Greek Study Mark 11:1-11
In Luke's gospel, the entry is tied to Jesus' journey to the cross, in fact it's not even an entry as such. The journey motif is present in Mark, yet for Mark the entry is a further unveiling of Jesus' credentials. Mark draws out the messianic significance of Jesus' triumphal entry with a number of observations which reveal His royal status:
- the disciples' act of respect by placing their garments on the colt making it into a makeshift throne
- the crowd's respect in laying out the red carpet by setting their garments on the road, along with leafy branches, a symbol of the Royal Maccabean House
- the shout of "Hosanna", meaning "save now" and the proclamation that Jesus is the fulfillment of Psalm 118:16.
All these taken together depict a triumphant Messiah. Both Matthew and Luke use this story in a very different way form Mark. Luke even changes it – which is unprecedented!
v1 εγγιζουσιν (εγγιζω) pres. "they approached" - present historical tense also used by Jesus in his first words in Mark, “the kingdom of God is near”.
Βηθφαγη "Bethphage" - A village east of Bethany, it's exact site is not known.
Βηθανιαν (a) "Bethany" - village two miles east of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives.
των ελαιων (α) gen. "[Mount] of Olives" adjectival, of location.
αποστελλει (αποστελλω) pres. "Jesus sent" - he sends ..... Sends with authority.
των μαθητων (ης ου) gen. "disciples" – actually "two from among his disciples."
v2 κατεναντι + gen. "ahead of" – lit. opposite, an adverb of place.
ευθυς adv. "just as" (immediately) temporal adverb, the use here seems local, i.e. the colt is at the entrance of the village.
εισπορευομενοι (εισπορευομαι) pres. part. "you enter" Given that Bethphage was on the Roman road to Jerusalem, it is likely Jesus has told his disciples to leave the road and go to Bethany on a side road to find the colt.
πωλον (ος) "a colt" - the young of any animal, often a horse's foal. Matthew and John say it is the foal of an ass, but a Roman reader would read it as a "young horse", an appropriate animal for a king riding into his capital to claim a crown. Mark does not emphasize Jesus' humility. For Mark, Jesus is not the meek king of Zechariah 9:9 but the triumphant king of Zech. 14:1-4.
δεδεμενον (δεω) perf. pas. part. "tied there" - participle serves as an object complement asserting a fact about the colt.
ανθρωπων (ος) "no man" - partitive. "On which no man has ever sat".
εκαθισεν (καθιζω) aor. "has [ever] ridden" - here of sitting upon the back of an animal and therefore "ridden". Remember in Roman thinking only three kinds of people rode horses: Patricians (knights – the Roman upper class); Legates (generals) and Imperators (Emperors). Riding a horse is a symbol of both wealth and power to Romans.
v3 ο κυριος (ος) "the Lord [needs it]" the "of it", αυτου (gen. pro. = possessive) goes with "has need" and not "Lord" otherwise we end up with "the Lord has need." This states that Jesus is the master of the animal, the Lord of it, which means he either has rented or owns it, if a Hebraic referent, "the Lord God" then the statement asserts the animal is needed for divine service. If attaining the animal was prearranged (i.e. if, as Mark asserts at the last supper, Jesus is a micro manager) then the words are a password authorizing the disciples to take what Jesus has already arranged for.
αποστελλει (αποστελλω) pres. "will send [it] back" the sense is someone brings (present tense) the animal immediately here, ie., to the disciples who have come to collect it. So, the words the disciples are to say to any person tending the animal are "The Lord [God?] has need of it."
v4 Mark goes into detail when setting the scene; απηλθον (απερχομαι) aor. "went out/away" του αμφοδου (ον) "the street" - usually a village with a number of streets intersecting. The animal is tethered out in the street, rather than in a stable or yard, so it is ready to be picked up, as pre-arranged.
λυουσιν (λυω) pres. "as they untied [it]" - the tense in this narrative is typically present expressing the action as it happened.
v5 των ... εστηκοτων (ιστημι) gen. perf. part. "people standing" -. Note Luke has οι κυριοι "the owners / masters" question the disciples' action. There are only two reasons Luke would depart from Mark’s received text. Thy are (in order of likelihood) 1) he has a different source so he chooses that over Mark, 2) he has a strong theological disagreement and/or he doesn’t understand the reference or 3) he is correcting a mistake.
λυοντες (λυω) pres. act. part. "[what are you doing] untying" the neighborhood watch at work.
v6 αυτοις dat. pro. "[they answered]" - Dative of indirect object.
αφηκαν (αφιημι) aor. "they let [them] go" apparently the answer of the disciples, "the lord has need of it", satisfies them so presumably they are aware of the arrangements, although Mark is possibly making an indirect point here about authority.
v7 εκβαλλουσιν (εκβαλλω) pres. "threw [their cloaks] over" - in place of a saddle. This is a strong demonstrative word, normally used by Mark to describe Jesus’ casting out demons.
v8 εστρωσαν (στρωννιμι) aor. "spread" - as for cushions on a bench or a bed. This seems to be a spontaneous action out of respect for Jesus.
στιβαδας (ας αδος) "branches" – literally “the stuff of mattresses”. Here probably foliage, but as it is from the "fields" it may well be just straw, or possibly olive branches. Palm fronds are an unlikely, although nice, thought (cf. John 12:13).
κοψαντες (κοπτω) aor. part. "cut" - cut .... having cut. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "branches"; "branches which they had cut."
εκ + gen. "from/ out of [the fields]" - expressing origin.
v9 οι προαγοντες (προαγω) pres. part. "some went ahead" – led the way - participle serves as a substantive.
οι ακολουθουντες (ακολουθεω) pres. part. "some followed" - serves as a substantive. Some commentators suggest two groups of people, those who came up with Jesus and those who came out from Jerusalem to meet him. Mark is probably saying that Jesus was surrounded by a crowd.
ωσαννα "Hosanna" - save us now – by this time the word is a common liturgical acclamation and so is not actually a prayer, although Mark is obviously well aware of its meaning as a prayer. By means of the blessing from Psalm 118:25-26, Jesus is acclaimed by the people. The quote is not strictly messianic, so it is unclear in what sense Jesus is being acclaimed. If it is a prayer, it literally means "God save the people". (Barclay).
ευλογημενος (ευλογεω) perf. pas. part. "blessed" The quotation from the Psalm is without a verb. With the participle ο ερχομενος, "the one coming", it serves as the subject; "the one coming is blessed", or "a blessing rests on him who appears".
εν + dat. "in [the name]" - to bear the authority of κυριου (ος) " the Lord" genitive is possessive.
v10 ευλογημενη (ευλογεω) perf. pas. part. "blessed" a nominative substantive, as above.
η ερχομενη (ερχομαι) pres. mid. part. "the coming" - participle is adjectival, limiting "kingdom"; "the kingdom of our father David which is coming." This phrase "the coming kingdom" is an unusual expression for a Jew, although not for a believer in the church.
βασιλεια (α) "kingdom" - The reign of God - domain and dominion.
του πατρος gen. "[our] father [David]" - a strange reference since "father" was normally reserved for the patriarchs.
ωσαννα "Hosanna en + dat. "in [the highest]" literally “in high heaven" so the acclamation is in heave as it is on earth. This is as close as Mark gets to heavenly choirs singing.
v11 το ιερον "the temple" - the whole temple precinct.
περιβλεψαμενος (περιβλεπω) aor. mid. part. "he looked around at"
ουσης (ειμι) gen. pres. part. "since it was” οψιας adj. "a late hour" μετα + gen. he left "with [the twelve]" – how anticlimactic is this? Yet it is consistent with the end of Mark’s Gospel which ends on the greatest anti-climax - an empty tomb!