King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Mark 7

The traditions of the elders. (1-13) What defiles the man. (14-23) The woman of Canaan’s daughter cured. (24-30) Christ restores a man to hearing and speech. (31-37)

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The traditions of the elders

1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.

2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.

3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.

5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

What defiles the man

14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:

15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

The woman of Canaan’s daughter cured

24 And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.

25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:

26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.

29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

Christ restores a man to hearing and speech

31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.

33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;

34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.

35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;

37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. With common hands. It may be translated, with defiled hands; as also v. 15; but the circumstances plainly shew the sense. Wi.

Ver. 3. Often washing, &c.[1] Some would have the Greek to signify unless they wash up to the elbows, but I think without sufficient grounds. Wi.

Ver. 4. Washed: lit. baptized. By beds are not understood night beds, but couches to eat upon, as it was then the custom. Wi.

Ver. 7. See the annotations Matt. xv. 9, 11. It is groundless to pretend from this text, that the precepts and traditions of the Church are not binding and obligatory, for Christ himself has commanded all to hear his Church, and obey their lawful pastors. These indeed may be called the precepts of men, but they are precepts of men invested with power and authority from God, and of whom Christ himself said, (Luke x. 16.) He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me.

Ver. 9. Well do you. Christ here speaks by the figure called irony. Wi.

Ver. 17. Asked him the parable. Asked him to explain its meaning.

Ver. 24. If he desired to conceal himself, and could not, his will it seems was under control; but this is impossible. His will must always take place. On this occasion, therefore, he wished himself to be sought for by these Gentiles, but not to be made known by his own apostles. Wherefore it came to pass, that not the persons who were his followers, but the Gentiles who entered the house in which he was, published his fame abroad. S. Augustine. — Jesus Christ commanded his disciples not to publish that he was come into that country; not that he intended to cease from healing the infirm, and curing diseases, when he saw the faith of the inhabitants deserved it; for he informed the Gentile woman of his coming, and made it known to as many others as he thought worthy; but that he might teach us, by his example, to decline the applause of men. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 25. This part, in which S. Mark says that Christ was in the house, when the woman came to petition in behalf of her daughter, seems to differ from the narration of S. Matthew, who says that the disciples besought Christ to dismiss her, because she cried after them; by which he signifies, that she followed them as they were on the road. These apparent differences may thus easily be reconciled. The woman came to our Lord when he was in the house, and he, according to S. Matthew, not answering her a word, went out during the silence: the woman followed after, and by her perseverance obtained her request. S. Austin.

Ver. 32. Dumb.[2] The Greek signifies one that speaks little, or with difficulty. Wi. — They besought him. In the Greek it is, they beseech him, which agrees so well with they bring, that we have every reason to believe that this was the original reading.

Ver. 34. Ephphetha, a Syriac word. Jesus Christ, in the cure of this man, uses many and various actions; but as of their own nature they are no ways equal to such a cure, they shew: first, that the cure was miraculous; and secondly, the virtue, which his divinity communicated to his sacred body. V. — We must not suppose that our Saviour here groaned on account of any difficulty he experienced in working this miracle, but only from commiseration for the man, whom he was about to heal; as likewise to shew, how very difficult is the cure of those who are spiritually deaf and dumb by sin. He was affected in a similar manner when he raised Lazarus to life, to shew with what difficulty a man, dead and buried in sin by evil habits, can arise from that miserable state. Dion. Carth.

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[1] V. 3. Crebo, ean me pugme. Mr. Bois, prebend of Ely, defends the Latin version, and says pugme comes from pukna and puknos. But Theophylactus would have it to signify, up to the elbows; achri tou agkonos.

[2] V. 32. Mutum, dumb; Greek, mogilalon, qui parum loquitur.