Mark 2:15 (AV)
And it came to pass,
that, as Jesus¹ sat at meat² in his house³,
many publicans⁴ and sinners⁵ sat also together
with Jesus and his disciples⁶:
for there were many, and they followed⁷ him.
¹) Literally ‘He’ (Himself)
²) To have lain down, i.e. to lie prostrate, at a meal
³) Levi’s house
⁴) Collectors of taxes or tolls, one employed by a publican or farmer general in the collection of taxes. The tax collectors were as a class, detested not only by the Jews, but by other nations also, both on account of their employment and of the harshness, greed, and deception, with which they did their job.
⁵) Wicked men, specifically of men stained with certain definite vices or crimes.
⁷) Joined Him, accompanied Him .
From other translations:
Mark.2.15 - And as Jesus, together with His disciples, sat at table in his [Levi 's] house, many tax collectors and persons [definitely stained] with sin were dining with Him, for there were many who walked the same road (followed) with Him. [AMP] And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. [ESV] Later Jesus and his disciples were at home having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers. [MSB] And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. [KJV] While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. [NIV] That night Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners. (There were many people of this kind among the crowds that followed Jesus.) [NLT] Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi's house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. [NKJV]
Now let us see what this verse is telling us.
Sat at meat.
Sat at a meal.
Many publicans and notorious sinners sat with Jesus – Some of them doubtless invited by Matthew, moved with compassion for his old companions in sin.
In his house.
Luke 5:29 shows that it is Levi’s house that is mentioned here. Out of joy at what happened to him (Mark 2:14), he organizes a feast for the Lord Jesus and His disciples and his own colleagues and friends. It was customary for people to recline at the table, on mattresses or couches. Eating together was an expression of friendship and unity among the Jews (cf. Acts 11:3; Galatians 2:11ff.).
Gatherers of the Roman tax.
Those who recline at the table next to Jesus and His disciples are called tax collectors and sinners. By ‘sinners’ are meant people who led outspoken sinful lives and were generally known as such (cf. also John 7:49). Publicans were also considered to be outspoken sinners and thus often referred to in the same breath as sinners or Gentiles, cf. eg Matthew 5:46.47; 11:19; 18:17; 21:31,32.
Subsequently, of all the ‘tax collectors and sinners’ who eat with Jesus, it is repeatedly said not only that there were many, but also that they have started to follow the Lord Jesus (cf. Mark 2:14).
Persons excommunicated from the synagogue.
There were many, and they followed him
The words, For there were many, and they followed him, seem to imply, that the greater part, encouraged by his gracious words and the tenderness of his behaviour, and impatient to hear more, stayed for no invitation, but pressed in after him, and kept as close to him as they could.
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