Mark, Jewish New Testament and comment David H. Stern

chapter 12
1. Yeshua began speaking to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the wine press and built a tower; then he rented it to tenant-farmers and left.
See Mt 20:1N.

2. When harvest-time came, he sent a servant to the tenants to collect his share of the crop from the vineyard.
3. But they took him, beat him up and sent him away empty-handed.
4. So he sent another servant; this one they punched in the head and insulted.
5. He sent another one, and him they killed; and so with many others — some they beat up, others they killed.
6. He had still one person left, a son whom he loved; in the end, he sent him to them, saying, ‘My son they will respect.’
7. But the tenants said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’
8. So they seized him, killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.
9. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come, destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others!
10. Haven’t you read the passage in the Tanakh that says, 'The very rock which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone!
11. This has come from Adonai, and in our eyes it is amazing’?". (Psalm 118:22–23)
12. They set about to arrest him, for they recognized that he had told the parable with reference to themselves. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.
13. Next they sent some P’rushim and some members of Herod’s party to him in order to trap him with a sh’eilah.
Sh’eilah See Mt 22:23.

14. They came and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you tell the truth and are not concerned with what people think about you, since you pay no attention to a person’s status but really teach what God’s way is. Does Torah say that taxes are to be paid to the Roman Emperor, or not?”
15. But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you trying to trap me? Bring me a denarius so I can look at it.”
16. They brought one; and he asked them, “Whose name and picture are these?” “The Emperor’s,” they replied.
17. Yeshua said, “Give the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor. And give to God what belongs to God!” And they were amazed at him.
18. Then some Tz’dukim came to him. They are the ones who say there is no such thing as resurrection, so they put to him a sh’eilah:
19. “Rabbi, Moshe wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and have children to preserve the man’s family line. (Deuteronomy 25:5–6)
See Mt 3:7N, 22:15-16N, 22:23N, 22:24N.

20. There were seven brothers. The first one took a wife, and when he died, he left no children.
21. Then the second one took her and died without leaving children, and the third likewise,
22. and none of the seven left children. Last of all, the woman also died.
23. In the Resurrection, whose wife will she be? For all seven had her as wife.”
24. Yeshua said to them, “Isn’t this the reason that you go astray? because you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God?
25. For when people rise from the dead, neither men nor women marry — they are like angels in heaven.
26. And as for the dead being raised, haven’t you read in the book of Moshe, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov'? (Exodus 3:6)
27. He is God not of the dead, but of the living! You are going far astray!”
See Mt 22:31-32N.

28. One of the Torah-teachers came up and heard them engaged in this discussion. Seeing that Yeshua answered them well, he asked him, “Which is the most important mitzvah of them all?”
Which is the most important mitzvahl Although the literal meaning of "mitzvah" is "commandment," what the inquirer is really asking is: "What is the most important basic principle, the one on which all the rest of the Torah depends?" The rabbis, too, used to epitomize the Torah. For example, in the Talmud we find:

"Rabbi Simlai said, 'Six hundred thirteen commandments were given to Moses — 365 negative, equalling the number of days in the year, and 248 positive, equalling the number of a man's members. David came and reduced them to eleven [Psalm 15]. Then Isaiah reduced them to six [Isaiah 33:15-16], Micah to three [Micah 6:8], and Isaiah again to two, as it is said, "Keep judgment and do righteousness" [Isaiah 66:1). Then Amos reduced them to one, "Seek me and live" [Amos 5:4). Or one could say Habakkuk: "The righteous shal I live by his faith" [Habakkuk 2:4]. '"(Makkot 23b-24a, abridged)
For the famous Talmudic example of the pagan who wanted to be taught the whole Torah "while standing on one foot" see Mt 7:12N.

29. Yeshua answered, “The most important is, Sh’ma Yisra’el, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, O Isra’el, the Lord our God, the Lord is one],
Sh'ma Israel, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai echad. How can God be one and yet be Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Doesn't that make God three? Nowhere does the New Testament say that God is three, but here it does say that God is one, unique, the only God there is — so that his Word is the only authoritative word about God, man and the relationship between them.

Also the Tanakh in several places gives a remez ("hint"; see Mt 2:I5N) that the "inner structure" of the one true God involves Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Isaiah 48:16 uses three different terms to speak of the divine: ".. .from the time that it was, there am I: and now Adonai God and his Spirit has sent me." At Genesis 1:26 God uses the plural to speak of himself: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..."; the rabbinic explanation that this means God and the angels has no contextual support, and there is no reason for a "plural of majesty" at this point. Likewise, here in the Sh'ma (Deuteronomy 6:4) there are two such r'mazim: (1) the triple reference to God, and (2) the use of the word "echad," which often means a multiple unity (such as "one" cluster of grapes or "one" bundle of sticks) instead oV'yachid," which nearly always excludes multiple oneness.

30. and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength'. (Deuteronomy 6:4–5)
Yeshua cites the central affirmation of Judaism, God's unity as proclaimed in the Sh 'ma, with its immediately following command to love God with all one's being. For him the two go together and constitute a single principle; compare Ro 13:8-10, Ga 5:14, and 1 Yn 4:8 ("God is love").

With all your understanding. This phrase does not appear in the Hebrew of Deuteronomy 6:5. It may have been added by the translator of Mattityahu's Gospel, which was probably originally in Hebrew, in order to convey in a Greek cultural setting the full sense of the commandment — that everything one is, does and has must be used to love God. If so, the translator was doing "dynamic equivalence translation" (see Section V of the Introduction to the JNT), catering to the Greek mentality, which so highly valued intellectual activity. Alternatively, Yeshua is appealing to his questioner, who as a 7oraA-teacher made constant use of his understanding in his work.

31. The second is this: 'You are to love your neighbor as yourself'. (Leviticus 19:18) There is no other mitzvah greater than these.”
Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). See Lk 10:25-37, Mt 7:12&N.

32. The Torah-teacher said to him, “Well said, Rabbi; you speak the truth when you say that he is one, and that there is no other besides him;
33. and that loving him with all one’s heart, understanding and strength, and loving one’s neighbor as oneself, mean more than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34. When Yeshua saw that he responded sensibly, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared put to him another sh’eilah.
35. As Yeshua was teaching in the Temple, he asked, “How is it that the Torah-teachers say the Messiah is the Son of David?
36. David himself, inspired by the Ruach HaKodesh, said, 'Adonai said to my Lord, “Sit here at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”". (Psalm 110:1)
See Mt 22:44N.

37. David himself calls him ‘Lord’; so how is he his son?” The great crowd listened eagerly to him.
38. As he taught them, he said, “Watch out for the kind of Torah-teachers who like to walk around in robes and be greeted deferentially in the marketplaces,
Watch out for the kind of Toreft-teachers who.... Most English versions translate this passage in a way that makes it appear Yeshua is talking about all ГогаЛ-teaehers (see Mt 2:4N), e.g., KJV, "Beware of the scribes, which...." But the Greek construction does not justify a comma after "scribes" in KJV; a comma there makes it appear that Yeshua is condemning all of them. The comma makes such a rendering antisemitic, because it prejudges a whole class of Jews where Yeshua does not. Yeshua, rather, is condemning only those 7bra/i-teachers who exhibit certain objectionable behaviors. In so doing he is expressing the prophetic tradition of the Tanakh. not the anti-Jewish tradition of Christendom. See also Mt 23:13-36&N and 1 Th 2:I4-I6&NN, where the same issue arises.

39. who like to have the best seats in the synagogues and take the places of honor at banquets,
40. who like to swallow up widows’ houses while making a show of davvening at great length. Their punishment will be all the worse!”
Davvening (Yiddish): praying. The term usually refers to praying the lilurgical prayers of the synagogue. Today's traditional Jew davvens three times a day, adding extra prayers on Shubbai and yom tov (festivals). In the synagogue the chazan (cantor) chants the first few words of each prayer or blessing, and each person recites the prayer softly at his own speed, until the cantor signals the end of that prayer by chanting its last few words. One can call attention to oneself by reciting the prayer loudly or with florid chanting which gives an appearance of deep piety.

Although the specifics of first-century davvening were different, Yeshua here inveighs against such religiosity — possible in any era and in any religion — particularly when coupled with behavior that highlights its hypocrisy, such as exploitation of the poor and helpless. In this Yeshua, like the prophets before him, was concerned about right social action, a perennial Jewish theme.

41. Then Yeshua sat down opposite the Temple treasury and watched the crowd as they put money into the offering-boxes. Many rich people put in large sums,
42. but a poor widow came and put in two small coins.
Two small coins, literally, "two lepta, which equals a quadrans" the smallest Roman coin; 64 of them equalled a denarius, which was a day's wages for a common laborer.

43. He called his talmidim to him and said to them, “Yes! I tell you, this poor widow has put more in the offering-box than all the others making donations.
44. For all of them, out of their wealth, have contributed money they can easily spare; but she, out of her poverty, has given everything she had to live on.”

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