Which commandment is first? (Mk 12:28-12:28)

“One of the Scribes

Came near.

He heard them

Disputing with one another.

Seeing that Jesus

Had answered them well,

He asked him.

“Which commandment

Is the first of all of them?”


Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων, ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων, εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς, ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων;


This is similar to Matthew, chapter 22:34, but there the question was presented by a Pharisee lawyer, not a Scribe.  In Luke, chapter 10:25, there was an unnamed lawyer who wanted to know how to gain eternal life.  Here, Mark has an unnamed Scribe approach Jesus (Καὶ προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων) because he had heard the disciples discussing, disputing, or arguing with each other (ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συνζητούντων).  He saw how Jesus had answered their questions very well (εἰδὼς ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς).  He was not there to test him, but he did question Jesus (ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν).  He wanted to know which commandment was the first or the greatest (Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων), since there were 613 commandments in late Judaism.  Thus, it would seem like a legitimate question with so many commandments or laws.

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