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I searched using references to Matthew 26:11 but couldn’t find anything. All of my reference books are currently packed away while my office is being refurbished. Specifically, I wonder if there are Greek or Aramaic considerations in regards to the Tanach text.

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3 Answers 3

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No. Mark 14:7 and Deuteronomy 15:11 have no connection in its message.

Let's review the verses

Mark 14:7 - The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. (NIV)

Deu 15:11 - There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. (NIV)

Note the differences in the perspective of these verses

  1. In Mark, the subject is on Jesus that Jesus is more precious than the poor. In Deuteronomy, the subject is the commandment that Israelites should help the poor Israelites.
  2. In Mark, Jesus did not specify who were the poor, that in general, could be Jews as well as gentiles. In Deuteronomy, it was very specific "your fellow Israelites".
  3. In Mark, Jesus didn't proclaim an urgency to help the poor as He used the words "help them any time you want". Instead Jesus implied an urgency to have Him as He said "you will not always have me". In Deuteronomy, the Lord proclaimed an urgency to help the poor as He used the word "command" as well as a condition that they had to be "openhanded".
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Matt 26:11, Mark 14:7 and John 12:8 all have Jesus making the statement,

"The poor you will always have with you"

This is a direct allusion to Deut 15:11 -

For there will never cease to be poor in the land ...

The LXX reads:

οὐ γὰρ μὴ ἐκλίπῃ ἐνδεὴς ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς σου = For the poor shall not fail off your land

(Essentially the same as the Hebrew.)

Most Bibles, both electronic and paper, have these cross-references included. They can be easily found in places like https://biblehub.com/bsb/matthew/26.htm

Further, this particular allusion/reference is also listed in UBS5 in an appendix, "Index of Allusions and verbal parallels". NA28 has a similar list of allusions and verbal parallels that includes this one.

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It appears that the weightiest response is #3. Even if most Bibles include these two pericopes as parallels, that only says what many believe. The meat is in observing the differences between the two. The most telling, I think, is that the Deuteronomy text refers to fellow Israelite while Mark’s Gospel emphasizes local conditions and the “you will not always have me” phrase.

It’s very easy to adopt a well-worn interpretation rather than recognizing specific differences. Thank you, each of you, for providing background.

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  • This seems to be a comment to Vincent Wong's answer. Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 16:27
  • The community will vote and comment accordingly in response to questions and answers. This area is for considered and substantial answers in their own right.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 28, 2022 at 13:51

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