12:13 Then 1 they sent some of the Pharisees 2 and Herodians 3 to trap him with his own words. 4 12:14 When they came they said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and do not court anyone’s favor, because you show no partiality 5 but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 6 Is it right 7 to pay taxes 8 to Caesar 9 or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” 12:15 But he saw through their hypocrisy and said 10 to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius 11 and let me look at it.” 12:16 So 12 they brought one, and he said to them, “Whose image 13 is this, and whose inscription?” They replied, 14 “Caesar’s.” 12:17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 15 And they were utterly amazed at him.
12:18 Sadducees 16 (who say there is no resurrection) 17 also came to him and asked him, 18 12:19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us: ‘If a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, that man 19 must marry 20 the widow and father children 21 for his brother.’ 22 12:20 There were seven brothers. The first one married, 23 and when he died he had no children. 12:21 The second married her and died without any children, and likewise the third. 12:22 None of the seven had children. Finally, the woman died too. 12:23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, 24 whose wife will she be? For all seven had married her.” 25 12:24 Jesus said to them, “Aren’t you deceived 26 for this reason, because you don’t know the scriptures or the power of God? 12:25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels 27 in heaven. 12:26 Now as for the dead being raised, 28 have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, 29 how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the 30 God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 31 12:27 He is not the God of the dead but of the living. 32 You are badly mistaken!”
12:28 Now 33 one of the experts in the law 34 came and heard them debating. When he saw that Jesus 35 answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 12:29 Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 12:30 Love 36 the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 37 12:31 The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 38 There is no other commandment greater than these.” 12:32 The expert in the law said to him, “That is true, Teacher; you are right to say that he is one, and there is no one else besides him. 39 12:33 And to love him with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength 40 and to love your neighbor as yourself 41 is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 12:34 When Jesus saw that he had answered thoughtfully, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” Then no one dared any longer to question him.
‘The Lord said to my lord, 45
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ 46
12:38 In his teaching Jesus 48 also said, “Watch out for the experts in the law. 49 They like walking 50 around in long robes and elaborate greetings 51 in the marketplaces, 12:39 and the best seats in the synagogues 52 and the places of honor at banquets. 12:40 They 53 devour widows’ property, 54 and as a show make long prayers. These men will receive a more severe punishment.”
1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
3 sn Pharisees and Herodians made a very interesting alliance. W. W. Wessel (“Mark,” EBC 8:733) comments: “The Herodians were as obnoxious to the Pharisees on political grounds as the Sadducees were on theological grounds. Yet the two groups united in their opposition to Jesus. Collaboration in wickedness, as well as goodness, has great power. Their purpose was to trip Jesus up in his words so that he would lose the support of the people, leaving the way open for them to destroy him.” See also the note on “Herodians” in Mark 3:6.
4 tn Grk “trap him in word.”
5 tn Grk “and it is not a concern to you about anyone because you do not see the face of men.”
6 sn Teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Very few comments are as deceitful as this one; they did not really believe this at all. The question of the Pharisees and Herodians was specifically designed to trap Jesus.
7 tn Or “lawful,” that is, in accordance with God’s divine law. On the syntax of ἔξεστιν (exestin) with an infinitive and accusative, see BDF §409.3.
8 tn According to L&N 57.180 the term κῆνσος (khnso") was borrowed from Latin and referred to a poll tax, a tax paid by each adult male to the Roman government.
sn This question concerning taxes was specifically designed to trap Jesus. If he answered yes, then his opponents could publicly discredit him as a sympathizer with Rome. If he answered no, then they could go to the Roman governor and accuse Jesus of rebellion.
9 tn Or “the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).
10 tn Grk “Aware of their hypocrisy he said.”
11 tn Here the specific name of the coin was retained in the translation, because not all coins in circulation in Palestine at the time carried the image of Caesar. In other places δηνάριον (dhnarion) has been translated simply as “silver coin” with an explanatory note.
sn A denarius was a silver coin stamped with the image of the emperor and worth approximately one day’s wage for a laborer.
12 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate their response to Jesus’ request for a coin.
13 tn Or “whose likeness.”
sn In this passage Jesus points to the image (Grk εἰκών, eikwn) of Caesar on the coin. This same Greek word is used in Gen 1:26 (LXX) to state that humanity is made in the “image” of God. Jesus is making a subtle yet powerful contrast: Caesar’s image is on the denarius, so he can lay claim to money through taxation, but God’s image is on humanity, so he can lay claim to each individual life.
14 tn Grk “they said to him.”
15 sn Jesus’ answer to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s was a both/and, not the questioners’ either/or. So he slipped out of their trap.
16 sn The Sadducees controlled the official political structures of Judaism at this time, being the majority members of the Sanhedrin. They were known as extremely strict on law and order issues (Josephus, J. W. 2.8.2 [2.119], 2.8.14 [2.164-166]; Ant. 13.5.9 [13.171-173], 13.10.6 [13.293-298], 18.1.2 [18.11], 18.1.4 [18.16-17], 20.9.1 [20.199]; Life 2 [10-11]). They also did not believe in resurrection or in angels, an important detail in v. 25. See also Matt 3:7, 16:1-12, 22:23-34; Luke 20:27-38; Acts 4:1, 5:17, 23:6-8.
17 sn This remark is best regarded as a parenthetical note by the author.
18 tn Grk “and asked him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
19 tn Grk “his brother”; but this would be redundant in English with the same phrase “his brother” at the end of the verse, so most modern translations render this phrase “the man” (so NIV, NRSV).
20 tn The use of ἵνα (Jina) with imperatival force is unusual (BDF §470.1).
21 tn Grk “raise up seed” (an idiom for fathering children).
22 sn A quotation from Deut 25:5. This practice is called levirate marriage (see also Ruth 4:1-12; Mishnah, m. Yevamot; Josephus, Ant. 4.8.23 [4.254-256]). The levirate law is described in Deut 25:5-10. The brother of a man who died without a son had an obligation to marry his brother’s widow. This served several purposes: It provided for the widow in a society where a widow with no children to care for her would be reduced to begging, and it preserved the name of the deceased, who would be regarded as the legal father of the first son produced from that marriage.
23 tn Grk “took a wife” (an idiom for marrying a woman).
24 tc The words “when they rise again” are missing from several important witnesses (א B C D L W Δ Ψ 33 579 892 2427 pc c r1 k syp co). They are included in A Θ Ë1,(13) Ï lat sys,h. The strong external pedigree of the shorter reading gives one pause. Nevertheless, the Alexandrian and other
25 tn Grk “For the seven had her as wife.”
26 tn Or “mistaken” (cf. BDAG 822 s.v. πλανάω 2.c.γ).
27 sn Angels do not die, nor do they eat according to Jewish tradition (1 En. 15:6; 51:4; Wis 5:5; 2 Bar. 51:10; 1QH 3.21-23).
28 tn Grk “Now as for the dead that they are raised.”
30 tn Grk “and the,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.
32 sn He is not God of the dead but of the living. Jesus’ point was that if God could identify himself as God of the three old patriarchs, then they must still be alive when God spoke to Moses; and so they must be raised.
33 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
35 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
36 tn Grk “You will love.” The future indicative is used here with imperatival force (see ExSyn 452 and 569).
43 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.
44 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.
45 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.
48 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
51 sn There is later Jewish material in the Talmud that spells out such greetings in detail. See H. Windisch, TDNT 1:498.
54 tn Grk “houses,” “households”; however, the term can have the force of “property” or “possessions” as well (O. Michel, TDNT 5:131; BDAG 695 s.v. οἶκια 1.a).