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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - MARK 9

    Mark 8 - Mark 10 - VINCENT'S STUDY - HELP - FACEBOOK - GR FORUMS - GODRULES ON YOUTUBE    




    9:1 {Till they see the kingdom of God come with power} (hews an idwsin ten basileian tou qeou eleluquian en dunamei). In #8:38 Jesus clearly is speaking of the second coming. To what is he referring in #9:1? One is reminded of #Mr 13:32; Mt 24:36 where Jesus expressly denies that anyone save the Father himself (not even the Son) knows the day or the hour. Does he contradict that here? It may be observed that Luke has only "see the kingdom of God," while Matthew has "see the Son of man coming" (ercomenon, present participle, a process). Mark has "see the kingdom of God come" (eleluquian, perfect active participle, already come) and adds "with power." Certainly the second coming did not take place while some of those standing there still lived. Did Jesus mean that? The very next incident in the Synoptic Gospels is the Transfiguration on Mount Hermon. Does not Jesus have that in mind here? The language will apply also to the coming of the Holy Spirit on the great Day of Pentecost. Some see in it a reference to the destruction of the temple. It is at least open to question whether the Master is speaking of the same event in #Mr 8:38; 9:1.

    9:2 {By themselves} (monous). Alone. this word only in Mark. See on ¯Mt 17:1-8 for discussion of the Transfiguration. #Lu 9:28 adds "to pray" as the motive of Jesus in taking Peter, James, and John into the high mountain.

    9:3 {Glistering, exceeding white} (stilbonta leuka lian). Old words, all of them. #Mt 17:2 has {white as the light} (leuka hws to fws), #Lu 9:29 "white and dazzling" (leukos exastraptwn) like lightning. {So as no fuller on earth can whiten them} (hoia gnafeus epi tes ges ou dunatai houtws leukanai). gnafw is an old word to card wool. Note houtws, so, so white. Some manuscripts in Matthew add h"s ciwn, as snow. Probably the snow-capped summit of Hermon was visible on this very night. See on ¯Mt 17:2 for "transfigured."

    9:4 {Elijah with Moses} (eleias sun mwusei). Matthew and Luke have "Moses and Elijah." Both, as a matter of fact were prophets and both dealt with law. Both had mysterious deaths. The other order in #Mr 9:5.

    9:6 {For he wist not what to answer} (ou gar eidei ti apokriqei). Deliberative subjunctive retained in indirect question. But why did Peter say anything? Luke says that he spoke, "not knowing what he said," as an excuse for the inappropriateness of his remarks. Perhaps Peter felt embarrassed at having been asleep (#Lu 9:32) and the feast of tabernacles or booths (skenai) was near. See on ¯Mt 17:4. Peter and the others apparently had not heard the talk of Moses and Elijah with Jesus about his decease (exodon, exodus, departure) and little knew the special comfort that Jesus had found in this understanding of the great approaching tragedy concerning which Peter had shown absolute stupidity (#Mr 8:32f.) so recently. See on ¯Mt 17:5 about the overshadowing and the voice.

    9:8 {Suddenly looking round about} (exapina peribleyamenoi). #Mt 17:8 has it "lifting up their eyes." Mark is more graphic. The sudden glance around on the mountain side when the cloud with Moses and Elijah was gone. {Jesus only with themselves} (meq' heautwn ei me iesoun monon). Mark shows their surprise at the situation. They were sore afraid (#Mt 17:6) before Jesus touched them.

    9:9 {Save when} (ei me hotan). Matthew has "until" (hews hou). {Should have risen} (anastei). Second aorist active subjunctive. More exactly, "should rise" (punctiliar aorist and futuristic, not with any idea of perfect tense). #Lu 9:36 merely says that they told no man any of these things. It was a high and holy secret experience that the chosen three had had for their future good and for the good of all.

    9:10 {They kept the saying} (ton logon ekratesan) to themselves as Jesus had directed, but {questioning among themselves} (pros heautous sunzetountes). Now they notice his allusion to rising from the dead which had escaped them before (#Mr 8:31).

    9:12 {Restoreth all things} (apokatistanei panta). this late double compound verb, usual form apokaqistemi in the papyri, is Christ's description of the Baptist as the promised Elijah and Forerunner of the Messiah. See on ¯Mt 17:10-13. The disciples had not till now understood that the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy in #Mal 3:5f. They had just seen Elijah on the mountain, but Jesus as Messiah preceded this coming of Elijah. But Jesus patiently enlightens his dull pupils as they argue about the exegesis of the scribes.

    9:14 {And scribes questioning with them} (kai grammateis sunzetountes pros autous). Mark alone gives this item. He is much fuller on this incident (#9:14-29) than either Matthew (#Mt 17:14-20) or Luke (#Lu 9:37-43). It was just like the professional scribes to take keen interest in the failure of the nine disciples to cure this poor boy. They gleefully nagged and quizzed them. Jesus and the three find them at it when they arrive in the plain.

    9:15 {Were greatly amazed} (exeqambeqesan). First aorist passive ingressive aorist with perfective compound ex-. The sudden and opportune appearance of Jesus in the midst of the dispute when no one was looking for him turned all eyes to him. He would not fail, however the disciples might do so. The people were awed for the moment and qen running began to welcome him (protrecontes espazonto). Present participle and imperfect middle indicative.

    9:16 {What question ye with them?} (ti sunzeteite pros autous;). Jesus had noticed the embarrassment of the nine and at once takes hold of the situation.

    9:17 {I brought unto thee my son} (enegka ton huion mou pros se). The father stepped out and gave the explanation of the excited dispute in direct and simple pathos.

    9:18 {Wheresoever it taketh him} (hopou ean auton katalabei). Seizes him down. Our word catalepsy is this same word. The word is used by Galen and Hippocrates for fits. The word is very common in the papyri in various senses as in the older Greek. Each of the verbs here in Mark is a graphic picture. {Dashes down} (ressei). Also regnumi, mi form. Convulses, rends, tears asunder. Old and common word. {Foameth} (afrizei). Here only in the N.T. Poetic and late word. {Grindeth} (trizei). Another _hapax legomenon_ in the N.T. Old word for making a shrill cry or squeak. {Pineth away} (xerainetai). Old word for drying or withering as of grass in #Jas 1:11. {And they were not able} (kai ouk iscusan). They did not have the strength (iscus) to handle this case. See #Mt 17:16; Lu 9:40 (kai ouk eduneqesan, first aorist passive). It was a tragedy.

    9:19 {Bring him unto me} (ferete auton pros me). The disciples had failed and their unbelief had led to this fiasco. Even the disciples were like and part of the {faithless} (apistos, unbelieving) generation in which they lived. The word {faithless} does not here mean treacherous as it does with us. But Jesus is not afraid to undertake this case. We can always come to Jesus when others fail us.

    9:20 {Tare him grievously} (sunesparaxen auton). #Lu 9:42 has both errexen (dashed down, like #Mr 9:18, rˆssei) and sunesparaxen (convulsed). this compound with sun- (together with), strengthens the force of the verb as in sunpnigw (#Mr 4:7) and sunterew (#6:20). The only other instance of this compound verb known is in Maximus Tyrius (second century B.C.). {Wallowed} (ekulieto). Imperfect passive, was rolled. A pitiful sight. Late form of the old kulindw.

    9:22 {But if thou canst} (all 'ei ti dunei). Jesus had asked (verse #21) the history of the case like a modern physician. The father gave it and added further pathetic details about the fire and the water. The failure of the disciples had not wholly destroyed his faith in the power of Jesus, though the conditional form (first class, assuming it to be true) does suggest doubt whether the boy can be cured at all. It was a chronic and desperate case of epilepsy with the demon possession added. {Help us} (boeqeson hemin). Ingressive aorist imperative. Do it now. With touching tenderness he makes the boy's case his own as the Syrophoenician woman had said, "Have mercy on me" (#Mt 15:21). The leper had said: "If thou wilt" (#Mr 1:40). this father says: "If thou canst."

    9:23 {If thou canst} (to ei dunei). The Greek has a neat idiom not preserved in the English translation. The article takes up the very words of the man and puts the clause in the accusative case of general reference. "As to the 'if thou canst,' all things can (dunata) to the one who believes." The word for "possible" is dunata, the same root as dunei (canst). this quick turn challenges the father's faith. On this use of the Greek article see Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 766.

    9:24 {Cried out} (kraxas). Loud outcry and at once (euqus). The later manuscripts have "with tears" (meta dakruwn), not in the older documents. {I believe; help my unbelief} (pisteuw: boeqei tei apistiai). An exact description of his mental and spiritual state. He still had faith, but craved more. Note present imperative here (continuous help) boeqei, while aorist imperative (instant help) boeqeson, verse #22. The word comes from boˆ, a cry and the", to run, to run at a cry for help, a vivid picture of this father's plight.

    9:25 {A multitude came running together} (episuntrecei oclos). A double compound here alone in the N.T. and not in the old Greek writers. epitrecw occurs in the papyri, but not episuntrecw. The double compound vividly describes the rapid gathering of the crowd to Jesus and the epileptic boy to see the outcome. {Come out of him} (exelqe ex autou). Jesus addresses the demon as a separate being from the boy as he often does. this makes it difficult to believe that Jesus was merely indulging popular belief in a superstition. He evidently regards the demon as the cause in this case of the boy's misfortune.

    9:26 {Having torn much} (sparaxas). The uncompounded verb used in verse #20. {Became as one dead} (egeneto hwsei nekros). As if dead from the violence of the spasm. The demon did him all possible harm in leaving him.

    9:28 {Privately, saying} (kat' idian hoti). Indoors the nine disciples seek an explanation for their colossal failure. They had cast out demons and wrought cures before. The Revisers are here puzzled over Mark's use of hoti as an interrogative particle meaning {why} where #Mt 17:19 has dia ti. Some of the manuscripts have dia ti here in #Mr 9:28 as all do in #Mt 17:19. See also #Mr 2:16 and #9:11. It is probable that in these examples hoti really means {why}. See Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 730. The use of hos as interrogative "is by no means rare in the late Greek" (Deissmann, _Light from the Ancient East_, p. 126).

    9:29 {Save by prayer} (ei me en proseucei). The addition of "and of fasting" does not appear in the two best Greek manuscripts (Aleph and B). It is clearly a late addition to help explain the failure. But it is needless and also untrue. Prayer is what the nine had failed to use. They were powerless because they were prayerless. Their self-complacency spelled defeat. #Mt 17:20 has "because of your little faith" (oligopistian). That is true also. They had too much faith in themselves, too little in Christ. "They had trusted to the semi-magical power with which they thought themselves invested" (Swete). "Spirits of such malice were quick to discern the lack of moral power and would yield to no other" (_ibid_.).

    9:30 {He would not that any man should know it} (ouk eqelen hina tis gnoi). Imperfect tense followed by ingressive aorist subjunctive (gnoi = gnwi, the usual form). He was not willing that any one should learn it. Back in Galilee Jesus was, but he was avoiding public work there now (cf. #7:24). He was no longer the hero of Galilee. He had left Caesarea Philippi for Galilee.

    9:31 {For he taught} (edidasken gar). Imperfect tense, and the reason given for secrecy. He was renewing again definitely the prediction of his death in Jerusalem some six months ahead as he had done before (#Mr 8:31; Mt 16:21; Lu 9:22). Now as qen Jesus foretells his resurrection "after three days" ("the third day," #Mt 17:23).

    9:32 {But they understood not the saying} (hoi de egnooun to rhema). An old word. Chiefly in Paul's Epistles in the N.T. Imperfect tense. They continued not to understand. They were agnostics on the subject of the death and resurrection even after the Transfiguration experience. As they came down from the mountain they were puzzled again over the Master's allusion to his resurrection (#Mr 9:10). #Mt 17:23 notes that "they were exceeding sorry" to hear Jesus talk this way again, but Mark adds that they "were afraid to ask him" (efobounto auton eperwtesai). Continued to be afraid (imperfect tense), perhaps with a bitter memory of the term "Satan" hurled at Peter when he protested the other time when Jesus spoke of his death (#Mr 8:33; Mt 16:23). #Lu 9:45 explains that "it was concealed from them," probably partly by their own preconceived ideas and prejudices.

    9:33 {In the house} (en tei oikiai). Probably Peter's house in Capernaum which was the home of Jesus when in the city. {What were ye reasoning in the way?} (ti en tei hodwi dielogiszeqe;). Imperfect tense. They had been disputing (verse #34), not about the coming death of the Master, but about the relative rank of each of them in the political kingdom which they were expecting him to establish. Jesus had suspected the truth about them and they had apparently kept it up in the house. See on ¯Mt 18:1 where the disciples are represented as bringing the dispute to Jesus while here Jesus asks them about it. Probably they asked Jesus first and qen he pushed the matter further and deeper to see if this had not been the occasion of the somewhat heated discussion on the way in.

    9:34 {But they held their peace} (hoi de esiwpwn). Imperfect tense. Put thus to them, they felt ashamed that the Master had discovered their jealous rivalry. It was not a mere abstract query, as they put it to Jesus, but it was a canker in their hearts.

    9:35 {He sat down and called the twelve} (kaqisas efwnesen tous dwdeka). Deliberate action of Jesus to handle this delicate situation. Jesus gives them the rule of greatness: "If any man would be first (prwtos) he shall be last (escatos) of all, and minister (diakonos) of all." this saying of Christ, like many others, he repeated at other times (#Mr 10:43f.; Mt 23:8ff.; Lu 22:24f.). #Mt 18:2 says that he called a little child, one there in the house, perhaps Peter's child. #Lu 9:47 notes that he "set him by his side." qen Jesus {taking him in his arms} (enagkalisamenos, aorist middle participle, late Greek word from agkale as in #Lu 2:28) spoke again to the disciples.

    9:37 {One of such little children} (hen twn toioutwn paidiwn). #Mt 18:5 has "one such little child" and #Lu 9:48 " this little child." It was an object lesson to the arrogant conceit of the twelve apostles contending for primacy. They did not learn this lesson for they will again wrangle over primacy (#Mr 10:33-45; Mt 20:20-28) and they will be unable to comprehend easily what the attitude of Jesus was toward children (#Mr 10:13-16; Mt 19:13-15; Lu 8:15-17). The child was used as a rebuke to the apostles.

    9:38 {Because he followed not us} (hoti ouk ekolouqei hemin). Note vivid imperfect tense again. John evidently thought to change the subject from the constraint and embarrassment caused by their dispute. So he told about a case of extra zeal on his part expecting praise from Jesus. Perhaps what Jesus had just said in verse #37 raised a doubt in John's mind as to the propriety of his excessive narrowness. One needs to know the difference between loyalty to Jesus and stickling over one's own narrow prejudices.

    9:39 {Forbid him not} (me kwluete). Stop hindering him (me and the present-imperative) as John had been doing.

    9:40 {He that is not against us is with us} (hos ouk estin kaq' hemwn huper hemwn estin). this profound saying throws a flood of light in every direction. The complement of this logion is that in #Mt 12:30: "He that is not with me is against me." Both are needed. Some people imagine that they are really for Christ who refuse to take a stand in the open with him and for him.

    9:41 {Because ye are Christ's} (hoti cristou este). Predicate genitive, belong to Christ. See #Ro 8:9; 1Co 1:12; 2Co 10:7. That is the bond of universal brotherhood of the redeemed. It breaks over the lines of nation, race, class, sex, everything. No service is too small, even a cup of cold water, if done for Christ's sake. See on ¯Mt 18:6f. for discussion on stumbling-blocks for these little ones that believe on Jesus (#Mr 9:42), a loving term of all believers, not just children.

    9:43 {Into hell, into the unquenchable fire} (eis ten geennan, eis to p-r to asbeston). Not Hades, but gehenna. asbeston is alpha privative and sbestos from sbennumi to quench. It occurs often in Homer. Our word asbestos is this very word. #Mt 18:8 has "into the eternal fire." The Valley of Hinnom had been desecrated by the sacrifice of children to Moloch so that as an accursed place it was used for the city garbage where worms gnawed and fires burned. It is thus a vivid picture of eternal punishment.

    9:44 The oldest and best manuscripts do not give these two verses. They came in from the Western and Syrian (Byzantine) classes. They are a mere repetition of verse #48. Hence we lose the numbering 44 and 46 in our verses which are not genuine.

    9:46 See on ¯44

    9:47 {With one eye} (monofqalmon). Literally one-eyed. See also #Mt 18:9. Vernacular _Koin‚_ and condemned by the Atticists. See #Mt 18:8f. Mark has here "kingdom of God" where #Mt 18:9 has "life."

    9:48 {Their worm} (ho skwlex autwn). "The worm, i.e. that preys upon the inhabitants of this dread realm" (Gould). Two bold figures of gehenna combined (the gnawing worm, the burning flame). No figures of gehenna can equal the dread reality which is here described. See #Isa 66:24.

    9:50 {Have salt in yourselves} (ecete en heautois hala). Jesus had once called them the salt of the earth (#Mt 5:13) and had warned them against losing the saltness of the salt. If it is analon, nothing can {season} (artuw) it and it is of no use to season anything else. It is like an exploded shell, a burnt-out crater, a spent force. this is a warning for all Christians.

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