Little Children

Mark 10:13 AV
And they¹ brought² young children to him,
that he should touch³ them:
and ‭[his‭] disciples rebuked
those that brought ‭[them‭].‭

¹) Possibly the parents or those who took care of them.
²) The used word can be translated with to bring to, or to lead to‭, but can also have the meaning of to be borne towards one, which would fit to very small children.
³) The Greek word used here means more than just touching. It also has a meaning of ‘fasten one’s self to’, ‘adhere to’, ‘cling to‭’.

Other translations

And they kept bringing young children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples were reproving them [for it]. [AMP]

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. [ESV]

The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. [MSB]

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. [KJV]

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. [NIV]

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother him. [NLT]

Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. [NKJV]

Some further information

And they brought young children to Him
The parents, or friends, or nurses of the children in those parts, having heard of the fame of Jesus; and having entertained an high opinion of him, as a great prophet, and a holy, good man, brought their children in their arms, or hands, to Him.

It does not appear that they were new born babes; the words used by either of the evangelists do not always signify such. It is also not probable that infants just born, or within a month, should be brought abroad.

Sometimes these words are used
▪︎ of young ones that are capable of going alone,
▪︎ of young ones that are capable of receiving instructions,
▪︎ of young ones that are capable of understanding the Scriptures,
▪︎ and even of one of twelve years of age, ( Matthew 18:2;  Mark 5:39, 5:42;  2 Timothy 3:15 )

Moreover, these were of an age that when the Christ called them, ( Luke 18:16 ) they were capable to come to him of themselves, as his words following suppose; nor does their being brought to him, or his taking them in his arms, contradict this; since the same things are said of such as could walk of themselves, ( Matthew 12:22, 17:16;  Mark 9:36 ).

It is not known
▪︎ whose children they were,
▪︎ whether their parents were believers or unbelievers,
▪︎ nor by whom they were brought:
but the end for which they were brought is expressed.

Young children
The Greek word παιδίον‭ (paidion) ‭used here is in the Amplified Version translated as child (25 times), little child (12 times), young child (10 times), and damsel (4 times). It points to a young child, a little boy, a little girl‭; infants‭. (Cf. Matthew 5:16)

That he should touch them
As he did when he healed diseased persons. We are not told if there were sick ones among them, so all what is said about that is purely speculation.

In Matthew 19:13 it reads “That He should put His hands on them, and pray”;
Note that it was not that he should baptize them, nor did he; which may be concluded from the entire silence of all the evangelists; and from an express declaration that Christ baptized none; and from the mention of other ends for which they were brought, as that Christ should “touch” them, ( Mark 10:13; Luke 18:15 ) as he sometimes used to do persons, when he healed them of diseases.

They brought them, so He might put His hands on them, and pray over them, and bless them, as was usual with the Jews to do; (see Genesis 48:14-16 ) and it was common with them to bring their children to venerable persons, men of note for religion and piety, to have their blessing and prayers (Massechet Sopherim, c. 18. sect. 5).

And the disciples rebuked them
The “them” in this sentence are not the children, as the Persic version reads, but those that brought them.

Mark observes;
▪︎ either because they came in a rude and disorderly manner, and were very noisy and clamorous;
▪︎ or they might think it would be too troublesome to Christ, to go through such a ceremony with so many of them;
▪︎ or that it was too mean for Him, and below Him to take notice of them;
▪︎ or for fear He should take fresh occasion, on the sight of these children, to rebuke them again for their pride and ambition.

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It was not uncommon for Jewish parents to bring their children to rabbis to receive a blessing from him.
To touch (ἅπτομαι – haptomai), here stands for laying on of hands ”(Mark 10:16; Matthew 19:13,15) which was accompanied by the pronouncing of the blessing (cf. Genesis 48:14ff.).

The blessing is meant to proclaim God’s protection over their young, vulnerable life (we cannot infer from this passage that they are sick children, but because nothing is mentioned about it, it also cannot be ruled out that there were sick among them. Any statement in this area is based on pure speculation).

Who it was who brought the children to Jesus (fathers, mothers, elder brothers or sisters) is also left open.

The fact that the children may also be carried (προσφέρω – pros-epheron) could indicate very young children (cf. ‘infants’ in Luke 18:15).

When people try to bring their children to Jesus, the disciples fall into the same mistake as in Mark 9:38 (preventing the devil-charmer who used Jesus’ name). They act – though with the best of intentions – of their own accord, thus hindering others from coming to Jesus (cf. 2 Kings 4:27).

They may have feared that the children would disturb the Master in His teaching, and will only get in His way (cf. Mark 3:9). However, the disciples thereby demonstrate an attitude that many Jews in those days had towards children: “children do not count and association with children is a waste of time.”

Now let us reflect on this

There are people around Jesus who cannot resist bringing their children to Him, especially with the intention that He would lay hands on them in blessing.

The disciples have their own thoughts about it, and have difficulty with it. That’s why they want to prevent that. They probably think the Master has better things to do than to get involved with children.

In this way, adults can sometimes get in the way of the children.
Unfortunately, the church services are often an example of this …
Jesus strongly disagrees with the actions of His disciples.

Keep children away?
No! Let them come to Him !

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