King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Mark 8

Four thousand fed by a miracle. (1-10) Christ cautions against the Pharisees and Herodians. (11-21) A blind man healed. (22-26) Peter’s testimony to Christ. (27-33) Christ must be followed. (34-38)

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Four thousand fed by a miracle

1 In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them,

2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:

3 And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.

4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?

5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.

8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

10 And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.

Christ cautions against the Pharisees and Herodians

11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.

12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

13 And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.

14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.

15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.

16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.

17 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?

18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

19 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve.

20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven.

21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?

A blind man healed

22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.

24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.

25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

26 And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

Peter’s testimony to Christ

27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?

28 And they answered, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.

29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.

30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

Christ must be followed

34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 8. After the multitude had eaten and were filled, they did not take the remains; but these the disciples collected, as in the former miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. By this circumstance we are taught to be content with what is sufficient, and to seek no unnecessary supplies. We may likewise learn from this stupendous miracle the providence of God and his goodness, who sends us not away fasting, but wishes all to be nourished and enriched with his grace. Theoph. — Thus does our Lord verify in his works what he has promised in his instructions; that if we will seek in the first instance the kingdom of God and his justice, that all necessary things shall be added unto us. By the gathering up of the fragments that remained, he not only made the miracle more striking to the multitude and to the apostles, but has also left us a practical lesson, how, in the midst of plenty, which proceeds from the munificence of heaven, we must suffer no waste. A.

Ver. 9. S. Mat. (xv. 38.) adds, without counting either the women or the children.

Ver. 10. Dalmanutha. S. Mat. (xv. 39.) has, to the borders of Magedan; in Greek, Magdala, or Magedan. These were two towns beyond the sea of Galilee, situated near to each other; it is of little consequence which of these names the Evangelists mention; perhaps our Saviour visited both. Tir. — The major part of commentators, if we can believe the Bible of Vence, take Magedan, or Magdala, to be the the town of that name situated to the east of the lake of Tiberias, in the vicinity of Gerasa, and Dalmanutha to be the name of that part of the country in which these two towns were situated. V. — Polus in his Synopsis Criticorum, (vol. iv. p. 410.) gives three explanations for the discrepance of the names in SS. Matthew and Mark: 1. Idem locus erat binominis, the same place might have two names. 2. Propiqua erant loca, the places were near. 3. Alterum erat regio, alterum vicus, the one was the name of the territory, the other of the town or village; and concludes with asserting from Jewish authorities, that it was the same territory in which the two villages Magedan and Dalmanutha were situated; so that it might be known by either name, as we find the territory of Gadara and of Gergesæ is one and the same. Polus.

Ver. 11. Jesus Christ did not consent to the petition they made him, because there will be another time for signs and wonders, viz. his second coming, when the powers of heaven shall be moved, and the moon refuse her light. This his first coming is not to terrify man, but to instruct and store his mind with lessons of humility, and every other virtue. Theophy.

Ver. 12. Jesus Christ fetches a deep sigh on account of their obduracy, and says; why do these ask for a miracle to confirm their belief, when they resist the authority of so many miracles, which are daily performed under their eyes? V. — A sign shall not be given. But by a Hebrew form of speech, if divers times is put for a negative. Wi.

Ver. 15. Of the leaven of Herod. In S. Matt. c. xvi. v. 6, we read of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees: we may conclude that Christ named all of them. Wi.

Ver. 23. It may be asked, why our Lord led the man from the multitude before he cured him? — It may be answered, that he did it not to seem to perform his prodigies through vain glory; and thence to teach us to shun the empty praises of men: 2dly, to facilitate recollection, and to give himself to prayer, before he cured the blind man; and lastly, he went out of the city because the inhabitants of Bethsaida had already rendered themselves unworthy of the miracles of Christ. For among them our Saviour had wrought many miracles, yet they would not believe. S. Matt. xi. 21. Tir. Theophy. — Dionysius says, that Jesus led him from the multitude to shew that if a sinner, figured by the blind man, wishes to be converted from his evil ways, he must first leave all immediate occasions and inducements to sin. D. Diony.

Ver. 24. Men[1] as trees walking. In the Latin text, walking may agree either with men, or with trees, but the Greek shews that walking must be referred to men. Perhaps Christ restored sight in this manner to the man by degrees, to make him more sensible of the benefit; or to teach us how difficult is a sinner’s conversion; of which this was a figure. Wi.

Ver. 25. Our Saviour made use of exterior signs in the performance of his miracles to command attention, and to signify the inward effects of the favours grants: these the Catholic Church, after the example of her Founder and Model, also uses in the celebration of her sacraments, and for the same purposes. Nor ought any supercilious and superficial reasoner to undervalue and contemn the corporal and external application of holy things, under the hollow plea, that we are exclusively to attend to the spirit and faith.

Ver. 28. As one of the prophets. In the Greek it is, one of the prophets.

Ver. 31. After our Redeemer had heard the confession of his first apostle, who spoke in the name of all, as the head, he opens out to them the grand mystery of his passion.


[1] V. 24. Video homines velut arbores ambulantes, blepo tous anthropous os dendra peripatountas.