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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Mark 12



Verse 1

Wine-fat ( ὑπολήνιον )

Rev., winespress. Only here in New Testament. The wine-press was constructed in the side of a sloping rock, in which a trough was excavated, which was the wine-press proper. Underneath this was dug another trough, with openings communicating with the trough above, into which the juice ran from the press. This was called by the Romans lacus, or the lake. The word here used for the whole structure strictly means this trough underneath ( ὑπό )the press ( ληνός ). This is the explanation of Wyc.'s translation, dalf (delved), a lake.

Went into a far country ( ἀπεδήμησεν )

But this is too strong. The word means simply went abroad. So Wyc., went forth in pilgrimage; and Tynd., into a strange country. Rev., another country. See on Matthew 25:14.

Verse 2

Of the fruits

Or, literally, from ( ἀπὸ ) the fruits, showing that the rent was to be paid in kind.


Verse 6


The best texts omit.


Mark only.

Verse 7

Those husbandmen

Lit., they the husbandmen. Wyc., tenants.

Verse 10

Scripture ( γραφὴν )

A passage of scripture: hence frequently this scripture; another scripture; the same scripture. Luke 4:21; John 19:37; Acts 1:16.

Verse 11

The Lord's doing ( παρὰ κυρίου )

Lit., from the Lord.


Verse 13

Catch ( ἀγρεύσωσιν )

From ἄγρα , hunting, the chase. Hence the picture in the word is that of hunting, while that in Matthew's word, παγιδεύσωσιν , is that of catching in a trap. See on Matthew 22:15.

Verse 14


See on Matthew 22:19.

Person ( πρόσωπον )


Shall we give, etc

A touch peculiar to Mark.

Verse 15


See on Matthew 20:2.

Verse 16

Image and superscription

See on Matthew 22:20.

Verse 17

They marvelled ( ἐξεθαύμαζον )

The preposition ἐξ , out of, indicates great astonishment. They marvelled out of measure. Hence Rev., marvelled greatly. The A. V. follows another reading, with the simple verb ἐθαύμαζον . The imperfect denotes continuance: they stood wondering.

Verse 18

Who ( οἵτινες )

This pronoun marks the Sadducees as a class: of that party characterized by their denial of the resurrection.

Asked ( ἐπηρώτων )

Stronger. They questioned.

Verse 24

Therefore ( διὰ τοῦτο )

A rendering which obscures the meaning. The words point forward to the next two clauses. The reason of your error is your ignorance of the scriptures and of the power of God. Hence Rev., correctly, Is it not for this cause that ye err?

Err ( πλανᾶσθε )

Lit., wander out of the way. Compare Latin errare. Of the wandering sheep, Matthew 18:12; 1 Peter 2:25. Of the martyrs wandering in the deserts, Hebrews 11:38. Often rendered in the New Testament deceive. See Mark 13:5, Mark 13:6. Compare ἀστέρες πλανῆται , wandering stars (Judges 1:13), from which our word planet.

Verse 26

How in the bush God spake

An utterly wrong rendering. In the bush ( ἐπὶ τοῦ βάτου )refers to a particular section in the Pentateuch, Exodus 3:2-6. The Jews were accustomed to designate portions of scripture by the most noteworthy thing contained in them. Therefore Rev., rightly, in the place concerning the bush. Wyc., in the book of Moses on the bush. The article refers to it as something familiar. Compare Romans 11:2, ἐν Ἠλίᾳ ; i.e., in the section of scripture which tells of Elijah. There, however, the Rev. retains the A. V. of Elijah, and puts in in the margin.

Verse 27

Ye do greatly err

An emphatic close, peculiar to Mark.

Verse 28

Well ( καλῶς )

Lit., beautifully, finely, admirably.

What ( ποία )

Rather, of what nature.

Verse 30

With all thy heart ( ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου )

Lit., out of thy whole heart. The heart, not only as the seat of the affections, but as the centre of our complex being - physical, moral, spiritual, and intellectual.

Soul ( ψυχῆς )

The word is often used in the New Testament in its original meaning of life. See Matthew 2:20; Matthew 20:28; Acts 20:10; Romans 11:3; John 10:11. Hence, as an emphatic designation of the man himself. See Matthew 12:18; Hebrews 10:38; Luke 21:19. So that the word denotes “life in the distinctness of individual existence” (Cremer). See further on ψυχικός , spiritual, 1 Corinthians 15:44.

Mind ( διανοίας )

The faculty of thought: understanding, especially the moral understanding.

Verse 31


See on Matthew 5:43.


Verse 32

Well, Master, thou hast said the truth; for there is one God

All the best texts omit God.

Well ( καλῶς )

Exclamatory, as one says good! on hearing something which he approves.

The truth ( ἐπ ' ἀληθείας )

Incorrect. The phrase is adverbial; of a truth, in truth, truthfully, and qualifies the succeeding verb, thou hast said.

For ( ὅτι )

The A. V. begins a new and explanatory sentence with this word; but it is better with Rev. to translate that, and make the whole sentence continuous: Thou hast truthfully said that he is one.

Verse 33

Understanding ( συνέσεως )

A different word from that in Mark 12:30. From συνίημι ,to send or bring together. Hence συνίημι is a union or bringing together of the mind with an object, and so used to denote the faculty of quick comprehension, intelligence, sagacity. Compare συνετῶν , the prudent, Matthew 11:25.

Verse 34

Discreetly ( νουνεχῶς )

From νοῦς , mind, and ἔχω ,to lave. Having his mind in possession: “having his wits about him.” The word occurs only here in the New Testament.

Verse 37

The common people ( ὁ πολὺς ὄχλος )

Not indicating a social distinction, but the great mass of the people: the crowd at large.

Verse 38

Desire ( θέλοντων )

See on Matthew 1:19.

Verse 39

Uppermost rooms ( πρωτοκλισίας )

More correctly, the chief couches,. So Rev., chief places.

Verse 40

Widows' houses

People often left their whole fortune to the temple, and a good deal of the temple-money went, in the end, to the Scribes and Pharisees. The Scribes were universally employed in making wills and conveyances of property. They may have abused their influence with widows.

Verse 41

The treasury

In the Court of the Women, which covered a space of two hundred feet square. All round it ran a colonnade, and within it, against the wall, were the thirteen chests or “trumpets” for charitable contributions. These chests were narrow at the mouth and wide at the bottom, shaped like trumpets, whence their name. Their specific objects were carefully marked on them. Nine were for the receipt of what was legally due by worshippers, the other four for strictly voluntary gifts. See Edersheim, “The Temple.”

Beheld ( ἐθεώρει )

Observed thoughtfully.


Note the graphic present tense: are casting.

Money ( χαλκὸν )

Lit., copper, which most of the people gave.

Cast in ( ἔβαλλον )

Imperfect tense: were casting in as he looked.

Much ( πολλά )

Lit., many things; possibly many pieces of current copper coin.

Verse 42

A certain ( μία )

Not a good translation. Lit., one as distinguished from the many rich. Better, simply the indefinite article, as Rev.

Poor ( πτωχὴ )

See on Matthew 5:3.

Mites ( λεπτὰ )

From λεπτός , peeled, husked; and thence thin or fine. Therefore of a very small or thin coin.

Farthing ( κοδράντης )

A Latin word, quadrans, or a quarter of a Roman as; quadrans meaning a fourth, as farthing is fourthing.

Verse 43

This poor widow ( ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ )

The Greek order is very suggestive, forming a kind of climax: this window, the poor one, orand she poor.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Mark 12:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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