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Verses 31-36

Mark 7:31-36 . He came unto the sea of Galilee, &c. See note on Matthew 15:29-31. They bring unto him one that was deaf and had an impediment, &c. Greek, Μογιλαλον : “He was not absolutely dumb, but stammered to such a degree, that few understood his speech, Mark 7:35. However, the circumstance of his being able to speak in any manner, shows that his deafness was not natural, but accidental. He had heard formerly, and had learned to speak, but was now deprived of hearing, perhaps, through some fault of his own, which might be the reason that Jesus sighed for grief when he cured him. And they beseech him to put his hand upon him His friends interceded for him, because he was not able to speak for himself, so as that any one could understand him. His desire of a cure, however, may have prompted him to do his utmost in speaking, whereby all present were made sensible of the greatness of the infirmity under which he laboured. Our Lord’s exuberant goodness easily prompted him to give this person the relief which his friends begged for him. Yet he would not do it publicly, lest the admiration of the spectators should have been raised so high as to produce bad effects; for the whole country was now following him, in expectation that he would soon set up his kingdom. Or, as Gadara, where his miracle upon the demoniacs had been so ill received, was part of this region, (see on Luke 8:26,) he might shun performing the miracle publicly, because it would have no effect upon so stupid a people. Whatever was the reason, he took the man with his relations aside from the crowd; and, because the deaf are supposed to have their ears shut, and the dumb their tongues so tied, or fastened to the under part of their mouth, as not to be able to move it, (see Mark 7:35,) he put his fingers into the man’s ears, and then touched or moistened his tongue with his spittle, to make him understand that he intended to open his ears, and loose his tongue.” Macknight. This, perhaps, was the only reason for these symbolical actions, or our Lord might have other reasons for doing them, of which we are ignorant. “If any should ask,” says Dr. Doddridge, “why our Lord used these actions, when a word alone would have been sufficient; and such means (if they may be called means) could in themselves do nothing at all to answer the end, I frankly confess I cannot tell, nor am I at all concerned to know. Yet I am ready to imagine it might be intended to intimate, in a very lively manner, that we are not to pretend to enter into the reasons of all his actions; and that where we are sure that any observance whatever is appointed by him, we are humbly to submit to it, though we cannot see why it was preferred to others, which our imagination might suggest. Had Christ’s patients, like Naaman, (2 Kings 5:11-12,) been too nice in their exceptions on these occasions, I fear they would have lost their cure; and the indulgence of a curious or a petulant mind would have been but a poor equivalent for such a loss.” And looking up to heaven That the deaf man whom he could not instruct by words might consider from whence all benefits proceed; he sighed Probably the circumstances above mentioned, or some others, to us unknown, made this dumb person a peculiar object of pity. Or by this example of bodily deafness and dumbness, our Lord might be led to reflect on the spiritual deafness and dumbness of men. But whatever was the cause, Christ’s sighing on this occasion evidently displayed the tender love he bore to our kind. For certainly it could be nothing less which moved him to condole our miseries, whether general or particular, in so affectionate a manner. And saith unto him, Ephphatha This was a word of SOVEREIGN AUTHORITY, not an address to God for power to heal. Such an address was needless, for Christ had a perpetual fund of power residing in himself, to work all miracles whenever he pleased, even to the raising of the dead, John 5:21; John 5:26. And straightway his ears were opened The word had an immediate effect, and all obstructions to his hearing distinctly, and speaking articulately and plainly, were instantly removed. And, as those bodily impediments vanished before the word of Christ’s power, the impediments of the mind to spiritual acts and duties are removed by the Spirit of Christ. He opens the internal ear, the heart, as he did Lydia’s, to understand and receive the word of God; and opens the mouth in prayer and praise. And he charged them that they should tell no man When Jesus formerly cured the demoniac in this country, he ordered him to return to his own house, and show, namely, to his relations and friends, how great things God had done for him. But, at this miracle, the deaf and dumb man’s relations seem to have been present. Wherefore, as they had no need to be informed of the miracle, he required it to be concealed, probably for the reasons assigned in the note on Mark 5:43. Neither the man, however, nor his friends, obeyed Jesus in this; but the more he charged them To conceal it; so much the more they published it So greatly were they struck with the miracle, and so charmed with the modesty and humility which Christ manifested, especially the man, who, having the use of his speech given him, was very forward to exercise it in praise of so great a benefactor.

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