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Jesus calls a Woman (his) Daughter. Why?


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It is not until the fifth chapter that the Greek gospel of Mark includes a direct address of Jesus to a female he's with. So when the writer finally records this one, he has already covered a lot of ground in the narrative.

We readers have from the start, in the very first chapter, seen Jesus heal a woman, the mother of the woman his first disciple Simon has married. But we read no conversation of Jesus with her. We have seen how, in the third chapter, Jesus seems uninterested conversing with his mother (or with his brothers with her). But instead he makes a strange statement about his male disciples metaphorically and figurally being his mother (and his brothers) and his sisters.

We readers have left the emphasis on how Jesus had been teaching (in parables, he explains in that third chapter, and with a plethora of parables - ἐν παραβολαῖς πολλά - and by one parable that's particularly plural with rather pointed explanation of it by Jesus, according to Mark right after that in the fourth chapter). We readers are brought to actions of Jesus. We readers are watching a few men on a boat and a storm and how Jesus exercises his power there.

We readers then watch now back on solid ground again how Jesus (again) exorcises demons from a man. 


They say to him a Greek phrase, 

Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί

They may be speaking Hebrew (מה־לי), and Mark is just simply providing his Greek translation of that. 

(Thayer's Greek Lexicon provides us a substantial accounting of what Mark is doing here in this fifth chapter, something he'd done already in the first:


τί ἐμοί (ἡμῖν) καί σοι (ὑμῖν); what have I (we) to do with thee (you)? (cf. Buttmann, 138 (121); Winer's Grammar, 211 (198); 585 (544)): Matthew 8:29; Mark 1:24; Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28; John 2:4; Heb. וָלָך מַה־לִּי, Judges 11:12; 2 Kings 3:13; 2 Samuel 16:10; 2 Chronicles 35:21; 1 Esdr. 1:24; also in classic Greek; cf. Aulus Gellius n. a. 1, 2; Epictetus diss. 2, 9, 16; τί ἡμῖν καί αὐτῷ, ibid. 1, 1, 16; τί ἐμοί καί αὐτοῖς, ibid. 1, 27, 13; 22, 15. τί γάρ μοι, what does it concern me? what have I to do etc.: 1 Corinthians 5:12; cf. Bos, Ellipses Graec., p. 599, Schaefer edition; Bernhardy (1829), p. 98; Krüger, § 48, 3, 9; Kühner, 2:364f; (Buttmann, as above, also 394 (337); Winers Grammar, 586 (545)).

As we can see only Mark, of the four canonical gospels, uses this phrase twice.)


Mark reminds us his readers at the turn of his fourth chapter (silencing the storm) and the beginning of this fifth chapter (conversing with demons) of how Jesus had silenced a demon in the first. In the opening chapter, Mark translates the demon asking this:

Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ;

By the fifth chapter, we readers suspect and Jesus obviously knows, that the single demon is likely a plurality of demons. We suspect this having read Mark 1. Jesus knows this even though Mark 5 has the question asked like this:

Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ υἱὲ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου;

There's an echo in Mark that we won't hear in the gospels that follow.

But it's how the last gospel, the non-synoptic gospel, has this phrase and that question that I'm particularly interested in.

John's gospel seems to key in on something here of this echo in Mark (Mark 1:24 and Mark 5:7, where demons address Jesus by name). I'm not trying to get us here in this Accordance Forum to agree that the writer of John's gospel is necessarily keying in on this echo here. Rather I'm hoping we'll all be curious about what Mark is punctuating here at this point with his repeated Greek question, to Jesus.


At this point Mark, for the very first time, brings in Jesus's being with a female and actually speaking with her, directly addressing her.

In John 2 we can read Jesus asking his own mother,

Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι;

Here in Mark 5 we can read Jesus asking another woman, an unnamed female, the following,

Θυγάτηρ, ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε·

What are your observations about this?

Why does Mark not name her (since the men have been named, and since the demons even give up their name to Jesus)?

Why when the man Jairus brings to Jesus his daughter for healing is she not named either?

Why does Jesus address the woman who is physically probably his elder? And why then does he call her Daughter?


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According to Isaiah’s prophecy, one of Jesus’s title is also “Everlasting Father.” So that may be a reason. He’s not the Father, but cares for us as his children too. Or it may be just an expression as some people call others “Son” even if they are not related. Jesus was a master and so even if the woman was older, he could still call her daughter.

My two cents

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