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Mark 12:35-37

Context
The Messiah: David’s Son and Lord

12:35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he said, “How is it that the experts in the law 1  say that the Christ 2  is David’s son? 3  12:36 David himself, by the Holy Spirit, said,

The Lord said to my lord, 4 

Sit at my right hand,

until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ 5 

12:37 If David himself calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 6  And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.

1 tn Or “that the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 1:22.

2 tn Or “the Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 8:29.

3 sn It was a common belief in Judaism that Messiah would be David’s son in that he would come from the lineage of David. On this point the Pharisees agreed and were correct. But their understanding was nonetheless incomplete, for Messiah is also David’s Lord. With this statement Jesus was affirming that, as the Messiah, he is both God and man.

4 sn The Lord said to my Lord. With David being the speaker, this indicates his respect for his descendant (referred to as my Lord). Jesus was arguing, as the ancient exposition assumed, that the passage is about the Lord’s anointed. The passage looks at an enthronement of this figure and a declaration of honor for him as he takes his place at the side of God. In Jerusalem, the king’s palace was located to the right of the temple to indicate this kind of relationship. Jesus was pressing the language here to get his opponents to reflect on how great Messiah is.

5 sn A quotation from Ps 110:1.

6 tn Grk “David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ So how is he his son?” The conditional nuance, implicit in Greek, has been made explicit in the translation (cf. Matt 22:45).



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