Mark 6 Bible Commentary

John Lightfoot’s Bible Commentary

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(Read all of Mark 6)
3. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

[Is not this the carpenter?] Among other things to be performed by the father for his son this was one, to bring him up in some art or trade. "It is incumbent on the father to circumcise his son, to redeem him, to teach him the law, and to teach him some occupation. R. Judah saith, 'Whosoever teacheth not his son to do some work, is as if he taught him robbery.'" "R. Meir saith, 'Let a man always endeavour to teach his son an honest art,'" &c. Joseph instructs and brings up Christ in his carpenter's trade.

8. And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse.

[No scrip.] Concerning the scrip we said somewhat at Matthew 10:10: let us add this story: "The Rabbins deliver: There is a story of a certain man, whose sons behaved not themselves well. He stood forth and assigned over his wealth to Jonathan Ben Uzziel. What did Jonathan Ben Uzziel do? He sold a third part; a third part he dedicated to holy uses; and a third part he gave back to the sons of the deceased. Shammai came to him with his staff and with his scrip." The Gloss saith, "He came to contend with Jonathan, because he had violated the will of the dead." Behold the vice-president of the Sanhedrim carrying a scrip, in which he laid up victuals for his journey.

13. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

[Anointed with oil many that were sick.] "The oil, therefore, was (saith the famous Beza) a symbol of that miraculous power, not a medicament whereby they cured diseases." But the Jews say, and that truly, such an anointing was physical, although it did not always obtain its end. But this anointing of the apostles ever obtained its end: "R. Simeon Ben Eliezer saith, 'R. Meir permitted the mingling of wine and oil, and to anoint the sick on the sabbath. But when he once was sick, and we would do the same to him, he permitted it not.'" This story is recited elsewhere; where for 'R. Simeon Ben Eliezer,' is 'R. Samuel Ben Eliezer.' Perhaps in the manuscript copy it was written with an abbreviation and thence came the ambiguity of the name.

Let it be granted such anointing was medicinal, which cannot possibly be denied; and then there is nothing obscure in the words of James 5:14; "Let the elders of the church be called, and let the sick man be anointed by them, or by others present, that their prayers may be joined with the ordinary means."

27. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,

[An executioner.] So the Targum of Jonathan upon Genesis 39:1; Rab Speculatoraia. See the Aruch, in the word Speculator.

37. He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?

[Two hundred pence.] I. Denarius and zuz are of the same value among the Rabbins. "The fourth part of a shekel of silver in the Targum is one zuz of silver. For a shekel of the law was selaa. And so in the Targum, a shekel, is selaa, and is worth four denarii," or pence.

But now a penny and zuz are the same: "They call pence, in the language of the Gemara, zuzim."

II. But now two hundred zuzees, or pence, was a sum very famous, and of very frequent mention. "If one of elder years lay with a woman of less years, or if one of less years lay with a woman of elder years, or one that is wounded, their portion is two hundred zuzees." "If one gives another a blow upon the cheek, let him give him two hundred zuzees." "A woman that is now become a widow, or dismissed by a divorce, who was married a virgin, let her have for her portion two hundred zuzees."

Hence, perhaps, is the same number of two hundred pence in the mouth of the disciples, because it was a most celebrated sum, and of very frequent mention in the mouths of all.

40. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

[By ranks.] Rank by rank, in Talmudic language. The university of Jabneh is very frequently celebrated under the name of the vineyard in Jabneh. And R. Solomon gives the reason; Because the scholars sat there ranks by ranks, like a vineyard which is planted rank by rank.