Mark 7 – Jesus & Ears to Hear – The Gospels

The Book of Mark TextOne day the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus. 2 They had noticed that some of his disciples ate their food with their hands ‘defiled,’ by which they meant unwashed. 3 For the Pharisees, and indeed all strict Jews, will not eat without first scrupulously washing their hands, holding in this to the traditions of their ancestors. 4 When they come from market, they will not eat without first sprinkling themselves; and there are many other customs which they have inherited and hold to, such as the ceremonial washing of cups, and jugs, and copper pans.

5 So the Pharisees and the teachers of the law asked Jesus this question: “How is it that your disciples do not follow the traditions of our ancestors, but eat their food with defiled hands?” 6 His answer was: “It was well said by Isaiah when he prophesied about you hypocrites in the words: ‘This is a people that honor me with their lips, While their hearts are far removed from me; 7 But vainly do they worship me, For they teach but the precepts of men.’1

8 You neglect God’s commandments and hold to the traditions of men. 9 Wisely do you set aside God’s commandments,” he exclaimed, “to keep your own traditions! 10 For while Moses said ‘Honor thy father and thy mother,’ and ‘Let him who reviles his father or mother suffer death,’ 11 You say: ‘If a man says to his father or mother: “Whatever of mine might have been of service to you is Korban”‘ (which means ‘Given to God’), 12 Why, then you do not allow him to do anything further for his father or mother! 13 In this way you nullify the words of God by your traditions, which you hand down; and you do many similar things.”

14 Then Jesus called the people to him again, and said: “Listen to me, all of you, and mark my words. There is nothing external to you, which by going into you that can ‘defile’ you; but the things that come out from you are the things that defile you. 16 Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.” 17 When Jesus went indoors, away from the crowd, his disciples began questioning him about this saying.

18 “What, do even you understand so little!” exclaimed Jesus. “Do not you see that there is nothing external to a man, which by going into a man, can ‘defile’ him, 19 Because it does not pass into his heart, but into his stomach, and is afterwards got rid of?—in saying this Jesus pronounced all food ‘clean.’ 20 “It is what comes out from a man,” he added, “that defiles him, 21 For it is from within, out of the hearts of men, that there come evil thoughts: unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, 22 Greed, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, haughtiness, folly; 23 All these wicked things come from within, and do defile a man.”

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24 On leaving that place, Jesus went to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And he went into a house, and did not wish anyone to know it, but could not escape notice. 25 For a woman, whose little daughter had a foul spirit in her, heard of him immediately, and came and threw herself at his feet. 26 The woman was a foreigner, a native of Syrian Phoenicia, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27 “Let the children be satisfied first,” answered Jesus. “For it is not fair to take the children’s food, and throw it to dogs.” 28 “Yes, Master,” she replied; “even the dogs under the table do feed on the children’s crumbs.” 29 “For saying that,” he answered, “you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” 30 The woman went home, and found the child lying on her bed, and the demon gone.

31 On returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went, by way of Sidon, to the Sea of Galilee, across the district of the ten towns. 32 Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and almost dumb, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. 33 Jesus took him aside from the crowd quietly, put his fingers into the man’s ears, and touched his tongue with saliva. 34 Then, looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to the man: “Ephphatha!” which means ‘Be opened.’ 35 The man’s ears were opened, the string of his tongue was freed, and he began to talk plainly.

36 Jesus insisted upon their not telling anyone; but the more he insisted, the more perseveringly they made it known,2 37 And a profound impression was made upon the people. “He has done everything well!” they exclaimed. “He makes even the deaf hear and the dumb speak!”


To read Chapter 8 of the Book of Mark, please go to: You are the Christ. Browse the entire Book of Mark here: Gospel of Mark.

  1. To read Biblical commentary on this Gospel of Mark passage and the manner in which Christians can lose sight of the true message of Jesus by literally focusing on the scripture of the past, please visit: The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Living. []
  2. Explore Bible discussion of this verse from the Gospel of Mark, including why Jesus wished for anonymity, at: Lead Us Not Into Temptation. []