on Mark 7 :4
And when they come - This clause is added by our translators, to fill up the sense; but it was probably a part of the original: for εαν ελθωσι is the reading of the Codex Bezae, Vulgate, Armenian, and most of the Itala. The clause in my old MS. Bible is read thus: And thei turninge agein fro chepinge. The words seem essentially necessary to a proper understanding of the text; and, if not admitted on the above authority, they must be supplied in italics, as in our common translation.
Except they wash - Or dip; for βαπτισωνται may mean either. But instead of the word in the text, the famous Codex Vaticanus; (B), eight others, and Euthymius, have ῥαντισωνται, sprinkle. However, the Jews sometimes washed their hands previously to their eating: at other times, they simply dipped or plunged them into the water.
Of cups - Ποτηριων; any kind of earthen vessels.
Pots - Of measures - ξεϚων, from the singular ξεϚης, a measure for liquids, formed from the Latin sextarius, equal to a pint and a half English. See this proved by Wetstein on this place. My old MS. renders it cruetis.
Of brazen vessels - Χαλκιων. These, if polluted, were only to be washed, or passed through the fire; whereas the earthen vessels were to be broken.
And of tables - Beds, couches - και κλινων. This is wanting in BL, two others, and the Coptic. It is likely it means no more than the forms, or seats, on which they sat to eat. A bed or a couch was defiled, if any unclean person sat or leaned on it - a man with an issue - a leper - a woman with child, etc. As the word βαπτισμους, baptisms, is applied to all these, and as it is contended that this word, and the verb whence it is derived, signify dipping or immersion alone, its use in the above cases refutes that opinion and shows that it was used, not only to express dipping or immersion, but also sprinkling and washing. The cups and pots were washed; the beds and forms perhaps sprinkled; and the hands dipped up to the wrist.
on Mark 7 :4
Market - This word means either the place where provisions were sold, or the place where men were convened for any purpose. Here it probably means the former.
Except they wash - In the original, "Except they baptize." In this place it does not mean to immerse the whole body, but only the hands. There is no evidence that the Jews washed their "whole bodies" every time they came from market. It is probable that they often washed with the use of a very small quantity of water.
The washing of cups - In the Greek, "the baptism of cups."
Cups - drinking vessels. Those used at their meals.
Pots - Measures of "liquids." Vessels made of wood, used to hold wine, vinegar, etc.
brazen vessels - Vessels made of brass, used in cooking or otherwise. These, if much polluted, were commonly passed through the fire: if slightly polluted they were washed. Earthen vessels, if defiled, were usually broken.
Tables - This word means, in the original, "beds or couches." It refers not to the "tables" on which they ate, but to the "couches" on which they reclined at their meals. See the notes at Matthew 23:6. These were supposed to be defiled when any unclean or polluted person had reclined on them, and they deemed it necessary to purify them with water. The word "baptism" is here used - in the original, "the baptism of tables;" but, since it cannot be supposed that "couches" were entirely "immersed" in water, the word "baptism" here must denote some other application of water, by sprinkling or otherwise, and shows that the term is used in the sense of washing in any way. If the word is used here, as is clear it is, to denote anything except entire immersion, it may be elsewhere, and baptism is lawfully performed, therefore, without immersing the whole body in water.
on Mark 7 :4
7:4 Washing of cups and pots and brazen vessels and couches - The Greek word (baptisms) means indifferently either washing or sprinkling. The cups, pots, and vessels were washed; the couches sprinkled.