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Verses 17-23

Mark 7:17-23. When he was entered into the house And was apart from the people; his disciples asked him Namely, Peter, in the name of the rest, (Matthew 15:15,) concerning the parable So they term the declaration which our Lord had just uttered, because it appeared to them to be mysterious and needing explanation, which, that it should, seems very strange. And he saith, Are ye so without understanding So dull of apprehension, so ignorant of the nature of true holiness? see note on Matthew 15:15-20, where most of the particulars contained in this paragraph are explained. From within proceed evil thoughts, &c. The things here mentioned as coming from the heart, and defiling the man, are all either sins committed against the second table of the law, as they are reckoned up by St. Paul, Romans 13:9; or the dispositions which incline men to them. Covetousness Gr. πλεονεξιαι , covetousness, or irregular and inordinate desires; wickedness, Πονηριαι , ill-nature, cruelty, inhumanity, and all malevolent affections; an evil eye An envious, grudging disposition; pride υπερηφανια , that pride which makes us contemn and overlook others, as unworthy of our regard, and highly to resent the least affront, or seeming injury; foolishness αφροσυνη , foolish, ungovernable passion; the word stands directly opposed to σωφροσυνη , or sobriety of thought and discourse; and therefore particularly signifies all kinds of wild imaginations and extravagant passions. “It is remarkable, that three of the crimes here mentioned, as pollutions of the mind, namely, murder, false witness, and blasphemy, were, on this very occasion, committed by the persons who charged our Lord with impiety because he neglected such ceremonial precepts of religion as were of human invention. For, while they reigned the highest reverence for the divine law, they were making void its most essential precepts. At the very time that they condemned the disciples for so small an offence as eating with unwashed hands, contrary only to the traditions of the elders, the scribes and Pharisees were murdering Jesus by their calumnies and false witnessings, notwithstanding it was the only study of his life to do them all the good possible!” All these evil things come from within The Lord Jesus “represents these evil things as proceeding out of the mouth, (Matthew 15:18,) not so much by way of contrast to meats, which enter by the mouth into a man, as because some of them are committed with the faculty of speech, such as false witness and blasphemy; and others of them are helped forward by its assistance, namely, adultery, deceit, &c. Thus our Lord defended his disciples by a beautiful chain of reasoning, wherein he has shown the true nature of actions, and loaded with perpetual infamy the Jewish teachers and their brood, who in every age and country may be known by features exactly resembling their parents, the main strokes of which are, that by their frivolous superstitions they weaken, and sometimes destroy, the eternal and immutable rules of righteousness.” Macknight.

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