Mark 6
Vincent's Word Studies
And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?

See on Matthew 7:28.

Mighty works (δυνάμεις)

Lit., powers. See on Matthew 11:20. Tynd., virtues. Outcomings of God's power: "powers of the world to come" (Hebrews 6:5), at work upon the earth.

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.
The carpenter

This word "throws the only flash which falls on the continuous tenor of the first thirty years, from infancy to manhood, of the life of Christ" (Farrar, "Messages of the Books").

They were offended

See on Matthew 5:29. Tynd., hurt.

But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
Sick (ἀῤῥώστοις)

From ἀ, not, and ῥώννυμι, to strengthen. Sickness regarded as constitutional weakness.

And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
By two and two

To help and encourage each other, and also for fulness of testimony.

And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
Was spread abroad

"But for the rumor, Herod would not have known of him. A palace is late in hearing spiritual news" (Bengel).

Mighty works do show forth themselves in him (ἐνεργοῦσιν αἱ δυνάμεις ἐν αὐτῷ)

Rev., these powers work in him. As Dr. Morison observes, "A snatch of Herod's theology and philosophy." He knew that John wrought no miracles when alive, but he thought that death had put him into connection with the unseen world, and enabled him to wield its powers.

Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.
But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
He is risen

The he, οὗτος, is emphatic. This one. This very John.

For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her.
For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.
Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
Had a quarrel against him (ἐνεῖχεν αὐτῷ)

There is some dispute about the rendering. The Rev. renders Set herself against him, with no alternative translation in the margin; and in Luke 11:53, Press upon him vehemently, with set themselves against him in the margin. I see no objection to rendering was angry at him, taking ἐνεῖχεν αὐτῷ with an ellipsis of χόλον, anger. Very literally, had within herself (ἐν) anger against him. So Herodotus, 1:118. Astyages concealing the anger (τόν χόλον) which he felt toward him (οἱ ἐνεῖχε). 6:119, ἐνεῖχε σφῖ δεινὸν χόλον, nourished a fierce anger against them. So Moulton, Grimm, and De Wette.

Desired (ἤθελεν)

Imperfect tense, was desiring all along. Her demand for John's murder was the result of a long-cherished wish.

For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
Observed him (συνετήρει)

A mistranslation. Rev., kept him safe. Peculiar to Mark. Compare Matthew 9:17, are preserved; Luke 2:19, kept ; σύν, closely; τηρεῖν, to preserve or keep, as the result of guarding. See on John 17:12, and reserved, 1 Peter 1:4.

Did many things (πολλὰ ἐποίει)

The proper reading, however ἠπόρει; from ἀ, not, and πόρος, a passage. Hence, strictly, to be in circumstances where one cannot find a way out. So Rev., rightly, he was much perplexed. The other reading is meaningless.

And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;
Convenient (εὐκαίρον)

Mark only. Convenient for Herodias' purpose. "Opportune for the insidious woman, who hoped, through wine, lust, and the concurrence of sycophants, to be able easily to overcome the wavering mind of her husband" (Grotius in Meyer).


See on Matthew 14:6. The notice of the banquet and of the rank of the guests is peculiar to Mark.

Lords (μεγιστᾶσιν)

Only here, and Revelation 6:15; Revelation 18:23. A late word, from μέγας, great.

High captains (χιλιάρχοις)

Lit., commanders of a thousand men. Answering to a Roman military tribune. Both civil and military dignitaries were present, with other distinguished men of the district (chief men).

And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
The said Herodias (αὐτῆς τῆς Ἡρωδιάδος)

The A. V. misses the point of αὐτῆς, by the translation the said: the object being not to particularize the Herodias just referred to, but to emphasize the fact that Herodias' own daughter was put forward instead of a professional dancer. Hence Rev., correctly, "the daughter of Herodias herself."

Damsel (κορασίῳ)

See on Mark 5:41.

And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.
Mark's narrative emphasizes the eager haste with which the murder was pushed. She came in straightway and demanded the boon forthwith.

By and by (ἐξαυτῆς)

Obsolete in the old sense of immediately. The A. V. translates αὐθὺς, straightway, in Matthew 13:21, by and by: εὐθέως, Mark 4:17, immediately: and the same word in Luke 21:9, by and by. Ἐξαυτῆς is rendered immediately, Acts 10:33; Acts 11:11 : straightway, Acts 23:30 : presently, Philippians 2:23. Rev., forthwith. The expression by and by in older English was sometimes used of place. Thus Chaucer.

"Right in the same chamber by and by" (close by).


"Two young knights lying by and by" (near together).

Edward IV. is reported to have said on his death-bed: "I wote (know) not whether any preacher's words ought more to move you than I that is going by and by to the place that they all preach of."


See on Matthew 14:8.

And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
Exceeding sorry

Where Matthew has sorry.

And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
Mark's favorite straightway. The king is prompt in his response.

Executioner (σπεκουλάτορα)

One of Mark's Latin words, speculator. A speculator was a guardsman, whose business it was to watch or spy out (speculari). It came gradually to denote one of the armed body-guard of the Roman emperor. Thus Suetonius says of Claudius that he did not dare to attend banquets unless his speculatores with their lances surrounded him. Seneca uses the word in the sense of executioner. "He met the executioners (speculatoribus), declared that he had nothing to say against the execution of the sentence, and then stretched out his neck." Herod imitated the manners of the Roman court, and was attended by a company of speculatores, though it was not their distinctive office to act as executioners. Wyc. renders man-killer, and Tynd. hangman.

And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.
And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.

See on Matthew 24:28.

Stier ("Words of Jesus") says of Herod' "This man, whose inner life was burnt out; who was made up of contradictions, speaking of his kingdom like Ahasuerus, and yet the slave of his Jezebel; willingly hearing the prophet, and unwillingly killing him; who will be a Sadducee, and yet thinks of a resurrection; who has a superstitious fear of the Lord Jesus, and yet a curiosity to see him."

And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
Come apart

See on Mark 3:7.

And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:
Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
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?
Shall we go and buy, etc

This question and Christ's answer are peculiar to Mark.

He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.
And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.
By companies (συμπόσια συμπόσια)

Peculiar to Mark. The Jewish dining-room was arranged like the Roman: three tables forming three sides of a square, and with divans or couches following the outside line of the tables. The open end of the square admitted the servants who waited at table. This explains the arrangement of the multitude here described by Mark. The people sat down, literally, in table-companies, arranged like guests at table; some companies of a hundred and some of fifty, in squares or oblongs open at one end, so that the disciples could pass along the inside and distribute the loaves


Mark only.

And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.
In ranks (πρασιαὶ πρασιαὶ)

Lit., like beds in a garden. The former adverb, by companies, describes the arrangement; this the color. The red, blue, and yellow clothing of the poorest orientals makes an Eastern crowd full of color; a fact which would appeal to Peter's eye, suggesting the appearance of flower-beds in a garden.

And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.
Brake and gave (κατέκλασεν, ἐδίδου)

The verbs are in different tenses; the former in the aorist, the latter in the imperfect. The aorist implies the instantaneous, the imperfect the continuous act. He brake, and kept giving out. Farrar remarks that the multiplication evidently took place in Christ's hands, between the acts of breaking and distributing.


Peculiar to Mark.

Were filled

See on Matthew 5:6.

And they did all eat, and were filled.
And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.
Baskets full (κοφίνων πληρώματα)

Lit., fillings of baskets. See on Matthew 14:20. Mark alone adds, and of the fishes.

And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
Men (ἄνδρες)

Not generic, including men and women; but literally men. Compare Matthew 14:21, beside women and children; a detail which we should have expected from Mark.

And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
When he had sent them away (ἀποτάξαμενος)

Rev., more correctly, after he had taken leave. Unclassical, and used in this sense only in later Greek. So in Luke 9:61; Acts 18:18; 2 Corinthians 2:13.

And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
He saw (ἰδὼν)

Participle. Rev., seeing. Better, however, the literal having seen. It was this which induced him to go to them.

Toiling (βασανιζομένους)

Lit., tormented. Rev., distressed See on Matthew 4:24. Wyc., travailing. Tynd., troubles

Fourth watch

Between 3 and 6 a.m.

Would have passed by them.

Peculiar to Mark.

But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
They all saw him

Peculiar to Mark.

Spake with them (ἐλάλησεν μετ' αὐτῶν)

Both Matthew and John give the simple dative, αὐτοῖς, to them. Mark's with them is more familiar, and gives the idea of a more friendly and encouraging address. It is significant, in view of Peter's relation to this gospel, that Mark omits the incident of Peter's walk on the waves (Matthew 14:28-31).

And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.

See on Mark 4:39.

Sore amazed (λίαν ἐκ περισσοῦ ἐξίσταντο)

Lit., exceedingly beyond measure. A strong expression peculiar to Mark. Ἐξίσταντο, were amazed. Compare the cognate noun ἔκστασις, and see on Mark 5:42.

For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
Peculiar to Mark.

The miracle of the loaves (ἐπὶ τοῖς ἄρτοις)

Rev., concerning the loaves. Lit., upon ; in the matter of. They did not reason from the multiplying of the loaves to the stilling of the sea.

And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.
Drew to the shore (προσωρμίσθησαν)

Peculiar to Mark. Rev., moored to the shore, though the meaning may be near the shore. Ἀνέβη, he went up (Mark 6:51), seems to indicate a vessel of considerable size, standing quite high out of the water. They may have anchored off shore.

And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,
And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.
Ran round

From place to place where the sick were, to bring them to Jesus. Matthew has they sent.

Carry about (περιφέρειν)

περί, about; one hither and another thither, wherever Christ might be at the time.

Beds (κραβάττοις)

Condemned as bad Greek, but used by both Luke and John. See on Mark 2:4.

And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
Peculiar to Mark.

In the streets (ἀγοραῖς)

Rightly, Rev., market-places. See on Matthew 11:16.


See on Matthew 9:20.

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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