Second and third brothers (Mk 12:21-12:21)

“The second brother

Married the widow.

Then he died.

He left no children.

The third brother

Did likewise.”

 

καὶ ὁ δεύτερος ἔλαβεν αὐτήν, καὶ ἀπέθανεν μὴ καταλιπὼν σπέρμα· καὶ ὁ τρίτος ὡσαύτως·

 

This story about the woman who married 7 brothers can be found in Matthew, chapter 22:26, and in Luke, chapter 20:31, almost word for word.  Mark said that the 2nd brother married the widow of the 1st brother or took her as his wife (καὶ ὁ δεύτερος ἔλαβεν αὐτήν).  Then he died (καὶ ἀπέθανεν) with no children or offspring (μὴ καταλιπὼν σπέρμα·), so that the 3rd brother did the same as the 2nd brother (καὶ ὁ τρίτος ὡσαύτως).  Thus, the same thing happened to the 2nd and 3rd brothers as happened to the 1st brother.  They all died childless after marrying the same woman.  There is a pattern here.

Advertisements

The brother’s wife (Mk 12:19-12:19)

“‘Teacher!

Moses wrote

For us

That if a man’s brother

Dies,

Leaving a wife,

But no child,

The man shall

Marry the widow

And raise up children

For his brother.’”

 

Διδάσκαλε, Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον, ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ.  

 

Matthew, chapter 22:24, and Luke, chapter 20:28, are almost word for word as here in MarkMark said that these Sadducees addressed Jesus very respectfully as “Teacher (Διδάσκαλε).”  These Sadducees quoted a Mosaic text that Moses had written for them (Μωϋσῆς ἔγραψεν ἡμῖν), from Deuteronomy, chapter 25:5-10.  If a man’s brother should die (ὅτι ἐάν τινος ἀδελφὸς ἀποθάνῃ) leaving behind a wife (καὶ καταλίπῃ γυναῖκα) without any children (καὶ μὴ ἀφῇ τέκνον), his living brother should take his dead brother’s widow as his wife (ἵνα λάβῃ ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ τὴν γυναῖκα).  He would then raise up the descendant children or seeds for his brother (καὶ ἐξαναστήσῃ σπέρμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ).  This levirate law goes back as far as Tamar in Genesis, chapter 38:1-30, with the story of Judah’s 3 sons and Tamar, the original wife of Er.  The brother of the deceased was supposed to marry his brother’s widow if he had no sons.  The widow was not to marry outside her family.  It also assumes that the brother lived close by or in the same house as his brother.  There was no indication of whether the brother was married or not, but this seems to assume a younger brother.  This was an attempt to prolong the heritage and name of a person, which was common in ancient times.  The punishment for the brother’s refusal was an insult rather than any physical punishment.

The works of the wicked (Ps 94:4-94:7)

“They pour out their arrogant words.

All the evildoers boast.                                              

They crush your people!

Yahweh!

They afflict your heritage.

They kill the widow.

They kill the stranger.

They murder the orphan.

They say.

‘Yahweh does not see.

The God of Jacob does not perceive.’”

Now the psalmist gives a description of what the wicked do. They pour out their arrogant words. They boast about their evil deeds. They crush the people of Yahweh’s heritage. They kill the widow, the stranger, and the orphans. Basically, they kill the weak people in society. They say that Yahweh does not see them. They proclaim that the God of Jacob does not perceive what is going on.