Jesus Breaks Religious Traditions
1One day, the Pharisees and certain religious scholars came from Jerusalem and gathered around Jesus. 2They were shocked # 7:2 As translated from the Aramaic. to find that some of Jesus’ disciples ate bread without first observing the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating their meal. 3(For the Pharisees, like all other Jews, will not eat without first performing a ritual of pouring water over their cupped hands # 7:3 Or “with a fist.” Some have surmised this was a thorough washing from the hand to the elbow. But it was most likely water poured over cupped hands. This is not taught in the Torah, but was insisted on because of the tradition of the elders. A few Greek manuscripts and the Aramaic read “They do not eat unless they wash their hands carefully,” with no mention of a fist. to keep the tradition of the elders. 4Similarly, when returning from the marketplace, they ceremonially wash themselves before eating. # 7:4 The Aramaic is “If they do not bathe, they do not eat.” They also observed many other traditions, such as ceremonially washing cups, pitchers, and kettles.) # 7:4 Some manuscripts add “dining couches.” Some Aramaic manuscripts add “beds” (or “mats”). This ceremonial sprinkling amounted to nothing more than religious rules and customs, but none of them were commanded in the writings of Moses—they were the oral traditions of men.
5So the Pharisees and religious scholars asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the age-old traditions passed down by our elders? They should first ceremonially wash their hands before eating.”
6Jesus replied, “You are hypocrites! How accurately # 7:6 Or “excellently.” did Isaiah prophesy about you phonies when he said:
‘These people honor me with their words
while their hearts run far away from me!
7Their worship is nothing more than a charade!
For they continue to insist
that their man-made traditions
are equal to the instructions of God.’ # 7:7 See Isa. 29:13 (LXX).
8“You abandon God’s commandments just to keep men’s rituals, such as ceremonially washing utensils, cups, and other things.” # 7:8 Some manuscripts omit the last clause. It is found in the Aramaic and the majority of Greek texts.
9Then he added, “How skillful you’ve become in rejecting God’s law in order to maintain your man-made set of rules. 10For example, Moses taught us:
‘Honor your father and mother,’ # 7:10 See Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16.
‘Whoever insults or mistreats his father or mother must be put to death.’ # 7:10 See Ex. 21:17; Lev. 20:9.
11“But your made-up rules allow a person to say to his parents, ‘I’ve decided to take the support you were counting on from me and make it my holy offering to God, and that will be your blessing instead.’ # 7:11 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “Whatever you would have gained from me will be corban (an offering).” Corban (qorban) is an Aramaic word that implies that a person is pure, sincere, and pious when he makes an offering to God. In this case, people would simply speak the word corban over the money they were obligated to use in support of their aged parents, and that would exempt them from their duty to give it. Jesus disapproved of this practice, as it nullified God’s commands. Words themselves don’t count with God; he seeks justice and obedience from the heart. 12How convenient! The rules you teach exempt him from providing for his aged parents. 13Do you really think God will honor your traditions passed down to others, making up rules that nullify God’s Word? And you’re doing many other similar things.”
Jesus Explains What Truly Defiles
14Then Jesus called the crowd together again, saying, “Hear my words, all of you, and take them to heart. 15What truly contaminates a person is not what he puts into his body, but what comes out. That’s what makes a person defiled.” # 7:15 Some Greek manuscripts and the Aramaic add v. 16, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
17When Jesus went back home and away from the crowd, his disciples acknowledged that they didn’t understand the meaning of the parable and asked him to explain it. 18He answered them, “Are you as dull as the rest? Don’t you understand that you are not defiled by what you eat? 19For the food you swallow doesn’t enter your heart, but goes into your stomach, only to pass out into the sewer.” (This means all foods are clean.) # 7:19 The words in parenthesis are added by the author (Mark). 20He added, “Words and deeds pollute a person, not food. 21Evil originates from inside a person. Coming out of a human heart are evil schemes, # 7:21 Or “depraved thoughts.” sexual immorality, # 7:21 This is the Greek word porneía (the root word from which we get pornography). The literal meaning is “to sell off oneself” (into sexual impurity). theft, murder, 22adultery, greed, wickedness, treachery, debauchery, # 7:22 Or “indecency.” This is the Greek word aselgeia, a possible veiled term for homosexual behavior and other sexual deviant behavior forbidden in the Old Testament. Aselgeia is used ten times in the New Testament. jealousy, # 7:22 Or “an evil eye,” which is an Aramaic idiom for stinginess. slander, # 7:22 The Aramaic is “blasphemy.” arrogance, # 7:22 The Aramaic is “boasting.” and recklessness. # 7:22 Or “senselessness.” 23All these corrupt things emerge from within and constantly defile a person.”
Jesus and a Foreign Woman
24Jesus set out from there to go into the non-Jewish region of Tyre. # 7:24 Or “the region of Tyre and Sidon.” (Some manuscripts do not have Sidon.) These two cities are located in Lebanon on the Mediterranean coast. He intended to slip into a house unnoticed, but people found out that he was there. 25But when a woman whose daughter had a demon spirit heard he was there, she came and threw herself down at his feet. 26She was not Jewish, but a foreigner, # 7:26 Or “Greek.” The Jews considered the word Greek to mean anyone who was not a Jew, not necessarily a person of Greek descent. born in the part of Syria known as Phoenicia. # 7:26 This story, in light of the culture of that time, is phenomenal. She was a foreign-born woman with a demonized daughter. Combined, these characteristics made her an unlikely candidate to seek out a Jewish healer. The racial divide of that day was quite pronounced, but love and faith overcome every barrier, including racial prejudice. In Matt. 15:22, the Hebrew Matthew text describes her as “a Canaanite merchant woman.” Canaan included the region of modern-day Lebanon and parts of Syria. In this region, Jezebel established Baal worship and there her body was eventually thrown to the dogs. Here Jesus heals a woman and brings her into the true worship of God. She begged him repeatedly to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27Finally he said to her, “First let my children be fed and satisfied, for it isn’t fair to take the children’s bread # 7:27 “Children” is a metaphor for the Jewish people (children of Israel), and the “children’s bread” becomes a metaphor for healing or casting out demons. and throw it to the little dogs.” # 7:27 Or “little pet dogs.” The term translated “dog” here is the diminutive form of the Greek kuon. Calling her a household pet was not meant as an ethnic slur, but was used to describe an impure (unclean) mind. See Matt. 7:6; Phil. 3:2; 2 Peter 2:22; Rev. 22:15. Using the metaphors of children, children’s bread, and dogs was the way Jesus tested her faith and revealed her strong confidence in Jesus’ power to heal her daughter. She saw Jesus as “Lord” and received her miracle.
28She answered, “How true that is, Lord. But even puppies under the family table are allowed to eat the little children’s crumbs.”
29Then Jesus said to her, “That’s a good reply! Now, because you said this, you may go. The demon has permanently left your daughter.” 30And when she returned home, she found her daughter resting quietly on the couch, completely set free from the demon!
Jesus Heals a Deaf Man
31After this, Jesus left the coastland of Tyre and came through Sidon on his way to Lake Galilee and over into regions of Syria. # 7:31 Or “the Decapolis,” which means “Ten Cities,” all of which were located in Syria. (See Mark 5:20 and footnote.) Jesus headed southeast to Lake Galilee. This trek was many miles and would have taken him days to arrive. 32Some people brought to him a deaf man with a severe speech impediment. They pleaded with Jesus to place his hands on him and heal him.
33So Jesus led him away from the crowd to a private spot. Then he stuck his fingers into the man’s ears and placed some of his saliva on the man’s tongue. # 7:33 The saliva of firstborn sons in the Jewish culture of Jesus’ time was considered to have power to heal infirmities. 34Then he gazed into heaven, # 7:34 The Aramaic is “Then he focused on (or contemplated) heaven.” sighed deeply, and spoke to the man’s ears and tongue, “Ethpathakh,” which is Aramaic # 7:34 Aramaic was the language of Jesus and his disciples and continues to be spoken today. The spelling of Ethpathakh has been adjusted to fit proper Aramaic instead of the transliterated Greek text, which is unintelligible, possibly due to a scribal error. for “Open up, now!” # 7:34 The phrase “open up” is the same wording used in the Hebrew of Isa. 61:1, “Open the prison doors.” It furthermore refers to the opening of the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf.
35At once the man’s ears opened and he could hear perfectly, and his tongue was untied and he began to speak normally. 36Jesus ordered everyone to keep this miracle a secret, but the more he told them not to, the more the news spread! 37The people were absolutely beside themselves and astonished beyond measure. # 7:37 The Greek text uses an unusual construction, found nowhere else in the New Testament, to describe the utter astonishment of the people over this miracle. Jesus led the man away from the unbelief of others to work his miracle and healed him with his saliva. (Later, wicked men would spit upon him in public.) Jesus then told the man he healed not to tell others, but he did. Jesus tells us to spread the good news, and we don’t. And they began to declare, “Everything he does is wonderful! # 7:37 Or “beautiful,” “perfect,” “admirable,” or “marvelous.” This verse can also be translated “He has made everything beautiful” or “He has made everything ideally.” He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak!”