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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: Chapter 12)

12:1 {He began to speak unto them in parables} (\ērxato autois en
parabolais lalein\)
. Mark's common idiom again. He does not mean
that this was the beginning of Christ's use of parables (see
, but simply that his teaching on this occasion took the
parabolic turn. "The circumstances called forth the parabolic
mood, that of one whose heart is chilled, and whose spirit is
saddened by a sense of loneliness, and who, retiring within
himself, by a process of reflection, frames for his thoughts
forms which half conceal, half reveal them" (Bruce). Mark does
not give the Parable of the Two Sons (Mt 21:28-32) nor that of
the Marriage Feast of the King's Son (Mt 22:1-14). He gives
here the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen. Also in Mt 21:33-46
and Lu 20:9-19. See discussion in Matthew. Mt 21:33 calls the
man "a householder" (\oikodespotēs\). {A pit for the winepress}
(\hupolēnion\). Only here in the N.T. Common in the LXX and in
late Greek. Matthew had \lēnon\, winepress. This is the vessel or
trough under the winepress on the hillside to catch the juice
when the grapes were trodden. The Romans called it _lacus_ (lake)
and Wycliff _dalf_ (lake), like delved. See on Matthew for
details just alike. {Husbandmen} (\geōrgois\). Workers in the
ground, tillers of the soil (\ergon, gē\).

12:2 {At the season} (\tōi kairōi\). For fruits as in the end of
the sentence. {A servant} (\doulon\). Bondslave. Matthew has
plural. {That he might receive} (\hina labēi\). Purpose clause
with second aorist subjunctive. Matthew has infinitive \labein\,
purpose also. {Wounded in the head} (\ekephaliōsan\). An old verb
(\kephalaiō\), to bring under heads (\kephalē\), to summarize.
Then to hit on the head. Only here in the N.T.

12:5 {Beating some and killing some} (\hous men derontes, hous de
. This distributive use of the demonstrative
appears also in Mt 21:35 in the singular (\hon men, hon de, hon
. Originally \derō\ in Homer meant to skin, flay, then to
smite, to beat. \Apoktennuntes\ is a \mi\ form of the verb
(\apoktennumi\) and means to kill off.

12:6 {A beloved son} (\huion agapēton\). Lu 20:13 has \ton
huion ton agapēton\. Jesus evidently has in mind the language of
the Father to him at his baptism (Mr 1:11; Mt 3:17; Lu 3:22).
{Last} (\eschaton\). Only in Mark. See on ¯Mt 21:37 for
discussion of "reverence."

12:7 {Among themselves} (\pros heautous\). This phrase alone in
Mark. Lu 20:14 has "with one another" (\pros allēlous\),
reciprocal instead of reflexive, pronoun.

12:8 {Killed him and cast him forth} (\apekteinan auton, kai
exebalon auton\)
. Matthew and Luke reverse the order, cast forth
and killed.

12:10 {This scripture} (\tēn graphēn tautēn\). This passage of
scripture (Lu 4:21; Joh 19:37; Ac 1:16). It is a quotation from
Ps 118:22f. See on ¯Mt 21:42 for discussion.

12:11 {This} (\hautē\). Feminine in LXX may refer to {kephalē}
(head) or may be due to the Hebrew original {zōth} (this thing)
which would be neuter \touto\ in a Greek original, a translation

12:12 {Against them} (\pros autous\). So Luke. It was a straight
shot, this parable of the Rejected Stone (12:10f.) and the
longer one of the Wicked Husbandmen. There was no mistaking the
application, for he had specifically explained the application
(Mt 21:43-45). The Sanhedrin were so angry that they actually
started or sought to seize him, but fear of the populace now more
enthusiastic for Jesus than ever held them back. They went off in
disgust, but they had to listen to the Parable of the King's Son
before going (Mt 22:1-14).

12:13 {That they might catch him in talk} (\hina auton agreusōsin
. Ingressive aorist subjunctive. The verb is late from
\agra\ (a hunt or catching). It appears in the LXX and papyri.
Here alone in the N.T. Lu 20:20 has the same idea, "that they
may take hold of his speech" (\epilabōntai autou logon\) while
Mt 22:15 uses \pagideusōsin\ (to snare or trap). See discussion
in Matthew. We have seen the scribes and Pharisees trying to do
this very thing before (Lu 11:33f.). Mark and Matthew note here
the combination of Pharisees and Herodians as Mark did in 3:6.
Matthew speaks of "disciples" or pupils of the Pharisees while
Luke calls them "spies" (\enkathetous\).

12:14 {Shall we give or shall we not give?} (\dōmen ē mē
. Mark alone repeats the question in this sharp form. The
deliberative subjunctive, aorist tense active voice. For the
discussion of the palaver and flattery of this group of
theological students see on ¯Mt 22:16-22.

12:15 {Knowing their hypocrisy} (\eidōs autōn tēn hupocrisin\).
Mt 22:18 has "perceived their wickedness" (\gnous tēn ponērian
while Lu 20:23 says, "perceived their craftiness"
(\katanoēsas autōn tēn panourgian\). Each of these words throws a
flash-light on the spirit and attitude of these young men. They
were sly, shrewd, slick, but they did not deceive Jesus with
their pious palaver. See on Matthew for further details.

12:17 {Marvelled greatly at him} (\exethaumazon ep' autōi\).
Imperfect tense with perfective use of the preposition \ex\. Both
Matthew and Luke use the ingressive aorist. Luke adds that they
"held their peace" (\esigēsan\) while Matthew notes that they
"went their way" (\apēlthan\), went off or away.

12:18 {There come unto him Sadducees} (\erchontai Saddoukaioi
pros auton\)
. Dramatic present. The Pharisees and Herodians had
had their turn after the formal committee of the Sanhedrin had
been so completely routed. It was inevitable that they should
feel called upon to show their intellectual superiority to these
raw Pharisaic and Herodian theologians. See on ¯Mt 22:23-33 for
discussion of details. It was a good time to air their disbelief
in the resurrection at the expense of the Pharisees and to score
against Jesus where the Sanhedrin and then the Pharisees and
Herodians had failed so ignominiously.

12:19 {Moses wrote} (\Mōusēs egrapsen\). So Lu 20:28 (Ge 38:8;
De. 25:5f.)
. Matthew has "said" (\eipen\).

12:20 {Took a wife} (\elaben gunaika\). So Lu 20:29. Matthew
has "married" (\gēmas\).

12:22 {Last of all} (\eschaton pantōn\). Adverbial use of

12:23 {To wife} (\gunaika\). Predicate accusative in apposition
with "her" (\autēn\). So Luke, but Matthew merely has "had her"
(\eschon autēn\), constative aorist indicative active.

12:24 {Is it not for this cause that ye err?} (\Ou dia touto
. Mark puts it as a question with \ou\ expecting the
affirmative answer. Matthew puts it as a positive assertion: "Ye
are." \Planaomai\ is to wander astray (cf. our word _planet_,
wandering stars, \asteres planētai\, Jude 1:13)
like the Latin
_errare_ (our _error_, err). {That ye know not the scriptures}
(\mē eidotes tas graphas\). The Sadducees posed as men of
superior intelligence and knowledge in opposition to the
traditionalists among the Pharisees with their oral law. And yet
on this very point they were ignorant of the Scriptures. How much
error today is due to this same ignorance among the educated!
{Nor the power of God} (\mēde tēn dunamin tou theou\). The two
kinds of ignorance generally go together (cf. 1Co 15:34).

12:25 {When they shall rise from the dead} (\hotan ek nekrōn
. Second aorist active subjunctive with \hotan\
(\hote\ plus \an\). Mt 22:30 has it "in the resurrection," Lu
20:35 "to attain to the resurrection." The Pharisees regarded
the future resurrection body as performing marriage functions, as
Mohammedans do today. The Pharisees were in error on this point.
The Sadducees made this one of their objections to belief in the
resurrection body, revealing thus their own ignorance of the true
resurrection body and the future life where marriage functions do
not exist. {As angels in heaven} (\hōs aggeloi en tōi ouranōi\).
So Mt 22:30. Lu 20:36 has "equal unto the angels"
(\isaggeloi\). "Their equality with angels consists in their
deliverance from mortality and its consequences" (Swete). The
angels are directly created, not procreated.

12:26 {In the place concerning the Bush} (\epi tou batou\). This
technical use of \epi\ is good Greek, in the matter of, in the
passage about, the Bush. \Batos\ is masculine here, feminine in
Lu 20:37. The reference is to Ex 3:3-6 (in the book of Moses,
\en tēi biblōi\)

12:27 {Ye do greatly err} (\polu planāsthe\). Only in Mark.
Solemn, severe, impressive, but kindly close (Bruce).

12:28 {Heard them questioning together} (\akousas autōn
. The victory of Christ over the Sadducees pleased
the Pharisees who now had come back with mixed emotions over the
new turn of things (Mt 22:34). Lu 20:39 represents one of the
scribes as commending Jesus for his skilful reply to the
Sadducees. Mark here puts this scribe in a favourable light,
"knowing that he had answered them well" (\eidōs hoti kalōs
apekrithē autois\)
. "Them" here means the Sadducees. But Mt
22:35 says that this lawyer (\nomikos\) was "tempting"
(\peirazōn\) by his question. "A few, among whom was the scribe,
were constrained to admire, even if they were willing to
criticize, the Rabbi who though not himself a Pharisee, surpassed
the Pharisees as a champion of the truth." That is a just picture
of this lawyer. {The first of all} (\prōtē pantōn\). First in
rank and importance. Mt 22:36 has "great" (\megalē\). See
discussion there. Probably Jesus spoke in Aramaic. "First" and
"great" in Greek do not differ essentially here. Mark quotes De
6:4f. as it stands in the LXX and also Le 19:18. Mt 22:40
adds the summary: "On these two commandments hangeth (\krematai\)
the whole law and the prophets."

12:32 {And the scribe said} (\eipen autōi ho grammateus\). Mark
alone gives the reply of the scribe to Jesus which is a mere
repetition of what Jesus had said about the first and the second
commandments with the additional allusion to 1Sa 15:22 about
love as superior to whole burnt offerings. {Well} (\kalōs\). Not
to be taken with "saidst" (\eipes\) as the Revised Version has it
following Wycliff. Probably \kalōs\ (well) is exclamatory. "Fine,
Teacher. Of a truth (\ep' alētheias\) didst thou say."

12:34 {Discreetly} (\nounechōs\). From \nous\ (intellect) and
\echō\, to have. Using the mind to good effect is what the adverb
means. He had his wits about him, as we say. Here only in the
N.T. In Aristotle and Polybius. \Nounechontōs\ would be the more
regular form, adverb from a participle. {Not far} (\ou makran\).
Adverb, not adjective, feminine accusative, a long way (\hodon\
. The critical attitude of the lawyer had melted
before the reply of Jesus into genuine enthusiasm that showed him
to be near the kingdom of God. {No man after that} (\oudeis
. Double negative. The debate was closed (\etolma\,
imperfect tense, dared)
. Jesus was complete victor on every side.

12:35 {How say the scribes} (\Pōs legousin hoi grammateis\). The
opponents of Jesus are silenced, but he answers them and goes on
teaching (\didaskōn\) in the temple as before the attacks began
that morning (11:27). They no longer dare to question Jesus,
but he has one to put to them "while the Pharisees were gathered
together" (Mt 22:41). The question is not a conundrum or
scriptural puzzle (Gould), but "He contents himself with pointing
out a difficulty, in the solution of which lay the key to the
whole problem of His person and work" (Swete). The scribes all
taught that the Messiah was to be the son of David (Joh 7:41).
The people in the Triumphal Entry had acclaimed Jesus as the son
of David (Mt 21:9). But the rabbis had overlooked the fact that
David in Ps 110:1 called the Messiah his Lord also. The deity
and the humanity of the Messiah are both involved in the problem.
Mt 22:45 observes that "no one was able to answer him a word."

12:36 {The footstool} (\hupopodion\). Westcott and Hort read
\hupokatō\ (under) after Aleph B D L.

12:37 {The common people heard him gladly} (\ho polus ochlos
ēkouen autou hedeōs\)
. Literally, the much multitude (the huge
was listening (imperfect tense) to him gladly. Mark alone
has this item. The Sanhedrin had begun the formal attack that
morning to destroy the influence of Jesus with the crowds whose
hero he now was since the Triumphal Entry. It had been a colossal
failure. The crowds were drawn closer to him than before.

12:38 {Beware of the scribes} (\blepete apo tōn grammateōn\).
Jesus now turns to the multitudes and to his disciples (Mt
and warns them against the scribes and the Pharisees while
they are still there to hear his denunciation. The scribes were
the professional teachers of the current Judaism and were nearly
all Pharisees. Mark (Mr 14:38-40) gives a mere summary sketch
of this bold and terrific indictment as preserved in Mt 23 in
words that fairly blister today. Lu 20:45-47 follows Mark
closely. See Mt 8:15 for this same use of \blepete apo\ with
the ablative. It is usually called a translation-Hebraism, a
usage not found with \blepō\ in the older Greek. But the papyri
give it, a vivid vernacular idiom. "Beware of the Jews" (\blepe
saton apo tōn Ioudaiōn\, Berl. G. U. 1079. A.D. 41)
. See
Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 577. The pride of the pompous scribes is
itemized by Mark: {To walk in long robes} (\stolais\), {stoles},
the dress of dignitaries like kings and priests. {Salutations in
the marketplaces}
(\aspasmous en tais agorais\), where the people
could see their dignity recognized.

12:39 {First seats in the synagogues} (\prōtokathedrias\). As a
mark of special piety, seats up in front while now the hypocrites
present in church prefer the rear seats. {Chief places at feasts}
(\prōtoklisias en tois deipnois\). Recognizing proper rank and
station. Even the disciples fall victims to this desire for
precedence at table (Lu 22:24).

12:40 {Devour widows' houses} (\hoi katesthontes tās oikias tōn
. New sentence in the nominative. Terrible pictures of
civil wrong by graft grabbing the homes of helpless widows. They
inveigled widows into giving their homes to the temple and took
it for themselves. {For a pretence make long prayers} (\prophasei
makra proseuchomenoi\)
. \Prophasei\ instrumental case of the same
word (\prophēmi\) from which prophet comes, but here pretext,
pretence of extra piety while robbing the widows and pushing
themselves to the fore. Some derive it from \prophainō\, to show
forth. {Greater} (\perissoteron\). More abundant condemnation.
Some comfort in that at any rate.

12:41 {Sat down over against the treasury} (\kathisas katenanti
tou gazophulakiou\)
. The storm is over. The Pharisees, Sadducees,
Herodians, scribes, have all slunk away in terror ere the closing
words. Mark draws this immortal picture of the weary Christ
sitting by the treasury (compound word in the LXX from \gaza\,
Persian word for treasure, and \phulakē\, guard, so safe for
gifts to be deposited)
. {Beheld} (\etheōrei\). Imperfect tense.
He was watching {how the multitude cast money} (\pōs ho ochlos
into the treasury. The rich were casting in (\eballon\,
imperfect tense)
as he watched.

12:42 {One poor widow} (\mia chēra ptōchē\). Luke has \penichra\,
a poetical late form of \penēs\. In the N.T. the \ptōchos\ is the
pauper rather than the mere peasant, the extreme opposite of the
rich (\plousioi\). The money given by most was copper
(\chalkon\). {Two mites} (\duo lepta\). \Leptos\ means peeled or
stripped and so very thin. Two \lepta\ were about two-fifths of a
cent. {Farthing} (\kodrantes\, Latin _quadrans_, a quarter of an

12:43 {Called unto him} (\proskalesamenos\). Indirect middle
voice. The disciples themselves had slipped away from him while
the terrific denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees had gone
on, puzzled at this turn of affairs. {More than all} (\pleion
. Ablative of comparison (\pantōn\). It may mean, more
than all the rich put together. {All that she had} (\panta hosa
. Imperfect tense. {Cast in} (\ebalen\). Aorist tense, in
sharp contrast. {All her living} (\holon ton bion autēs\). Her
{livelihood} (\bios\), not her life (\zōē\). It is a tragedy to
see a stingy saint pose as giving the widow's mite when he could
give thousands instead of pennies.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: Chapter 12)