Matthew Poole's Commentary
And again he entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.Chapter Summary
Mark 2:1-2 Christ, followed by multitudes,
Mark 2:3-12 healeth one sick of the palsy,
Mark 2:13-14 calleth Matthew from the receipt of custom,
Mark 2:15-17 justifieth himself for eating with publicans and sinners,
Mark 2:18-22 excuses his disciples for not fasting,
Mark 2:23-28 and vindicates them for plucking the ears of corn on the
Ver. 1-12. We read the history of this miracle in Matthew nine. See Poole on "Matthew 9:1", and following verses to Matthew 9:8, having there taken in those passages in this evangelist’s relation which Matthew had not, I shall only take notice of some few things not there touched upon.
He preached the word unto them; the word of God, the gospel. There are other words, but that is the word, Matthew 13:20 Mark 8:32 Mark 16:20 Luke 1:2 Acts 17:11: the most excellent word, and the only word to be preached.
Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God? So as it was on all hands then received, that none but the creditor could discharge the debt, none but God could forgive sins. But how spite cankers things! Our Saviour did not say till afterward that he forgave him his sins. What blasphemy was there in this saying, Thy sins be forgiven thee? But what if none but God could forgive sins? Could also any but God tell unto men their thoughts? 1 Samuel 16:7 1 Chronicles 28:9 2 Chronicles 6:30 Psalm 7:9 Jeremiah 17:10. That Christ could tell their thoughts was matter of demonstration to them, Mark 2:6,8; why might they not also have allowed him a power to forgive sins? But they could not for this charge him with blasphemy, which was their malicious design.
And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.See Poole on "Mark 2:1"
And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.See Poole on "Mark 2:1"
And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.See Poole on "Mark 2:1"
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.See Poole on "Mark 2:1"
But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,See Poole on "Mark 2:1"
Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?See Poole on "Mark 2:1"
And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?See Poole on "Mark 2:1"
Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?See Poole on "Mark 2:1"
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)See Poole on "Mark 2:1"
I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.See Poole on "Mark 2:11"
And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.See Poole on "Mark 2:1"
And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.Still it is said he taught them, thereby letting his ministers know what is their great work; and therefore they should be persons apt to teach, as Paul directeth Timothy, 1 Timothy 3:2.
And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.Ver. 14-17. We had this piece of history with some addition in Matthew 9:9-13, where he was called Matthew: Mark and Luke both call him Levi: it was ordinary with the Jews to have two names. See Poole on "Matthew 9:9".
And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.See Poole on "Mark 2:15"
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?Ver. 16. See Poole on "Mark 2:15"
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.See Poole on "Mark 2:14"
And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?Ver. 18-22. See Poole on "Matthew 9:14", and following verses to Matthew 9:17. The sum of all teacheth us:
1. That fasting is an exercise suited to afflictive dispensations of Providence, and ought to be proportioned to its season.
2. That new converts are not to be discouraged by too severe exercises of religion, but to be trained up to them by degrees.
And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.See Poole on "Mark 2:18"
But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.See Poole on "Mark 2:18"
No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.See Poole on "Mark 2:21"
And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.Ver. 22. No text from Poole on this verse.
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.Ver. 23-28. We had also this history in Matthew 12:1-8, in our notes upon which we considered all those passages relating to it which this evangelist hath, for the explication of which I refer my reader thither. See Poole on "Matthew 12:1", and following verses to Matthew 12:8. It refers to a story, 1 Samuel 21:1, where Ahimelech is said to have been the high priest. Abiathar was his son, as appeareth by 1 Samuel 22:20, who escaped the slaughter of his father’s family upon the information of Doeg the Edomite, and followed David. It was in the latter end of the priesthood of Ahimelech, and probably Abiathar assisted his father in the execution of the office, and so suddenly succeeded, that Mark calls it the time of his priesthood. Besides that those words, epi ’ Abiayar, do not necessarily signify in the days of Abiathar, as we translate it, no more than epi metoicesiav signifies in the carrying into captivity, but about the time, or near the time; which it was, for Ahimelech was presently after it (possibly within a few days) cut off, as we read, 1 Samuel 22:17,18; and Abiathar was a more noted man than his father Ahimelech, enjoying the priesthood more than forty years, and being the person who was made famous by carrying the ephod to David.
And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?Ver. 24. See Poole on "Mark 2:23"
And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?Ver. 25. See Poole on "Mark 2:23"
How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?Ver. 26. See Poole on "Mark 2:23"
And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:Ver. 27. See Poole on "Mark 2:23"
Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.Ver. 28. See Poole on "Mark 2:23"