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Home > Commentaries > Barnes' Notes > Mark > Chapter 12

Barnes' Notes on the New Testament

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Verses 1-12. See this parable explained in Barnes Notes on Matthew 21:33-46

{n} "A certain man" Matthew 21:33; Luke 20:9

Verse 2. No Barnes text on this verse.

{o} "fruit" Song of Solomon 8:11; Micah 7:1; Luke 12:48; John 15:1-8

Verse 3. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 4. No Barnes text on this verse.

{p} "cast stones" Hebrews 11:37

Verse 5. No Barnes text on this verse.

{q} "and many others" Nehemiah 9:30; Jeremiah 7:25
{r} "killing some" Matthew 23:37

Verse 6. No Barnes text on this verse.

{s} "he sent" Hebrews 13:12

Verse 7. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 8. No Barnes text on this verse.

{t} "cast him out" Hebrews 13:12; 9:26

Verse 9. No Barnes text on this verse.

{u} "and destroy" Proverbs 1:24-31
{v} "will give" Jeremiah 17:3

Verse 10. No Barnes text on this verse.

{w} "stone which" Psalms 118.22

Verse 11. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 12. No Barnes text on this verse.

{x} "And they sought" Mark 11:18; John 7:30

Verses 13-17. See Barnes "Matthew 22:15" and Matthew 22:16-22

Verse 13. No Barnes text on this verse.

{y} "And they send" Matthew 22:15; Luke 20:20

Verse 14. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 15. No Barnes text on this verse.

{1} "penny" or "Valuing of our money, seven pence halfpenny,
as Matthew 22:19

Verse 16. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 17. No Barnes text on this verse.

{z} "to Caesar" Matthew 17:25-27; Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17
{a} "to God" Ecclesiastes 5:4,5; Malachi 1:6

Verses 18-27. See this passage fully explained in Matthew 22:23-33.

Verse 18. No Barnes text on this verse.

{b} "Then come unto him" Matthew 22:23; Luke 20:27
{c} "say there is" Acts 23:8

Verse 19. No Barnes text on this verse.

{d} "wrote unto us" Deuteronomy 25:5
{e} "his brother should" Ruth 1:11,13

Verse 20. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 21. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 22. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 23. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 24. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 25. Are as the angels. That is, as the angels in respect to connexions and relations. What that may be we know not; but this passage teaches that the peculiar relation of marriage will not exist. It does not affirm, however, that there will be no recollection of former marriages, or no recognition of each other as having existed in this tender relation.

{f} "but are" 1 Corinthians 15:42-53

Verse 26. How in the bush. At the burning bush. See Exodus 3:6. In that part of the book of Exodus which contains the account of the burning bush. When there were no chapters and verses, it was the easiest way of quoting a book of the Old Testament by the subject, and in this way it was often done by the Jews. Mark 12:28-34. See Matthew 22:34-40.

{g} "saying, I am" Exodus 3:6

Verse 27. No Barnes text on this verse.

{h} "ye do therefore" Mark 12:24

Verses 28-34. See Matthew 22:34-40.

Verse 28. Perceiving that he answered them well. That is, with wisdom, and with a proper understanding of the law. In this case the opinion of the Saviour corresponded with that of the Pharisees; and this question seems to have been one of the very few candid inquiries made of him by the Jews, for the purpose of obtaining information. Jesus answered it in like spirit of kindness, and commend the conduct of the man.

{i} "And one of the Scribes" Matthew 22:35

Verse 29. Hear, O Israel. This was said to call the attention of the to the great importance of the truth about to be proclaimed. See Deuteronomy 6:4,6.

The Lord our God, etc. Literally, "Jehovah, our God, is one Jehovah." The other nations worshipped many gods, but the God of the Jews was one, and one only. Jehovah was undivided; and this great truth it was the design of the separation of the Jewish people from other nations to keep in mind. This was the peculiar truth which was communicated to the Jews, and this they were required to keep and remember for ever.

{k} "commandments is" Deuteronomy 6:4,5; Luke 10:27

Verse 30. And thou shalt love. If Jehovah was the only God, then they ought not to love any other being supremely. Then they might not bow down before any idol. They were required to love God above all other beings or things, and with all the faculties of their minds.

Verse 31. No Barnes text on this verse.

{l} "Thou shalt love" Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39; Romans 13:9

Verses 32-34. This answer of the scribe is not found in Matthew.

Verse 32. Is more than all. Is of more importance and value.

Discreetly. Wisely, according to truth.

Not far from the kingdom of God. Thou who dost prefer the internal to the external worship of God--who hast so just a view of the requirements of the law--canst easily become a follower of me, and art almost fit to be numbered among my disciples. This shows that a proper understanding of the Old Testament, of its laws and requirements, would prepare the mind for Christianity, and fit a man at once to embrace it when presented. One system is grafted on the other, agreeably to Galatians 3:24.

No man durst ask him any question. That is, no one of the scribes, the Pharisees, or the Sadducees, durst ask him a question for the purpose of tempting him, or entangling him. He had completely silenced them. It does not appear, however, but that his disciples dared to ask him questions for the purpose of information.

{m} "and there is" Deuteronomy 4:39; Isaiah 45:5,6,14; 46:9

Verse 33. No Barnes text on this verse.

{n} "is more than" 1 Samuel 15:22; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8

Verse 34. No Barnes text on this verse.

{o} "ask him any question" Matthew 22:46

Verses 35-37. See Matthew 22:41-46

Verse 35. No Barnes text on this verse.

{p} "And Jesus" Matthew 22:41; Luke 20:41

Verse 36. No Barnes text on this verse.

{q} "by the Holy Ghost" 2 Samuel 23:2; 2 Timothy 3:16

Verse 37. The common people heard him gladly. The success of our Saviour in his preaching was chiefly among the common or the poorer class of people. The rich and the mighty were too proud to listen to his instructions. So it is still. The chief success of the gospel is there, and there it pours down its chief blessings. This is not the fault of the gospel. It would bless the rich and the mighty as well as the poor, if they came with like humble hearts. God knows no distinctions of men in conferring his favours; and wherever there is a poor, contrite, and humble spirit--be it clothed in rags or in purple--be it on a throne or a dunghill--there he confers the blessings of salvation.

Verse 38. In his doctrine. In his teaching, for so it should be rendered.

Beware of the Scribes. Be on your guard, Be cautious about hearing them, or following them.

Scribes. The learned men of the Jewish nation.

Which love to go in long clothing. In long flowing robes, as significant of their consequence, leisure, and learning.

Salutations, etc. See Matthew 23:6,7.

Verse 39. No Barnes text on this verse.

{u} "chief seats" Luke 11:43

Verse 40. Which devour widows' houses. Which devour the families of widows, or the means of supporting their families. This they did under pretence of counselling them in the knowledge of the law, and in the management of their estates. They took advantage of their ignorance and unprotected state, and either extorted large sums for their counsel, or perverted the property to their own use. No wonder that our Saviour denounced them! If there is any sin of peculiar enormity, it is thus taking advantage of the circumstances of the poor, the needy, and the helpless, and wronging them out of the pittance on which they depend to support their families. And as God is the Friend of the widow and the fatherless, it may be expected that such will be visited with heavy condemnation.

For a pretence. For show, or pretending great devotion.

{v} "widow's houses" 2 Timothy 3:6

Verse 41. Sat over against. Opposite to, in full sight of.

The treasury. This was in the court of the women. See Matthew 21:12. In that court there were fixed a number of places or coffers, made with a large open mouth, in the shape of a trumpet, for the purpose of receiving the offerings of the people; and the money thus contributed was devoted to the service of the temple--to incense, sacrifice, etc.

{w} "And Jesus sat" Luke 21:3
{1} "cast money" "A piece of brass money;" see Matthew 10:9

Verse 42. Two mites. The word translated mite denotes a small coin made of brass, the smallest in use among the Jews. The precise value cannot now be easily estimated. It was much less than any coin we have, as the farthing was less than an English farthing. It was in value about three mills and a half, or one third of a cent.

{2} "two mites" "7th part of that piece of brass money"

Verse 43. This poor widow hath cast more in, etc. That is, more in proportion to her means, and therefore more that was acceptable to God. He does not mean that this was more in value than all which the others had put in, but it showed more love to the sacred cause, more self-denial, and of course more sincerity in what she did. This is the rule by which God will reward us. Compare 2 Corinthians 8:12.

{x} "this poor widow" 2 Corinthians 8:2,12

Verse 44. Of their abundance. Of their superfluous store. They have given what they did not need. They could afford it as well as not; and in doing it they have shown no self-denial.

She of her want. Of her poverty.

All her living. All that she had to live on. She trusted in God to supply her wants, and devoted her little property entirely to him. From this passage we may learn:

(1.) That God is pleased with offerings made to him and his cause.

(2.) That it is our duty to devote our property to God. We received it from him; and we shall not employ it in a proper manner unless we feel that we are stewards, and ask of him what we shall do with it. Jesus approved the conduct of all who had given money to the treasury.

(3.) That the highest evidence of love to the cause of religion is not the amount given, but the amount compared with our means.

(4.) That it may be proper to give all our property to God, and to depend on his Providence for the supply of our wants.

(5.) That God does not despise the humblest offering, if made in sincerity, He loves a cheerful giver.

(6.) That there are none who may not in this way show their love to the cause of religion. There are few, very few scholars in all our Sabbath schools, who may not give as much to the cause of religion as this poor widow; and Jesus would be as ready to approve their offerings as he was hers, and the time to begin to be benevolent and to do good is in early life, in childhood.

(7.) That it is every man's duty to make inquiry, not how much he gives, but how much compared with what he has; how much self-denial he practises, and what is the motive with which it is done.

(8.) We may remark that few practise self-denial for the purposes of charity. Most give of their abundance--that is, what they can spare without feeling it--and many feel that this is the same as throwing it away. Among all the thousands who give to these objects, how few deny themselves of one comfort, even the least, that they may advance the kingdom of Christ!

{y} "abundance" 1 Chronicles 29:3,17; 2 Chronicles 24:10
{z} "even all her living" Deuteronomy 24:6

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Mark 12". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". <>.  


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