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Mark 12:19-23

Context
12:19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us: ‘If a mans brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, that man 1  must marry 2  the widow and father children 3  for his brother.’ 4  12:20 There were seven brothers. The first one married, 5  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, 6  whose wife will she be? For all seven had married her.” 7 

1 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).

2 tn The use of ἵνα (Jina) with imperatival force is unusual (BDF §470.1).

3 tn Grk “raise up seed” (an idiom for fathering children).

4 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.

5 tn Grk “took a wife” (an idiom for marrying a woman).

6 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 mss most likely dropped the words from the text either to conform the wording to the parallel in Matt 22:28 or because “when they rise again” was redundant. But the inclusion of these words is thoroughly compatible with Mark’s usually pleonastic style (see TCGNT 93), and therefore most probably authentic to Mark’s Gospel.

7 tn Grk “For the seven had her as wife.”



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