Mark 2 COMMENTARY (Ellicott)

Mark 2
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
And again he entered into Capernaum, after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

(1) And again he entered into Capernaum.—See Notes on Matthew 9:1-8. St. Mark alone names Capernaum, St. Matthew describing it as “His own city.” The house may have been Peter’s, as before in Mark 1:29.

And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
(2) No, not so much as about the door.—Another of St. Mark’s graphic touches of description.

He preached the word.—Literally, He spake the word.

And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
(3) Borne of four.—The number of the bearers is given by St. Mark only.

And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
(4) They uncovered the roof . . . when they had broken it up.—The strong expressions of the injury done to the roof are peculiar to St. Mark. St. Luke gives, “through the tiles.”

They let down the bed.—St. Mark uses a different word from St. Matthew, the Greek form of the Latin word grabatus, the pallet or camp-bed used by the poor. The same word appears in John 5:8-10, and in Acts 5:15; Acts 9:33, but not at all in St. Matthew or St. Luke.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
(6) Certain of the scribes.—These are described by St. Luke (Luke 5:17) as “having come from every village of Galilee, and Judæa, and Jerusalem.”

Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
(7) Why doth this man . . .?—The better MSS. give, “Why doth this Man thus speak? He blasphemeth.”

And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
(8) When Jesus perceived in his spirit.—The special mention of the spirit as the region of our Lord’s consciousness is, as part of this narrative, peculiar to St. Mark, and is not without importance in its bearing on the reality and completeness of our Lord’s human nature.

Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.
And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.
(12) We never saw it on this fashion.—St. Matthew gives the substance but not the words. St. Luke, “We have seen strange things to-day.”

And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.
And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
(14-17) Levi the son of Alphæus.—See Notes on Matthew 9:9-13. St. Mark and St. Luke agree in giving the name Levi, the former alone describes him as the son of Alphæus.

And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
(17) I came not to call the righteous.—Closely as the three accounts agree, it is noticeable that here also St. Mark and St. Luke, as writing for Gentile readers, omit the reference which we find in Matthew 9:13, to the words cited by our Lord from the Old Testament.

And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
(18-22) And the disciples of John. . . . used to fast.—Better, were fasting. See Notes on Matthew 9:14-17. The only difference in detail between the two accounts is that in St. Matthew the disciples of John are more definitely specified as being the questioners.

And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.
And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
(23-28) And it came to pass.—See Notes on Matthew 12:1-8.

As they went . . .—More literally, they began to make a path (or perhaps, to make their way), plucking the ears of corn.

And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
(26) In the days of Abiathar the high priest.—St. Mark’s is the only record that gives the name of the high priest, and in so doing it creates an historical difficulty. In 1 Samuel 21:1, Ahimelech is named as exercising the high priest’s office in the Tabernacle at Nob. He is slain by Doeg, at the command of Saul, and his son Abiathar joins David at the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:20), and continues to act as high priest till his deposition by Solomon (1 Kings 2:26). Two conjectural explanations suggest themselves as probable: (1) that St. Mark, or that our Lord, may have given the name of the more famous priest of the two, who, though not then high-priest, was at the Tabernacle at the time referred to; (2) that he might have acted then as a coadjutor to his father, as Eli’s sons seem to have done to him (1 Samuel 4:4), and being, as his flight showed, of David’s party, was the chief agent in allowing him to take the shew-bread.

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Courtesy of Open Bible