For an assignment this week, I had to pull a Spiritual Insight from the passage I was assigned to translate. This is what is on my mind.
In Mark 5:21-24; 35-43, Jesus raises the daughter of Jarius from death. Consider, she is one of three people Jesus raised during his earthly ministry. I have a daughter who is twelve, like this girl was, and so her story jumped out of the page at me. Mark used five different words for this pre-teen young woman.
“My little daughter is at her end.”
- θυγατριον – thugatrion: diminutive of daughter; term of endearment; little daughter (BDAG 365) This is the term the father used toward his daughter when he begged for Jesus’ help.
“Your daughter died.”
- θυγατηρ – thugater: in this case, literally daughter (BDAG 365) This is what those from Jarius’s house called her.
“The child did not die, but sleeps.”
- παιδιον – paidion: generic for child, used of both genders (BDAG 609) This is what Jesus called her before waking her up.
“Little girl, get up!”
- ταλιθα – talitha: Aramaic for little girl (BDAG 811) This is how Jesus addressed the girl when he told her to get up. Perhaps Jesus chose this because this was the language she would understand.
“ταλιθα means darling baby girl.”
- κορασιον – korasion: diminutive of κορη, which is literally girl, but can be pupil (eye) or “apple” as in apple of the eye (BDAG 445) This is from a Hebrew idiom found a few times in the Hebrew Bible. It comes from the image of the tiny person you can see reflected in the eye of a person you are standing near to. This term eventually evolves into our English term for schoolchild -pupil-from the Latin pupa. This is how Mark translates ταλιθα for his readers, and what he calls the girl after she came back to life.
Five different terms for the 12-year-old girl who received a second life at the touch of Jesus’ hand. To Jarius, she was his little girl. To the servants, she was the daughter of the master. Until Jesus met her personally, she was a generic child. But, when they met, he understood enough of her to know how to call her so that she could understand. He used her heart language to call her to life. After she was cured, she becomes the “baby darling girl.”
At once, they marveled with great amazement. But, he ordered them that no one should know this…
Jesus orders everyone who saw the miracle to silence. Why? Not for a show of humility, but to spare the child’s life. Consider the threat to Lazarus after Jesus raised him. He had a warrant on his head (John 12:10-11). We can hope the family understood and kept her story quiet to spare her life as witness to the threat that Jesus’ immense power posed to the authorities. Theologians love to dissect the ministry of Jesus into a planned and purposeful strategy with every moment loaded with eternal meaning. In this story, I don’t see premeditation, but pathos. Jesus cares for little girls.
…and he said to give her (something) to eat.