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1 st. The Sending, Luke 10:1-16.
Ver. 1. The Mission. ᾿Αναδείκνυμι , to put in view; and hence, to elect and install ( Luk 1:80 ); here, to designate. The word instituer (Crampon) would wrongly give a permanent character to this mission. Schleiermacher and Meyer think that by the καὶ ἑτέρους , others also, Luke alludes to the sending of the two messengers ( Luk 9:52 ). But those two envoys are of too widely different a nature to admit of being put on the same footing, and the term. ἀνέδειξεν could not be applied to the former. The solemn instructions which follow leave no room to doubt, that by the others also, Luke alludes to the sending of the Twelve. The term ἑτέρους , others, authorizes the view that the Twelve were not comprehended in this second mission; Jesus kept them at this time by His side, with a view to their peculiar training for their future ministry.
The oscillation which prevails in the MSS. between the numbers seventy and seventy-two, and which is reproduced in Luke 10:17, exists equally in several other cases where this number appears, e.g., the seventy or seventy-two Alexandrine translators of the Old Testament. This is due to the fact that the numbers 70 and 72 are both multiples of numbers very frequently used in sacred symbolism 7 times 10 and 6 times 12. The authorities are in favour of seventy, the reading in particular of the Sinaïticus. Does this number contain an allusion to that of the members of the Sanhedrim (71, including the president), a number which appears in its turn to correspond with that of the 70 elders chosen by Moses ( Num 11:16-25 )? In this case it would be, so to speak, an anti-Sanhedrim which Jesus constituted, as, in naming the Twelve, He had set over against the twelve sons of Jacob twelve new spiritual patriarchs. But there is another explanation of the number which seems to us more natural. The Jews held, agreeably to Genesis 10:0, that the human race was made up of 70 (or 72) peoples, 14 descended from Japhet, 30 from Ham, and 26 from Shem. This idea, not uncommon in the writings of later Judaism, is thus expressed in the Clementine Recognitions ( Luk 2:42 ): “God divided all the nations of the earth into 72 parts.” If the choice of the Twelve, as it took place at the beginning, had more particular relation to Christ's mission to Israel, the sending of the seventy, carried out at a more advanced epoch, when the unbelief of the people was assuming a fixed form, announced and prepared for the extension of preaching throughout the whole earth.
Jesus sent them two and two; the gifts of the one were to complete those of the other. Besides, did not the legal adage say, In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established?
Lange translates οὗ ἔμελλεν , “where He should have come,” as if the end of the visit made by the seventy had been to make up for that for which Jesus had not time. This meaning is opposed to the text, and particularly to the words before Him.
3. The Sending of the Seventy. Disciples: Luke 10:1-24. Though Jesus proceeded slowly from city to city, and from village to village, He had but little time to devote to each place. It was therefore of great moment that He should everywhere find His arrival prepared for, minds awakened, hearts expectant of His visit. This precaution was the more important, because this first visit was to be His last. Accordingly, as He had sent the Twelve into the northern parts of Galilee at the period when He was visiting them for the last time, He now summons a more numerous body of His adherents to execute a similar mission in the southern regions of the province. They thus serve under His eyes, in a manner, the apprenticeship to their future calling. The recital of this mission embraces 1 st, The Sending ( Luk 10:1-16 ); 2 d, The Return ( Luk 10:17-24 ). The essential matter always is the discourse of Jesus, in which His profoundest emotions find expression.
FOURTH PART: JOURNEY FROM GALILEE TO JERUSALEM, Luk 9:51 to Luke 19:28 .
A great contrast marks the synoptical narrative: that between the ministry in Galilee, and the passion week at Jerusalem. According to Matthew ( Mat 19:1 to Mat 20:34 ) and Mark (chap. 10), the short journey from Capernaum to Judea through Perea forms the rapid transition between those two parts of the ministry of Jesus. Nothing, either in the distance between the places, or in the number of the facts related, would lead us to suppose that this journey lasted more than a few days. This will appear from the following table:
The fourth part of the Gospel of Luke, which begins at Luke 9:51, gives us a very different idea of what transpired at that period. Here we find the description of a slow and lengthened journey across the southern regions of Galilee, which border on Samaria. Jerusalem is, and remains, the fixed goal of the journey (Luke 9:51, Luke 13:22, Luke 17:11, etc.). But Jesus proceeds only by short stages, stopping at each locality to preach the gospel. Luke does not say what direction He followed. But we may gather it from the first fact related by him. At the first step which He ventures to take with His followers on the Samaritan territory, He is stopped short by the ill-will excited against Him by national prejudice; so that even if His intention had been to repair directly to Jerusalem through Samaria (which we do not believe to have been the case), He would have been obliged to give up that intention, and turn eastward, in order to take the other route, that of Perea. Jesus therefore slowly approached the Jordan, with the view of crossing that river to the south of the lake Gennesaret, and of continuing His journey thereafter through Perea. The inference thus drawn from the narrative of Luke is positively confirmed by Matthew ( Mat 19:1 ) and Mark ( Mar 10:1 ), both of whom indicate the Perean route as that which Jesus followed after His departure from Galilee. In this way the three synoptics coincide anew from Luk 18:15 onwards; and from the moment at which the narrative of Luke rejoins the two others, we have to regard the facts related by him as having passed in Perea. This slow journeying, first from west to east across southern Galilee, then from north to south through Perea, the description of which fills ten whole chapters, that is to say, more than a third of Luke's narrative, forms in this Gospel a real section intermediate between the two others (the description of the Galilean ministry and that of the passion week); it is a third group of narratives corresponding in importance to the two others so abruptly brought into juxtaposition in Mark and Matthew, and which softens the contrast between them.
But can we admit with certainty the historical reality of this evangelistic journey in southern Galilee, which forms one of the characteristic features of the third Gospel? Many modern critics refuse to regard it as historical. They allege:
1. The entire absence of any analogous account in Matthew and Mark. Matthew, indeed, relates only two solitary facts ( Mat 8:19 et seq. and Luk 12:21 et seq.) of all those which Luke describes in the ten chapters of which this section consists, up to the moment when the three narratives again become parallel ( Luk 18:14 ); Mark, not a single one.
2. The visit of Jesus to Martha and Mary, which Luke puts in this journey ( Luk 10:38-42 ), can have taken place only in Judea, at Bethany; likewise the saying, Luke 13:34-35, cannot well have been uttered by Jesus elsewhere than at Jerusalem in the temple ( Mat 23:37-39 ). Do not these errors of time and place cast a more than suspicious light on the narrative of the entire journey? M. Sabatier himself, who thoroughly appreciates the important bearing of this narrative in Luke on the harmony of the four Gospels, nevertheless goes the length of saying: “We see with how many contradictions and material impossibilities this narrative abounds.”
It has been attempted to defend Luke, by alleging that he did not mean to relate a journey, and that this section was only a collection of doctrinal utterances arranged in the order of their subjects, and intended to show the marvellous wisdom of Jesus. It is impossible for us to admit this explanation, with Luke's own words before us, which express and recall from time to time his intention of describing a consecutive journey: Luke 9:51, “He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem; ” Luke 13:22, “He was going through the cities and villages... journeying toward Jerusalem; ” Luke 17:11 (lit. trans.), “And it came to pass, as He went to Jerusalem, that He traversed the country between Samaria and Galilee.”
Wieseler, taking up an entirely opposite point of view, finds in those three passages the indications of as many individual journeys, which he connects with three journeys to Jerusalem placed by John almost at the same epoch. It is hoped in this way to find the point of support for Luke's narrative in the fourth Gospel, which is wanting to it in the two first. The departure mentioned Luk 9:51 would correspond with the journey of Jesus, Joh 7:1 to John 10:39 (feast of Tabernacles and of Dedication), a journey which terminates in a sojourn in Perea ( Joh 10:40 et seq.). The mention of a journey Luk 13:22 would refer to the journey from Perea to Bethany for the raising of Lazarus, John 11:0, after which Jesus repairs to Ephraim. Finally, the passage Luk 17:11 would correspond with the journey from Ephraim to Jerusalem for the last Passover ( Joh 11:55 ). It would be necessary to admit that Jesus, after His Ephraim sojourn, made a last visit to Galilee, proceeding thither through Samaria (Wieseler translates Luk 17:11 as in E. V., “through the midst of Samaria and Galilee”), then that He returned to Judea through Perea (Matthew 19:0; Mark 10:0).
We cannot allow that this view has the least probability. 1. Those three passages in Luke plainly do not indicate, in his mind at least, three different departures and journeys. They are way-marks set up by the author on the route of Jesus, in the account of this unique journey, by which he recalls from time to time the general situation described Luke 9:51, on account of the slowness and length of the progress. 2. The departure ( Luk 9:51 ) took place, as the sending of the seventy disciples proves, with the greatest publicity; it is not therefore identical with the departure ( Joh 7:1 et seq.), which took place, as it were, in secret; Jesus undoubtedly did not then take with Him more than one or two of His most intimate disciples. 3. The interpretation which Wieseler gives of Luk 17:11 appears to us inadmissible (see the passage).
It must therefore be acknowledged, not only that Luke meant in those ten chapters to relate a journey, but that he meant to relate one, and only one.
Others think that he intended to produce in the minds of his readers the idea of a continuous journey, but that this is a framework of fiction which has no corresponding reality. De Wette and Bleek suppose that, after having finished his account of the Galilean ministry, Luke still possessed a host of important materials, without any determinate localities or dates, and that, rather than lose them, he thought good to insert them here, between the description of the Galilean ministry and that of the passion, while grouping them in the form of a recorded journey. Holtzmann takes for granted that those materials were nothing else than the contents of his second principal source, the Logia of Matthew, which Luke has placed here, after employing up till this point his first source, the original Mark. Weizsäcker, who thinks, on the contrary, that the Logia of Matthew are almost exactly reproduced in the great groups of discourses which the first contains, sees in this fourth part of Luke a collection of sayings derived by him from those great discourses of Matthew, and arranged systematically with regard to the principal questions which were agitated in the apostolic churches (the account of the feast, Luke 14:1-35, alluding to the Agapae; the discourses, Luk 15:1 to Luke 17:10, to questions relative to the admission of Gentiles, etc.).
Of course, according to those three points of view, the historical introductions with which Luke prefaces each of those teachings would be more or less his own invention. He deduces them himself from those teachings, as we might do at the present day. As to the rest, Bleek expressly remarks that this view leaves entirely intact the historical truth of the sayings of Jesus in themselves. We shall gather up in the course of our exegesis the data which can enlighten us on the value of those hypotheses; but at the outset we must offer the following observations: 1. In thus inventing an entire phase of the ministry of Jesus, Luke would put himself in contradiction to the programme marked out ( Luk 1:1-4 ), where he affirms that he has endeavoured to reproduce historical truth exactly. 2. What purpose would it serve knowingly to enrich the ministry of Jesus with a fictitious phase? Would it not have been much simpler to distribute those different pieces along the course of the Galilean ministry? 3. Does a conscientious historian play thus with the matter of which he treats, especially when that matter forms the object of his religious faith?
If Luke had really acted in this way, we should require, with Baur, to take a step further, and ascribe to this fiction a more serious intention that of establishing, by those prolonged relations of Jesus to the Samaritans, the Pauline universalism? Thus it is that criticism, logically carried out in questions relating to the Gospels, always lands us in this dilemma historical truth or deliberate imposture.
The historical truth of this journey, as Luke describes it, appears to us evident from the following facts: 1. Long or short, a journey from Galilee to Judea through Perea must have taken place; so much is established by the narratives of Matthew and Mark, and indirectly confirmed by that of John, when he mentions a sojourn in Perea precisely at the same epoch ( Luk 10:40-42 ). 2. The duration of this journey must have been much more considerable than appears from a hasty glance at the first two synoptics. How, in reality, are we to fill the six or seven months which separated the feast of Tabernacles (John 7:0, month of October) from that of the Passover, at which Jesus died? The few accounts, Matthew 19:20 (Mark 10:0), cannot cover such a gap. Scarcely is there wherewith to fill up the space of a week. Where, then, did Jesus pass all that time? And what did He do? It is usually answered, that from the feast of Tabernacles to that of the Dedication (December) He remained in Judea. That is not possible. He must have gone to Jerusalem in a sort of incognito and by way of surprise, in order to appear unexpectedly in that city, and to prevent the police measures which a more lengthened sojourn in Judea would have allowed His enemies to take against Him. And after the violent scenes related Joh 7:1 to John 10:21, He must have remained peacefully there for more than two whole months! Such an idea is irreconcilable with the situation described John 6:1; John 7:1-13.
Jesus therefore, immediately after rapidly executing that journey, returned to Galilee. This return, no doubt, is not mentioned; but no more is that which followed John 5:0. It is understood, as a matter of course, that so long as a new scene of action is not indicated in the narrative, the old one continues. After the stay at Jerusalem at the feast of Dedication ( Joh 10:22 et seq.), it is expressly said that Jesus sojourned in Perea ( Luk 9:40-42 ): there we have the first indication apprising us that the long sojourn in Galilee had come to an end. Immediately, therefore, after the feast of Tabernacles, Jesus returned to Galilee, and it was then that He definitely bade adieu to that province, and set out, as we read Luke 9:51, to approach Jerusalem slowly and while preaching the gospel. Not only is such a journey possible, but it is in a manner forced on us by the necessity of providing contents for that blank interval in the ministry of Jesus. 3. The indications which Luke supplies respecting the scene of this journey have nothing in them but what is exceedingly probable. After His first visit to Nazareth, Jesus settled at Capernaum; He made it His own city ( Mat 9:1 ), and the centre of His excursions ( Luk 4:31 et seq.). Very soon He considerably extended the radius of His journeys on the side of western Galilee (Nain, Luk 7:11 ). Then He quitted His Capernaum residence, and commenced a ministry purely itinerant ( Luk 8:1 et seq.). To this period belong His first visit to Decapolis, to the east of the lake of Gennesaret, and the multiplication of the loaves, to the north-east of that sea. Finally, we learn from Matthew and Mark that Jesus made two other great excursions into the northern regions, the one to the north-west toward Phoenicia (Luke's great lacuna), the other toward the north-east, to the sources of the Jordan (Caesarea Philippi, and the transfiguration). To accomplish His mission toward Galilee there thus remained to be visited only the southern parts of this province on the side of Samaria. What more natural, consequently, than the direction which He followed in this journey, slowly passing over that southern part of Galilee from west to east which He had not before visited, and from which He could make some excursions among that Samaritan people at whose hands He had found so eager a welcome at the beginning of His ministry?
Regarding the visit to Martha and Mary, and the saying Luke 13:34-35, we refer to the explanation of the passages. Perhaps the first is a trace (unconscious on the part of Luke) of Jesus' short sojourn at Jerusalem at the feast of Dedication. In any case, the narrative of Luke is thus found to form the natural transition between the synoptical accounts and that of John. And if we do not find in Luke that multiplicity of journeys to Jerusalem which forms the distinctive feature of John's Gospel, we shall at least meet with the intermediate type of a ministry, a great part of which (the Galilean work once finished) assumes the form of a prolonged pilgrimage in the direction of Jerusalem.
As to the contents of the ten chapters embraced in this part of Luke, they are perfectly in keeping with the situation. Jesus carries along with Him to Judea all the following of devoted believers which He has found in Galilee, the nucleus of His future Church. From this band will go forth the army of evangelists which, with the apostles at its head, will shortly enter upon the conquest of the world in His name. To prepare them as they travel along for this task, such is His constant aim. He prosecutes it directly in two ways: by sending them on a mission before Him, as formerly He had sent the twelve, and making them serve, as these had done, a first apprenticeship to their future work; then, by bringing to bear on them the chief part of His instructions respecting that emancipation from the world and its goods which was to be the distinctive character of the life of His servants, and thus gaining them wholly for the great task which He allots to them.
What are the sources of Luke in this part which is peculiar to him? According to Holtzmann, Luke here gives us the contents of Matthew's Logia, excepting the introductions, which he adds or amplifies. We shall examine this whole hypothesis hereafter. According to Schleiermacher, this narrative is the result of the combination of two accounts derived from the journals of two companions of Jesus, the one of whom took part in the journey at the feast of Dedication, the other in that of the last Passover. Thus he explains the exactness of the details, and at the same time the apparent inexactness with which a visit to Bethany is found recorded in the midst of a series of scenes in Galilee. According to this view, the short introductions placed as headings to the discourses are worthy of special confidence.
But how has this fusion of the two writings which has merged the two journeys into one been brought about? Luke cannot have produced it consciously; it must have existed in his sources. The difficulty is only removed a stage. How was it possible for the two accounts of different journeys to be fused into a unique whole? As far as we are concerned, all that we believe it possible to say regarding the source from which Luke drew is, that the document must have been either Aramaic, or translated from Aramaic. To be convinced of this, we need only read the verse, Luke 9:51, which forms the heading of the narrative.
If we were proceeding on the relation of Luke to the two other synoptics, we should divide this part into two cycles, that in which Luke moves alone ( Luk 9:51 to Luk 18:14 ), and that in which he moves parallel to them ( Luk 18:15 to Luk 19:27 ). But that division has nothing corresponding to it in the mind of the author, who probably knows neither of the two other canonical accounts. He himself divides his narrative into three cycles by the three observations with which he marks it off: 1 st. Luk 9:51 to Luke 13:21 (Luke 9:51, the resolution to depart); 2 d. Luk 13:22 to Luke 17:10 (Luke 13:22, the direction of the journey); 3 d. Luk 17:11 to Luke 19:27 (Luke 17:11, the scene of the journey). Such, then, will be our division.
Vers. 2-16. The Discourse.
It falls into two parts: Instructions for the mission ( Luk 10:2-12 ), and warnings to the cities of Galilee ( Luk 10:13-16 ).
The instructions first explain the reason of this mission ( Luk 10:2 ); then the conduct to be observed on setting out and during the journey ( Luk 10:3-4 ), at the time of arrival ( Luk 10:5-6 ); during their sojourn in the case of a favourable reception ( Luk 10:7-9 ); finally, on their departure in the case of rejection ( Luk 10:10-12 ).
Ver. 2. “ Therefore said He unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest. ” Matthew has this utterance in chap. 9, in presence of the Galilean multitudes, and as an introduction to the sending of the Twelve. Bleek himself acknowledges that it is better placed by Luke. “ The field is the world,” Jesus had said in the parable of the sower. It is to this vast domain that the very strong words of this verse naturally apply, recalling the similar words, John 4:35: “ Look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest,” uttered in Samaria, and on the threshold, as it were, of the Gentile world. The sending of the new labourers is the fruit of the prayers of their predecessors. The prep. ἐκ in ἐκβάλλειν , thrust forth, may signify, forth from the Father's house, from heaven, whence real callings issue; or, forth from the Holy Land, whence the evangelization of the Gentiles was to proceed. Following on the idea of prayer, the first meaning is the more natural.
Vers. 3, 4. “ Go your ways; behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. ” They are to set out just as they are, weak and utterly unprovided. The first characteristic of the messengers of Jesus is confidence. Jesus, who gives them their mission ( ἐγώ is certainly authentic), charges Himself with the task of defending them and of providing for their wants. ῾Υποδήματα , change of sandals; this is proved by the verb βαστάζειν , to carry a burden.
It is difficult to understand the object of the last words. Are they meant to indicate haste, as in 2Ki 4:29 ? But the journey of Jesus Himself has nothing hurried about it. Does He mean to forbid them, as some have thought, to seek the favour of men? But the words by the way would be superfluous. Jesus rather means that they must travel like men absorbed by one supreme interest, which will not permit them to lose their time in idle ceremonies. It is well known how complicated and tedious eastern salutations are. The domestic hearth is the place where they are to deliver their message. A tranquillity reigns there which is appropriate to so serious a subject. The following verses readily fall in with this idea.
Vers. 5, 6. “ And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the (a) son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. ”
The pres. εἰσέρχησθε (Byz.) expresses better than the aor. (Alex.) that the entrance and the salutation are simultaneous. The prevailing impulse, in the servant of Christ, is the desire of communicating the peace with which he himself is filled ( his peace, Luk 10:6 ).
If the article before υἱός “ the son of peace” were authentic (T. R.), it would designate the individual as the object of a special divine decree, which is far-fetched. The phrase, son of peace, is a Hebraism. In this connection it represents the notion of peace as an actual force which comes to life in the individual. The reading of the two most ancient MSS., ἐπαναπαήσεται , is regular (aor. pass. ἐπάην ).
If no soul is found there fitted to receive the influence of the gospel salutation, it will not on that account be without efficacy; it will return with redoubled force, as it were, on him who uttered it.
Vers. 7-9. “ And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. ”
A favourable reception is supposed. The messenger of Christ, regarding his entrance into that house above everything else as a providential event, is to fix his residence there during the entire period of his stay in that place (see on Luk 9:4 ). ᾿Εν αὐτῇ τῇ οἰκίᾳ , not “in the same house,” as if it were ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ οἰκίᾳ , but, “in that same house which he entered at first.” They are, besides, to regard themselves immediately as members of the family, and to eat without scruple the bread of their hosts. It is the price of their labour. They give more than they receive.
In Luk 10:8 Jesus applies the same principle to the whole city which shall receive them. Their arrival resembles a triumphal entrance: they are served with food; the sick are brought to them; they speak publicly. It is a mistake to find in the words of Paul, Πᾶν τὸ παρατιθέμενον ἐσθίετε ( 1Co 10:27 ), an allusion to this Luke 10:8; the object of the two sayings is entirely different. There is here no question whatever as to the cleanness or uncleanness of the viands; we are yet in a Jewish world.
The accus. government ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς , unto ( upon) you, expresses the efficacy of the message, its action upon the individuals concerned. The perf. ἤγγικε indicates that the approach of the kingdom of God is thenceforth a fact. It is near; the presence of the messengers of the Messiah is the proof.
Vers. 10-12. “ But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, 11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city. ” This proclamation, and the symbolical act with which it closes, are solemn events; they will play a part in the judgment of those populations. Καί , this very dust. The dat. ὑμῖν , to you, expresses the idea, “ we return it to you, by shaking it from our feet.” There is the breaking up of every bond of connection (see Luk 9:5 ). Πλήν indicates, as it always does, a restriction: “Further, we have nothing else to announce to you, excepting that...” In spite of the bad reception, which will undoubtedly prevent the visit of Jesus, this time will nevertheless be to them the decisive epoch. ᾿Εφ᾿ ὑμᾶς , upon you, in the T. R., is a gloss taken from Luke 10:9.
That day may denote the destruction of the Jewish people by the Romans, or the last judgment. The two punishments, the one of which is more national, the other individual, are blended together in this threatening of the Lord, as in that of John the Baptist ( Luk 3:9 ). Yet the idea of the last judgment seems to be the prevailing one, from what follows, Luke 10:14.
This threatening, wherein the full gravity of the present time is revealed, and the deep feeling expressed which Jesus had of the supreme character of His mission, leads the Lord to cast a glance backward at the conduct of the cities whose probation is now concluded, and whose sentence is no longer in suspense. The memory of the awful words which they are about to hear will follow the disciples on their mission, and will impress them with its vast importance.
Vers. 13-16. “ Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. 16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth Him that sent me. ”
The name of Chorazin is not found either in the O. T. or in Josephus. But Jewish tradition mentions it frequently, either under the name of Chorazaïm, as producing a cheese of inferior quality, or under that of Choraschin, as situated in Naphtali.
According to Eusebius ( Onomasticon), Chorazin was situated 12 miles (4 leagues)
Jerome says, certainly by mistake, in his translation, 2 miles from Capernaum. This situation corresponds exactly with the ruins which still bear the name of Bir-Kirâzeh, a little to the north of Tel-Hum, if we place Capernaum in the plain of Gennesaret (vol. i. p. 242).
We do not know any of the numerous miracles which this declaration implies. Of those at Bethsaida we know only one. On the important consequences which this fact has for criticism, see vol. i. p. 339. The interpretation which M. Colani has attempted to give to the word δυνάμεις in this passage works of holiness will not bear discussion.
It is impossible to render well into English the image employed by Jesus. The two cities personified are represented as sitting clothed in sackcloth, and covered with ashes.
The πλήν , excepting, is related to an idea which is understood: “Tyre and Sidon shall also be found guilty; only, they shall be so in a less degree than you.”
The tone rises ( Luk 10:15 ) as the mind of Jesus turns to the city which had shared most richly in that effusion of grace of which Galilee has just been the subject
Capernaum. It was there that Jesus had fixed His residence; He had made it the new Jerusalem, the cradle of the kingdom of God. It is difficult to understand how commentators could have referred the words, exalted to heaven, to the commercial prosperity of the city, and Stier to its alleged situation on a hill by the side of the lake! This whole discourse of Jesus moves in the most elevated sphere. The point in question is the privilege which Jesus bestowed on the city by making it His city ( Mat 9:1 ). Notwithstanding the authority of Tischendorf, we unhesitatingly prefer the received reading ἡ ὑψωθεῖσα , “ which art exalted,” to that of some Alex. μὴ ὑψωθήσῃ , “ Wilt thou be exalted? No, thou wilt come down...” The meaning which this reading gives is tame and insipid. It has arisen simply from the fact that the final μ of Capernaum was by mistake joined to the following ἡ , which, thus become a μή , necessitated the change from ὑψωθεῖσα to ὑψωθήσῃ . This variation is also found in Matthew, where the MSS. show another besides, ἣ ὑψώθης , which gives the same meaning as the T. R.
As Heaven is here the emblem of the highest divine favours, Hades is that of the deepest abasement. In the O. T. it is the place of silence, where all earthly activity ceases, where all human grandeur returns to its nothingness (Ezekiel 31, 32).
Matthew places this declaration in the middle of the Galilean ministry, immediately after the embassy sent by John the Baptist. We can understand without difficulty the association of ideas which led the evangelist to connect the one of those pieces with the other. The impenitence of the people in respect of the forerunner was the prelude to their unbelief in respect of Jesus. But does not the historical situation indicated by Luke deserve the preference? Is such a denunciation not much more intelligible when the mission of Jesus to those cities was entirely finished? Luke adds a saying, Luke 10:16, which, by going back on the thought in the first part of the discourse, brings out its unity, the position taken up with respect to the messengers of Jesus and their preaching, shall be equivalent to a position taken up with respect to Jesus, nay, with respect to God Himself. What a grandeur, then, belongs to the work which He confides to them!
2 d. The Return: Luke 10:17-24.
Jesus had appointed a rendezvous for His disciples at a fixed place. From the word ὑπέστρεψαν , they returned ( Luk 10:17 ), it would even appear that the place was that from which He had sent them. Did He await them there, or did He in the interval take some other direction along with His apostles? The sequel will perhaps throw some light on this question. His intention certainly was Himself to visit along with them all those localities in which they had preceded Him ( Luk 10:1 ). This very simple explanation sets aside all the improbabilities which have been imputed to this narrative.
The return of the disciples was signalized, first of all, by a conversation of Jesus with them about their mission ( Luk 10:17-20 ); then by an outburst, unique in the life of the Saviour, regarding the unexpected but marvellous progress of His work ( Luk 10:21-24 ).
Vers. 17-20. The Joy of the Disciples. “ And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. 18 And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Only in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice because your names are written in heaven. ” The phrase, with joy, expresses the tone of the whole piece. The joy of the disciples becomes afterwards that of Jesus; and then it bursts forth from His heart exalted and purified ( Luk 10:21 et seq.). Confident in the promise of their Master, they had set themselves to heal the sick, and in this way they had soon come to attack the severest malady of all that of possession; and they had succeeded. Their surprise at this unhoped-for success is described, with the vivacity of an entirely fresh experience, by the καί , “ even the devils,” and by the pres. ὑποτάσσεται , submit themselves.
The word ἐθεώρουν , I was contemplating, denotes an intuition, not a vision. Jesus does not appear to have had visions after that of His baptism. The two acts which the imperfect I was contemplating shows to be simultaneous, are evidently that informal perception, and the triumphs of the disciples recorded in Luke 10:17: “While you were expelling the subordinates, I was seeing the master fall.” On the external scene, the representatives on both sides were struggling; in the inmost consciousness of Jesus, it was the two chiefs that were face to face. The fall of Satan, which He contemplates, symbolizes the complete destruction of his kingdom, the goal of that work which is inaugurated by the present successes of the disciples; comp. John 12:31. Now the grand work of Satan on the earth, according to Scripture, is idolatry. Paganism throughout is nothing else than a diabolical enchantment. It has been not unjustly called “ une possession en grande. ” Satan sets himself up as the object of human adoration. As the ambitious experience satisfaction in the incense of glory, so he finds the savour of the same in all those impure worships, which are in reality addressed to himself ( 1Co 10:20 ). There remains nevertheless a great difference between the scriptural view of paganism and the opinion prevalent among the Jews, according to which every pagan divinity was a separate demon. Heaven denotes here, like ἐν ἐπουρανίοις , Ephesians 6:12, the higher sphere from the midst of which Satan acts upon human consciousness. To fall from heaven, is to lose this state of power. The figure used by our Lord thus represents the overthrow of idolatry throughout the whole world. The aor. πεσόντα , falling, denotes, under the form of a single act, all the victories of the gospel over paganism from that first preaching of the disciples down to the final dénouement of the great drama (Revelation 12:0). The figure lightning admirably depicts a power of dazzling brilliance, which is suddenly extinguished. This description of the destruction of paganism, as the certain goal of the work begun by this mission of the disciples, confirms the universalism which we ascribed to the number 70, to the idea of harvest, Luke 10:2, and in general to this whole piece. Hofmann refers the word of Jesus, Luke 10:18, to the devil's original fall; Lange, to his defeat in the wilderness. These explanations proceed from a misunderstanding of the context.
Ver. 19. If we admit the Alex. reading δέδωκα , I have given you, Jesus leads His disciples to measure what they had not at first apprehended the full extent of the power with which He has invested them; and ἰδού , behold, relates to the surprise which should be raised in them by this revelation. He would thus give them the key to the unhoped-for successes which they have just won. The pres. δίδωμι in the T. R. relates to the future. It denotes a new extension of powers in view of a work more considerable still than that which they have just accomplished, precisely that which Jesus has described symbolically, Luke 10:18; and ἰδού expresses the astonishment which they might well feel at the yet more elevated perspective. Thus understood, the sentence is much more significant. Serpents and scorpions are emblems of the physical evils by which Satan will seek to hurt the ambassadors of Jesus. The expression, all the power of the enemy, embraces all the agencies of nature, of human society, of things belonging to the spiritual order, which the prince of this world can use to obstruct the work of Jesus. ᾿Επί is dependent on ἐξουσίαν rather than on πατεῖν ( Luk 9:1 ). In the midst of all those diabolical instruments, the faithful servant walks clothed with invulnerable armour; not that he is not sometimes subjected to their attacks, but the wounds which he receives cannot hurt him so long as the Lord has need of his ministry (the viper at Malta, Peter's imprisonment by Herod, the messenger of Satan which buffets Paul). The same thought, with a slight difference of expression, is found Mark 16:18; comp. also Psalms 91:13.
Ver. 20. Yet this victory over the forces of the enemy would be of no value to themselves, if it did not rest on their personal salvation. Think of Judas, and of those who are spoken of in Mat 7:22 et seq.! Πλήν , only, reserves a truth more important than that which Jesus has just allowed. The word μᾶλλον , “ rather rejoice,” which the T. R. reads, and which is found in the Sinaït., weakens the thought of Jesus. There is no limitation to the truth, that the most magnificent successes, the finest effects of eloquence, temples filled, conversions by thousands, are no real cause of joy to the servant of Jesus, the instrument of those works, except in so far as he is saved himself. From the personal point of view (which is that of the joy of the disciples at the moment), this ground of satisfaction is and remains the only one.
The figure of a heavenly register, in which the names of the elect are inscribed, is common in the Old Testament (Exodus 32:32-33; Isaiah 4:3; Dan 12:1 ). This book is the type of the divine decree. But a name may be blotted out of it (Exodus 32:33; Jeremiah 17:13; Psalms 69:29; Rev 22:19 ); a fact which preserves human freedom. Between the two readings, ἐγγέγραπται , is inscribed, and ἐγράφη , was written, it is difficult to decide.
Vers. 21, 22. In that same hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight. 22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no one knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him. ” The πνεῦμα , the spirit, which is here spoken of, is undoubtedly that of Jesus Himself, as an element of His human Person (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12; Rom 1:9 ). The spirit, in this sense, is in man the boundless capacity of receiving the communications of the Divine Spirit, and consequently the seat of all those emotions which have God and the things of God for their object (see on Luk 1:47 ). We think it necessary to read τῷ πνεύματι as dat. instr., and that the addition of τῳ ἁγίῳ ( the holy) and of the prep. ἐν in some MSS. arises from the false application of this expression to the Spirit of God. ᾿Αγαλλιᾶσθαι , to exult, denotes an inner transport, which takes place in the same deep regions of the soul of Jesus as the opposite emotion expressed by the ἐμβριμᾶσθαι , to groan ( Joh 11:33 ). This powerful influence of external events on the inner being of Jesus proves how thoroughly in earnest the Gospels take His humanity. ᾿Εξομολογεῖσθαι , strictly, to declare, confess, corresponds in the LXX. to הודה , to praise. Here it expresses a joyful and confident acquiescence in the ways of God.
The words Father and Lord indicate, the former the special love of which Jesus feels Himself to be the object in the dispensation which He celebrates, the latter the glorious sovereignty in virtue of which God dispenses with all human conditions of success, and looks for it only from His own power. The close of this verse has been explained in this way: “that whilst Thou hast hid..., Thou hast revealed...” The giving of thanks would thus be limited to the second fact. Comp. a similar form, Isaiah 1:2, Romans 6:17. But we doubt that this is to impair the depth of our Lord's thought. Did not God, in the way in which He was guiding the work of Jesus (in Israel), wish quite as positively the exclusion of the wise as the co-operation of the ignorant? The motive for this divine method is apparent from 1 Corinthians 1:23-31, in particular from Luke 10:29; Luke 10:31: “ that no flesh should glory; ” and, “ that he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. ” By this rejection the great are humbled, and see that they are not needed for God's work. On the other hand, the mean cannot boast of their co-operation, since it is evident that they have derived nothing from themselves. We may compare the saying of Jesus regarding the old and the new bottles ( Luk 10:37-38 ). The wise were not to mingle the alloy of their own science with the divine wisdom of the gospel. Jesus required instruments prepared exclusively in His own school, and having no other wisdom than that which He had communicated to them from His Father ( Joh 17:8 ). When He took a learned man for an apostle, He required, before employing him, to break him, as it were, by the experience of his folly. Jesus, in that hour of holy joy, takes account more definitely of the excellence of this divine procedure; and it is while contemplating its first effects that His heart exults and adores. “L'événement capital de l'histoire du monde,” carried out by people who had scarcely a standing in the human race! Comp. John 9:39.
The ναί , “ yea, Father,” reasserts strongly the acquiescence of Jesus in this paradoxical course. Instead of the nom. ὁ πατήρ , Father, it might be thought that He would have used the voc. πάτερ , O Father! as at the beginning of the verse. But the address does not need to be repeated. The nom. has another meaning: “It is as a Father that Thou art acting in thus directing my work.”
The ὅτι , for that or because, which follows, is usually referred to an idea which is understood: “yea, it is so, because...” But this ellipsis would be tame. It would be better in that case to supply the notion of a prayer: “Yea, let it be and remain so, since...!” But is it not more simple to take ὅτι as depending on ἐξομολογοῦμαι : “yea, assuredly, and in spite of all, I praise Thee, because that...” The phrase εὐδοκία ἔμπρ . σου is a Hebraism ( צוֹן à לְרָ ... נייַה ˜ ָוה׃ Ý לִפְ ֵ Exo 28:38 ).
Gess thus sums up the thought of this verse: “To pride of knowledge, blindness is the answer; to that simplicity of heart which wishes truth, revelation.”
Vers. 21-24. The Joy of Jesus.
We reach a point in the life of the Saviour, the exceptional character of which is expressly indicated by the first words of the narrative, in that same hour. Jesus has traced to their goal the lines of which His disciples discern as yet only the beginning. He has seen in spirit the work of Satan destroyed, the structure of the kingdom of God raised on the earth. But by what hands? By the hands of those ignorant fishermen, those simple rustics whom the powerful and learned of Jerusalem call accursed rabble ( Joh 7:49 ), “the vermin of the earth” (a rabbinical expression). Perhaps Jesus had often meditated on the problem: How shall a work be able to succeed which does not obtain the assistance of any of the men of knowledge and authority in Israel? The success of the mission of the seventy has just brought Him the answer of God: it is by the meanest instruments that He is to accomplish the greatest of His works. In this arrangement, so contrary to human anticipations, Jesus recognises and adores with an overflowing heart the wisdom of His Father.
Ver. 22. The words, And He turned Him unto His disciples, which are read here by several Mjj., are in vain defended by Tischendorf and Meyer. They are not authentic. How indeed could we understand this στραφείς , having turned Himself? Turned, Meyer explains, turned from His Father, to whom He has been praying, towards men. But would the phrase turn Himself back be suitable in this sense? We have here a gloss occasioned by the κατ᾿ ἰδίαν , privately, of Luke 10:23. The wish has been to establish a difference between this first revelation, made to the disciples in general ( Luk 10:22 ), and the following, more special still, addressed to some of them only ( Luk 10:23 ). Here we have one of the rare instances in which the T. R. (which rejects the words) differs from the third edition of Steph.
The joyful outburst of Luk 10:21 is carried on without interruption into Luke 10:22; only the first impression of adoration gives way to calm meditation. The experience through which Jesus has just passed has transported Him, as it were, into the bosom of His Father. He plunges into it, and His words become an echo of the joys of His eternal generation.
As in the passage which precedes ( Luk 10:21 ), and in that which follows (22b), it is only knowledge which is spoken of, the words, “ All things are delivered to me of my Father,” are often taken as referring to the possession and communication of religious truths, of the knowledge of God. But the work accomplished by the disciples, on occasion of which Jesus uttered those sayings, was not merely a work of teaching there was necessarily involved in it a display of force. To overturn the throne of Satan on the earth, and to put in its place the kingdom of God, was a mission demanding a power of action. But this power was closely connected with the knowledge of God. To know God means to be initiated into His plan; means to think with Him, and consequently to will as He does. Now, to will with God, and to be self-consecrated to Him as an instrument in His service, is the secret of participation in His omnipotence. “The education of souls,” Gess rightly observes, “is the greatest of the works of Omnipotence.” Everything in the universe, accordingly, should be subordinate to it. There is a strong resemblance between this saying of Jesus and that of John the Baptist ( Joh 3:35 ): “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand,” a declaration which is immediately connected with the other relative to the teaching of Jesus: “He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God. ”
The gift denoted by the aor. παρεδόθη , are delivered to me, is the subject of an eternal decree; but it is realized progressively in time, like everything which is subject to the conditions of human development. The chief periods in its realization are these three: The coming of Jesus into the world, His entrance upon His Messianic ministry, and His restoration to His divine state. Such are the steps by which the new Master took the place of the old ( Luk 4:6 ), and was raised to Omnipotence. “ Delivered,” Gess well observes, “either for salvation or for judgment.” The καί , and, which connects the two parts of the verse, may be thus paraphrased: and that, because...The future conquest of the world by Jesus and His disciples rests on the relation which He sustains to God, and with which He identifies His people. The perfect knowledge of God is, in the end, the sceptre of the universe.
Here there is a remarkable difference in compiling between Luke and Matthew: οὐδεὶς ἐπγινώσκει , no one recognises, or discerns, says Matthew. To the idea of knowing, this επι (to put the finger upon) has the effect of adding the idea of confirming experimentally. The knowledge in question is one de visu. Luke uses the simple verb γινώσκειν , to know, which is weaker and less precise; but he makes up for this deficiency in the notion of the verb by amplifying its regimen, “ What is the Father..., what is the Son;” that is to say, all that God is as a Father to the man who has the happiness of knowing Him as a son, and all that the name son includes for the man who has the happiness of hearing it pronounced by the mouth of the Father, all that the Father and Son are the one to the other. Perhaps Matthew's form of expression is a shade more intellectual or didactic; that of Luke rather moves in the sphere of feeling. How should we explain the two forms, each of which is evidently independent of the other? Jesus must have employed in Aramaic the verb יָדַע , H3359, to know. Now יָדַע , H3359 is construed either with the accusative or with one of the two prepositions בְּ , in, or עַל , upon. The construction with one or other of these prepositions adds something to the notion of the verb. For example, שָׁמַע , H9048, to hear; שָׁמַעלְ, to listen; שָׁמַעבְּ, to listen with acquiescence of heart. There is a similar difference of meaning between יָדַע , H3359 and יָדַע בְּ or יָדַעעַל , a difference analogous to that between the two expressions, rem cognoscere and cognoscere de re, to know a thing and to know of a thing. Thus, in the passage in Job 37:16, where יָדַע , H3359 is construed with עַל , upon, the sense is not, “ Knowest thou balancings of the clouds?”
Job could not but have known the fact which falls under our eyes, but “ understandest thou the...?” Now if we suppose that Jesus used the verb יָדַע , H3359 with one of the prepositions בְּ or לְ , the two Greek forms may be explained as two different attempts to render the entire fulness of the Aramaic expression; that of Matthew strengthening the notion of the simple verb by the preposition ἐπί ( re cognise) (which would correspond more literally with יָדַעעַל ); that of Luke, by giving greater fulness to the idea of the object, by means of the paraphrase τίς ἐστιν , what is.
A remarkable example, Luke 9:3, has already shown how differences of matter and form in the reproduction of the words of Jesus by our evangelists are sometimes explained with the utmost ease by going back to the Hebrew or Aramaic text. What a proof of the authenticity of those discourses! What a proof also of the independence of our several Greek Digests!
That exclusive knowledge which the Father and Son have of one another is evidently not the cause of their paternal and filial relation; on the contrary, it is the effect of it. Jesus is not the Son because He alone perfectly knows the Father, and is fully known only by Him; but He knows Him and is known by Him in this way only because He is the Son. In like manner, God is not the Father because He alone knows the Son, and is known only by Him; but this double knowledge is the effect of that paternal relation which He sustains to the Son.
The article before the two substantives serves to raise this unique relation above the relative temporal order of things, and to put it in the sphere of the absolute, in the very essence of the two Beings. God did not become Father at an hour marked on some earthly dial. If He is a Father to certain beings born in time, it is because He is the Father absolutely, that is to say, in relation to a Being who is not born in time, and who is toward Him the Son as absolutely. Such is the explanation of the difficult verse, Ephesians 3:15. Mark, who has not the passage, gives another wherein the term the Son is used in the same absolute sense, Luke 13:32: “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” After words like these, we cannot admit any radical difference between the Jesus of the Synoptics and that of John. The existence of the Son belonging to the essence of the Father, the pre-existence of the one is implied in the eternity of the other.
Immediate knowledge of the Father is the exclusive privilege of the Son. But it becomes the portion of believers as soon as He initiates them into the contents of His filial consciousness, and consents to share it with them. By this participation in the consciousness of the Son (the work of the Holy Spirit), the believer in his turn attains to the intuitive knowledge of the Father. Comp. John 1:18; John 14:6; John 17:26. With Gess, we ought to remark the importance of the priority given to the knowledge of the Son by the Father over that of the Father by the Son. Were the order inverted, the gift of all things, the παραδίδοναι , would have appeared to rest on the religious instruction which Jesus had been giving to men. The actual order makes it the consequence of the unsearchable relation between Jesus and the Father, in virtue of which He can be to souls everything that the Father Himself is to them.
This passage ( Luk 10:21-22 ) is placed by Matthew, chap. 11, after the denunciation pronounced on the Galilean cities, and immediately following on the deputation of John the Baptist. We cannot comprehend those of our critics, Gess included, who prefer this situation to that of Luke. Gess thinks that the disciples ( Luk 10:21 ) are contrasted with the unbelieving Galilean cities. But the whole passage refers to the disciples as instruments in God's work; and Jesus contrasts them not with the ignorant Galileans, but with the wise of Jerusalem. See Matthew even, Luke 10:25. As to the following sentence, Luke 10:22, Gess thinks that he can paraphrase it thus: “No man, not even John the Baptist, knoweth the Son...,” in order thus to connect it with the account of the forerunner's embassy, which forms the preceding context in Matthew. But in relation to the preceding verse the word no man alludes not to John, but to the wise and learned of Jerusalem, who pretended that they alone had the knowledge of God ( Luk 11:52 ). It is not difficult, then, to perceive the superiority of Luke's context; and we may prove here, as everywhere else, the process of concatenation, in virtue of which we find different elements united together in Mat 11:7-30 by a simple association of ideas in the mind of the compiler.
With the last words of Luke 10:22, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him, the thought of Jesus reverts to His disciples who surround Him, and in whom there is produced at this very time the beginning of the promised illumination. He now addresses Himself to them. The meditation of Luk 10:22 is the transition between the adoration of Luk 10:21 and the congratulation which follows.
Vers. 23 and 24. “ And He turned Him unto His disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. ” Elevated as was the conception which the disciples had of the person and work of Jesus, they were far from appreciating at its full value the fact of His appearance, and the privilege of being the agents of such a Master. At this solemn hour Jesus seeks to open their eyes. But He cannot express Himself publicly on the subject. It is, as it were, in an undertone that He makes this revelation to them, Luke 10:23-24. This last sentence admirably finishes the piece. We find it in Matthew 13:0, applied to the new mode of teaching which Jesus had just employed by making use of the form of parables. The expression, those things which ye see, is incompatible with this application, which is thus swept away by the text of Matthew himself.
Luke here omits the beautiful passage with which Matthew ( Mat 11:28-30 ) closes this discourse: “ Come unto me...” If he had known such words, would he have omitted them? Is not this invitation in the most perfect harmony with the spirit of his Gospel? Holtzmann, who feels how much the theory of the employment of a common source is compromised by this omission, endeavours to explain it. He supposes that Luke, as a good Paulinist, must have taken offence at the word ταπεινός , humble, when applied to Christ, as well as at the terms yoke and burden, which recalled the Law too strongly. And it is in face of Luke 22:27, “I am among you as he that serveth...,” and of Luke 16:17, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail...,” that such reasons are advanced! His extremity here drives Holtzmann to use one of those Tübingen processes which he himself combats throughout his whole book.
Modern criticism denies the historical character of this second mission. It is nothing more, Baur alleges, than an invention of Luke to lower the mission of the Twelve, and to exalt that of Paul and his assistants, of whom our seventy are provided as the precursors. With what satisfaction does not this Luke, who is silent as to the effects of the sending of the Twelve, describe those of the present mission! He goes the length of applying to the latter, and that designedly, part of the instructions which Jesus had given (Matthew 10:0) in regard to the former! Besides, the other Gospels nowhere mention those seventy evangelists whose mission Luke is pleased to relate! Holtzmann, who likewise denies the historical character of the narrative, does not, however, ascribe to Luke any deliberate fraud. The explanation of the matter is, according to him, a purely literary one. Of the two sources which Matthew and Luke consulted, the former that is, the original Mark recorded the sending of the Twelve with a few brief instructions, such as we have found in Luk 9:1-6 and Mark 6:7-13; the second, the Logia, contained the full and detailed discourse which Jesus must have delivered on the occasion, as we read it Matthew 10:0. The author of our first Gospel saw that the discourse of the Logia applied to the sending of the Twelve mentioned in the original Mark, and attached it thereto. Luke had not the same perspicacity. After having related the mission of the Twelve ( Luk 9:1-6 ) after the proto-Mark, he found the great discourse in the Logia; and to get a suitable place for it, he thought that he must create a situation at his own hand. With this view, but without the least purpose of a dogmatic kind, he imagined a second mission, that of the seventy.
But if the origin of this narrative were as Baur supposes, how should only the Twelve reappear later in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 17:5, Luk 18:31 ), without ever a word more of those seventy? How should Luke in the Acts make no mention of those latter? Was it not easy and natural, after having invented them, to give them a part to play in the mission organized under Paul's direction? An author does not lie in good earnest, only to forget thereafter to make use of his fraud. We have found that, as to the mission of the Twelve, Luke says at least ( Luk 9:10 ), “And the apostles, when they were returned, told Him all that they had done” (remark the ὅσα , stronger than the simple ἅ ); while Matthew, after the discourse, adds not a single word about the mission and its results! In short, the narrative of the sending of the seventy is so far from being a Paulinist invention, that in a work of the second century, proceeding from the sect most hostile to Paul, we find the following passage put in the mouth of Peter ( Recognit. Clem. 1.24): “He first chose us twelve, whom He called apostles; then He chose seventy-two other disciples from among the most faithful.” The old historians have undoubtedly been somewhat arbitrary in numbering among those seventy many persons whom they designate as having formed part of them. But this false application proves nothing against the fact itself; on the contrary, it attests the impression which the Church had of its reality.
The opinion of Holtzmann would charge the sacred historian with an arbitrariness incompatible with the serious love of historical truth which is expressed, according to Holtzmann himself, in his introduction. Besides, we shall see ( Luk 17:1-10 ) how entirely foreign such procedure was to the mind of Luke. When, finally, we consider the internal perfection of his whole narrative, the admirable correspondence between the emotions of our Lord and the historical event which gives rise to them, have we not a sufficient guarantee for the reality of this episode? As the account of the healing of the lunatic child is the masterpiece of Mark, this description of the sending of the seventy disciples is the pearl of Luke.
4. The Conversation with the Scribe, and the Parable of the Samaritan: Luke 10:25-37.
Jesus slowly continues His journey, stopping at each locality. The most varied scenes follow one another without internal relation, and as circumstances bring them. Weizsäcker, starting from the assumption that this framework is not historical, has set himself to seek a systematic plan, and affects to find throughout an order according to subjects. Thus he would have the parable of the good Samaritan connected with the sending of the seventy by its object, which was originally to prove the right of the evangelists, to whatever nationality they might belong. But where in the parable is there to be found the least trace of correspondence between the work done by the good Samaritan, and the function of the evangelists in the apostolic church? How could the original tendency fail to come out at some point of the description? Holtzmann thinks that in what follows Luke conjoins two distinct accounts that of the scribe ( Luk 10:25-28 ), which we find in Mar 12:28 and Matthew 22:35, and the parable of the good Samaritan taken from the Logia. The connection which our Gospel establishes between the two events ( Luk 10:29 ) is nothing else than a rather unskilful combination on the part of Luke. But there is no proof that the scribe of Luke is the same as that spoken of by Mark and Matthew. It is at Jerusalem, and in the days which precede the passion, that this latter appears; and above all, as Meyer acknowledges, the matter of discussion is entirely different. The scribe of Jerusalem asks Jesus which is the greatest commandment. His is a theological question. That of Galilee, like the rich young man, desires Jesus to point out to him the means of salvation. His is a practical question. Was there but one Rabbin in Israel who could enter into discussion with Jesus on such subjects? It is possible, no doubt, that some external details belonging to one of those scenes got mixed up in tradition with the narrative of the other. But the moral contents form the essential matter, and they are too diverse to admit of being identified. As to the connection which Luk 10:29 establishes between the interview and the parable which follows, it is confirmed by the lesson which flows from the parable ( Luk 10:36-37 ), and about the authenticity of which there is no doubt.
Vers. 25-28. The Work which saves.
In Greece the object of search is truth; in Israel it is salvation. So this same question is found again in the mouth of the rich young man.
The expression stood up shows that Jesus and the persons who surrounded Him were seated. Several critics think this “scenery” (Holtzmann) inconsistent with the idea of a journey, as if we had not to do here with a course of preaching, and as if Jesus must have been, during the weeks this journey lasts, constantly on His feet!
The test to which the scribe wished to subject Jesus bore either on His orthodoxy or on His theological ability. His question rests on the idea of the merit of works. Strictly, on having done what work shall I certainly inherit...? In the term to inherit there is an allusion to the possession of the land of Canaan, which the children of Israel had received as a heritage from the hand of God, and which to the Jewish mind continued to be the type of the Messianic blessedness. The question of Jesus distinguishes between the contents ( τί ) and the text ( πῶς ) of the law. It has been thought that, while saying, How readest thou? Jesus pointed to the phylactery attached to the scribe's dress, and on which passages of the law were written. But at Luk 10:28 we should find thou hast well read, instead of thou hast answered right. And it cannot be proved that those two passages were united on the phylacteries. The first alone appears to have figured on them.
It is not wonderful that the scribe instantly quotes the first part of the summary of the law, taken from Deuteronomy 6:5; for the Jews were required to repeat this sentence morning and evening. As to the second, taken from Leviticus 19:18, we may doubt whether he had the readiness of mind to join it immediately with the first, and so to compose this magnificent resumé of the substance of the law. In Mark 12:0 and Matthew 22:0 it is Jesus Himself who unites those two utterances. It is probable, as Bleek thinks, that Jesus guided the scribe by a few questions to formulate this answer. Luk 10:26 has all the appearance of the opening of a catechetical course.
The first part of the summary includes four terms; in Hebrew there are only three לֵב , H4213, heart; ‡ ֶנפֶשׁ, H5883, soul; מְאֹד, H4394, might. The LXX. also have only three, but they translate לֵב , H4213, heart, by διανοία , mind; and this is the word which appears in Luke as the fourth term. In Matthew there are three: διανοία is the last; in Mark, four: σύνεσις takes the place of διανοία , and is put second. Καρδία , the heart, in Mark and Luke is foremost; it is the most general term: it denotes in Scripture the central focus from which all the rays of the moral life go forth; and that in their three principal directions the powers of feeling, or the affections, ‡ ֶנפֶשׁ , H5883, the soul, in the sense of feeling; the active powers, the impulsive aspirations, מְאֹד , H4394, the might, the will; and the intellectual powers, analytical or contemplative, διανοία , mind. The difference between the heart, which resembles the trunk, and the three branches, feeling, will, and understanding, is emphatically marked, in the Alex. variation, by the substitution of the preposition ἐν , in, for ἐκ , with (from), in the three last members. Moral life proceeds from the heart, and manifests itself without, in the three forms of activity indicated. The impulse Godward proceeds from the heart, and is realized in the life through the affection, which feeds on that supreme object; through the will, which consecrates itself actively to the accomplishment of His will; and through the mind, which pursues the track of His thoughts, in all His works.
The second part of the summary is the corollary of the first, and cannot be realized except in connection with it. Nothing but the reigning love of God can so divest the individual of devotion to his own person, that the ego of his neighbour shall rank in his eyes exactly on the same level as his own. The pattern must be loved above all, if the image in others is to appear to us as worthy of esteem and love as in ourselves.
Thus to love is, as Jesus says, the path to life, or rather it is life itself. God has no higher life than that of love. The answer of Jesus is therefore not a simple accommodation to the legal point of view. The work which saves, or salvation, is really loving. The gospel does not differ from the law in its aim; it is distinguished from it only by its indication of means and the communication of strength.
Vers. 29-32. The Priest and the Levite.
Lightfoot has proved that the Rabbins did not, in general, regard as their neighbours those who were not members of the Jewish nation. Perhaps the subject afforded matter for learned debates in their schools. The word πλήσιον , being without article here, might be taken in strictness as an adverb. It is simpler to regard it as the well-known substantive ὁ πλήσιον . The καί , and, introducing the answer, brings it into relation with the preceding question which called it forth. The word ὑπολαβών , rejoining, which does not occur again in the N. T., is put for the ordinary term ἀποκριθείς , answering, to give more gravity to what follows. The mountainous, and for the most part desert country, traversed by the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, was far from safe. Jerome ( ad Jer 3:2 ) relates that in his time it was infested by hordes of Arabs. The distance between the two cities is seven leagues. The καί , also, before ἐκδύσαντες , Luke 10:30, supposes a first act which is self-understood, the relieving him of his purse.
There is a sort of irony in the κατὰ συγκυρίαν , by chance. It is certainly not by accident that the narrator brings those two personages on the scene.
The preposition ἀντί in ἀντιπαρῆλθε , he passed by, might denote a curve made in an opposite direction; but it is simpler to understand it in the sense of over against. In view of such a spectacle, they pass on. Comp. the antithesis προσελθών , having gone to him, Luke 10:34.
Vers. 29-37. The good Samaritan.
How is such love to be attained? This would have been the question put by the scribe, had be been in the state of soul which Paul describes Romans 7:0, and which is the normal preparation for faith. He would have confessed his impotence, and repeated the question in a yet deeper sense than at the beginning of the interview: What shall I do? What shall I do in order to love thus?
But instead of that, feeling himself condemned by the holiness of the law which he has himself formally expressed, he takes advantage of his ignorance, in other words, of the obscurity of the letter of the law, to excuse himself for not having observed it: “What does the word neighbour mean? How far does its application reach?” So long as one does not know exactly what this expression signifies, it is quite impossible, he means, to fulfil the commandment. Thus the remark of Luke, “willing to justify himself,” finds an explanation which is perfectly natural.
The real aim of the parable of the good Samaritan is to show the scribe that the answer to the theological question, which he thinks good to propose, is written by nature on every right heart, and that to know, nothing is needed but the will to understand it. But Jesus does not at all mean thereby that it is by his charitable disposition, or by this solitary act of kindness, that the Samaritan can obtain salvation. We must not forget that a totally new question, that of the meaning of the word neighbour, has intervened. It is to the latter question that Jesus replies by the parable. He lets the scribe understand that this question, proposed by him as so difficult, is resolved by a. right heart, without its ever proposing it at all. This ignorant Samaritan naturally ( φύσει , Rom 2:14 ) possessed the light which the Rabbins had not found, or had lost, in their theological lucubrations. Thus was condemned the excuse which he had dared to advance.
May we not suppose it is from sayings such as this that Paul has derived his teaching regarding the law written in the heart, and regarding its partial observance by the Gentiles, Rom 2:14-16 ?
Vers. 33-35. The Samaritan.
For the sake of contrast, Jesus chooses a Samaritan, a member of that half Gentile people who were separated from the Jews by an old national hatred. In the matter about which priests are ignorant, about which the scribe is still disputing, this simple and right heart sees clearly at the first glance. His neighbour is the human being, whoever he may be, with whom God brings him into contact, and who has need of his help. The term ὁδεύων , as he journeyed, conveys the idea that he might easily have thought himself excused from the duty of compassion toward this stranger.
In every detail of the picture, Luke 10:34, there breathes the most tender pity ( ἐσπλαγχνίσθη ).
Oil and wine always formed part of the provision for a journey.
We see from what follows that πανδοχεῖον signifies not a simple caravansary, but a real inn, where people were received for payment. ᾿Επί , Luke 10:35, should be understood as in Acts 3:1: Toward the morrow, that is to say, at daybreak. The term ἐξελθών , when he departed, shows that he was now on horseback, ready to go. Two pence are equal to about 1 Samuel 4:0 d.
After having brought the wounded man the length of the hostelry, he might have regarded himself as discharged from all responsibility in regard to him, and given him over to the care of his own countrymen, saying: “He is your neighbour rather than mine.” But the compassion which constrained him to begin, obliges him to finish.
What a masterpiece is this portrait! What a painter was its author, and what a narrator was he who has thus transmitted it to us, undoubtedly in all its original freshness!
Vers. 36, 37. The Moral.
The question with which Jesus obliges the scribe to make application of the parable may seem badly put. According to the theme of discussion: “Who is my neighbour?” ( Luk 10:29 ), it would seem that He should have asked: Whom, then, wilt thou regard as thy neighbour to guide thee to him, as the Samaritan was guided to thy compatriot? But as the term neighbour implies the idea of reciprocity, Jesus has the right of reversing the expressions, and He does so not without reason. Is it not more effective to ask: By whom should I like to be succoured in distress? than: Whom should I assist in case of distress? To the first question, the reply is not doubtful. Self-regard coming to the aid of conscience, all will answer: By everybody. The scribe is quite alive to this. He cannot escape, when he is brought face to face with the question in this form. Only, as his heart refuses to pronounce the word Samaritan with praise, he paraphrases the odious name. On the use of μετά , Luke 10:37, see on Luke 1:58.
In this final declaration, Jesus contrasts the doing of the Samaritan with the vain casuistry of the Rabbins. But while saying, Do thou likewise, He does not at all add, as at Luke 10:28, and thou shalt live. For beneficence does not give life or salvation. Were it even the complete fulfilment of the second part of the sum of the law, we may not forget the first part, the realization of which, though not less essential to salvation, may remain a strange thing to the man of greatest beneficence. But what is certain is, that the man who in his conduct contradicts the law of nature, is on the way opposed to that which leads to faith and salvation ( Joh 3:19-21 ).
The Fathers have dwelt with pleasure on the allegorical interpretation of this parable: The wounded man representing humanity; the brigands, the devil; the priest and Levite, the law and the prophets. The Samaritan is Jesus Himself; the oil and wine, divine grace; the ass, the body of Christ; the inn, the Church; Jerusalem, paradise; the expected return of the Samaritan, the final advent of Christ. This exegesis rivalled that of the Gnostics.
Vers. 38-40. Martha's Complaint.
It is probably the indefinite expression of Luke, into a certain village, which John means to define by the words: Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha, Luke 11:1; as also the words of Luke 5:39, which sat at Jesus' feet, seem to be alluded to in those others: But Mary sat still in the house, Luke 11:20. The entire conduct of Martha and Mary, John 11:0, reproduces in every particular the characters of the two sisters as they appear from Luke 10:0.
It has been supposed that Martha was the wife of Simon the Leper (Matthew 26:6; Mar 14:3 ), and that her brother and sister had become inmates of the house. All this is pure hypothesis.
If the two words ἥ and καί , “ which also sat,” really belong to the text, Luke gives us to understand that Mary began by serving as well as Martha; but that, having completed her task, she also sat to listen, rightly considering that, with such a guest, the essential thing was not serving, but above all being herself served.
Jesus was seated with His feet stretched behind Him ( Luk 7:38 ).
It was therefore at His feet behind Him that she took her place, not to lose any of His words. The term περιεσπᾶτο ( was cumbered), Luke 10:40, denotes a distraction at once external and moral. The word ἐπιστᾶσα , came to Him, especially with δέ adversative, but, indicates a sudden suspension of her feverish activity; at the sight of Jesus and her sister, who was listening to Him with gladness, Martha stops short, takes up a bold attitude, and addresses the latter, reproaching her for her selfishness, and Jesus for His partiality, implied in the words, Dost Thou not care? Nevertheless, by the very word which she uses, κατέλιπε , hath left me (this reading is preferable to the imperfect κατέλειπε ), she acknowledges that Mary up till then had taken part in serving. In the compound συναντιλαμβάνεσθαι three ideas are included, charging oneself with a burden (the middle) for another ( ἀντί ), and sharing it with him ( σύν ).
5. Martha and Mary: Luke 10:38-42.
Here is one of the most exquisite scenes which Gospel tradition has preserved to us; it has been transmitted by Luke alone. What surprises us in the narrative is, the place which it occupies in the middle of a journey through Galilee. On the one hand, the expression ἐν τῷ πορεύεσθαι αὐτούς , as they went, indicates that we have a continuation of the same journey as began at Luke 9:51; on the other, the knowledge which we have of Martha and Mary, John 11:0, does not admit of a doubt that the event transpired in Judea at Bethany, near Jerusalem. Hengstenberg supposes that Lazarus and his two sisters dwelt first in Galilee, and afterwards came to settle in Judea. But the interval between autumn and the following spring is too short to allow of such a change of residence. In John 11:1, Bethany is called the town of Mary and her sister Martha, a phrase which assumes that they had lived there for a length of time. The explanation is therefore a forced one. There is another more natural. In John 10:0 there is indicated a short visit of Jesus to Judea in the month of December of that year, at the feast of dedication. Was not that then the time when the visit took place which is here recorded by Luke? Jesus must have interrupted His evangelistic journey to go to Jerusalem, perhaps while the seventy disciples were carrying out their preparatory mission. After that short appearance in the capital, He returned to put Himself at the head of the caravan, to visit the places where the disciples had announced His coming. Luke himself certainly did not know the place where this scene transpired ( in a certain village); he transmits the fact to us as he found it in his sources, or as he had received it by oral tradition, without more exact local indication. Importance had been attached rather to the moral teaching than to the external circumstances. It is remarkable that the scene of the preceding parable is precisely the country between Jericho and Jerusalem. Have we here a second proof of a journey to Judea at that period?
Here we must recall two things: 1. That the oral tradition from which our written compilations (with the exception of that of John) are derived, was formed immediately after the ministry of our Lord, when the actors in the Gospel drama were yet alive, and that it was obliged to exercise great discretion in regard to the persons who figured in it, especially where women were concerned; hence the omission of many proper names. 2. That it is John's Gospel which has restored those names to the Gospel history; but that at the time when Luke wrote, this sort of incognito still continued.
Vers. 41, 42. The Answer.
Jesus replies to the reproach of Martha by charging her with exaggeration in the activity which she is putting forth. If she has so much trouble, it is because she wishes it. Μεριμνᾷν , to be careful, refers to moral preoccupation; τυρβάζεσθαι , to be troubled, to external agitation. The repetition of Martha's name in the answer of Jesus is intended to bring her back gently, but firmly, from her dissipation of mind. The expression in which Jesus justifies His rebuke is at once serious and playful. According to the received reading, One thing only is needful, the thought might be: “A single dish is sufficient.” But as it was certainly not a lesson on simplicity of food that Jesus wished to give here, we must in that case admit a double reference, like that which is so often found in the words of Jesus ( Joh 4:31-34 ): “A single kind of nourishment is sufficient for the body, as one only is necessary for the soul.” This is probably the meaning of the Alex. reading: “ There needs but little (for the body), or even but one thing (for the soul).” There is subtilty in this reading; too much perhaps. It has against it 15 Mjj., the Peschito, and a large number of the copies of the Itala. It is simpler to hold that, by the expression one thing, Jesus meant to designate spiritual nourishment, the divine word, but not without an allusion to the simplicity in physical life which naturally results from the preponderance given to a higher interest. The expression ἀγαθὴ μερίς , that good part, alludes to the portion of honour at a feast. The pronoun ἥτις , which as such, brings out the relation between the excellence of this portion, and the impossibility of its being lost to him who has chosen it, and who perseveres in his choice. In this defence of Mary's conduct there is included an invitation to Martha to imitate her at once.
The two sisters have often been regarded as representing two equally legitimate aspects of the Christian life, inward devotion and practical activity. But Martha does not in the least represent external activity, such as Jesus approves. Her very distraction proves that the motive of her work is not pure, and that her self-importance as hostess has a larger share in it than it ought. On the other hand, Mary as little represents a morbid quietism, requiring to be implemented by the work of an active life. Mary served as long as it appeared to her needful to do so. Thereafter she understood also that, when we have the singular privilege of welcoming a Jesus under our roof, it is infinitely more important to seek to receive than to give. Besides, some months later ( Joh 12:3 et seq.), Mary clearly showed that when action or giving was required, she was second to none.
The Tübingen school has discovered depths in this narrative unknown till it appeared. In the person of Martha, Luke seeks to stigmatize Judaizing Christianity, that of legal works; in the person of Mary he has exalted the Christianity of Paul, that of justification without works and by faith alone. What extraordinary prejudice must prevail in a mind which can to such a degree mistake the exquisite simplicity of this story!
Supposing that it really had such an origin, would not this dogmatic importation have infallibly discoloured both the matter and form of the narrative? A time will come when those judgments of modern criticism will appear like the wanderings of a diseased imagination.
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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on Luke 10". "Godet's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany