The Meaning of Mark 6:21 Explained

Mark 6:21

KJV: And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;

YLT: And a seasonable day having come, when Herod on his birthday was making a supper to his great men, and to the chiefs of thousands, and to the first men of Galilee,

Darby: And a holiday being come, when Herod, on his birthday, made a supper to his grandees, and to the chiliarchs, and the chief men of Galilee;

ASV: And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, and the high captains, and the chief men of Galilee;

What does Mark 6:21 Mean?

Context Summary

Mark 6:21-29 - Martyrdom Of A Witness-Bearer
Better the dungeon with John than the palace with Herod, for conscience filled the palace with the ghost of the murdered Baptist! A woman brought Herod to that. How careful women should be of the influence they exert over men; how careful men should be of yielding to any but the noblest influence! This family was eaten with lust, usually coupled with cruelty. No vice ever dwells alone. John the Baptist had a brief and tortuous career; for a few months the central figure of the nation, and then hurled down into the darkness of the dungeon, like some extinguished torch. No wonder that his specter haunted the heart of Herod, who thought that in Jesus he had become reincarnate. The messenger may fall, but the message is taken up and passed on by a thousand lips. Notice the contrast between John's end and that of our Lord. In John's case the disciples who had hearkened to his every word dispersed. The head had fallen, and the members were scattered. None thought of proclaiming their departed leader as still the living head and center of the movement he had set on foot. But when our Lord died, His true influence over men began. Up to that time he had been the Jewish rabbi; thenceforward he became the Redeemer of the world. [source]

Chapter Summary: Mark 6

1  Jesus is a prophet without honor in his own country
7  He gives the twelve power over unclean spirits
14  Various opinions of Jesus
16  John the Baptist is imprisoned, beheaded, and buried
30  The apostles return from preaching
34  The miracle of five loaves and two fishes
45  Jesus walks on the sea;
53  and heals all who touch him

Greek Commentary for Mark 6:21

When a convenient day was come [γενομενης ημερας ευκαιρου]
Genitive absolute. A day well appointed ευ — eu well, καιρος — kairos time) for the purpose, the day for which she had long waited. She had her plans all laid to spring a trap for her husband Herod Antipas and to make him do her will with the Baptist. Herod was not to know that he was the mere catspaw of Herodias till it was all over. See note on Matthew 14:6 for discussion of Herod‘s birthday (genesiois locative case or associative instrumental of time). [source]
Made a supper [deipnon epoiēsen)]
Banquet.To his lords (γενεσιοις — tois megistāsin autou). From δειπνον εποιησεν — megistan (that from τοις μεγιστασιν αυτου — megas great), common in the lxx and later Greek. Cf. Revelation 6:15; Revelation 18:23. In the papyri. The grandees, magnates, nobles, the chief men of civil life.The high captains Military tribunes, commanders of a thousand men.The chief men of Galilee (μεγας — tois prōtois tēs Galilaias). The first men of social importance and prominence. A notable gathering that included these three groups at the banquet on Herod‘s birthday. [source]
To his lords [γενεσιοις]
From δειπνον εποιησεν — megistan (that from τοις μεγιστασιν αυτου — megas great), common in the lxx and later Greek. Cf. Revelation 6:15; Revelation 18:23. In the papyri. The grandees, magnates, nobles, the chief men of civil life. [source]
The high captains [μεγισταν]
Military tribunes, commanders of a thousand men.The chief men of Galilee (μεγας — tois prōtois tēs Galilaias). The first men of social importance and prominence. A notable gathering that included these three groups at the banquet on Herod‘s birthday. [source]
The chief men of Galilee [μεγας]
The first men of social importance and prominence. A notable gathering that included these three groups at the banquet on Herod‘s birthday. [source]
Convenient [εὐκαίρον]
Mark only. Convenient for Herodias' purpose. “Opportune for the insidious woman, who hoped, through wine, lust, and the concurrence of sycophants, to be able easily to overcome the wavering mind of her husband” (Grotius in Meyer). [source]
Birthday []
See on Matthew 14:6. The notice of the banquet and of the rank of the guests is peculiar to Mark. [source]
Lords [μεγιστᾶσιν]
Only here, and Revelation 6:15; Revelation 18:23. A late word, from μέγας , great. [source]
High captains [χιλιάρχοις]
Lit., commanders of a thousand men. Answering to a Roman military tribune. Both civil and military dignitaries were present, with other distinguished men of the district (chief men )i1. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Mark 6:21

Matthew 14:6 When Herod‘s birthday came [γενεσιοις γενομενοις του ηρωιδου]
Locative of time (cf. Mark 6:21) without the genitive absolute. The earlier Greeks used the word γενεσια — genesia for funeral commemorations (birthdays of the dead), γενετλια — genethlia being the word for birthday celebrations of living persons. But that distinction has disappeared in the papyri. The word γενεσια — genesia in the papyri (Fayum Towns, 114-20, 115-8, 119-30) is always a birthday feast as here in Matthew and Mark. Philo used both words of birthday feasts. Persius, a Roman satirist (Sat. V. 180-183), describes a banquet on Herod‘s Day. [source]
John 18:12 The captain [χιλίαρχος]
See on Mark 6:21, and see on centurion, Luke 7:2. [source]
Acts 21:31 Chief captain [χιλιάρχῳ]
A commander of a thousand men. See on Mark 6:21; and on centurion, Luke 7:2. [source]
2 Timothy 4:2 In season [εὐκαίρως]
Only here and Mark 14:11. lxx once, Mark href="/desk/?q=mr+6:31&sr=1">Mark 6:31; 1 Corinthians 16:12: εὐκαιρία opportunity Matthew 26:16: εὔκαιρος seasonableconvenient, Mark 6:21; Hebrews 4:16. [source]
Revelation 6:15 Chief captains [χιλίαρχοι]
See on Mark 6:21, and see on centurion, Luke 7:2. [source]
Revelation 6:15 Great men [μεγιστᾶνες]
Rev., princes. See on high captains, Mark 6:21. [source]
Revelation 19:18 Captains [χιλιάρχων]
See on Mark 6:21; see on Luke 7:2. [source]
Revelation 18:23 Shall shine no more at all [ου μη πανηι]
Fifth instance in these verses of ου μη — ou mē with the aorist subjunctive, here the active of παινω — phainō as in Revelation 8:12. It is not known whether Rome had street lights or not.The voice of the bridegroom and of the bride (πωνη νυμπιου και νυμπης — phōnē numphiou kai numphēs). See John 3:29; Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9. “Even the occasional flash of the torches carried by bridal processions (Matthew 25:1.) is seen no more” (Swete). The sixth instance of ου μη — ou mē in Revelation 18:21-23, occurs with ακουστηι — akousthēi (third instance of ακουστηι — akousthēi two in Revelation 18:22).Were the princes of the earth For μεγισταν — megistān see Revelation 6:15; Mark 6:21. “Thy merchants were the grandees” once, but now these merchant princes are gone.With thy sorcery (εν τηι παρμακιαι σου — en tēi pharmakiāi sou). Εν — En (instrumental use) and the locative case of παρμακια — pharmakia old word (from παρμακευω — pharmakeuō to prepare drugs, from παρμακον — pharmakon sorcery, Revelation 9:21), in N.T. only here and Galatians 5:20 for sorcery and magical arts. If one is puzzled over the connection between medicine and sorcery as illustrated by this word (our pharmacy), he has only to recall quackery today in medicine (patent medicines and cure-alls), witch-doctors, professional faith-healers, medicine-men in Africa. True medical science has had a hard fight to shake off chicanery and charlatanry.Were deceived First aorist passive indicative of πλαναω — planaō These charlatans always find plenty of victims. See Mark 12:24. [source]
Revelation 18:23 Were the princes of the earth [ησαν οι μεγιστανες της γης]
For μεγισταν — megistān see Revelation 6:15; Mark 6:21. “Thy merchants were the grandees” once, but now these merchant princes are gone.With thy sorcery (εν τηι παρμακιαι σου — en tēi pharmakiāi sou). Εν — En (instrumental use) and the locative case of παρμακια — pharmakia old word (from παρμακευω — pharmakeuō to prepare drugs, from παρμακον — pharmakon sorcery, Revelation 9:21), in N.T. only here and Galatians 5:20 for sorcery and magical arts. If one is puzzled over the connection between medicine and sorcery as illustrated by this word (our pharmacy), he has only to recall quackery today in medicine (patent medicines and cure-alls), witch-doctors, professional faith-healers, medicine-men in Africa. True medical science has had a hard fight to shake off chicanery and charlatanry.Were deceived First aorist passive indicative of πλαναω — planaō These charlatans always find plenty of victims. See Mark 12:24. [source]
Revelation 6:15 The princes [οι μεγιστανες]
Late word from the superlative μεγιστος — megistos in lxx, Josephus, papyri, in N.T. only in Mark 6:21; Revelation 6:15; Revelation 18:23, for the grandees, the persecuting proconsuls (Swete). [source]
Revelation 6:15 The chief captains [οι χιλιαρχοι]
The commanders of thousands, the military tribunes (Mark 6:21; Revelation 19:18).The rich (οι πλουσιοι — hoi plousioi). Not merely those in civil and military authority will be terror-stricken, but the self-satisfied and complacent rich (James 5:4.).The strong Who usually scoff at fear. See the list in Revelation 13:16; Revelation 19:18. Cf. Luke 21:26.Every bondman (πας δουλος — pās doulos) and freeman (και ελευτερος — kai eleutheros). The two extremes of society.Hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains Based on Isaiah 2:10, Isaiah 2:18. First aorist active indicative of κρυπτω — kruptō with the reflexive pronoun. For the old word σπηλαιον — spēlaion see Matthew 21:13; Hebrews 11:38. Ορεων — Oreōn is the uncontracted Ionic form (for ορων — orōn) of the genitive plural of ορος — oros (mountain). [source]

What do the individual words in Mark 6:21 mean?

And having come [a] day opportune when Herod on the birthday of him a banquet made to the great men chief captains leading [men] - of Galilee
Καὶ γενομένης ἡμέρας εὐκαίρου ὅτε Ἡρῴδης τοῖς γενεσίοις αὐτοῦ δεῖπνον ἐποίησεν τοῖς μεγιστᾶσιν χιλιάρχοις πρώτοις τῆς Γαλιλαίας

γενομένης  having  come 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Middle, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: γίνομαι  
Sense: to become, i.
ἡμέρας  [a]  day 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: ἡμέρα  
Sense: the day, used of the natural day, or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with the night.
εὐκαίρου  opportune 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: εὔκαιρος  
Sense: seasonable, timely, opportune.
Ἡρῴδης  Herod 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: Ἡρῴδης  
Sense: the name of a royal family that flourished among the Jews in the times of Christ and the Apostles.
τοῖς  on  the 
Parse: Article, Dative Neuter Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
γενεσίοις  birthday 
Parse: Noun, Dative Neuter Plural
Root: γενέθλια 
Sense: a birthday celebration, a birthday feast.
αὐτοῦ  of  him 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
δεῖπνον  a  banquet 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: δεῖπνον 
Sense: supper, especially a formal meal usually held at the evening,.
ἐποίησεν  made 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ποιέω  
Sense: to make.
τοῖς  to  the 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
μεγιστᾶσιν  great  men 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: μεγιστάν  
Sense: the grandees, magnates, nobles, chief men.
χιλιάρχοις  chief  captains 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: χιλίαρχος  
Sense: a chiliarch, the commander of a thousand soldiers.
πρώτοις  leading  [men] 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: πρῶτος  
Sense: first in time or place.
τῆς  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Γαλιλαίας  of  Galilee 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: Γαλιλαία  
Sense: the name of a region of northern Palestine, bounded on the north by Syria, on the west by Sidon, Tyre, Ptolemais and their territories and the promontory of Carmel, on the south by Samaria and on the east by the Jordan.