Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
Our Lord's countrymen are astonished at his wisdom and mighty works, and are offended at him, Mar 6:1-4. He works few miracles there, because of their unbelief, Mar 6:5, Mar 6:6. He sends forth his disciples by two and two to preach, etc., Mar 6:7-11. They depart, preach, and work miracles, Mar 6:12, Mar 6:13. Different opinions of Christ, Mar 6:14-16. Account of the beheading of John Baptist, Mar 6:17-29. The disciples return, and give an account of their mission, Mar 6:30. He departs with them to a place of privacy, but the people follow him, Mar 6:31-33. He has compassion on them, and miraculously feeds five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, Mar 6:34-44. He sends the disciples by sea to Bethsaida, and himself goes into a mountain to pray, Mar 6:45, Mar 6:46. The disciples meet with a storm, and he comes to them walking upon the water, and appeases the winds and the sea, Mar 6:47-52. They come into the land of Gennesaret, and he works many miracles, Mar 6:53-56.
And he went out from thence - That is, from Capernaum. See on Mat 13:54 (note).
Were astonished - επι τῃ διδαχῃ αυτου, at his doctrine, or teaching. This is added by the Codex Bezae and eight others, later Syriac, Armenian, Vulgate, and all the Itala.
Is not this the carpenter - Among the ancient Jews, every father was bound to do four things for his son.
1. To circumcise him.
2. To redeem him.
3. To teach him the law.
4. To teach him a trade.
And this was founded on the following just maxim: "He who teaches not his son to do some work, is as if he taught him robbery!" It is therefore likely that Joseph brought up our Lord to his own trade.
Joses - Several good MSS. read Ιωσητος, Joset, and one, with several versions, reads Joseph.
See this curious subject explained, Mat 13:55-58 (note).
By two and two - That they might encourage and support each other; and to show that union among the ministers of the Gospel is essential to the promotion of the cause of truth. See on Luk 10:1 (note).
A staff only - It is likely he desired them to take only one with every two, merely for the purpose of carrying any part of their clothes on, when they should be obliged to strip them off by reason of the heat; for walking staves, or things of this kind, were forbidden, see Mat 10:10. But, probably, no more is designed than simply to state that they must not wait to make any provision for the journey, but go off just as they were, leaving the provision necessary in the present case to the care of Divine Providence. St. James is represented in ancient paintings, as carrying a gourd bottle on a Staff across his shoulder.
Shod with sandals - The sandal seems to have been similar to the Roman solea, which covered only the sole of the foot, and was fastened about the foot and ankle with straps. The sandal was originally a part of the woman's dress; ancient authors represent them as worn only by women. In Mat 10:10, the disciples are commanded to take no shoes, ὑποδηματα, which word is nearly of the same import with σανδαλια, sandals; but, as our Lord intimates to them that they should be free from all useless incumbrances, that they might fulfill his orders with the utmost diligence and despatch, so we may suppose that the sandal was a lighter kind of wear than the shoe: and indeed the word sandal, which is mere Chaldee, סנדל might be properly translated a light shoe; as it is compounded of סין sin, a shoe, (see Targum, Deu 25:9, Deu 25:10), and דל dal, thin, slender, or mean, as being made, not only lighter than the hypodema or shoe, but (probably) also of meaner materials. See many excellent observations on this subject in Martinius's Etymolog. Lexicon, under the word Sandalium.
And whosoever shall not receive you - Ὁς αν τοπος μη δεξηται, whatsoever Place will not receive you: this is the reading of BL, four others, and the later Syriac in the margin.
Verily, etc. - All this clause is omitted in BCDL, two others, one Arabic, one Persic, Coptic, Armenian, Vulgate, and all the Itala but three. Mill and Beza approve of the omission, and Griesbach leaves it out of the text. It has probably been transferred here from Mat 10:15. See this subject, from Mar 6:7-11, explained at large on Mat 10:1-15 (note).
Anointed with oil many that were sick - This is only spoken of here, and in Jam 5:14. This ceremony was in great use among the Jews; and in certain cases it might be profitable. But in the cases mentioned here, which were merely miraculous, it could avail no more of itself than the imposition of hands. It was used symbolically, as an emblem of that ease, comfort, and joy, which they prayed God to impart to the sick. For various examples of its use among the Jews, see Lightfoot and Wetstein on this place.
And king Herod heard? - Την ακοην αοτου, his fame, is added by KM, fifteen others, and in the margin of several. It seems necessary to complete the sense.
Or, as one of the prophets - η, or, is omitted by ABCEGHKLMS - BHV, and one hundred others, Syriac, all the Arabic, all the Persic, Coptic, Ethiopic, Gothic, Slavonic, Vulgate, two Itala, Origen, Victor, and Theophylact. Bengel, Wetstein, and Griesbach leave it out of the text: the omission of it mends the sense much.
Would have killed - Εζητει, Sought to kill him. C and five of the Itala.
See the whole of this account, from Mar 6:17-29, explained on Mat 14:2-12 (note).
Lords - Μεγιστασιν, probably governors of particular districts.
High captains - Χιλιαρχοις; literally, chiefs or captains over a thousand men, military chiefs.
Chief estates - Πρωτοις; probably such as might be called nobles by title only, having no office civil or military; probably magistrates. See Kypke an the place.
Unto the half of my kingdom - A noble price for a dance! This extravagance in favor of female dancers has the fullest scope in the east, even to the present day. M. Anquetil du Perron, in the preliminary discourse to his Zend Avesta, p. 344 and 345, gives a particular account of the dancers at Surat. This account cannot be transcribed in a comment on the Gospel of God, however illustrative it might be of the conduct of Herodias and her daughter Salome: it is too abominable for a place here. He observes, that the rich vie with each other in the presents they make to the dancing girls of money and jewels; and that persons of opulence have even ruined themselves by the presents they made to those victims of debauch. He mentions a remarkable case, which may throw light on this passage: "That the dancer Laal-koner gained such a complete ascendancy over the Mogul Emperor Maaz-eddin, that he made her joint governess of the empire with himself."
For their sakes which sat with him - Probably these persons joined in with the request, and were glad of this opportunity to get this light of Israel extinguished; he being a public reprover of all their vices.
The apostles gathered themselves together - For they went different ways before, by two and two, Mar 6:7; and now they return and meet Christ at Capernaum.
Rest a while - Rest is necessary for those who labor; and a zealous preacher of the Gospel will as often stand in need of it as a galley slave.
The people - Or, οχλοι, the multitudes. This is wanting in many MSS., but it seems necessary to make the sense clear. There is scarcely a verse in the whole New Testament that has suffered so much from transcribers as this verse. Amidst the abundance of various readings, one can scarcely tell what its original state was. The various readings may be seen in Griesbach.
Much people, etc. - See this miracle explained on Mat 14:14 (note), etc.
By hundreds, and by fifties - "That is," says Mr. Wesley, "fifty in a rank, and a hundred in file. So, a hundred multiplied by fifty, made just five thousand." But if they sat fifty deep, how could the disciples conveniently serve them with the bread and fish?
And blessed - I think the word God should be inserted here, as in Mat 14:19. See the note there. The food we receive from God is already blessed, and does not stand in need of being blessed by man; but God, who gives it, deserves our warmest thanksgivings, as frequently as we are called to partake of his bounty.
Twelve baskets - These were either the baskets used by the disciples, see Mat 14:20, or baskets belonging to some of the multitude, who might have brought some with them to carry provisions, or other things necessary for the sick, whom they brought to Christ to be healed.
Were about five thousand - ὡσει, about, is omitted by a great majority of the best MSS. and by the principal versions. It is wanting in several editions: Bengel, Wetstein, and Griesbach, leave it out of the text. It is omitted by some in the parallel place, Mat 14:21, but it stands without any variation in Luk 9:14, and Joh 6:10. This miracle is mentioned by all the four evangelists. It is one of the most astonishing that Christ has wrought. It is a miracle which could not be counterfeited, and a full proof of the divinity of Christ.
To the other side before unto Bethsaida - John says, Joh 6:17, to Capernaum. It is probable our Lord ordered them to steer to one or other of these two places, which were about four miles distant, and on the same side of the sea of Galilee.
The ship was in the midst of the sea - See all the parts of this wonderful transaction considered, on Mat 14:22-33 (note).
They supposed it had been a spirit - That is, by whom the storm had been raised.
Their heart was hardened - See this explained Mat 14:33 (note).
The land of Gennesaret - This country lay on the coast of the sea of Galilee: it is described by Josephus as being exceedingly pleasant and fertile. It had its name of Gennesaret from גן, gen, a garden, and סר sar, a prince, either because the king had a garden there, or because of its great fertility.
They knew him - Επιγνοντες, They recollected him; for he had before preached and wrought miracles in different places of the same country.
Villages - Probably small towns near cities.
Country - Villages at a distance from cities and large public towns. See the notes on Mat 14:34-36 (note).
Christ went about doing good - he confined his ministry and miracles to no place - wherever he went, they stood in need of his help; and whenever they required his assistance, they had it granted immediately. Our Lord's conduct, in these respects, is a perfect pattern for every preacher of his Gospel.