teknon ‘child’ 2:5) the nominative form used for the vocative case (cf. 5:8 for similar instance).

hē pistis sou sesōken se ‘your faith has made you well’: for this use of the verb sōzō ‘save’ see v. 28 (cf. also 3:4).

hupage eis eirēnēn ‘go in peace’: a Jewish mode of saying farewell (cf. 1 Sam. 1:17). It should not, however, be translated simply ‘good-bye,’ as a mere dismissal.

eirēnē (only here in Mark) ‘peace’: the Hebrew word it represents has more the idea of soundness, wholeness, well-being, than that of lack of conflict or strife (cf. Kennedy Sources, 98f.).

isthi hugiēs apo tēs mastigos sou ‘and you be (or continue) sound (freed) from your affliction’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich hugiēs 1.a): this is an additional statement, not simply to be equated with the previous one.

hugiēs (only here in Mark) ‘sound,’ ‘healthy,’ ‘whole.’

mastix (cf. 3:10) ‘affliction,’ ‘suffering.’

Translation There are relatively few languages in which one can translate literally ‘daughter,’ without resultant misunderstanding, for people would assume that in some quite inconceivable way Jesus was addressing his own daughter. Accordingly, one must adopt an expression which conveys something of the tenderness of the Greek form of address, while at the same time being culturally explicable, e.g. ‘woman’ (Kiyaka), ‘my little woman,’ in which this phrase reflects some degree of sympathy and endearment (Mazatec), and ‘old lady,’ a phrase which, though denoting a person of quite different relative age, is, nevertheless, the exact cultural equivalent in this context (Shipibo).

Your faith has made you well involves a problem for many translators since faith must be rendered in many instances by a verb, and this may make it impossible to say literally that ‘believing has made.’ However, in order to show the causal relationship between the faith and the healing, one may translate as ‘because you believe in your heart, you have been made well,’ (Tzeltal), and ‘you are well because you have believed’ (Huave).

Go in peace is an idiomatic expression of farewell which is translatable in different ways in other languages: ‘go with sweet insides’ (Shilluk), ‘rejoice as you go’ (Mazahua), ‘go in quietness of heart’ (Chol), ‘go happy’ Zacapoastla Aztec), ‘being happy, go’ (Tarahumara), and ‘go and sit down in your heart’ (Tzeltal).

Be healed of your disease is a passive command, a relatively rare type of construction which has no close counterpart in many languages. The closest equivalent may be a strong type of future ‘you will remain healed’ (Kekchi), an intensive expression of assurance ‘once for all your sickness has gotten well’ (Tzeltal), or an active assertion ‘your disease will never come back to you.’

Mark 5:35

Exegesis eti autou lalountos ‘while he was speaking’: the present participle portrays the action still in progress.

erchontai apo tou archisunagōgou ‘they come from the (house of the) ruler of the synagogue’: so the majority of modern translations. Another translation is possible by understanding apo ‘from’ to mean ‘some from’ (cf. Black Aramaic, 251): the phrase would then mean ‘some men of the household of the ruler of the synagogue’ (cf. BFBS ‘some of the men of the officer of the synagogue’).

erchontai ‘they come’ is another example of the impersonal plural: ‘men come’ (cf. Turner Journal of Theological Studies, 25.380, 1923–4.)

apethanen (5:39, 9:26, 12:19, 20, 21, 22, 15:44) ‘she died,’ ‘she is dead.’

ti eti skulleis ton didaskalon ‘why are you still bothering the Teacher?’

skullō (only here in Mark) literally ‘flay’; ‘bother,’ ‘annoy,’ ‘trouble.’

ho didaskalos (cf. 4:38) ‘the Teacher,’ ‘the Rabbi.’

Translation The impersonal indirect type of expression there came … some must frequently be shifted to a more direct form, e.g. ‘some men from the ruler’s house came …’ or ‘some men came from the ruler’s house.’

Though the Greek has only ‘ruler of the synagogue,’ a type of compound, it is often necessary to add ‘the house’ (as in English). One may, of course, also use ‘synagogue’ in this phrase if this is required by the context, but generally the complete expression, as given in 5:22, is sufficiently full that in verse 5:35 one need only speak of the ‘ruler’ or the ‘leader.’

Said must in some languages be expanded to include the object of the saying, namely, the ruler of the synagogue.

The sequence of events may require is dead to be rendered as ‘is now dead’ or ‘has now died.’

For the translation of teacher, see 2:13.

Mark 5:36

Text Instead of parakousas ‘ignoring’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has eutheōs akousas ‘immediately hearing’; Kilpatrick has euthus parakousas ‘then ignoring.’

Exegesis parakousas (only here in Mark) ‘ignoring,’ ‘disregarding,’ or, ‘overhearing’; the meaning of the verb here is disputed, with the majority of translations favoring the sense ‘ignoring,’ ‘disregarding’ (ASV, RSV, BFBS, Goodspeed, Moffatt, Weymouth, Montgomery, Williams, Zürich, Synodale, Brazilian; among the lexicons and commentators, Abbott-Smith, Thayer, Swete, Taylor); others, however, favor the meaning of ‘overhearing’ (Berkeley, Manson, Turner, Arndt & Gingrich, Liddell and Scott, Kittel); the meaning ‘pretending not to hear’ is favored by Field (Notes, 28) and Souter. Cf. the discussion in Taylor, in loc., and other commentaries.

ton logon laloumenon ‘the message being delivered’: i.e. while they were still talking, Jesus interrupted and spoke to Jairus.

mē phobou (cf. 4:11) ‘do not be afraid,’ ‘quit being afraid’: the further injunction ‘only believe’ shows that ‘do not be afraid’ in this particular context has the meaning ‘do not be unbelieving,’ ‘do not doubt.’

monon pisteue ‘only believe’: a command.

monon (6:8) ‘only’: an adverb, modifying the verb ‘believe’ (for monos ‘only’ as an adjective cf. 6:47).

Translation The meaning of ignoring may be translated as ‘he paid no attention.’ Overhearing may be rendered as ‘he heard what the men had just said to the ruler.’

For ruler of the synagogue, see 5:22, though note that since this is a title, more than a specific designation of his role in a particular synagogue, it may be more correct to translate ‘the ruler of the synagogue.’

Fear must refer in this context to ‘fearful of the outcome’ or ‘doubtful.’

For believe, see 1:15, but in this context difficulties may arise if the verb ‘to believe’ requires an object In such instances it may be better to adopt an alternative expression such as ‘have confidence’ or ‘keep your heart firm.’

Mark 5:37

Exegesis aphēken (cf. 2:5) ‘he allowed,’ ‘he permitted.’

sunakolouthēsai (14:51) ‘to go along with,’ ‘to accompany’: cf. akoloutheō ‘follow’ in 1:18.

ei mē (cf. 2:7) ‘except,’ ‘but,’ ‘with the exception of’ (occurs some 16 times in Mark).

Translation Follow here has the sense of ‘to go with.’ (cf. 1:17)

For a discussion of problems relating to expressions of lineage and relationships such as James and John the brother of James, see 1:19 and 3:17. Here the equivalent of such as expression may be ‘James and John, they were brothers.’

Mark 5:38

Exegesis eis ton oikon ‘into the house (home),’ ‘to the house (home)’: eis here probably means ‘to,’ since in v. 39 it is said ‘and he went in’ (into the house), while in v. 40 we read ‘and he entered (the room) where the child was,’ eis ton oikon may mean literally ‘into the house’ or, ‘into (the courtyard of) the house’: the meaning accepted by RSV, BFBS and others, however, seems to be the preferred one.

oikos ‘house’ or ‘home’ (cf. 2:1, 3:19; cf. Kilpatrick The Bible Translator, 7.5–6, 1956).

theōrei (cf. 3:11) thorubon (14:2) ‘he sees a tumult’: the word thorubos means ‘turmoil,’ ‘excitement,’ ‘uproar’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 3).

kai klaiontas kai alalazontas polla ‘and (people) crying and lamenting much’: this phrase describes in detail the thorubon ‘turmoil’ Jesus saw. The two masculine participles are in the accusative case, as the object of the verb theōrei ‘he sees,’ and both refer to people crying and people wailing.

klaiō (5:39, 14:72, 16:10) ‘weep,’ ‘cry.’

alalazō (only here in Mark) ‘wail,’ ‘cry out,’ ‘lament.’

polla (cf. 1:45) adverbial ‘much’: here, ‘loudly,’ ‘grievously,’ ‘bitterly.’

Translation It may be well at this point to specify he more exactly as ‘Jesus’ because of the intervening third person referents. Tumult is ‘many people making a lot of noise.’

Weeping and wailing is equivalent to ‘crying and yelling out’ (Maya) or ‘crying and making a noise’ (Tarahumara). Wailing appears to most peoples as quite appropriate at the time of death, but in some tribes wailing is carefully avoided so as not to prevent unduly the passage of the spirit from this world to the next.

Mark 5:39

Exegesis eiselthōn (cf. previous verse) ‘entering (the house)’: in the next verse ekbalōn ‘driving out (of the house),’

ti thorubeisthe (only here in Mark) ‘why do you make a tumult?’ (cf. the noun thorubos in the previous verse).

to paidion (5:40, 41, 7:28, 30, 9:24, 36, 37, 10:13, 14, 15) ‘the child,’ ‘the infant’: here, a twelve year old girl (v. 42).

ouk apethanen alla katheudei ‘she did not die but is sleeping,’ ‘is not dead but sleeps.’

apothnēskō (cf. v. 35) ‘die.’

katheudō (cf. 4:27) ‘sleep’: this word offers no problem to the translator since its meaning is ‘to sleep’ whatever may have been the sense in which it was used by Jesus (whether literal or metaphorical: cf. R. E. Ker, Expository Times 65.315 f., 1954; 66.125, 1955; and, in reply, W. Powell, Expository Times 66.61, 1954; and 66.215, 1955).

Translation Entered must in some languages specify ‘entered the house.’

Child offers certain problems to the translator since languages frequently have a number of terms, depending upon the age and stage of maturity. Note that the age is specifically given in verse 42, and it may be assumed that she had not experienced puberty (this latter event is the decisive distinction in many indigenous terms for ‘child’ or ‘girl’).

Mark 5:40

Text At the end of the verse, after paidion ‘child’ Textus Receptus, Soden, Vogels, Merk, and Kilpatrick add anakeimenon ‘lying,’ which is omitted by Tischendorf, Nestle, Souter, Westcott and Hort, Lagrange, and Taylor.

Exegesis kategelōn (only here in Mark) ‘they were laughing at,’ ‘they were jeering,’ ‘they were ridiculing.’

ekbalōn (cf. 1:12) ‘expelling,’ ‘driving out,’ i.e. forcibly.

paralambanei (cf. 4:36) ‘he takes along,’ ‘he takes with (him).’

tous met’ autou ‘those who were with him,’ i.e. the three disciples he allowed to accompany him (v. 37)

eisporeuetai hopou ēn to paidion ‘he entered (the room) where the child was.’

eisporeuomai (cf. 1:21) ‘go in,’ ‘enter.’

Translation There is generally no problem in finding an equivalent of laughed at, but this type of expression of scorn is in some languages translated idiomatically, e.g. ‘burped at him’ (Shilluk).

Outside may be rendered as ‘outside the house.’

Went in no doubt refers to a separate room in which the child lay.

Mark 5:41

Text Instead of the masculine form koum of the great majority of modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus, Souter (and RSV) have the feminine form koumi (cf. the discussion in Lagrange).

Exegesis kratēsas tēs cheiros (cf. 1:31) ‘seizing her hand.’

legei autē ‘he says to her’: the concordance of genders is logical ‘her,’ i.e. ‘the girl’ and not grammatical (since the antecedent tou paidiou ‘the child’ is neuter).

talitha koum a Greek transliteration of the Aramaic telitha’ qum ‘damsel arise.’

ho estin methermēneuomenon ‘which is translated,’ i.e. ‘which translated means’ (cf. Moule Idiom Book, 17).

methermēneuomai (15:22, 34) ‘be translated,’ ‘be interpreted.’

to korasion (5:42, 6:22, 28), ‘maiden,’ ‘girl’: another use of the nominative form for the vocative case (cf. 5:8, 34).

egeire (cf. 1:31) ‘rise,’ ‘get up.’ Whether this means simply ‘rise from the bed,’ or ‘rise from the dead’ will be determined by the meaning given the statement of Jesus concerning the girl in v. 39.

Translation Taking her … he said may be rendered by two coordinate expressions ‘he took hold of her hand and he said.’

Talitha cumi should be transliterated in such a way as to represent the closest sound equivalents in the receptor language. For a discussion of the problems of transliteration, see Bible Translating, 243–46.

For the Treatment of a phrase such as which means, see 3:17.

Little girl is very frequently translated by the same term as is used for child in verses 39 and 40. It is most important that one not employ a word which would imply a person of different age or maturity status.

Arise should be interpreted in this context as ‘stand up’ (see the following verse). It is quite unnecessary, and misleading to translate ‘arise from the dead,’ for note that Jesus was sincerely trying to understate the extent of the miracle. (see verse 39).

Mark 5:42

Exegesis anestē kai periepatei ‘got up and walked’: perhaps, ‘rose and started walking about’ (cf. Expository Times 65.147, 1954).

anistēmi (cf. 1:35) ‘rise,’ ‘get up.’

peripateō (cf. 2:9) ‘walk,’ ‘walk about.’

exestēsan ekstasei megalē ‘they were amazed with a great amazement’ (cf. 4:41 ‘they feared a great fear’ for another example of this form of intensive statement).

existēmi (cf. 2:12) ‘to astonish,’ ‘to amaze,’ ‘to confound’: in the active aorist (as here) the verb has a passive sense, ‘to be astonished,’ ‘to be amazed.’

ekstasis (16:8) has the weakened sense of ‘bewilderment,’ ‘astonishment’ (cf. Kennedy Sources, 121f.).

Translation The Greek imperfect in the verb translated ‘walked’ has suggested to some translators the value of translating ‘was walking,’ but this may not always be done. For example, in one translation the imperfect tense suggested that she was walking, before she got up. Hence, ‘stood up and started to walk’ is preferable.

Twelve years is translated quite idiomatically in some languages, e.g. ‘her winters are twelve’ (Navajo) or ‘her seasons were ten on the head of two’ (Shilluk).

Mark 5:43

Exegesis diesteilato polla ‘commanded … much,’ i.e. ‘gave strict orders.’

diastellomai (7:36, 8:15, 9:9) ‘command,’ ‘order.’

polla (cf. 3:12, 5:10, 23) is adverbial ‘much,’ ‘strictly.’

hina ‘that’ denotes content (cf. 5:18), not purpose.

eipen dothēnai autē phagein ‘he said to be given to her to eat,’ i.e. ‘he said that she be fed.’

Translation Strictly charged may be rendered as ‘strongly commanded’ or ‘spoke to them in hard words.’

In some languages the rendering seems to imply a complete inconsistency between Jesus’ order to the parents of the child and the fact that others should not know. What was really meant in the command of Jesus was that they should not tell others what had happened. Hence, one may translate as ‘that no one else should come to know about,’ or ‘that no other people should hear about it,’ or ‘that they should not tell others about.’

Mark Chapter 6

Mark 6:1

Exegesis eis tēn patrida autou ‘to his own native place’: rather than the generalized sense of ‘fatherland,’ ‘country’ (RSV), the word patris (6:4) has here the more specialized meaning of ‘home town’ (Cf. Moulton & Milligan; Field Notes, 10; Manson). The town of Nazareth is meant (cf. 1:9, 24).

akolouthousin (cf. 1:18) ‘they follow,’ ‘they accompany’: in the physical sense of going along with, not the specialized sense of ‘follow as a disciple.’

Translation His own country must be translated in the sense of ‘region (or ‘place’) in which he lived,’ not ‘the land which he owned,’ as is sometimes the case in poor translations. Cf. ‘the town where he grew up’ (South Toradja), ‘the town from which he came’ (Javanese).

For disciples, see 2:15, and for follow see 1:17.

Mark 6:2

Text Before polloi ‘many’ Textus Receptus, Souter, Kilpatrick (and, apparently, RSV) omit hoi ‘the,’ which is included by all other modern editions of the Greek text.

Instead of kai hai dunameis ‘and the mighty works’ of most editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus, Soden, and Kilpatrick have hoti kai dunameis ‘for even mighty works’; Tischendorf has kai dunameis ‘and mighty works.’

Exegesis genomenou sabbatou (cf. 1:21) ‘when the sabbath came,’ ‘when it was the sabbath.’

ērxato didaskein en tē sunagōgē (cf. 1:21, 3:1) ‘he began to teach in the synagogue.’

hoi polloi akouontes exeplēssonto ‘the many who were listening to him were astonished.’

hoi polloi ‘the many’: with the article (cf. Text, above) the phrase here means ‘the many (who were there) as they heard him,’ not, as RSV has it, ‘many (of those there) …,’ i.e. ‘many, but not all.’ Cf. Arndt & Gingrich polus I.2.a.b (cf. 9:26).

ekplēssomai (cf. 1:22) ‘be astonished,’ ‘be overwhelmed.’

The three clauses that follow, understood either as questions or as exclamations, lack finite verbs, being thus grammatically incomplete: they express quite vividly the surprise and astonishment that gripped the large crowd.

toutō (cf. 2:7) ‘to this one’: expresses contempt. By underscoring the personal pronouns Manson graphically portrays the astonishment and resentment of Jesus’ townspeople.

tis hē sophia hē dotheisa toutō; Manson: ‘What sort of wisdom is it that has been conferred on him?’

sophia (only here in Mark) ‘wisdom.’

hai dunameis toiautai ‘miracles such as these!

dunamis (cf. 5:30) ‘mighty work,’ ‘miracle.’

dia tōn cheirōn autou ginomenai ‘which are being done through his hands’: or, simply, ‘which are being wrought by him.’

Translation A number of key words in this verse have already been treated: sabbath (1:21), teach (2:13), synagogue (1:21), and astonish (1:21, 27).

Teach often requires an object: ‘teach the people.’

Astonished, saying is frequently rendered as ‘were astonished; they said.’

It is important that get all this does not refer exclusively to ‘wealth’ or ‘material possessions.’ To avoid such a denotation one may translate as in Popoluca, ‘from where did he bring these thoughts.’

It should be noted that these questions are not requests for information, but are types of exclamatory expressions. They should be so treated in languages which have special forms for such questions or utterances.

Wisdom is not always translatable by a noun, for it involves the result of a process of learning and the application of special mental faculties. Hence in some instances wisdom is ‘what he has learned.’ In other languages, however, wisdom is equivalent to ‘mind,’ e.g. ‘what mind has been given to him’ (Chontal of Tabasco) and ‘how was this man made a person of big mind’ (Ifugao).

The passive concept expressed in is given is not always easily rendered, for where the agent is required, one must completely alter the form, either making Jesus the subject of the process of acquiring the wisdom, e.g. ‘how has he learned so much,’ or indicating that God is the source of the special gift of wisdom, e.g. ‘how is it that God has given such wisdom to him.’ However, this last question does not seem to fit the context, for these people were not inclined to recognize Jesus’ God-given ministry or abilities. Hence, the former question is probably closer to the original meaning, though not closer to the formal sentence structure.

Mighty works translates the Greek dunameis, a regular term for ‘miracles,’ though meaning literally ‘powers.’ (For a discussion of certain problems in translating this term see The Bible Translator 7.42–47, 1956; and Bible Translating 217–18). One of the most common ways of talking about miracles is to call them ‘things which no one has ever seen before’ (San Blas). A second semantic perspective involves the process of amazement, wonder, and awe, e.g. ‘thing marveled at’ (Cuicatec), ‘breathtaking thing’ (Valiente), and ‘long-necked thing’ referring to the onlookers who stretch their necks to see (Mazatec). A third means of talking about miracles makes use of expressions of power and strength (similar to the Greek), e.g. ‘sign done by God’s power’ (Moré), ‘supernatural power’ (Javanese), and ‘things that have heaven-strength’ (Totonac). It is usually necessary in employing these terms for strength or power to specify the source or the nature of the manifestation of power. Otherwise ambiguity or obscurity is likely to occur.

By his hands, if translated literally, may give rise to misinterpretation, for in a receptor language this may be used to refer only to artifacts. Hence, ‘by him’ may be used in a passive construction or ‘he does’ in an active one.

Mark 6:3

Exegesis ho tektōn (only here in Mark) ‘the carpenter’: cf. Mt. 13:55 ‘the son of the carpenter.’

ho huios tēs Marias ‘the son of Mary’: very probably stated as an insult (cf. Rawlinson; J. K. Russell Expository Times 60.195, 1949).

kai eskandalizonto en autō (cf. 4:17) ‘and they took offense at him’ (RSV, BFBS, Goodspeed, Weymouth: cf. Arndt & Gingrich skandalizō 1.b).

en ‘in’: denotes that towards which the feeling is directed (cf. Arndt & Gingrich III.3.b).

Translation Carpenter is best rendered as ‘house-builder’ or ‘builder,’ for the Greek term may refer to one who uses either wood or stone.

Brother must be in many languages ‘older brother.’

Sisters would be ‘younger sisters’ in languages which make a distinction as to relative age.

In some languages there are precise distinctions made between full brothers and half-brothers. Some translators have felt that because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, they should use a term for half-brother, but generally this is not a wise procedure, for it introduces all sorts of other problems, implying as it does that Mary had two husbands.

Offense in this verse cannot usually be translated in the same way as the corresponding word (in the Greek text) of 4:17. There the reference is more to loss of faith, but in this verse the reaction is one of jealousy and personal animosity: ‘they were jealous and angry against him’ (Sierra Popoloca), ‘they had no more respect for’ (Sierra Aztec), ‘they were distrustful’ (Indonesian), ‘they felt offended because of His dignity’ (Javanese), ‘they despised’ (San Blas), ‘a grudge arose in their hearts’ (Tzeltal), ‘they were angry to see him’ (Huave), and ‘they hated him’ (Zoque).

Mark 6:4

Exegesis prophētēs (cf. 1:2) ‘prophet’: not to be thought of simply as a soothsayer or diviner, but as ‘proclaimer and interpreter of the divine revelation’ (Arndt & Gingrich).

atimos (only here in Mark) ‘unhonored,’ ‘dishonored’; to be dishonored is not to receive one’s due honor and respect.

en tē patridi autou (cf. v. 1) ‘in his native place,’ ‘in his own hometown.’

en tois suggeneusin autou ‘among his own kinsmen,’ ‘among his own relatives.’

suggenēs (only here in Mark) ‘related,’ ‘akin to’: here in the sense of ‘relative,’ ‘kinsman’ (cf. Moulton & Milligan).

Translation For prophet, see 1:2.

The expression a prophet is not without honor may be difficult for two reasons: (1) honor must often be translated as a verb, not as a noun, and (2) the double negative involved in not without may require two entirely different sentences, in order to produce the required contrast. Furthermore, in some instances the contrast must be precisely stated by a somewhat redundant, but necessary, repetition (see Mitla Zapotec rendering below). The following renderings are typical: ‘a messenger of God is surely respected; only in his own land … he is not respected’ (Tzeltal), ‘a prophet has respect everywhere, but not with his townspeople, … they don’t have respect’ (Mitla Zapotec), ‘prophets are everywhere praised, but not in their own towns …’ (Rinón Zapotec), ‘in his own country, … he is not honored, but everywhere else he is honored’ (Chontal of Oaxaca), ‘one who speaks the word of God is wanted, but he is not wanted in his own town …’ (Huave).

Own country may be well translated as ‘birth town’ (Loma). Kin refers to the ‘clan,’ and his own house means ‘his family.’

Mark 6:5–6

Exegesis dunamin (cf. 5:30, 6:2) ‘mighty work,’ ‘miracle.’

oligois arrōstois epitheis tas cheiras etherapeusen ‘(by) laying his hands on a few sick ones he healed (them),’

arrōstos (6:13, 16:18) ‘powerless,’ i.e. ‘sick,’ ‘ill.’

epitithenai tas cheiras (cf. 5:23) ‘to lay hands upon.’

therapeuō (cf. 1:34) ‘heal,’ ‘cure.’

ethaumasen (cf. 5:20) ‘he marveled,’ ‘he was surprised.’

dia tēn apistian autōn ‘on account of their unbelief’: most English translations (cf. also Synodale, Lagrange, Brazilian) have it ‘at their unbelief’ translating dia not as cause but as the object of the surprise of Jesus (cf. Arndt & Gingrich thaumazō 1.a.b).

apistia (9:24, 16:14) ‘lack of belief,’ ‘lack of trust’ in Jesus (cf. faith, confidence, in Jesus, 2:5, 5:34). In this context the word describes the unwillingness of the people of Nazareth to believe that Jesus could work miracles.

kai periēgen tas kōmas kuklō didaskōn ‘and he went around among the adjacent villages teaching.’

periagō (only here in Mark) ‘go about,’ ‘make a tour.’

kōmē (6:36, 56, 8:23, 26, 27, 11:2; cf. agros 5:14) ‘village,’ ‘small town’; in general smaller than polis ‘city’ but larger than agros ‘hamlet’—cf. especially 6:36, 56.

kuklō (cf. 3:34) ’round about,’ ‘around’: here modifies tas kōmas (cf. Moule Idiom Book, 108f.) ‘surrounding villages’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich periagō 2, ‘the nearby villages’).

Translation Could evidently means that though Jesus had the power to perform miracles, in Nazareth he was unable to use his power because of the lack of faith on the part of the people.

For mighty work, see 6:2.

Few is a relative word, which receives its meaning from the context. In other languages there are often equally arbitrary delimitations. For example, in Tzeltal the equivalent of few is ‘two or three,’ but this does not mean literally two or three, but as in the case of English few acquires its meaning from the context; compare ‘a few people in town’ and ‘a few people in our living room,’ obviously capable of quite different meanings.

Unbelief may be rendered as a phrase ‘they did not believe’ or ‘they did not have confidence in him.’

Villages would imply the hamlets surrounding Nazareth, e.g. ‘he went around from hamlet to hamlet, teaching the people.’

Mark 6:7

Exegesis proskaleitai (cf. 3:13) ‘he summons,’ ‘he calls to himself.’

hoi dōdeka (cf. 3:14, 16) ‘the Twelve’ as a title, not simply as a number of men (RSV ‘the twelve’).

apostellein (cf. 1:2, 3:14) ‘to send off’: a commission and authority to carry out the ministry of Jesus, in accordance with their call as disciples (cf. 3:14–15).

duo duo ‘by the twos,’ ‘two by two’: the use of the cardinal numbers in a distributive sense is not only Semitic but thoroughly Greek as well (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 5).

exousian tōn pneumatōn tōn akathartōn ‘authority over the unclean spirits,’ i.e. authority or power to cast them out.

exousia (cf. 1:23, 3:15) ‘authority,’ ‘capacity,’ ‘power.’

ta pneumata ta akatharta (cf. 1:23) ‘the unclean spirits.’

Translation For problems in translating the twelve, see 3:14. For authority see 2:10, and for unclean spirits see 1:26.

Called must not be interpreted in the sense of ‘call out to’ or ‘to summon’ (in the legal sense). Moreover, in this context, we are not dealing with the ‘commissioning’ of 3:13. In some languages the equivalent is ‘he spoke especially to the twelve followers’ or ‘he addressed himself to the twelve learners.’

Send them out may be rendered as ‘told them to go out,’ for their going out was in response to a verbal command.

Two by two must be distributive, not collective, i.e. two men went in one direction and two others in another.

Authority over may be rendered simply as ‘power (or ‘strength’) to cast out’ (or ‘to command’). It should be noted, however, that this was a delegated power, not an inherent capacity.

Mark 6:8–9

Exegesis kai parēggeilen autois hina ‘and he commanded them that …’: as in previous cases (cf. 5:18) hina ‘that’ does not indicate purpose, but the content of the command.

paraggellō (8:6) ‘give orders,’ ‘command.’

eis hodon ‘in the road,’ i.e. ‘for the journey’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich hodos 1.b).

ei mē rabdon monon ‘except a staff only,’ not ‘except (for) one staff’: monon ‘only’ is an adverb (cf. 5:36), not an adjective, and modifies ei mē ‘except,’ ‘but.’

rabdos (only here in Mark) ‘staff,’ ‘rod’ used in traveling.

pēran (only here in Mark) ‘knapsack,’ ‘traveler’s bag’: here, more explicitly, a beggar’s bag (cf. Deissmann Light, 108–10). Lagrange points out it would be pointless to prohibit taking a bag for provisions when the taking of bread had already been forbidden.

mē eis tēn zōnēn chalkon ‘no money in their belts.’

zōnē (cf. 1:6) ‘girdle,’ ‘belt.’

chalkos (12:41) ‘copper,’ ‘brass’; ‘copper coin’; ‘money.’

In verse 9 the construction changes: instead of clauses governed by hina ‘that’ as in v. 8, there is one participial clause which is the direct object of the verb ‘he commanded,’ and one clause which is in the form of direct speech. For purposes of translation, however, there is no need literally to reproduce the Greek grammatical constructions; the content, not the form, is what matters.

alla hupodedemenous sandalia ‘but to wear sandals’ (i.e. rather than go barefooted).

hupodeomai (only here in Mark; cf. hupodēma 1:7) ‘bind under’: of sandals, ‘to put on,’ ‘to wear.’

sandalion (only here in Mark) ‘sandal’ (a synonym of hupodēma in 1:7).

kai mē endusēsthe duo chitōnas ‘and do not wear two tunics.’

enduō (cf. 1:6) ‘put on,’ ‘wear.’

chitōn (14:63; cf. himation 2:21) ‘tunic,’ ‘shirt,’ worn next to the skin (cf. Arndt & Gingrich for references concerning the wearing of two tunics): the command not to wear two tunics meant that one only was sufficient.

Translation Verses 8 and 9 present serious problems for translators because (1) the grammatical form shifts in the middle of the passage, from an indirect to a direct form, and (2) there are two awkward exceptions: the staff is an exception in what should be carried, and the extra tunic is forbidden in an otherwise positive command, i.e. to wear sandals and one tunic. This means that in a number of translations this passage must be recast to fit the requirements of the receptor language.

Charged them to take … may be altered in many languages into a form of direct command, for this greatly simplifies the syntactic problems in the rest of the passage, e.g. ‘he commanded them, Do not take.…’

In verse eight there is a shift from negative to positive and again to negative in the RSV order: nothing … except a staff; no … In many languages this would be clearer if the exception to the negation were placed at the end, e.g. ‘do not anything for your journey: do not take bread, a bag, or money in your girdles, take only a walking stick.’ In some languages (Black Bobo), however, the positive would normally precede the negative, e.g. ‘take a stick in your hand, do not take anything else.…’

Put on two tunics is equivalent in many instances to ‘wear two shirts.’ As Arndt and Gingrich point out the wearing of two tunics was a sign of effeminacy.

Mark 6:10

Exegesis The sense of the order is: ‘whenever you enter a town stay in the same house until you leave that town’ (cf. Mt. 10:11).

menete (14:34) ‘stay,’ ‘remain,’ ‘abide.’

heōs an (9:1, 12:36) ‘until’: the verb which follows is in the subjunctive mode.

Translation If this verse is translated literally, it may result in nonsense, e.g. ‘when you enter a house, stay in the house, till you leave the house.’ This is precisely what a number of translations mean, and it is not without reason that readers are puzzled. The meaning (see the Matthaean parallel, Mt. 10:11) is ‘when you enter a house as a guest, do not change residence till you leave the town.’ This was designed to prevent the practice employed by some religious teachers who went from house to house, imposing on the hospitality of as many people as possible.

Mark 6:11

Text Instead of hos an topos mē dexētai ‘whatever place may not receive’ of all the modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has hosoi an mē dexōntai ‘whoever (pl.) may not receive.’

At the end of the verse Textus Receptus adds amēn legō humin, anektoteron estai Sodomois ē Gomorrois en hēmera kriseōs, ē tē polei ekeinē ‘Truly I tell you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom or Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.’ All modern editions of the Greek text reject this addition which, for the sake of harmony, was introduced here from Mt. 10:15.

Exegesis os an topos mē dexētai humas ‘whatever place may not receive you’: the presumed meaning would be, ‘whatever town,’ or ‘whatever city.’ Manson, however, suggests that ‘place’ here probably refers to the synagogue as the place of worship where the disciples would naturally go to deliver their message. In the light of the following clause ‘nor should they hear you’ this conjecture is reasonable.

dechomai (9:37, 10:15) ‘receive,’ ‘accept,’ ‘welcome’; ‘receive as guest.’

ekporeuomenoi (cf. 1:5) ‘going out,’ ‘leaving’: this participle probably should not be understood as temporal ‘when you go out’ (RSV) but in light of the imperative mode of the principal verb ‘shake off,’ should be translated as an imperative ‘go out!’ ‘leave!’ (on the use of the participle in the imperative sense cf. Moule Idiom Book, 179f. and references).

ektinaxate ton choun ton hupokatō tōn podōn humōn eis marturion autois ‘shake off the dust which is under your feet as a testimony to them’: cf. Acts 13:51, 18:6, for examples of this practice, and see Lagrange, and Manson Mission and Message, 368, for the significance of this act.

ektinassō (only here in Mark) ‘shake off.’

chous (only here in Mark) ‘dust,’ ‘dirt.’

eis marturion autois (cf. 1:44) ‘as a testimony to them’ probably in a hostile sense ‘against them’ (RSV), though Taylor objects (BFBS ‘to them’); autois ‘them’ refers to the citizens of the town.

Translation Any place must in many instances be ‘the people of any place’ (‘town’ or ‘synagogue’).

Receive is in some languages ‘to welcome’ or ‘to let you enter their town’ or ‘to say, Welcome’ (Cashibo), or ‘to respect,’ literally, ‘to consider big’ (Tzeltal).

Refuse to hear is translatable as ‘will not listen to.’

Testimony against them (or possibly ‘to,’ see above) is rendered in a number of ways, for this context does not employ the Greek term marturion ‘witness’ in the more usual sense. Some of the ways in which this expression may be translated are ‘in order to show them what they have done’ (Navajo), ‘that shall become a testimony in their eyes’ (Tzeltal), ‘a sign, that witnesses to their guilt’ (South Toradja), ‘to show that they are responsible’ (Barrow Eskimo), and ‘so that it will be known about them’ (Mazahua).

For translators who follow Textus Receptus, there are added complications in the comparative expression more tolerable for, which is rendered variously in different languages (for a discussion of some comparative expressions see 1:7). More tolerable for is often translated as ‘the people of Sodom and Gomorrha will suffer less than the people of that city.’ In some instances one must use a double expression, e.g. ‘that city will suffer much, Sodom and Gomorrha will suffer little’ (Chol). Some languages employ an idiom meaning ‘to surpass,’ e.g. ‘the people of that city will surpass in suffering what the people of Sodom and Gomorrha suffer.’

Day of judgment may be rendered as ‘day when God judges’ or ‘day when God will say people have sin’ (Tzotzil), or ‘day when people will be judged.’

Note that in many instances one cannot speak of ‘a city suffering,’ but only of ‘the people of a city suffering.’

Mark 6:12–13

Exegesis ekēruxan hina metanoōsin ‘they (the Twelve) preached that they (the hearers) should repent’: hina ‘that’ indicates the content of the preaching, not its purpose (cf. 5:18).

kērussō (cf. 1:4; cf. 3:15) ‘preach,’ ‘proclaim.’

metanoeō (cf. 1:15) ‘repent.’

diamonia polla exeballon (cf. 3:15, 1:34) ‘they cast out many demons.’

ēleiphon elaiō pollous arrōstous ‘they anointed with oil many sick people.’

aleiphō (16:1) ‘anoint’: here for the purpose of healing (cf. Lagrange on this practice both in the past and in the present). It is generally assumed that the oil would be rubbed on, but Lk. 10:34 speaks of oil being poured on.

elaion (only here in Mark) ‘oil,’ i.e. ‘olive-oil.’

kai etherapeuon ‘and they healed (them)’ (cf. 1:34).

Translation They should in many languages be ‘the twelve disciples,’ for between this pronoun and the proper referent there are several confusing third person plural referents in the intervening verses.

Went out refers to their journey, not to the process of going out of a house—as is implied in some translations. One may simply say ‘they left.’

Preached that … may be shifted to a direct form, ‘announced to people, You should repent.’ (For preach and repent, see 1:4)

For expressions relating to casting out of demons, see 1:34, and for words for demons see 1:26 and 32.

Anointed introduces a process which is quite foreign to many people. Accordingly, one needs to be careful as to how this act is described. In one language the translator had used a word meaning ‘to give a massage to’; and in another ‘to touch with oil.’ As suggested above, the meaning is probably ‘to rub on,’ but not implying over the entire body or even any major part of it. The act was essentially symbolic, rather than therapeutic. If, as in some languages, the place of anointing must be specified, the ‘head’ is as likely to be correct as any other supplied term.

The oil should be some type of vegetable oil, not kerosene or motor oil. (‘Daubed with crankcase oil’ is too frequent a rendering of this term).

Healed is ‘made them well’ or ’caused them to be well.’

Mark 6:14

Text Instead of elegon ‘they said’ read by Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Soden, Vogels, Lagrange, Taylor, Kilpatrick, and RSV, elegen ‘he said’ is read by Textus Receptus, Tischendorf, Merk, and Souter.

Exegesis ho basileus Hērōdēs (6:22, 25, 26, 27) ‘King Herod’: this was Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, son of King Herod the Great.

basileus ‘king’: besides the above references to Herod, the word is used in a general sense in 13:9, and with reference to Jesus in 15:2, 9, 12, 18, 26, 32.

phaneron (cf. 3:12, 4:23) ‘manifest,’ ‘known.’

kai elegon ‘and they were saying’: kai may here be the equivalent of hoti ‘that,’ i.e. ‘King Herod heard … that they were saying’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich kai I.2.b; cf. Taylor).

elegon ‘they were saying’ is clearly an impersonal plural ‘some were saying’ followed up in v. 15 by alloi de alloi de ‘and others … and others.’

ho baptizōn (cf. 1:4) ‘the Baptizer’: a title.

egēgertai ek nekrōn ‘he has been raised from the dead.’

egeirō (cf. 1:31) ‘rise’; in the passive ‘be raised.’

ek nekrōn (9:9, 10, 12:25, 16:14) ‘from (out of) the dead’: besides its use in this phrase, nekros ‘dead one’ is used also in 9:26, 12:26, 27.

energousin hai dunameis en autō ‘the (miraculous) powers are working in him’—so most translations. Dalman (Words 201) suggests that the corresponding Aramaic may have meant, ‘mighty deeds are done by him.’

energeō (only here in Mark) without an object means ‘to be at work,’ ‘to operate’ (cf. Robinson Ephesians, 241–47).

hai dunameis (cf. 5:30) ‘the powers,’ ‘the mighty deeds.’

Translation King is not easily translated in some languages, for there is no exact equivalent. Moreover, one cannot say ‘greatest chief’ (as might be thought), for such a superlative expression must usually be reserved for the Roman emperor, who had authority even over Herod, the king. One can, however, use such expressions as ‘a great one’ (Piro), ‘the ruler,’ ‘the Inca‘, a borrowing from Quechua (Shipibo), ‘the big boss’ (Totonac), and ‘the one who commanded’ (Huichol).

Jesus’ name had become known is quite intelligible in English, but not in other languages. For example, in Sierra Popoluca one must say ‘the people spoke-spoke-spoke about him’ (the reduplicated form indicates the extent of the process). In Huave one says ‘his name had reached all the people,’ and in Subanen ‘the people heard his name.’

Some is ‘some of the people.’

The shift from Jesus’ name to John the Baptist may not be evident in some languages. Accordingly, in order that the proper identification may be made, one must say in Trique ‘this man is John the baptizer, who.…’

For John the baptizer, see 1:4.

Raised from the dead presents a number of difficulties. In the first place, the expression is passive, without the agent identified. In the second place, from the dead appears to refer to persons (as it does in Greek), but in many languages the idea of resurrection is normally spoken of as ‘living again,’ without reference to other dead. In some instances one can only speak of ‘died and is alive again’ or ‘died and has been caused to live again.’ To say ‘God has made him live again’ would seem to be too specific about the implied agent, and hence a shift from passive to active, without the agent, is probably preferable. The Greek specifies ‘from among the dead,’ translated in some instances as ‘got up and left the dead’ (this is necessary in languages which have no such preposition as from).

For powers, see 6:2, but note that in many instances the passive expression are at work in him must be changed to ‘he does these.…’ This is particularly necessary if in him would refer only to an activity going on within his body.

Mark 6:15–16

Text At the end of verse 16, after ēgerthē ‘was raised’ Textus Receptus adds ek nekrōn ‘from the dead,’ which is omitted by all modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis E̅lias (8:28, 9:4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 15:35, 36) ‘Elijah’: cf. Mal. 3:1, 4:5, for O.T. references to the coming of Elijah as predecessor of the Messiah, and see Mk. 9:9–13 for the application of this prophecy to the Baptist.

prophētēs (cf. 1:2) ‘prophet.’

hōs heis tōn prophetōn ‘as one of the prophets’: generally taken to mean ‘as one of the Prophets of old’ as Lk. 9:8 has it (cf. Weymouth ‘like one of the great Prophets’). Black (Aramaic, 249 n. 4), however, suggests ‘a prophet, like any (true) prophet.’

hon egō apekephalisa Iōannēn houtos ēgerthē ‘John, whom I beheaded, he was raised’: in a construction not at all unusual in Greek, the relative pronoun, which is the object of the verb and thus in the accusative case, is placed before its antecedent; the antecedent, being incorporated into the relative clause, is, by what is called “inverse attraction,” also in the accusative case (cf. Robertson Grammar, 717–19). This construction is equivalent to Iōannēs, hon egō apekephalisa, houtos ēgerthē ‘John’ in the nominative case, as the subject of the sentence; ‘whom’ the relative is in the accusative case as the object of ‘I beheaded’; houtos ‘this one’ the demonstrative pronoun is in the nominative case agreeing with ‘John’ to which it refers.

apokephalizō (6:28) ‘beheaded.’

egeirō (cf. 1:31) ‘rise.’

Translation The contrast between some (verse 14) … but others … and others must be quite explicit in some languages, e.g. ‘some people … other people … and still other people.’

Elijah should be transliterated in the form which will be employed in the Old Testament. Some translators have endeavored to use one system of transliteration when reproducing the Greek forms of names and another when transcribing the Hebrew equivalents. However, it is a mistake to spell the name of an Old Testament person in one way in the Old Testament and in another way in the New Testament. On the other hand, one should not take a name such as Jesus and make it identical with Joshua, even though they are etymologically related.

For prophet, see 1:2.

Prophets of old must not be rendered as ‘old prophets’ referring to the age of the men in question. The meaning is ‘one of the prophets who lived long ago’ or ‘one of the prophets who lived in the days of our ancestors.’

Heard of it is in some languages ‘heard what Jesus was doing,’ since it may be entirely too vague a reference to be intelligible.

Beheaded poses a subtle problem in some languages which distinguish carefully between primary and secondary agency, i.e. whether the grammatical subject actually performed an action or whether he caused it to be done through another. Obviously, Herod himself did not do the beheading, and hence, one may translate ’caused to be beheaded’ or ‘ordered men to cut off his head.’

Has been raised is ‘has come back to life’ or ‘is living again’ (see 6:14).

Mark 6:17

Exegesis autos gar ho Hērōdēs ‘for Herod himself’: most translations disregard the personal pronoun autos ‘he’ as being redundant (cf., however, Manson ‘for this same Herod …’).

This whole narrative (6:17–29) of the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist is parenthetical, being here inserted to explain the statement (v. 14) that Jesus was John risen from the dead. The order of events here is not chronological: the arrest of John had taken place before Jesus began his ministry in Galilee (1:14), but we are not given the precise time of his subsequent death at the hands of Herod Antipas.

aposteilas ekratēsen ‘sending he arrested’: ‘he sent and arrested.’ Arndt & Gingrich (apostellō 1.d) classify this use of the verb ‘send’ as an auxiliary meaning that ‘the action has been performed by someone else’: here it would mean ‘he had John arrested.’

krateō (cf. 1:31) ‘seize,’ ‘arrest.’

kai edēsen autōn en phulakē ‘and he bound him in prison’ not in the sense that he was in prison, tied up, but ‘bound him (and put him) in prison’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich deō 1.b).

deō (cf. 3:27) ‘bind,’ ‘restrict.’

phulakē (6:28, 48) ‘prison’; in 6:48 it means ‘watch’ (i.e. an interval of time).

dia Herōdiada ‘on account of Herodias’: RSV ‘for the sake of’ may be misunderstood.

On the identity of the Philip here referred to, see the commentaries.

hoti autēn egamēsen ‘because he (Herod) married her’: this clause explains the statement that John had been placed in prison on account of Herodias.

gameō (10:11, 12, 12:25) ‘to marry’: generally used of men (cf. Arndt & Gingrich for exceptions to the rule; cf. Moulton & Milligan).

Translation Sent and seized is either ‘sent men to seize’ or ’caused John to be seized.’ Seized should here be translated as ‘arrested.’

Bound him in prison is ‘had him put in prison’ or, where the idiom may require, ‘tied him up in jail,’ but not necessarily with the literal meaning of ‘to bind.’

For the sake of Herodias may be variously translated, depending upon the perspective in question: ‘because of Herodias’ (meaning, because of what she had done, asked, or wanted), ‘in order to please Herodias,’ or ‘he did this for Herodias.’

Contemporary historical sources indicate that there are some difficulties involved in this statement of the relationship of Herodias to Philip, but the translator is not called upon to re-edit, but to translate. Hence, one may say ‘Herodias had been the wife of Philip, Herod’s brother’ (‘younger brother,’ if such a distinction is required).

Because he had married her is very loosely connected with the preceding. If translated without some more precise transition, it may mean in some languages that ‘Herodias was Philip’s wife because he (i.e. Philip) had married her.’ As a result, one must recast the sentence somewhat to read, ‘this happened because Herod had married Herodias.’ The pronominal element should refer to all the preceding sequence, including if possible the concern of Herod, the imprisonment of John, and Herod’s actions in order to please Herodias.

Note that the sequence of events as described: (1) the worry of Herod, (2) the beheading of John, (3) the imprisonment of John, and (4) Herod’s marriage to Herodias are told in reverse order of their temporal sequence. In some languages this requires very careful handling of conjunctions or tense forms of the verbs.

Mark 6:18–19

Exegesis elegen gar hō Iōannēs tō Herōdē ‘for John said to Herod’: this clause gives the reason why Herod had imprisoned John.

elegen may be the equivalent of the pluperfect ‘had been saying’ in this context (Moule Idiom Book, 10).

exestin (cf. 2:24) ‘it is right,’ ‘it is lawful.’

echein ‘to have,’ ‘to possess’ as wife (cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.2.b.a).

eneichen (only here in Mark) ‘she was hostile to,’ ‘she bore a grudge against’: the American colloquialism ‘to have it in for someone’ corresponds to this use of the Greek verb enechō (cf. Field Notes, 28f.).

kai ēthelen kai ouk ēdunato ‘and she wanted … but could not.’

Translation John said to Herod poses certain problems of sequence, for this is no longer in the reverse order, noted in the preceding verse, but fits between events 3 and 4. Only careful use of conjunctions and tense forms is likely to avoid confusion.

Not lawful is not always an easy expression, especially in the languages of people who have no formal written legal codes. In Trique the best equivalent seemed to be ‘God does not permit’ (a common way of referring to the highest sanctions of behavior). In Huastec one may say ‘you are not allowed,’ without reference to the one doing the allowing. In Tzeltal the proper expression is ‘this is against the command’ and in Popoluca one says ‘the law [a borrowing from Spanish] does not help you.’

Have your brother’s wife is better rendered as ‘to live with your brother’s wife’ than to say ‘to marry your brother’s wife,’ for the latter might be interpreted as meaning that Herod had married her after the death of Philip, his brother.

Had a grudge is often ‘was very angry with’ or ‘was mad at.’

In languages in which careful distinctions are made between primary and secondary agency, wanted to kill him may be translated as ‘wanted to cause him to be killed.’

She could not does not refer to her lack of strength (as some translators have rendered the passage), but her inability to get Herod to do what she wanted.

Mark 6:20

Text Instead of ēporei ‘he was puzzled’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has epoiei ‘he was doing.’

Exegesis ephobeito (cf. 4:40) ‘he held (John) in awe,’ ‘he feared,’ ‘he respected.’

eidōs auton andra dikaion kai hagion ‘knowing him (to be) a righteous and holy man’: the participle eidōs ‘knowing’ is causal: ‘because he knew.’

dikaios (cf. 2:17) ‘righteous,’ ‘just,’ ‘upright.’

hagios (only place in Mark used of a man) ‘holy.’

sunetērei (only here in Mark) ‘he kept safe,’ ‘he protected’: i.e. from Herodias.

kai akousas autou polla ēporei ‘and when he heard him he was much perplexed’: the majority of translations take polla ‘much,’ ‘often’ with the principal verb ēporei ‘he was puzzled’: BFBS, however, takes it with the participle akousas ‘he often heard him’ (cf. Kilpatrick, The Bible Translator 7.8, 1956).

aporeō (only here in Mark) ‘be undecided,’ ‘be puzzled’ (from a privative ‘not’ and poros ‘passage’: literally, ‘without a way’). The verb may mean ‘raise questions’ (cf. Liddell & Scott I.2), which is suggested for this passage by Field (Notes, 29f.); cf. Arndt & Gingrich.

kai hēdeōs autou ēkouen ‘yet he heard him gladly,’ ‘yet he liked to hear him.’

hēdeōs (only here in Mark) ‘gladly,’ ‘with pleasure.’

Translation Feared in this context means ‘had a great deal of respect for,’ ‘had honor for him,’ or ‘saw him big’ (as in some languages).

For righteous see 2:17. In this context some languages have rather interesting expressions: ‘did what he should’ (Eastern Otomi), ‘walked straight’ (Popoluca), ‘was a man with a good heart’ (Huichol), ‘his life was straight’ (Black Bobo), and ‘was completely good’ (Huave). (This last expression does not imply sinless perfection.)

Holy has been discussed (see 1:7) in connection with the word Spirit. When applied to persons there may need to be certain adaptations, e.g. ‘good’ (Black Bobo), ‘without sin’ (Huichol), and ‘uncontaminated’ (Vai).

Kept him safe may be translated as ‘kept him from being harmed.’

Perplexed is equivalent to ‘worried,’ e.g. ‘his heart was gone’ (Tzeltal), ‘hard chased’ (Piro), ‘his mind was killing him’ (Navajo), ‘his stomach rose up’ (Gurunse), ‘he was very irresolute’ (lit., ‘it was all wrong with him’) (Indonesian), and ‘his heart was very divided’ (Javanese).

Mark 6:21

Exegesis genomenēs hēmeras eukairou ‘an opportune day arriving’: for the use of the participial genitive clause to express time, cf. 6:2, genomenou sabbatou ‘when the Sabbath came.’

eukairos (only here in Mark) ‘timely,’ ‘opportune,’ ‘suitable’: so most translations; some, however, hold that the meaning here is ‘a festal (day)’ (cf. Moulton & Milligan)—Moffatt and Goodspeed give it this meaning.

tois genesiois autou (only here in Mark) ‘on his birthday’: properly the dative of the neuter plural of the adjective genesios ‘relating to (one’s) birth,’ with the meaning ‘birthday celebration’ (for the use of the plural cf. ta sabbata ‘Sabbath’ in 1:21).

deipnon epoiēsen ‘he gave a banquet.’

deipnon (12:39) ‘a formal meal,’ ‘a banquet,’ ‘a dinner.’

poieō ‘do,’ ‘make’: for its use in the sense of giving a banquet, cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.1.b.z.

tois megistasin (only here in Mark) ‘chief men,’ ‘nobles.’

tois chiliarchois (only here in Mark) ‘high-ranking military officers’: the chiliarchos, leader of 1000 soldiers, was equivalent to the Roman tribunus militum, commander of a cohort (about 600 men). The word is used here in the general sense of high-ranking officers.

kai tois prōtois ‘and the most prominent men (of Galilee)’: cf. Lagrange, ‘the aristocracy of the country’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich prōtos 1.c.b).

prōtos (9:35, 10:31, 44, 12:20, 28, 29, 14:12, 16:9) ‘first.’

Translation Opportunity is ‘the right time’ or ‘a special time,’ but to make sense one must sometimes specify for whom such an occasion was opportune. Obviously, the proper person would be Herodias, viz, ‘a day for Herodias’ (Subanen).

Birthday must usually not be translated literally, as has been done in some languages. For this was not the day of Herod’s birth, but the day on which he celebrated his birth. (As the result of one translation the people were very much amazed at the precocious nature of the baby Herod, for according to the Scriptures he apparently put on a banquet on the very day of his birth and was much impressed by the dancing of Herodias’ daughter.) Equivalents of birthday are quite varied: ‘day he was remembering his birth’ (Kiyaka), ‘when day of his birth comes up again’ (Trique), ‘day when he completed another year’ (Eastern Otomi), and ‘day of his year’ (Chol).

Gave a banquet may be rendered as ‘provided much food’ or ’caused to get together to eat’ (Zoque). The giving of a feast is such a widespread custom in so many societies that there are usually no special problems in finding a satisfactory equivalent.

Courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee represent three classes of people: (1) the civil government, officials, (2) the military officers, and (3) the leading citizens of the realm, i.e. members of influential, rich families. This phrase can be rendered as ‘his under-rulers (i.e. those beneath him), and the rulers of his soldiers, and the wealthy people in Galilee.’ (Wealth and social prestige were as much equated in Biblical times as they are today.) In some languages leading men are ‘the chiefs’ or ‘the headmen’ (Navajo).

Mark 6:22

Text With the support of many early mss. Westcott and Hort have tēs thugatros autou Hērōdiados ‘his (i.e. Herod’s) daughter Herodias,’ instead of tēs thugatros autēs tēs Hērōdiados ‘the daughter of Herodias’ of all other editions of the Greek text. The textual problem is discussed in the commentaries; Lagrange admits the weight of the external evidence in favor of the Westcott and Hort text, but concludes: “It is a case where one is compelled to reject the best manuscripts.”

Exegesis autēs tēs Hērōdiados literally ‘of Herodias herself’: here, however, is probably another example of the same Semitic idiom observed in 1:7 hou autou ‘whose … his’ in which the pronoun is redundant, expressing the same idea as the genitive case of the noun (cf. Black Aramaic, 72). It simply means ‘of Herodias.’

orchēsamenēs (only here in Mark) ‘dancing.’

ēresen (only here in Mark) ‘she pleased,’ ‘she delighted.’

tois sunanakeimenois (cf. 2:15) ‘those reclining (at meal) with him,’ i.e. ‘his guests.’

korasiō (cf. 5:41) ‘maiden,’ ‘girl.’

aitēson (6:23, 24, 25, 10:35, 38, 11:24, 15:8, 43) ‘ask (for something),’ ‘request.’

Translation Came in refers to her entry into the banquet room, i.e. ‘came into the room.’

Danced does not specify the type of dance, but in languages in which there are different words depending on the type of movements involved, one should choose a word which is most likely to fit this type of context—a stag party given by a notoriously sensuous ruler.

She pleased Herod … must be recast in some languages, ‘Herod and his guests were pleased with her.’

Girl is variously translated in different receptor languages, depending on the presumed age of Herodias’ daughter. The pleasure shown by Herod and his guests would seem to indicate that Salome was probably beyond puberty.

Ask is not the asking of questioning, but the asking of requesting. In Tzeltal the idiom is ‘ask me what you ask me,’ meaning ‘ask me for anything.’

Grant it may be rendered as ‘give it to you’ or ‘let you have it.’

Mark 6:23

Text After ōmosen ‘he swore’ Taylor and Kilpatrick add polla ‘much,’ which is omitted by all other editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis ōmosen (14:71) ‘swore,’ ‘vowed,’ ‘took an oath.’

heōs hēmisous ‘up to one-half,’ ‘as much as one-half.’

Translation Vowed means ‘swore an oath,’ a practice which in its so-called proper sense is more common in other cultures than in ours. In English to swear usually implies cursing and indiscriminate use of names of Deity. But in this passage one has an instance of a culturally common practice of making a promise while calling on God to witness and implying that failure to perform an oath would invoke divine sanctions. Such an action is describable in quite different ways, e.g. ‘God sees me, I tell the truth to you’ (Tzeltal), ‘he loaded himself down’ (Huichol), ‘to speak-stay,’ implying permanence of the utterance (Popoluca), and ‘to say what he could not take away’ (San Blas).

Half of my kingdom may be ‘half of the land I rule over’ (Popoluca) or ‘half of my land’ (Shipibo).

Mark 6:24

Exegesis ti aitēsōmai ‘what should I ask for?’: not simply futuristic, but with the element of deliberation.

kephalēn (6:25, 27, 28, 12:10, 14:3, 15:19, 29) ‘head.’

Iōannou tou baptizontos (cf. 1:4, 6:14) ‘of John the Baptizer’: as in both other cases a title.

Translation Went out means ‘went out of the room.’

Said to her mother must in many instances be changed to ‘asked her mother.’

What shall I ask may be more precisely translated as ‘what do you want me to ask’ (Subanen).

She said is translated in some languages ‘she replied.’

Though the phrase the head of John the baptizer is the grammatical object of the preceding verb ‘said’ or ‘replied,’ it is actually the object of an elliptical verb ‘ask for.’ This ellipsis must be filled in some languages, e.g. ‘and she replied, Ask for the head of John the baptizer.’

For John the baptizer see 1:4.

Mark 6:25

Exegesis meta spoudēs (only here in Mark) ‘with haste,’ ‘in a hurry’; perhaps ‘eagerly’ (Lagrange).

ētēsato legousa ‘she requested, saying’: it is not necessary, however, in English, to translate both verbs (as does RSV); simply ‘she requested.’

thelō hina ‘I want that’: as in 5:23 the force of the phrase here is probably imperatival; thelō hina dōs moi ‘Give me’ (it may be that thelō hina is equivalent, as in later Greek, to ‘please’).

exautēs (only here in Mark) ‘at once,’ ‘immediately’ (the whole phrase is ex autēs tēs hōras ‘this very hour’).

pinaki (6:28) ‘platter,’ ‘dish.’

Iōannou tou baptistou (8:28) ‘of John the Baptist’ (cf. ho baptizōn ‘the Baptizer’ in 1:4).

Translation Immediately with haste reflects a double expression in the Greek text. The idea is that the girl not only returned very soon, but she was obviously hurrying to deliver her request.

The closest equivalent of platter is often ‘serving tray,’ whether consisting of earthenware, wood or basketry. It must be a sufficiently large object, so as to hold a human head, but not one in which the head would be hidden from view, as in the case of a basket. Evidently, Herodias was eager that her triumph might be clearly witnessed by all who were present.

Mark 6:26

Exegesis perilupos (14:34) ‘very sad,’ ‘deeply grieved’; possibly ‘greatly annoyed’ (Manson), ‘very vexed’ (Moffatt).

orkous (only here in Mark) ‘oaths,’ ‘vows.’

anakeimenous (14:18, 16:14) ‘(the men) reclining at (the table),’ i.e. ‘the guests.’ Most translators take ‘because of his oaths and his guests’ with what follows (as does RSV); BFBS, however, takes it with what precedes: ‘The king was deeply distressed on account of his oaths and those dining with him.’

ouk ēthelēsen athetēsai autēn ‘he did not want to refuse her.’

atheteō (7:9) ‘reject’; the meaning here could be ‘disappoint her’ (by breaking his word to her): cf. Field Notes, 30; Arndt & Gingrich 1.b. translate ‘did not want to refuse her.’

Translation It is usually necessary to distinguish carefully between sorry and sorrow, (though the Greek perilupos may be used for both concepts), especially if the receptor language distinguishes between emotional feelings which are caused by what one has done himself and those which arise because of sympathy for the plight of others. Expressions for sorry are often quite figurative, e.g. ‘to be heavy in the stomach’ (Uduk) and ‘to have a painful heart’ (Kpelle).

For oath, see vowed, 6:23. Amuzgo renders this expression as ‘because of the tight (i.e. ‘binding’) word which he had said to her face’ (a verb, rather than a noun, is required). In some languages for oath one can use ‘a strong promise’ (Barrow Eskimo).

Guests may be described as ‘people who have been invited to the feast,’ but there is generally some more direct and specific way of designating such persons.

Break his word to her is strictly figurative language, and in many languages one cannot ‘break a word,’ but it may be possible ‘to kill a word’ or ‘to forget a word.’ In Cashibo one must say ‘did not want to say, I will not do it,’ a full description in the form of direct discourse. Amuzgo renders this expression as ‘he did not want to have his heart change his word to that woman’s face,’ in which the term ‘face’ is a means of identifying the direction of speaking.

Mark 6:27–28

Exegesis aposteilas epetaxen ‘sending … ordered,’ ‘sent and ordered’: the sense is ‘sent with orders’ (Goodspeed, Moffatt, BFBS).

epitassō (cf. 1:27) ‘give orders,’ ‘command.’

spekoulatora (only here in the N.T.) ‘courier,’ ‘scout,’ and, by extension of the meaning, ‘executioner’ (a loan-word from the Latin speculator).

Translation It is important that the sequence of events in the first clause not be confused, for a literal translation into some languages would make the text mean that Herod first sent off a soldier and then gave the orders. This may be recast in such instances to read ‘the king sent off a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head,’ or ‘the king gave orders to a soldier of the guard and sent him off to bring John’s head.’

His must in several languages be made more specific, since the reference is back in verse 25.

Beheaded is simply ‘cut off his head,’ and if the receptor language requires an indication of instrument, a ‘sword’ is most likely.

Brought is ‘carried,’ but in some languages there a number of words for ‘carrying’ depending on the type of object and how it is carried. The term chosen must fit this type of context.

Mark 6:29

Exegesis hoi mathētai autou ‘his (i.e. John’s) disciples’ (cf. 2:18).

ptōma (15:45) ‘(fallen) body,’ ‘corpse’ (from piptō ‘fall’).

ethēkan (cf. 4:21) ‘they placed,’ ‘they put.’

en mnēmeiō (cf. 5:2) ‘in a tomb,’ ‘in a grave.’

Translation His must be rendered as ‘John’s’ in many languages, since the usual referent of his in a phrase speaking of disciples would be Jesus, and in a number of instances people have wrongly thought that this was an act of kindness on the part of Jesus’ disciples toward John.

Came is probably better rendered as ‘went,’ unless one wishes to portray the writer Mark as narrating from Herod’s court. (For a discussion of problems involving ‘come’ and ‘go,’ see 1:14).

Mark 6:30

Exegesis kai sunagontai hoi apostoloi ‘and the apostles come together.’

sunagō (cf. 2:2) ‘gather,’ ‘come together.’

hoi apostoloi (unless in 3:14 also, only here in Mark) ‘the apostles,’ i.e. the Twelve whom Jesus sent out (apostellein 6:7) in pairs on a preaching and healing ministry.

apēggeilan (cf. 5:14) ‘they announced,’ ‘they related,’ ‘they told.’

Translation The use of section headings helps to bridge the abrupt transition from verses 29 to 30 (see list of section headings in the Appendix).

Apostles is rendered primarily in two ways: (1) a word or phrase meaning ‘the sent ones’ (Eastern Otomi, Tzeltal, Conob, Tarascan, Navajo, Zoque, Chol) and ‘messengers’ (Kituba, Bare’e, Mezquital Otomi, Pame). In some languages there are certain special adaptations: ‘word carriers,’ practically equivalent to ‘messengers’ (Valiente), ‘those commanded to carry the message’ (Subanen), ‘witnesses to God,’ meaning those who speak up and out for God’ (San Blas). A still further method of dealing with the word apostles is to borrow the term used in the prestige language of the area. Unless, however, there is a rather extensive Christian tradition, transliteration of a borrowed word is not recommended.

Mark 6:31

Exegesis deute humeis autoi kat’ idian eis erēmon topon ‘you yourselves come in private to an isolated spot.’

deute cf. 1:17) ‘come.’

kat’ idian (cf. 4:34) ‘privately,’ ‘alone.’

eis erēmon topon (cf. 1:35, 45) ‘to a lonely place,’ ‘to an isolated spot.’

anapausasthe (14:41) ‘rest ye.’

oligon is adverbial ‘a little (while)’ expressing time (cf. 1:19 where it expresses distance).

hoi erchomenoi kai hoi hupagontes ‘those (who were) coming and those (who were) going.’

hupagō (cf. 1:44) ‘go,’ ‘depart.’

kai oude phagein eukairoun ‘and they [i.e. Jesus and his disciples] did not have time even to eat.’

eukaireō (only here in Mark; cf. eukairos 6:21) ‘have a favorable time,’ ‘have opportunity’: here used of time (cf. Moulton & Milligan). For a similar situation cf. also 3:20.

Translation Said must in some languages be translated as ‘commanded’ or ‘urged,’ since the following expression is not a declarative sentence, but in the form of a command.

Come away by yourselves may be very misleading if translated literally, for it might mean that the disciples were to gather as a group without Jesus. The meaning is that they were to go together with Jesus to an isolated place. This may be rendered in some languages as ‘come away with me so that we can be alone together.’ Cf. Javanese ‘You come here and go alone with me.’

Many must refer to the people in general, the crowds. One may translate, ‘for many people were coming and going’ (literally, in some languages, ‘coming to where the disciples were and later leaving,’ or ‘joining with the disciples and then departing.’) Coming and going must not be translated in such a way as to refer to the passing of people on the thoroughfare, but the coming of people to talk with Jesus and the disciples.

Leisure to eat is really ‘an opportunity (or ‘a chance’) to eat.’

Mark 6:32–33

Text In v. 33 after hupagontas ‘going’ Textus Receptus adds hoi ochloi ‘the crowds,’ omitted by all modern editions of the Greek text.

After epegnōsan ‘recognized’ Textus Receptus adds auton ‘him’; Tischendorf, Merk, Soden, and Kilpatrick add autous ‘them’; no addition is made by Nestle, Westcott and Hort, Vogels, Souter, Lagrange, and Taylor.

At the end of the verse after autous ‘them’ Textus Receptus adds kai sunēlthon pros auton ‘and they gathered to him,’ which is omitted by all modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis kai eidon ‘and they saw’: most translations take polloi ‘many’ to be the subject of eidon ‘saw’; some, however, understand eidon in an impersonal sense, ‘people saw,’ with polloi ‘many’ the subject of epegnōsan ‘recognized’ alone—so Weymouth ‘but the people saw them going, and many recognized them’ (cf. Lagrange, Taylor).

epegnōsan (cf. 2:8) ‘they perceived,’ ‘they recognized’: this rendering better expresses the meaning of the verb here than ‘knew’ (RSV).

pezē (only here in Mark) ‘by land’ (opposed to en ploiō ‘by boat’), ‘on foot’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich).

apo pasōn tōn poleōn ‘from all the cities’: cf. 1:5 for another example of this vivid manner in portraying an action involving many people.

sunedramon ekei kai proēlthon autous ‘they ran there and arrived before them’: the adverb ‘there’ refers to the lonely spot to which Jesus and his disciples were going.

suntrechō (only here in Mark) ‘run together’: used of a number of persons who run to a place and gather there (Arndt & Gingrich).

proerchomai (14:35) ‘come ahead,’ ‘arrive before (someone)’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 3).

Translation They went away must refer to Jesus as well as the disciples.

Lonely place is ‘an uninhabited place’ or ‘a place where there were no people living.’

Many is often rendered as ‘many people.’

Knew them is often better translated as ‘recognized them’ or ‘knew who they were.’

There is a very ambiguous adverb, which must be made more precise in some languages, e.g. ‘to where the boat was headed’ or ‘to where the disciples and Jesus were going.’ A number of languages require very well defined distinctions of place and direction, as determined by the position of the participants in an action. Care must be exercised to be sure that the proper adverb, or adverbial phrase, is employed.

Ahead of them means, of course, ‘before Jesus and his disciples arrived,’ though it is rarely necessary to employ such an extensive paraphrase.

Mark 6:34

Exegesis exelthōn ‘coming out (of the boat),’ ‘when he landed.’

polun ochlon (cf. 5:21, 24) ‘a large crowd.’

esplagchnisthē (cf. 1:41) ‘he was moved with compassion,’ ‘he was touched with pity,’ ‘he felt sorry.’

hōs probata mē echonta poimena ‘as sheep not having a shepherd’: the words reflect O.T. passages such as Num. 27:17, 1 Chron. 22:17, Ezek. 34:5.

probaton (14:27) ‘sheep.’

poimēn (14:27) ‘shepherd.’

polla either adverbial ‘much’ (Taylor, Moffatt, Lagrange) or adjectival ‘many things’ (ASV, RSV, Weymouth, Goodspeed, Manson, Brazilian).

Translation Depending upon the extent to which Jesus may have been introduced into the preceding verses, it may be necessary to employ ‘Jesus’ in place of the first he.

Landed is in some languages ‘climbed out of the boat onto the land.’

Compassion is an emotion frequently described in terms closely related to words for ‘pain’ and ‘crying,’ e.g. ‘he cried in his insides’ (Shilluk), ‘pain came to his heart’ (Tojolabal), ‘his heart was full of mercy’ (Bare’e), and ‘he died of pity’ (Kiyaka). This is the highest type of sympathy.

Sheep without a shepherd are ‘sheep which had no one to care for them’ or ‘sheep which no one helped’ (or ‘guarded,’ ‘protected’).

Sheep are known throughout most of the world, even though, as in Central Africa, they are a far cry from the fleecy wool-producing animals of colder climates. Where such animals are known, even by seemingly strange names, e.g. ‘cotton deer’ (Maya) or ‘woolly goat’ (Barrow Eskimo), such names should be used. In some instances, one may wish to borrow a name and use a classifier, e.g. ‘an animal called sheep‘. In still other instances translators have used ‘animal which produces wool,’ for though people are not acquainted with the animals they are familiar with wool.

We may say teach many things, but in other languages one can only ‘teach many words,’ ‘teach much,’ or ‘explain long’ (referring to the time occupied in speaking).

Mark 6:35–36

Text Verse 36. Instead of ti phagōsin ‘what they may eat’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has artous ti gar phagōsin ouk echousin ‘bread: for they have nothing to eat.’

Exegesis ēdē hōras pollēs genomenēs ‘it was already a late hour’: for the participial genitive clause used to express time cf. 6:21.

ēdē (4:37, 8:2, 11:11, 13:28, 15:42, 44) ‘already,’ ‘by now.’

hōra (11:11, 13:11, 32, 14:35, 37, 41, 15:25, 33, 34) ‘hour’: the expression hōra pollē means ‘late hour.’

proselthontes (cf. 1:31) ‘coming to,’ ‘approaching,’ drawing near.’

apoluson autous ‘dismiss them,’ ‘send them away.’ The verb apoluō appears in Mark with three meanings: (1) ‘send away,’ ‘dismiss’ 6:36, 45, 8:3, 9; (2) ‘divorce’ 10:2, 4, 11, 12; (3) ‘release,’ ‘set free’ 15:6, 9, 11, 15.

eis tous kuklō agrous kai kōmas ‘to the nearby villages and towns.’

kuklō (cf. 3:34) ‘around,’ ‘surrounding,’ ‘nearby.’

agros (cf. 5:14) ‘hamlet,’ small country town.’

kōmē (cf. 6:6) ‘village,’ ‘town.’

hina agorasōsin heautois ti phagōsin ‘in order that … they may buy for themselves something they may eat.’

agorazō (6:37, 11:15, 15:46, 16:1) ‘buy,’ ‘purchase.’

ti phagōsin ‘what they may eat’: the interrogative pronoun ti is used here as a relative ‘something’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich tis 1.b.z): cf. 8:1, 2 for further examples.

Translation Grew late probably refers to late in the afternoon, perhaps toward sundown, but not late at night, for it is presumed that the village market places would still be open.

Send them away must not be understood in the sense of ‘getting rid of the people,’ but simply urging them to go and provide for themselves.

Mark 6:37–38

Exegesis apokritheis eipen (cf. 3:33 for this construction) ‘he answered.’

dote humeis ‘you … give’: the personal pronoun here is emphatic—’you yourselves give (them something to eat)’ (cf. Weymouth, Moffatt, Goodspeed, BFBS).

dēnariōn diakosiōn artous ‘loaves of two hundred denarii’: the genitive expresses the price, ‘two hundred denarii worth of loaves.’

dēnarion (12:15, 14:5) ‘denarius’: at the time of Jesus the coin is generally supposed to have been the equivalent of a rural worker’s daily wage, as in Mt. 20:2 (cf. Manson (ed) A Companion to the Bible, 498).

artos ‘bread,’ ‘loaf’: in this incident probably barley loaves are indicated (cf. Jn. 6:8).

posous echete artous; ‘how many loaves have you?’

posos (8:5, 19, 20, 9:21, 15:4) ‘how much,’ ‘how many.’

ichthuas (6:41, 43) ‘fish’: here, of course, not fresh fish but prepared fish, either cooked or pickled (cf. Jn. 6:19).

Translation Answered is not used in the sense of ‘answer a question,’ but ‘reply to their statement’ or ‘speak in return.’

The question of the disciples is probably best interpreted as a rhetorical question, not a request for permission or authorization to go and buy; a kind of exclamatory question, implying the utter foolishness of such an idea (compare the parallel passages: Mt. 14:13–21, Luke 9:11–17, and John 6:5–13).

Denarii poses a problem in translation, for though it was a coin for which the silver content would be equivalent to about 20 cents in American money, its buying power was much greater, as a result of the relatively low standard of living prevailing in Palestine in those days among the lower classes. It would not be reasonable to translate it by some equivalent coin equal to 20 cents U.S. Moreover, if one chooses any local currency the translation may be badly out of line within a short time, due to extreme inflation, as has occurred in so many parts of the world. (Some countries have seen inflationary pressures within the last two or three years change currency rates from as much as 100 to 1—in terms of the dollar—to as much as 10,000 to 1.) In areas where there is a relatively stable currency and there is a unit of currency roughly equivalent to a day’s wage of a common laborer, such a coin may be used. In most instances, however, it has seemed best to borrow the Greek word denarius, and speak of ‘bread worth 200 denarius coins’ (or ‘pieces of money’). One can then use a footnote and explain that a denarius (or whatever the appropriate transliterated form might be) was equivalent to a day’s wage. It is recommended that one employ a short table of Weights and Measures (see appendix) in publications of New Testaments or Bibles, and that in such a table the various units of currency be related to the basic unit of the denarius.

Five, and two fish must be reproduced in full grammatical form in some languages, ‘we have five loaves and two fish.’

Mark 6:39

Exegesis epetaxen autois anaklithēnai pantas ‘he commanded them all to recline’ (the verb ‘command’ here takes the infinitive ‘recline’ as direct object, while pantas ‘all’ is the subject of the infinitive; autois ‘them’ is the indirect object).

epitassō (cf. 1:27) ‘command,’ ‘order.’

anaklinō (only here in Mark) in the active is causative ’cause to lie down’; in the passive it means ‘lie down,’ ‘recline,’ ‘sit’ (here equivalent to anapiptō in the next verse).

sumposia sumposia ‘in groups,’ ‘in parties’: for this distributive use cf. duo duo ‘by twos’ in 6:7 and prasiai prasiai in the next verse.

sumposion (only here in the N.T.) meant originally ‘a drinking party’ and then, by extension, the party itself, the guests (cf. Abbott-Smith).

epi tō chlōrō chortō ‘upon the green grass’: it is generally assumed that this added detail indicates that it was the spring season.

chlōros (only here in Mark) ‘green.’

chortos (cf. 4:28) ‘grass.’

Translation Commanded them must be followed in many languages by direct discourse, e.g. ‘commanded them, You sit down.…’

Though Greek has ‘reclined,’ the normal position assumed in eating, one must use whatever is culturally acceptable in the receptor language in question (note the adaptation to English sit).

The size of the companies is explained in the following verse. Here one may use ‘groups’ or as in some languages ‘parts.’ The entire distributive expression may be rendered as ‘he commanded them, You sit down, one group here and another group there on the green grass.’

It is not sufficient to ask for the indigenous word for ‘green’ and then assume that one can say ‘green grass,’ for the color of grass may be designated by another color word, e.g. grass is called ‘yellow’ in Navajo. That is to say, the word which usually designates yellow also includes chartreuse and grass-color. The word for ‘green,’ used for example in speaking of green trees such as pines, is a different term.

Mark 6:40

Exegesis anepesan prasiai prasiai ‘they reclined in ranks.’

anapiptō (8:6) ‘lie down,’ ‘recline’ to eat.

prasia (only here in the N.T.) meant originally ‘a garden plot’; when used as here it means ‘in orderly groups,’ ‘in rows,’ ‘in ranks’ (cf. Moulton & Milligan). The element of order is stressed in the use of the word: the multitude formed orderly rows which could be easily and quickly served by the disciples (cf. Rawlinson; E. F. F. Bishop Expository Times, 60.192, 1949).

kata hekaton kai kata pentēkonta ‘by the hundreds and by the fifties’: so most translations and commentaries. Manson, however, has ‘a hundred rows of fifty each’ (cf. also Moule Idiom Book, 59f. “a great rectangle, a hundred by fifty …: ‘one side of the rectangle was reckoned at a hundred, and the other at fifty.’ “): this, however, has not commended itself to many (cf. Lagrange “bien mathématique!”).

Translation In groups, by hundreds and by fifties is a very compact phrase, and one which must in certain languages be somewhat expanded, e.g. ‘different groups; some groups had one hundred people and other groups had fifty people’ (Subanen); South Toradja expresses it ‘in groups there were hundreds, there were fifties.’

Mark 6:41

Exegesis labōn (cf. 4:16) ‘taking.’

anablepsas eis ton ouranon ‘looking up to heaven’ in an attitude of prayer.

anablepō (7:34, 16:4) ‘look up’; in 8:24, 10:51, 52 it means ‘to recover sight,’ ‘see again.’

eulogēsen (8:7, 11:9, 10, 14:22) ‘he blessed’: here and in 8:7 and 14:22 (and parallels in the other Gospels) the word may mean (1) ‘invoke God’s blessing upon,’ or (2) ‘give thanks (to God),’ ‘praise (God)’ as the equivalent of eucharisteō ‘give thanks,’ ‘praise.’ Arndt & Gingrich reflect lack of finality in the matter by refusing to classify these passages definitely under one or other heading.

A study of the passages which deal with the two feedings of the multitudes, the Supper, and the related passages, shows that eulogeō and eucharisteō are used interchangeably. In the feeding of the five thousand, eulogeō is found in Mk. 6:41 // Mt. 14:19 // Lk. 9:16, and eucharisteō in Jn. 6:11, 23. In the feeding of the four thousand, eucharisteō is used in Mk. 8:6 // Mt. 15:36, and eulogeō in Mk. 8:7. In the institution of the Supper eucharisteō is used of the loaf Lk. 22:19 // 1 Co. 11:24, and of the cup Mk. 14:23 // Mt. 26:27 // Lk. 22:17; eulogeō is used of the loaf Mk. 14:22 // Mt. 26:26 (and of the cup in 1 Co. 10:16). In the Emmaus incident eulogeō is used of the bread Lk. 24:30. It would be precarious to try to establish a difference between the actions described by the two verbs in all these passages as though eulogeō always meant exclusively ‘to call God’s blessing upon’ and eucharisteō ‘thank God for.’ The conclusion appears inevitable that the two verbs describe the same action of praise or thanksgiving offered in prayer to God.

It should be noticed, however, that in two passages eulogeō takes a direct object: the loaves and fish in Lk. 9:16 and the fish in Mk. 8:7. In these two passages it would be natural to assume that the meaning is ‘ask God to bless,’ ‘invoke God’s blessing upon’ (although Taylor, 360, maintains that in Mk. 8:7 no difference is to be established between eulogeō [of the fish] and eucharisteō in the previous verse [of the loaves]: “The act is one of thanksgiving to God”). In 1 Co. 10:16 ‘the cup of blessing which we bless’ would seem to mean ‘the cup of blessing for which we bless (i.e. praise) God’ (cf. Robertson and Plummer 1 Corinthians in loc.).

The Vulgate consistently translates eulogeō by benedicere and eucharisteō by gratias agere. The Syriac always translates eulogeō by b-r-k ‘bless’; used of God, ‘bless God,’ it means ‘praise God’ (cf. Koehler). This same verb is also used to translate eucharisteō in Mk. 8:6, Jn. 6:11, 23, and 1 Co. 11:24. Elsewhere eucharisteō is translated by y-d-‘ ‘confess,’ ‘give thanks,’ ‘praise’ (Hebrew yadhah); in Mk. 14:23 both y-d-‘ and b-r-k are used, and in Mt. 15:36 sh-bh-ḥ ‘praise,’ ‘give thanks.’ The evidence from the Syriac would seem to indicate that the two Greek verbs are practically synonymous in meaning.

English translations, as a rule, translate eucharisteō ‘give thanks,’ and eulogeō ‘bless.’ Weymouth, Moffatt and Goodspeed always have a direct object for ‘bless,’ either the loaves and fish, or the bread and cup of the Supper. RSV has followed ASV by using ‘bless’ as an intransitive verb, with no object following, meaning (presumably) ‘said a blessing.’ Brazilian always translates eulogeō ‘bless’ with a direct object (as do Weymouth and others), and eucharisteō ‘give thanks’; Synodale translates both words ‘give thanks’ (with the exception of Lk. 9:16 and 1 Co. 10:16 where eulogeō is translated ‘bless’ with a direct object); Zürich translates both words ‘say a prayer of thanks for it’ (sprechen das Dankgebet darüber).

From this it is evident that there exists no uniformity in translating the two terms. That the two are practically equivalent, in these passages, seems to be indicated by the Gospel narratives themselves, and there is good precedent for translating them in this manner.

kateklasen (only here in Mark: cf. klao 8:6, 19, 14:22) ‘he broke,’ ‘he broke into fragments.’

paratithōsin (8:6, 7) ‘that they should set before (them)’: though there is no way of determining the question, it would seem probable, in light of the customs of that time, that the Twelve carried the bread and fish and placed them before the various groups of fifty and one hundred, and not before each person individually.

emerisen (cf. 3:24) ‘he divided,’ ‘he distributed’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 2.a).

Translation Taking must in some languages be ‘took in his hands,’ since the instrument or agent of the taking must be specified.

Looked up to heaven is ‘looked up toward heaven’ not ‘looked into heaven,’ as in some translations.

Blessed involves a number of problems for the translator because of (1) the ambiguous nature of the Greek expression, (2) the tendency to interpret any blessing of an object as involving some magical practices, and (3) the confusion between ‘blessing’ and ‘making taboo.’ Where there is an object of the process of blessing, the tendency is to understanding consecration or sanctifying, e.g. ‘place holiness on’ (Huave) or ‘to cause it to be holy.’ In some languages there is a more indirect way of dealing with this problem by saying ‘give it his good word’ (Chol) and ‘prayed about it’ (Tarahumara, Subanen). However, in order to avoid a manifestly incorrect interpretation, which presumes that Jesus employed some word ritual to increase the food magically, it may be better to translate ‘spoke to God on behalf of the food’ or ‘gave thanks to God for the food.’

Broke the loaves means breaking them apart in his hands, not, as implied in one translation, smashing them like stones.

Gave them must refer here to the pieces of bread.

To set before, as noted above, probably refers to supplies distributed to the groups which would in turn distribute them among those in the group.

Divided the two fish among them all does not mean that Jesus divided the fish and personally served all the people. In some languages one must say ‘divided the fish for all the people’ or ‘divided the fish so all the people could have some.’

Mark 6:42–43

Text In v. 43 instead of kophinōn plērōmata ‘basketfuls’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has kophinous plēreis ‘baskets full.’

Exegesis echortasthēsan (7:27, 8:4, 8) ‘they were fed,’ ‘they were filled,’ ‘they were satisfied.’

kai ēran klasmata dōdeka kophinōn plērōmata ‘and they took up (the) broken pieces, twelve basketfuls.’ While it is possible that the subject of ‘they took up’ is the disciples, it is more probable that the verb is used impersonally, meaning simply ‘twelve basketfuls were taken up.’

klasma (8:8, 19, 20) ‘fragment,’ ‘broken piece’: it should be made clear in translation that these were pieces that remained uneaten, not crumbs that were dropped in eating (cf. E. F. F. Bishop Expository Times, 60.192f. 1949).

dōdeka kophinōn plērōmata literally ‘twelve fillings of baskets,’ ‘twelve basketfuls’: plērōma is ‘that which fills,’ ‘complement’ (cf. 2:21), and the phrase here indicates the amount (in terms of capacity) of broken pieces of bread which remained (cf. Arndt & Gingrich plērōma 1.a; Expository Times 60.193, 1949). The strict meaning is rather ‘twelve basketfuls‘ than ‘twelve baskets full of.…’

kophinos (8:19) ‘basket’: a stiff wicker basket in which the Jews carried provisions. There is no agreement as to the precise size, nor does it seem that difference in size is what distinguished it from the spuris ‘basket’ of 8:8. It appears that spuris was a flexible mat-basket, made of rushes, perhaps, especially used by fishermen for carrying fish or food generally (cf. F. J. A. Hort Journal of Theological Studies 10.567–71, 1908–9).

kai apo tōn ichthuōn ‘and of the fish,’ i.e. ‘and some of the fish’ (BFBS; cf. Black Aramaic, 251): for this same kind of construction cf. 5:35 (cf. Arndt & Gingrich apo I.6: ‘the remnants of the fish’).

Translation They all would evidently refer not only to the people but to the disciples and Jesus. One may translate ‘everyone ate.’

When the receptor language demands an active construction, specifying who took up the fragments, it is probably justifiable to use ‘the disciples took up.’ They did not pick up the food from the ground, and hence one may translate as in some languages ‘received back from the people pieces of bread and fish, enough to fill twelve baskets.’

Though the Greek word for ‘basket’ kophinos does not indicate the specific size of the container involved, it is entirely legitimate to select in the receptor language a term which would identify a relatively large basket, the type of container that might be carried by people who were out gathering supplies in the fields or who used the baskets for transporting produce.

Mark 6:44

Exegesis andres ‘men’: adult males, as distinguished from the women and children (cf. Mt. 14:21).

Translation One should not translate this sentence in such a form as to mean that only men ate, and that women and children were excluded (cf. Mt. 14:21). In some languages this requires one to say, ‘of those that ate the food there were five thousand men.’

Though loaves are specified in this verse, one is not to interpret that the five thousand had some of the loaves, but the fish was entirely too limited to go around. ‘Food’ is a not unwarranted substitution for loaves.

Mark 6:45

Text eis to peran ‘to the other side’ is omitted by Taylor and Manson, but retained by all other modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis ēnagkasen embēnai kai proagein ‘he compelled … to enter … and to go ahead.’

anagkazō (only here in Mark) ‘force,’ ‘compel’; Arndt & Gingrich 2, see a weakened meaning ‘strongly urge.’ The word implies unwillingness on the part of the disciples.

embainō (cf. 4:1) ‘get in,’ ’embark.’

proagō (10:32, 11:9, 14:28, 16:7) ‘lead the way,’ ‘go before,’ ‘precede.’

eis to peran (cf. 4:35) ‘to the other side’: on the difficulties of joining this phrase to pros Bēthsaida ‘to Bethsaida’ see the commentaries. It is generally agreed that this is Bethsaida Julias on the east side of the Lake.

heōs autos apoluei ‘while he dismisses.’

heōs ‘until’: with the present indicative (as here) it means while the action indicated by the verb is in process (cf. Arndt & Gingrich I.2.a; for further examples cf. Mt. 5:25, Jn. 9:4).

apoluō (cf. 6:36) ‘send away,’ ‘dismiss.’

Translation Made his disciples get into the boat is a verbal, not a direct, instrumental causative, i.e. ‘he told his disciples to get into the boat.’ One must avoid the impression of Jesus manhandling his disciples, an easy mistake to make at this point.

If a verb of ‘speaking’ or ‘commanding’ is used, one may shift this verse to direct discourse, ‘he ordered his disciples, Get into the boat and go on ahead of me to the other side, to the town of Bethsaida.…’

Dismissed the crowd is paralleled in some languages by ‘told the crowd to go home’ (Subanen), but see also 6:36.

Mark 6:46

Exegesis apotaxamenos autois ‘taking leave of them,’ ‘bidding them farewell.’

apotassomai (only here in Mark) ‘take leave of,’ ‘say goodbye’; Moulton & Milligan give an example of its use in the papyri with the stronger meaning ‘get rid of’ (cf. Lk. 14:33).

autois ‘them’: it is ambiguous in Greek, referring either to the disciples or to the crowd (Mt 14:23 makes it explicit by saying ‘he dismissed the crowds’). The RSV ‘them’ apparently refers to the disciples, as does BFBS (and others); Vulgate, Goodspeed, Weymouth, Lagrange and Taylor assume that the crowd is meant. If apotassomai ‘take leave of’ differs in meaning from apoluō ‘dismiss’ of the previous verse (as it probably does), then it would seem that autois ‘them’ refers to the disciples rather than to the crowd. If possible, a translation should preserve the ambiguity of the Greek.

eis to oros (cf. 3:13) ‘to the hill,’ ‘into the hills.’

proseuxasthai (cf. 1:35) ‘to pray’: infinitive of purpose, ‘in order to pray.’

Translation As noted above, one should try to preserve the ambiguity in the rendering of them. The sequence of events would seem to imply that the disciples left before the crowd, in which case, of course, them would refer to the people. On the other hand, he may have ordered his disciples to leave, and while they were getting the boat ready (having possibly drawn it up on the beach), Jesus dismissed the crowd and then turned to say good-bye to the disciples.

Went into the hills is good English but impossible in many languages. One may go ‘between the hills,’ ‘to where the hills are,’ or ‘climb among the hills,’ but ‘going into the hills’ may be used only of miners.

For pray see 1:35.

Mark 6:47

Text After ēn ‘was’ Soden, Taylor and Kilpatrick add palai ‘already,’ which is omitted by all other modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis opsias genomenēs (cf. 4:35) ‘when evening came’: it is to be presumed that nighttime is meant, in light of the ‘late hour’ (v. 35) before the feeding of the multitude. Cf. Lagrange.

en mesō tēs thalassēs ‘in the middle of the sea’: the phrase means more than ‘out on the sea’ of the RSV.

mesos (7:31, 9:36, 14:60; cf. 3:3) ‘middle,’ ‘in the midst.’

hē thalassa (cf. 1:16) ‘the sea,’ i.e. the Lake of Galilee.

kai autos monos ‘and he (was) alone’: monos is here an adjective, ‘alone,’ ‘by himself.’

Translation When evening came is translatable as ‘when it got night’ or ‘when darkness had come.’

The clause the boat was out on the sea may be wrongly interpreted, since it would seem to imply that the boat was there, but not the disciples. Note the contrast in the form of the last clause which specifies Jesus as being alone on the land. Accordingly, one may translate, as required, ‘the disciples were in the boat.…’

Mark 6:48

Exegesis kai idōn erchetai ‘and seeing … he comes,’ ‘when he saw … he came’: in Greek the complete sentence goes from kai idōn ‘and seeing’ to epi tēs thalassēs ‘on the sea,’ the main verb being erchetai ‘he comes.’ The text appears to say that ‘he saw them’ from the hill where he was praying, and so he came, about the fourth watch of the night (cf. Lagrange).

basanizomenous en tō elaunein ‘distressed in (their) rowing,’ ‘troubled as they rowed.’

basanizomai (cf. 5:7) here in the sense of ‘be troubled,’ ‘be distressed’; perhaps the whole phrase means ‘they were straining at the oars’ (Goodspeed; cf. Arndt & Gingrich, BFBS; cf. Manson ‘laboring at the oars’; Berkeley ‘toiling hard at rowing’).

en tō elaunein (cf. 4:4 en tō speirein ‘as he sowed’) in the rowing,’ ‘as they rowed’: the verb occurs only here in Mark.

ho anemos (cf. 4:37) ‘the wind.’

enantios (15:39) ‘against,’ ‘contrary,’ ‘opposed.’

peri tetartēn phulakēn tēs nuktos ‘about the fourth watch of the night’: according to the Greco-Roman system the night (6.00 P.M. to 6.00 A.M.) was divided into four watches of three hours each. The fourth watch, the last one, would be from 3.00 to 6.00 A.M.

phulakē (in 6:17 ‘prison’) ‘watch.’

peripatōn epi tēs thalassēs ‘walking on the sea,’ ‘walking on (top of) the water.’

peripateō (cf. 2:9) ‘walk.’

kai ēthelen parelthein autous ‘and he was going to pass them by’: it is generally agreed that the verb thelō here does not mean ‘will’ or ‘wish,’ but is used in a weakened sense, being the equivalent of an auxiliary (cf. Turner Journal of Theological Studies 28.357, 1926–7; Taylor, BFBS, Manson). ASV ‘as if intending to pass them by’ reads into the text more than is there.

parerchomai (13:30, 31, 14:35) ‘pass by,’ ‘pass’: this is the meaning most commentators and translators give the verb in this passage; without a direct object it may mean ‘come to,’ ‘join’ (Lk. 12:37, 17:7) and this is the meaning Goodspeed gives it here, ‘and (he) was going to join them,’ an interpretation which seems quite reasonable in view of the context.

Translation Rowing is not too widely practiced in the world, and even where it is known, there are two principal practices: (1) pulling the oars, and hence going in the direction to which one’s back is turned, and (2) pushing the oars, as in the Orient, and thus facing the direction in which the boat is moving. Where rowing is completely unknown, translators have tried to describe the action as ‘making the boat move’ (Eastern Otomi) and ‘pushing the water back with wooden poles’ (Trique).

Wind was against them may be translated as ‘the wind was blowing against them’ or ‘the wind was blowing on their back’ (i.e. if our Western kind of rowing is understood) or ‘the wind was blowing into their faces’ (if the Oriental type is generally inferred by the people). One may avoid this problem somewhat by saying ‘blowing from the direction in which they were going.’

The fourth watch is variously rendered: ‘when it was almost dawn’ (Subanen), ‘when the cocks had crowed’ (Maninka), ‘towards dawn’ (South Toradja), ‘at the very first cock-crow’ (Toba Batak), ‘when it was already three o’clock at night’ (Indonesian).

Walking on the sea is ‘walking on top of the lake’ (or ‘face of the lake’ in some instances).

Mark 6:49

Exegesis edoxan (10:42) ‘they thought,’ ‘they supposed.’

phantasma (only here in Mark) ‘apparition,’ ‘ghost.’

anekraxan (cf. 1:23) ‘they cried out,’ ‘they screamed’ in terror.

Translation Ghost is usually quite easily translated, for most peoples claim to have seen apparitions of dead people moving in shadowy forms, and for such spectres they usually have a name. In fact, in some languages there are several different names, depending upon the size and definiteness of form of the object in question.

Mark 6:50

Exegesis etarachthēsan (only here in Mark) ‘they were frightened,’ ‘they were terrified,’ ‘they were troubled.’

elalēsen met’ autōn kai legei autois ‘he spoke with them and says to them’: unlike other constructions in which two almost synonymous verbs are used (one as a participle and the other in a finite form), expressing one idea only, ‘said,’ ‘answered,’ ‘spoke’ (cf. 1:7, 24, 3:33, 6:37), in the present passage two actions are indicated by the verbs: (1) ‘he spoke with them’ (the only place in Mark laleō is used with the preposition meta ‘with’), and (2) ‘he said to them.’

tharseite (10:49) is an imperative ‘cheer up!’ ‘courage!’ ‘take heart!’

egō eimi (13:6, 14:62) ‘it is I.’

mē phobeisthe ‘quit being afraid’ (cf. Burton Moods and Tenses, 165).

Translation For terrified compare 4:40, but in this context the Greek expression is stronger than the one used in 4:40 and implies the active fright of the disciples rather than an intense feeling of awe and latent fear. However, in many languages the same basic idioms are employed, often with qualifiers to indicate the intensity of the emotion.

Take heart is an interesting English idiom, meaning ‘have courage,’ ‘don’t be afraid,’ and ‘buck up’ (to use another figure of speech). This same concept is rendered in other languages in a variety of ways: ‘have a hard heart’ (Miskito), ‘make your heart firm’ (Moré), ‘strengthen your heart’ (Bare’e), ‘bring your heart to rest’ (Javanese), ‘make your heart rest’ (Subanen), and ‘be strong in your heart’ (Zacapoastla Aztec). The basic meaning of the Greek implies the overcoming of fear, and hence any expression—figurative or not—which accurately denotes this experience is valid.

It is I must be recast in many languages to read ‘I am Jesus.’

Mark 6:51

Text At the end of the verse Textus Receptus adds kai ethaumazon ‘and they marveled,’ which is omitted by all modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis anebē pros autous eis to ploion ‘he went up to them into the boat’; Weymouth ‘went up to them and entered the boat.’

anabainō (cf. 1:10) ‘come up,’ ‘go up’: of boats, ’embark,’ ‘get into’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich 1.a.a).

ekopasen (cf. 4:39) ‘abated,’ ‘ceased,’ ‘died down’ (of the wind).

lian (cf. 1:35) ‘very,’ ‘exceedingly.’

ek perissou (only here in Mark) ‘beyond measure,’ ‘exceeding the usual (number or size)’ (Arndt & Gingrich). The true force of this prepositional phrase may be appreciated by comparing the cognate words in Mark: verb, perisseuō (12:44), noun, perisseuma (8:8), comparative adjective, perissoteros (7:36, 12:33, 40), adverb, perissōs (10:26, 15:14).

en heautois existanto ‘they were astounded within themselves’ (cf. Lagrange ils étaient tous extrjmement stupéfaits jn eux-mjmes).

existēmi (cf. 2:12) ‘be baffled,’ ‘be astounded,’ ‘be puzzled.’

Translation The wind ceased may be rendered quite metaphorically in some languages, e.g. ‘the wind healed’ (Bolivian Quechua) or ‘the wind died.’ In Chontal of Tabasco the expression is somewhat more “scientific”: ‘the wind passed by.’

For astounded see 1:22, 27. At this point Tzeltal has ‘their spirits went straight,’ implying the kind of astonishment which accompanies emotional relief.

Mark 6:52

Exegesis ou gar sunēkan epi tois artois ‘for they did not understand about the loaves’: i.e. from the multiplication of the loaves, in the feeding of the multitude, they should have gained insight (into the person of Jesus—Arndt & Gingrich).

all’ ēn autōn hē kardia pepōrōmenē ‘but their heart was hardened.’

kardia (cf. 2:6) ‘heart,’ ‘mind,’ ‘thinking.’

pōroō (8:17; cf. pōrōsis 3:5) ‘harden,’ ‘petrify’; when used of ‘heart’ it means ‘to grow (or, make) dull,’ ‘blind,’ ‘obtuse.’

Translation Some translations of the expression they did not understand about the loaves have meant little more than ‘they did not remember about the loaves’ or ‘they did not think about the loaves.’ However, the meaning here is much more. What the Gospel writer implies is that they did not understand the implications of the miracle. If available terms rendering understand are inadequate in the receptor language, one may need to expand the clause somewhat, e.g. ‘they did not know what it meant when Jesus divided the loaves’ or ‘they did not recognize the meaning of the feeding the people with the loaves.’

There are relatively few languages in which one can say ‘their hearts were hardened’ or ‘hard’ and at the same time preserve the meaning of the original at this point. If translated literally this expression would have the following meanings in various languages: ‘endurance’ (Popoluca), ‘brave’ (Tzeltal), ‘doubt’ (Piro), ‘bad character’ (Trique) and ‘courage’ (Shilluk). On the other hand, one can always speak of the characteristic denoted by the phrase their hearts were hardened, e.g. ‘they have hard heads’ (Trique), ‘their ears do not have holes’ (Shipibo), ‘they do not have pain in their hearts’ (Tzeltal).

Hardened indicates primarily a state of being resulting from a process, not a specific process requiring the identification of the particular agent. The Greek has reference to the condition of the hearts, not the process by which they become hardened.

Mark 6:53

Text Instead of diaperasantes epi tēn gēn ēlthon eis Gennēsaret ‘having crossed over to the land they came to Gennesaret’ of all modern editions of the Greek text, Textus Receptus has diaperasantes ēlthon epi tēn gēn Gennēsaret ‘having crossed over they came to the land of Gennesaret.’

Exegesis diaperasantes (cf. 5:21) ‘having crossed (the Lake of Galilee).’

epi tēn gēn ‘to land,’ ‘to the land’: some take this phrase with diaperasantes ‘having crossed’ (BFBS), but most translations take it with ēlthon ‘they came’ (RSV, Weymouth, Lagrange, Brazilian).

prosōrmisthēsan (only here in the N.T.) ‘they came to anchor,’ ‘they came to harbor.’

Translation For problems involved in crossed over see 4:35. In this instance it would appear that a complete crossing is implied, not just from one point of land to another, but the geographical details are not certain.

Land at Gennesaret is the ‘region of Gennesaret,’ probably a fertile plain south of Capernaum.

In some languages the equivalent of moored to the shore is ‘tied to the shore’ or ‘drew the boat up on the shore.’

Mark 6:54

Exegesis epignontes periedramon (next verse) ‘recognizing … they ran’: the verbs are used in an impersonal sense and the subject ‘people’ must be supplied. Cf. Turner Journal of Theological Studies 25.381f., 1923–4.

epiginōskō (cf. 6:33) ‘recognize.’

Translation Because of the considerable distance of him from a noun antecedent, it may be useful to employ ‘Jesus.’

Mark 6:55

Exegesis periedramon (only here in Mark; cf. suntrechō 6:33) ‘they ran about,’ ‘they went throughout.’

holēn tēn chōran ekeinēn (cf. 1:28) ‘all that region,’ ‘all that district’ (for chōra ‘region’ cf. 1:5).

epi tois krabatois (cf. 2:4) ‘upon pallets,’ ‘on (their) sleeping-mats.’

tous kakōs echontas (cf. 1:32) ‘those who were sick.’

peripherein (only here in Mark; cf. pherō 2:3) ‘bring,’ ‘carry.’

Translation Whole neighborhood consists in some languages of ‘to the houses of all the people living there.’

Bring sick people would be ‘carry sick people’ (with careful attention to the specific terms used for ‘carrying’).

Any place where they heard he was is a somewhat “cut” expression, for it leaves out the fact that the people must have heard other people saying where Jesus was. In some languages (e.g. Kapauku) this must be remedied, if one is to make sense, e.g. ‘place where people said that Jesus was there.’ In some instances one may wish to be even more precise, ‘where people heard others saying, He is there.’

Mark 6:56

Exegesis Most of the words of this verse have already been dealt with: eisporeuomai ‘enter’ (1:21); kōmē, polis, agros ‘village, city, country-town’ (5:14, 6:6); parakaleō ‘request’ (1:40); hina of content ‘that’ (5:10, 18); kan ‘if only,’ ‘at least’ (5:28); himation ‘cloak,’ ‘garment’ (2:21); haptomai ‘touch’ (1:41); sōzō ‘heal,’ ‘cure’ (5:23).

en tais agorais (7:4; 12:38) ‘in the market places’ (perhaps ‘in the town squares,’ ‘in the village centers’): not every town and hamlet had its own market place.

tous asthenountas (only here in Mark; cf. the adjective asthenēs 14:38) ‘those who were feeble,’ i.e. the sick.

kan tou kraspedou tou himatiou autou hapsōntai ‘they might touch at least the fringe of his garment’ (cf. Moule Idiom Book, 138).

kraspedon (only here in Mark) ‘edge,’ ‘border,’ ‘hem’; probably here not in the general sense, but in the specific sense of ‘tassel’ (in Hebrew çiçith) worn by pious Jews on each of the four corners of the cloak (cf. Mt. 23:5).

Lagrange calls attention to the distinction between the aorist hēpsanto ‘they touched’ and the imperfect esōzonto ‘they were made well’ in the last clause: ‘And as many as touched it (momentary act) they were being made well (one after the other).’

Translation Came is probably better rendered as ‘went’ in most languages, for the point of view of the narrator is that of a companion of Jesus, not of those to whom he was coming.

Villages, cities, or country is paralleled by ‘small villages, large towns, and hamlets in the country.’ In Latin America market places are equivalent to ‘plazas‘, the central, open squares of the towns, often used for markets, at least on certain days.

There is a confusion in subject reference in the verb besought. Is the meaning here (1) that those who laid the sick in the market places requested Jesus to allow the sick to touch the hem of his garment (probably more accurately the tassel, though this would be difficult to translate in many languages), or (2) that the sick pleaded with Jesus to be able to touch his garment? It may very well be that both would be true, not only would the “sponsors” of the sick try to get Jesus to pay attention to their friends or relatives, but the sick would themselves ask for help. In many languages, however, one cannot preserve such an ambiguity, and hence one must choose between those who brought the sick and the sick themselves, in which case it is probably more in keeping with the context to employ the latter alternative.

Were made well may be translated as ‘got well,’ ‘became well,’ or ‘were healed.’

Mark Chapter 7

Mark 7:1–2

Text At the end of v. 2 Textus Receptus adds emempsanto ‘they found fault,’ which is omitted by all modern editions of the Greek text.

Exegesis sunagontai pros auton (cf. 6:30; 2:2) ‘they gather together to him.’

hoi Pharisaioi (cf. 2:16) ‘the Pharisees.’

tines tōn grammateōn (cf. 1:22) ‘some of the scribes’: the participial phrase elthontes apo Ierosolumōn ‘(who) came from Jerusalem’ modifies ‘some of the scribes.’

koinais chersin, tout’ estin aniptois ‘with unclean hands, that is, unwashed’: for the benefit of his readers the author explains what is meant by ‘unclean hands.’

koinos (7:5) ‘common (to all),’ ‘communal’: from this primary sense the word came to mean (in the N.T.) ‘ordinary,’ ‘profane.’ Here, then, it would mean ‘ceremonially unclean.’ Morton Smith (Tannaitic Parallels, 31–32) adduces proof from Rabbinical literature to show that koinos in the N.T. refers to “objects of which the cleanness or uncleanness is uncertain, and which are therefore a sort of third class apart from the clean (certainly so) and the (certainly) unclean.”

aniptos (only here in Mark) ‘unwashed.’ As the context shows, the protest of the scribes does not reflect an interest in hygiene: it is a matter of ceremonial laws of purification which the disciples of Jesus have neglected to observe.

Translation Now is to be taken strictly in the transitional sense, not with any temporal meaning.

Gathered together to him is an awkward phrase, even in English. The idea is that they formed a group there where Jesus was. The Greek preposition pros indicates their direction of interest and the reciprocal nature of the meeting. This expression is made more complicated by the fact that the scribes are also involved. In some languages this means that one must say ‘when the Pharisees, together with some of the scribes (those who had come from Jerusalem), had formed a group there where Jesus was, they saw that.…’ One may also use the equivalent of ‘huddled together’ or ‘came together as a group.’

For scribes, see 1:22.

Because of the considerable distance of the noun Jesus from the pronominal forms him and his, it is often necessary to employ ‘Jesus,’ especially for the first occurrence of the third person pronoun.

It is probably impossible to find an adequate term to designate the neutral concept of koinos (see above), and even an equivalent of defiled is not readily discoverable in many languages. In some cases one may say ‘dirty’ (Black Bobo); in others, ‘spotted,’ i.e. by impurities (Zoque). South Toradja says ‘with not-pure hands,’ the word masero meaning ‘pure, ritually clean, holy’; Bare’e renders ‘hands that arouse aversion.’ Other possibilities are ‘they had not been purified’ or ‘they had not been made clean.’

That is is equivalent to ‘that means’ or ‘it is also said.’

In following the Textus Receptus (something which is required in certain instances-see Introduction), one must render condemn, which may be translated as ‘sought their sin’ (Tzeltal), ‘said that it wasn’t good’ (Chontal of Tabasco), or ‘talked against them’ (San Blas).

Mark 7:3

Exegesis pugmē (only here in the N.T.) ‘fist’: as used in the present passage the word means literally ‘with the fist.’ There is no agreement on what the phrase means here. The general sense of ‘carefully,’ ‘diligently’ (cf. Field Notes, 30f.) is given the word by ASV, Weymouth, Synodale (soigneusement), Brazilian (cuidadosamente); ‘as far as the wrist’ (cf. Black Aramaic, 8f.) is preferred by BFBS; Moffatt, and Berkeley have ‘up to the elbow’ (cf. Turner, Journal of Theological Studies 6.353, 1904–5; 29.278f., 1927–8); Zürich has simply mit der Faust, and Lagrange à poing fermé; Manson and RSV omit the word; Goodspeed has ‘in a particular way’ adding (Problems, 59f.) “though just what that particular way was we cannot as yet determine;” Weis suggests (New Testament Studies 3.233–36, 1957) that the word refers to a special vessel supplied for the purpose.

It would seem that the translator may choose to omit the expression since its meaning is not certain and the various alternatives only obscure rather than clarify. If one wishes to employ some equivalent it is probably best to translate ‘with the fist’ (cf. Arndt & Gingrich; Taylor), if such a phrase carries some intelligible meaning in the language into which he is translating the word.

nipsōntai (only here in Mark) ‘they may wash’; the verb is used generally with the meaning of washing some part of the body, not of taking a bath.

kratountes tēn paradosin tōn presbuterōn ‘holding to the tradition of the elders’; the participle may be causal, ‘because they hold.…’

krateō (cf. 1:31) ‘hold on to,’ ‘keep,’ ‘observe.’

paradosis (7:5, 8, 9, 13) ‘tradition’: i.e. teachings, precepts, handed over, generally in oral form, from generation to generation (from the verb pa