Mark 7J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
Jesus exposes the danger of man-made traditions
7 1-5 And now Jesus was approached by the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem. They had noticed that his disciples ate their meals with “common” hands—meaning that they had not gone through a ceremonial washing. (The Pharisees, and indeed all the Jews, will never eat unless they have washed their hands in a particular way, following a traditional rule. And they will not eat anything bought in the market until they have first performed their “sprinkling”. And there are many other things which they consider important, concerned with the washing of cups, jugs and basins.) So the Pharisees and the scribes put this question to Jesus, “Why do your disciples refuse to follow the ancient tradition, and eat their bread with ‘common’ hands?”
6-8 Jesus replied, “You hypocrites, Isaiah described you beautifully when he wrote—‘This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’. You are so busy holding on to the traditions of men that you let go the commandment of God!”
9-13 Then he went on, “It is wonderful to see how you can set aside the commandment of God to preserve your own tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honour your father and your mother’ and ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death’. But you say, ‘if a man says to his father or his mother, Korban—meaning, I have given God whatever duty I owed to you’, then he need not lift a finger any longer for his father or mother, so making the word of God invalid for the sake of the tradition which you hold. And this is typical of much of what you do.”
14-15 Then he called the crowd close to him again, and spoke to them, “Listen to me now, all of you, and understand this, There is nothing outside a man which can enter into him and make him ‘common’. It is the things which come out of a man that make him ‘common’!”
17 Later, when he had gone indoors away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about this parable.
18-23 “Oh, are you as dull as they are?” he said. “Can’t you see that anything that goes into a man from outside cannot make him ‘common’ or unclean? You see, it doesn’t go into his heart, but into his stomach, and passes out of the body altogether, so that all food is clean enough. But,” he went on, “whatever comes out of a man, that is what makes a man ‘common’ or unclean. For it is from inside, from men’s hearts and minds, that evil thoughts arise—lust, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, arrogance and folly! All these evil things come from inside a man and make him unclean!”
The faith of a gentile is rewarded
24-27 Then he got up and left that place and went off to the neighbourhood of Tyre. There he went into a house and wanted no one to know where he was. But it proved impossible to remain hidden. For no sooner had he got there, than a woman who had heard about him, and who had a daughter possessed by an evil spirit, arrived and prostrated herself before him. She was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she asked him to drive the evil spirit out of her daughter. Jesus said to her, “You must let the children have all they want first. It is not right, you know, to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
28 But she replied, “Yes, Lord, I know, but even the dogs under the table eat what the children leave.”
29 “If you can answer like that,” Jesus said to her, “you can go home! The evil spirit has left your daughter.”
30 And she went back home and found the child lying quietly on her bed, and the evil spirit gone.
Jesus restores speech and hearing
31-34 Once more Jesus left the neighbourhood of Tyre and passed through Sidon towards the Lake of Galilee, and crossed the Ten Towns territory. They brought to him a man who was deaf and unable to speak intelligibly, and they implored him to put his hand upon him. Jesus took him away from the crowd by himself. He put his fingers in the man’s ears and touched his tongue with his own saliva. Then, looking up to Heaven, he gave a deep sigh and said to him in Aramaic, “Open!”
35-37 And his ears were opened and immediately whatever had tied his tongue came loose and he spoke quite plainly. Jesus gave instructions that they should tell no one about this happening, but the more he told them, the more they broadcast the news. People were absolutely amazed, and kept saying, “How wonderful he has done everything! He even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”