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Chapter 10

10:1 Into the border of Judea and beyond Jordan [eis ta horia tēs Ioudaias kai peran tou Iordanou]. See on Mt 19:1 for discussion of this curious expression. Matthew adds “from Galilee” and Lu 17:11 says that Jesus “was passing through the midst of Samaria and Galilee” after leaving Ephraim (Joh 11:54). A great deal has intervened between the events at the close of Mark 9 and those in the beginning of Mark 10. For these events see Mt 18; Joh 7-11; Lu 9:57-18:14 (one-third of Luke’s Gospel comes in here). It was a little over six months to the end at the close of Mark 9. It is just a few weeks now in Mark 10. Jesus has begun his last journey to Jerusalem going north through Samaria, Galilee, across the Jordan into Perea, and back into Judea near Jericho to go up with the passover pilgrims from Galilee. Multitudes [ochloi]. Caravans and caravans journeying to Jerusalem. Many of them are followers of Jesus from Galilee or at least kindly disposed towards him. They go together [sunporeuontai] with Jesus. Note dramatic historical present. As he was wont [hōs eiōthei]. Second past perfect used like an imperfect from [eiōtha], second perfect active. Jesus was teaching [edidasken], imperfect, no longer present tense) this moving caravan.

10:2 Tempting him [peirazontes]. As soon as Jesus appears in Galilee the Pharisees attack him again (cf. 7:5; 8:11). Gould thinks that this is a test, not a temptation. The word means either (see on Mt 4:1), but their motive was evil. They had once involved the Baptist with Herod Antipas and Herodias on this subject. They may have some such hopes about Jesus, or their purpose may have been to see if Jesus will be stricter than Moses taught. They knew that he had already spoken in Galilee on the subject (Mt 5:31f.).

10:3 What did Moses command you? [Ti humin eneteilato Mōusēs;]. Jesus at once brought up the issue concerning the teaching of Moses (De 24:1). But Jesus goes back beyond this concession here allowed by Moses to the ideal state commanded in Ge 1:27.

10:4 To write a bill of divorcement and to put her away [biblion apostasiou grapsai kai apolusai]. The word for “bill” [biblion] is a diminutive and means “little book,” like the Latin libellus, from which comes our word libel (Vincent). Wycliff has it here “a libel of forsaking.” This same point the Pharisees raise in Mt 19:7, showing probably that they held to the liberal view of Hillel, easy divorce for almost any cause. That was the popular view as now. See on Mt 19:7 for this and for discussion of “for your hardness of heart” [sklērokardia]. Jesus expounds the purpose of marriage (Ge 2:24) and takes the stricter view of divorce, that of the school of Shammai. See on Mt 19:1-12 for discussion. Mr 10:10 notes that the disciples asked Jesus about this problem “in the house” after they had gone away from the crowd.

10:11 Mark does not give the exception stated in Mt 19:9 “except for fornication” which see for discussion, though the point is really involved in what Mark does record. Mere formal divorce does not annul actual marriage consummated by the physical union. Breaking that bond does annul it.

10:12 If she herself shall put away her husband and marry another [ean autē apolusasa ton andra autēs gamēsēi]. Condition of the third class (undetermined, but with prospect of determination). Greek and Roman law allowed the divorce of the husband by the wife though not provided for in Jewish law. But the thing was sometimes done as in the case of Herodias and her husband before she married Herod Antipas. So also Salome, Herod’s sister, divorced her husband. Both Bruce and Gould think that Mark added this item to the words of Jesus for the benefit of the Gentile environment of this Roman Gospel. But surely Jesus knew that the thing was done in the Roman world and hence prohibited marrying such a “grass widow.”

10:13 They brought [prosepheron]. Imperfect active tense, implying repetition. So also Lu 18:15, though Mt 19:13 has the constative aorist passive [prosēnechthēsan]. “This incident follows with singular fitness after the Lord’s assertion of the sanctity of married life” (Swete). These children [paidia], Mark and Matthew; [brephē] in Luke) were of various ages. They were brought to Jesus for his blessing and prayers (Matthew). The mothers had reverence for Jesus and wanted him to touch [hapsētai] them. There was, of course, no question of baptism or salvation involved, but a most natural thing to do.

10:14 He was moved with indignation [ēganaktēsen]. In Mark alone. The word is ingressive aorist, became indignant, and is a strong word of deep emotion (from [agan] and [achthomai], to feel pain). Already in Mt 21:15; 26:8. Old and common word. Suffer the little children to come unto me [aphete ta paidia erchesthai pros me]. Mark has the infinitive [erchesthai] (come) not in Matthew, but in Luke. Surely it ought to be a joy to parents to bring their children to Jesus, certainly to allow them to come, but to hinder their coming is a crime. There are parents who will have to give answer to God for keeping their children away from Jesus.

10:15 As a little child [hōs paidion]. How does a little child receive the kingdom of God? The little child learns to obey its parents simply and uncomplainingly. There are some new psychologists who argue against teaching obedience to children. The results have not been inspiring. Jesus here presents the little child with trusting and simple and loving obedience as the model for adults in coming into the kingdom. Jesus does not here say that children are in the kingdom of God because they are children.

10:16 He took them in his arms [enagkalisamenos]. A distinct rebuke to the protest of the over-particular disciples. This word already in Mr 9:36. In Lu 2:27 we have the full idiom, to receive into the arms [eis tās agkalas dechesthai]. So with tender fondling Jesus repeatedly blessed [kateulogei], imperfect), laying his hands upon each of them [titheis], present participle). It was a great moment for each mother and child.

10:17 Ran [prosdramōn]. Jesus had left the house (10:10) and was proceeding with the caravan on the way [eis hodon] when this ruler eagerly ran and kneeled [gonupetēsas] and was asking [epērōtā], imperfect) Jesus about his problem. Both these details alone in Mark.

10:17 Why callest thou me good? [Ti me legeis agathon;]. So Lu 18:19. Mt 19:17 has it: “Why asketh thou concerning that which is good? “The young ruler was probably sincere and not using mere fulsome compliment, but Jesus challenges him to define his attitude towards him as was proper. Did he mean “good” [agathos] in the absolute sense as applied to God? The language is not a disclaiming of deity on the part of Jesus. That I may inherit [hina klēronomēsō]. Mt 19:16 has [schō], that I may “get.”

10:20 All these [tauta panta]. Literally, these all (of them).

10:21 Looking upon him loved him [emblepsas autōi ēgapēsen]. Mark alone mentions this glance of affection, ingressive aorist participle and verb. Jesus fell in love with this charming youth. One thing thou lackest [Hen se husterei]. Lu 18:22 has it: “One thing thou lackest yet” [Eti hen soi leipei]. Possibly two translations of the same Aramaic phrase. Mt 19:20 represents the youth as asking “What lack I yet?” [Ti eti husterō;]. The answer of Jesus meets that inquiry after more than mere outward obedience to laws and regulations. The verb [husterō] is from the adjective [husteros] (behind) and means to be too late, to come short, to fail of, to lack. It is used either with the accusative, as here, or with the ablative as in 2Co 11:5, or the dative as in Textus Receptus here, [soi].

10:22 But his countenance fell [ho de stugnasas]. In the LXX and Polybius once and in Mt 16:3 (passage bracketed by Westcott and Hort). The verb is from [stugnos], sombre, gloomy, like a lowering cloud. See on Mt 19:22 for discussion of “sorrowful” [lupoumenos].

10:23 Looked round about [periblepsamenos]. Another picture of the looks of Jesus and in Mark alone as in 3:5, 34. “To see what impression the incident had made on the Twelve” (Bruce). “When the man was gone the Lord’s eye swept round the circle of the Twelve, as he drew for them the lesson of the incident” (Swete). How hardly [Pōs duskolōs]. So Lu 18:24. Mt 19:23 has it: “With difficulty [duskolōs] shall a rich man.” See on Matthew for this word.

10:24 Were amazed [ethambounto]. Imperfect passive. A look of blank astonishment was on their faces at this statement of Jesus. They in common with other Jews regarded wealth as a token of God’s special favour. Children [tekna]. Here alone to the Twelve and this tender note is due to their growing perplexity. For them that trust in riches [tous pepoithotas epi tois chrēmasin]. These words do not occur in Aleph B Delta Memphitic and one Old Latin manuscript. Westcott and Hort omit them from their text as an evident addition to explain the difficult words of Jesus.

10:25 Needle’s eye [trumaliās rhaphidos]. See on Mt 19:24 for discussion. Luke uses the surgical needle, [belonēs]. Matthew has the word [rhaphis] like Mark from [rhaptō], to sew, and it appears in the papyri. Both Matthew and Luke employ [trēmatos] for eye, a perforation or hole from [titraō], to bore. Mark’s word [trumalias] is from [truō], to wear away, to perforate. In the LXX and Plutarch.

10:26 Then who [kai tis]. Mt 19:25 has [Tis oun]. Evidently [kai] has here an inferential sense like [oun].

10:27 Looking on them [emblepsas autois]. So in Mt 19:26. Their amazement increased (26). But not with God [all’ ou para theōi]. Locative case with [para] (beside). The impossible by the side of men [para anthrōpois] becomes possible by the side of God. That is the whole point and brushes to one side all petty theories of a gate called needle’s eye, etc.

10:27 Peter began to say [ērxato legein ho Petros]. It was hard for Peter to hold in till now. Mt 19:27 says that “Peter answered” as if the remark was addressed to him in particular. At any rate Peter reminds Jesus of what they had left to follow him, four of them that day by the sea (Mr 1:20; Mt 4:22; Lu 5:11). It was to claim obedience to this high ideal on their part in contrast with the conduct of the rich young ruler.

10:30 With persecutions [meta diōgmōn]. This extra touch is in Mark alone. There is a reminiscence of some of “the apocalyptic of the familiar descriptions of the blessings of the Messianic kingdom. But Jesus uses such language from the religious idiom of this time only to idealize it” (Gould). The apostles were soon to see the realization of this foreshadowing of persecution. Vincent notes that Jesus omits “a hundred wives” in this list, showing that Julian the Apostate’s sneer on that score was without foundation.

10:31 See on Mt 19:30 for the use of the paradox about first and last, probably a rebuke here to Peter’s boast.

10:32 And they were amazed [kai ethambounto]. Imperfect tense describing the feelings of the disciples as Jesus was walking on in front of them [ēn proagōn autous], periphrastic imperfect active), an unusual circumstance in itself that seemed to bode no good as they went on through Perea towards Jerusalem. In fact, they that followed were afraid [hoi de akolouthountes ephobounto] as they looked at Jesus walking ahead in solitude. The idiom [hoi de] may not mean that all the disciples were afraid, but only some of them. “The Lord walked in advance of the Twelve with a solemnity and a determination which foreboded danger” (Swete). Cf. Lu 9:5. They began to fear coming disaster as they neared Jerusalem. They read correctly the face of Jesus. And he took again the twelve [kai paralabōn tous dōdeka]. Matthew has “apart” from the crowds and that is what Mark also means. Note [paralabōn], taking to his side. And began to tell them the things that were to happen to him [ērxato autois legein ta mellonta autōi sumbainein]. He had done it before three times already (Mr 8:31; 9:13; 9:31). So Jesus tries once more. They had failed utterly heretofore. How is it now? Luke adds (18:34): “They understood none of these things.” But Mark and Matthew show how the minds of two of the disciples were wholly occupied with plans of their own selfish ambition while Jesus was giving details of his approaching death and resurrection.

10:35 There come near unto him James and John [kai prosporeuontai Iakōbos kai Iōanēs]. Dramatic present tense. Matthew has [tote], then, showing that the request of the two brothers with their mother (Mt 20:20) comes immediately after the talk about Christ’s death. We would [thelomen]. We wish, we want, bluntly told. She came worshipping [proskunousa] Matthew says. The mother spoke for the sons. But they try to commit Jesus to their desires before they tell what they are, just like spoiled children.

10:37 In thy glory [en tēi doxēi]. Mt 20:21 has “in thy kingdom.” See on Mt 20:20 for the literal interpretation of Mt 19:28. They are looking for a grand Jewish world empire with apocalyptic features in the eschatological culmination of the Messiah’s kingdom. That dream brushed aside all the talk of Jesus about his death and resurrection as mere pessimism.

10:38 Or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with [ē to baptisma ho egō baptizomai baptisthēnai]. Cognate accusative with both passive verbs. Mt 20:22 has only the cup, but Mark has both the cup and the baptism, both referring to death. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane will refer to his death again as “the cup” (Mr 14:36; Mt 26:39; Lu 22:42). He had already used baptism as a figure for his death (Lu 12:50). Paul will use it several times (1Co 15:29; Ro 6:3-6; Col 2:12).

10:39 See on Mt 20:23-27 for discussion on these memorable verses (39-45) identical in both Matthew and Mark. In particular in verse 45 note the language of Jesus concerning his death as “a ransom for many” [lutron anti pollōn], words of the Master that were not understood by the apostles when spoken by Jesus and which have been preserved for us by Peter through Mark. Some today seek to empty these words of all real meaning as if Jesus could not have or hold such a conception concerning his death for sinners.

10:40 See on 39.

10:41 See on 39.

10:42 See on 39.

10:43 See on 39.

10:44 See on 39.

10:45 See on 39,

10:46 From Jericho [apo Iereichō]. See on Mt 20:29 for discussion of this phrase and Luke’s (Lu 18:35) “nigh unto Jericho” and the two Jerichos, the old and the new Roman (Luke). The new Jericho was “about five miles W. of the Jordan and fifteen E. of Jerusalem, near the mouth of the Wady Kelt, and more than a mile south of the site of the ancient town” (Swete). Great multitude [ochlou hikanou]. Considerable, more than sufficient. Often in Luke and the papyri in this sense. See Mt 3:11 for the other sense of fit for [hikanos]. Bartimaeus [Bartimaios]. Aramaic name like Bartholomew, [bar] meaning son like Hebrew ben. So Mark explains the name meaning “the son of Timaeus” [ho huios Timaiou]. Mark alone gives his name while Mt 20:30 mentions two which see for discussion. Blind beggar [tuphlos prosaitēs], “begging” [epaitōn] Luke has it (Lu 18:35). All three Gospels picture him as sitting by the roadside [ekathēto para tēn hodon]. It was a common sight. Bartimaeus had his regular place. Vincent quotes Thomson concerning Ramleh: “I once walked the streets counting all that were either blind or had defective eyes, and it amounted to about one-half the male population. The women I could not count, for they are rigidly veiled” (The Land and the Book). The dust, the glare of the sun, the unsanitary habits of the people spread contagious eye-diseases.

10:47 Rebuked him [epetimōn autōi]. Imperfect tense. Kept rebuking repeatedly. So Lu 18:39. Aorist tense in Mt 20:31. Should hold his peace [siōpēsēi]. Ingressive aorist subjunctive, become silent. The more a great deal [pollōi māllon]. So Lu 18:39. Only [meizon] in Mt 20:31.

10:49 Stood still [stas]. Second aorist active ingressive participle. So Mt 20:32. Lu 18:40 has [statheis], aorist passive participle. He calleth thee [phōnei se]. That was joyful news to Bartimaeus. Vivid dramatic presents here in Mark.

10:50 Casting away his garment [apobalōn to himation autou]. Second aorist active participle. Outer robe in his haste. Sprang up [anapēdēsas]. Leaping up, vivid details again in Mark.

10:51 That I should do [poiēsō]. Neat Greek idiom with aorist subjunctive without [hina] after [theleis]. For this asyndeton (or parataxis) see Robertson, Grammar, p. 430. Rabboni [Rabbounei]. The Aramaic word translated Lord (Kurie) in Mt 20:33 and Lu 18:41. This very form occurs again in Joh 20:16. That I may receive my sight [hina anablepsō]. To recover sight [ana-], see again. Apparently he had once been able to see. Here [hina] is used though [thelō] is not (cf. 10:35). The Messiah was expected to give sight to the blind (Isa 61:1; Lu 4:18; 7:22).

10:52 Followed [ēkolouthei]. Imperfect tense picturing joyful Bartimaeus as he followed the caravan of Jesus into the new Jericho. Made thee whole [sesōken]. Perfect active indicative. The word commonly means save and that may be the idea here.

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