Mark 7:11 MEANING

Mark 7:11
(11) It is Corban.--The Hebrew word is peculiar to St. Mark. It occurs frequently in Leviticus and Numbers (e.g., Leviticus 2:1; Leviticus 2:5; Numbers 7:3; Numbers 7:5), and is translated generally by "offering," sometimes by "oblation" (Leviticus 2:13; Leviticus 3:1), but elsewhere in the Old Testament it only appears in Ezekiel 20:28; Ezekiel 40:43. It had come to be applied specifically (as in the Greek of Matthew 27:6; Jos. Wars, ii. 9, ? 4) to the sacred treasure of the Temple.

He shall be free.--The words, as the italics show, have nothing corresponding to them in the Greek, nor are they needed, if only, with some MSS., we strike out the conjunction "and" from the next verse. So the sentence runs, "If a man shall say . . . ye suffer him no more . . ."

Verses 11-13. - But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or his mother, That wherewith thou mightest have been profited by me is Corban, that is to say, Given to God - these words, "that is to say, Given to God," are St. Mark's explanation of "corban" - ye no longer suffer him to do aught for his father or his mother; making void the word of God by your tradition, which ye have delivered. Now, this the scribes and Pharisees did for their own covetous ends. For most of them were priests, who received offerings made to God as his ministers, and then converted them to their own uses. In this they greatly erred; because the obligation of piety by which children are bound to support their parents when they need it, is a part of the law of nature, to which every vow, every oblation, ought to yield. Thus, if any one had devoted his goods to God, and his father or his mother became needy, those goods ought to be given to his parents and not to the temple. The word "corban" is a Hebrew word, meaning "that which is brought near," "a gift or offering to God." Hence, figuratively, the place where these offerings were deposited was called the "corbanas," or, "sacred treasury" (see Matthew 27:6, κορβανᾶν). Hence to say of anything, "It is Corban," was to say that it had a prior and more sacred destination. And when it was something that a parent might need, to say, "It is Corban," i.e. it is already appropriated to another purpose, was simply to refuse his request and to deny him assistance, and so to break one of the first of the Divine commandments. Thus the son, by crying "Corban" to his needy parents, shut their mouths, by opposing to them a scruple of conscience, and suggesting to them a superstitious fear. It was as much as to say, "That which you ask of me is a sacred thing which I have devoted to God. Beware, therefore, lest you, by asking this of me, commit sacrilege by converting it to your own uses." Thus the parents would be silenced and alarmed, choosing rather to perish of hunger than to rob God. To such extremities did these covetous scribes and Pharisees drive their victims, compelling a son to abstain from any kind offices for his father or his mother. St. Ambrose says, "God does not seek a gift wrung out of the necessities of parents." Making void (ἀκυροῦντες); literally, depriving it of its authority, annulling. In Galatians 3:17 the same word is rendered "disannul." By your traditions; the traditions, that is, by which they taught children to say "Corban" to their parents. Observe the words, "your tradition" (τῇ παρδόσει ὑμῶν); your tradition, as opposed to those Divine traditions which God has sanctified, and his Church has handed down from the beginning. And many such like things ye do. This is added by St. Mark to fill up the outline, and to show that this was only a sample of the many ways in which the commandment of God was twisted, distorted, and annulled by these rabbinical traditions.

7:1-13 One great design of Christ's coming was, to set aside the ceremonial law; and to make way for this, he rejects the ceremonies men added to the law of God's making. Those clean hands and that pure heart which Christ bestows on his disciples, and requires of them, are very different from the outward and superstitious forms of Pharisees of every age. Jesus reproves them for rejecting the commandment of God. It is clear that it is the duty of children, if their parents are poor, to relieve them as far as they are able; and if children deserve to die that curse their parents, much more those that starve them. But if a man conformed to the traditions of the Pharisees, they found a device to free him from the claim of this duty.But ye say,.... Your elders, doctors, and wise men, in opposition to God and Moses:

if a man shall say to his father or his mother, it is Corban, that is to say, a gift; in the same manner is this word interpreted by Josephus, who speaking of some that call themselves Corban unto God, says (u) in the Greek tongue, , "this signifies a gift": now, according to the traditions of the elders, whoever made use of that word to his father or his mother, signifying thereby, that what they might have expected relief from at his hands, he had devoted it; or it was as if it was devoted to sacred uses; adding,

by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me, he shall be free; and not under any obligation to regard and relieve his parents, let their case and circumstances be what they would. This is the form of a vow, which a man having made on purpose, to free himself from the charge of the maintenance of his parents, when reduced, repeats unto them; or which he makes upon their application to him: various forms of this kind of vows, are produced in the note see Gill on Matthew 15:5, which see: this was not the form of an oath, or swearing by Corban, or the sacred treasury in the temple, mentioned in Matthew 27:6, of which I do not remember any instance; nor was it a dedication of his substance to holy and religious uses; to the service of God and the temple; but it was a vow he made, that what he had, should be as Corban, as a gift devoted to sacred uses: that as that could not be appropriated to any other use, so his substance, after such a vow, could not be applied to the relief of his parents; though he was not obliged by it to give it for the use of the temple, but might keep it himself, or bestow it upon others. L. Capellus has wrote a very learned dissertation upon this vow, at the end of his Spicilegium on the New Testament; very and our learned countryman, Dr. Pocock, has said many excellent things upon it, in his miscellaneous notes on his Porta Mosis; both which ought to be read and consulted, by those who have learning and leisure.

(u) Autiqu. Jud. l. 4. c. 4. sect. 4.

Courtesy of Open Bible