Monday, March 21, 2011

Mark 7:1-13, The Tradition of the Elders Part 1 (The Study of Mark)

     1 And the Pharisees and some of the Scribes gathered to him after coming from Jerusalem,1 2 and seeing that some of his disciples are eating bread with defiled2 hands, that is, unwashed hands. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews did not eat unless3 they washed their hands carefully4, holding the tradition of the Elders, 4 and when they came from the market place, they didn’t eat unless5 they washed themselves6. There are many other things which they took aside to keep7: the washing8 of cups, pitchers, bronze bowls, [and beds]9.) 5 And the Pharisees and the Scribes asked him, “Why10 don’t your disciples walk according to the tradition of the Elders11, but they eat bread with defiled12 hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Isaiah well prophesied about you hypocrites13, as it has been written:

     ‘This people honors me with their lips, 
     but their heart is far in distance from me. 
     7 And they worship me to no avail14 
     teaching the commandments of men as doctrine.’15

8 Letting go of the commandment of God, you hold on to the tradition of men.”16 9 He also was saying to them, “You disregard well the commandment of God17, so that you may uphold your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’18 and ‘The ones who speak evil of their father of mother is to be put to death19.’20 11 But you say, ‘Whatever help you get from me is Corban21 , that is, a gift to God’. 12 You no longer let him do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus nullifying the word of God with your tradition to which you hand down. And you do many similar such things you.”


Mark moves us from miracles to opposition.

1 It is unclear if both the Pharisees and some of the Scribes came from Jerusalem. If καί τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐλθόντες ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων (and some of the Scribes after coming from Jerusalem) is to be taken as the 2nd half of the compound subject, then only Scribes came from Jerusalem. If that is true, then the passage would be translated: “And the Pharisees, and some of the Scribes after coming from Jerusalem, gathered to him.”

2 κοιναῖς (defiled)

Defiled as in being ritually defiled or unclean according to Jewish tradition. If a jew did not wash his hands before eating, he was considered unclean to eat the meal.

3 ἐὰν μὴ (unless) 

Greek: “if not” or “when not”.

4 πυγμῇ (carefully) 

Greek: “with a fist”. The meaning is somewhat unknown, but apparently it means “to wash with force”.

5 See note 2.

6 βαπτίσωνται (washed themselves)

or “baptized themselves”. A ritual bathing.

7 παρέλαβον κρατεῖν (took aside to keep) 

or “took aside to hold”. There were just certain traditions that they decided to hold on to.

8 See note 5.

9 [καὶ κλινῶν] ([and beds])

This is in brackets as it may not be original to the text.

10διὰ τί (Why) 

Greek: “Because of what”.

11 In other words, Why is it that your disciples don’t live their lives in what the Elders taught us and do what the Elders taught us?

12 See note 1.

13 τῶν ὑποκριτῶν (hypocrites)

A hypocrite is one who pretends to be something that he is not.

14 μάτην (to no avail)

or “in vain”. Their worship did no good.

15 The quote is taken from Isaiah 29:13. It is from the Septuagint which is worded a little differently than the Hebrew.

16 The Textus Receptus adds βαπτισμοὺς ξεστῶν καὶ ποτηρίων· καὶ ἄλλα παρόμοια τοιαῦτα πολλὰ ποιεῖτε (washing pitchers and cups; and the other many similar such things you do). This is an interpolation of verses 4 and 13. This can be found in the KJV, but is not original to the text.

17 Note the sarcasm that Jesus adds: “You disregard well the commandment of God”. In other words, the Scribes had been very slick in how they could avoid the commandment of God. The NIV translates this “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God”.

18 The quote is taken from Exodus 20:12. It is from the Septuagint.

19 θανάτῳ τελευτάτω (is to be put to death)

Greek: “let him be put to death”.

20 The quote is taken from Exodus 21:17. It is from the Septuagint.

21 κορβᾶν (Corban)

If a person announced that his property was κορβᾶν, then the parents no longer had access to the financial support that was provided by the son whose income came from the property.

The Greek

Μάρκον 7·1 Καὶ συνάγονται πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καί τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐλθόντες ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων. 2 καὶ ἰδόντες τινὰς τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ ὅτι κοιναῖς χερσίν, τοῦτ ̓ ἔστιν ἀνίπτοις, ἐσθίουσιν τοὺς ἄρτους 3 _ οἱ γὰρ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ πάντες οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἐὰν μὴ πυγμῇ νίψωνται τὰς χεῖρας οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν, κρατοῦντες τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων, 4 καὶ ἀπ ̓ ἀγορᾶς ἐὰν μὴ βαπτίσωνται οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν, καὶ ἄλλα πολλά ἐστιν ἃ παρέλαβον κρατεῖν, βαπτισμοὺς ποτηρίων καὶ ξεστῶν καὶ χαλκίων [καὶ κλινῶν] _ 5 καὶ ἐπερωτῶσιν αὐτὸν οἱ Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς· διὰ τί οὐ περιπατοῦσιν οἱ μαθηταί σου κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν πρεσβυτέρων, ἀλλὰ κοιναῖς χερσὶν ἐσθίουσιν τὸν ἄρτον;
Μάρκον 7·6 Ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· καλῶς ἐπροφήτευσεν Ἠσαΐας περὶ ὑμῶν τῶν ὑποκριτῶν, ὡς γέγραπται [ὅτι]
οὗτος ὁ λαὸς τοῖς χείλεσίν με τιμᾷ, ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῶν πόρρω ἀπέχει ἀπ ̓ ἐμοῦ·
7 μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων.
8 ἀφέντες τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ θεοῦ κρατεῖτε τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων. 9 καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· καλῶς ἀθετεῖτε τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν στήσητε. 10 Μωϋσῆς γὰρ εἶπεν· τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα σου, καί· ὁ κακολογῶν πατέρα ἢ μητέρα θανάτῳ τελευτάτω. 11 ὑμεῖς δὲ λέγετε· ἐὰν εἴπῃ ἄνθρωπος τῷ πατρὶ ἢ τῇ μητρί· κορβᾶν, ὅ ἐστιν δῶρον, ὃ ἐὰν ἐξ ἐμοῦ ὠφεληθῇς, 12 οὐκέτι ἀφίετε αὐτὸν οὐδὲν ποιῆσαι τῷ πατρὶ ἢ τῇ μητρί, 13 ἀκυροῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ τῇ παραδόσει ὑμῶν ᾗ παρεδώκατε· καὶ παρόμοια τοιαῦτα πολλὰ ποιεῖτε.

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