life: Or “soul.”—See Glossary, “Soul.”
to save a life or to kill: Or “to save or to kill a soul.”—See Glossary, “Soul.”
with indignation, being thoroughly grieved: Only Mark records Jesus’ reaction when Jesus observed the insensibility of the hearts of the religious leaders on this occasion. (Mt 12:13; Lu 6:10) Peter, himself a man of deep emotion, may have been the source of this vivid description of Jesus’ feelings.—See “Introduction to Mark.”
began holding council: This is the first of two occasions when the Bible specifically mentions that two opposing parties, the Pharisees and the party followers of Herod, consult together to do away with Jesus. The second occasion was nearly two years later, just three days before Jesus was put to death, indicating that these groups plotted together against Jesus over an extended period of time.—Mt 22:15-22.
party followers of Herod: See Glossary.
the Sea of Galilee: A freshwater inland lake in northern Israel. (The Greek word translated “sea” may also mean “lake.”) It has been called the Sea of Chinnereth (Nu 34:11), the lake of Gennesaret (Lu 5:1), and the Sea of Tiberias (Joh 6:1). It lies an average of 210 m (700 ft) below sea level. It is 21 km (13 mi) long from N to S and 12 km (8 mi) wide, and its greatest depth is about 48 m (160 ft).—See App. A7, Map 3B, “Activity at the Sea of Galilee.”
the sea: That is, the Sea of Galilee.—See study note on Mt 4:18.
Idumea: During the time of Jesus’ ministry, Idumea was the southernmost region of the Roman province of Judea. (See App. B10.) In Greek, the name means “[Land] of the Edomites.” The Edomites originally occupied territory S of the Dead Sea. (See App. B3 and B4.) They were conquered by Babylonian King Nabonidus in the sixth century B.C.E. By the fourth century B.C.E., the Nabataean Arabs occupied their land, so the Edomites moved north into the Negeb, as far as the region around Hebron, and that territory was called Idumea. They were conquered by the Hasmoneans (Maccabees) and forced to be circumcised and live by Jewish law or be expelled. The forefathers of the Herods were among those who submitted to Jewish law and customs.
from across the Jordan: Evidently referring to the region E of the Jordan, also known as Perea (from the Greek word peʹran, meaning “the other side; beyond”).
Be silent: Lit., “Be muzzled.” Although the unclean spirit knew that Jesus was the Christ, or Messiah, and addressed him as “the Holy One of God” (vs. 24), Jesus would not allow demons to witness about him.—Mr 1:34; 3:11, 12.
not to make him known: That is, not to reveal his identity. Although the unclean spirits knew that Jesus was “the Son of God” and addressed him as such (vs. 11), Jesus would not allow demons to witness about him. They are outcasts, rebels, haters of what is holy, and enemies of God. (See study note on Mr 1:25.) Similarly, when “a demon of divination” impelled a girl to identify Paul and Silas as “slaves of the Most High God” and proclaimers of “the way of salvation,” Paul cast the spirit out of her.—Ac 16:16-18.
apostles: Or “sent ones.” The Greek word a·poʹsto·los is derived from the verb a·po·stelʹlo, meaning “to send away (out).” (Mt 10:5; Lu 11:49; 14:32) Its basic meaning is clearly illustrated in Jesus’ statement at Joh 13:16, where it is rendered “one who is sent.”
apostles: Or “sent ones.” The Greek word a·poʹsto·los is derived from the verb a·po·stelʹlo, which is used toward the end of the verse and is rendered “send out.”—See study note on Mt 10:2.
Simon, the one called Peter: Peter is named in five different ways in the Scriptures: (1) the Greek form “Symeon,” which closely reflects the Hebrew form of the name (Simeon); (2) the Greek “Simon” (both Symeon and Simon come from a Hebrew verb meaning “hear; listen”); (3) “Peter” (a Greek name that means “A Piece of Rock” and that he alone bears in the Scriptures); (4) “Cephas,” which is the Semitic equivalent of Peter (perhaps related to the Hebrew ke·phimʹ [rocks] used at Job 30:6; Jer 4:29); and (5) the combination “Simon Peter.”—Ac 15:14; Joh 1:42; Mt 16:16.
to whom he also gave the name Peter: The name that Jesus gave to Simon means “A Piece of Rock.” (Joh 1:42) Jesus, who was able to discern that Nathanael was a man “in whom there [was] no deceit” (Joh 1:47), could also discern Peter’s makeup. Peter displayed rocklike qualities, especially after Jesus’ death and resurrection.—See study note on Mt 10:2.
Son of: In Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, the phrase “son(s) of” can be used to indicate a prominent quality or characteristic that distinguishes a person or to describe a group of people. For example, at De 3:18, “valiant men,” or courageous warriors, are literally called “sons of ability.” At Job 1:3, the expression rendered “people of the East” is literally “sons of the East.” The expression “a worthless man” at 1Sa 25:17 renders the literal expression “a son of belial,” that is, “a son of worthlessness.” In the Christian Greek Scriptures, those who pursue a certain course of conduct or who manifest a certain characteristic are designated by such expressions as “sons of the Most High,” “sons of light and sons of day,” and “sons of disobedience.”—Lu 6:35; 1Th 5:5; Eph 2:2.
Boanerges: A Semitic expression that is found only in Mark’s account. Jesus gave James and John this name that likely reflected their fiery enthusiasm.—Lu 9:54.
which means: Mark explains or translates terms that Jewish readers would have been familiar with, indicating that he wrote his account with non-Jews in mind.
Sons of Thunder: In Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, the phrase “son(s) of” can be used to indicate a prominent quality or characteristic that distinguishes a person or to describe a group of people.—See study note on Boanerges in this verse and study note on Ac 4:36.
Bartholomew: Meaning “Son of Tolmai.” He is thought to be the Nathanael mentioned by John. (Joh 1:45, 46) A comparison of the Gospels shows that Matthew and Luke link Bartholomew and Philip in the same way that John associates the name Nathanael with Philip.—Mt 10:3; Lu 6:14.
James the son of Alphaeus: Evidently the same disciple as the one called “James the Less” at Mr 15:40. It is generally thought that Alphaeus was the same person as Clopas (Joh 19:25), which would also make him the husband of “the other Mary” (Mt 27:56; 28:1; Mr 15:40; 16:1; Lu 24:10). The Alphaeus mentioned here is evidently not the same person as the Alphaeus mentioned at Mr 2:14, the father of Levi.
Thaddaeus: In the listings of the apostles at Lu 6:16 and Ac 1:13, the name Thaddaeus is not included; instead we find “Judas the son of James,” leading to the conclusion that Thaddaeus is another name for the apostle whom John calls “Judas, not Iscariot.” (Joh 14:22) The possibility of confusing this Judas with Judas Iscariot, the traitor, might be a reason why the name Thaddaeus is sometimes used.
the Cananaean: A designation distinguishing the apostle Simon from the apostle Simon Peter. (Mt 10:4) This term is thought to be of Hebrew or Aramaic origin, meaning “Zealot; Enthusiast.” Luke referred to this Simon as “the zealous one,” using the Greek word ze·lo·tesʹ, also meaning “zealot; enthusiast.” (Lu 6:15; Ac 1:13) While it is possible that Simon once belonged to the Zealots, a Jewish party opposed to the Romans, he may have been given this designation because of his zeal and enthusiasm.
Iscariot: Possibly meaning “Man From Kerioth.” Judas’ father, Simon, is also called “Iscariot.” (Joh 6:71) This term has commonly been understood to indicate that Simon and Judas were from the Judean town of Kerioth-hezron. (Jos 15:25) If this is so, Judas was the only Judean among the 12 apostles, the rest being Galileans.
Iscariot: See study note on Mt 10:4.
Judas: This half brother of Jesus is evidently the Jude (Greek, I·ouʹdas) who wrote the Bible book by that name.—Jude 1.
his relatives: These may have included Jesus’ half brothers James and Judas (Jude), who each wrote a Bible book. The names of Jesus’ four half brothers are mentioned at Mt 13:55 and Mr 6:3.—See study note on Mt 13:55.
Beelzebub: Possibly an alteration of Baal-zebub, meaning “Owner (Lord) of the Flies,” the Baal worshipped by the Philistines at Ekron. (2Ki 1:3) Some Greek manuscripts use the alternate forms Beelzeboul or Beezeboul, possibly meaning “Owner (Lord) of the Lofty Abode (Habitation)” or if a play on the non-Biblical Hebrew word zeʹvel (dung), “Owner (Lord) of the Dung.” As shown at Mt 12:24, this is a designation applied to Satan—the prince, or ruler, of the demons.
Beelzebub: A designation applied to Satan.—See study note on Mt 10:25.
illustrations: Or “parables.” The Greek word pa·ra·bo·leʹ, which literally means “a placing beside (together),” may be in the form of a parable, a proverb, or an illustration. Jesus often explains a thing by ‘placing it beside,’ or comparing it with, another similar thing. (Mr 4:30) His illustrations were short and usually fictitious narratives from which a moral or spiritual truth could be drawn.
illustrations: See study note on Mt 13:3.
house: That is, a household. The original-language term for “house” could refer to an individual family or an extended household, including one associated with the palaces of kings. (Ac 7:10; Php 4:22) The term was used of ruling dynasties, such as those of the Herods and the Caesars, where internal dissension was common and destructive.
be able to stand: Or “continue (stay together).”—See study note on house in this verse.
blasphemy: Refers to defamatory, injurious, or abusive speech against God or against sacred things. Since holy spirit emanates from God himself, willfully opposing or denying its operation amounted to blasphemy against God. As shown at Mt 12:24, 28, Jewish religious leaders saw God’s spirit at work in Jesus as he performed miracles; yet, they attributed this power to Satan the Devil.
blasphemes against the holy spirit: Blasphemy refers to defamatory, injurious, or abusive speech against God or against sacred things. Since holy spirit emanates from God himself, willfully opposing or denying its operation amounted to blasphemy against God. As shown at Mt 12:24, 28 and Mr 3:22, the Jewish religious leaders saw God’s spirit at work in Jesus as he performed miracles; yet, they attributed this power to Satan the Devil.
guilty of everlasting sin: Seems to refer to willful sin that has eternal consequences; there is no sacrifice to cover such sin.—See study note on blasphemes against the holy spirit in this verse and study note on Mt 12:31, the parallel account.
brothers: The Greek word a·del·phosʹ can refer to a spiritual relationship in the Bible, but here it is used of Jesus’ half brothers, the younger sons of Joseph and Mary. Some who believe that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus claim that here a·del·phosʹ refers to cousins. However, the Christian Greek Scriptures use a distinct term for “cousin” (Greek, a·ne·psi·osʹ at Col 4:10) and a different term for “the son of Paul’s sister” (Ac 23:16). Also, Lu 21:16 uses the plural forms of the Greek words a·del·phosʹ and syg·ge·nesʹ (rendered “brothers and relatives”). These examples show that the terms denoting familial relationships are not used loosely or indiscriminately in the Christian Greek Scriptures.
See, my mother and my brothers!: Jesus here makes a distinction between his natural brothers, some of whom evidently lacked faith in him (Joh 7:5), and his spiritual brothers, his disciples. He shows that regardless of how precious the ties are that bind him to his relatives, his relationship with those who do “the will of God” is even more precious.—Mr 3:35.