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Barnes' Notes on the New Testament

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Verse 1. Into Capernaum. See Barnes "Matthew 4:13".

After some days. The number of days is not known. Probably he remained long enough in the desert to heal the sick that were brought to him, and to give instructions to the multitudes that attended his preaching. Capernaum was not the city mentioned in Mark 1:45, and it is probable that there was no difficulty in his remaining there and preaching.

And it was noised, etc. He entered the city, doubtless, privately; but his being there was soon known; and so great had his popularity become, that multitudes pressed to hear him.

Verse 2. So much as about the door. In the court or yard before the door. They could not get near enough to hear him.

Preached the word unto them. The word of God; the revelation or doctrine which he came to deliver, called the word; and the word of God, because it was spoken or revealed by God. Compare Acts 6:2-7.

Verses 3-12. See Barnes "Matthew 9:2", also Matthew 9:3-8.

Borne of four. Borne on a couch. Matthew 9:2 by four men.

{f} "And they come" Matthew 9:1; Luke 5:18

Verse 4. The press. The crowd, the multitude of people. Jesus was probably in the large open area, or hall, in the centre of the house. See Barnes "Matthew 9:2". The people pressed into that area, and blocked up the door, so that they could not have access to him.

They uncovered the roof where he was. See Barnes "Matthew 9:2". Houses were flat. In cities they joined each other, and the roofs constituted an agreeable place for walking. It is not improbable that they ascended a neighbouring house, and came over the hall, where Jesus was. They removed the curtain or awning, drawn over the area, where Jesus was, so that they might let the man down before him.

When they had broken it up. When they had removed the awning, and a part of the banisters, so that they could let the man down.

Verse 5. Their faith. Their confidence, or belief, that he could heal him.

Son. Literally, child. The Hebrews used the words son and child with a great latitude of signification. They were applied to children, to grandchildren, to adopted children, to any descendants, to disciples, followers, young people, and to dependents. See Barnes "Matthew 1:1". In this place, it denotes affection, or kindness. It was a word of consolation:--an endearing appellation, applied by the Saviour to the sick man, to show his compassion, to inspire confidence, and to assure him that he would heal him.

{g} "saw their faith" Acts 14:9; Ephesians 2:8

Verse 6. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 7. No Barnes text on this verse.

{h} "forgive sins" Isaiah 43:25; Daniel 9:9

Verse 8. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 9. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 10. No Barnes text on this verse.

{i} "power on earth" Acts 5:31"

Verse 11. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 12. We never saw it on this fashion. Literally, "we never saw it so." We never saw anything like this.

{k} "We never" John 7:31; 9:32

Verse 13. By the sea side. That is, by the sea of Tiberias, on the shore of which Capernaum was situated. See Barnes "Matthew 4:13".

Verse 14. Levi the son of Alpheus. The same, undoubtedly, as Matthew the writer of the Gospel. It was not uncommon among the Jews to have two names.

The receipt of custom. See Barnes "Matthew 9:9".

{l} "And as" Matthew 9:9
{1} "sitting at" or, "at the place where the custom was received"

Verse 15. Sat at meat in his house. The words "at meat" are not in the original. The phrase means, as he reclined at his meal "--or "as he was eating." This feast was made by Matthew, in honour of the Saviour. See Luke 5:29.

Publicans. See Barnes "Matthew 5:47".

Sinners. Sinners of abandoned character--of the same character that publicans commonly sustained--fit companions of publicans--great sinners.

There were many. That is, many disciples. Their following him, leaving their homes, and going with him from place to place, was proof of their attachment to him, There is no doubt that our Saviour, in the early part of his ministry, was extremely popular. Multitudes of the common people attended him, and gave conclusive evidence that they were his real disciples, And it was only after much opposition and ridicule from the rich, and the great, that he ever became unpopular among the people. Perhaps no preacher has ever attracted so universal attention, and produced so decisive effects on mankind, as our Lord did in his personal ministry.

{m} "And it came to pass" Matthew 9:10
{n} "Publicans" Luke 15:1-5

Verse 16,17. Matthew 9:12,13

Verse 17. No Barnes text on this verse.

{o} "They that are whole" Matthew 9:12,13; Luke 5:31,32
{p} "sinners" Isaiah 1:18; 55:7; Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:15

Verse 18. And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast. Were accustomed often to fast. Compare Luke 5:33; 18:12.

Verses 19-22. See Matthew 9:15-17

{q} "the bridegroom is with" Matthew 25:1

Verse 20. No Barnes text on this verse.

{r} "then shall" Acts 13:2

Verse 21. No Barnes text on this verse.

{1} "of new cloth" or, "raw", or "unwrought"

Verse 22. No Barnes text on this verse.

{s} "be marred" Job 32:19; Psalms 119:80,83

Verses 23-28. See Matthew 12:1-8. The corn fields. The fields sown with grain, wheat, or barley. The word corn, in the Bible, refers only to grain of that kind, and never to maize or Indian corn.

To pluck the ears of corn. They were hungry, (Matthew.) They therefore gathered the wheat, or barley, as they walked, and rubbed it in their hands to shell it, and thus to satisfy their appetite. Though our Lord was with them, and though he had all things at his control, yet he suffered them to resort to this method to supply their wants. When Jesus, thus with his disciples, suffered them to be poor, we may learn that poverty is not disgraceful; that God often suffers it for the good of his people; and that he will take care, in some way, that their wants shall be supplied. It was lawful for them thus to supply their wants. Though the property belonged to another, yet the law of Moses allowed the poor to satisfy theft wants when hungry. See Deuteronomy 23:25.

{t} "And it came" Matthew 12:1; Luke 6:1
{u} "to pluck" Deuteronomy 23:25

Verse 24. That which is not lawful. That is, that which they esteemed to be unlawful on the sabbath day. It was made lawful by Moses, without any distinction of days; but they had denied its lawfulness on the sabbath. Christ shows them, from their own law, that it was not unlawful.

Verse 25. Have ye never read, etc. See Barnes "Matthew 12:3".

{v} "what David did" 1 Samuel 21:6

Verse 26. Abiathar the priest. From 1 Samuel 21:1, it appears that Ahimelech was high priest at the time here referred to. And from 1 Samuel 23:6, it appears that Abiathar was the son of Ahimelech. Some difficulty has been felt in reconciling these accounts. The probable reason why Mark says it was in the days of Abiathar, is that Abiathar was better known than Ahimelech. The son of the high priest was regarded as his successor, and was often associated with him in the duties of his office. It was not improper, therefore, to designate him as high priest, even during the life of his father, especially as that was the name by which he was afterwards known. Abiathar, moreover, in the calamitous times when David came to the throne, left the interest of Saul, and fled to David, bringing with him the ephod, one of the peculiar garments of the high priest. For a long time, during David's reign, he was high priest, and it became natural, therefore, to associate his name with that of David; to speak of David as king, and Abiathar the high priest of his time. This will account for the fact that he was spoken of, rather than his father. At the same time this was strictly true, that this was done in the days of Abiathar, who was afterwards high priest, and was familiarly spoken of as such; as we say that General Washington was present at the defeat of Braddock, and saved his army; though the title of general did not belong to him till many years afterwards.

Shewbread. See Barnes "Matthew 12:4".

{w} "shewbread" Exodus 29:32,33; Leviticus 24:9

Verse 27. The sabbath was made for man. For his rest from toil, his rest from the cares and anxieties of the world, to give an opportunity to call off his attention from earthly concerns, and to direct it to the affairs of eternity. It was a kind provision for man that he might refresh his body by relaxing his labours; that he might have undisturbed time to seek the consolations of religion to cheer him in the anxieties and sorrows of a troubled world; and that he might render to God that homage which is most justly due to him as the Creator, Preserver, Benefactor, and Redeemer of the world. And it is easily capable of proof, that no institution has been more signally blessed to man's welfare than the Christian Sabbath. To that we owe, more than to anything else, the peace and older of a civilized community. Where there is no Sabbath, there is ignorance, vice, disorder, and crime. On that holy day, the poor, and the ignorant, as well as the learned, have undisturbed time to learn the requirements of religion, the nature of morals, the law of God, and the way of salvation. On that day, man may offer his praises to the Great Giver of all good, and in the sanctuary seek the blessing of him whose favour is life. Where that day is observed in any manner as it should be, order prevails, morals are promoted, the poor are elevated in their condition, vice flies away, and the community puts on the appearance of neatness, industry, morality, and religion. The Sabbath was, therefore, pre-eminently intended for man's welfare, and the best interests of mankind demand that it should be sacredly regarded as an appointment of merciful heaven, intended for our best good; and, where improved aright, infallibly resulting in our temporal and eternal peace.

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

{x} "for man" Nehemiah 9:14; Isaiah 58:13; Ezekiel 20:12,20
{y} "Therefore" Colossians 2:16

Verse 28. Therefore the Son of man, etc. See Barnes "Matthew 12:8".

{z} "Therefore the Son" John 9:14; Ephesians 1:22; Revelation 1:10

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Mark 2". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". <>.  


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