Followers of Tradition
7 Now the Pharisees and some of the scribes came from Jerusalem and gathered around Him, 2 and they had seen that some of His disciples ate their bread with [ceremonially] impure hands, that is, unwashed [and defiled according to Jewish religious ritual]. 3 ([a]For the Pharisees and all of the Jews do not eat unless they [b]carefully wash their hands, holding firmly to the traditions of the elders; 4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they [c]cleanse themselves [completely according to ritual]; and there are many other things [oral, man-made laws and traditions handed down to them] which they follow diligently, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper utensils.) 5 So the Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus, “Why do Your disciples not live their lives according to the tradition of the elders, but [instead] eat their bread with [ceremonially] unwashed hands?” 6 He replied, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites (play-actors, pretenders), as it is written [in Scripture],
‘These people honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
‘They worship Me in vain [their worship is meaningless and worthless, a pretense],
Teaching the precepts of men as doctrines [giving their traditions equal weight with the Scriptures].’(A)
8 You disregard and neglect the commandment of God, and cling [faithfully] to the tradition of men.”
9 He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside and nullifying the commandment of God in order to keep your [man-made] tradition and regulations. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother [with respect and gratitude]’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of his father or mother must be put to death’;(B) 11 but you [Pharisees and scribes] say, ‘If a man tells his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you is Corban, (that is to say, already a gift to God),”’ 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother [since helping them would violate his vow of Corban]; 13 so you nullify the [authority of the] word of God [acting as if it did not apply] because of your tradition which you have handed down [through the elders]. And you do many things such as that.”
The Heart of Man
14 After He called the people to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen [carefully] to Me, all of you, [hear] and understand [what I am saying]: 15 there is nothing outside a man [such as food] which by going into him can defile him [morally or spiritually]; but the things which come out of [the heart of] a man are what defile and dishonor him. 16 [d][If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]
17 When Jesus had left the crowd and gone into the [e]house, His disciples asked Him about the parable. 18 And He said to them, “Are you, too, so foolish and lacking in understanding? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile and dishonor him, 19 since it does not enter his heart, but [only] his stomach, and [from there it] is eliminated?” (By this, He declared all foods [f]ceremonially clean.) 20 And He said, “Whatever comes from [the heart of] a man, that is what defiles and dishonors him. 21 For from within, [that is] out the heart of men, come base and malevolent thoughts and schemes, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 acts of greed and covetousness, wickedness, deceit, unrestrained conduct, envy and jealousy, slander and profanity, arrogance and self-righteousness and foolishness (poor judgment). 23 All these evil things [schemes and desires] come from within and defile and dishonor the man.”
The Syrophoenician Woman
24 Jesus got up and left there and went to the region of Tyre [and Sidon, the coastal area of Phoenicia]. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know about it; but it was impossible for Him to be hidden [from the public].(C) 25 Instead, after hearing about Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile (Greek), a [g]Syrophoenician by nationality. And she kept pleading with Him to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27 He was saying to her, “First let the children [of Israel] be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the [h]pet dogs (non-Jews).” 28 But she replied, “Yes, Lord, but even the pet dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 And He said to her, “Because of this answer [reflecting your humility and faith], go [knowing that your request is granted]; the demon has left your daughter [permanently].” 30 And returning to her home, she found the child lying on the couch [relaxed and resting], the demon having gone.
31 Soon after this Jesus left the region of Tyre, and passed through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of Decapolis [the ten Hellenistic cities]. 32 They brought to Him a man who was deaf and had difficulty speaking, and they begged Jesus to place His hand on him. 33 Jesus, taking him aside by himself, away from the crowd, put His fingers into the man’s ears, and after spitting, He touched the man’s tongue [with the saliva]; 34 and looking up to heaven, He sighed deeply and said to the man, “Ephphatha,” which [in Aramaic] means, “[i]Be opened and released!” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he began speaking plainly. 36 Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it. 37 They were thoroughly astounded and completely overwhelmed, saying, “He has done everything well! He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak!”
- Mark 7:3 Mark explains Jewish customs and translates Hebrew terms for his Gentile readers.
- Mark 7:3 Lit with the fist. This probably refers either to the method of washing the hands or, perhaps more likely, to the volume of water used.
- Mark 7:4 The Greek word used is baptize, which in this context refers to an immersion ritual normally performed in a miqveh, a special bathtub large enough for the purpose and filled with water that was to be collected naturally. The miqvehs typically were built into the ground outside where they could collect rain water.
- Mark 7:16 Early mss do not contain this verse.
- Mark 7:17 It was probably Peter’s house.
- Mark 7:19 I.e. He abolished all prohibitions given in the Law against certain foods.
- Mark 7:26 She came from an area north of Israel, between the Lebanon Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea.
- Mark 7:27 Jews used kuon (dog) as a derogatory term referring to Gentiles. This dog (kuon) was a despised, filthy, homeless street scavenger. When speaking with this woman, Jesus uses a word for “dog” (kunarion) that refers to a household pet. The use of the word kunariois by both Jesus and the woman reflects the tenderness and spiritual depth of this exchange. More importantly, it foreshadows the fact that Gentile believers will not be spiritually homeless, but will also be welcomed into God’s household as His children. The gracious response of the woman recorded in v 28 confirms that on some level she understood this.
- Mark 7:34 A command directed to the whole person.
New International Version
That Which Defiles(A)
7 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled,(B) that is, unwashed. 3 (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) 4 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)
5 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?”
6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”(G)
9 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.”  [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.”
- Mark 7:4 Some early manuscripts pitchers, kettles and dining couches
- Mark 7:7 Isaiah 29:13
- Mark 7:9 Some manuscripts set up
- Mark 7:10 Exodus 20:12; Deut. 5:16
- Mark 7:10 Exodus 21:17; Lev. 20:9
- Mark 7:16 Some manuscripts include here the words of 4:23.
- Mark 7:24 Many early manuscripts Tyre and Sidon
- Mark 7:31 That is, the Ten Cities
King James Version
7 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
24 And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.
25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:
26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.
29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.
30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.
32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.
33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;
34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.
35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.
36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;
37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.