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Mark 3:5 says this

And having looked around on them with anger, being grieved at the hardness of their heart, He says to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

Who is being described as "with anger" - is it

  • "them", ie, the crowd surrounding Jesus, or
  • Jesus Himself?
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  • I can't find even one translator that renders this in a way the implies it was the crowd that was angry... and many make it explicit that the crowd is the object of Jesus' anger, not the other way around. Since your biblical Greek is proficient, to say the least, I would like to know what makes you think it might be the crowd that is angry with Jesus. (or is it a rhetorical question?) Nov 24, 2023 at 22:35
  • @DanFefferman - that is the point - the Greek makes it clear that it could go either way.
    – Dottard
    Nov 25, 2023 at 4:01

4 Answers 4

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It is the Lord who is both angry and compassionate at the stupidity of the crowd; even grammatically, it seems that had it been the crowd, the Greek would specify it with ὄντας: καὶ περιβλεψάμενος αὐτοὺς μετ' ὀργῆς [ὄντας].

Anger is a natural emotion and not sinful at all, given that it is used properly and according to divine will. The correct and proper use of anger is to rebuke by it intrusion of sinfulness, sinful passion in oneself, as also Plato says, comparing anger to a guardian dog that barks upon wolves to rescue the sheep, that is to say, man uses anger to repel a sinful passion/thought to rescue the good, contemplative thoughts about divine realities.

Now, the Lord did not have any sinful passions in Himself to use anger against, but He saw those passions in humans and directed His natural anger against those passions, NOT against the people bearing them. That it is so, is evidenced by the fact that, according to the same verse, He simultaneously pities those people and compassionates with them. As fully human He had human emotion of anger and used it properly, according to the divinely ordained nature and logos.

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I would say that it was Jesus who was angry. I base this on the actions of the Pharisees at vs6. "And the Pharisees went out and immediately began taking counsel with the Herodians against Him."

I would also submit from Matthew 23 how Jesus reads them the riot act, ( I would say that He was pretty angry here), and then He concludes with Matthew 23:37-39, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers here chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling." Vs38, Behold your house is being left to you desolate.

Vs39, "For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." Of course this is my opinion.

The following is what Greek Scholar A.T.Robertson has to say about the Greek.

Verse 5 When he had looked round on them with anger (περιβλεψαμενος αυτους μετ' οργης). Mark has a good deal to say about the looks of Jesus with this word (Mark 3:5; Mark 3:34; Mark 5:37; Mark 9:8; Mark 10:23; Mark 11:11) as here. So Luke only once, Luke 6:10. The eyes of Jesus swept the room all round and each rabbinical hypocrite felt the cut of that condemnatory glance. This indignant anger was not inconsistent with the love and pity of Jesus. Murder was in their hearts and Jesus knew it. Anger against wrong as wrong is a sign of moral health (Gould).

Being grieved at the hardness of their hearts (συνλυπουμενος επ τη πωρωσε της καρδιας αυτων). Mark alone gives this point. The anger was tempered by grief (Swete). Jesus is the Man of Sorrows and this present participle brings out the continuous state of grief whereas the momentary angry look is expressed by the aorist participle above. Their own heart or attitude was in a state of moral ossification (πωρωσις) like hardened hands or feet. Πωρος was used of a kind of marble and then of the callus on fractured bones. "They were hardened by previous conceptions against this new truth" (Gould). See also on Matthew 12:9-14.

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  • You quote a lot some verse that are not related to the text at hand. What does the grammar of the verse say?
    – Dottard
    Nov 24, 2023 at 21:20
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    Reading the context from vs2 they were looking for Jesus to heal the man on the Sabbath in order to accuse Him. Jesus at vs4 ask them a question about healing on the Sabbath but they kept silent. Then at vs5, I have to say it is Jesus who is looking around waiting for an answer, it is obvious to me that Jesus is the one who is angry and grieved at the hardness of their hearts. After this it is the Pharisees (vs6) who talk the issue over in order to destroy Him. I believe they were silent because they did not know how to answer Him. This also happened at Matthew 22:41-45, again silence.
    – Mr. Bond
    Nov 24, 2023 at 21:41
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Having [looked at them with anger] or "Having looked at them, those who were with anger".

Mark 3:5 καὶ περιβλεψάμενος αὐτοὺς μετ' ὀργῆς, συλλυπούμενος ἐπὶ τῇ πωρώσει τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ, Ἔκτεινον τὴν χεῖρα. καὶ ἐξέτεινεν, καὶ ἀπεκατεστάθη ἡ χεὶρ αὐτοῦ
And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. (ESV)

Jesus showed his anger towards them. If the crowd were angry, the sentence should've clearly stated using the participle form "being angry" with a different word order for clarification; and the pronoun should've been genitive, not accusative. Just like genitive pronoun "their sin, their faith" is used (ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν εἶπεν τῷ παραλυτικῷ). The context and plain text is more evident as to the referent of anger.

The meta (with) preposition shows the emotion of Jesus, it is used when describing someone accompanying by someone or sharing something with or towards someone. Like in Luke 1:58

καὶ ἤκουσαν οἱ περίοικοι καὶ οἱ συγγενεῖς αὐτῆς ὅτι ἐμεγάλυνεν κύριος τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ μετ' αὐτῆς, καὶ συνέχαιρον αὐτῇ.
And her neighbours and her kinsfolk heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her; and they rejoiced with her.

As mercy is being shared towards someone, so the verse Mark 3:5 should be translated or interpreted as Jesus sharing his anger towards them with grief over (genitive)their hardness of hearts.

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I may see your point of the question. Though the synoptic had the same account, they were described differently.

  • Matthew did not mention anyone in anger (Matthew 12:9-14)
  • Mark described Jesus was in anger (Mark 3:5 NIV)
  • Luke described the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious (Luke 6:11 NIV)

As you have a proficient knowledge of Greek, I believe your claim that the grammar in Mark 3:5, the subject of the anger, can go either way. In view of this, I believe Luke's account has more clarity. It was the crowd, particularly the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, who were in anger, not Jesus. Jesus, foreknowing their response to His question in Mark 3:4, would not have anger about something that He already knew.

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