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

1. Growing division, 6:1-8:21

vii] Israel's blindness forces Jesus amongst the Gentiles


Jesus' Galilean ministry has come to an end and so he now retires into the territory of Tyre to further train the twelve. In the passage before us Mark relates two stories: First, The healing of a foreign woman's daughter, 7:24-30. Having withdrawn to Tyre in Gentile territory, Jesus meets a Gentile woman who begs him to heal her demon-possessed daughter. Her understanding of divine grace sees her request granted. In the second episode, Mark records the healing of a deaf stammerer, 7:31-37: On his journey back from Tyre, people bring a man to Jesus who is not only deaf, but has an impediment of speech. The man's healing is performed in a number of steps.


The faith of a Gentile reveals that the children's bread is for others, and this by the hand of one who "has done everything well".


i] Context: See 6:30-44.


ii] Structure: Jesus does everything well:

The faith of a Gentile woman, v24-30;

Jesus heals a deaf and mute man in Decapolis, v31-37.


Both episodes present as simple discourse narratives with no inherent structure. They are both healing stories / teaching narratives, leaning toward pronouncement stories. There is something in the suggestion that the healing of the deaf mute exhibits poetic form. Lohmeyer notes the episode consists of five short sentences each with three predicates. Oral transmission is the likely cause.


iii] Interpretation:

The healing of the Gentile woman's daughter may be classified as an exorcism, although in reality, the healing of the daughter is little more than a side issue. What we are presented with is a Gentile seeking the "bread" (the blessings of the kingdom) which is properly assigned to God's children, Israel. Mark has repeatedly shown us that the children have little interest in this "bread"; even the disciples are struggling to understand its significance, 6:52, 8:14-21. Yet, here we have a Gentile seeking the "bread" and receiving it, so proclaiming that the Abrahamic promise of a blessing to all nations is even now being realised in Jesus.

The messianic significance of the healing of the deaf mute, v31-37, can be drawn from Isaiah 35:5-6, "the ears of the deaf shall be opened ... and the tongue of the mute shall sing for joy." Jesus fulfils these prophetic words in his ministry. Although Jesus plays down the miracle (the messianic secret at work??), the crowd proclaims "he has done everything well: he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak." There are, as well, some interesting aspects to this episode which may, or may not, add to its message:

First, Decapolis, to the east of lake Galilee, is primarily a Gentile region. It was in Decapolis, "the country of the Gerasenes", where Jesus excised the Ligion from a man, 5:1-20. Jesus told him to go home and tell his neighbours what had happened to him, and so "he began to proclaim in Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed", v20. Is the response of the crowd a product of this man's witness? Is Mark suggesting that they are Gentiles?

Second, the miracle is similar to 8:22-26 where Jesus also heals using the touch of his hand and saliva. Both episodes are unique to Mark. All we need is an incantation and we would be into magic. What is Jesus up to? Why does Mark record the stories when Matthew and Luke leave them well alone? Going beyond what the text tells us, we might say of these two issues that, for the sake of his Gentile audience, Jesus has adopted the form of a typical divine man of the Greco-Roman world, and that in this garb he is revealed as the one who heals spiritual blindness. Jesus is the bread of heaven, yes, even for Gentiles, 8:1-10.


iv] Synoptics:

The healing of the Gentile woman's daughter, Matt.15:21-28. Both accounts align, but are very different when it comes to the details. The accounts evidence reliance on an extant oral source separately available to both evangelists, rather than Matthew relying on Mark's account, or vice versa. As already indicated, that doesn't mean that Matthew didn't have before him a copy of Mark, or a proto-Mark (assuming Markan priority).

The healing of the deaf mute, Matt.15:29-31. Unlike Matthew, Mark specifies these events in Gentile terriroty, Tyre and the Ten Towns. Matthew's record is generalised, while Mark concentrates on one particular healing. As indicated above, the style of the healing bears the marks of magic, suitable for a Gentile audience, but possibly not for a Jewish audience. Is this why Matthew avoids this element of the tradition?


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage can be found in the pew-level sermon notes Jesus does everything well

Text - 7:24

Israel's blindness forces Jesus amongst the Gentiles, v24-37: i] The faith of a Gentile woman, v24-30. Jesus moves north of Capernaum into Gentile territory for a time of rest. The locals know about Jesus the healer and so they visit the cottage he is staying at. A Gentile woman, a Hellenised citizen of the republic of Tyre, prostrates herself before Jesus (a mark of respect), and seeks his aid in casting a demon out of her daughter.

Jesus refuses the woman's request, using a rather colourful image. He may be saying that his ministry is limited to Israel and that it would not be proper to extend it to Gentiles at this point in time. Yet, would a Gentile understand such subtle theology? Jesus is quite possibly making the point that he is here for a time of rest before again resuming his work, ie., children finish their meal before feeding the scraps to the household pets. Of course, Jesus' words may well be framed as an insult, offered with the purpose of drawing out the woman's faith.

Whatever the sense of Jesus' words, the woman takes no offence, as no offence is meant, but points out that her request is but a mere crumb. Jesus is warmed by the woman's confidence, a faith that outshines the unbelief of the Pharisees and the dull confusion of his disciples. Like the healing of the blind man in 8:22-26, she sees "everything clearly." In later tradition, the woman is called Justa, and her daughter, Bernice.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating the next episode in the narrative discourse - untranslated.

anastaV (anisthmi) aor. part. "Jesus left" - [from there] having arisen [he departed to the district of tyre]. The participle is possibly attendant circumstance, as NIV, or forms a temporal clause, so "when Jesus had finished teaching his disciples he departed ..."; "then he rose", Weymouth. A teacher gets up, since he teaches sitting down, so "getting up (after the teaching session) he departed to the region of Tyre."

eiselqwn (eisercomai) aor. part. "he entered" - [and] having entered [into a house]. The participle is adverbial, possibly temporal; "he then entered."

gnwnai (ginwskw) aor. inf. "to know it" - [he wanted no one] to know. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what he did not want people to know; "He didn't want people to know [that] he was there", CEV.

kai "yet" - and. Here adversative; "but his presence could not remain concealed."

laqein (lanqanw) aor. inf. "keep his presence secret" - [he was not able] to hide, escape notice. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the negated verb "was not able."


all (alla) "in fact" - but. Adversative; "but immediately a woman ...", ESV.

euquV adv. "as soon" - immediately [a woman]. Temporal adverb. Possible a general sense, "so then", although with the participle, "having heard", some sense of time may be indicated; "almost at once", REB.

akousasa (akouw) aor. part. "she heard" - having heard [about him]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal; "a woman, whose little daughter had an unclear spirit, when she heard about him."

h|V gen. pro. "whose [little daughter]" - of whom. The genitive is adjectival, relational.

eicen (ecw) imperf. "was possessed" - was having [the daughter of her an unclean spirit]. The imperfect tense indicating the ongoing state of the possession.

elqousa (ercomai) aor. part. "came" - having come. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "she fell down"; she came and fell down at his feet."

prosepesen (prospiptw) aor. "fell" - fell down before [toward the feet of him]. An action expressing deep respect, "prostrated herself before him", Phillips.


tw/ genei (genoV) dat. "born in" - [and the woman was a greek] by birth, race, people, kind [a syrophonician (ie. "Gentile / pagan")]. The dative is adverbial, reference / respect, or instrumental, expressing means.

hrwta (erwtaw) imperf. "she begged [Jesus]" - [and] she was asking [him]. The durative imperfect indicating ongoing action, possibly iterative, repeated action.

iJna + subj. "to [drive out]" - that [he might cast out the demon]. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing the content of what she asked. "She begged Jesus to force the demon out of her daughter", CEV.

ek + gen. "" - from [the daughter of her]. Expressing source, "out of", or separation, "away from."


This verse bears all the marks of a racist slur (even more noticeable in Matthew's account). As already indicated, it maybe that Jesus is saying little more than he is here for a rest and needs to recuperate - a kind of "first, let us have a break, we are worn out." Yet, it seems more likely that the adverb prwton, "first", expresses the precedence the children of Israel have over Gentiles. It is also possible to soften the imagery of the dogs eating the children's bread, but it is more than likely that Jesus is indeed using highly insulting language. To Israel's religious elite, Gentiles are dogs - and the Gentiles know very well what righteous Jews think of them. Yet, in using this language, it is likely that Jesus is not insulting the woman; he is doing what we in Australia call, poking the cocky. Is Jesus really unwilling to heal the woman's child? Does he actually believe that an accident of birth is the means by which the blessings of the kingdom are appropriated? Of course not! Faith is what matters in the new age of the kingdom. Jesus "appears like the wise teacher who allows, and indeed incites, his pupil to mount a victorious argument against the foil of his own reluctance", France.

prwton adv. "first" - [and he was saying to her] first. As an adverb "let the children be fed first", but possibly as an adjective, "the first principle. As noted above, "the first" may serve to make the point that the children, the children of Israel, have precedence over Gentiles. The problem with this interpretation is that it does require a high degree of theological understanding on the part of the woman. "Let the children first be fed", Taylor.

cortasqhnai (cortazw) aor. pas. inf. "eat" - [allow the children] to be satisfied. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of cause, expressing what should be allowed, namely, that the children should be satisfied [first]. "The children" serves as the accusative subject of the infinitive.

gar "for" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the children should eat first.

labein (lambanw) aor. inf. "to take" - to take [the bread of the children and throw it to the dogs is not good, right]. Along with balein, "to throw", this infinitive serves as the subject of the verb to-be estin. The dative "to the dogs" serves as a dative of indirect object, with the direct object "it" is assumed. "Puppy", Taylor, tries to dodge the insult, but see above.


hJ de "-" - but/and her. Transitional construction, indicating a change in subject from Jesus to the woman.

nai "Yes" - [she answered and says to him] yes, even so. This variant reading is not adopted by all translations, so TNIV, NRSV...

kurie (oV) voc. "Lord" - Vocative. "Sir".

kai "but even / even" - and = even [the dogs under the table]. Ascensive, possibly contrastive, even adversative. The woman is simply progressing Jesus' argument, so "even", REB. The intent of Jesus' words, and of the woman's reply, is hard to gauge. As noted above, it is possible that this is a very natural exchange. Jesus has said he is here for a rest and she adds that her request will not trouble him much. However we read Jesus' word's, this woman's faith is mighty indeed. Casting out demons is no ordinary task, but she obviously believes that Jesus is up to it, ie., for Jesus it is but a crumb. "True sir, and still the dogs under the table eat what the children leave", Goodspeed.

apo + gen. "[eat]" - [eat] from. Functioning as a partitive genitive, or simply expressing source / origin. Not in the sense of eating "from" some of the crumbs, but rather eating "from" this particular food source, namely, crumbs.

twn paidiwn (on) "[the] children's [crumbs]" - [the crumbs] of the children. The genitive is possibly adjectival, possessive, such that the crumbs belong to the children, or idiomatic / of production, "the crumbs which are dropped by the children", or ablative, expressing source / origin; "the crumbs from the children's meal while they eat."


auth/ dat. "[then he told] her" - [and he said] to her. Dative of indirect object.

dia + acc. "for [such a reply]" - because of [this word]. Causal; "in view of what you have just said."

uJpage (uJpagw) pres. imp. "you may go" - go. A command; "go", Barclay.

ek + gen. ""-" [the demon has gone out] from [the daughter of you]. Expressing source / origin. This repetition of the prefix of the verb exelhluqen, "to come out from", is stylistic.


apelqousa (apercomai) aor. part. "she went" - having departed [to the house of her]. The participle is adverbial, probably best treated as temporal; "and when she returned home", REB. A consecutive (consequence) clause is also possible, "as a result"; "so she returned home", Moffatt.

beblhmenon (ballw) perf. pas. part. "lying" - [she found the child] having been placed, thrown [upon the bed]. The accusative participle, as with exelhluqoV, "having gone out", serves as an object complement, stating a fact about the direct object, the "child"; "as she reached home she found the child laid on the bed and the demon expelled", Berkeley. The sense is a little unclear. Is the girl lying exhausted, as if thrown upon her bed, but now resting at peace? So possibly, "She found her child exhausted on the bed."

exelhluqoV (exercomai) perf. part. "gone" - [and the demon] having gone out. The participle, as above. The perfect tense indicating a past action with ongoing consequences. The little "crumb" for Jesus involved overcoming dark powers with a word, and this from a distance. "The demon had gone", CEV.


ii] Jesus heals a deaf and mute man in Decapolis, v31-37. Jesus moves across to Decapolis, a Gentile area, although with a sizeable Jewish community. It is there that a person, who has lost his hearing and can hardly speak, is brought to Jesus "to lay his hand on him", (presumably for healing, but possibly just blessing). The man's condition images Isaiah 35:5-6. When the messiah comes he will unstop the ears of the deaf and give a clear song to the man with inarticulate speech.

Jesus uses interesting sensory symbols with the man, although they are obviously not necessary elements for effective healing. Both the actions of Jesus and his command, "Ephphatha!", serve to heighten the symbolic nature of the miracle. Like this man, seekers are beginning to hear and confess "plainly" that "he has done everything well", cf., 8:27-30.

Although the healing is in private, there are some who witness it. Jesus commands autoiV, "them", v36, not to speak of the miracle, but the more Jesus tries to put a lid on it, the more people talk about it. Is Mark referring to the disciples, or to the crowds pressing in on Jesus? Whoever they are, Jesus' preaching mission is constantly disturbed by the popular idea that he is just a wonder-worker. The confession of those who were amazed is a messianic illusion to Isaiah 35:5-6. The promised intervention of God is present in the person of Jesus; "He has made the lame whole, and he makes the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak", cf., Matt.15:31.

exelqwn (exercomai) aor. part. "then Jesus left" - [and again] having come out. The participle is probably adverbial, introducing a temporal clause, as NIV, "when / then / after Jesus left."

ek "-" - from [the region of tyre]. Expressing separation. Stylistic repetition of the prefix of the preceding verb.

dia + gen. "through [Sidon]" - [he came] through [sidon]. Spatial. Seeing Sidon is North of Tyre, it is unlikely that Jesus went "through" Sidon to get to the Sea of Galilee. Possibly Mark has not expressed himself well and intended to say: Jesus left "the region of Tyre and Sidon", Schmidt.

thV GalilaiaV (a) gen. "[the sea] of Galilee" - [into the lake, sea] of galilee. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "sea"; "the Galilean sea."

ana meson + gen. "into" - up in the middle [of the region of decapolis]. This preposition ana takes an accusative subject followed by a genitive. The genitive "of Decapolis", is adjectival, idiomatic / identification, "which is called / known as Decapolis." "Right through the region of Decapolis", Moule.


ferousin (ferw) pres. "brought" - [and] they bring, carry. Historic present to indicate narrative transition, so rendered in the past tense, as NIV.

autw/ dat. pro. "to him" - to him. Dative of indirect object.

mogilalon adj. "could hardly talk" - [a deaf and] mute person. The adjective serves as a substantive. A very rare word, the meaning of which is unclear; "speaking with difficulty / having an impediment in speech", Cranfield; "stammered", Moffatt.

iJna + subj. "-" - that [he might put upon him the = his hand]. Here introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what they begged. "They begged Jesus just to touch him", CEV.


apolabomenoV (apolambanw) aor. part. "after he took [him] aside" - [and] having led off, taken away, taken aside [him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "he put", or adverbial, temporal, as NIV. Here we have another example of the messianic secret where Jesus either restricts his signs for those with eyes to see, or maintains a low profile so as to reduce popular messianic expectations which could prompt a reaction from the authorities.

apo "away from" - from [the crowd]. Here expressing separation, "away from."

kat idian "-" - according to one's own. Idiomatic phrase = "privately".

ptusaV (ptuw) aor. part. "then he spit" - [he put the fingers of him into the ears and] having spit [he touched]. The participle is adverbial, probably introducing a temporal clause; "and then he spat ...". The action here is unclear. What does Jesus do with the spittle and what is the point of such an action? Taylor notes that "such actions are common to the technique of Greek and Jewish healers", but obviously Jesus is in no way dependent on such actions. It is often argued that these actions are performed for the sake of the deaf and mute man, in that they serve to encourage his weak faith, but is Jesus restricted by the weakness, or strength, of a person's faith? France suggests that the actions are symbolic, reinforcing the sign-nature of the miracle, a miracle which serves to illustrate the opening of the spiritual ears of the disciples. This symbolism is similarly reflected in the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida, 8:22-26, a miracle which served to illustrate the opening of the spiritual eyes of the disciples. Similar actions are used in both miracles, and both miracles are followed with a command not to speak of what has happened. "And after spitting touched his tongue", ESV.

thV glwsshV (a) gen. "[touched the man's] tongue" - the tongue [of him]. Genitive of direct object after the verb "to touch".


anableyaV (anablepw) aor. part. "he looked up" - [and] having looked up [into heaven]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "he sighed", or adverbial, temporal, "then he looked up to heaven and sighed ...." Probably as in an act of prayer. "Looking up to heaven", Moffatt.

estenaxen (stenazw) aor. "and with a deep sigh" - he sighed, groaned. Probably an emotional outburst, but what emotion? Possibly the actual prayer recited quietly and quickly, so Lagrange.

autw/ dat. pro. "[said] to him" - [and says] to him. Dative of indirect object.

dianoicqhti (dianoigw) aor. pas. imp. "be opened" - [ephphatha, which is = means] be opened. The use of the original Aramaic indicates that the word of command made an impact on the original hearers. The command is directed to the offending parts, ear and tongue. The construction o{ estin, "with is" = "that is." "Open up thoroughly", "open completely", Cranfield.


euqewV adv. "at this" - [and] immediately. Temporal. The weight seems to be on this being a later addition to the text, although emphasising the immediacy of the healing suits the symbolic nature of this miracle. "At once the man could hear", CEV.

autou gen. pro. "[the man]'s [ears were opened]" - [was opened] of him [the ears]. a rather unusual placement of this pronoun as it usually follows the word it modifies, ie., we would expect aiJ akoai autou, "the ears of him."

elalei (lalew) imperf. "he began to speak" - [and was loosened the bond of the tongue of him and] he was speaking. Probably an inceptive imperfect, as NIV.

orqwV adv. "plainly" - rightly, clearly, normally, correctly. Adverb of manner. Supporting the argument that he only had a defect in his speech.


autoiV dat. pro. "them" - [and he was ordering] them. Dative of direct object after the dia prefix verb "to command." As indicated, the subject is unidentified, but it may refer to the disciples rather than the crowd, given that Jesus had withdrawn from the crowd to perform the healing.

iJna + subj. "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing the content of what Jesus commanded. Further underlining the symbolic significance of the miracle. It seems unlikely that Jesus' disciples would ignore a command of their Master.

mhdeni dat. adj. "not [to tell] anyone" - [they should tell] no one. Dative of indirect object.

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step to a contrasting point.

oJson pro. "the more [he did so]" - as much as [he commanded]. Introducing a correlative construction; "as much as ......... all the more ......"

autoi dat. pro. "-" - them. Dative of direct object, as above.

ekhrusson (khrussw) imperf. "they kept talking" - [they all the more] were proclaiming. Probably an iterative imperfect expressing repeated action. The more Jesus told them to be quiet, "the more they broadcast the news", Phillips.


uJperperisswV adv. "overwhelmed" - [and they were amazed] completely, beyond all measure, exceedingly. Adverb of manner. "They were astonished in the extreme", Moffatt. The subject, "they", is still not identified.

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "they said" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, "they were amazed and said", or adverbial, consecutive, expressing result, "they were amazed and as a result said ..."

kai "[he] even" - [he has done all things well] and. Here ascensive; "even", although a somewhat causative sense is implied; "he has done all things well because he even makes the deaf to hear ......"

akouein (akouw) pres. inf. "hear" - [he makes the deaf] to hear. As for "to speak", the infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of cause, expressing what Jesus makes happen, namely, the deaf to hear and the dum to speak. The accusative subject of the infinitive is "the deaf."

alalouV adj. "mute" - [and the] speechless, mute [to speak]. Serving as a popular confession. Although a variant article exists with this word - likely an addition. The sense may be "the deaf and the dumb to hear and speak", Turner.


Mark Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]