Mark 3:24

When a kingdom is divided against itself, it cannot last;

o confusing satan
what a brilliant
simple strategy
get a word
to fight itself
meaning this and that
until fist finds nose
and we can’t go home again
a little mix-up here
a small misusage there
sibboleths and shibboleths
of their own design
a backward hat or tiara
signs without words
all get in the act
yes quite brilliant
justified rightness
so easily exploited
so many mini-explosions
teeter relatives
totter nations
until common good
whimpers away

Suppose that the leader of a nation, even a nation of apprentice demons such as Wormwood, would collude against its military arm.

In such a kingdom, this traitorous act would bring about a civil war as demons desire presence as much as you or I. No one wants to simply be cannon-fodder.

This point is one made long ago with writing on a wall (Daniel 5). Daniel dealt with a divided kingdom. Here the allusion comes around as more than a one-to-one rebuttal, but is deep irony.

The words on the wall—MENE, TEKEL, PARES—means your days have been numbered, your significance come up short, and you are divided.

Philip Carrington, According to Mark: A Running Commentary on the Oldest Gospel, states “pharsin [pares] means ‘divided’, and is identical with the word Pharisee, the ‘separated’ sect.” He follows this with two questions you may hear under Jesus’ response to the Pharisee Investigation Team from occupied Jerusalem: “Has Satan’s kingdom gone ‘Pharisee’? Is the writing on the wall?”

This is word-play with a vengeance. A nice, quiet parable this is not. When listening in to Mark, the urgency felt is of life-and-death quality. Whether doing good and receiving a conspiracy or gathering internal leadership that contains a betrayer, paying attention to the little things begins to reveal significant considerations: where is a good message grounded? What resistance will it face? How best can it be implemented in a trickster or adversarial setting?