Mark 12:13
And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
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(13) They send unto him.—In Matthew the Pharisees are said to have “taken counsel,” or “held a council,” and then to have sent their disciples. Here the act appears more definitely as the result of a coalition of the two parties named. On the narrative as a whole, see Notes on Matthew 20:15-22.

To catch.—Better, to entrap.

Mark 12:13-17. They send unto him certain of the Pharisees, &c. — See notes on Matthew 22:15-22. They marvelled at him — At the wisdom of his answer.

12:13-17 The enemies of Christ would be thought desirous to know their duty, when really they hoped that which soever side he took of the question, they might find occasion to accuse him. Nothing is more likely to insnare the followers of Christ, than bringing them to meddle with disputes about worldly politics. Jesus avoided the snare, by referring to the submission they had already made as a nation; and all that heard him, marvelled at the great wisdom of his answer. Many will praise the words of a sermon, who will not be commanded by the doctrines of it.See the notes at Matthew 22:15-22. Mr 12:13-40. Entangling Questions about Tribute the Resurrection, and the Great Commandment, with the Replies—Christ Baffles the Pharisees by a Question about David, and Denounces the Scribes. ( = Mt 22:15-46; Lu 20:20-47).

The time of this section appears to be still the third day (Tuesday) of Christ's last week. Matthew introduces the subject by saying (Mt 22:15), "Then went the Pharisees and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk."

13. And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees—"their disciples," says Matthew (Mt 22:16); probably young and zealous scholars in that hardening school.

and of the Herodians—(See on [1482]Mt 12:14). In Lu 20:20 these willing tools are called "spies, which should feign themselves just [righteous] men, that they might take hold of His words, that so they might deliver Him unto the power and authority of the governor." Their plan, then, was to entrap Him into some expression which might be construed into disaffection to the Roman government; the Pharisees themselves being notoriously discontented with the Roman yoke.

Tribute to Cæsar (Mr 12:14-17).

Ver. 13-18. See Poole on "Matthew 22:15", and following verses to Matthew 22:22. The Sadducees most probably derived their name from one Sadoc, scholar to Antigonus Sochaeus. It is said that the occasion of their heresy was their master’s teaching them, that they must not serve God as servants for rewards. Upon which they builded their notion, that there is no resurrection, no rewards nor punishments in another life. They denied the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body, and angels, and spirits, Acts 23:8; attributed all to free will, denying fate and destiny; they rejected traditions, and owned no Scriptures but the five books of Moses. They seemed to be a kind of rational divines, that would own and believe nothing but what they could fathom by their reason, or was obvious to their sense; and their doctrine was excellently suited to men’s lusts, who desire not to be troubled with any thoughts of a world to come. Nothing more shows the degeneracy and debauchery of human nature than this, that to gratify their sensual appetites more freely in the things of this life, they will be content to think of annihilation, (which nature not debauched abhors), and of quitting all hopes of eternal life and happiness, that they may have a principle to warrant their living like beasts. They come to our Saviour, thinking to flout him and his hearers out of the doctrine of the resurrection, as having insuperable difficulties to clog it. But he that takes the wise in their own craftiness, shows these wise men, that all their wisdom was but folly, and their argument wholly proceeded ex ignoratione elenchi, from their not understanding the thing they would philosophize about.

And they send unto him,.... That is, the chief priests, Scribes, and elders, who had been with Jesus in the temple, and were silenced by his reasonings, and provoked by his parables; and therefore left him, and went together to consult what methods they should take to get him into their hands, and be revenged on him; the result of which was, they send to him

certain of the Pharisees. The Syriac and Persic versions read "Scribes", who were the more skillful and learned part of that body of men, and scrupled paying tribute to Caesar, he being an Heathen prince, and they the Lord's free people:

and of the Herodians; who were, as the Syriac and Persic versions read, "of the household of Herod"; his servants and courtiers, and consequently in the interest of Caesar, under whom Herod held his government, and must be for paying tribute to him: these two parties of such different sentiments, they sent to him,

to catch him in his words; or "in word", or discourse; either with their word, the question they should put to him, or with his word, the answer he should return: and so the Ethiopic version supplies it, reading it, "with his own word"; they thought they should unavoidably catch him, one way or other; just as a prey is hunted, and taken in a net or snare, as the word used signifies: for if he declared against giving tribute to Caesar, the Herodians would have whereof to accuse him, and the Pharisees would be witnesses against him; and if he should be for it, the latter would expose him among the people, as an enemy to their civil liberties, and one that was for subjecting them to the Roman yoke, and consequently could not be the Messiah and deliverer they expected; See Gill on Matthew 22:16.

{2} And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.

(2) The gospel links the authority of the magistrate with the service of God.

Mark 12:13-17. See on Matthew 22:15-22. Comp. Luke 20:20-26. Mark is more concise and vivid than Matthew.

ἀποστέλλουσι] the chief priests, scribes, and elders (Mark 11:27), whereas Matthew inaccurately refers this new and grave temptation to the Pharisees as its authors.

ἵνα αὐτ. ἀγρεύσ. λόγῳ] in order that they (these messengers) might ensnare Him by means of an utterance, i.e. by means of a question, which they were to address to Him. See Mark 12:14. Comp. Mark 11:29. The hunting term ἀγρεύω is frequently even in the classical writers transferred to men, who are got into the hunter’s power as a prey. See Valckenaer, ad Herod, vii. 162; Jacobs, ad Anthol. VII. p. 193. In a good sense also, as in Xen. Mem. iii. 11. 7 : τὸ πλείστου ἄξιον ἄγρευμα φίλους θηράσειν.

Mark 12:14. ἐπʼ ἀληθείας] equivalent to ἀληθῶς, Luke 4:25; Luke 20:21; Luke 22:59; Luke 4:27; Luke 10:34. See Wetstein in loc.; Schaefer, Melet. p. 83; Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 137 f.

δῶμεν, ἢ μὴ δ.] The previous question was theoretical and general, this is practical and definite.

Mark 12:15. εἰδώς] as knowing hearts (John 2:25). Comp. Matthew 12:25; Luke 6:8; Luke 11:17.

τ. ὑπόκρισιν] “Discere cupientium praeferebant speciem, cum animus calumniam strueret,” Grotius.

Mark 12:17. Observe the more striking order of the words in Mark: what is Caesar’s, pay to Caesar, etc.

ἐξεθαύμαζον] see the critical remarks. The aorist would merely narrate historically; the imperfect depicts, and is therefore not inappropriate (in opposition to Fritzsche); see Kühner, II. p. 73, and ad Xen. Anab. vii. 1. 13. Comp. Mark 5:20, Mark 6:6. The compound ἐκθαυμ. strengthens the notion; Sir 27:23; Sir 43:18; 4Ma 17:17, also in the later Greek writers, but not further used in the N. T.

Mark 12:13-17. Tribute to Caesar (Matthew 12:15-22, Luke 20:20-26).

13–17. The Question of the Tribute Money

13. And they send] Having failed themselves, the Jewish authorities resolved to send some of the Pharisees in company with the Herodians, to try to force Him to commit Himself by the answers He might give to their treacherous questions. A series of distinct attacks was now made upon our Lord, (a) The Pharisees took the lead with theirs, which was, indeed, the most cunningly devised; (b) the Sadducees followed; and then (c) came the Scribes of the Pharisees’ party.

the Herodians] See note on ch. Mark 3:6. As before, so now, the Jewish royalists united themselves with the ultra-orthodox Pharisaic party. The Herodians came in person. The Pharisees sent some of their younger scholars (Matthew 22:16) to approach Him with the pretended simplicity of a guileless spirit, and a desire to solve a perplexing question (Luke 20:20).

Verses 13, 14. - St. Matthew (Matthew 22:15) tells us that "the Pharisees took counsel how they might ensnare him (ὅπως αὐτὸν παγιδεύσωσιν) in his talk;" namely, by proposing to him captious and insidious questions, which, in whatever way he might answer them, might expose him to danger. On this occasion they enlisted the Heredians to join them in their attack upon him. These Herodians were a sect of the Jews who supported the house of Herod, and were in favor of giving tribute to the Roman Caesar. They were so called at first from Herod the Great, who was a great supporter of Caesar. Tertullian, St. Jerome, and others say that these Herodiaus thought that Herod was the promised Messiah, because they saw that in him the scepter had departed from Judah (Genesis 49:10). Herod encouraged these flatterers, and so put to death the infants at Bethlehem, that he might thus get rid of Christ, lest any other than himself might be regarded as Christ. They said at it was on this account that he rebuilt the temple with so much magnificence. The Pharisees took, of course, altogether the other side, and stood forward as the supporters of the Law of Moses and of their national freedom. So, in order that they might ensnare him, they sent to him their disciples with the Herodians, and in the most artful manner proposed to him, apparently in good faith, a question which answer it how he might, would, as they hoped, throw him upon the horns of a dilemma. If he said that tribute ought to be given to Caesar, he would expose himself to the malice of the Jewish people, who prided themselves upon their freedom. If, on the other hand, he said that tribute ought not to be given to Caesar, he would incur the wrath of Caesar and of the Roman power. Mark 12:13Catch (ἀγρεύσωσιν)

From ἄγρα, hunting, the chase. Hence the picture in the word is that of hunting, while that in Matthew's word, παγιδεύσωσιν, is that of catching in a trap. See on Matthew 22:15.

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