During Jesus's dialogue with “the rich young man,” he recites a list of commandments that the rich man must follow. Most of these commandments come from the Decalogue. The exception occurs in Mark's version, in which Jesus also says, μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς, “Do not defraud.” Scholars have not agreed on why Mark's Jesus includes this injunction, which is not part of the traditional ten. This critical note argues that the best framework for interpretation emerges from an economic analysis of the conditions by which someone could become rich in first-century Galilee—conditions partially obscured to readers situated in modern Western “growth” economies. The commandment was thus specifically chosen as a prophetic critique of the rich man's prior activities that led to his wealth.

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