Adam Clarke Commentary
The parable of the vineyard let out to wicked husbandmen, Mark 12:1-12. The Pharisees and Herodians question him about paying tribute to Caesar, Mark 12:13-17. The Sadducees question him about the resurrection, Mark 12:18-27. A scribe questions him concerning the chief commandment of the law, Mark 12:28-34. Christ asks the scribes why the Messiah is called David‘s son, Mark 12:35-37. He warns his disciples against the scribes, Mark 12:38-40. Of the widow that cast two mites into the treasury, Mark 12:41-44.
A certain man planted a vineyard - See this parable explained, Matthew 21:33-41 (note).
At him they cast stones and wounded him in the head - Or rather, as most learned men agree, they made short work of it, εκεφαλαιωσαν . We have followed the Vulgate, illum in capite vulneraverunt, in translating the original, wounded him in the head, in which signification, I believe, the word is found in no Greek writer. Ανακεφαλαιοομαι signifies to sum up, to comprise, and is used in this sense by St. Paul, Romans 13:9. From the parable we learn that these people were determined to hear no reason, to do no justice, and to keep the possession and the produce by violence; therefore they fulfilled their purpose in the fullest and speediest manner, which seems to be what the evangelist intended to express by the word in question. Mr. Wakefield translates, They speedily sent him away; others think the meaning is, They shaved their heads and made them look ridiculously; this is much to the same purpose, but I prefer, They made short work of it. Dr. Lightfoot, De Dieu, and others, agree in the sense given above; and this will appear the more probable, if the word λιθοβολησαντες , they cast stones, be omitted, as it is by BDL, the Coptic, Vulgate, and all the Itala.
This is the heir - So they appear to have acknowledged in their consciences that this was the Messiah, the heir of all things.
The inheritance shall be ours - By slaying him we shall maintain our authority, and keep possession of our revenues.
And will give the vineyard unto others - The vineyard must not perish with the husbandmen; it is still capable of producing much fruit, if it be properly cultivated. I will give it into the care of new vine-dressers, the evangelists and apostles. - And under their ministry, multitudes were brought to God before the destruction of Jerusalem.
And they send unto him - See this, and to Mark 12:17, largely explained on Matthew 22:15-22 (note).
Shall we give, or shall we not give? - This is wanting in the Codex Bezae, and in several versions.
See this question, concerning the resurrection, explained in detail on Matthew 22:23-32 (note).
When they shall rise - This clause is wanting in BCDL, four others, Syriac, later Arabic, later Persic, Coptic, Saxon, and two of the Itala. Griesbach leaves it doubtful.
But the God of the living - Θεος , God, is left out by ABCDKL, and in more than forty others, Syriac, one Arabic, one Persic, Coptic, Armenian, Gothic, Saxon, Vulgate, Itala, and Origen. Griesbach has omitted it.
Thou shalt love the Lord - On the nature and properties of the love of God and man, and the way in which this commandment is fulfilled, see the notes on Matthew 22:37, etc.
And the scribe said - The answer of the scribe, contained in Mark 12:32-34, is not found either in Matthew or Luke. This is another proof against Mark‘s supposed abridgment.
Thou art not far from the kingdom of God - This scribe appears to have been a prudent, sensible, and pious man; almost a Christian - so near the kingdom of God that he might have easily stepped in. It is very probable that he did at last believe in and confess Jesus.
How say the scribes - See Matthew 22:41, etc.
The common people heard him gladly - And were doubtless many of them brought to believe and receive the truth. By the comparatively poor the Gospel is still best received.
Beware of the scribes - See on Matthew 23:1 (note), etc.
Cast money into the treasury - It is worthy of observation, that the money put into the treasury, even by the rich, is termed by the evangelist χαλκον , brass money, probably that species of small brass coin which was called פרוטה (prutah) among the Jews, two of which make a farthing, and twenty-four an Italian assarius, which assarius is the twenty-fourth part of a silver penny. We call this, mite, from the French, miete, which signifies a crumb, or very small morsel. The prutah was the smallest coin in use among the Jews: and there is a canon among the rabbins that no person shall put less than two prutahs into the treasury. This poor widow would not give less, and her poverty prevented her from giving more. And whereas it is said that many rich persons cast in Much, πολλα , (many), this may only refer to the number of the prutahs which they threw in, and not to the value. What opinion should we form of a rich man, who, in a collection for a public charity, only threw in a handful of halfpence? See Luke 21:1, and see the note on Matthew 5:26. The whole of this account is lacking in Matthew. Another proof that Mark did not abridge him.
I.Christ the observer.
1.Christ observes all men and all things: all our actions are before his eyes, what we do in public and what we do in private are equally known unto him.
II.See the judgment Christ forms of our actions.
1.He appears surprised that so much piety should be found with so much poverty, in this poor widow.
Two important lessons may be learned from her conduct. 1. A lesson of humiliation to the rich, who, by reason of covetousness on the one hand, and luxury on the other, give but little to God and the poor. A lesson of reproof to the poor, who, through distrust of God‘s providence, give nothing at all. Our possessions can only be sanctified by giving a portion to God. There will be infallibly a blessing in the remainder, when a part has been given to God and the poor. If the rich and the poor reflect seriously on this, the one will learn pity, the other liberality, and both be blessed in their deed. He must be a poor man indeed who cannot find one poorer than himself.
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