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Bible Commentaries
Luke 7

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

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Verses 1-50

Raising of the Widow’s Son. The Woman who was a Sinner

1-10. Healing of the centurion’s servant. See on Matthew 8:5.

11-17. The raising of the widow’s son (peculiar to Lk). On the credibility and significance of Christ’s miracles of resurrection, consult Matthew 9:18; John 11:1.

11. Nain] 25 m. SW. of Capernaum on the hill ’little Hermon’ as it slopes down to the plain of Esdraelon: now a squalid collection of mud-hovels. Much people] RV ’a great multitude.’ Lazarus also was raised in the presence of a multitude of witnesses.

12. Carried out] Jewish tombs were always outside the walls, and burials were required to be performed within 24 hours. Only son] see Jeremiah 6:26; Zechariah 12:10; Amos 8:10.

14. The bier] a mere pallet, not a coffin.

I say unto thee] Elijah and Elisha raised the dead with difficulty, and after strong wrestlings with God in prayer (1 Kings 17:20-21; 2 Kings 4:33-34), Christ without effort, by a single word of power: cp. John 11:43.

16. A great prophet] or, ’even the prophet’ (Deuteronomy 18:15), for only the very greatest prophets had raised the dead.

18-23. A deputation from John the Baptist. See on Matthew 11:2.

24-35. Christ’s opinion of John. See on Matthew 11:7.

29, 30. Peculiar to Lk.

30. Rejected] RV ’rejected for themselves the counsel of God.’ God’s ’counsel,’ or design, was that they should be prepared for the coming of Christ by receiving John’s baptism.

36-50. Christ anointed at the house of Simon the Pharisee (peculiar to Lk). Placed here as an illustration of how ’Wisdom’ (i.e. the Gospel) is justified by the changed life of one of ’her children’ (this sinful woman). ’We are still in that epoch of transition when the rupture between our Lord and the Pharisees, although already far advanced, was not yet complete. A Pharisee could still invite Him without difficulty. It has been supposed that this invitation was given with a hostile intention. But this Pharisee’s own reflection, Luke 7:39, shows his moral state. He was hesitating between the holy impression which Jesus made upon him, and the antipathy which his caste felt against Him’ (Godet). The woman at the time of the incident was no longer a ’sinner’; she had been converted by Jesus, but the Pharisee did not know this.

This anointing is probably quite distinct from that at Bethany (Matthew 26:6; John 12:2), and the woman is not to be identified either with Mary Magdalene, or with Mary of Bethany, who were clearly women of good position and character (see on Matthew 26:6; John 12:2).

36. Sat down] or, rather, ’lay down,’ ’reclined.’

37. A sinner] i.e. a woman of ill fame, or, rather, one who had been such. She would have no difficulty in entering the house, as banquets in the East are generally public functions. An alabaster box (RV ’cruse’)] ’We have evidence that perfumed oils—notably oil of roses, and of the iris plant, but chiefly the mixture known in antiquity as foliatum—were largely manufactured and used in Palestine. A flask with this perfume was worn by women round the neck’ (see on Song of Solomon 1:13).

38. As Jesus was reclining (not sitting) with His head towards the table and His feet stretched out behind Him, the woman could easily act as indicated. Tears] She was overwhelmed by penitent recollections of her past life, and gratitude to Him who had saved her from it. Hairs] To appreciate this act we must remember that it was one of the greatest humiliations for a woman to be seen with her hair dishevelled. Similar acts of respect were sometimes, but rarely, paid to rabbis. A man once came to kiss the feet of Rabbi Jonathan, because he had induced filial reverence in his son. Anointing the feet was common among the Jews, the Romans, and the Greeks, especially at banquets.

39. This man, if he were a prophet] One good MS reads ’the prophet.’

40. Jesus answering] The Pharisee thought that Jesus did not know the woman’s history. Jesus shows the Pharisee that He can discern even the thoughts of his own heart. Simon] the same as Simeon, or Symeon. It is a mere coincidence that the other anointing took place at the house of a man of the same name. There are eleven Simons in the OT., nine in the NT., and twenty in Josephus.

41. Pence] i.e. denarius According to weight a denarius was about 8d., but according to purchasing power 2s. or more. The two debts were, therefore, about £50 and £5.

44. No water] cp. Genesis 18:4; Judges 19:21; 1 Samuel 25:41 and see on John 13:5.

46. Oil] which was cheap, as opposed to ointment, which was dear.

47. ’Thou canst see that she is a reformed character and that her many sins have been forgiven, because of the love she bears to Me, who have saved her from her sinful life.’ It should be carefully observed that the woman loved because she was forgiven, not forgiven because she loved.

To whom little is forgiven] i.e. ’Thou, Simon, like this woman, hast also been My disciple, but it is plain from the little love thou showest Me that, unlike her, thou hast not been brought to repentance through My ministry.’

48. Thy sins are forgiven] Christ had forgiven her before, when she turned from her old life. He now for her greater comfort renews the absolution. For the bearing of Christ’s absolving power upon His divinity, see on Matthew 9:1-8.

49. Sins also] RV ’even sins.’

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Luke 7". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/luke-7.html. 1909.
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