RE: kratew / Mark 3,21

From: Stevens, Charles C (
Date: Mon Jan 03 2000 - 19:03:10 EST

On 3 January 2000, Carsten Schmelzer asked about KTRATEW as used in Mark
3:21 (KRATHSAI in context): :

<<I am pondering about Mark 3,21. Especially the word "kratew" (krathsai) it

is normally translated in a way that indicates, that Jesus? relatives tried
to violantely take him back home. (Some german translations are very
explicit in this point).>>

Could you cite the verse in a German translation that makes this explicit?

I see two basic "domains" for KRATEW: "lay hold of" and "exercize power
over". In this particular context the original New American Bible
translation has "take charge of", and that seems reasonable to me. Based
on the Greek texts that I have, I would personally be suspicious of a
*translation* that ascribed a particular motivation to "his friends" (KJV)
much beyond that.

<<Is it also possible to translate, that they tried to hold him back from

I'd be really surprised if it were possible to *translate* it that way. It
may or may not be reasonable to *interpret* it that way. But all I can
state with confidence that I can see as explicit in this passage is that
they were attempting to restrain a member of their family that they felt was
behaving irrationally.

<<According to the STRONG?s Concordance this is a possible translation of
kratew, but I didn?t find any translation that translates this way.>>

Could you clarify how the Strong's entry supports something like, or some
portion of, "violently taking him back home with the intent [given full
understanding of that into which his ministry would ultimately evolve] of
holding him back from his ministry"? If not that full expansion of your
questions, which parts of it?

<<In this context it seems to make more sense for his relatives could not
hold on Jesus, for they could not enter the house.>>

I'm not sure what you're asserting here, what the "it" is in "In this
context it seems ...".

Looks to me like the family/friends (not the disciples) found out that the
whole event was about to happen, and started for the house (v. 21). But the
crowd was apparently large and dense (v.20), and in any case the Scribes got
there (v.22) first. By the time the family got there (v.31) two things had
happened: (a) the bulk of the events they came there to prevent --
interaction with authorities -- had already occurred; and (b) there were so
many people there the family couldn't get in to prevent it even if they had
showed up in time!

My take on what's supported by the text thus boils down to: The reason the
family sought to restrain him was that they thought he was acting like a
crazy person (most likely not wanting him to get into trouble, but that's an
assumption). They got there too late (at least, too late to prevent him
from acting like a crazy person in front of the scribes), and in any case
the "press" of the crowd was so great they couldn't get into the house.

The most we can do towards deducing the family's motives given this very
sketchy description is speculate. I don't believe the text supports
"violently", "take him home" or "to hold him back from his ministry".

        -Chuck Stevens

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:53 EDT