VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
That is. Added by way of explanation to Gentile readers.
Oft (pugmh). Rev., diligently. A word which has given critics much difficulty, and on which it is impossible to speak decisively. The Rev. gives in the margin the simplest meaning, the literal one, with the fist; that is, rubbing the uncleansed hand with the other doubled. This would be satisfactory if there were any evidence that such was the custom in washing; but there is none. Edersheim (" Life and Times of Jesus," ii., 11, note) says "the custom is not in accordance with Jewish law." But he elsewhere says ("The Temple," 206, note), " For when water was poured upon the hands they had to be lifted, yet so that the water should neither run up above the wrist, nor back again upon the hand; best, therefore, by doubling the fingers into a fist. Hence (as Lightfoot rightly remarks) Mark vii. 3, should be translated except they wash their hands with the fist." Tischendorf, in his eighth edition, retains an ancient reading, pukna, frequently or diligently, which may go to explain this translation in so man;y of the versions (Gothic, Vulgate, Syriac). Meyer, with his usual literalism gives with the fist, which I am inclined to adopt.
Holding (kratountev). Strictly, holding, firmly or fast. So Heb. iv. 14; Apoc. ii. 25; denoting obstinate adherence to the tradition.
In classical Greek the primary meaning is to merse. Thus Polybius (i., 51, 6), describing a naval battle of the Romans and Carthaginians, says, "They sank (ebaptizon) many of the ships." Josephos ("Jewish War," iv., 3, 3), says of the crowds which flocked into Jerusalem at the time of the siege, " They overwhelmed (ebaptisan) the city." In a metaphorical sense Plato uses it of drunkenness: drowned in drink (bebaptismenoi, "Symposium," 176); of a youth overwhelmed (baptizomenon) with the argument of his adversary ("Euthydemus," 277).
In the Septuagint the verb occurs four times: Isa. xxi. 4, Terror hath frighted me. Septuagint, Iniquity baptizes me (baptizei); 2 Kings v. 15, of Naaman's dipping himself in Jordan (ebaptisato); Judith xii. 7, Judith washing herself (ebaptizeto) at the fountain; Sirach xxxi. 25, being baptized (baptizomenov) from a dead body.
The New Testament use of the word to denote submersion for a religious purpose, may be traced back to the Levitical washings. See Lev. xi. 32 (of vessels); xi. 40 (of clothes); Num. viii. 6, 7 (sprinkling with purifying water); Exod. xxx. 19, 21 (of washing hands and feet). The word appears to have been at that time the technical term for such washings (compare Luke xi. 38; Heb. ix. 10; Mark vii. 4), and could not therefore have been limited to the meaning immerse. Thus the washing of pots and vessels for ceremonial purification could not have been by plunging them in water, which would have rendered impure the whole body of purifying water. The word may be taken in the sense of washing or sprinkling.
"The Teaching of the Apostles" (see on Matt. x. 10) throws light on the elastic interpretation of the term, in its directions for baptism. "Baptize - in living (i.e., running) water. But if thou hast not living water, baptize in other water; and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm. But if thou hast neither, pour water upon the head thrice into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit " (Chapter 7.). Pots (xestwn). Another of Mark's Latin words, adapted from the Latin sextarius, a pint measure. Wyc., cruets. Tynd., cruses.
Brazen vessels (calkiwn). More literally, copper.
Tables (klinwn). Omitted in some of the best manuscripts and texts, and by Rev. The A.V. is a mistranslation, the word meaning couches. If this belongs in the text, we certainly cannot explain baptismouv as immersion.
Die the death (qanatw teleutatw). Lit., come to an end by death. See on Matt. xv. 4.
Purging all meats (kaqarizwn panta ta brwmata). According to the A.V. these words are in apposition with draught: the draught which makes pure the whole of the food, since it is the place designed for receiving the impure excrements.
Christ was enforcing the truth that all defilement comes from within. This was in the face of the Rabbinic distinctions between clean and unclean meats. Christ asserts that Levitical uncleanness, such as eating with unwashed hands, is of small importance compared with moral uncleanness. Peter, still under the influence of the old ideas, cannot understand the saying and asks an explanation (Matt. xv. 15), which Christ gives in verses 18-23. The words purging all meats (Rev., making all meats clean) are not Christ's, but the Evangelist's, explaining the bearing of Christ's words; and therefore the Rev. properly renders, this he said (italics), making all meats clean. This was the interpretation of Chrysostom, who says in his homily on Matthew: "But Mark says that he said these things making all meats pure." Canon Farrar refers to a passage cited from Gregory Thaumaturgus: "And the Savior, who purifies all meats, says." This rendering is significant in the light of Peter's vision of the great sheet, and of the words, " What God hath cleansed " (ekaqarise), in which Peter probably realized for the first time the import of the Lord's words on this occasion. Canon Farrar remarks: "It is doubtless due to the fact that St. Peter, the informant of St. Mark, in writing his Gospel, and as the sole ultimate authority for this vision in the Acts is the source of both narratives, - that we owe the hitherto unnoticed circumstance that the two verbs, cleanse and profane (or defile), both in a peculiarly pregnant sense, are the two most prominent words in the narrative of both events " (" Life and Work of Paul," i., 276-7).
Lasciviousness (aselgeia). Derivation unknown. It includes lasciviousness, and may well mean that here; but is often used without this notion. In classical Greek it is defined as violence, with spiteful treatment and audacity. As in this passage its exact meaning is not implied by its being classed with other kindred terms, it would seem better to take it in as wide a sense as possible - that of lawless insolence and wanton caprice, and to render, with Trench, wantonness, since that word, as he remarks, "stands in remarkable ethical connection with ajselgeia, and has the same duplicity of meaning" ("Synonyms of the New Testament"). At Romans xiii. 13, where lasciviousness seems to be the probable meaning, from its association with chambering (koitaiv), it is rendered wantonness in A.V. and Rev., as also at 2 Pet. ii. 18.
Evil eye (ofqalmov ponhrov). A malicious, mischief-working eye, with the meaning of positive, injurious activity. See on wickednesses.
Blasphemy (blasfhmia). The word does not necessarily imply blasphemy against God. It is used of reviling, calumny, evil-speaking in general. See Matt. xxvii. 39; Rom. iii. 8; xiv. 16; 1 Pet. iv. 4, etc. Hence Rev. renders railing.
Pride (uperhfania). From uJper, above, and fainesqai, to show one's self. The picture in the word is that of a man with his head held high above others. It is the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man. Compare Prov. xvi. 5; Rom. xii. 16 (mind not high things); 1 Tim. iii. 6.
The dogs. Diminutive. See on Matt. xv. 26.
The children's crumbs. See on Matt. xv. 26. This would indicate that the little dogs were pet dogs of the children, their masters.
29, 30. Peculiar to Mark.
Laid (beblhmenon). Lit., thrown. She had probably experienced some fearful convulsion when the demon departed. Compare Mark ix. 22, of the demon which possessed the boy: "It hath cast him, etc. (ebalen)." See also Mark i. 26; ix. 26.
32-37. A narrative peculiar to Mark.
Had an impediment in his speech (mogilalon). Mogiv, with difficulty; lalov, speaking. Not absolutely dumb. Compare he spake plain, verse 35.
To speak (lalein). See on Matt. xxviii. 18. The emphasis is not on the matter, but on the fact of speech.