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other use. The Jews were in the habit of making such dedications, and of devoting a portion of their property to sacred uses. In doing this they used the word corban, or some similar word; saying this thing is corban, i.e., is a gift of God, or is sacred to him. The law required that when a dedication of this kind was made, it should be fulfilled. See Deut. xxiii. 21. The law of God required that a son should honour his parent, i. e., among other things provide for his wants when he was old, and in distress. Yet the Jewish teachers said that it was more important for a man to dedicate his property to God, than to provide for the wants of his parent. If he had once devoted his property to God-once said it was corban, or a gift to God-it could not be appropriated even to the support of a parent. If a parent was needy and poor, and if he should apply to a son for assistance, and the son should reply, though in anger, "It is devoted to God; this property which you need, and by which you might be profited by me, is corban, I give to God," the Jews said the property could not be recalled, and the son was not under obligation to aid a parent with it. He had done a more important thing, in giving it to God. The son was free. They would not suffer him to do any thing for his father after that. Thus he might in a moment free himself from the obligation to obey his father or mother. Besides, the law said that a man should die that cursed his father; i.e., that refused to obey him, or to provide for him, or spoke in anger to him. Yet the Jews said, that though in anger, and in real spite and hatred, a son said to his father, "All that I have, which could profit you, I have given to God," he should be free from blame. Thus the whole law was made void, or of no use, by what seemed to have the appearance of piety. Our Saviour did not mean to condemn the practice of giving to God, or to religious and charitable uses. the law and the Gospel equally required. He commended even a poor widow that gave all her living. Matt. xii. 44. But he condemned the practice of giving to God, where it interfered with our duty to parents and relations; where it was done to get rid of the duty of aiding them; and where it was done out of a malignant and rebellious spirit, with the semblance of piety, to get clear of doing to them what God required.
7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
g Mark vii. 6.
7. Ye hypocrites. Hypocrisy is the concealment of some base principle under the pretence of religion. Never was there a clearer instance of it than this-an attempt to get rid of the duty of providing for needy parents under an appearance of piety towards God. Esaias. That is, Isaiah. This prophecy is found in Isa. xxix. 13.
8 "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Alsa. xxix. 13; Ezek. xxxiii. 31.
8. Draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, &c. That is, they are regular in the forms of worship. They are strict in ceremonial observances, and keep the law outwardly; but God requires the heart, and that they have not rendered.
9 But in vain do they worship me, 'teaching for doctrines the commandments
i Isa. xxix. 13; Col. ii. 18-22; Titus i. 14.
9. In vain do they worship me. They have no heart-religion, but satisfy themselves with mere external forms. Teaching for doctrines, &c. The word doctrines here means, the requirements of religion-things to be believed and practised in religion. God only has a right to declare what shall be done in his service; but they held their traditions to be superior, or at all events equal in authority, to the written Word of God, and taught them as doctrines binding the conscience. 10 ¶*And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:
k Mark vii. 14.
10. See also Mark vii. 15-17. And he called the multitude. In opposition to the doctrines of the Pharisees, our Saviour took occasion to show the people that the great source of pollution is the heart. They supposed that external things defiled a man. On this all their doctrines about purification were founded. It was of great importance to expose this fallacy.
11 'Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
Acts x. 15; Rom. xiv, 14, 17, 20; 1 Tim. iv. 4; Titus i. 15.
11. Not that which goeth into the mouth, &c. The disciples were charged with being sinners for transgressing the tradition of the elders, in eating with unwashed hands. Christ replies, that what they should eat could not render them sinners. The man, the moral agent, the soul, could not be polluted by any thing that was eaten. But from the heart of man proceedeth that which shows the corruption and depravity of the whole nature. Defileth. To pollute, corrupt, to render sinful. 12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
12. The Pharisees were offended. They were so zealous of their traditions, that they could not endure that their absurdities should be exposed.
13 But he answered and said, "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
m John xv. 2; 1 Cor. iii. 12.
13. Every plant, &c. Religious doctrine is not unaptly compared to a plant. See 1 Cor. iii. 6-8. It is planted in the mind for the purpose of producing fruit in the life or conduct. Jesus here says that all those doctrines, of which his heavenly Father was not the Author, must be rooted up. The false doctrines of the Pharisees, therefore, must be attacked; and it was no wonder if they were indignant. It could not be helped. It was his duty to attack them. He was not surprised that they were enraged. But notwithstanding their opposition, their doctrines must be destroyed. 14 Let them alone: "they be blind leaders of the blind. lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
n Isa. ix, 16; Mal. ii. 8; Chap. xxiii. 16; Luke vi. 39.
And if the blind
14. Let them alone. That is, do not be troubled at their rage. Be not anxious about it. The thing was to be expected. They were blind; they were in some respects sincere. They are greatly attached to their traditions, and you are not to wonder or interfere when they are indignant. They lead also the blind. They have a vast influence over the multitude, and it is to be expected that they will be enraged at any doctrines that lessen their authority or influence. By commanding them to let them alone, he does not mean to suffer them to remain in error, without any attempt to refute or correct them-for this he was doing then; but he meant to charge his disciples not to mind them, or to regard their opposition. It was to be expected. If the blind lead the blind, &c. This is a plain proposition. A blind man, attempting to conduct blind men, will fall into every ditch that is in the way. So with religious teachers. If these Pharisees, themselves ignorant and blind, should be suffered to lead the ignorant multitude, both would be destroyed. This was another reason for confuting their errors, or for rooting up the plants which God had not planted. He wished, by doing it, to save the deluded multitude. God often suffers one man to lead many to ruin. A rich and profligate man, an infidel, a man of learning, a politician, or a teacher, is allowed to sweep multitudes to ruin. This is not unjust, for those who are led are not compelled to follow such men. They are free in choosing such leaders, and they are answerable for being led to ruin. 15 °Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
o Mark vii. 17.
15. See also Mark vii. 17-23. And Peter answered-declare this parable. Explain to us more fully this doctrine. To us, now, it is plain; to the disciples, just coming out of Judaism, taught by the Jewish teachers, the doctrine of Jesus was obscure.
16 And Jesus said, 'Are ye also yet without understanding?
p Chap. xvi. 9; Mark vii. 18.
16. Are ye also yet without understanding? He appeals, in explaining this, to their common sense; and he wonders that they had not yet learned to judge the foolish traditions of the Jews by the decisions of common sense, and by his own instructions.
17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
q 1 Cor. vi. 13.
17. Do not ye understand? &c. The meaning of this may be thus expressed :-The food which is eaten does not affect the mind, and therefore cannot pollute it. The doctrine of the Pharisees,
that neglect of washing and of similar observances defiles a man, cannot be true. Those things pertain to the body as much as food does, and they cannot affect the soul. That must be purified by something else than external washing; and it is polluted by other things than a neglect of mere outward ceremonies. The seat of corruption is within. It is the heart itself; and if men would be made pure, the heart must be cleansed. If that is corrupt, the whole man is corrupt.
18 But 'those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 'For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
James iii. 6. s Gen. vi. 5, viii. 21; Prov. vi. 14; Jer. xvii. 9; Mark viii. 21.
18-20. Christ proceeds to state what does defile the man, or render him a sinner:-1. Evil thoughts. These are the first things. These are the fountains of all others. Thought precedes action. Thought, or purpose, or motive, gives its character to conduct. All evil thoughts are here intended. Though we labour to suppress them, yet they defile us. They leave pollution behind them. 2. Murders. Taking the life of others with malice. The malice has its seat in the heart, and the murder therefore proceeds from the heart. 1 John iii. 15. 3. Adulteries, fornication. 4. Thefts. Theft is the taking and carrying away the goods of others without their knowledge or consent. They are produced by coveting the property of others. They proceed, therefore, from the heart, and violate at the same time two commandments-the tenth in thought, and eighth in act. 5. False witness. Concealing the truth, or stating what we know to be false, contrary to the Ninth Commandment. It proceeds from a desire to injure others to take away their character or property, or to do them injustice. It proceeds thus from the heart. 6. Blasphemies. Blasphemy proceeds from opposition to God, hatred of his character (Rom. viii. 7), and from a desire that there should be no God. It proceeds from the heart. See Psalm xiv. 1. Mark adds, 7. Covetousness, always proceeding from the heart-the unlawful desire of what others possess. 8. Wickedness. The original here means malice, or a desire of injuring others. Rom. i. 29. 9. Deceit, i.e., fraud, concealment, cheating in trade. This proceeds from a desire to benefit ourselves by injustice to others, and thus proceeds from the heart. 10. Lasciviousness. A strong, evil desire of the heart. 11. An evil eye. That is, an eye sour, malignant, proud, devising or purposing evil. See Matt. v. 28, xx. 15; 2 Pet. ii. 14. 12. Pride. An improper estimate of our own importance-thinking that we are of much more consequence than we really are-always the work of an evil heart. 13. Foolishness. It is foolish for a man to disobey God. "These things defile a man." What an array of
crimes proceed from the unregenerate heart!—how universal is human depravity!
21 'Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
t Mark vii. 24.
21. This narrative is also found in Mark vii. 24-30. The coasts of Tyre and Sidon. These cities were on the sea-coast or shore of the Mediterranean.
22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
22. A woman of Canaan. This woman is called also a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth. Mark vii. 26. Anciently the whole land, including Tyre and Sidon, was in the possession of the Canaanites, and called Canaan. The Phoenicians were descended from the Canaanites. ¶ Is grievously vexed with a devil. See Note, Matt. iv. 24. The woman showed great earnestness. She cried unto him, and fell at his feet. Mark vii. 25.
23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
23. But he answered her not a word. This was done to test her faith, and that there might be exhibited to the apostles an example of the effect of persevering supplication. The result shows that it was not unwillingness to aid her, or neglect of her. It was proper that the strength of her faith should be fully tried.
24 But he answered and said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
u Chap. x. 5, 6; Acts iii. 25, 26, xiii. 46; Rom. xv. 18.
24. But he answered-I am not sent, &c. This answer was made to the woman, not to the disciples. The lost sheep of the house of Israel, viz., the Jews. He came first to them. He came as their expected Messiah. He came to preach the Gospel himself to the Jews only. Afterwards it was preached to the Gentiles; but the ministry of Jesus was confined almost entirely to the Jews. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
25. She came and worshipped. That is, bowed down to him-did him reverence. ¶ Lord, help me. A proper cry for a poor sinner, who needs the help of the Lord Jesus.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
Chap. vii. 6; Phil. iii. 2.
26. But he answered and said, It is not meet, &c. That is, it is not fit or proper. ¶ Children's bread. He came to instruct the Jews in the way of salvation. It did not fall in with the design of his personal ministry, to apply the benefits intended for the Jews to others.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.
27. And she said, Truth, Lord, &c. What you say is true. Let it be that the best food should be given to the children. Let the Jews have the chief benefit of thy ministry. But the dogs, beneath the table, eat the crumbs. So let me be regarded as a dog, a heathen, as unworthy of every thing. Yet grant one exertion of that almighty power, displayed so signally among the Jews, and heal the despised daughter of a despised heathen mother.
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
28. Great is thy faith. That is, thy trust, confidence. humility and perseverance manifested in pressing her suit. home, she found her well and composed. Mark vii. 30.
The word here seems to include, also, the
29 And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh 'unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. 30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them: 31 Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.
y Mark vii. 31. z Chap. iv. 18. a Isa. xxxv. 5, 6; Chap. xi. 5; Luke vii. 22.
29-31. Sea of Galilee. "Jesus departed thence. He sat down by the sea of Galilee, on a mountain that all might see him, and have free access to him; for he is an open Saviour. Great multitudes came to him-brought their sick relations and friends along with them. Whatever our case is, the only way to find ease and relief is to lay it at Christ's feet, to submit it to him, and refer it to his disposal. Here were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, brought to Christ. See what work sin has made! Here were such diseases as fancy could neither contribute to the cause of nor to the cure of, yet these were subject to the commands of Christ. Christ's power may comfort us in all our weaknesses, and his pity may comfort us in all our miseries. The spiritual cures that Christ works are wonderful. When blind souls are made to see by faith, the dumb to speak in prayer, the lame to walk in holy obedience, it is to be wondered at. Those who were healed, glorified God; if he heal our diseases, all that is within us must bless his holy name. That the word rendered maimed, signifies such persons as had been deprived of their limbs, and their restoration may be considered as a most wondrous effect of our Lord's power."
Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. 33 And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? 34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. 35 And he commanded the multitude to sit on the ground. 36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 37 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. 38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children. 39 And he sent away the mulitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.
Mark viii. 10.
b Mark viii. 1. c 2 Kings iv. 43. d Chap. xiv. 19. e 1 Sain. ix. 13; Luke xxii. 19. 32-39. The miracle recorded here, the feeding of the seven thousand, took place on a mountain, near the sea of Galilee. The circumstances of the miracle are so similar to the one recorded in Matt. xiv. 14-21 (to which we refer the reader) as to need no farther explanation.
We learn from this chapter,-1. That men are often far more attached to traditions, and the commandments of men, than the law of God. Verses 1-6.
2. That men are strongly disposed to explain away the law of God, if possible. It is too strict for them, and too spiritual. They dare not often attack it directly, but they will explain it away and dilute it so as to make it mean nothing. Verses 4-6.
3. Men are prone to introduce foolish rites into religion. They do not love what God has commanded, and they attempt to compensate for not loving his doctrines by being great sticklers for their own. Verse 2; Mark vii. 3, 4.
4. All addition to the law of God is evil. Verse 3. All ceremonies in religion, which are not authorised by the New Testament, are wrong. Man has no right to ordain rites to bind the con
science where God has commanded none. Col. ii. 22. Men come the nearest to that which is right when they live nearest to just what God has commanded in the Bible.
5. Hypocrites should be unmasked and detected. Verse 7. He does a great service to men who detects their hypocrisy. That close and faithful preaching which lays open the heart, and shows men what they are, is that which comes nearest to the example of Christ. It may pain them, but the wounds of a friend are faithful (Prov. xxvii. 6); and we should honour and love the man that, by the grace of God, can show us our heart. We always honour most the physician of the body that is most skilled in detecting and curing disease, and so should we the physician of the soul. 6. We should be exceedingly cautious of formality in worship. Verses 8, 9. It is hypocrisy. God requires the heart. To render him only the service of the lips is to mock him. Nothing can be acceptable but true piety, genuine love, and hearty obedience. Nothing more hateful than an appearance of worshipping God, while the heart is in sin and the world.
7. The duty of honouring parents. Verses 4-6. Nothing can explain away this duty. It is binding on all. Parents should be obeyed, loved, respected. God requires it, and we cannot be free from the duty. Under age, a child is bound always to obey a parent, where the parent does not command any thing contrary to the Bible. But when the parent commands any thing contrary to the Bible, the child is not bound to obey. Acts v. 23. After the child is of age, he is to respect, love, and honour the parent; and if poor and needy, to provide for his wants till he dies. It is certainly proper that we do all we can to comfort those in old age, who did so much for us in childhood. A child can never repay a parent for his kindness to him.
8. Every false doctrine is to be opposed, and shall be rooted up. Verse 13. It is to be opposed by arguments and candid investigation, and not by abuse and misrepresentation. Christ never misrepresented any man's doctrine. He always stated it just as it was just as they held it; and then, by argument and the Word of God, he showed it was wrong. This is the proper way to manage all controversies.