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and when they come from the market-place, they do not eat unless they bathe themselves, and there are many other things that they have received to observe, such as the washings of cups, and pots, and copper vessels.) Bible

“they bathe themselves.” The Greek is baptizō (#907 βαπτίζω), which means “…Properly, 1. to dip repeatedly, to immerge, submerge. 2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water; in the middle and the 1 aorist passive to wash oneself, bathe; so Mark 7:4….metaphorically, to overwhelm, as … to be overwhelmed with calamities, of those who must bear them, Matt. 20:22f Rec.; Mark 10:38 f; Luke 12:50 (Thayer). Many commentators have had problems with this verse, believing that even the religious Jews did not bathe themselves each time they came from the marketplace, but the text seems clear, and we must assume that some people did that, because his audience did not charge him with an absurdity.

Some versions have “and couches” (YLT) or “and tables” (KJV) after “copper vessels,” Metzger (Textual Commentary) writes, “It is difficult to decide whether the words…were added by copyists who were influenced by the legislation of Leviticus 15, or whether the words were omitted (a) accidentally because of homoeoteleuton or (b) deliberately because the idea of washing or sprinkling beds seemed to be quite incongruous. In view of the balance of probabilities, as well as the strong witnesses that support each reading, a majority of the Committee preferred to retain the words, but to enclose them within square brackets.” We decided to leave them out, following the original translation of the ASV.


Commentary for: Mark 7:4