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Mark 5:27

ESV She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.
NIV When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,
NASB after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak.
CSB Having heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothing.
NLT She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe.
KJV When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
NKJV When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.

What does Mark 5:27 mean?

The woman who approaches Jesus has been suffering twelve years from a severe hemorrhage (Mark 5:25–26). "Garment" or "cloak" is from the Greek root word himation and means an outer garment. Some have suggested the woman attempted to touch the tassels on the corners of Jesus' cloak, which God commanded the Israelites to wear as reminders of their responsibility to obey His law (Numbers 15:37–40), but the text doesn't specify here, although Matthew 9:20 and Luke 8:44 describe her touching the "fringe" of Jesus' garment.

This happens in the midst of a pushy, rowdy crowd of people (Mark 5:21). The woman means for her surreptitious act to go unnoticed. Unlike the bold leper (Mark 1:40–45), the paralytic's friends (Mark 2:1–12), and even Jairus the synagogue leader (Mark 5:22–23), the woman intends to remain unknown. Her condition makes everything and everyone she touches unclean (Leviticus 15:19–24), and a chronic condition would leave her forever outcast. Josephus writes that menstruating women are not allowed in the Temple. In that way, her condition leaves her much like a leper: socially and religiously removed. Although she understands Jesus' power, and even perhaps His willingness to heal, she does not understand His heart toward her. By sneaking in, she is avoiding humiliation. She does not want to besmirch the reputation of a rabbi, nor be known as the woman with the gall to do so. She is soon to learn that Jesus values her far more than ceremonial constraints.

Mark, uncharacteristically, goes into quite a bit of detail so that we feel empathy for the desperate woman (Mark 5:25–26). Modern eyes see a woman with an unfortunate medical problem that doctors today have some success in treating. Mark's intent, however, is to encourage understanding for a disgraced, destitute woman in need of Jesus' healing and our loving attention. We meet many similar people today, and we are reminded to see them as Jesus does.
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