May 12, 2007

Mark 12.1-12

And he began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants and went into another country.

"When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruits of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him, and sent him home empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed, and so with many others; some they beat and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'

"But some tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.

"What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others.

"Have you not read this scripture?:
'The very stone which the builders rejected
is become the head of the corner;
this was the Lord's doing
and it is marvelous in our eyes!'"

And they tried to arrest him, but feared the multitude, for they perceived that he had told the parable against the; so they left him and went away.


At 7:26 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

All the synoptics have this, in the same context.

You can find the vineyard used as a symbol for Israel in Isaiah 5.1-7, and the odd verse at the end is from Psalms 118.22-23.

I am somewhat at a loss with this story. First of all, it's strange that we don't have three people sent, ala three you-name-its in the expected story pattern.

Also, the vineyard owner's behavior is peculiar; if said owner were anyone but God, I'd be looking for another boss as soon as he sent the second servant... And this does not sound like a safe place to send a son, certainly not one he wanted to see again.

And the psalm is about someone (the King?) asking to be let into the Temple. (If I have this right, it's about the King coming to the Temple for that obligatory reading from Deuteronomy--although I'm not entirely sure of it.) So what's this about a rejected stone--and who are those "builders"? Could it be taken to refer to the exiled elite who returned from exile, snubbed the locals for marrying foreigners and refused the help of the Samaritans in rebuilding the Temple? [The Samaritans, by the way, have their own story of how they separated from the Jerusalem establishment, which differs entirely from the official Biblical version--and sounded more plausible to me, for whatever that's worth.] And what would these things have referred to when the psalm was first written, presumably before the exile?

Hmmmm. The stone would be David himself?--who as a "man of blood" was not considered worthy to build the Temple? (And who was not of royal lineage himself, being an Ancestor rather being than the sort of person whose status is based on ancestors.)



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