And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. (Mark 8:22-24)
- καὶ ἀναβλέψας ἔλεγεν· Βλέπω τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ὅτι ὡς δένδρα ὁρῶ περιπατοῦντας.
- Und er sah auf und sprach: Ich sehe Menschen gehen, als sähe ich Bäume. (Luther)
- et aspiciens ait video homines velut arbores ambulantes. (Jerome)
- And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” (New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)
- He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” (New International Version)
Clearly his vision is not so good yet, but how far off is it? Is it just that he sees men who look like trees, or is it that the men look like walking trees? What is the ὅτι in ὅτι ὡς? What’s the difference between βλέπω and ὁρῶ? No translation gives both “I see” instances, except Luther, who slips in a subjunctive, which is not in the original.
How does a man just cured of blindness -- and not even completely yet -- know what trees look like? How does he know how to differentiate men and trees?
Why does Jesus need to ask whether he sees correctly? Why does Jesus ask? Does he suspect the healing was not complete? (omniscience?)
Why doesn’t Jesus completely fix his vision on the first try? (omnipotence?)
Why does he lead the man out of the village? Image of trust — the sighted leading the blind? Were there other people around? Probably. Were there trees around?
Why did he tell the man to go straight home and not through the village? Was there something wrong with Bethsaida?
How did the man find his way home? Did he know where he was?