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22 When they heard this they were amazed, and leaving him they went away.

The Question About the Resurrection.[a] 23 (A)On that day Sadducees approached him, saying that there is no resurrection.[b] They put this question to him, 24 (B)saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies[c] without children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’

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  1. 22:23–33 Here Jesus’ opponents are the Sadducees, members of the powerful priestly party of his time; see note on Mt 3:7. Denying the resurrection of the dead, a teaching of relatively late origin in Judaism (cf. Dn 12:2), they appeal to a law of the Pentateuch (Dt 25:5–10) and present a case based on it that would make resurrection from the dead ridiculous (Mt 22:24–28). Jesus chides them for knowing neither the scriptures nor the power of God (Mt 22:29). His argument in respect to God’s power contradicts the notion, held even by many proponents as well as by opponents of the teaching, that the life of those raised from the dead would be essentially a continuation of the type of life they had had before death (Mt 22:30). His argument based on the scriptures (Mt 22:31–32) is of a sort that was accepted as valid among Jews of the time.
  2. 22:23 Saying that there is no resurrection: in the Marcan parallel (Mk 22:12, 18) the Sadducees are correctly defined as those “who say there is no resurrection”; see also Lk 20:27. Matthew’s rewording of Mark can mean that these particular Sadducees deny the resurrection, which would imply that he was not aware that the denial was characteristic of the party. For some scholars this is an indication of his being a Gentile Christian; see note on Mt 21:4–5.
  3. 22:24 ‘If a man dies…his brother’: this is known as the “law of the levirate,” from the Latin levir, “brother-in-law.” Its purpose was to continue the family line of the deceased brother (Dt 25:6).

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