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Nothing is known of this occurrence except what is here stated. The altar, on which sacrifices to God were offered, was considered a sort of sanctuary, where human life was sacred, except in extreme cases of crime, such as demanded a sudden and terrible retribution. (See Exodus 21:14; also the narrative commencing 1 Kings 2:28-46.) It seems that Pilate, the Roman governor, exasperated by some sedition of certain Galileans who had come to Jerusalem to worship, had violated this sanctuary, and slain them in the very courts of the temple, mingling their blood with the blood of their sacrifices. The persons who came to Jesus with the tidings, expected, probably, that he would be betrayed into some expressions of abhorrence for this act of violence perpetrated against his countrymen, which might be made the means of involving him in difficulty with the Roman government. Instead of this, he simply deduces from the case a great moral truth, which is aptly illustrated by it, namely, that the calamities of this life are not to be understood as tests of guilt.
Siloam; a fountain near the walls of the city of Jerusalem. The tower might have been a part of the wall. (Nehemiah 3:15.)
This parable is intended further to illustrate the truth expressed before, by showing that they who are spared while others perish, are often spared only in mercy, and in hope of their repentance.
A spirit of infirmity. This was a case, apparently, of spinal distortion produced, according to the literal import of this language, by the agency of an evil spirit. So (Luke 13:16) she is spoken of as bound by Satan.
Ashamed; confounded.--All the people. We observe that the common people seem every where to have been friendly to the Savior. It was the Jewish rulers who were his enemies.
Luke 13:19-21. And thus the kingdom of Christ, from small and unnoticed beginnings, shall extend itself over the earth.
Strive, make earnest exertions.--Strait; narrow.
Luke 13:25-27. The sentiment plainly is, that many persons will be disappointed in their expectations of admission to the kingdom of heaven at last, because, although they may have been professed friends of the Savior, they never really imbibed his spirit or obeyed his commands.
There are last; those who enjoy few spiritual privileges, and who are little esteemed in this life.
They said this not as friends, but in a hostile and threatening manner.
That fox. This was Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great, and the one who slew John the Baptist. He did not possess the savage energy of his father, but, as usual with those who are trained up under the immediate pressure of a merciless despotism, he was crafty, cunning, and indirect in his aims, though in heart unprincipled and cruel.--To-day and to-morrow, &c. He meant that he must go on with his labors of kindness and love for a little time longer, and that then his work would be done.
These words might have been considered as a prediction of the events related in Matthew 21:7-9, were it not that Matthew records the words as spoken after that time. (Matthew 23:37,Matthew 23:39.) As it is, there is a difficulty in regard to their interpretation.
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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 13". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent