What does Mark 14:66 mean?
ESV: And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came,
NIV: While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by.
NASB: And while Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the slave women of the high priest *came,
CSB: While Peter was in the courtyard below, one of the high priest's maidservants came.
NLT: Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by
KJV: And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest:
NKJV: Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came.
Verse Commentary:
Mark forgoes his habit of alternating stories and fully separates Peter's denial and Jesus' trial, despite the two events occurring simultaneously (Mark 14:54). John sets the stage further. John knows either the high priest, Caiaphas, or the high priest-emeritus, Annas (or both), and so follows the guards into a deeper courtyard. Some archaeologists think Caiaphas' house has been found. It sits on a hill and has several levels. Although the Gospels describe Peter's movements using different words, the complexity of the architecture doesn't allow for a simple description.

Peter follows John, but stays outside the door. When John realizes Peter is not with him, he tells the servant girl at the door to let Peter in. The girl complies, but recognizes Peter as one of Jesus' followers. Peter denies her accusation and joins the servants and guards at the fire (John 18:15–18). Any tension with the other Gospels here is not contradictory; it could be that the girl at the door doesn't accuse Peter until he reaches the fire (Mark 14:67).

Alone, perhaps among some of the very servants who arrested Jesus, Peter is reluctant to identify himself with the man now on trial. On the way to the Mount of Olives, Peter was brash enough to state that even if all the other disciples fell away, he would never betray Jesus (Mark 14:31). In the garden of Gethsemane, he drew his sword to protect Jesus (John 18:10). Now, he has the option of joining John in witnessing what is happening to Jesus, but he can't. He's too afraid.
Verse Context:
Mark 14:66–72 occurs while Jesus is in an upper courtyard in the home of high priest. The Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council, is trying to find something to charge Jesus with, finally settling on blasphemy (Mark 14:53–64). Having found their charge, they are now free to beat Jesus (Mark 14:65). John is apparently watching (John 18:15). Peter is in a lower courtyard, warming himself by a fire, surrounded by servants and guards who grow increasingly suspicious of his presence and his role in the proceedings. Peter's denial is also found in Matthew 26:69–75, Luke 22:54–62, and John 18:15–18, 25–27.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus is anointed in a symbolic anticipation of His death. Judas decides to secretly cooperate with local religious leaders to arrest Jesus in secret. During the Passover meal, Jesus predicts His betrayal by Judas, and Peter's denial. He also institutes the Lord's Supper, also known as communion. After praying on the Mount of Olives, Jesus is captured when Judas identifies Him to a hostile mob sent by Jewish authorities. He endures a corrupt, prejudiced trial, ending in a conviction for blasphemy. Peter, fearing for his life, lies about knowing Jesus, before remembering Jesus' prediction and breaking down in sobs.
Chapter Context:
Jesus has finished His public teaching ministry and now prepares for the crucifixion. His sacrificial loyalty will provide the means by which the disciples' abandonment will be forgiven. Next, the Romans, as representatives of Gentiles throughout history, will join the Jews and kill Jesus. Jesus will be buried, but He will rise again with the promise that His sacrifice will redeem the world. Matthew 26 and Luke 22 follow Mark 14 more closely while John 13:1—18:27 records more of Jesus' teaching in the upper room.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
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