The journey to God's mountain, 6:1-10:52

2. Growing faith, 8:22-10:52

The feeding of the 4,000


Jesus and his disciples are still presumably on the eastern side of lake Galilee, in Gentile territory. A large crowd of 4,000 people have gathered, and very much in line with the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus feeds the crowd from seven loaves and a few small fish supplied by the disciples. After the miraculous meal, Jesus and his disciples travel by boat to the western shore of the lake - Jewish territory. There Jesus confronts some Pharisees who demand a "sign from heaven." Leaving his opponents, Jesus then travels by boat to Bethsaida on the northern end of the eastern shore. Here the disciples argue over the lack of supplies. Jesus reminds them of the feeding of both the 5,000 and the 4,000 and the abundance of food that remained. "Do you still not understand", Jesus asks them.


Christ is "the fulfiller of the old dispensation, the one who brings the full and final satisfaction of the needs of all", Nineham.


i] Context: See 6:30-44. In the episode dealing with the yeast of the Pharisees, 8:14-21, we come to a significant point in the contextual structure of the gospel. "In this scene the reader is challenged to realise that human perception and achievement have failed across the board; the only deliverance from theological blindness and deafness is if Jesus himself can open blind eyes and unstop deaf ears", Boring. The perilous state of the disciples' faith will now shift to their growing insight. Mark artfully images this in the staged healing of the blind man, 8:22-30, culminating in the complete healing of blind Bartimaeus whose "faith" σεσωκεν, "saved / restored", him, 10:46-52.


ii] Structure: Powerful signs, but little faith:

The feeding of the 4,000, v1-9;

The Pharisees demand a sign from heaven, v10-13;

Jesus' discussion with the disciples over leaven and bread, v14-21.


iii] Interpretation.

Mark's purpose in repeating the story seems to lie in the movement of the gospel from Jew to Gentile. Growing division between Jesus and the religious authorities, in union with a faithless populous, reaches a climax in the feeding of the 5,000 - a significant sign which displays the coming kingdom in overt Exodus symbols. Israel's failure to respond in faith prompts a move by Jesus toward the "stranger", illustrated by Mark in an exorcism, healing and nature miracle, all performed in Gentile territory - a sign that was for Israel becomes a sign for Gentiles. This is not overtly stated because Mark respects his sources, but his arrangement of the tradition, and his geographical identifiers (not present in Matthew's account), serve to make the point.

Boring also suggests that Mark wants to emphasise "the disciples' lack of insight and uses the sequence of feeding stories to drive home this point." This theme is certainly evident and fits with the next section in Mark's gospel, a section which exposes the disciples' growth in faith, 8:22-10:52. None-the-less, Boring also argues that the feeding of the 4,000 serves "the developing theme of the transition of the gospel from its Jewish origins to the Gentile context of his (Mark's) own time and place"; so also France - to "extend the mission of the Messiah of Israel for the benefit also of neighbouring people."

Exodus typology is dominant in both feeding stories; see 6:30-44. The Moses story is also evident in the Pharisees demanding a sign, more please! cf., Ex.17:1-7, Num.11, 14:21-23. Note the thematic links with Ps.78:17-20, 95:7-11. Note also how this unit in Mark is similar to John 6, ie., the demand for a sign, etc.


iv] Synoptics:

Matt.15:32-39. Some commentators suggest that Mark has, for his own purpose, reworked the feeding of the 5,000. Given Mark's care with the received tradition it is very unlikely he would create his own miracle story. It is far more likely that he know of two similar feeding stories. These stories may represent two separate feeding miracles which, over time, merged somewhat in their telling, or one feeding with two separate stories emerging in the oral tradition.


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage can be found in the pew-level sermon notes Jesus feeds the the four thousand.

Text - 8:1

Feeding, testing and a lack of faith, v1-21: i] The feeding of the 4,000, v1-9. The story of the feeding of the four thousand is very similar to the feeding of the five thousand; only some of the details are different - the size of the crowd, the number of flat-bread loaves and pickled fish, the number of baskets of food remaining. Interestingly, the baskets are different. In this account the baskets are a large flat-pack type, but probably nothing is implied by this difference. It's not overly clear, but it seems likely that, unlike the feeding of the five thousand, this feeding takes place in Gentile territory; it is a mixed crowd of some four thousand people. The count of the five thousand is of men only, but for the four thousand, andreV, "men", is missing. Like the feeding of the five thousand, the miracle alludes to the wilderness journey of the people of Israel. As God fed them in the wilderness, so God now feeds a new Israel in the wilderness, even including Gentiles, and this at the hand of Jesus the messiah. The long awaited reign of God's messiah has begun.

εν + dat. "during [those days]" - in [those days]. Temporal use of the preposition.

ὄντος gen. pres. part. "-" - [again a large crowd] being. The genitive participle with its genitive subject "large crowd" forms a genitive absolute construction, temporal; "when again a great crowd had gathered", ESV.

εχοντων [εχω] gen. pres. part. "since they had [nothing]" - [and not] having. If it wasn't for the presence of the coordinate kai , this genitive participle would by adjectival, attributive, limiting the genitive "crowd", but with kai it obviously stands by itself. Decker / Taylor suggest it carries an assumed genitive subject autwn and again forms a genitive absolute construction, temporal, "and when they had nothing to eat", Moffatt.

tiv fagwsin (esqiw) subj. "nothing to eat" - what = anything they might eat. The interrogative pronoun tiv stands in for the relative pronoun , which, with the subjunctive, introduces a purpose clause.

προσκαλεσαμενοι [προσκαλεω] aor. part. "Jesus called" - having called [the disciples]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verbal aspect of the leading participles, "being" and "not having."

αυτοις dat. "-" - [he says] to them. Dative of indirect object.


επι + acc. "for" - [i have compassion] upon [the crowd]. Adverbial use of the preposition, possibly reference / respect; "with regard to these people", "concerning / for"

ὀτι "-" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Jesus has "compassion" on "the crowd."

μοι dat. "me" - [already they have remained with] me [three days]. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to abide with" sitting within a nominative parenthesis. This construction may be bracketed or marked with dashes before and after.

tiv fagwsin (esqiw) aor. subj. "nothing to eat" - [and they do not have] what to eat. The construction as in v1.


ean + subj. "if" - [and] if. Introducing a conditional clause 3rd. class where the proposed condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, ...., then ....."

εν + dat. "on [the way]" - [i send them] on [the way]. Temporal use of the preposition; "while they are on their way home."

νηστεις "hungry" - hungry [into house of them, they will weaken]. Accusative complement of the direct object "them", standing in a double accusative construction.

και "because" - and. Sometimes with a causal sense, as here.

αυτων gen. "of them" - [some] of them. The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

απο "a long distance" - [have come] from [far off]. Expressing source / origin.


Note the similarity between the Israelites question in Exodus 16:3 and that of the disciples here. The disciples play the role of the murmuring Israelites; in the next passage the Pharisees will play this role. The disciples' lack of faith is significant given the feeding of the 5,000. This theme is developed in the next section of the gospel.

αυτῳ dat. "-" - [and the disciples of him answered] him. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to answer, reply to. Often "answered and said to him", in which cast it would be a dative of indirect object. In Luke often with proV, "answered to him."

ὁτι "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of direct speech.

ποθεν "where" - from where. Sometimes with the sense "how can we feed these people", as NRSV.

επ [επι] + gen. "in [this remote place]" - in [a desert, wilderness]. Spatial, as NIV; "in this remote / isolated spot."

χορτασαι aor. "to feed" - [will one be able] to feed, fill [these people]. The infinitive here is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to feed."

αρτων gen. "enough bread" - of = with bread [here]. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to fill, feed"; "with bread", ESV.


ειπαν [λεγω] aor. "they replied" - [and he was asking them, how many loaves do you have? and] they said [seven]. France suggests that the disciples' replay evidences humorous resignation; "here we go again!"


τῳ οχλῳ dat. "the crowd" - [and he gives orders] to the crowd. Dative of indirect object.

αναπεσειν [αναπιπτω] aor. inf. "to sit down" - to recline, sit down. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Jesus told the crowd to do, namely, "sit down on the ground."

επι + gen. "on" - upon [the ground]. Spatial.

λαβων [λαμβανω] aor. part. "when he had taken" - [and] having taken [the seven loaves]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

ευχαριστησας [ευχαριστεω] aor. part. "given thanks" - having given thanks" - The participle is adverbial, temporal, coordinate with "having taken." "Given thanks to God." It is possible that this particular verb is used to imply a eucharistic significance. Note the change in verb when giving thanks for the fish.

τοις μαθηταις [ης ου] dat. "to [his] disciples" - [he broke and was giving] to the disciples [of him]. Dative of indirect object. In John's gospel the disciples play no part in the distribution. Mark may want to emphasise "apostolic mediation", Marcus, but it may just be the record of a practical fact. Jesus would be a little pressed trying to distribute bread to 4,000 people.

ἱνα + subj. "to [distribute]" - that [they might serve]. Here serving to introduce a purpose clause; "in order that ...."

τῳ οχλῳ dat. "-" - [and they set before] the crowd. The para prefix verb "to set before" will often take a dative of direct object, but here, the sense "they served the bread to the people" indicates a dative of indirect object.


και "-" - and [they were having]. Possibly with a slight causal sense; "and as they also had a few small fish", Moffatt.

ιχθυδια [ον] "fish" - [little = a few] fish. Accusative direct object of the verb "to have." The diminutive form of icquV. Most likely salted / preserved fish.

ευλογησας [ευλογεω] aor. part. "he gave thanks for" - [and] having blessed, given thanks for The participle is possibly adverbial, temporal, "and when they had blessed them", but it could also be taken as adjectival, attributive, limiting "fish"; "a few small fishes which he blessed", Berkeley.

αυτα acc. pro. "them" - them. An accusative direct object, as NIV; "thanking God for them", TH.

και "also" - [he said] and = also. Here adjunctive, as NIV.

παρατιθεναι [παρατιθημι] "to distribute [them]" - [these are] to be set before, served to them. The infinitive introduces a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Jesus told the disciples to do.


ηραν [αιρω] aor. "the disciples picked up" - [and they ate and they were satisfied, and] they took up. The indefinite plural probably implies the disciples, but it could be the crowd who did the picking up and who then took the surplus home with them.

ἑπτα σπυριδας "seven basketfuls" - [an abundance of fragments] seven baskets. Standing in apposition to "fragments", limiting by defining; "namely, seven baskets full of fragments." Some commentators suggest the number seven is a reference to the Gentiles, eg., seven Gentile nations etc. The trouble is, seven is often used of fullness, completeness. The basket referred to is a large soft mat basket, of flat-pack type. A different word for "basket" is used in the feeding of the 5,000, although it is unlikely that any significance is implied. It is possible that the basket used for the 4,000 is larger, a basket able to fit a small person.

κλασματων [α ατος] gen. "of broken pieces" - of fragments. The genitive is adjectival, epexegetic specifying "that which was left over", namely, "fragments"; "left overs", Berkeley. This is usually understood to be uneaten food rather than scraps / rubbish to be fed to pigs. In line with Exodus typology, there was an abundance of the divinely provided food.

περισσευματα [α ατος] "that were left over" - an abundance. Accusative direct object of the verb "to take up." In the sense of a surplus, "that which was left over", pl. "remains", Zerwick.


ὡς "about" - [and there were] as [four thousand people]. When this particle is used before numbers, the sense is "about". Unlike the 5,000 who were men, the count here is 4,000, undefined. Again a possible cue that Gentiles are intended since Jews would be numbered by the men in attendance. The number has precedence in tradition and in the OT, but none convincingly refer to a particular number of Gentiles. The best suggestion is that the crowd represents people from the four corners of the earth, but this is somewhat of a stab in the dark; "the people present numbered about four thousand", Cassirer.

απελυσεν [απολυω] "after he had sent [them] away" - [and] he released, sent away [them]. "Then he sent them home", Peterson.


ii] Jesus' confrontation with the Pharisees, v10-13. Leaving the site of the miraculous feeding, Jesus and his disciples travel overland to lake Galilee, cross the lake by boat, reaching the western shore of the lake at the village of Dalmanutha. The actual site of this village is not known today. At the village, Jesus is confronted by a party of Pharisees who demand that he perform a messianic sign. They have concluded that Jesus is not the messiah and are seeking to confirm their opinion. Jesus willingly complies and doesn't do a trick for them. A faithless people see nothing of God's grace.

Neither the details of Jesus' movements, nor the geography, is of much concern to Mark. In fact, to accurately explain Jesus' movements, it would be necessary to start out "After a long inland journey of many days ......" Mark is more interested in spelling out the unbelieving demand of the Pharisees for a sign, cf., Ex.17. For the Galilean mission, this serves as the final rejection of Jesus the messiah by religious Israel. This incident "shows the incomprehension and growing hostility to Jesus on the part of his now traditional opponents, the Pharisees, and signals an end to significant dialogue with them on his part", France.

εμβας [εμβαινω] aor. part. "he got in" - [and immediatly] having entered, embarked [into the boat]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "went"; "he got into the boat ...... and went ...." Taking the sense "embarked."

μετα + acc. "with" - with [the disciples of him]. Expressing association / accompaniment.

τα μερη [ος] "the district of [Dalmanutha]" - [he came into] the parts, region [of dalmanutha]. The sense being "the region", of a district in and around a town, BAGD. The genitive proper, "of Dalmanutha", is adjectival, idiomatic / of identification; "the region known as Damanutha." The actual town / village of Dalmanuth is unknown, but was presumably on the West side of the lake.


συζητειν [συνζητεω] pres. inf. "to question" - [and came out the pharisees and they began] to argue with, question. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to begin."

αυτῳ "Jesus" - him. Dative of direct object after the συν prefix verb, "to argue with."

περαζοντες [πειραζω] pres. part. "to test [him]" - testing, tempting, trying [him]. The participle is adverbial, probably final, expressing purpose, "in order to test him", but possibly modal, expressing the manner of the Pharisees' questioning both in seeking a sign and in trying Jesus. This was no mere asking for a sign to confirm their faith, but to confirm their disbelief, which Jesus confirmed by not providing a sign. The sense can either be "test" or "tempt"; "test" seems likely here, but a testing with bad intent. "They were trying to subject him to a test by demanding that he should produce some visible divine action from heaven", Barclay.

ζητουντεᾳς [ζητεω] pres. part. "they asked" - seeking. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of the Pharisees questioning, but possibly instrumental, expressing means; "by seeking."

παρ [παρα] + gen. "-" - from [him]. Expressing agency, or spatial, expressing source / origin.

σημειον [ον] "a sign" - a sign. The word is used of a messianic portent which visibly expresses the gospel / the message of the coming kingdom, so for example, acts foretold by the prophets - the blind seeing, the lame walking, etc. This is probably how the Pharisees are using it, but for divine authentication purposes, ie., "from heaven." Given that Jesus has just bettered Moses, what greater sign could there be? A new Exodus is underway; God's people are being fed anew in the wilderness. Better get onboard!

απο + gen. "from" - from [heaven]. Spatial, expressing source / origin. Probably with the sense "from God", ie., a sign with divine authentication.


αναστεναξας [αναστεναζω] aor. part. "he sighed" - [and] having groaned, sighed. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to say"; "he sighed .... and said", or adverbial, temporal, "and when he sighed deeply ....." Possibly suggesting "a struggle with a demonic obstacle", Marcus.

τω πνευματι [α ατος] dat. "deeply" - in the spirit [of him]. The dative is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his sighing, namely "inwardly", although Decker suggests that the dative is locative. "Unbelief leaves God with nothing to do but sigh in deep grief", Boring.

tiv "why" - [he says] why. Interrogative pronoun, adverbial in form; possibly "how", but more likely "why".

ἡ γενεα [α] "generation" - [seeks this] generation [a sign]? Nominative subject of the verb "to seek." Possibly just in the sense "of the contemporaries of Jesus", TH, but more likely the reference is to "this evil generation." Like Noah before him, Jesus is not a member of this present evil generation. "Why does a faithless people ask for a sign?"

αμην λεγω ὑμιν "truly I tell you" - truly i say to you. A phrase used to underline the following statement. The dative pronoun ὑμιν serves as a dative of indirect object.

ει + fut. "-" - if = in no way [will be given a sign]. Introducing a rare Semitic construction expressing a wish or oath; "if a sign be given this generation may I be cursed." Inevitably this idiomatic construction came to express strong denial; "no sign shall be given." Boring generalises this statement, implying that the Jesus of oral tradition was not into signs, the only sign being the preached word and the cross and empty tomb. It is certainly true that "the power of God in the Christ-event" is realised in the preached word / the gospel of the coming kingdom, but it is also realised in signs, significant happenings which similarly proclaim the coming kingdom, although only for those with eyes to see. Such signs are for those who look forward to the coming reign of God, not for those who reject its realisation in Christ.

τῃ γενεᾳ ταυτῃ dat. "to it" - to this generation. Dative of indirect object.


Leaving Dalmanutha, Jesus and his disciples embark and head north toward Bethsaida.

αφεις [αφιημι] aor. part. "then he left [them]" - [and] having left [them again]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to depart", and coordinate with "entering", or it may be taken as adverbial, temporal.

εμβας [εμβαινω] aor. part. "got back into the boat" - having entered, embarked [he departed into the other side]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to depart." Here with the sense "embark". Is Mark suggesting that Jesus is moving back to Gentile territory? He is certainly indicating an abandoning of faithless Israel, although by ending up in Bethsaida Jesus is not really in Gentile territory, ie., north-east, rather than east. The focus is not back into a Gentile mission, but on to the intensive instruction of Jesus' disciples.


iii] The yeast of the Pharisees, v14-21. The disciples have failed to organise provisions for the journey and are arguing over their lack of foresight. In this context Jesus warns them to beware of the evil influence of the Pharisees and of Herod, most likely with respect to the Pharisees' lack of faith. Jesus then reminds his disciples of the miraculous feedings they have recently witnessed.

There is some incongruity in this passage such that Turner, for instance, suggests that v15 is parenthetical, virtually a sub note. Yet, this seems unlikely. "Yeast" often serves as a metaphor for influence, usually an evil influence. We know that the Pharisees and Herodians plotted Jesus' destruction (3:6) and so the saying may have originally referred to their murderous intent, but surely not here. Given the context, faith is the issue, the lack of which the Pharisees have just demonstrated. The disciples' argument over their lack of supplies exposes their own lack of faith. The Pharisees' leaven, their faithlessness, is easily emulated, and the disciples seem to have caught the disease. Unlike the Pharisees, the disciples have witnessed a messianic sign of significant proportions. As Israel was miraculously fed in the wilderness so were 5,000 and again 4,000, all miraculously fed, and yet the disciples, having witnessed these signs, are found without faith. Jesus promptly denounces them - "Do you have eyes and fail to see?" The age of the coming kingdom has dawned in and through the person of Jesus Christ. The day of salvation / Exodus is now and God is provisioning the escape, and yet the disciples seem blind to this reality; will not God provide?

λαβειν [λαμβανω] aor. inf. "to bring [bread]" - [and they forgot] to take [loaves, bread]. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what they forgot.

ει μη "except" - [and] if not = except [one loaf]. Introducing an exceptive clause expressing a contrast by designating an exception; "they did not have food with themselves in the boat except one loaf" = "they had only one loaf with them in the boat", CEV.

μεθ [μετα] + gen. "with [them]" - [they did not have anything] with them. Expressing association / accompaniment.

εν + dat. "in" - in [the boat]. Local, expressing space.


As already noted, this verse and its relationship with its immediate context, is not at all clear. For some commentators we are dealing with a fairly inappropriate insertion of an independent saying of Jesus which is used elsewhere in the synoptic tradition: Matt.16:5ff, referring to the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees; and Lk.12:1, referring to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. The incongruous mention of Herod (the variant "Herodians" indicating the incongruity of the reference) simply indicates Mark's respect for his received tradition. As noted above, the saying in its original setting is likely to refer to the murderous intent of the Pharisees and Herod. Yet, it is unlikely that Mark has placed the saying here because he couldn't think of anywhere else to put it. Although the saying is directed toward the disciples, it primarily serves as a warning to the reader not to be infected by the faithfulness exhibited both by the Pharisees and Jesus' disciples. The following exchange between Jesus and his disciples is unrelated to the saying, but it does reveal the point made by the saying, namely that the disciples are infected with faithlessness. None-the-less, things are on the change; the disciples will soon come to see clearly.

διεστελλετο [διαστελλω] imperf. "Jesus warned" - [and] he was ordering, commanding. More correctly "and he cautioned them", NRSV, ESV, .... France suggests that the imperfect here, being durative, "is not an isolated and unprovoked exclamation", although the imperfect is often used with speech as a matter of form.

αυτοις dat. "them" - them. The dia prefix verb "to give orders to" takes a dative of persons, dative of direct object.

λεγων pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to give orders", and serving to introduce direct discourse; "he ordered them and said" = "Jesus proceeded to give them a strict warning", Barclay.

βλεπετε [βλεπω] pres. imp. "watch out" - watch, look, beware. The imperative takes the sense, "watch out, look out, pay attention." Mark stylistically follows this command with απο + gen., as here, to express "watch out for", as in 12:38. This form is not used by the other gospel writers. Decker notes that he has found only one such usage in the extant papyri.

ζης ζυμης [η] gen. "the yeast" - the yeast, leaven. Used metaphorically, "a principle of moral corruption that contaminates all it touches", Lagrange.

των Φαρισαιων [ος] gen. "of the Pharisees" - of the pharisees [and the yeast of herod]. The genitive is probably ablative, expressing source / origin; "the corruption that flows from the Pharisees."


A variant reading which includes λεγοντας, and which also replaces εχουσιν with εχομεν, seeks to link v16 with v15; "'Leaven?' they argued to themselves, 'we have no bread at all'", Moffatt; so the NIV's "they discussed this ..... we have no bread." A straight reading of the text makes no link; "They (The disciples) were arguing with one another ὁτι ("that" = "about the fact that") they had no bread." So, the discussion / argument is not prompted by the disciples' misunderstanding of Jesus' saying, but rather their failure to secure provisions for the journey. Given the two feedings they have recently witnessed, such a discussion evidences their little faith in Jesus the messiah.

διελογιζοντο [διαλογιζομαι] imperf. "they discussed this" - [and] they were arguing. The imperfect may be indicating an ongoing argument, the kind that seeks to identify culpability!!! Of course, the imperfect is often used for backgrounding in a discourse narrative, and in any case, speech by its very nature is durative.

προς + acc. "with" - toward = among [themselves]. Here expressing association.

ὁτι "it is because" - that. The NIV opts for cause /reason, but it is likely to be epexegetic specifying what the argument was about, or if εχομεν "we have", serving to introduce a dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing the content of the argument, "we have no bread."

ουκ εχουσιν [εχω] pres. "we have [no bread]" - they do not have [loaves]. Third person plural = "they have."


γνους [γινωσκω] aor. part. "aware of their discussion" - [and] having known. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to say", or adverbial, causal; "he noted this and said to them", Moffatt. It could also be taken as adverbial, temporal; "when he knew it", Marcus.

αυτοις dat. pro. "[asked] them" - [he says] to them. Dative of indirect object.

ὁτι "about" - [why are you discussing] that [you do not have loaves]? Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the disciples were discussing, namely, the subject of not having bread.

εοειτε [νοεω] pres. "not see" - [do you not yet] perceive [nor comprehend, understand]? In the sense of " see with the mind." Note Isaiah 40:21, "do you not know, have you not heard?" "Remembering, together with perceiving, understanding, seeing and hearing, is an essential part of the process of enlightenment in which they (the disciples) have been so conspicuously unsuccessful", France.

πεπωρωμενην [πωροεω] perf. pas. part. "are your hearts hardened" - [has the heart of you] having been hardened? The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "heart"; a calloused heart. The heart here refers to cognitive sensitivity, rather then emotional sensitivity, so not in the sense of uncaring, but dull; "Are your minds still closed?", CEV / "completely impervious to the truth", Barclay.


A general allusion to Isaiah 6:9-10, more specifically Jer.5:21, Ezk.12:2. Jesus' words "express consternation at the unbelief and lack of perceptive response of those he has tried to teach", Boring. The Gk. may be taken as a statement, but it is usually treated as a question; "Or is it that having eyes you do not see, and having ears you do not hear?" Cassirer. The next clause "And don't you remember?" may be treated separately, as NIV, but it seems likely that it introduces the question in v19 "Don't you remember the time when I broke ......?", Barclay.

εχοντες [εχω] pres. part. "do you have" - having [eyes]. The participle is adverbial, best taken as concessive; "although you have eyes you do not see", but possibly causal, "because ....."

ου "-" - [do you] not [see, and having ears, do you not hear]? This negation is used in a question implying an answer in the affirmative.


ὅτε "when" - [and do you not remember] when. Temporal conjunction serving to introduce a temporal clause.

εις + acc. "for [the five thousand]" - [i broke the five loaves] to, into = for [the five thousand]. Here the preposition expresses advantage.

κλασματων [α ατος' gen. "[basketfuls] of pieces" - [how many baskets full of] fragments [did you pick up]? Genitive complement of the adjective πληρεις, "full", "baskets full of broken pieces", or possibly better classified as a genitive of content, so Decker.

αυτῳ dat. "-" - [they say] to him [twelve. when the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of pieces did you pick up? and they say to him, seven]. Dative of indirect object.


αυτοις "to them" - [and he was saying] to them. Dative of direct object.

ουπω adv. ""still not" - [do you] not yet [understand, comprehend]? Temporal adverb. The negation ου would normally imply an answer in the affirmative, but this is a real question. The adverb points to a future when the disciples will understand. For this reason, "do you still not understand", TNIV, REB, ... misses the point somewhat. The disciples will understand, but don't understand at the moment. None-the-less, the reader, as with the disciples, "potentially stand in the same place as the 'outsiders'. Just as the disciple in the narrative cannot feel superior to the 'outsiders', readers cannot feel superior to the dumb disciples. Neither the disciples in the narrative, nor the readers who hear it, may claim any insight or faith based on their own achievement or virtue", Boring.


Mark Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]