a lofty mountain: Possibly Mount Hermon, which is near Caesarea Philippi. (Mr 8:
Rabbi: Literally meaning “my great one,” from the Hebrew word rav, meaning “great.” In common usage, “Rabbi” meant “Teacher.”
a voice: The second of three instances in the Gospel accounts where Jehovah is reported as speaking directly to humans.
a speechless spirit: That is, an evil spirit that makes a person unable to speak.
convulsions: In this particular case, demon activity was associated with epileptic symptoms. However, the Scriptures do not imply that epilepsy is generally caused by demon possession any more than deafness and speechlessness are. (Compare Mr 9:
speechless and deaf spirit: That is, an evil spirit that makes a person unable to speak and to hear.
by prayer: Some manuscripts add “and fasting.” But the earliest and most reliable manuscripts do not include “and fasting.” These words were evidently added by copyists who advocated fasting and practiced it. They repeatedly included references to fasting where these were not found in earlier copies.
a millstone that is turned by a donkey: Or “a huge millstone.” Lit., “a millstone of a donkey.” Such a millstone, likely 1.2-1.5 m (4-5 ft) in diameter, was so heavy that it had to be turned by a donkey.
cut it off: Jesus was using hyperbole. He was saying that a person should be willing to give up something as precious as a hand, a foot, or an eye rather than allow it to cause him to stumble into unfaithfulness. He was obviously not encouraging self-mutilation or implying that a person was somehow subservient to the will of his limbs or eyes. (Mr 9:
Some manuscripts read here “where their maggot does not die and the fire is not put out,” but these words do not appear in important early manuscripts. Similar words do appear in verse 48, where there is no uncertainty regarding the text. Evidence suggests that a scribe or scribes repeated the words from verse 48 in verses 44 and 46.
See study note on Mr 9:
where: Referring to “Gehenna,” mentioned in the preceding verse. As shown in the study note on Mt 5:
salted with fire: This figure of speech could be understood in two different ways. (1) If the expression is connected with the statements Jesus just made, as recorded at Mr 9:
Salt: A mineral used for preserving and flavoring food.
loses its saltiness: Or “loses its strength.” In Jesus’ day, salt was often obtained from the Dead Sea area and was contaminated by other minerals. If the salty portion was removed from this mixture, only a tasteless, useless residue remained.
Have salt in yourselves: Jesus evidently here uses “salt” to refer to the quality in Christians that causes them to do and say things that are in good taste, considerate, and wholesome and that tend toward preserving the lives of others. The apostle Paul uses “salt” in a similar way at Col 4:6. Perhaps Jesus was thinking of his apostles’ arguments about who would be the greatest. Figurative salt makes what a person says easier for others to accept and can thus help to preserve peace.
Located at the northern limit of the Promised Land, Mount Hermon is made up of several distinct peaks, the tallest of which rises 2,814 m (9,232 ft) above sea level. These peaks form the southern part of the Anti-Lebanon range. It may have been on Mount Hermon that Jesus was transfigured.
A large millstone like the one depicted here would be turned by a domestic animal, such as a donkey, and be used to grind grain or crush olives. An upper millstone might be as much as 1.5 m (5 ft) in diameter and would be turned on an even larger lower stone.
The Valley of Hinnom (1), called Gehenna in the Christian Greek Scriptures. The Temple Mount (2). The first-century Jewish temple complex was located here. The most prominent present-day structure on the temple mount is the Muslim shrine known as the Dome of the Rock.