On the first day
Of the week,
When the sun
To the tomb.”
καὶ λίαν πρωῒ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνῆμα, ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου.
All 4 gospel stories. Matthew, chapter 28:1, Luke, chapter 24:1, John, chapter 20:1, and here in Mark have this visit to the tomb take place in the early morning of the first day of the week, Sunday. Interesting enough the same Greek word is used for the day Sabbath and the week “σαββάτων.” Thus, this would have been the 3rd day since the death of Jesus on Friday. Mark said that very early on the first day of the week (καὶ λίαν πρωῒ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων) when the sun had risen (ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου), these 3 women went to the tomb (ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνῆμα).
“After the Sabbath,
As the first day
Of the week
And the other Mary
Went to see
Ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων, τῇ ἐπιφωσκούσῃ εἰς μίαν σαββάτων, ἦλθεν Μαριὰμ ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ ἡ ἄλλη Μαρία θεωρῆσαι τὸν τάφον.
There is no confusion about the day of the week when the empty tomb was first found. All 4 gospel stories have it take place after the Sabbath, on the early morning of the first day of the week, Sunday. Interesting enough the same Greek word is used for the day Sabbath and the week “σαββάτων.” Thus, this would have been the 3rd day since the death of Jesus on Friday. Mark, chapter 16:1-2, has something similar. However, the other Mary was identified as the mother of James, but also with Salome, the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Luke, chapter 23:56-24:1, said that it was the women from Galilee who brought spices to anoint the body. Only Luke did not mention Mary Magdalene. John, chapter 20:1, said that it was Mary Magdalene alone who came to the tomb. In all these stories, there was either one or more women, no men, who came to the tomb. Matthew said that after the sabbath (Ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων), as the first day of the week was dawning (τῇ ἐπιφωσκούσῃ εἰς μίαν σαββάτων), Mary Magdalene (ἦλθεν Μαριὰμ ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ) and the other Mary (καὶ ἡ ἄλλη Μαρία) went to see or experience the tomb (θεωρῆσαι τὸν τάφον). The idea of visiting a tomb or grave site would not have been out of the question, since this was a common practice.
“Now when the first group came,
They thought that
They would receive more.
But each of them
Also received a denarius.
When they received it,
Against the landowner.
‘These last laborers worked
Only one hour.
You have made them
Equal to us.
We have borne
The burden of the day
And the scorching heat.’”
καὶ ἐλθόντες οἱ πρῶτοι ἐνόμισαν ὅτι πλεῖον λήμψονται· καὶ ἔλαβον τὸ ἀνὰ δηνάριον καὶ αὐτοί.
λαβόντες δὲ ἐγόγγυζον κατὰ τοῦ οἰκοδεσπότου
λέγοντες Οὗτοι οἱ ἔσχατοι μίαν ὥραν ἐποίησαν, καὶ ἴσους αὐτοὺς ἡμῖν ἐποίησας τοῖς βαστάσασι τὸ βάρος τῆς ἡμέρας καὶ τὸν καύσωνα.
This parable is unique to Matthew, as Jesus continued his parable story. When the first group of hired laborers came (καὶ ἐλθόντες οἱ πρῶτοι) to get their pay as the last ones, they thought that they would receive more than the one denarius that all the later hired laborers had received (ἐνόμισαν ὅτι πλεῖον λήμψονται). However, each of them received one denarius (καὶ ἔλαβον τὸ ἀνὰ δηνάριον καὶ αὐτοί), what they had agreed to in the early morning. When they got this pay (λαβόντες δὲ), they grumbled against the landowner (ἐγόγγυζον κατὰ τοῦ οἰκοδεσπότου). They complained that the last hired laborers had worked only 1 hour (λέγοντες Οὗτοι οἱ ἔσχατοι μίαν ὥραν ἐποίησαν). This land owner had made them equal to those who had worked 12 hours (καὶ ἴσους αὐτοὺς ἡμῖν). They had been picking grapes all day long in the scorching heat (ἐποίησας τοῖς βαστάσασι τὸ βάρος τῆς ἡμέρας καὶ τὸν καύσωνα). This seemed grossly unfair. If the last hired got one denarius (15 cents) for 1 hour of work, why were they not paid 12 denarii ($1.80) for 12 hours of work. They seemed to have a good argument. However, so did those who started at 9 AM, noon, and 3 PM. They all got one denarius but did not grumble. Remember it is a story or parable.
“Yahweh sends out from Zion
Your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your foes!
Your people will offer themselves willingly,
On the day you lead your forces,
On the holy mountains.
From the womb of the morning,
Your youth will come to you.”
This is an extremely difficult passage to understand from the Hebrew text. It appears that Yahweh sends out the mighty scepter of David from Mount Zion in Jerusalem. King David would then rule in the middle of his foes and enemies. The people would offer themselves to David and be part of his armed forces. They would set out from the holy mountains. Somehow, David would regain his youth like the dew in the early morning.
“Happy are those
Whose strength is in you!
Happy are those
In whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca,
They make it a place of springs.
The early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength.
The God of gods will be seen in Zion.
God of hosts!
Hear my prayer!
O God of Jacob!”
The happy people are those who put their strength in Yahweh. The happy people are on their way to Zion. Even when they are in the valleys, there will be springs of water and gentle early morning rains. They go from strength to the strength of Yahweh, who is the God of gods, as if there were other false gods. Then there are the pleas for the God of Jacob, Yahweh, to give an ear and listen to his prayers. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.
“There is a river whose streams
Make glad the city of God.
This is the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city.
It shall not be moved.
God will help it
When the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar.
The kingdoms totter.
He utters his voice.
The earth melts.
Yahweh of hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.”
The symbolic river around the holy city of Jerusalem called streams only leads to the enchantment of this city of God. Those who live there are holy because God is in the midst of them. The city will not be moved since God is with them from early morning on. Even when the nations are in an uproar, or kingdoms are falling, God’s voice would be there to melt the earth. This section ends with the refrain of Yahweh, the God of Jacob, as his refuge. Perhaps this should have been in the first section also, before the Selah, musical interlude pause, as it is here.