illustrations: See study note on Mt 13:3.
tower: See study note on Mt 21:33.
leased: See study note on Mt 21:33.
this scripture: The singular form of the Greek word gra·pheʹ here refers to an individual Scripture passage, Ps 118:22, 23.
chief cornerstone: See study note on Mt 21:42.
party followers of Herod: See Glossary.
head tax: See study note on Mt 22:17.
Caesar: See study note on Mt 22:17.
denarius: This Roman silver coin with an inscription of Caesar was the “head tax” coin that was exacted by the Romans from the Jews. (Mr 12:14) In Jesus’ day, agricultural laborers commonly received a denarius for a 12-hour workday, and the Christian Greek Scriptures often use the denarius to show equivalent value. (Mt 20:2; Mr 6:37; 14:5; Re 6:6) A variety of copper and silver coins were used in Israel, including silver coins minted in Tyre that were used for the temple tax. Yet, for paying taxes to Rome, people evidently used the silver denarius bearing the image of Caesar.—See Glossary and App. B14.
image and inscription: See study note on Mt 22:20.
Pay back: See study note on Mt 22:21.
Caesar’s things to Caesar: Jesus’ reply here, and in the parallel accounts at Mt 22:21 and Lu 20:25, is his only recorded reference to the Roman emperor. “Caesar’s things” include payment for services rendered by the secular government as well as the honor and relative subjection that is to be shown to such authorities.—Ro 13:1-7.
God’s things to God: See study note on Mt 22:21.
Sadducees: This is the only mention of the Sadducees in the Gospel of Mark. (See Glossary.) The name (Greek, Sad·dou·kaiʹos) is likely connected with Zadok (often spelled Sad·doukʹ in the Septuagint), who was made high priest in the days of Solomon and whose descendants evidently served as priests for centuries.—1Ki 2:35.
resurrection: The Greek word a·naʹsta·sis literally means “raising up; standing up.” It is used about 40 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures with reference to the resurrection of the dead. (Mt 22:23, 31; Ac 4:2; 24:15; 1Co 15:12, 13) In the Septuagint at Isa 26:19, the verb form of a·naʹsta·sis is used to render the Hebrew verb “to live” in the expression “your dead will live.”—See Glossary.
the second married her: Among the ancient Hebrews, if a man died sonless, it was expected that his brother would marry the widow in order to produce offspring to continue the dead man’s family line. (Ge 38:8) The arrangement, later incorporated into the Mosaic Law, was known as brother-in-law, or levirate, marriage. (De 25:5, 6) Brother-in-law marriage was practiced in Jesus’ day, as shown by the Sadducees’ reference to it here. The Law did permit relatives to refuse to perform brother-in-law marriage, but if a man would not “build up his brother’s household,” he brought disgrace on himself.—De 25:7-10; Ru 4:7, 8.
the Scriptures: See study note on Mt 22:29.
in the book of Moses: The Sadducees accepted only Moses’ writings as inspired. They objected to Jesus’ teaching about the resurrection, evidently thinking that there was no basis for such a teaching in the Pentateuch. Jesus could have quoted many scriptures, such as Isa 26:19, Dan 12:13, and Hos 13:14, to show that the dead would rise. But because Jesus knew which writings were accepted by the Sadducees, he proved his point by using words that Jehovah spoke to Moses.—Ex 3:2, 6.
that God said to him: Jesus here refers to a conversation between Moses and Jehovah that took place about 1514 B.C.E. (Ex 3:2, 6) At that time, Abraham had been dead for 329 years, Isaac for 224, and Jacob for 197. Yet, Jehovah did not say ‘I was their God.’ He said: ‘I am their God.’—See study note on Mr 12:27.
but of the living: According to the parallel account at Lu 20:38, Jesus includes the comment: “For they are all living to him [or, “from his standpoint”].” The Bible shows that living humans who are alienated from God are dead from his standpoint. (Eph 2:1; 1Ti 5:6) Likewise, approved servants of God who die are still living from Jehovah’s standpoint, since his purpose to resurrect them is so sure of fulfillment.—Ro 4:16, 17.
Hear, O Israel: This quote from De 6:4, 5 is more extensive than in the parallel accounts of Matthew and Luke. Included here is also the introduction to the so-called Shema, or what amounts to the Jewish confession of faith recorded at De 6:4-9; 11:13-21. The name Shema is taken from the first word of the verse in Hebrew, shemaʽʹ, meaning “Listen!; Hear!”
Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: Or “Jehovah is our God; Jehovah is one,” or “Jehovah is our God; there is one Jehovah.” In the Hebrew text of De 6:4, quoted here, the word for “one” can imply being unique, the one and only. Jehovah is the only true God; no false gods can compare to him. (2Sa 7:22; Ps 96:5; Isa 2:18-20) In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses reminded the Israelites that their worship of Jehovah must be exclusive. They were not to follow the peoples around them, who worshipped various gods and goddesses. Some of those false gods were viewed as ruling over certain parts of nature. Others were separate forms of a particular deity. The Hebrew word for “one” also suggests unity and oneness of purpose and activity. Jehovah God is not divided or unpredictable. Rather, he is always faithful, consistent, loyal, and true. The discussion recorded at Mr 12:28-34 is referred to at Mt 22:34-40, but only Mark includes the introductory part: “Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” The commandment to love God follows this statement about Jehovah being one, indicating that his worshippers’ love for him must also be undivided.
heart: When used in a figurative sense, this term generally refers to the total inner person. When mentioned together with “soul” and “mind,” however, it evidently takes on a more specific meaning and refers mainly to a person’s emotions, desires, and feelings. The four terms used here (heart, soul, mind, and strength) are not mutually exclusive; they are used in an overlapping sense, emphasizing in the strongest possible way the need for complete and total love for God.—See study notes on mind and strength in this verse.
soul: See study note on Mt 22:37.
mind: That is, intellectual faculties. A person must use his mental faculties to come to know God and grow in love for him. (Joh 17:3; Ro 12:1) In this quote from De 6:5, the original Hebrew text uses three terms, ‘heart, soul, and strength.’ However, according to Mark’s account, written in Greek, four different concepts are mentioned, heart, soul, mind, and strength. There may be several reasons why different terms are used. The word “mind” may have been added to complete the meaning of overlapping concepts in the Hebrew language. Although ancient Hebrew did not have a specific word for “mind,” this concept was often included in the Hebrew word for “heart,” which refers figuratively to the whole inner person, including a person’s thinking, feelings, attitudes, and motivations. (De 29:4; Ps 26:2; 64:6; see study note on heart in this verse.) For this reason, where the Hebrew text uses the word “heart,” the Greek Septuagint often uses the Greek equivalent for “mind.” (Ge 8:21; 17:17; Pr 2:10; Isa 14:13) Mark’s use of mind may also indicate that there is some overlapping of ideas between the Hebrew term for “strength” and the Greek term for “mind.” (Compare the wording of Mt 22:37, which uses “mind” rather than “strength.”) The overlapping of ideas may help to explain why the scribe’s answer to Jesus uses the word “understanding.” (Mr 12:33) It may also explain why the Gospel writers when quoting De 6:5 do not use the exact terms found in that passage.—See study note on strength in this verse and study notes on Mt 22:37; Lu 10:27.
strength: As mentioned in the study note on mind, in this quote from De 6:5, the original Hebrew text uses three terms, ‘heart, soul, and strength.’ The Hebrew word rendered “strength [or, “vital force,” ftn.]” could include both physical strength and mental or intellectual ability. This may be another reason why the concept of “mind” has been included when this scripture is quoted in the Christian Greek Scriptures. This may also explain why Mt 22:37 uses “mind” but does not use “strength” in the same quotation. Whatever the case, when a scribe (according to Luke’s account [10:27] written in Greek) quotes the same Hebrew verse, he refers to the four concepts of heart, soul, strength, and mind, evidently showing that in Jesus’ time, it was commonly accepted that all four Greek concepts were included in the three Hebrew words of the original quotation.
The second: At Mr 12:29, 30, Jesus’ direct answer to the scribe is recorded. But Jesus now goes beyond the original question and quotes a second commandment. (Le 19:18) He stresses that the “two commandments” are inextricably linked and that the whole Law and the Prophets are summed up in them.—Mt 22:40.
neighbor: See study note on Mt 22:39.
whole burnt offerings: The Greek word ho·lo·kauʹto·ma (from the word hoʹlos, meaning “whole,” and kaiʹo, “to burn”) occurs only three times in the Christian Greek Scriptures, here and at Heb 10:6, 8. This is a term used in the Septuagint to render a Hebrew word for offerings that were completely burned by fire and presented in their entirety to God, with no part of the animal being eaten by the worshipper. This Greek word occurs in the Septuagint at 1Sa 15:22 and Ho 6:6, which the scribe may have had in mind when speaking to Jesus. (Mr 12:32) As a figurative “burnt offering,” Jesus gave himself wholly, fully.
marketplaces: See study note on Mt 23:7.
front seats: See study note on Mt 23:6.
treasury chests: Ancient Jewish sources say that these contribution boxes, or receptacles, were shaped like trumpets, or horns, evidently with small openings at the top. People deposited in them various offerings. The Greek word used here also occurs at Joh 8:20, where it is rendered “the treasury,” apparently located in the area called the Court of the Women. (See study note on Mt 27:6 and App. B11.) According to rabbinical sources, 13 treasury chests were placed around the walls of that court. It is believed that the temple also contained a major treasury where the money from the treasury chests was brought.
money: Lit., “copper,” that is, copper money, or copper coins, though the Greek word was also used as a general term for all money.—See App. B14.
two small coins: Lit., “two lepta,” the plural form of the Greek word le·ptonʹ, meaning something small and thin. A lepton was a coin that equaled 1/128 of a denarius and was evidently the smallest copper or bronze coin used in Israel.—See Glossary, “Lepton,” and App. B14.
of very little value: Lit., “which is a quadrans.” The Greek word ko·dranʹtes (from the Latin word quadrans) refers to a Roman copper or bronze coin valued at 1/64 of a denarius. Mark here uses Roman money to explain the value of coins commonly used by the Jews.—See App. B14.