Why does Elijah come first? (Mk 9:11-9:11)

“Then they asked him.

‘Why do the Scribes say

That Elijah

Must come first?’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτων αὐτὸν λέγοντες Ὅτι λέγουσιν οἱ γραμματεῖς ὅτι Ἡλείαν δεῖ ἐλθεῖν πρῶτον;

 

The role of Elijah can be found also in Matthew, chapter 17:10, as well as here in Mark.  The disciples of Jesus asked, questioned or interrogated him (καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες) about why the Scribes said (Ὅτι λέγουσιν οἱ γραμματεῖς) that Elijah had to come first (ὅτι Ἡλείαν δεῖ ἐλθεῖν πρῶτον).  The prophet Malachi, chapter 4:5, had also foretold the coming of Elijah.  He said that Yahweh was going to send the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of Yahweh would come.  These Scribes were contemporary religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.