The Traditions of the Elders

The(A) Pharisees(B) and some of the scribes(C) who had come from Jerusalem(D) gathered around Him. They observed that some of His disciples were eating their bread with unclean(E)—that is, unwashed—hands. (For the Pharisees, in fact all the Jews, will not eat unless they wash their hands ritually, keeping the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace,(F) they do not eat unless they have washed.(G) And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, jugs, copper utensils, and dining couches.[a](H)) Then the Pharisees(I) and the scribes(J) asked Him, “Why don’t Your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders,(K) instead of eating bread with ritually unclean[b] hands?”

He answered them, “Isaiah(L) prophesied(M) correctly about you hypocrites,(N) as it is written:(O)

These people honor(P) Me with their lips,
but their heart is far from Me.
They worship Me in vain,
teaching(Q) as doctrines(R) the commands(S) of men.(T)[c]

Disregarding the command of God, you keep the tradition of men.”[d] He also said to them, “You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain[e] your tradition! 10 For Moses(U) said:

Honor your father and your mother;(V)[f] and
Whoever speaks evil of father or mother
must be put to death.(W)[g]

11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit(X) you might have received from me is Corban’” (that is, a gift(Y) committed to the temple), 12 “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 You revoke God’s word(Z) by your tradition that you have handed(AA) down. And you do many other similar things.” 14 Summoning(AB) the crowd again, He told them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand:(AC) 15 Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. [16 If anyone has ears to hear, he should listen!]”[h]

17 When He went into the house away from the crowd, the disciples asked Him about the parable. 18 And He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a man from the outside can defile him? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach(AD) and is eliminated.”[i] (As a result, He made all foods clean.[j](AE)) 20 Then He said, “What comes out of a person—that defiles him. 21 For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities,(AF) thefts, murders,(AG) 22 adulteries,(AH) greed,(AI) evil actions, deceit,(AJ) promiscuity,(AK) stinginess,[k] blasphemy,(AL) pride,(AM) and foolishness.(AN) 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”

A Gentile Mother’s Faith

24 He got up and departed from(AO) there to the region of Tyre(AP) and Sidon.[l](AQ) He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it, but He could not escape notice. 25 Instead, immediately after hearing about Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit(AR) came and fell at His feet.(AS) 26 Now the woman was Greek,(AT) a Syrophoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to drive the demon(AU) out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, “Allow the children to be satisfied first, because it isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”(AV)

28 But she replied to Him, “Lord,(AW) even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then He told her, “Because of this reply, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” 30 When she went back to her home, she found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone.

Jesus Does Everything Well

31 Again, leaving the region of Tyre,(AX) He went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,(AY) through[m] the region of the Decapolis.(AZ) 32 They brought to Him a deaf(BA) man who also had a speech difficulty,(BB) and begged Jesus to lay His hand on(BC) him. 33 So He took him away from the crowd privately. After putting His fingers in the man’s ears and spitting,(BD) He touched his tongue. 34 Then, looking up to heaven,(BE) He sighed deeply and said to him, “Ephphatha!”[n] (that is, “Be opened!”). 35 Immediately his ears were opened,(BF) his speech difficulty was removed,[o] and he began to speak clearly.(BG) 36 Then He ordered them to tell no one,(BH) but the more He would order them, the more they would proclaim(BI) it.

37 They were extremely astonished and said, “He has done everything well!(BJ) He even makes deaf(BK) people hear, and people unable to speak,(BL) talk!”


  1. Mark 7:4 Other mss omit and dining couches
  2. Mark 7:5 Other mss read with unwashed
  3. Mark 7:7 Is 29:13
  4. Mark 7:8 Other mss add The washing of jugs, and cups, and many other similar things you practice.
  5. Mark 7:9 Other mss read to establish
  6. Mark 7:10 Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16
  7. Mark 7:10 Ex 21:17; Lv 20:9
  8. Mark 7:16 Other mss omit bracketed text
  9. Mark 7:19 Lit goes out into the toilet
  10. Mark 7:19 Other mss read is eliminated, making all foods clean.”
  11. Mark 7:22 Lit evil eye
  12. Mark 7:24 Other mss omit and Sidon
  13. Mark 7:31 Or into
  14. Mark 7:34 An Aram expression
  15. Mark 7:35 Lit opened, the bond of his tongue was untied

That Which Defiles(A)

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled,(B) that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.(C) When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.[a])(D)

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders(E) instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[b](F)

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”(G)

And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe[c] your own traditions!(H) 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[d](I) and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[e](J) 11 But you say(K) that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God(L) by your tradition(M) that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” [16] [f]

17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him(N) about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods(O) clean.)(P)

20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed,(Q) malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

Jesus Honors a Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith(R)

24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.[g](S) He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit(T) came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Jesus Heals a Deaf and Mute Man(U)

31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre(V) and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee(W) and into the region of the Decapolis.[h](X) 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk,(Y) and they begged Jesus to place his hand on(Z) him.

33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit(AA) and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven(AB) and with a deep sigh(AC) said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.(AD)

36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone.(AE) But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. 37 People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”


  1. Mark 7:4 Some early manuscripts pitchers, kettles and dining couches
  2. Mark 7:7 Isaiah 29:13
  3. Mark 7:9 Some manuscripts set up
  4. Mark 7:10 Exodus 20:12; Deut. 5:16
  5. Mark 7:10 Exodus 21:17; Lev. 20:9
  6. Mark 7:16 Some manuscripts include here the words of 4:23.
  7. Mark 7:24 Many early manuscripts Tyre and Sidon
  8. Mark 7:31 That is, the Ten Cities