Mark 12

The wine-fat; the cistern or reservoir which was to receive the wine when pressed from the grapes.—And built it tower; a watch-tower. The vineyard thus carefully prepared for the operations of the husbandman, represents the Jewish nation, which had been provided with many safeguards against the moral dangers which surrounded it, and with every inducement to be faithful in the service of God. Instead, however, of rendering him the obedience and the honor which were his due, they treated the prophets and the other messengers of Heaven, successively sent to them, in the manner described in the text.

Ps. 118:22, 23.

Herod Antipas, son of the old king, was at this time reigning over Galilee.

They supposed that, by thus complimenting his independence and moral courage, they should induce him to declare openly against paying tribute to the Roman government, and thus expose himself to the charge of treason. This charge, in fact, they did afterwards prefer. (Luke 23:2.) A proposal which is introduced by flattery usually conceals a snare.

No seed; no children.

Ex. 3:6.

The argument is, that he would not call himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, if these patriarchs had really ceased to exist, He would have said to Moses "I was the God of Abraham," &c. The Sadducees admitted the authority of the Old Testament scriptures, but they denied that the immortality of the soul was taught there; and, in fact, the allusions to this doctrine are far less frequent and unequivocal, in those scriptures than we should have expected to find them.

Deut. 6:4, 5. There is no distinction intended between the several clauses in v. 30. It is repetition for the sake of emphasis.

That Christ; that is, the expected Messiah. Those whom he was addressing did not acknowledge that he was himself the Christ.

By the Holy Ghost; by inspiration. (Ps. 110:1.)

The argument is, that David speaks of the coming Messiah as greatly his superior, and as sitting at the right hand of God; while the scribes considered him only as a human descendant of David, and as coming to reign with similar earthly power.

The Savior meant simply to call the attention of the disciples to the fact that the liberality of a gift depends not upon its intrinsic value, but upon its relation to the means of the giver. He says nothing to justify the neglect of prudence and discretion in acts of benevolence. It is not even certain that he meant to express any opinion in regard to the propriety of the gift in this case. He simply says that this widow did more than they all. Whether, in her circumstances, it was her duty to do so much, seems to be left undecided. We are taught by this incident that they whose means are small should not be discouraged from doing what they can, since God regards, not the amount of the gift, but the disposition and feelings of the giver. But, then, on the other hand, this passage should not be employed as a means of urging the poor and the depressed to distress themselves by exertions which it is not their duty to make.

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