Mark 12:17
And Jesus answering said to them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marveled at him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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. 17. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's—Putting it in this general form, it was impossible for sedition itself to dispute it, and yet it dissolved the snare.

and to God the things that are God's—How much is there in this profound but to them startling addition to the maxim, and how incomparable is the whole for fulness, brevity, clearness, weight!

and they marvelled at him—"at His answer, and held their peace" (Lu 20:26), "and left Him, and went their way" (Mt 22:22).

The Resurrection (Mr 12:18-27).

See Poole on "Mark 12:13" And Jesus answering said unto them,.... Very wisely and pertinently,

render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's: or "to the king, which are the king's", as the Arabic and Ethiopic versions render it:

and to God the things that are God's; See Gill on Matthew 22:21;

and they marvelled at him; at his wisdom and prudence in returning such an answer, which cut off all occasion against him.

And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 12:17. Christ’s reply is given here very tersely = the things of Caesar render to Caesar, and those of God to God.—ἐξεθαύμαζον: the compound, in place of Mt.’s simple verb, suggests the idea of excessive astonishment, though we must always allow for the tendency in late Greek to use compounds. Here only in N. T., occasionally in Sept[111] [111]Septuagint.17. Render] Literally, Give back, pay as being due. “therefore yelde ye to Cæsar,” Wyclif. It was not a question of a voluntary gift, but of a legal due. The head of the Emperor on the coin, the legend round it, and its circulation in the country, were undeniable proofs of the right of the actually existing government to levy the tax. “Ubicunque numisma alicujus regis obtinet, illic incolæ regem istum pro domino agnoscunt;” Maimonides. Remembrance of this precept “would have spared the Jewish war, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the downfall of their nation.” Lange.

and to God] He would remind them that besides the claims of the ruling powers, they had also the claim upon them of their Spiritual King, and obedience to Cæsar must ever be conditioned by obedience to God. “Render unto Cæsar all that he can lawfully demand, but render also to God, what He requires of you as His spiritual subjects.” “Give to God that which has the image and superscription of God, the soul.” Erasmus.

they marvelled at him] Neither the orthodox Pharisee nor the aristocratic royalist had expected such an answer from the Galilæan Teacher.[17. Τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ, the things that are God’s) All things are GOD’S, heaven and earth, all men, and therefore Cæsar himself. Yet nevertheless He hath made a wise distribution as regards His goods. On that account the less ought He to be defrauded of those things which He hath peculiarly reserved to Himself.—V. g.]Verse 17. - Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's. It is as though our Lord said, "Since you Jews are now subject to Caesar - and there is here this evidence of it, that his coin is current amongst you; you would not use it were you not obliged, because all Gentile rites and symbols are an abhorrence to you; - but since Caesar demands nothing of you but his tribute - the coin stamped with his own image and name - it is your duty to render to him his own denarius for tribute. But spiritual things, such as worship and obedience, give these to God; for these he demands from you as his right, and by so doing you will offend neither God nor yet Caesar." Our Lord, in his infinite wisdom, avoids the question altogether whether the Jews were rightly in subjection to the Romans. This was a doubtful question. But there could be no doubt as to the fact that they were tributary. This was made plain by the evidence of the current coin. Now, this being so, it was manifestly the duty of the Jewish people to give to Caesar the tribute money which he demanded of them for the expenses of government, and especially of supporting an army to defend them from their enemies. And it was no less their duty to give their tribute to God, which he in his own right demanded of them as his creatures and faithful subjects. The rights of Caesar are one thing, and those of God are another; and there is nothing that need clash between them. State polity is not opposed to religion, nor religion to state. Tertullian says, "'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's;' that is, give to Caesar his image stamped upon his coin, and give to God his own image stamped upon you; so that while you render to Caesar the coin which is his due, you may render your own self to God." This wonderful answer of our Lord teaches us that we ought to try to speak so wisely, and so to moderato our speech amongst those who are captious, that we may, if possible, offend neither side, but steer safely between Scylla and Charybdis. And they marvelled at him. The true Greek reading of the verb here is not ἐθαύμασαν, but ἐξεθαύμαζον, they marvelled greatly at him; they stood marvelling greatly at him. They marvelled at his wisdom and skill in extricating himself so readily out of this net in which they had hoped to entangle him. Indeed, the words of the psalmist (Psalm 9:15) were verified in them: "The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands." He vaulted over the trap set for him, leaving them entangled in it. He lifted up the question far above the petty controversy of the hour, and affirmed a great principle of natural and religious obligation which belongs alike to all times and persons and places. They marvelled (ἐξεθαύμαζον)

The preposition ἐξ, out of, indicates great astonishment. They marvelled out of measure. Hence Rev., marvelled greatly. The A. V. follows another reading, with the simple verb ἐθαύμαζον. The imperfect denotes continuance: they stood wondering.

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