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Bible Commentaries
Luke 5

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

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Verses 1-39

Miraculous Draught of Fishes. The Palsied Man

1-11. First miraculous draught of fishes (peculiar to Lk). Many critics identify this incident with that recorded in Matthew 4:18 and Mark 1:16. But there are important considerations on the other side: (1) the persons are different (there four disciples, here Peter is addressed); (2) the words used, though similar in sense, are very different in form; (3) the disciples are not said to have ’left all’ in Mt, but only to have left their father in the ship. Moreover, in Mt and Mk the disciples are fishing, here they are washing their nets before putting them away. Besides, if Mt and Mk really describe the same event, why do they omit the most striking incident of all, the miraculous draught of fishes? See on Matthew 4:18.

The incident was probably a miracle, but it is possible to give a plausible natural explanation of it. Tristram says: ’The thickness of the shoals of fish in the Lake of Gennesareth is almost incredible to any one who has not witnessed them. They often cover an area of more than an acre; and when the fish move slowly forward in a mass, and are rising out of the water, they are packed so close together, that it appears as if a heavy rain was beating down on the surface of the water.’ Fish so closely packed as this could not easily escape.

5. Master] implying that he was already a disciple. This particular word is peculiar to St. Luke.

8. Depart from me] ’Peter perceived that His command was effectual beyond expectation, and that He was a divine and supernatural man, and, therefore, feeling himself unworthy, begged Him to depart’ (Euthymius). It is natural for the sinful soul to shrink from the presence of the all-holy God. The nearness of God had been brought home to St. Peter by the miracle which he had just witnessed: cp. Exodus 20:18, Exodus 20:19.

10. Catch men] lit. ’catch them alive.’ The apostles are to catch men for life, not for death, by means of their preaching. In the works of Clement of Alexandria, 200 a.d., there is a beautiful hymn to Christ as the fisher:

’Fisher of mortal men, Even of those that are being saved.

Ever the holy fish From the wild ocean Of the world’s sea of sin By thy sweet life thou enticest away.’

12-16. The leper cleansed (Matthew 8:1; Mark 1:40). See on Mt.

16. And prayed] Peculiar to Lk, who more often than any other evangelist mentions our Lord’s prayers.

17-26. The Paralytic (Matthew 9:1; Mark 2:1). See on Mt.

27-39. Call of Levi, and the controversy as to fasting (Matthew 9:9; Mark 2:13). See on Mt.

39. (Peculiar to Lk.) Christ means that He cannot expect the disciples of John and of the Pharisees, who have tasted the old wine of the Law, and found it good, to receive at once and without difficulty the new teaching.

The old is better] So AV and RM; but RV ’the old is good.’

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Luke 5". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/luke-5.html. 1909.
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