“those who were close to him.” The Greek is para (#3844 παρά), a preposition usually meaning “beside.” Thus the book of Mark is vague here, saying only that these people were those who were beside him. This is a case when we have to rely on other parallel records to give the details, and we learn what happened from the scope of Scripture. Matthew 12:46 and Luke 8:19 let us know that this group of people is his mother and brothers. This verse is a clear indication that Jesus’ step-father, Joseph, was dead, otherwise he would have been leading the group. That means Joseph died between the time Jesus was 12 (Luke 2:42) and the time he started his ministry. He had worked with his father, the carpenter, and had become a carpenter himself (Mark 6:3). This group “set out” to take him. They arrive in verse 31.