Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and almost dumb, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.
you who have ears
speak what you hear
you who hear not
mimic what you see
words and actions
intimate creation’s resilience
for one another
each myself writ larger
The word κωφός (kōphos, blunted, dulled), describes a blocked process of not getting sound waves through to comprehension. We know this also happens if we are intentionally or ideologically opposed to an alternative view or simply from distraction.
Mark, the artist, understands ways in which everything is connected to everything. Having just exemplified healing beyond faith and inclusion of a sassy mother in a patriarchal culture, he “anticipated that this radical message would fall on deaf ears.” Myers83 continues, “So it is no accident that his ‘telling’ (7:14ff) and ‘showing’ (7:24ff) the principle of inclusion is followed by the healing of a Gentile man unable to speak or hear!” [Let it be noted that, beyond a physical deafness, the same resistance to hearing can be applied to Jesus’ disciples, in particular, and other Jews of the day, regardless of their politico-religious sensibility.]
Perkins613 puts it this way:
Hearing and speech have a symbolic role to play in Mark’s narrative. The Syrophoenician woman was so skilled in speech that Jesus healed her daughter. Jesus’ disciples, on the other hand, have shown increasing difficulty in understanding what Jesus is telling them. They clearly need some form of healing that will enable them to truly hear—that is, to understand.
When we hear that some people brought a deaf and mute man to Jesus there are echoes of friends lowering a paralyzed man through a roof and of one more trap (“Let’s see him try to heal this one [snicker–snicker]. It is not easy to engage in re-writing Mark. Our hopes and fears continue to limit how we understand Mark’s hopes and fears.