Mark 12
Vincent's Word Studies
And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
Wine-fat (ὑπολήνιον)

Rev., winespress. Only here in New Testament. The wine-press was constructed in the side of a sloping rock, in which a trough was excavated, which was the wine-press proper. Underneath this was dug another trough, with openings communicating with the trough above, into which the juice ran from the press. This was called by the Romans lacus, or the lake. The word here used for the whole structure strictly means this trough underneath (ὑπό) the press (ληνός). This is the explanation of Wyc.'s translation, dalf (delved), a lake.

Went into a far country (ἀπεδήμησεν)

But this is too strong. The word means simply went abroad. So Wyc., went forth in pilgrimage ; and Tynd., into a strange country. Rev., another country. See on Matthew 25:14.

And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
Of the fruits

Or, literally, from (ἀπὸ) the fruits, showing that the rent was to be paid in kind.

And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.
Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.

The best texts omit.


Mark only.

But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.
Those husbandmen

Lit., they the husbandmen. Wyc., tenants.

And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.
And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:
Scripture (γραφὴν)

A passage of scripture: hence frequently this scripture; another scripture; the same scripture. Luke 4:21; John 19:37; Acts 1:16.

This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
The Lord's doing (παρὰ κυρίου)

Lit., from the Lord.

And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
Catch (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.

And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?

See on Matthew 22:19.

Person (πρόσωπον)

Lit., face.

Shall we give, etc

A touch peculiar to Mark.

Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.

See on Matthew 20:2.

And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's.
Image and superscription

See on Matthew 22:20.

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.
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.

Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,
Who (οἵτινες)

This pronoun marks the Sadducees as a class: of that party characterized by their denial of the resurrection.

Asked (ἐπηρώτων)

Stronger. They questioned.

Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.
And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.
And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.
In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
Therefore (διὰ τοῦτο)

A rendering which obscures the meaning. The words point forward to the next two clauses. The reason of your error is your ignorance of the scriptures and of the power of God. Hence Rev., correctly, Is it not for this cause that ye err?

Err (πλανᾶσθε)

Lit., wander out of the way. Compare Latin errare. Of the wandering sheep, Matthew 18:12; 1 Peter 2:25. Of the martyrs wandering in the deserts, Hebrews 11:38. Often rendered in the New Testament deceive. See Mark 13:5, Mark 13:6. Compare ἀστέρες πλανῆται, wandering stars (Jde 1:13), from which our word planet.

For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
How in the bush God spake

An utterly wrong rendering. In the bush (ἐπὶ τοῦ βάτου), refers to a particular section in the Pentateuch, Exodus 3:2-6. The Jews were accustomed to designate portions of scripture by the most noteworthy thing contained in them. Therefore Rev., rightly, in the place concerning the bush. Wyc., in the book of Moses on the bush. The article refers to it as something familiar. Compare Romans 11:2, ἐν Ἠλίᾳ; i.e., in the section of scripture which tells of Elijah. There, however, the Rev. retains the A. V. of Elijah, and puts in in the margin.

He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
Ye do greatly err

An emphatic close, peculiar to Mark.

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
Well (καλῶς)

Lit., beautifully, finely, admirably.

What (ποία)

Rather, of what nature.

And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
With all thy heart (ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου)

Lit., out of thy whole heart. The heart, not only as the seat of the affections, but as the centre of our complex being - physical, moral, spiritual, and intellectual.

Soul (ψυχῆς)

The word is often used in the New Testament in its original meaning of life. See Matthew 2:20; Matthew 20:28; Acts 20:10; Romans 11:3; John 10:11. Hence, as an emphatic designation of the man himself. See Matthew 12:18; Hebrews 10:38; Luke 21:19. So that the word denotes "life in the distinctness of individual existence" (Cremer). See further on ψυχικός, spiritual, 1 Corinthians 15:44.

Mind (διανοίας)

The faculty of thought: understanding, especially the moral understanding.

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

See on Matthew 5:43.

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
Well, Master, thou hast said the truth; for there is one God

All the best texts omit God.

Well (καλῶς)

Exclamatory, as one says good! on hearing something which he approves.

The truth ( ἐπ' ἀληθείας)

Incorrect. The phrase is adverbial; of a truth, in truth, truthfully, and qualifies the succeeding verb, thou hast said.

For (ὅτι)

The A. V. begins a new and explanatory sentence with this word; but it is better with Rev. to translate that, and make the whole sentence continuous: Thou hast truthfully said that he is one.

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Understanding (συνέσεως)

A different word from that in Mark 12:30. From συνίημι, to send or bring together. Hence συνίημι is a union or bringing together of the mind with an object, and so used to denote the faculty of quick comprehension, intelligence, sagacity. Compare συνετῶν, the prudent, Matthew 11:25.

And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
Discreetly (νουνεχῶς)

From νοῦς, mind, and ἔχω, to lave. Having his mind in possession: "having his wits about him." The word occurs only here in the New Testament.

And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?
For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
The common people (ὁ πολὺς ὄχλος)

Not indicating a social distinction, but the great mass of the people: the crowd at large.

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,
Desire (θέλοντων)

See on Matthew 1:19.

And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
Uppermost rooms (πρωτοκλισίας)

More correctly, the chief couches,. So Rev., chief places.

Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
Widows' houses

People often left their whole fortune to the temple, and a good deal of the temple-money went, in the end, to the Scribes and Pharisees. The Scribes were universally employed in making wills and conveyances of property. They may have abused their influence with widows.

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
The treasury

In the Court of the Women, which covered a space of two hundred feet square. All round it ran a colonnade, and within it, against the wall, were the thirteen chests or "trumpets" for charitable contributions. These chests were narrow at the mouth and wide at the bottom, shaped like trumpets, whence their name. Their specific objects were carefully marked on them. Nine were for the receipt of what was legally due by worshippers, the other four for strictly voluntary gifts. See Edersheim, "The Temple."

Beheld (ἐθεώρει)

Observed thoughtfully.


Note the graphic present tense: are casting.

Money (χαλκὸν)

Lit., copper, which most of the people gave.

Cast in (ἔβαλλον)

Imperfect tense: were casting in as he looked.

Much (πολλά)

Lit., many things; possibly many pieces of current copper coin.

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
A certain (μία)

Not a good translation. Lit., one as distinguished from the many rich. Better, simply the indefinite article, as Rev.

Poor (πτωχὴ)

See on Matthew 5:3.

Mites (λεπτὰ)

From λεπτός, peeled, husked; and thence thin or fine. Therefore of a very small or thin coin.

Farthing (κοδράντης)

A Latin word, quadrans, or a quarter of a Roman as; quadrans meaning a fourth, as farthing is fourthing.

And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
This poor widow (ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ)

The Greek order is very suggestive, forming a kind of climax: this window, the poor one, or and she poor.

For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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