Abstract

Mark 12:10–11 cites Ps 117:22–23 OG (118:22–23 MT) to conclude the parable of the tenants, which frames the gospel's second half. The citation from one of the most frequently cited psalms in the New Testament reinforces the parable's interpretation and thus plays an important role in the Markan narrative. Many interpreters conclude that the citation's impact on the parable comes only from the citation's self-contained imagery or, at most, the imagery's function in a psalm praising God for vindicating God's servant. In contrast, I contend that the psalm's place in the Egyptian Hallel, a collection that played an important liturgical function at multiple Jewish festivals, contributes to how early Christ-followers could have construed the psalm and thus understood its use in Mark. Specifically, I argue that, if the portrait of the nations in the Hallel, especially in Ps 116 OG, shapes how one understands Ps 117, then the citation of Ps 117 in Mark serves to confirm an interpretation of the “others” to whom the vineyard is given as a mixed community of gentiles who have forsaken their idolatry, along with the faithful from Israel, united by their response to Jesus.

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