Mark3-20–30 'Beelzebub' is a Hebrew word which means 'Lord of the flies.' The Greek equivalent is 'Beelzeboul' which means 'dung god' or 'god of the dung heaps'. Flies frequent dung heaps, which may be the connection


Mark 3:20 --- [In Context|- [In Context|

And He *came home, and the crowd *gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal.


20 And He *came home, F43 R100 and the crowd R101 *gathered again, to R102 such an extent that they could not even eat a F44 meal. 21 When His R103 own people F45 heard {of} {this,} they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses."

Mark 3:22-30 - [Verse 22 in Original Greek]

22 The scribes who came down from R104 Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," F46 R105 and "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons." 23 And R106 He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, R107 "How R108 can Satan R109 cast out Satan? 24 "If R110 a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 "If R111 a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 "If R112 Satan R113 has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he F47 is finished! 27 "But R114 no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house. 28 "Truly R115 I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but R116 whoever R117 blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"-- 30 because they were saying, "He has an unclean spirit."




Blasphemy against the Spirit

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, 'He is out of his mind.' (Mark 3:20–21)

You may remember, from two studies ago, that one of the things Mark's gospel teaches us is how popular Jesus was with the Jewish people. This passage further illustrates that fact.

Such a large crowd gathered at the house where Jesus was that neither he, nor his disciples, were able to eat. In modern day terms we would say he was being mobbed by the crowds in the same way that celebrities are mobbed by the crowds when they make public appearances.

You will note that the Bible doesn't say: 'When his family saw this…', but 'When his family heard about this…' People were flocking to see Jesus and then going away and telling others about what he was doing. Mark 1:28 tells us that news about him spread quickly 'over the whole region of Galilee' (and quickly reached the ears of his family as well, it seems).

When his family heard about this they decided to go and take charge of him because they thought he had taken leave of his senses. What they actually said was: 'He is out of his mind,' which is not something we should say about God. But that was nothing compared to what the teachers of the law said about him.


And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, 'He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.' (Mark 3:22)

That was a terrible thing to say about Jesus. 'Beelzebub' is a Hebrew word which means 'Lord of the flies.' The Greek equivalent is 'Beelzeboul' which means 'dung god' or 'god of the dung heaps'. Flies frequent dung heaps, which may be the connection.

'Lord of the flies; god of the dung heaps': it was a vile insult to God. Beelzebub was also one of the names the Jews gave to Satan.

A strong man

So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: 'How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.' (Mark 3:23–27)

Jesus said that Satan will never drive demons out of people. Demons are under Satan's authority and indwell people in order to control areas of their lives. If Satan drove them out, he would be opposing himself and his kingdom would fall.

Satan will not give ground easily. Jesus referred to him as a 'strong' man, which is what he is. Satan is a spirit being and is very powerful, but there is one who is more powerful than he! Only someone who is more powerful than Satan can tie him up and bind him, and that 'someone' is the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said in Matthew 12:28:

'But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.'

Every demon that Jesus drove out in his ministry was driven out by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus told the teachers of the law that they had blasphemed the Spirit of God. They had called the Holy Spirit 'the god of dung heaps; the Lord of the flies', and that was an insult to the Holy Spirit—it was blasphemy. (Blasphemy is acting irreverently towards, or speaking irreverently about, something that is sacred.)

An eternal sin

'I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.'

He said this because they were saying, 'He has an evil spirit.' (Mark 3:28–30)

Jesus said that all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. I find that an amazing statement. You hear people misusing the name of Jesus and God almost daily; it is a common figure of speech for some people. Jesus said that all such blasphemies will be forgiven them (if they confess them before God) but whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this age, or in the age to come (Matthew 12:32). If you are looking for passages in the Bible that emphasize the deity of the Holy Spirit, then this is one of them.

Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and dropped down dead on the spot (Acts 5:1–11), and that was not long after the Holy Spirit had come in power at Pentecost. The Bible says that great fear seized the whole Church and all who heard about it. Let us never forget that the Holy Spirit is the HOLY Spirit. He is holy!

God's grace

Strangely enough, you don't hear people using the Holy Spirit's name (or title) irreverently. Unbelievers never seem to mention the Holy Spirit. I think that's because God is very gracious. If they did blaspheme the Holy Spirit they could never be saved, because that sin is even beyond the blood of Christ—it can never be atoned for.

There are Christians who fear that before they were saved they may have blasphemed the Holy Spirit without realizing it and are guilty of that sin. Such fears can torment them and cause them great anguish. My own personal view is that such a thing is highly unlikely.

If God has brought you to himself; if he has revealed his Son to you; if he has given you the faith to believe on him as your own personal Saviour and Lord, then your sins are forgiven—all of them (1 John 1:7).

God would not bring us into a relationship with himself if we had sins that were unforgivable, because it's sin that separates us from God. It's impossible for sinful man to have communion with a holy God.

The Bible says that as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12). That is how we are able to come into his presence. So, if you enjoy peace and communion with the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven—completely—and you are saved.

Hardened hearts

Why did the teachers of the law accuse Jesus of driving out demons by Beelzebub? The answer is that, if they accepted that Jesus drove out demons by the Spirit of God, then they would have to admit that Jesus had been sent by God and was, therefore, who he claimed to be. That was something they were not prepared to do. Their hearts were so hardened against the Lord that this was the only other explanation they could think of, not realizing that such an accusation would hold such dire consequences for them. From


Commentary on 3:22
DSN -> Synopsis on 3:22
GEB -> Study Notes on 3:22
GSB -> Study Notes on 3:22
JFB -> Commentary on 3:22
MHC-COM -> Commentary on 3:22
MHC-CON -> Commentary on 3:22
PNT -> Commentary on 3:22
RWP -> Study Notes on 3:22
TFG -> Commentary on 3:22
TSK -> Commentary on 3:22 TSK -> Entry for 3:22
WEN -> Notes on 3:22
NTB -> Accusation, False; Beelzebub; Demons; Infidelity; Jesus, The Christ; Jesus, The Christ (continued); Persecution; Satan; Scoffing
TTT -> Scribes
EBD -> Beelzebub; Mark, Gospel according to
SBD -> Be-elzebul


Burton Coffman
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 · Robertson's Word Pictures
 · The Fourfold Gospel
 · Treasury of Scripture
 · Wesley's Explanatory Notes





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