Mark 12:38
And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
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(38-40) In his doctrine.—Better, in His teaching. See Notes on Matthew 23:1-7. St. Mark’s report is characteristically brief as compared with St. Matthew, and would seem to have been drawn from the same source as St. Luke’s (Luke 20:45-47).

Mark 12:38-40. Beware of the scribes — See that ye do not imitate their hypocrisy, or imbibe their principles, and be on your guard against their insidious counsels and designs. There was an absolute necessity for these repeated cautions of our Lord. For, considering the inveterate prejudices of these scribes against him and his doctrine, it could never be supposed that the common people would receive the gospel till these incorrigible blasphemers of it were brought to just disgrace. Yet he delayed speaking in this manner till a little before his passion, as knowing what effect it would quickly produce. Which love to go in long clothing, &c. — Here our Lord assigns the reason why he bid his disciples beware of imitating them. They were excessively proud and arrogant, as was plain from their affected gravity of dress, from the anxiety which they discovered to get the principal seats at feasts, and all public meetings, as things belonging to them, on account of their superior worth, and from their courting to be saluted in the streets with particular marks of respect, and to be addressed with the sounding titles of rabbi, father, and master; thinking such public acknowledgments of their merits due from all who met them. To this their excessive pride the Jewish teachers added an unbounded covetousness and sensuality, which did not suffer the substance even of widows to escape them. For the evangelist informs us, that they devoured widows’ houses, possessing themselves of their property by various acts of deception, and lived luxuriously thereon. And for a pretence — To cover their crying immoralities; made long prayers — With a great show of piety, hoping thereby to engage the esteem and confidence of others, that they might have the greater opportunity to injure and defraud them. These shall receive the greater damnation — Their complicated wickedness, particularly making their pretended piety a cloak to their covetousness and luxury, shall cost them dear; and they shall be more dreadfully punished than if they had never prayed at all, nor made any pretences to religion. See notes on Matthew 23:1-14.

12:35-40 When we attend to what the Scriptures declare, as to the person and offices of Christ, we shall be led to confess him as our Lord and God; to obey him as our exalted Redeemer. If the common people hear these things gladly, while the learned and distinguished oppose, the former are happy, and the latter to be pitied. And as sin, disguised with a show of piety, is double iniquity, so its doom will be doubly heavy.In his doctrine - In his "teaching," for so it should be rendered.

Beware of the scribes - Be on your guard. Be cautious about hearing them or following them.

Scribes - The learned men of the Jewish nation.

Which love to go in long clothing - In long, flowing robes, as significant of their consequence, leisure, and learning.

Salutations ... - See the notes at Matthew 23:6-7.

38. And he said unto them in his doctrine—rather, "in His teaching"; implying that this was but a specimen of an extended discourse, which Matthew gives in full (Mt 23:1-39). Luke says (Lu 20:45) this was "in the audience of all the people said unto His disciples."

Beware of the scribes, which love—or like.

to go in long clothing—(see on [1486]Mt 23:5).

and love salutations in the market-places,

Ver. 38-40. See Poole on "Matthew 23:5", and following verses to Matthew 23:7, See Poole on "Matthew 23:14". The more men and women want of real worth and value, the more they seek themselves a reputation from their habits, either the gravity, or the riches and gaudery, of them; and the more they court titles of honour and dignity, and affect external respect. Whereas nobler souls despise these things, being like pictures well drawn, which need no superscription to tell men what or whose they are. Good men are satisfied from themselves, and as not careless of their reputation, so neither careful who men say that they are. But these verses are more fully discoursed on Matthew twenty-three, to which I refer the reader for satisfaction.

And he said unto them in his doctrine,.... As he was preaching, not to the Scribes and Pharisees but to the multitude, and to his disciples particularly; and to them in the audience of the people, as appears from Matthew 23:1.

Beware of the Scribes; for though he had just spoken favourably of one of them, this was but a single man, and a singular instance; the body of that set of men, were very bad in their principles and practices, and therefore to be avoided, and that for the reasons following:

which love to go in long clothing; the Persic version renders it, "who affect to walk in coats and garments conspicuous, and in long robes"; such as were very particular, and different from others, and out of the common way of apparel; and so were observable and taken notice of by others: very likely it may have reference to the common length of their fringes on the borders of their outward garment, which they enlarged beyond others; See Gill on Matthew 23:5;

and love salutations the market places; or "streets", as the Syriac and Arabic versions render it, in any public places, where there was a resort of men, and they were taken notice with respect, in a public manner. The Syriac Persic supply the word "love", as we do from Matthew 23:6; see Gill on Matthew 23:6, Matthew 23:7.

{6} And he said unto them in {g} his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in {h} long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,

(6) The manners of ministers are not to be followed rashly as an example.

(g) While he taught them.

(h) The word is a stole, which is a kind of woman's garment that goes down even to the heels, and is taken generally to refer to any pleasant looking garment, but in this place it seems to signify the fringed garment mentioned in De 22:12.

Mark 12:38-40. Comp. on Matthew 23:1; Matthew 23:6-7 (14). Mark gives only a short fragment (and Luke 20:45-47 follows him) of the great and vehement original speech of severe rebuke, which Matthew has adopted in full from the collection of Logia.

βλέπετε ἀπό] as Mark 8:15.

τῶν θελόντων] quippe qui volunt, desire, i.e. lay claim to as a privilege. “Velle saepe rem per se indifferentem malam facit,” Bengel.

ἐν στολαῖς] i.e. in long stately robes, as στολή, even without more precise definition, is frequently used (1Ma 6:16; Luke 15:22; Marc. Anton. i. 7). Grotius well remarks that the στολή is “gravitatis index.”

καὶ ἀσπασμούς] governed by θελόντων. See Winer, p. 509 [E. T. 722].

Mark 12:40. οἱ κατεσθίοντες κ.τ.λ.] is usually not separated from what precedes, so that the nominative would come in instead of the genitive, bringing into more independent and emphatic prominence the description of their character. See Bernhardy, p. 68 f.; Buttmann, neut. Gram. p. 69 [E. T. 79]. But it is more suited to the vehement emotion of the discourse (with which also the asyndetic form of Mark 12:40 is in keeping), along with Grotius, Bengel, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Ewald (doubtfully also Winer, p. 165 [E. T. 228]), to begin with οἱ κατεσθίοντες a new sentence, which runs on to κρῖμα: the devourers of widows’ houses … these shall (in the Messianic judgment) receive a greater condemnation!

καί] is the simple copula: those devouring widows’ houses and (and withal) by way of pretence uttering long prayers (in order to conceal under them their pitiless greed).

τῶν χηρῶν] ὑπεισήρχοντο γὰρ τὰς ἀπροστατεύτους γυναῖκας ὡς δῆθεν προστάται αὐτῶν ἐσόμενοι, Theophylact.

καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχ.] προσχήματι εὐλαβείας καὶ ὑποκρίσει ἀπατῶντες τοὺς ἀφελεστέρους, Theophylact.

περισσότερον κρῖμα] ὅσῳ δὲ μᾶλλον τετίμηνται παρὰ τῷ λαῷ καὶ τὴν τιμὴν εἰς βλάβην ἕλκουσι, τοσούτῳ μᾶλλον καταδικασθήσονται· δυνατοὶ γὰρ δυνατῶς ἑτασθήσονται, Victor Antiochenus.

Mark 12:38-40. Warning against the influence of the scribes (Luke 20:45-47). As if encouraged by the manifest sympathy of the crowd, Jesus proceeds to warn them against the baleful influence of their religious guides.

38–40. Admonition to beware of the Scribes

38. And he said] The terrible denunciations of the moral and religious shortcomings of the leaders of the nation, which now fall from our Lord’s lips, are given far more fully by St Matthew, Matthew 23:1-39. It was only the Jewish Christians, for whom that Evangelist wrote, who could at once, and at that time, understand and enter into the terrible declension of Pharisaic Judaism. To the Gentile Christians of Rome, for whom St Mark wrote, “the great woe-speech” would be to a certain extent unintelligible. Hence the picture of the Scribes is here shortly given in their three principal features; (1) ambition, (2) avarice, and (3) hypocritical external piety.

in long clothing] “Þat wolen wandre in stoolis,” Wyclif. Stoolis from Latin stola = a robe. They came out to pray in long sweeping robes, wearing phylacteries of extra size, and exaggerated tassels, hung at the corners of their talliths. Many such were doubtless to be seen at Jerusalem at this very time, who had come up to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. See note on p. 64.

love salutations] The sounding title of “Rabbi,” “Rabbi.”

Mark 12:38. Αὐτοῖς, unto them) Especially to the disciples, Luke 20:45. [βλέπετε, beware) lest ye incur the same condemnation, Mark 12:40.—V. g.]—γραμματέων, the Scribes) An open accusation.—θελόντων, who wish) The wish or intention often make an act, which is in itself indifferent [neither good nor bad], a bad one: but the verb θέλω, I will, or wish, often includes the act in it, whether good, Matthew 20:14, or bad, Galatians 4:9. And it is a characteristic, even in the present day, of false theologians, to be captivated with splendour of robes, with sustaining the leading parts as to celebrity, with a display of offices and honours, as also of their intercessory prayers before others.

Verses 38, 39. - These verses are a condensation of the woes recorded at length by St. Matthew (23.). And he said unto them in his doctrine (ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ αὑτοῦ) - literally, in his teaching - Beware of the scribes which desire (τῶν θελόντων) to walk in long robes (ἐν στολαῖς). The στόλη was a rich robe which reached down to the ankles, and was adorned with fringes. The scribes took pleasure in this kind of display. The salient points in their character were ostentation, avarice, and religious hypocrisy. Mark 12:38Desire (θέλοντων)

See on Matthew 1:19.

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