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Wednesday, September 27th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 18

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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Verse 1

Luke 18:1 . παραβολὴν : the story is a parable in so far as it teaches by an incident in natural life the power of perseverance with reference to the spiritual life. πρὸς , in reference to, indicating the subject or aim of the parable de (so Kypke, with examples). πάντοτε : not continuously, but persistently in spite of temptation to cease praying through delayed answer = keep praying, notwithstanding delay. The whole raison d’être of the parable is the existence of such delay. Some fail to see this and think that the difference between God and the judge is that He does not delay. It is not so. God is like the judge in this, only His delay has not the same cause or motive. The judge represents God as He appears in Providence to tried faith ἐκκακεῖν : a Pauline word (Galatians 6:9 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:13 , etc.). This introduction to the parable is probably due to Lk., who, it will be observed, takes care to make the lesson of general application, though the δὲ after ἔλεγε and the concluding reflection in Luke 18:8 imply that the special subject of prayer contemplated both by Lk. and by our Lord was the advent referred to in the previous context.

Verses 1-8

Luke 18:1-8 . The unjust judge , in Lk. only.

Verses 2-5

Luke 18:2-5 . The parable . τὸν Θεόν , etc.: a proverbial description for a thoroughly unprincipled man (examples from classics in Wetstein). ἐντρεπόμενος , having respect for, with accusative, as in late Greek; in earlier writers with genitive.

Verse 3

Luke 18:3 . χήρα , a widow, such a suppliant tests a man’s character. Her weakness appeals to a generous, noble nature, and is taken advantage of by an ignoble. ἤρχετο , presumably used in a frequentative sense = ventitabat (Grotius), though not necessarily meaning more than “began to come,” with possibility of recurrence. ἐκδίκησόν με , give me redress or satisfaction. “Avenge me” is too strong.

Verse 4

Luke 18:4 . ἐπὶ χρόνον , for a considerable time. Per multum tempus (Vulgate) may be too strong, but it is in the right direction. The scope of the parable and the use of the word χρόνος in a pregnant sense implying πολὺς ( vide examples in Kypke) demand a time sufficient to test the temper of the parties. ἐν ἑαυτῷ , within himself. The characters in Lk.’s parables are given to talking to themselves (Prodigal, Unjust Steward).

Verse 5

Luke 18:5 . διά γε , etc.: similar expression in Luke 11:8 . The parable before us is a companion to that of the Selfish Neighbour . The two should be studied together vide The Parabolic Teaching of Christ . κόπον : the power of the petitioner in both parables lies in their ability and determination to disturb the comfort of those they address. The neighbour and the judge are both selfish, care only for their own ease, and it is that very quality that gives the suppliants their opportunity. They can annoy the reluctant into granting their requests success certain. εἰς τέλος : interpreters differ as to the meaning of this phrase, and whether it should be connected with ἐρχομένη or with ὑπωπιάζῃ . The two ways of rendering the last clause of Luke 18:5 are: lest coming continually , she weary me to death, or lest coming and coming, she at last give me black eyes; of course meant in a humorous sense. The latter rendering does more justice to the humour of the situation, but the other seems more in harmony with the scope of the parable, which is to enforce persistence in prayer continual coming. The present tense in participle and verb also seems to demand the first rendering: it points to a process in the coming and in its effect on the judge, the two keeping pace with each other. As she keeps coming, he gets more and more bored. If a final act, the use of fists (seriously or humorously meant) were pointed at by ὑπωπ ., the aorist would have been more suitable. (So Field in Ot. Nor. ) The philological commentators differ in regard to the sense of εἰς τέλος , some taking it = perpetuo, indesinenter (Grotius, Kypke); others = tandem (Palairet); others = omnino (Raphel); all citing examples.

Verses 6-8

Luke 18:6-8 . The moral . κριτὴς τ . ἀδικίας , cf. οἰκονόμον τ . ἀ ., Luke 16:8 .

Verse 7

Luke 18:7 . οὐ μὴ ποιήσῃ , etc., will not God avenge, etc., the question implying strongly that He will, but the emphasis is rendered necessary by appearances to the contrary, which strongly try men’s faith in His good will long delays in answering prayer which wear the aspect of indifference. τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν α ., His elect: standing in a close relation, so named to support the previous assertion. But in the dark hour of trial it is difficult to extract comfort from the title. Then the doubt arises: is the idea of election not a delusion? What are we to the far-off Deity? τῶν βοώντων : from these words down to the end of the sentence ( ἐπʼ αὐτοῖς ) is a single clause meant to define the situation of “the elect”. They are persons who keep crying to God day and night, while He seems to pay no heed to them, but delays action in their case, and in their interest. The words down to νυκτός describe the need of Divine interference; those which follow describe the experience which tempts to doubt whether succour will be forthcoming. μακροθυμεῖ : this verb means to be slow, leisurely, unimpulsive in temper, whether in punishing or in succouring, or in any other form of action. Instances of the use of the verb in the first-mentioned occur in 2Ma 6:14 (cited by Pricaeus) and Sirach 35:22 ( οὐ μὴ βραδύνῃ οὐδὲ μὴ μακροθυμήσει ἐπʼ αὐτοῖς , frequently quoted). In James 5:7 it is applied to the husbandman waiting for harvest. Here it is applied to God’s leisureliness in coming to the help of tried saints. The construction καὶ μακροθυμεῖ is of the Hebraistic type.

Verse 8

Luke 18:8 . ἐν τάχει , quickly, quite compatible with delay; quickly when the hour comes = suddenly. πλὴν , yet; in spite of the alleged speed, the time will seem so long that, etc. ἆρα , so to be taken (not ἄρα ), as bearing a major force of reasoning, and interrogative. The two words are one in essence, but ἆρα has more emphasis in utterance, and therefore the first syllable is lengthened, and it stands at the beginning of a sentence, here before εὑρήσει ; cf. Galatians 2:17 . On the two particles vide Klotz in Dev. , p. 180. πίστιν : not absolutely, but in reference to the second coming, hope deferred making the heart sick.

Verse 9

Luke 18:9 . πρός τινας , with reference to certain persons; who not indicated, of what sort definitely described. This introduction is doubtless an editorial heading extracted from the story. It is true, but not necessarily the whole truth. The story may have been spoken to publicans to encourage them to hope in God’s mercy at the Capernaum gathering, e.g. παραβολὴν : it is not really a parable, but simply an imaginary incident within the sphere to which its moral belongs.

Verses 9-14

Luke 18:9-14 . The Pharisee and the publican .

Verse 11

Luke 18:11 . σταθεὶς , having taken his stand; fidenter loco solito (Bengel); “a sign less of confidence than of self-importance” (J. Weiss in Meyer). Probably both qualities are aimed at. πρὸς ἑαυτὸν : whether these words should be taken with σταθεὶς or with προσηύχετο is disputed. If the position of ταῦτα before πρὸς ἑ . in [139] [140] be accepted, there is no room for doubt. Hahn contends that the proper meaning of πρὸς ἑ . προσηύχετο is “prayed to himself,” and that there is no instance of the use of πρὸς ἑ . in the sense of “with himself”. Godet takes the phrase as = to himself, and regards the so-called prayer as simply self-congratulation in God’s presence. οἱ λοιποὶ τ . ἀ .: not necessarily all mankind, rather all the Jewish world outside his coterie = am haarez . ἅρπαγες , etc. these hard words recall the elder brother’s μετὰ πορνῶν (Luke 15:30 ). ἢ καὶ , or even, the publican pointed at as the ne plus ultra of depravity: the best foil to Pharisaic exemplariness.

[139] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[140] Codex Regius--eighth century, represents an ancient text, and is often in agreement with א and B.

Verse 12

Luke 18:12 . δὶς τ . σ ., twice in the week: voluntary fasts on Mondays and Thursdays, ultra-legal in his zeal. ἀποδεκατ - ῶ (- εύω , W. and H [141] ) = δεκατεύω in Greek writers: tithing a typical instance of Pharisaic strictness. πάντα , all, great and small, even garden herbs, again ultra-legal. κτῶμαι , all I get (R.V [142] ).

[141] Westcott and Hort.

[142] Revised Version.

Verse 13

Luke 18:13 . ὁ τελώνης : the demeanour of the publican is drawn in vivid contrast to that of the Pharisee; he stands aloof, not in pride but in acute consciousness of demerit, does not dare to lift his eyes towards the object of prayer, beats upon his breast in pungent grief for sin. τῷ ἁμαρτωλῷ , the sinner; he thinks of himself only and of himself as the sinner, well known as such, the one fact worth mentioning about him, as one might speak about the drunkard of the village. Koetsveld remarks: “The publican might see his own picture in the prodigal son; no doubt many a son out of a good house took to a publican’s trade as a last resort”.

Verse 14

Luke 18:14 . δεδικαιωμένος , justified (here only in Gospels), a Pauline word, but not necessarily used in a Pauline sense = pardoned. παρʼ ἐκεῖνον ( ἢ ἐκεῖνος , T.R.), in comparison with that one (the Pharisee). The reading ἢ γὰρ ἐκεῖνος ( [143] [144] ) would have to be taken as a question or was that one justified? The publican was the justified man; you would not say the other one was? ὅτι , etc.: ὅτι introduces a moral maxim which we have met with already at Luke 14:11 . It stands here as the ethical basis of “justification”. It is a universal law of the moral world, true both of God and of men, that self-exaltation provokes in others condemnation, and self-humiliation gentle judgment.

[143] cod. Guelpherbytanus II. 5th century (fragments from Luke and John).

[144] cod. Monacensis. 9th or 10th century (fragments of all the Gospels).

Verses 15-17

Luke 18:15-17 . The little ones brought to Jesus (Matthew 19:13-15 , Mark 10:13-16 ). τὰ βρέφη : for παιδία in parallels = infants, sucklings, often in Lk.’s writings; the καὶ preceding naturally means “even,” suggesting the notion of great popularity or great crowding, and perhaps hinting an apology for the Twelve. The article before βρέφη means the in fants of those who brought them = their infants.

Verses 15-43

Luke 18:15-43 . SOME SYNOPTICAL INCIDENTS OF THE LATER TIME. Lk., who has for some time followed his own way, now joins the company of his brother evangelists. The section following is skilfully connected with what goes before, the link being the supreme value of humility .

Verse 16

Luke 18:16 . προσεκαλέσατο , called, speaking to those who carried the infants. Lk. omits the annoyance of Jesus at the conduct of the Twelve, noted by Mk. Decorum controls his presentation not only of Jesus but of the Twelve. He always spares them (Schanz). τῶν τοιούτων , of such; does this mean that children belong to the kingdom, or only that the childlike do so? Bengel, De Wette and Schanz take the former view, J. Weiss and Hahn the latter. Schanz says: “ τοιούτοι with the article means not similarity but likeness with respect to something going before or following after. Therefore the children as such are recognised by Jesus as worthy of the kingdom.”

Verse 17

Luke 18:17 , as in Mark 10:15 . With this reflection Lk. ends, his interest being mainly in the didactic element, humility the door into the kingdom.

Verse 18

Luke 18:18 . ἄρχων , a ruler; this definite statement in Lk. only. τί ποιήσας . instead of τί ποιήσω

Verses 18-23

Luke 18:18-23 . The young ruler (Matthew 19:16-22 , Mark 10:17-22 ). From a didactic point of view this narrative is closely connected with the two preceding. The three set forth conditions of entrance into the Kingdom of God self-abasement, childlikeness, and single-mindedness.

Verse 20

Luke 18:20 . μὴ μοιχεύσῃς : the Seventh Com., first in Lk., the Sixth in Mt. and Mk. (W. H [145] ). Mk.’s μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς and Mt.’s ἀγαπήσεις τ . πλησίον σου , etc., are not found in Lk.

[145] Westcott and Hort.

Verse 21

Luke 18:21 . ἕν σοι λείπει : ἕν σ . ὑστερεῖ : in Mk. λείπει = fails, so in Titus 3:13 .

Verse 23

Luke 18:23 . πλούσιος σφόδρα , very rich. Lk.’s expression differs from that of Mt. and Mk. (( ἦν ἔχων κτήματα πολλά ). Lk. follows Mk. in the most important points the words first spoken by the ruler to Jesus: good Master, etc., and the reply of Jesus to him: why callest thou me good? but he agrees with Mt. in omitting some vivid traits found in Mk.: the placing of the incident (“going forth into the way”), the action of the man as he approached Jesus ( προσδραμὼν , γονυπετήσας ), the title διδάσκαλε (Mark 10:20 ), and, most remarkable feature of all, the statement in Mark 10:21 : ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ἠγάπησεν αὐτόν , which so clearly excludes the notion entertained by many that the man was a self-complacent Pharisee. I am glad to find Hahn decidedly repudiating this view ( vide notes on Mt. and Mk.). Vide Mt.

Verse 24

Luke 18:24 . εἰσπορεύονται : present, not future, as in parallels, indicating not what will happen but what is apt to happen from the nature of riches.

Verses 24-30

Luke 18:24-30 . Ensuing conversation (Matthew 19:23-30 , Mark 10:23-31 ).

Verse 25

Luke 18:25 . τρήματος βελόνης : each evangelist has his own expression here. τρῆμα from τιτράω , τίτρημι (or τράω ), to pierce, bore through; hence τρανής , penetrating, clear; βελόνη , the point of a spear.

Verse 26

Luke 18:26 . οἱ ἀκούσαντες , those hearing, a quite general reference to the company present. In Mt. and Mk. the words are addressed to the disciples . καὶ τίς δ . σ .: as in Mk., vide notes there.

Verse 27

Luke 18:27 . τὰ ἀδύνατα , etc. Mk. and Mt. have first a particular then a general statement. Lk. gives the general truth only: the impossibles for men possible for God.

Verse 28

Luke 18:28 . Peter’s remark about leaving all, as in Mk., without the question, what shall we have? appended to it in Mt.

Verse 29

Luke 18:29 . γυναῖκα : as in Luke 14:26 , not in parallels. γονεῖς : parents, for father and mother in parallels; the latter more impressive.

Verse 30

Luke 18:30 . πολλαπλασίονα , as in Mt. Mk. has the more definite ἑκατονταπλασίονα . The reading ἑπταπλασίονα (D, W.H [146] , margin), though little supported, has intrinsic probability as toning down an apparent exaggeration (hundred fold! say seven fold). Cf. ἑπτάκις in Luke 17:4 .

[146] Westcott and Hort.

Verse 31

Luke 18:31 . τελεσθήσεται , shall be fulfilled. With this verb is to be connected τῷ υἱῷ τ . ἀ . (not with γεγραμμένα ). The sense is not “shall be fulfilled by the Son of Man”. So Bornemann ( Scholia ), “a dei filio perficientur, i.e. , satisfiet prophetarum vaticiniis a dei filio”. Nor is it necessary to insert ἐν before τ . ὑ . τ . ἀ . The meaning is: all things shall happen to the Son of Man as written in the prophets. τελεῖσθαι stands for γίνεσθαι , being used because of the prophetic reference (in Lk. only). So Pricaeus: “ τελεῖσθαι hic esse quod Marc. Luke 11:23-24 εἶναι , quod 1 Corinthians 4:5 γίνεσθαι , quod 1 Peter 5:9 ἐπιτελεῖσθαι ”. In all these places the verb is followed by the dative.

Verses 31-34

Luke 18:31-34 . Third prediction of the Passion (Matthew 20:17-19 , Mark 10:32-34 ). Vide notes on the account in Mk., which is exceptionally realistic.

Verses 32-33

Luke 18:32-33 . The details of the Passion are the same as in Mk., except that no mention is made of the Jewish rulers, and that other particulars are given in a somewhat different order.

Verse 34

Luke 18:34 . This is peculiar to Lk. A similar statement in Luke 9:45 with the same curious repetition. “An emphatic prolixity” is Meyer’s comment. J. Weiss (Meyer) from the facts that this verse repeats Luke 9:45 and that Lk. avoids repetition infers that the words must have been in his source. I rather think that we have here an effort on Lk.’s part to compensate by a general statement about the ignorance of the Twelve for the instructive narrative about the two sons of Zebedee which comes in at this point in Mt. and Mk., and which Lk. omits, doubtless by way of sparing the disciples an exposure. The iteration (same thing said three times) is in Lk.’s manner (Acts 14:8 ), but it is significant here. The aim is by repetition of a general statement to convey the impression made by the concrete story an utter impossibility. No wonder Lk. labours in expression, in view of that humiliating proof of ignorance and moral weakness! But the attempt to express the inexpressible is interesting as showing that Lk. must have had the sons of Zebedee incident in his mind though he does not choose to record it. The omission of this incident carries along with it the omission of the second and most important saying of our Lord concerning the significance of His death. Lk.’s gospel contains hardly any basis for a doctrine on that subject ( cf. Matthew 20:28 , Mark 10:45 ).

Verses 35-43

Luke 18:35-43 . The blind man at Jericho (Matthew 20:29-34 , Mark 10:46-52 ). τυφλός τις : the blind man is not named, from which J. Weiss (Meyer) infers that the name cannot have been in Lk.’s source. A very precarious inference. Lk. deviates from the tradition in the parallels as to the place of the incident: connecting it with the entrance into Jericho instead of the exit from the town. ἐπαιτῶν as in Luke 16:3 .

Verse 36

Luke 18:36 . ἀκούσας : in Lk. what he hears is the multitude passing through, which he would have seen if he had not been blind. In the parallels what is heard is that it was Jesus around whom the multitude had gathered, which even a seeing man might have had to learn by the ear. Lk. is careful to bring out the fact of blindness. διαπορευομένου is an instance of a participle serving as the object of a verb. What was heard was the passing of the crowd. τί εἴη τ ., the optative without ἄν in an indirect question makes the question definite ( cf. Luke 3:15 , Luke 8:9 , Luke 15:26 ).

Verse 37

Luke 18:37 . Ναζωραῖος : the usual form in Lk., an exception in Luke 4:34 .

Verse 38

Luke 18:38 . ἐβόησεν : aorist, he cried out once.

Verse 39

Luke 18:39 . οἱ προάγοντες , those in front, nearest him. He would hear the sound of the crowd before it came up to him; when it was close to him he would make inquiry τί εἴη . σιγήσῃ : only in Lk. and St. Paul, showing editorial overworking of the source. ἔκραζεν : a stronger word than ἐβόησεν and imperfect, kept shouting louder than before.

Verse 40

Luke 18:40 . ἀχθῆναι , to be led to Him; Lk. again careful to bring out the fact of blindness, all the more noticeable when his narrative is compared with parallels. The omission of the interesting particulars in Mk., ver. 49, 50, has been remarked on (Hahn) as proving that Lk. did not know Mk. Again a precarious inference. It is Lk.’s habit to magnify the miracle, therefore he tells the story so as to bring out that it was a case of total blindness, which does not clearly appear in Mk., vide ver. 50.

Verse 41

Luke 18:41 . κύριε : in Mk. Ῥαββονί .

Verse 43

Luke 18:43 . αἶνον , praise, a poetical word in Greek writers = (1) a saying, (2) a word of praise, frequent in Sept [147] διδόναι αἶνον , instead of αἰνεῖν , is Hellenistic.

[147] Septuagint.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 18". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/luke-18.html. 1897-1910.
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