Mark - 14:51

51 A certain young man followed him, having a linen cloth thrown around himself, over his naked body. The young men grabbed him,

Verse In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of Mark 14:51.

Differing Translations

Compare verses for better understanding.
And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:
And a certain young man followed with him, having a linen cloth cast about him, over his naked body : and they lay hold on him;
And a certain young man followed him with a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men seize him;
And a certain young man followed with him, having a linen cloth cast about him, over his naked body: and they lay hold on him;
and a certain young man was following him, having put a linen cloth about his naked body, and the young men lay hold on him,
One youth indeed did follow Him, wearing only a linen cloth round his bare body. Of him they laid hold,
And a certain young man went after him, with only a linen cloth about his body; and they put their hands on him;
Now a certain young man followed him, having nothing but a fine linen cloth over himself. And they took hold of him.
One young man did indeed follow him, wrapped only in a linen sheet. They tried to arrest him;

*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

And a young man. How some persons have come to dream that this was John I know not, nor is it of much importance to inquire. The chief point is, to ascertain for what purpose Mark has related this transaction. I think that his object was, to inform us that those wicked men -- as usually happens in riotous assemblies stormed and raved without shame or modesty; which appeared from their seizing a young man who was unknown to them, and not suspected of any crime, so that he had difficulty in escaping out of their hands naked. For it is probable that the young man, who is mentioned, had some attachment to Christ, and, on hearing the tumult by night, without stopping to put on his clothes, and covered only with a linen garment, came either to discover their traps, or, at least, that he might not be wanting in a duty of friendship. We certainly perceive -- as I just now said -- that those wicked men raged with cruel violence, when they did not even spare a poor young man, who had left his bed, almost naked, and run, on hearing the noise.

A certain young man - Who this was we have no means of determining, but it seems not improbable that he may have been the owner of the garden, and that he may have had an understanding with Jesus that he should visit it for retirement when he withdrew from the city. That he was not one of the apostles is clear. It is probable that be was roused from sleep by the noise made by the rabble, and came to render any aid in his power in quelling the disturbance. It is not known why this circumstance is recorded by Mark. It is omitted by all the other evangelists. It may have been recorded to show that the conspirators had instructions to take the "apostles" as well as Jesus, and supposing him to be one of them, they laid hold of him to take him before the high priest; or it "may" have been recorded in order to place his conduct in strong and honorable contrast with the timidity and fear of the disciples, who had all fled. Compare the notes at Matthew 26:56.
A linen cloth cast about his naked body - He was roused from sleep, and probably threw around him, in his haste, what was most convenient. It was common to sleep in linen bed-clothes, and he seized a part of the clothes and hastily threw it round him.
The young men - The Roman soldiers. They were called "young men" because they were made up chiefly of youth. This was a Jewish mode of speaking. See Genesis 14:24; 2-Samuel 2:14; Isaiah 13:18.
Laid hold on him - Supposing him to be one of the apostles.

A certain young man - Probably raised from his sleep by the noise which the rabble made who came to apprehend Jesus, having wrapped the sheet or some of the bed-clothing about him, became thereby the more conspicuous: on his appearing, he was seized; but as they had no way of holding him, but only by the cloth which was wrapped round him, he disengaged himself from that, and so escaped out of their hands. This circumstance is not related by any other of the evangelists.

(13) And there followed him a certain young man, having a (m) linen cloth cast about [his] naked [body]; and the young men laid hold on him:
(13) Under a pretence of godliness, all things are lawful to those who do violence against Christ.
(m) Which he cast about him, and ran forth after he heard the commotion in the night: by this we may understand with how great licentiousness these villains violently set upon him.

And there followed him a certain young man,.... Some think this was John, the beloved disciple, and the youngest of the disciples; others, that it was James, the brother of our Lord; but he does not seem to be any of the disciples of Christ, since he is manifestly distinguished from them, who all forsook him and fled: some have thought, that he was a young man of the house, where Christ and his disciples ate their passover; who had followed him to the garden, and still followed him, to see what would be the issue of things: but it seems most likely, that he was one that lived in an house in Gethsemane, or in or near the garden; who being awaked out of sleep with the noise of a band of soldiers, and others with them, leaped out of bed, and ran out in his shirt, and followed after them, to know what was the matter:
having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; which was either his shirt in which he lay, or one of the sheets, which he took and wrapped himself in, not staying to put on his clothes: though the word "Sindon", is used both by the Targumists (d) and Talmudists (e) for a linen garment; and sometimes even for the outer garment, to which the fringes were fastened (f); and he might take up this in haste, and slip it on, without putting on any inner garment: the word "body", is not in the text, and the phrase , may be rendered, "upon his nakedness"; and answers to in Genesis 9:23 and Leviticus 20:11, and the meaning be, he had only a piece of linen wrapped about his middle, to cover his nakedness; and in this garb ran out, to see what was doing:
and the young men laid hold on him. The Roman soldiers, who were commonly so called: so David's soldiers are called "young men", that were with him, 1-Samuel 21:4; these attempted to lay hold on this young man, taking him to be a disciple of Christ, or one at least affected to him, and did take hold of his linen cloth. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions, leave out the words, "the young men". The design of Mark in relating this incident, is to show the rage and fury of these men; who were for sparing none that appeared to be or were thought to be the followers of Christ; so that the preservation of the disciples was entirely owing to the wonderful power of Christ.
(d) Targum in Psal civ. 2. & Lamentations ii. 20. (e) T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 41. 1. (f) Ib. fol 40. 1.

A young man - It does not appear, that he was one of Christ's disciples. Probably hearing an unusual noise, he started up out of his bed, not far from the garden, and ran out with only the sheet about him, to see what was the matter. And the young men laid hold on him - Who was only suspected to be Christ's disciple: but could not touch them who really were so.

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