Mark 7:34
And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.
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(34) Looking up to heaven, he sighed.—The look, it is clear, implied prayer, as in John 11:41. The “sigh,” too, has its counterpart in the “groans” and “tears” of John 11:33; John 11:35; John 11:38, and finds its analogue in the sadness of sympathy which we feel at the sight of suffering, even when we know that we have the power to remove its cause.

Ephphatha.—Another instance of St. Mark’s reproduction of the very syllables uttered by our Lord. (See Introduction, and Note on Mark 5:41.)

7:31-37 Here is a cure of one that was deaf and dumb. Those who brought this poor man to Christ, besought him to observe the case, and put forth his power. Our Lord used more outward actions in the doing of this cure than usual. These were only signs of Christ's power to cure the man, to encourage his faith, and theirs that brought him. Though we find great variety in the cases and manner of relief of those who applied to Christ, yet all obtained the relief they sought. Thus it still is in the great concerns of our souls.Looked up to heaven - To lift up the eyes to heaven is an act imploring aid from God, and is an attitude of prayer, Psalm 121:1-2; Mark 6:41; John 11:41.

He sighed - Pitying the sufferings of the man who stood before him.

Ephphatha - This word is "Syriac," the language which our Lord used in addressing the man, and means "Be opened."

34. And looking up to heaven—ever acknowledging His Father, even while the healing was seen to flow from Himself (see on [1451]Joh 5:19).

he sighed—"over the wreck," says Trench, "which sin had brought about, and the malice of the devil in deforming the fair features of God's original creation." But, we take it, there was a yet more painful impression of that "evil thing and bitter" whence all our ills have sprung, and which, when "Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses" (Mt 8:17), became mysteriously His own.

"In thought of these his brows benign,

Not even in healing, cloudless shine."


and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened—Our Evangelist, as remarked on [1452]Mr 5:41, loves to give such wonderful words just as they were spoken.

See Poole on "Mark 7:34"

And looking up to heaven,.... To his Father there, by whom he was sent, and from whom, as man, he received his authority and power; though this was not for assistance in the working of this miracle, which he had power to do of himself; nor do we find that he put up any request to his Father: but he seems to have made use of this motion, not for his own sake, but for the sake of the man: to teach him, that every good gift, blessing, mercy, and favour, and so this he was about to partake of, was from above:

he sighed; not as unequal to the work of healing the man, or as despairing of doing it; but as commiserating the case of the poor man, and reflecting with concern upon his sin, that had been the occasion of it. These actions of looking up to heaven and sighing, as they may be understood in a spiritual sense, or with relation to the spiritual healing of a sinner, may show that such a blessing comes from above: it is received from heaven; it is God that gives the hearing ear, as well as the seeing eye; and that in a spiritual, as well as in a natural sense: and therefore this directs to apply to God for it, whether for a man's self, or for others; and when enjoyed, to look up again to heaven, and return thanks for it: and also that such a favour flows from divine mercy and compassion, Christ pitying the case of persons in such a condition; and he being an high priest that can have compassion on those that are in distress, and having ability to help them, makes use of it, and expresses both his pity and his power, as in the following manner.

And saith unto him; in the Syriac language, which he then spoke,

Ethphatha, or "Ephphatha";

that is, being interpreted,

be opened, both ears and mouth. And this way of speaking is used by the Jews, of a deaf man being restored to hearing, as of a blind man's being restored to sight; of which, take the following instance (d);

"a minor that receives (i.e. a divorce), and afterwards becomes adult, or a deaf man, "and is opened" (i.e. his ears are opened, or his hearing is restored), or a blind man, "and is opened" (has his sight again), or a fool, and he is restored to his reason, or a Gentile, and he becomes a proselyte, is unfit or unlawful (to carry a divorce from a man to his wife), but "one that is open", and afterwards becomes deaf, and then again "opened"; or "open", and afterwards become blind, and again "opened"; or a fool, and is restored to his senses, and again becomes a fool, he is right or fit''

(for the above purpose). It is common with them to call one that hears well, in distinction from a deaf man, "one that is open" (e). This is an instance of the power of Christ in curing disorders, merely by a word speaking, without the use of means; for what he did before, were not as means of healing, but significative of his power; which now went along with his word, and which was expressed with great majesty and authority: and such a power attends the word of his grace, to the opening of the heart, to give heed to the things which are spoken; and to the opening of the ear to discipline, and sealing instruction to it; land to the opening of the mouth and lips, in praise and thankfulness.

(d) Gittin, c. 2. sect. 6. (e) Vid. Misn. Yebamot, c. 14. scct. 10. & T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 114. 2.

And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.
Mark 7:34. ἀναβλέψας, ἐστέναξε: Jesus looked up in prayer, and sighed or groaned in sympathy. In this case a number of acts, bodily and mental, are specified. Were these peculiar to it, or do we here get a glimpse into Christ’s modus operandi in many unrecorded cases? On the latter view one can understand the exhausting nature of the healing ministry. It meant a great mental strain.—ἐφφαθά, an Aramaic word = as Mk. explains, διανοίχθητι; doubtless the word actually spoken = Be opened, in reference to the ears, though the loosing of the tongue was part of the result ensuing.

34. looking up to heaven] This upturned look expressive of an act of prayer and an acknowledgment of His oneness with the Father, occurs also (1) in the blessing of the five loaves and two fishes (Matthew 14:19; Mark 6:41), (2) at the raising of Lazarus (John 11:41), and (3) before the great high-priestly prayer for the Apostles (John 17:1).

he sighed] or “groaned” as in the Rhemish Version. The sigh of the “First-born among many brethren” (Romans 8:29), attesting that the Human sympathies of the Saviour were co-extensive with human suffering and sorrow. Comp. John 11:33.

Ephphatha] The actual Aramaic word used by our Lord, like the “Talitha cumi” of Mark 5:41, treasured up by actual eye and ear witnesses, on whom the actions used and the word spoken made an indelible impression.

Mark 7:34. Ἐστέναξεν, He groaned) The power of sighs is great when the heart is straitened, στενῷ [whence στενάζω]. He who groans, γέμει.[54] This is a πάθος [not a feeling which we can command at will; see Append.]; for which reason we never find it said in the Psalms, I will sigh, as we find, I will pray, I will cry aloud, I will lament (flebo). Even sudden tears are not under our control. But I will lament, in the Psalms, is an act of deliberate purpose. [That groan moved the wretched sufferer, and awakened in him the desire of relief.—V. g.]—ἐφφαθὰ, Ephphatha) The first word heard by the deaf man.

[54] Γέμω, to be full of a thing; Latin, gemo. Comp. στένω, to straiten by over-fulness; hence to groan. This shows the connection of γέμω and gemo.—ED. and TRANSL.

Verses 34, 35. - And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. He looked up to heaven, because from thence come all good things - words for the dumb, hearing for the deaf, healing for all infirmities; and thus he would teach the infirm man by a manifest sign to what quarter he was to look for the true source of his cure. he sighed (ἐστέναξε); literally, he groaned. Why did our Lord sigh at such a moment? We know indeed that he was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;" but now we might almost have expected a momentary smile of loving joy when he was about to give back to this afflicted man the use of these valuable instruments of thought and action. But he sighed even then; for he was touched with the feeling of human infirmity, and no doubt his comprehensive eye would take in the vast amount of misery, both bodily and spiritual, which has come upon the world through sin; and this, too, immediately after having looked up to heaven, and thought of the realm of bliss which for a time he had left "for us men, and for our salvation." Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. This word is, of course, addressed to the man himself; and the evangelist has retained the original Syro-Chaldaic word, as he has retained "Talitha cumi" elsewhere: so that the actual word which passed through the Saviour's lips, and restored speech and hearing to the afflicted, might be handed on, as doubtless it will be, to the end of time. The word applies of course, primarily, though not exclusively, to the ear; for not only were his ears opened; but the bond of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. Mark 7:34
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