The Feeding of the Four Thousand
1 In those days there was another large crowd with nothing to eat. So#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. Jesus#tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. called his disciples and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have already been here with me three days, and they have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will faint on the way, and some of them have come from a great distance.” 4 His disciples answered him, “Where can someone get enough bread in this desolate place to satisfy these people?” 5 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven.” 6 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. After he took the seven loaves and gave thanks, he broke them and began giving them to the disciples to serve. So#tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative. they served the crowd. 7 They also had a few small fish. After giving thanks for these, he told them to serve these as well. 8 Everyone#tn Grk “They.” ate and was satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 There were about four thousand#sn The parallel in Matt 15:32-39 notes that the four thousand were only men, a point not made explicit in Mark. who ate.#tn The words “who ate” are not in the Greek text but have been supplied for clarity. Then he dismissed them.#sn Mark 8:1-10. Many commentators, on the basis of similarities between this account of the feeding of the multitude (8:1-10) and that in 6:30-44, have argued that there is only one event referred to in both passages. While there are similarities in language and in the response of the disciples, there are also noticeable differences, including the different number present on each occasion (i.e., 5,000 in chap. 6 and 4,000 here). In the final analysis, the fact that Jesus refers to two distinct feedings in 8:18-20 settles the issue; this passage represents another very similar incident to that recorded in 6:30-44. 10 Immediately he got into a boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.#sn The exact location of Dalmanutha is uncertain, but it is somewhere close to the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The Demand for a Sign
11 Then the Pharisees#sn See the note on Pharisees in 2:16. came and began to argue with Jesus, asking for#tn Grk “seeking from him.” The participle ζητοῦντες (zhtountes) shows the means by which the Pharisees argued with Jesus. a sign from heaven#sn What exactly this sign would have been, given what Jesus was already doing, is not clear. But here is where the fence-sitters reside, refusing to commit to him. to test him. 12 Sighing deeply in his spirit he said, “Why does this generation look for a sign? I tell you the truth,#tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.” no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. he left them, got back into the boat, and went to the other side.
The Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod
14 Now#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic. they had forgotten to take bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 And Jesus#tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. ordered them,#tn Grk “was giving them orders, saying.” The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in English and has not been translated. “Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees#sn See the note on Pharisees in 2:16. and the yeast of Herod!” 16 So they began to discuss with one another about having no bread.#tn Grk “And they were discussing with one another that they had no bread.” 17 When he learned of this,#tn Or “becoming aware of it.” Jesus said to them, “Why are you arguing#tn Or “discussing.” about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Have your hearts been hardened? 18 Though you have eyes, don’t you see? And though you have ears, can’t you hear?#tn Grk “do you not hear?” Don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of pieces did you pick up?” They replied, “Twelve.” 20 “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of pieces did you pick up?” They replied,#tc ‡ A difficult textual problem is found here, involving three different variants: καὶ λέγουσιν (kai legousin) is found in א pc; οἱ δὲ εἶπον (Joi de eipon) is the reading of Ì45 A D W Θ Ë1,13 33 Ï it; and καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ (kai legousin autw) is supported by B C L (Δ 579 892) 2427 pc. The first two variants would not be translated differently; the third reading, however, would add “to him” after “they replied.” What complicates the issue is that the external evidence is fairly evenly split between the second and third readings, though the first reading is in agreement with the second reading in lacking the dative pronoun. Indeed, another layout of the problem here could treat this as two distinct problems: καὶ λέγουσιν vs. οἱ δὲ εἶπον and αὐτῷ vs. omission of the word. In this second arrangement of the problem, the reading without the pronoun has slightly stronger support (Ì45 א A D W Θ Ë1,13 33 Ï it). Internally, Mark never elsewhere uses the form εἶπον for the third person plural indicative form of this verb (it is always εἶπαν [eipan]). And although only one other time in Mark is the object lacking after λέγουσιν (6:38), it is a similar context (viz., the disciples’ response before Jesus feeds the 5000). Very tentatively, the reading that is followed here is καὶ λέγουσιν. NA27 puts αὐτῷ in brackets, indicating some doubt as to its authenticity. “Seven.” 21 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “Then” to indicate the implied sequence in the narrative. he said to them, “Do you still not understand?”#sn Do you still not understand? The disciples in Mark’s Gospel often misunderstood the miracles of Jesus as well as his teaching. Between Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Mark paints the most revealing portrait of the shortcomings of the Twelve (cf. 6:51-52; 7:17-19; 8:1-10, 14-21, 27-30, 33; 9:5, 10, 33; 10:28, 35-45; 14:19, 29-31, 32-37, 50, 66-72).
A Two-stage Healing
22 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. they came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to Jesus#tn Grk “to him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. and asked him to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and brought him outside of the village. Then#tn Grk “village, and.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation. he spit on his eyes, placed his hands on his eyes#tn Grk “on him,” but the word πάλιν in v. 25 implies that Jesus touched the man’s eyes at this point. and asked, “Do you see anything?” 24 Regaining his sight#tn The verb ἀναβλέπω, though normally meaning “look up,” when used in conjunction with blindness means “regain sight.” he said, “I see people, but they look like trees walking.” 25 Then Jesus#tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. placed his hands on the man’s#tn Grk “his”; the referent (the blind man) has been specified in the translation for clarity. eyes again. And he opened his eyes,#tn Or “he looked intently”; or “he stared with eyes wide open” (BDAG 226 s.v. διαβλέπω 1). his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus#tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. sent him home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.”#tc Codex Bezae (D) replaces “Do not even go into the village” with “Go to your house, and do not tell anyone, not even in the village.” Other mss with some minor variations (Θ Ë13 28 565 2542 pc) expand on this prohibition to read “Go to your house, and if you go into the village, do not tell anyone.” There are several other variants here as well. While these expansions are not part of Mark’s original text, they do accurately reflect the sense of Jesus’ prohibition.
27 Then Jesus and his disciples went to the villages of Caesarea Philippi.#map Fpr location see Map1-C1; Map2-F4. On the way he asked his disciples,#tn Grk “he asked his disciples, saying to them.” The phrase λέγων αὐτοῖς (legwn autois) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. “Who do people say that I am?” 28 They said,#tn Grk “And they said to him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. “John the Baptist, others say Elijah,#sn The appearance of Elijah would mean that the end time had come. According to 2 Kgs 2:11, Elijah was still alive. In Mal 4:5 it is said that Elijah would be the precursor of Messiah. and still others, one of the prophets.” 29 He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him,#tn Grk “Answering, Peter said to him.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “Peter answered him.” “You are the Christ.”#tn Or “the Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn The term χριστός (cristos) was originally an adjective (“anointed”), developing in LXX into a substantive (“an anointed one”), then developing still further into a technical generic term (“the anointed one”). In the intertestamental period it developed further into a technical term referring to the hoped-for anointed one, that is, a specific individual. In the NT the development starts there (technical-specific), is so used in the gospels, and then develops in Paul to mean virtually Jesus’ last name. 30 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “Then” to indicate the conclusion of the episode. he warned them not to tell anyone about him.#sn Mark 8:27-10:52. The entire section 8:27-10:52 is built around three passion predictions of Jesus (8:31; 9:31; 10:33). These predictions form the structure of the section, the content for the section (Jesus’ suffering, death, and the meaning of genuine discipleship) and the mood of the section (i.e., a somber mood). What is interesting is that after each passion prediction, Mark records both the misunderstanding of the disciples and then Jesus’ teaching on the nature of his death and what genuine discipleship is all about: (1) denying oneself (8:34-38); (2) humility and serving (9:33-37); (3) suffering, humble service, and not lording it over people (10:35-45). For further discussion of the structure of the passage, see W. L. Lane, Mark (NICNT), 292-94.
First Prediction of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection
31 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. Jesus#tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer#sn The necessity that the Son of Man suffer is the particular point that needed emphasis, since for many 1st century Jews the Messiah was a glorious and powerful figure, not a suffering one. many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law,#tn Or “and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 1:22. and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke openly about this. So#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “So” to indicate Peter’s rebuke is in response to Jesus’ teaching about the suffering of the Son of Man. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But after turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.”#tn Grk “people’s.”
34 Then#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. Jesus#tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. called the crowd, along with his disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to become my follower,#tn Grk “to follow after me.” he must deny#tn This translation better expresses the force of the Greek third person imperative than the traditional “let him deny,” which could be understood as merely permissive. himself, take up his cross,#sn To bear the cross means to accept the rejection of the world for turning to Jesus and following him. Discipleship involves a death that is like a crucifixion; see Gal 6:14. and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life#tn Or “soul” (throughout vv. 35-37). will lose it,#sn The point of the saying whoever wants to save his life will lose it is that if one comes to Jesus then rejection by many will certainly follow. If self-protection is a key motivation, then one will not respond to Jesus and will not be saved. One who is willing to risk rejection will respond and find true life. but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the gospel will save it. 36 For what benefit is it for a person#tn Grk “a man,” but ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used in a generic sense here to refer to both men and women. to gain the whole world, yet#tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast present in this context. forfeit his life? 37 What can a person give in exchange for his life? 38 For if anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him#sn How one responds now to Jesus and his teaching is a reflection of how Jesus, as the Son of Man who judges, will respond then in the final judgment. when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”