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An Exposition Of The Gospels by The Most Rev. John Macevilly D.D.

In this chapter, we have an account of the charge made by the Pharisees, &c., against our Lord’s disciples, for neglecting certain Jewish ceremonies pertaining to legal ablutions, and His refutation of them (1–13). Also a full explanation by our Lord of the nature of real interior purity, and whence it proceeds (14–23). The cure of the daughter of the Chanaanite woman (24–30). The cure of a man who was deaf and dumb (31–37).

1. (See Matt. 15)

2. “Common,” what the Mosaic Law commanded to be regarded as unclean, the Hellenists termed κοινα, common. So that the term, “common,” came to designate anything unclean. St. Mark explains it, “that is, with unwashed hands.”

3, 4. As St. Mark wrote for others besides the Jews, whenever he refers to the Jewish rites, manners, and customs, he usually adds something by way of explanation.

Often washing their hands.” From this it appears, they not only washed their hands before meals, which men usually do, as a matter of social propriety—and this our Eedeemer did; for, He reproaches Simon, when invited to his table, “aquam non dedisti pedibus meis”—nor merely after meals; but frequently during meals, as a matter of religious duty, “often washing their hands.” Hence, at the marriage feast of Cana, six large water pots, containing large quantities of water for frequent ablutions, were provided. What our Lord censures was, not the washing of hands, from motives of propriety and cleanliness, but as religious, superstitious practices.

5–13. (See Matt. 15:2–9).

11. “Corban, i.e., a gift, whatsoever is from Me, shall profit thee.” The word, “corban,” signifies a gift offered for religious, sacred purposes. It shows the nature of the tradition in question, which had for object, to encourage men to devote to religious purposes—and thus promote the avaricious views of the Pharisees—the means which should be employed in supporting and honouring their parents. The Priests, many of whom were Pharisees, taught the people, that if any one vowed an offering to God, he should fulfil his vow, even though his parents were in extreme want and need of it. This they inculcated, not from any love for religion, or from any regard for the obligation of fulfilling one s vow to the Lord; but, to gratify their own avarice, as they received a part of the victims offered in sacrifice. This defrauding of one s father or mother was opposed to the law of God and of nature (Prov. 28:24).

Corban” is a form used by the Jews in oaths and vows. Josephus (Antiq. Lib. 4, c. 4), states, that those who voluntarily devoted themselves to God s service, were wont to call themselves corban, that is, a gift of God; and he speaks (Lib. contra Appion.), of an oath called corban. Hence, to say to parents asking support, corban, was to close their mouths, lest they should seem to be demanding back what was given to God. Patrizzi gives the passages this construction: “Behold, or, this is a corban, or gift to God from me, whereby you would ask me to relieve or profit you.” You can no longer demand it, as it is now devoted to God.

14. (See Matt. 15:10.) “Again,” is according to the Vatican MS. and the Yulgate, &c. The ordinary Greek has, παντα, “all.”

17. “Asked Him the parable,” i.e., the meaning of the parable (v. 15). Hence, the word, “parable,” here is taken, not in the strict sense, as applied to the parables of the New Testament (Matt. 13), but in a general sense, as denoting an obscure or onigmatical saying (as in Psa. 48:4; Psa. 70:2, &c.)

18–23. (See Matt. 15:22–28).

24–30. (See Matt. 15:22–28).

31–35. (See Matt. 15:29–31).

32. St. Mark alone makes special mention of this miracle, which is included in those recorded in a general way by St. Matthew (15:30).

33. Although Euthymius and Theophylact maintain that this man was possessed by a devil, it is, however, very likely he was not, as if so, St. Mark would have mentioned it.

When the Church employs, in Baptism, the ceremony here employed by our Blessed Lord, it is not for the purpose of signifying, that the devil is cast out; but, to signify that the unbaptized infant is deaf and dumb in regard to hearing and professing God’s faith; and hence, he is presented by sponsors, as the man here was by his friends, otherwise he could not ask the grace of Baptism.

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