Making Void the Law of God.
SUMMARY.--The Scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem.
Eating with Unwashen Hands.
Making Void the Law of God by Tradition.
What Defileth a Man.
In the Borders of Tyre and Sidon.
The Syrophoenician Woman.
Healing in Decapolis.
1. Then came together unto him the Pharisees. This sharp
controversy, which contains the
sharpest rebuke that Christ had thus far paid to the Pharisaical
system, is recorded also by
Mark, for the benefit of Gentile readers, adds a few words concerning
Come from Jerusalem. Probably formally sent by the Sanhedrim
to investigate the work and teaching of Jesus.
2. Eat bread with defiled hands. Not dirty, but "unwashen." The
"tradition of the elders"
required them to always wash before eating lest they might have touched
something ceremonially unclean.
3. For the Pharisees . . . except they wash diligently, eat not.
The duty of washing before meat is not inculcated in the law, but only
in the tradition of the scribes.
So rigidly did the Jews observe it, that Rabbi Akiba, being imprisoned,
and having water scarcely sufficient to sustain life given him,
preferred dying of thirst to eating without washing his hands.
4. When they come from the market, except they wash, they eat
not. In the Greek, not the word
rendered "wash" elsewhere in the passage, but
baptize. Abbott renders it "plunge" and says: "Apparently, in
the ritual of the Pharisees, washing by pouring on water sufficed for
those who remained at home, but immersion of the hands in water
was required of those who had gone abroad."
Many other things. They not only insisted on washing the hands,
because of the tradition, but also, many other things. Geikie says:
"The law of Moses required purifications in certain cases
but the rabbis had preverted the spirit of Leviticus in this as in
other things, for they taught that food and drink could not be taken
with a good conscience when there was the possibility of ceremonial
defilement. If every perceivable precaution had not been taken, the
person or the vessel used might have contracted impurity, which would
thus be conveyed to the food, and through the food to the body, and by
it to the soul. Hence it had been long a custom, and latterly a strict
law, that before every meal not only the hands, but even the dishes,
couches, and tables, should be scrupulously washed."
5. The Pharisees and scribes asked him. On the Savior's
discourse that follows, as far as
consult notes on
24. From thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and
Sidon. Consult the notes on
where the incident of the "woman of Canaan" is fully given.
31. He came . . . through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.
A district east of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan, so called because
it contained ten cities. Only Mark gives the account of the following
32. One that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech.
Probably had not been born deaf, as he was not dumb.
33, 34. Put his fingers in his ears. The manner of the Lord in this
miracle was peculiar. I understand that he used signs instead of words
in order to arouse faith in the deaf man. He touched the organs that
had lost their office and then looked to heaven. This would be deeply
significant to one who had learned to understand by signs.
Ephphatha. A word in
the common language of Judea at that time, meaning "Be opened."
35. His ears were opened. At once both his difficulties were
36. He charged them that they should tell no man. Consult note
37. He hath done all things well. Compare
He maketh both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak. Christ,
ever since, has been engaged, spiritually, in the same work.