Gospel of Mark’s use of Jewish scriptures for Jesus’ Jerusalem entry narrative

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by Neil Godfrey

Still continuing the Margaret Barker series, but interrupting to toss in a couple of posts on another aspect of the Gospel of Mark in the meantime. This continues from the previous post on Mark 13.

Everyone knows how indebted the Passion Narrative is to allusions to the “Old Testament” scriptures (e.g.  Psalm 22), and few deny the Elijah, Elisha and other Jewish scripture templates for miracles of Jesus in the early part of the gospel (e.g. raising a dead child in an upper room of a house; feeding large numbers with little), so this post is a draft attempt to fill in an often missing middle bit. And I think it has significant implications in many discussions about how the gospel was constructed and what it can tell us about the origins of the orthodox Christian narrative, and when.

There is an argument that attempts to explain the heavy reliance of the gospel Passion Narrative on Old Testament passages by proposing that these events had to be constructed out of “old cloth” since there was no-one there to witness them. But as demonstrated in my previous post, the same in depth weaving of OT quotations, allusions and influences began in the prophetic discourse of Mark 13, a chapter that is often seen as originally being a separate apocalyptic composition borrowed and adapted by the author of the gospel. In this context, it is interesting that the Passion Narrative itself has sometimes been thought to have been composed separately from the rest of the gospel, and that the earlier chapters were a subsequent afterthought.

Howard Clark Kee sees the thick mixture of OT references beginning in chapter 11, and continuing through the entire section from chapters 11 to 16, as evidence that this entire section, the narrative from the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem up to the time of the empty tomb, as a cohesive literary unit. The author of this gospel chose to create this entire section with the tints and echoes and materials of the Jewish scriptures and other closely related texts such as 1 Enoch.

Red are the quotations

Purple are the allusions

Blue are the influences

Black italics — from sources other than Kee


[1] And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,
[2] And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.

Zechariah 14:4-5 And in that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east  . . . Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with him.

Zechariah 2:10 “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the LORD.

Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoiced greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you, He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey.

Zechariah 3:14; Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem

Genesis 49:11 Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine . . .

Deuteronomy 21:3 And it shall be that the elders of the city nearest to the slain man will take a heifer which has not been worked and which has not pulled with a yoke

Numbers 19:2 This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come.

1 Samuel 10:2 And when you have departed from me today, you will find two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, “The donkeys which you went to look for have been found . . .”

[3] And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.
[4] And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.
[5] And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?
[6] And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.

1 Samuel 10:9 . . . and all those signs came to pass that day

[7] And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.
[8] And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.

Zechariah 14:4? (Kee cites 14:4 . . . suspect this is a typo for 9:9 . . . )
Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoiced greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you, He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey.

II Kings 9:13 Then each man hastened to take his garment and put it under him on the top of the steps; and they blew trumpets, saying, “Jehu is King!”

1 Maccabees 13:51 In the twenty-third day of the second month, in the year one hundred and seventy-one, the Jews entered the citadel with shouts of jubilation, waving of palm branches, the music of harps and cymbals and lyres, and the singing of hymns and canticles, because a great enemy of Israel had been destroyed.

1 Kings 1:32-34 King David said, “Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came before the king, he said to them: “Take your lord’s servants with you and set Solomon my son on my own mule and take him down to Gihon. There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’  Then you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah.”

[9] And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:

Psalm 118:25a (LXX)  Blessed is he that comes in the name of the LORD

Isaiah 33:22 The LORD is our King; He will save us. . .

Jeremiah 33:14-16 Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely, And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

[10] Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

Psalm 118:25-26a (LXX) Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord. God is the Lord, and he has shined upon us: celebrate the feast with thick branches, . . .

Daniel 7:13 (LXX) And to him was given the dominion, and the honour, and the kingdom; and all nations, tribes, and languages, shall serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom shall not be destroyed.

[11] And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.

Malachi 3:1 And the LORD whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple

[12] And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany [Bethany = “House of figs”], he was hungry:
[13] And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.

Hosea 9:10b I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first-fruits on the fig tree in its first season . . .

Micah 7:1 Woe is me! For I am like those who gather summer fruits, like those who glean vintage grapes. There is no cluster to eat of the first ripe fruits which my soul desires.

Habbakuk 3:17 Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vine; Though the labour of the olives may fail, and the fields yield no food,  . . .

Joel 1:12 The vine dries up And the fig tree fails; The pomegranate, the palm also, and the apple tree, All the trees of the field dry up. Indeed, rejoicing dries up From the sons of men.

[14] And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
[15] And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
[16] And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.

Malachi 3:1 And the LORD whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple

Hosea 9:15 Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from my house

Zechariah 14:21 In that day their shall no longer be a trader/merchant in the house of the LORD of hosts.

Psalm of Solomon 17:30f And he shall purge Jerusalem, making it holy as of old: So that nations shall come from the ends of the earth to see his glory

First Enoch 90:28-29 And I stood up to see till they folded up that old house; and carried off all the pillars, and all the beams and ornaments of the house were at the same time folded up with it, and they carried  it off and laid it in a place in the south of the land. And I saw till the Lord of the sheep brought a new house greater and loftier than that first, and set it up in the place of the first which had beer folded up: all its pillars were new, and its ornaments were new and larger than those of the first, the old one which He had taken away, and all the sheep were within it.

Berakoth 9:5 [one cannot enter a temple with a wallet]

[17] And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Isaiah 56:7 (LXX)  For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations

Zechariah 14:16, 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts . . . In that day there shall no longer be a merchant in the house of the LORD of hosts.

Jeremiah 7:11 (LXX) Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of thieves in your eyes?

Isaiah 2:2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow to it.

Matthew 21:14 Then the blind and the lame came into the Temple and he healed them

2 Samuel 5:8 (LXX)  Now David said on that day, “Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft and defeats the Jebusites (the lame and the blind who are hated by David’s soul) he shall be chief and captain.” Therefore they say, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”

[18] And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.
[19] And when even was come, he went out of the city.
[20] And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
[21] And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.
[22] And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
[23] For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
[24] Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
[25] And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
[26] But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
[27] And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,
[28] And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?
[29] And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
[30] The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.
[31] And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him?
[32] But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.
[33] And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.


[1] And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.

Isaiah 5:1-2 (LXX)  My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleare out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so he expected it to bring forth good grapes, but it brought forth wild grapes. . .

[2] And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.

Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord God does nothing unless he reveals his secret to his servants the prophets.

Zechariah 1:6 Yet surely my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? So they returned and said: Just as the Lord of hosts determined to do to us, according to our ways and according to our deeds, so he has dealt with us.

Joshua 14:7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart.

Jeremiah 7:25; 25:4 Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. . . . .  And the Lord has sent to you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear.

[3] And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
[4] And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
[5] And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.

2 Chronicles 36:15-16; 24:19 And the Lord God of the fathers sent warnings to them by his messengers, rising up early and sending them, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling-place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised his words, and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy . . . .  And he sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the Lord: and they testified against them, but they would not listen.

Jeremiah 7:25; 25:4 Since your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. . . . . And the Lord has sent to you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear.

[6] Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.

Genesis 22:2 And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love . . .

Judges 11:34 And when Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing: and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter.

[7] But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.

Genesis 37:20 (LXX) Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit . . .

[8] And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
[9] What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.

Psalm 96:13 For he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people’s with his truth.

Amos 5:17 In all vineyards there shall be wailing, for I will pass through you, Says the Lord.

First Enoch 1:9 And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

[10] And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:
[11] This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

Psalm 118:22-23 (LXX) The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner-stone. This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

Isaiah 28:16 (LXX) Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation. A tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation. Whoever believes will not act hastily.

[12] And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
[13] And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
[14] And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?

Leviticus 19:15 You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty. But in righteousness you shall judge your neighbour.

Malachi 2:9 Therefore I have made you contemptible and base before all the people. because you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in the law.

Psalm 1:1, 6 Blessed is the man who walks not in the cousel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, . . .

[15] Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.
[16] And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s.
[17] And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.
[18] Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,
[19] Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
[20] Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.

Deuteronomy 25:5f If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And it shall be that the first-born son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.

Genesis 38:8 And Judah said to Onan, Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.

Isaiah 4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat out own food and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach.

[21] And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.
[22] And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.
[23] In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
[24] And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?
[25] For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

Tobit 12:19 (LXX) All these days I did appear unto you; but I did neither eat nor drink, but ye did see a vision. Now therefore give God thanks: for I go up to him that sent me; but write all things which are done in a book. And when they arose, they saw him no more. Then they confessed the great and wonderful works of God, and how the angel of the Lord had appeared unto them.

[26] And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

Exodus 3:6, 15. 16 Moreover he said, I am the God of your father — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. . . . (repeat X 2)

[27] He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
[28] And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
[29] And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (LXX) Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.

Joshua 22:5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to keep his commandments, to hold fast to him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

[30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
[31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Leviticus 19:18 (LXX) . . . you shall love your neighbour as yourself

Testament of Dan 5:3 Love the Lord through all your life, And one another with a true heart.

Testament of Issachar 5:2, 7:6 But love the Lord and your neighbour, Have compassion on the poor and weak. . . . . I loved the Lord; Likewise also every man with all my heart.

[32] And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!

Deuteronomy 4:35 the Lord himself is God; there is none other beside him.

Isaiah 45:2 . . . And there is no other God beside me

[33] And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Deuteronomy 6:5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.

Joshua 22:5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to keep his commandments, to hold fast to him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Leviticus 19:18 . . . you shall love your neighbour as yourself

1 Samuel 15:22 Then Samuel said, Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.

Hosea 6:6 (LXX) For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Hosea 6:6 (LXX) For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Proverbs 21:3 To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

[34] And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
[35] And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?

Isaiah 11:1-9 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins. The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious. On that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that is left of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.

Jeremiah 23:5f; 33:14-18 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David [a] a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.  In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. . . . . . ‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. ” ‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it  will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.’  For this is what the LORD says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, nor will the priests, who are Levites, ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’ ”

Ezekiel 34:23f; 37:24 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken. . . . . .My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.

Psalm 89:20ff I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him. No enemy will subject him to tribute; no wicked man will oppress him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries. My faithful love will be with him, and through my name his horn will be exalted. I will set his hand over the sea, his right hand over the rivers. He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’ I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure.

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Psalm 2:2, 6 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed . . . . Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion.

[36] For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Psalm 110:1 (LXX) The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.

Psalm 2:7 The Lord has said to me, You are my Son, today I have begotten you.

Psalm 89:20-23 I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him. No enemy will subject him to tribute; no wicked man will oppress him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries.

[37] David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
[38] And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
[39] And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
[40] Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
[41] And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

2 Kings 12:9 Then Jehoiada the priest took a chest, bored a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of the Lord; and the priests who kept the door put there all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord.

[42] And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
[43] And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
[44] For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

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12 thoughts on “Gospel of Mark’s use of Jewish scriptures for Jesus’ Jerusalem entry narrative”

  1. Maybe you are right. (Though how would a twig be used to bind a sacrifice?) I would have to study it a lot more to comment. Unfortunately time is too short for me at this moment to do that. But I’m open further input.

  2. GoogleBooks displays a relevant page — but best to scroll back to start at page 57 — from Psalm 118 in the Gospel of John: An Intertextual Study on the New Exodus Pattern in the Theology of John authored by Andrew Brunson.

    Re your “poli” reference — I am a little dismayed at much of the “quality” of criticism of Dennis MacDonald’s work. So much seems to be rooted in little more than incredulity and so little addresses the criteria he uses.

  3. I could not find “branches” in Psalm 118:26, LXX. I am sure Psalm 118 was used by Mark to create that scene, but I could not find any Greek word for branches in Psalm 118.

  4. I have a Greek version of the LXX. Sorry I do not know the publisher, freebie from the Internet. Here are the words:

    sustesaste eorten en tois pukazousin eos ton keraton….

    I think the key word is pukazousin. It seems that is is a twig or something else to bind the sacrifice to the horns of the altar.

    Mark uses:

    stoibadas ekoptou ek ton dendron

    That is clearly referring to branches cut from trees. So, is pukazousin a synonym of stoibadas?

  5. Well, in Italy farmers used twigs of willows to bind the grape vines to their trellises, for example. Anyway, the links you gave are English translation of the LXX and the translators use the term “branches” for pukazousin. I guess we need someone versed in Greek to explain how you go from their to branches. Anyway, Mark did no use that word. Maybe he thought that “stoibadas” was more appropriate. I wonder if that word is used to describe the Feast of Tabernacles.

  6. I read the references a little bit more carefully this time. You will notice that the words “branches, to bind the victims” are added to the translation, but are not in the Greek.

    It seems that the English translators used the Hebrew text to supply these ‘missing’ words. Going back to the Hebrew text, we can read the word ‘b-obthim’ translated as ‘in entwined boughs’. It seems that the people would carry these boughs in procession and bring them to the temple to be used to bind the sacrifices to the horns of the altar.

    I wonder if the text the Mark used had the missing words.

    Anyway, I am sure that Mark used Psalm 118. He gives this away by having Jesus himself quote from this psalm a little bit later. It seems that Mark likes to give hints about his sources.

    I find striking the hint “poli” that the demon possessed man of Gerasa gives. It hints that Mark is using the story of Poli-phemos of the Odyssey (as well as Psalm 107).

  7. Thanks Neil for the interesting reference. I am totally convinced that Mark used Psalm 118 to construct the scene of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

    Out of Psalm 118 he took the gate, procession, invocation, branches, temple, salvation, and maybe other motifs. Mark uses, and explicitly quotes Psalm 118 shortly after.

    That is an interesting parallel to the stories of the storm on the lake followed by the demon possessed where in both stories Psalm 107 is used.

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