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This account embraces: 1 st. The model of Christian prayer ( Luk 11:1-4 ); 2 d. An encouragement to pray thus, founded on the certainty of being heard ( Luk 11:5-13 ).
1 st. Luke 11:1-4. The Model of Prayer. “ And it came to pass, that as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Father, hallowed be thy name; Thy kingdom come; 3 Give us day by day our needful bread; 4 And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation. ” It was the custom among the Jews to pray regularly three times a day. John had kept up the practice, as well as that of fasting ( Luk 11:33 ); and it was doubtless with a view to this daily exercise that he had given a form to his disciples.
In the words, when ye pray, say, the term προσεύχεσθαι , to pray, denotes the state of adoration, and the word say, the prayer formally expressed.
It is evident that this order, when ye pray, say, does not mean that the formula was to be slavishly repeated on every occasion of prayer; it was the type which was to give its impression to every Christian prayer, but in a free, varied, and spontaneous manner. The distinctive characteristio of this formulary is the filial spirit, which appears from the first in the invocation, Father; then in the object and order of the petitions. Of the five petitions which the Lord's Prayer includes in Luke, two bear directly on the cause of God they stand at the head; three to the wants of man they occupy the second place. This absolute priority given to divine interests implies an emptying of ourselves, a heavenly love and zeal which are not natural to man, and which suppose in us the heart of a true child of God, occupied above all things with the interests of his heavenly Father. After having thus forgotten himself, and become lost as it were in God, the Christian comes back to himself; but as it is in God that he finds himself again, he does not find himself alone. He contemplates himself as a member of God's family, and says thenceforth: we, and not I. The fraternal spirit becomes, in the second part of his prayer, the complement of the filial spirit which dictated the first; intercession is blended with personal supplication. The Lord's Prayer is thus nothing else than the summary of the law put into practice; and this summary so realized in the secrecy of the heart, will naturally pass thence into the entire life.
It appears certain from the MSS. that in the text of Luke the invocation ought to be reduced to the single word Father. The following words, which art in heaven, are a gloss taken from Matthew, but agreeable, no doubt, to the real tenor of our Lord's saying. In this title Father there is expressed the double feeling of submission and confidence. The name is found in the Old Testament only in Isaiah 63:16 (comp. Psa 103:13 ), and is employed only in reference to the nation as a whole. The pious Israelite felt himself the servant of Jehovah, not His child. The filial relationship which the believer sustains to God rests on the incarnation and revelation of the Son. Luke 10:22: “ He to whom the Son will reveal Him....” Comp. John 1:12.
The first two petitions relate, not to the believer himself, or the world which surrounds him, but to the honour of God; it is the child of God who is praying. Wetstein has collected a large number of passages similar to those two petitions, derived from Jewish formularies. The Old Testament itself is filled with like texts. But the originality of this first part of the Lord's Prayer is not in the words; it is in the filial feeling which is here expressed by means of those already well-known terms.
The name of God denotes, not His essence or His revelation, as is often said, but rather the conception of God, whatever it may be, which the worshipper bears in his consciousness
His reflection in the soul of His creatures. Hence the fact that this name dwells completely only in One Being, in Him who is the adequate image of God, and who alone knows Him perfectly; that One of whom God says, Exodus 23:21, “ My name is in Him. ” Hence the fact that this name can become holier than it is be hallowed, rendered holy. What unworthy conceptions of God and His character still reign among men! The child of God prays Him to assert His holy character effectually in the minds of men, in order that all impure idolatry, gross or refined, as well as all pharisaic formalism, may for ever come to an end, and that every human being may exclaim with the seraphim, in rapt adoration: Holy, holy, holy! (Isaiah 6:0) The Imper. Aor. indicates a series of acts by which this result shall be brought about.
The holy image of God once shining in glory within the depths of the heart, the kingdom of God can be established there. For God needs only to be well known in order to reign. The term kingdom of God denotes an external and social state of things, but one which results from an inward and individual change. This petition expresses the longing of the child of God for that reconciled and sanctified humanity within the bosom of which the will of the Father will be done without opposition. The aor. ἐλθέτω , come, comprises the whole series of historical facts which will realize this state of things. The imperatives, which follow one another in the Lord's Prayer with forcible brevity, express the certainty of being heard.
The third petition, “ Thy will be...,” which is found in the T. R., following several MSS., is certainly an importation from Matthew. It is impossible to discover any reason why so many MSS. should have rejected it in Luke. In Matthew it expresses the state of things which will result from the establishment of the kingdom of God over humanity so admirably, that there is no reason for doubting that it belongs to the Lord's Prayer as Jesus uttered it. The position of this petition between the two preceding in a passage of Tertullian, may arise either from the fact that it was variously interpolated in Luke, or from the fact that, in consequence of the eschatological sense which was given to the term kingdom of God, it was thought right to close the first part of the prayer with the petition which related to that object.
Ver. 3. From the cause of God, the worshipper passes to the wants of God's family. The connection is this: “And that we may be able ourselves to take part in the divine work for whose advancement we pray, Give us, Forgive us,” etc.
In order to serve God, it is first of all necessary that we live. The Fathers in general understood the word bread in a spiritual sense: the bread of life (John 6:0); but the literal sense seems to us clearly to flow from the very general nature of this prayer, which demands at least one petition relating to the support of our present life. Jesus, who with His apostles lived upon the daily gifts of His Father, understood by experience, better perhaps than many theologians, the need which His disciples would have of such a prayer. No poor man will hesitate about the sense which is to be given to this petition.
The word ἐπιούσιος is unknown either in profane or sacred Greek. It appears, says Origen, to have been invented by the evangelists. It may be taken as derived from ἔπειμι , to be imminent, whence the participle ἡ ἐπιοῦσα ( ἡμέρα ), the coming day (Proverbs 27:1; Acts 7:26, et al.). We must then translate: “Give us day by day next day's bread. ” This was certainly the meaning given to the petition by the Gospel of the Hebrews, where this was rendered, according to Jerome, by לֶחֶםמָחָר , to-morrow's bread. Founding on the same grammatical meaning of ἐπιούσιος , Athanasius explains it: “The bread of the world to come.” But those two meanings, and especially the second, are pure refinements. The first is not in keeping with Matthew 6:34: “ Take no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. ” Comp. Exo 16:19 et seq. It is therefore better to regard ἐπιούσιος as a compound of the substantive οὐσία , essence, existence, goods. No doubt ἐπι ordinarily loses its ι when it is compounded with a word beginning with a vowel. But there are numerous exceptions to the rule. Thus ἐπιεικής , ἐπίουρος (Homer), ἐπιορκεῖν , ἐπιετής (Polybius). And in the case before us, there is a reason for the irregularity in the tacit contrast which exists between the word and the analogous compound περιούσιος , superfluous. “Give us day by day bread sufficient for our existence, not what is superfluous.” The expression, thus understood, exactly corresponds to that of Proverbs ( Pro 30:8 ), חקי לחם , food convenient for me, literally, the bread of my allowance, in which the term חֹק , H2976, statutum, is tacitly opposed to the superfluity, περιούσιον , which is secretly desired by the human heart; and it is this biblical expression of which Jesus probably made use in Aramaic, and which should serve to explain that of our passage. It has been inferred, from the remarkable fact that the two evangelists employ one and the same Greek expression, otherwise altogether unknown, that one of the evangelists was dependent on the other, or that both were dependent on a common Greek document. But the very important differences which we observe in Luke and Matthew, between the two editions of the Lord's Prayer, contain one of the most decisive refutations of the two hypotheses. What writer would have taken the liberty wilfully and arbitrarily to introduce such modifications into the text of a formulary beginning with the words: “ When ye pray, say...”? The differences here, still more than anywhere else, must be involuntary. It must therefore be admitted that this Greek term common to both was chosen to translate the Aramaic expression, at the time when the primitive oral tradition was reproduced in Greek for the numerous Jews speaking that language who dwelt in Jerusalem and Palestine ( Act 6:1 et seq.). This translation, once fixed in the oral tradition, passed thence into our Gospels.
Instead of day by day, Matthew says σήμερον , this day. Luke's expression, from its very generality, does not answer so well to the character of real and present supplication. Matthew's form is therefore to be preferred. Besides, Luke employs the present δίδου , which, in connection with the expression day by day, must designate the permanent act: “Give us constantly each day's bread.” The aor. δός , in Matthew, in connection with the word this day, designates the one single and momentary act, which is preferable.
What a reduction of human requirements to their minimum, in the two respects of quality (bread) and of quantity (sufficient for each day)!
Ver. 4. The deepest feeling of man, after that of his dependence for his very existence, is that of his guiltiness; and the first condition to enable him to act in the way which is indicated by the first petition, is his being relieved of this burden by pardon. For it is on pardon that the union of the soul with God rests. Instead of the word sins, Matthew in the first clause uses debts. Every neglect of duty to God really constitutes a debt requiring to be discharged by a penalty. In the second proposition Luke says: For we ourselves also ( αὐτοί ); Matthew: as we also...The idea of an imprecation on ourselves, in the event of our refusing pardon to him who has offended us, might perhaps be found in the form of Matthew, but not in that of Luke. The latter does not even include the notion of a condition; it simply expresses a motive derived from the manner in which we ourselves act in our humble sphere. This motive must undoubtedly be understood in the same sense as that of Luke 11:13: “ If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children...” “All evil as we are, we yet ourselves use the right of grace which belongs to us, by remitting debts to those who are our debtors; how much more wilt not Thou, Father, who art goodness itself, use Thy right toward us!” And this is probably also the sense in which we should understand the as also of Matthew. The only difference is, that what Luke alleges as a motive ( for also), Matthew states as a point of comparison ( as also).
Luke's very absolute expression, We forgive every one that is indebted to us, supposes the believer to be now living in that sphere of charity which Jesus came to create on the earth, and the principle of which was laid down in the Sermon on the Mount. The term used by Jesus might be applied solely to material debts: “Forgive us our sins, for we also in our earthly relations relax our rights toward our indigent debtors.” So we might explain Luke's use of the word sins in the first clause, and of the term ὀφείλοντι , debtor, in the second. This delicate shade would be lost in Matthew's form. It is possible, however, that by the words, every one that is indebted to us, in Luke, we are to understand not only debtors strictly so called, but every one who has offended us. The παντί is explained perhaps more easily in this wide sense of ὀφείλοντι .
This petition, which supposes the Christian always penetrated to the last ( day by day, Luk 11:3 ) by the conviction of his sins, has brought down on the Lord's Prayer the dislike of the Plymouth Brethren, who regard it as a prayer provided rather for a Jewish than a Christian state. But comp. 1 John 1:9, which certainly applies to believers: “ If we confess...”
The absence of all allusion to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the pardon of sins is a very striking proof of the entire authenticity of this formula, both in Luke and Matthew. If Luke in particular had put into it anything of his own, even the least, would not some expression borrowed from the theology of the Epistle to the Romans have inevitably slipped from his pen?
With the feeling of his past trespasses there succeeds in the mind of the Christian that of his weakness, and the fear of offending in the future. He therefore passes naturally from sins to be forgiven to sin to be avoided. For he thoroughly apprehends that sanctification is the superstructure to be raised on the foundation of pardon. The word tempt takes two meanings in Scripture to put a free being in the position of deciding for himself between good and evil, obedience and rebellion; it is in this sense that God tempts: “ God did tempt Abraham ” ( Gen 22:1 ); or, to impel inwardly to evil, to make sin appear in a light so seducing, that the frail and deceived being ends by yielding to it; thus it is that Satan tempts, and that, according to James 1:13, God cannot tempt. What renders it difficult to understand this last petition is, that neither of the two senses of the word tempt appears suitable here. If we adopt the good sense, how are we to ask God to spare us experiences which may be necessary for the development of our moral being, and for the manifestation of His glorious power in us ( Jam 1:3 )? If we accept the bad sense, is it not to calumniate God, to ask Him not to do towards us an act decidedly wicked, diabolical in itself? The solution of this problem depends on our settling the question who is the author of the temptations anticipated. Now the second part of the prayer in Matthew, But deliver us from the evil, leaves no doubt on this point. The author of the temptations to which this petition relates is not God, but Satan. The phrase ῥῦσαι ἀπό , rescue from, is a military term, denoting the deliverance of a prisoner who had fallen into the hands of an enemy. The enemy is the evil one, who lays his snares in the way of the faithful. These, conscious of the danger which they run, as well as of their ignorance and weakness, pray God to preserve them from the snares of the adversary. The word εἰσφέρειν has been rendered, to expose to, or, to abandon to; but these translations do not convey the force of the Greek term, to impel into, to deliver over to. God certainly does not impel to evil; but it is enough for Him to withdraw His hand that we may find ourselves given over to the power of the enemy. It is the παραδιδόναι , giving up; of which Paul speaks (Romans 1:24; Rom 1:26-28 ), and by which is manifested His wrath against the Gentiles. Thus He punishes sin, that of pride in particular, by the most severe of chastisements, even sin itself. All that God needs thereto is not to act, no more to guard us; and man, given over to himself, falls into the power of the enemy (2 Samuel 24:1, comp. with 1Ch 21:1 ). Such is the profound conviction of the believer; hence his prayer, “Let me do nothing this day which would force Thee for a single moment to withdraw Thy hand, and to give me over to one of the snares which the evil one will plant in my way. Keep me in the sphere where Thy holy will reigns, and where the evil one has no access.”
The second clause, but deliver us..., is, in Luke, an interpolation derived from Matthew. Without this termination the prayer is not really closed as it ought to be. Here again, therefore, Matthew is more complete than Luke.
The doxology, with which we close the Lord's Prayer, is not found in any MS. of Luke, and is wanting in the oldest copies of Matthew. It is an appendix due to the liturgical use of this formulary, and which has been added in the text of the first Gospel, the most commonly used in public reading.
The Lord's Prayer, especially in the form given by Matthew, presents to us a complete whole, composed of two ascending and to some extent parallel series.
We think that we have established 1 st. That it is Luke who has preserved to us most faithfully the situation in which this model prayer was taught, but that it is Matthew who has preserved the terms of it most fully and exactly. There is no contradiction, whatever M. Gess may think, between those two results. 2 d. That the two digests can neither be derived the one from the other, nor both of them from a common document. Bleek himself is forced here to admit a separate source for each evangelist. How, indeed, with such a document, is it possible to imagine the capricious omissions in which Luke must have indulged, or the arbitrary additions which Matthew must have allowed himself? Holtzmann thinks that Matthew amplified the formulary of the Logia reproduced by Luke, with the view of raising the number of petitions to the (sacred) number of seven. But ( a) the division into seven petitions is a fiction; it corresponds neither with the evident symmetry of the two parts of the prayer, each composed of three petitions, nor with the true meaning of the last petition, which, contrary to all reason, would require to be divided into two. ( b) The parts peculiar to Matthew have perfect internal probability. It has been concluded from those differences that this formulary was not yet in use in the worship of the primitive Church. If this argument were valid, it would apply also to the formula instituting the holy Supper, which is untenable. The formula of the Lord's Prayer was preserved at first, like all the rest of the Gospel history, by means of oral tradition; it thus remained exposed to secondary modifications, and these passed quite simply into the first written digests, from which our synoptical writers have drawn.
6. Prayer: Luke 11:1-13.
Continuing still to advance leisurely, the Lord remained faithful to His habit of prayer. He was not satisfied with that constant direction of soul toward His Father, to which the meaning of the command, Pray without ceasing, is often reduced. There were in His life special times and positive acts of prayer. This is proved by the following words: When he ceased praying. It was after one of those times, which no doubt had always something solemn in them for those who surrounded Him, that one of His disciples, profiting by the circumstance, asked Him to give a more special directory on the subject of prayer. Holtzmann is just enough to protest against this preface, Luke 11:1, being involved in the wholesale rejection which modern criticism visits on those short introductions of Luke. He finds a proof of its authenticity in the detail so precisely stated: “ Teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. ” It is, according to him, one of the cases in which the historical situation was expressly stated in the Logia.
The Lord's Prayer, as well as the instructions about prayer which follow, are placed by Matthew in the course of the Sermon on the Mount (chap. 6 and 7). Gess thinks that this model of prayer may have been twice given forth. Why might not a disciple, some months after the Sermon on the Mount, have put to Jesus the request which led Him to repeat it? And as to the context in Matthew, Luk 20:47 proves that much speaking belonged as much to the prayers of the Pharisees as to those of the heathen. That is true; but the prolixity to which the Lord's prayer is opposed in the Sermon on the Mount, and by means of which the worshipper hopes to obtain a hearing, has nothing to do with that ostentation before men which Jesus stigmatizes in Matthew 6:0 as characterizing the righteousness of the Pharisees. And the repetition of this model of prayer, though not impossible, is far from probable. What we have here, therefore, is one of those numerous elements, historically alien to the context of the Sermon on the Mount, which are found collected in this exposition of the new righteousness. The reflections regarding prayer, Matthew 7:0, belong to a context so broken, that if the connections alleged by commentators show to a demonstration what association of ideas the compiler has followed in placing them here, they cannot prove that Jesus could ever have taught in such a manner. In Luke, on the contrary, the connection between the different parts of this discourse is as simple as the occasion is natural. Here, again, we find the two evangelists such as we have come to know them: Matthew teaches, Luke relates.
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. 5-8. This parable is peculiar to Luke. Holtzmann says: “Taken from Λ .” But why in that case has Matthew omitted it, he who reproduces from Λ both the preceding and following verses ( Luk 7:7-11 )?
The form of expression is broken after Luke 11:7. It is as if the importuned friend were reflecting what he should do. His friendship hesitates. But a circumstance decides him: the perseverance, carried even to shamelessness ( ἀναιδεία ), of his friend who does not desist from crying and knocking. The construction of Luk 11:7 does not harmonize with that with which the parable had opened ( Luk 11:5 ). There were two ways of expressing the thought: either to say, “ Which of you shall have a friend, and shall say to him...and [if] the latter shall answer...[will not persist until]...;” or to say, “ If one of you hath a friend, and sayeth to him...and he answer him...[nevertheless] I say unto you...” Jesus begins with the first form, which takes each hearer more directly aside, and continues ( Luk 11:7 ) with the second, which better suits so lengthened a statement. The reading εἴπῃ may be explained by the εἴπῃ which follows Luke 11:7, as the reading ἐρεῖ by the Futures which precede. The first has more authorities in its favour. The figure of the three loaves should not be interpreted allegorically; the meaning of it should follow from the picture taken as a whole. One of the loaves is for the traveller; the second for the host, who must seat himself at table with him; the third will be their reserve. The idea of full sufficiency ( ὅσων χρῄζει ) is the real application to be made of this detail.
2 d. Luke 11:5-13. The Efficacy of Prayer.
After having declared to His own the essential objects to be prayed for, Jesus encourages them thus to pray by assuring them of the efficacy of the act. He proves this (1) by an example, that of the indiscreet friend ( Luk 11:5-8 ); (2) by common experience ( Luk 11:9-10 ); (3) by the fatherly goodness of God ( Luk 11:11-13 ).
Luke 11:9-10. “ And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. ” Luk 11:9 formally expresses the application of the preceding example; all the figures appear to be borrowed from that example. That is evident in the case of knocking. The word ask probably alludes to the cries of the friend in distress, and the word seek to his efforts to find the door in the night, or in endeavouring to open it. The gradation of those figures includes the idea of increasing energy in the face of multiplying obstacles.
A precept this which Jesus had learned by His personal experience ( Luk 3:21-22 ).
Ver. 10. confirms the exhortation of Luk 11:9 by daily experience. The Future, it shall be opened, which contrasts with the two Presents, receiveth, findeth, is used because in this case it is not the same individual who performs the two successive acts, as in the former two. The opening of the door depends on the will of another person.
How can we help admiring here the explanation afforded by Luke, who, by the connection which he establishes between this precept and the foregoing example, so happily accounts for the choice of the figures used by our Lord, and brings into view their entire appropriateness? In Matthew, on the contrary, this saying is found placed in the midst of a series of precepts, at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, detached from the parable which explains its figures; it produces the effect of a petal torn from its stalk, and lying on the spot where the wind has let it fall. Who could hesitate between the two narratives?
Vers. 11-13. “ If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12. Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him! ” Undoubtedly it sometimes happens in human relations, that the maxim of Luk 11:10 does not hold good. But in a paternal and filial relationship, such as that which was set before us by the model given at the beginning, success is certain. It is a Father to whom the believer prays; and when praying to Him in conformity with the model prescribed, he is sure to ask nothing except those things which such a Father cannot refuse to His child, and instead of which that Father would not give him other things, either hurtful or even less precious. The end of the piece thus brings us back to the starting-point: the title Father given to God, and the filial character of him who prays the Lord's Prayer. Δέ , then, relates to the a fortiori, in the certainty which we have just expressed. The reading of some Alex., τίς ... ὁ υἱός or υἱός , “ What son shall ask of his father,” would appeal to the feeling of sonship among the hearers; the reading τίνα ...is clearly to be preferred to it, “ What father of whom his son shall ask,” by which Jesus appeals to the heart of fathers in the assembly.
The three articles of food enumerated by Jesus appear at first sight to be chosen at random. But, as M. Bovet remarks, loaves, hard eggs, and fried fishes, are precisely the ordinary elements of a traveller's fare in the East. Matthew omits the third; Luke has certainly not added it at his own hand. The correspondence between bread and stone, fish and serpent, egg and scorpion, appears at a glance. In the teaching of Jesus all is picturesque, full of appropriateness, exquisite even to the minutest details. ᾿Επιδιδόναι , to transfer from hand to hand. This word, which is not repeated in Luke 11:13, includes this thought: “What father will have the courage to put into the hand...?”
The conclusion, Luke 11:13, is drawn by a new argument a fortiori; and the reasoning is still further strengthened by the words, ye being evil. The reading ὑπάρχοντες , “ finding yourselves evil,” seems more in harmony with the context than ὄντες , being (which is taken from Matthew, where the readings do not vary). ῾Υπάρχειν denotes the actual state as the starting-point for the supposed activity.
Bengel justly observes: Illustre testimonium de peccato originali.
The reading of the Alex., which omits ὁ before ἐξ οὐρανοῦ , would admit of the translation, will give from heaven. But there is no reason in the context which could have led Luke to put this construction so prominently. From heaven thus depends on the word Father, and the untranslateable Greek form can only be explained by introducing the verbal notion of giving between the substantive and its government: “The Father who giveth from heaven.”
Instead of the Holy Spirit, Matthew says, good things; and De Wette accuses Luke of having corrected him in a spiritualizing sense. He would thus have done here exactly the opposite of that which has been imputed to him in respect to Luk 6:20 ! Have we not then a complete proof that Luke took this whole piece from a source peculiar to himself? As to the intrinsic value of the two expressions, that of Matthew is simple and less didactic; that of Luke harmonizes better perhaps with the elevated sphere of the Lord's Prayer, which is the starting-point of the piece. The use of the simple δώσει (instead of ἐπιδώσει , Luk 11:12 ) arises from the fact that the idea does not recur of giving from hand to hand.
We regard this piece as one of those in which the originality and excellence of Luke's sources appear in their full light, although we consider the comparison of Matthew indispensable to restore the words of our Lord in their entirety.
1 st. Luke 11:14-16. ῏Ην ἐκβάλλων , He was occupied in casting out. The word κωφός , dull, may mean deaf or dumb; according to the end of the verse, it here denotes dumbness. On the expression dumb devil, see vol. i. p. 434. Bleek justly concludes from this term, that the dumbness was of a psychical, not an organic nature.
The construction ἐγένετο ... ἐλάλησεν betrays an Aramaic source. The accusation, Luke 11:15, is twice mentioned by Matthew: Matthew 9:32, on the occasion of a deaf man possessed, but without Jesus replying to it; then Matthew 12:22, which is the parallel passage to ours; here the possessed man is dumb and blind. Should not those two miracles be regarded as only one and the same fact, the account of which was taken first (Matthew 9:0) from the Logia, second (Matthew 12:0) from the proto-Mark, as Holtzmann appears to think, therein following his system to its natural consequences? But in that case we should have the result, that the Logia, the collection of discourses, contained the fact without the discourse, and that the proto-Mark, the strictly historical writing, contained the discourse without the fact, a strange anomaly, it must be confessed! In Mark 3:0 this accusation is connected with the step of the brethren of Jesus who come to lay hold of Him, because they have heard say that He is beside Himself, that He is mad (Luke 3:21, ὅτι ἐξέστη ). This expression is nearly synonymous with that of possessed ( Joh 10:20 ). According to this accusation, it was thus as one Himself possessed by the prince of the devils that Jesus had the power of expelling inferior devils. From this point of view, the ἐν , through, before the name Beelzebub, has a more forcible sense than appears at the first glance. It signifies not only by the authority of, but by Beelzebub himself dwelling personally in Jesus.
This name given to Satan appears in all the documents of Luke, and in almost all those of Matthew, with the termination bul; and this is certainly the true reading. It is probable, however, that the name is derived from the Heb. Baal-Zebub, God of Flies, a divinity who, according to 2 Kings 1:0 et seq., was worshipped at Ekron, a city of the Philistines, and who may be compared with the Ζεῦς ᾿Απομυῖος of the Greeks. The invocation of this god was doubtless intended to preserve the country from the scourge of flies. In contempt, the Jews applied this name to Satan, while modifying its last syllable so as to make it signify God of Dung ( Baal-Zebul). Such is the explanation given by Lightfoot, Wetstein, Bleek, etc.
Those who raise this accusation are, in Luke, some of the numerous persons present; in Matthew (Matthew 9:34; Mat 12:24 ), the Pharisees; in Mark ( Mar 3:22 ), scribes which came down from Jerusalem. This last indication by Mark would harmonize with the synchronism which we have established in regard to this accusation between Luke and John.
The demand for a sign from heaven ( Luk 11:16 ) is mentioned twice in Matthew 12:38; Matthew 16:1. It is not impossible that it may have been repeated again and again (comp. Joh 6:30 ). It corresponded with the ruling tendency of the Israelitish mind, the seeking for miracles, the σημεῖα αἰτεἶν ( 1Co 1:22 ). We have already explained its bearing in the present case. In John it signifies more particularly, “Show thyself superior to Moses.” In those different forms it was ever the repetition of the third temptation ( πειράζοντες , tempting Him). How, indeed, could Jesus avoid being tempted to accept this challenge, and so to confound by an act of signal power the treacherous accusation which He found raised against Him!
7. The Blasphemy of the Pharisees: Luke 11:14-36.
We have already observed (see on Luk 6:11 ) how remarkably coincident in time are the accusations called forth in Galilee by the healings on the Sabbath, and those which are raised about the same period at Jerusalem by the healing of the impotent man (John 5:0). There is a similar correspondence between the yet graver accusation of complicity with Beelzebub, raised against Jesus on the occasion of His healing demoniacs, and the charge brought against Him at Jerusalem at the feasts of Tabernacles and of the Dedication: “ Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil! ” ( Joh 8:48 ); “ He hath a devil, and is mad! ” ( Luk 10:20 ). Matthew (Matthew 12:0) and Mark (Mark 3:0) place this accusation and the answer of Jesus much earlier, in the first part of the Galilean ministry. The accusation may and must have often been repeated. The comparison of John would tell in favour of Luke's narrative. Two sayings which proceeded from the crowd give rise to the following discourse: the accusation of complicity with Beelzebub ( Luk 11:15 ), and the demand for a sign from heaven ( Luk 11:16 ). It might seem at first sight that these are two sayings simply placed in juxtaposition; but it is not so. The second is intended to offer Jesus the means of clearing Himself of the terrible charge involved in the first: “Work a miracle in the heavens, that sphere which is exclusively divine, and we shall then acknowledge that it is God who acts through thee, and not Satan.” This demand in appearance proceeds from a disposition favourable to Jesus; but as those who address Him reckon on His powerlessness to meet the demand, the result of the test, in their view, will be a condemnation without appeal. Those last are therefore in reality the worst intentioned, and it is in that light that Luke's text represents them. Matthew isolates the two questions, and simply puts in juxtaposition the two discourses which reply to them ( Luk 12:22 et seq., 38 et seq.); thus the significant connection which we have just indicated disappears. It is difficult to understand how Holtzmann and other moderns can see nothing in this relation established by Luke, but a specimen of his “[arbitrary] manner of joining together pieces which were detached in the Logia ( Λ ). ”
This piece includes: 1 st. A statement of the facts which gave rise to the two following discourses ( Luk 11:14-16 ); 2 d. The first discourse in reply to the accusation of Luke 11:15 ( Luk 11:17-26 ); 3 d. An episode showing the deep impression produced on the people by this discourse ( Luk 11:27-28 ); 4 th. The second discourse in reply to the challenge thrown out to Jesus, Luke 11:16 ( Luk 11:29-36 ).
Vers. 17-19. “ But He, knowing their thoughts, said unto them: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and one house falls upon another. Luke 11:18. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. Luke 11:19. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. ”
In Luk 11:17-18 Jesus appeals to the common sense of His hearers; it is far from natural to suppose that the devil would fight against himself. It is true, it might be rejoined that Satan drove out his underlings, the better to accredit Him as his Messiah. Jesus does not seem to have referred to this objection. In any case, the sequel would answer it; the devil can remove the diabolical spirit, but not replace it by the Holy Spirit. Διανοήματα , their thoughts, denotes the wicked source concealed behind such words ( Luk 11:15-16 ). The words, “ And one house falls upon another,” appear to be in Luke the development of the ἐρημοῦται , is brought to desolation: the ruin of families, as a consequence of civil discord. In Matthew and Mark they evidently include a new example, parallel to the preceding one. This sense is also admissible in Luke, if we make the object ἐπὶ οἶκον depend, not on πίπτει , but on διαμερισθείς ...: “ And likewise a house divided against a house falls. ”
The εἰ δὲ καί , Luke 11:18, here signifies, and entirely so if...In the appendix, because ye say, there is revealed a deep feeling of indignation. This emphatic form recalls that of Mark ( Mar 3:30 ): “ Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.” The two analogous terms of expression had become fixed in the tradition (comp. Luk 5:24 and parall.; see also on 12, Luk 1:18 ); but their form is sufficiently different to prove that the one evangelist did not copy from the other.
By this first reply Jesus has simply enlisted common sense on His side. He now thrusts deeper the keen edge of His logic, Luke 11:19. If the accusation raised against Him is wellfounded, His adversaries must impute to many of the sons of Israel the same compact with Satan. We know from the N. T. and Josephus, that there were at that time numerous Jewish exorcists who made a business of driving out devils for money (Acts 19:13: “ Certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists...” Comp. Josephus, Antiq. 8.2. 5). The Talmud also speaks of those exorcists, who took David, healing Saul by his songs, as their patron, and Solomon as the inventor of their incantations: “They take roots, fumigate the patient, administer to him a decoction, and the spirit vanishes” (Tauch. f. 70, 1). Such are the persons whom Jesus designated by the expression, your sons. Several Fathers have thought that He meant His own apostles, who also wrought like cures; but the argument would have had no value with Jews, for they would not have hesitated to apply to the cures wrought by the disciples the explanation with which they had just stigmatized those of the Master. De Wette, Meyer, and Neander give to the word sons the meaning which it has in the expression sons of the prophets, that of disciples. But is it proved that those exorcists studied in the Rabbinical schools? Is it not simpler to explain the term your sons in this sense: “Your own countrymen, your flesh and blood, whom you do not think of repudiating, but from whom, on the contrary, you take glory when they perform works of power similar to mine; they do not work signs in the heavens, and yet you do not suspect their cures. They shall confound you therefore before the divine tribunal, by convicting you of having applied to me a judgment which you should with much stronger reason have applied to them.” In reality, what a contrast was there between the free and open strife which Jesus maintained with the malignant spirits whom He expelled, and the suspicious manipulations in which those exorcists indulged! between the entire physical and moral restoration which His word brought to the sick who were healed by Him, and the half cures, generally followed by relapses, which they wrought! To ascribe the imperfect cures to God, and to refer the perfect cures to the devil what logic!
2 d. The First Discourse: Luke 11:17-26.
It is divided into two parts: Jesus refutes this blasphemous explanation of His cures ( Luk 11:17-19 ); He gives their true explanation ( Luk 11:20-26 ).
Vers. 20-26. After having by this new argumentum ad hominem refuted the supposition of His adversaries, Jesus gives the true explanation of His cures by contrasting the picture of one of those expulsions which He works ( Luk 11:20-22 ) with that of a cure performed by the exorcists ( Luk 11:23-26 ).
Vers. 20-22. “ But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. 21. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace. 22. But when a stronger than he shall come upon him and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. ” Luk 11:20 draws the conclusion ( δέ , now; ἄρα , then) from the preceding arguments, and forms the transition to the two following scenes. In this declaration there is betrayed intense indignation: “Let them take heed! The kingdom of God, for which they are waiting, is already there without their suspecting it; and it is upon it that their blasphemies fall. They imagine that it will come with noise and tumult; and it has come more quickly than they thought, and far otherwise it has reached them ( ἔφθασεν ). The construction ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς , upon you, has a threatening sense. Since they set themselves in array against it, it is an enemy which has surprised them, and which will crush them. The term finger of God is admirably in keeping with the context: the arm is the natural seat and emblem of strength; and the finger, the smallest part of the arm, is the symbol of the ease with which this power acts. Jesus means, “As for me, I have only to lift my finger to make the devils leave their prey.” These victories, so easily won, prove that henceforth Satan has found his conqueror, and that now God begins really to reign. This word, full of majesty, unveils to His adversaries the grandeur of the work which is going forward, and what tragic results are involved in the hostile attitude which they are taking towards it. Instead of by the finger of God, Matthew says by the Spirit of God; and Weizsäcker, always in favour of the hypothesis of a common document, supposes that Luke has designedly replaced it by another, because it seemed to put Jesus in dependence on the Holy Spirit. What may a man not prove with such criticism? Is it not simpler, with Bleek, to regard the figurative term of Luke as the original form in the saying of Jesus, which has been replaced by the abstract but radically equivalent expression of Matthew?
Mark omits the two Luke 11:19-20. Why would he have done so, if he had had before his eyes the same document as the others?
Vers. 21 and 22 serve to illustrate the thought of Luke 11:20: the citadel of Satan is plundered; the fact proves that Satan is vanquished, and that the kingdom of God is come. A strong and well-armed warrior watches at the gate of his fortress. So long as he is in this position ( ὅταν ), all is tranquil ( ἐν εἰρήνη ) in his fastness; his captives remain chained, and his booty ( σκῦλα ) is secure. The warrior is Satan (the art. ὁ alludes to a single and definite personality); his castle is the world, which up till now has been his confirmed property. His armour consists of those powerful means of influence which he wields. His booty is, first of all, according to the context, those possessed ones, the palpable monuments of his sway over humanity; and in a wider sense, that humanity itself, which with mirth or groans bears the chains of sin. But a warrior superior in strength has appeared on the world's stage; and from that moment all is changed. ᾿Επάν , from the time that, denotes the abrupt and decisive character of this succession to power, in opposition to ὅταν , as long as, which suited the period of security. This stronger man is Jesus (the art. ὁ also alludes to His definite personality). He alone can really plunder the citadel of the prince of this world. Why? Because He alone began by conquering him in single combat. This victory in a personal engagement was the preliminary condition of His taking possession of the earth. It cannot be doubted that, as Keim and Weizsäcker acknowledge, Jesus is here thinking of the scene of His temptation. That spiritual triumph is the foundation laid for the establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth, and for the destruction of that of Satan. As soon as a man can tell the prince of this world to his face, “Thou hast nothing in me” ( Joh 14:30 ), the stronger man, the vanquisher of the strong man, is come; and the plundering of his house begins. This plundering consists, first of all, of the healings of the possessed wrought by Jesus. Thus is explained the ease with which He performs those acts by which He rescues those unhappy ones from malignant powers, and restores them to God, to themselves, and to human society. All the figures of this scene are evidently borrowed from Isaiah 49:24-25, where Jehovah Himself fills the part of liberator, which Jesus here ascribes to Himself.
Vers. 23-26. “ He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 24. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. ”
The relation between Luk 11:23 and the verses which precede and follow has been thought so obscure by De Wette and Bleek, that they give up the attempt to explain it. In itself the figure is clear. It is that of a troop which has been dispersed by a victorious enemy, and which its captain seeks to rally, after having put the enemy to flight; but false allies hinder rather than promote the rallying. Is it so difficult to understand the connection of this figure with the context? The dispersed army denotes humanity, which Satan has conquered; the chief who rallies it is Jesus; the seeming allies, who have the appearance of fighting for the same cause as He does, but who in reality scatter abroad with Satan, are the exorcists. Not having conquered for themselves the chief of the kingdom of darkness, it is only in appearance that they can drive out his underlings; in reality, they serve no end by those alleged exploits, except to strengthen the previous state of things, and to keep up the reign of the ancient master of the world. Such is the object which the following illustration goes to prove. By the thrice-repeated ἐμοῦ , me, of Luke 11:23, there is brought into relief the decisive importance of the part which Jesus plays in the history of humanity; He is the impersonation of the kingdom of God; His appearance is the advent of a new power. The words σκορπίζειν , to disperse, and συνάγειν , to gather together, are found united in the same sense as here, John 10:13-16.
The two following verses serve to illustrate the saying of Luke 11:23, as Luk 11:21-22 illustrated the declaration of Luke 11:20. They are a sort of apologue poetically describing a cure wrought by the means which the exorcists employ, and the end of which is to show, that to combat Satan apart from Christ, his sole conqueror, is to work for him and against God; comp. the opposite case, Luke 9:49-50. The exorcist has plied his art; the impure spirit has let go his prey, quitted his dwelling, which for the time has become intolerable to him. But two things are wanting to the cure to make it real and durable. First of all, the enemy has not been conquered, bound; he has only been expelled, and he is free to take his course of the world, perhaps to return. Jesus, on the other hand, sent the malignant spirits to their prison, the abyss whence they could no longer come forth till the judgment (Luke 8:31, Luk 4:34 ). Then the house vacated is not occupied by a new tenant, who can bar the entrance of it against the old one. Jesus, on the contrary, does not content Himself with expelling the demon; He brings back the soul to its God; He replaces the unclean spirit by the Holy Spirit. As a relapse after a cure of this sort is impossible, so is it probable and imminent in the former case. Every line of the picture in which Jesus represents this state of things is charged with irony. The spirit driven out walks through dry places. This strange expression was probably borrowed from the formulas of exorcism. The spirit was relegated to the desert, the presumed abode of evil spirits ( Tob 8:3 ; Bar 4:35 ). The reference was the same in the symbolical sending of the goat into the wilderness for Azazel, the prince of the devils.
But the malignant spirit, after roaming for a time, begins to regret the loss of his old abode; would it not be well, he asks himself, to return to it? He is so sure that he needs only to will it, that he exclaims with sarcastic gaiety: I will return unto my house. At bottom he knows very well that he has not ceased to be the proprietor of it; a proprietor is only dispossessed in so far as he is replaced. First he determines to reconnoitre. Having come, he finds that the house is disposable ( σχολάζοντα , Matt.). He finds what is better still: the exorcist has worked with so much success, that the house has recovered a most agreeable air of propriety, order, and comfort since his departure. Far, therefore, from being closed against the malignant spirit, it is only better prepared to receive him. Jesus means thereby to describe the restoration of the physical and mental powers conferred by the half cures which He is stigmatizing. Anew there is a famous work of destruction to be accomplished
Satan cares for no other but this time it is not to be done by halves. And therefore there is need for reinforcement. Besides, it is a festival; there is need of friends. The evil spirit goes off to seek a number of companions sufficient to finish the work which had been interrupted. These do not require a second bidding, and the merry crew throw themselves into their dwelling. This time, we may be sure, nothing will be wanting to the physical, intellectual, and moral destruction of the possessed. Such was the state in which Jesus had found the Gergesene demoniac ( Luk 8:29 ), and probably also Mary Magdalene ( Luk 8:2 ). This explains in those two cases the words Legion ( Luk 8:30 ) and seven devils ( Luk 8:2 ), which are both symbolical expressions for a desperate state resulting from one or more relapses.
Nothing is clearer than this context, or more striking than this scene, in which it is impossible for us to distinguish fully between what belongs to the idea and what to the figure. Thus has Jesus succeeded in retorting upon the exorcists, so highly extolled by His adversaries, the reproach of being auxiliaries of Satan, which they had dared to cast on Him. Need we wonder at the enthusiasm which this discourse excited in the multitude, and at the exclamation of the woman, in which this feeling of admiration finds utterance?
3 d. Luke 11:27-28. The Incident. “ And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked. 28. But He said, Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. ” Perhaps, like Mary Magdalene, this woman had herself experienced the two kinds of healing which Jesus had been contrasting. In any case, living in a society where scenes of the kind were passing frequently, she had not felt the same difficulty in apprehending the figures as we, to whom they are so strange.
Jesus in His answer neither denies nor affirms the blessedness of her who gave Him birth. All depends on this, if she shall take rank in the class of those whom alone He declares to be blessed. The true reading appears to be μενοῦνγε , μενοῦν . “There is undoubtedly a blessedness;” γε (the restricting particle as always): “ at least for those who...”
Does not this short account bear in itself the seal of its historical reality? It is altogether peculiar to Luke, and suffices to demonstrate the originality of the source from which this whole piece was derived. For this incident could not possibly stand as a narrative by itself; it must have formed part of the account of the entire scene.
The allegorical tableau, Luk 11:24 et seq., is set by Matthew in an altogether different place, and so as to give it a quite different application ( Luk 12:43 et seq.). The words with which it closes, “ Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation,” prove that it is applied in that Gospel to the Jewish people taken collectively. The old form of possession was the spirit of idolatry; that of the present, seven times worse, is the Rabbinical pride, the pharisaic formalism and hypocrisy, which have dominion over the nation in the midst of its monotheistic zeal. The stroke which will fall upon it will be seven times more terrible than that with which it was visited when it was led into captivity in Jeremiah's day. This application is certainly grand and felicitous. But it forces us entirely to separate this scene, Luke 11:24-26, as the first Gospel does, from the preceding, Luke 11:21-22, which in Matthew as well as in Luke can only refer to the healing of cases of possession; and yet those two scenes are indisputably the pendants of one another. Gess understands the application of this word in Matthew to the Jewish people in a wholly different sense. The first cure, according to him, was the enthusiastic impulse of the people in favour of Jesus in the beginning of His Galilean ministry; the relapse referred to the coldness which had followed, and which had obliged Jesus to teach in parables. But nowhere does Jesus make so marked an allusion to that crisis, to which probably the conscience of the people was not awakened. Would it not be better in this case to apply the first cure to the powerful effect produced by John the Baptist? “Ye were willing for a season,” says Jesus Himself, “to rejoice in his light” ( Joh 5:35 ). Anyhow, what leads Matthew to convert the second scene into a national apologue, instead of leaving it with its demonological and individual application, is his insertion, immediately before, of the saying which relates to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, a saying which in Mark also follows the scene of the combat between the strong man and the stronger man. When, after so grave an utterance, Matthew returns to the scene (omitted by Mark) of the spirit recovering possession of his abandoned dwelling, he must necessarily give it a different bearing from that which it has in Luke. The superiority of Luke's account cannot appear doubtful to the reader who has caught the admirable connection of this discourse, and the striking meaning of all the figures which Jesus uses to compose those two scenes. As to the true position of the saying about the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the question will be discussed chap. 12
4 th. Luke 11:29-36. The Second Discourse.
This is the answer of Jesus to the demand which was addressed to Him to work a miracle proceeding from heaven ( Luk 11:16 ). Strauss does not think that Jesus could have reverted to so secondary a question after the extremely grave charge with which He had been assailed. We have already pointed out the relation which exists between those two subjects. The miracle proceeding from heaven was claimed from Jesus as the only means He had of clearing Himself from the suspicion of complicity with Satan. In the first part of His reply, Jesus speaks of the only sign of the kind which shall be granted to the nation ( Luk 11:29-32 ); in the second, of the entire sufficiency of this sign in the case of every one who has the eye of his soul open to behold it ( Luk 11:33-36 ).
Vers. 29-32. The Sign from Heaven. “ And when the people thronged together, He began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas. 30. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. 31. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. 32. The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. ”
During the previous scene, a crowd, growing more and more numerous, had gathered; and it is before it that Jesus gives the following testimony against the national unbelief. In the πονηρά , wicked, there is an allusion to the diabolical spirit which had dictated the call for a sign ( πειράζοντες , Luk 11:16 ).
The point of comparison between Jonas and Jesus, according to Luke, appears at first sight to be only the fact of their preaching, while in Mat 12:39-40 it is evidently the miraculous deliverance of the one and the resurrection of the other. M. Colani concludes from this difference that Matthew has materialized the comparison which Jesus gave forth in a purely moral sense (Luke). But it must not be forgotten that Jesus says in Luke, as well as in Matthew: “The Son of man shall be ( ἔσται ) a sign,” by which He cannot denote His present preaching and appearance, the Fut. necessarily referring to an event yet to come, an event which can be no other than the entirely exceptional miracle of His resurrection. They ask of Jesus a sign ἐξ οὐρανοῦ , proceeding from heaven, Luke 11:16. His resurrection, in which no human agency intervenes, and in which divine power appears alone, fully satisfies, and only satisfies, this demand. This is the feature which Peter asserts in Acts 2:24; Acts 2:32; Acts 3:15, etc.: “ God hath raised up Jesus.” In John 2:19, Jesus replies to a similar demand by announcing the same event. The thought in Luke and Matthew is therefore exactly the same: “It was as one who had miraculously escaped from death that Jonas presented himself before the Ninevites, summoning them to anticipate the danger which threatened them; it is as the risen One that I (by my messengers) shall proclaim salvation to the men of this generation.” Which of the two texts is it which reproduces the answer of our Lord most exactly? But our passage may be parallel with Matthew 16:4, where the form is that of Luke. As to the words of Matthew 12:39-40, they must be authentic. No one would have put into the mouth of Jesus the expression, three days and three nights, when Jesus had actually remained in the tomb only one day and two nights.
But how shall this sign, and this preaching which will accompany it, be received? It is to this new thought that Luk 11:31-32 refer. Of the two examples which Jesus quotes, Matthew puts that of the Ninevites first, that of the queen of Sheba second. Luke reverses the order. Here again it is easy to perceive the superiority of Luke's text. 1. Matthew's order has been determined by the natural tendency to bring the example of the Ninevites into immediate proximity with what Jesus has been saying of Jonah 2:0. Luke's order presents an admirable gradation: while the wisdom of Solomon sufficed to attract the queen of Sheba from such a distance, Israel demands that to the infinitely higher wisdom of Jesus there should be added a sign from heaven. This is serious enough. But matters will be still worse: while the heathen of Nineveh were converted by the voice of Jonas escaped from death, Israel, at the sight of Jesus raised from the dead, shall not be converted.
Comp. as to the Queen of the South, 1Ki 10:1 et seq. Seba seems to have been a part of Arabia-Felix, the modern Yemen. ᾿Εγερθήσεται , shall rise up from her tomb on the day of the great awakening, at the same time as the Jews ( μετά , with, not against), so that the blindness of the latter shall appear in full light, contrasted with the earnestness and docility of the heathen queen. The word ἄνδρων , “the men of this generation,” certainly indicates a contrast with her female sex. Indeed, this term ἄνδρες , men, does not reappear in the following example, where this generation is not compared with a woman. Perhaps the choice of the first instance was suggested to Jesus by the incident which had just taken place, Luke 11:27-28.
The word ἀναστήσονται , Luke 11:32, shall rise up, denotes a more advanced degree of life than ἐγερθήσονται ( shall awake). These dead are not rising from their tombs, like the queen of Sheba; they are already in their place before the tribunal as accusing witnesses. How dramatic is everything in the speech of Jesus! and what variety is there in the smallest details of His descriptions!
Vers. 33-36. The Spiritual Eye. “ No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under the bushel, but on the candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. 34. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy whole body is full of darkness. 35. Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness. 36. If thy whole body, therefore, be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light. ”
Christ, such is the sign from heaven whose light God will diffuse over the world. He is the lamp which gives light to the house. God has not lighted it to allow it to be banished to an obscure corner; He will put it on a candlestick, that it may shine before the eyes of all; and this He will do by means of the resurrection. Κρυπτήν , a place out of view, under a bed, e.g., ( Luk 8:16 ). Τὸν μόδιον , not a bushel, but the bushel; there is but one in the house, which serves in turn as a measure, a dish, or a lantern.
But it is with this sign in relation to our soul, as with a lamp relatively to our body, Luke 11:34. To the light which shines without there must be a corresponding organ in the individual fitted to receive it, and which is thus, as it were, the lamp within. On the state of this organ depends the more or less of light which we receive from the external luminary, and which we actually enjoy. In the body this organ, which by means of the external light forms the light of the whole body, the hand, the foot, etc., is the eye; everything, therefore, depends on the state of this organ. For the soul it is
Jesus does not say what, He leaves us to guess the heart, καρδία ; comp. Matthew 6:21-22. The understanding, the will, the whole spiritual being, is illuminated by the divine light which the heart admits. With every motion in the way of righteousness there is a discharge of light over the whole soul. ῾Απλοῦς , single, and hence in this place, which is in its original, normal state; πονηρός , corrupted, and hence diseased, in the meaning of the phrase πονηρῶς ἔχειν to be ill. If the Jews were right in heart, they would see the divine sign put before their eyes as easily as the Queen of the South and the Ninevites perceived the less brilliant sign placed before them; but their heart is perverse: that organ is diseased; and hence the sign shines, and will shine, in vain before their view. The light without will not become light in them.
Ver. 35. It is supremely important, therefore, for every one to watch with the greatest care over the state of this precious organ. If the eye is not enlightened, what member of the body will be so? The foot and hand will act in the darkness of night. So with the faculties of the soul when the heart is perverted from good.
Ver. 36. But what a contrast to this condition is formed by that of a being who opens his heart fully to the truth, his spiritual eye to the brightness of the lamp which has been lighted by God Himself! To avoid the tautology which the two members of the verse seem to present, we need only put the emphasis differently in the two propositions: in the first on ὅλον , whole; and in the second on φωτεινόν , full of light, connecting this word immediately with the following as its commentary: full of light as when...The very position of the words forbids any other grammatical explanation; and it leads us to this meaning: “When, through the fact of the clearness of thine eye, thy whole body shall be penetrated with light, without there being in thee the least trace of darkness, then the phenomenon which will be wrought in thee will resemble what takes place on thy body when it is placed in the rays of a luminous focus.” Jesus means, that from the inward part of a perfectly sanctified man there rays forth a splendour which glorifies the external man, as when he is shone upon from without. It is glory as the result of holiness. The phenomenon described here by Jesus is no other than that which was realized in Himself on the occasion of His transfiguration, and which He now applies to all believers. Passages such as 2Co 3:18 and Rom 8:29 will always be the best commentary on this sublime declaration, which Luke alone has preserved to us, and which forms so perfect a conclusion to this discourse.
Bleek having missed the meaning of this saying, and of the piece generally, accuses Luke of having placed it here without ground, and prefers the setting which it has in Matthew, in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, immediately after the maxim: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Undoubtedly this context of Matthew proves, as we have recognised, that the eye of the soul, according to the view of Jesus, is the heart. But what disturbs the purity of that organ is not merely avarice, as would appear from the context of Matthew 6:0. It is sin in general, perversity of heart hostile to the light; and this more general application is precisely that which we find in Luke. This passage has been placed in the Sermon on the Mount, like so many others, rather because of the association of ideas than from historical reminiscence. The context of Luke, from Luk 11:14 to Luke 11:36, is without fault. On the one side the accusation and demand made by the enemies of Jesus, Luke 11:15-16, on the other the enthusiastic exclamation of the believing woman, Luke 11:27-28, furnish Jesus with the starting-points for His two contrasted descriptions, that of growing blindness which terminates in midnight darkness, and that of gradual illumination which leads to perfect glory. We may, after this, estimate the justness of Holtzmann's judgment: “It is impossible to connect this passage about light, in a simple and natural way, with the discourse respecting Jonas.”
1 st. To the Pharisees: Luke 11:37-44.
Vers. 37 and 38. The Occasion.
This Pharisee had probably been one of the hearers of the previous discourse; perhaps one of the authors of the accusation raised against Jesus. He had invited Jesus along with a certain number of his own colleagues (Luke 11:45; Luk 11:53 ), with the most malevolent intention. Thus is explained the tone of Jesus ( Luk 11:39 et seq.), which some commentators have pronounced impolite (!). The reading of some Fathers and Vss., “He began to doubt (or to murmur, as διακρίνεσθαι sometimes means in the LXX.), and to say,” is evidently a paraphrase. ῎Αριστον , the morning meal, as δεῖπνον , the principal meal of the day. The meaning of the expression εἰσελθὼν ἀνέπεσεν is this: He seated Himself without ceremony, as He was when He entered. The Pharisees laid great stress on the rite of purification before meals (Mark 7:2-4; Mat 15:1-3 ); and the Rabbins put the act of eating with unwashed hands in the same category as the sin of impurity. From the surprise of His host, Jesus takes occasion to stigmatize the false devotion of the Pharisees; He does not mince matters; for after what has just passed ( Luk 11:15 ), war is openly declared. He denounces: 1 st. The hypocrisy of the Pharisees ( Luk 11:39-42 ); 2 d. Their vainglorious spirit ( Luk 11:43 ); 3 d. The evil influence which their false devotion exercises over the whole people ( Luk 11:44 ).
Vers. 39-42. Their Hypocrisy. “ And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. 40. Ye fools, did not He that made that which is without, make that which is within also? 41. Rather give alms of such things as are within; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. 42. But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue, and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. ”
God had appointed for His people certain washings, that they might cultivate the sense of moral purity in His presence. And this is what the Pharisees have brought the rite to; multiplying its applications at their pleasure, they think themselves excused thereby from the duty of heart purification. Was it possible to go more directly in opposition to the divine intention: to destroy the practice of the duty by their practices, the end by the means? Meyer and Bleek translate νῦν , now, in the sense of time: “Things have now come to such a pass with you...” It is more natural to give it the logical sense which it often has: “Well now! There you are, you Pharisees! I take you in the act.” If, in the second member of the verse, the term τὸ ἔσωθεν , the inward part, was not supplemented by ὑμῶν , your inward part, the most natural sense of the first member would be this: “Ye make clean the outside of the vessels in which ye serve up the repast to your guests.” Bleek maintains this meaning for the first proposition, notwithstanding the ὑμῶν in the second, by joining this pron. to the two substantives ἁρπαγῆς and πονηρίας : “But the inside [of the cups and platters] is full [of the products] of your ravenings and your wickedness.” But, 1. This connection of ὑμῶν is forced; 2. Luk 11:40 does not admit of this sense, for we must understand by Him who made both that which is without and that which is within, the potter who made the plates, the goldsmith who fashioned the cups, which is absurd. As in Luk 11:40 the ὁ ποιήσας , He that made, is very evidently the Creator, the inward part, Luk 11:40 and Luke 11:39, can only be that of man, the heart. We must therefore allow an ellipsis in Luke 11:39, such as frequently occurs in comparisons, and by which, for the sake of conciseness, one of the two terms is suppressed in each member of the comparison: “Like a host who should set before his guests plates and cups perfectly cleansed outside, [but full of filth inside], 39a, ye think to please God by presenting to Him [your bodies purified by lustrations, but at the same time] your inward part full of ravening and wickedness, 39b.” The inward part denotes the whole moral side of human life. ῾Αρπαγή , ravening avarice carried out in act; πονηρία , wickedness the inner corruption which is the source of it. Jesus ascends from sin in act to its first principle.
The apostrophe, ye fools, Luke 11:40, is then easily understood, as well as the argument on which it rests. God, who made the body, made the soul also; the purification of the one cannot therefore, in His eyes, be a substitute for the other. A well-cleansed body will not render a polluted soul acceptable to Him, any more than a brightly polished platter will render distasteful meat agreeable to a guest; for God is a spirit. This principle lays pharisaism in the dust. Some commentators have given this verse another meaning, which Luther seems to adopt: “The man who has made (pure) the outside, has not thereby made (pure) the inside.” But this meaning of ποιεῖν is inadmissible, and the οὐχ heading the proposition proves that it is interrogative.
The meaning of the parallel passage in Mat 23:25-26 is somewhat different: “The contents of the cup and platter must be purified by filling them only with goods lawfully acquired; in this way, the outside, should it even be indifferently cleansed, will yet be sufficiently pure.” It is at bottom the same thought, but sufficiently modified in form, to prove that the change cannot be explained by the use of one and the same written source, but must arise from oral tradition.
To the rebuke administered there succeeds the counsel, Luke 11:41. We have translated πλήν by rather. The literal sense, excepting, is thus explained: “All those absurdities swept away, here is what alone remains. ” At first sight, this saying appears to correspond with the idea expressed in Matthew's text, rather than with the previous saying in Luke. For the expression τὰ ἔνοντα , that which is within, cannot in this verse refer to the inward part of man, but denotes undoubtedly the contents of the cups and platters. But it is precisely because τὰ ἔνοντα , that which is within, is not at all synonymous with ἔσωθεν , the inward part, in the preceding context, that Luke has employed a different expression. Τὰ ἔνοντα , the contents of the cups and platters, denotes what remains in those vessels at the close of the feast. The meaning is: “Do you wish, then, that those meats and those wines should not be defiled, and should not defile you? Do not think that it is enough for you carefully to wash your hands before eating; there is a surer means: let some poor man partake of them. It is the spirit of love, O ye Pharisees, and not material lustrations, which will purify your banquets.” Καὶ ἰδού , and behold; the result will be produced as if by magic. Is it not selfishness which is the real pollution in the eyes of God? The δότε , give, is opposed to ἁρπαγή , ravening, Luke 11:39.
This saying by no means includes the idea of the merit of works. Could Jesus fall into pharisaism at the very moment when He was laying it in the dust? Love, which gives value to the gift, excludes by its very nature that seeking of merit which is the essence of pharisaism.
The ἀλλά , but, Luke 11:42, sets the conduct of the Pharisees in opposition to that which has been described Luke 11:41, in order to condemn them by a new contrast; still, however, it is the antithesis between observances and moral obedience. Every Israelite was required to pay the tithe of his income (Leviticus 27:30; Num 18:21 ). The Pharisees had extended this command to the smallest productions in their gardens, such as mint, rue, and herbs, of which the law had said nothing. Matthew mentions other plants, anise and cummin ( Luk 23:23 ). Could it be conceived that the one writer could have made so frivolous a change on the text of the other, or on a common document?
In opposition to those pitiful returns, which are their own invention, Jesus sets the fundamental obligations imposed by the law, which they neglect without scruple. Κρίσις , judgment; here the discernment of what is just, the good sense of the heart, including justice and equity (Sirach 33:34). Matthew adds ἔλεος and πίστις , mercy and faith, and omits the love of God, which Luke gives. The two virtues indicated by the latter correspond to the two parts of the summary of the law.
The moderation and wisdom of Jesus are conspicuous in the last words of the verse; He will in no wise break the old legal mould, provided it is not kept at the expense of its contents.
Ver. 43. Vainglory. “ Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. ”
The uppermost seats in the synagogues were reserved for the doctors. This rebuke is found more fully developed, Luke 20:45-47.
Ver. 44. Contagious Influence. “ Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them. ”
Jesus by this figure describes the moral fact which He elsewhere designates as the leaven of the Pharisees. According to Numbers 19:16, to touch a grave rendered a man unclean for eight days, as did the touch of a dead body. Nothing more easy, then, than for one to defile himself by touching with his foot a grave on a level with the ground, without even suspecting its existence. Such is contact with the Pharisees; men think they have to do with saints: they yield themselves up to their influence, and become infected with their spirit of pride and hypocrisy, against which they were not put on their guard. In Matthew ( Mat 23:27 ), the same figure receives a somewhat different application. A man looks with complacency at a sepulchre well built and whitened, and admires it. But when, on reflection, he says: Within there is nothing save rottenness, what a different impression does he experience! Such is the feeling which results from observing the Pharisees.
That the two texts should be borrowed from the same document, or taken the one from the other, is quite as inconceivable as it is easy to understand how oral tradition should have given to the same figure those two different applications.
8. The Dinner at a Pharisee's House: Luk 11:37 to Luke 12:12.
Agreeably to the connection established by Luke himself ( Luk 12:1 ), we join the two pieces Luk 11:37-54 and Luk 12:1-12 in one whole. Here, so far as Galilee is concerned, we have the culminating point of the struggle between Jesus and the pharisaic party. This period finds its counterpart in Judea, in the scenes related John 8-10. The background of the conflict which now ensues, is still the odious accusation refuted in the previous passage. The actual situation assigned to the repast is, according to Holtzmann, merely a fiction, the idea of which had been suggested to Luke by the figures of Luke 11:39-40. Is it not more natural to suppose that the images of Luk 11:39-40 were suggested to Jesus by the actual situation, which was that of a repast? It is true, a great many of the sayings which compose this discourse are found placed by Matthew in a different connection; they form part of the great discourse in which Jesus denounced the divine malediction on the scribes and Pharisees in the temple a few days before His death (Matthew 23:0). But first it is to be remarked, that Holtzmann gives as little credit to the place which those sayings occupy in the composition of Matthew, as to the “scenery” of Luke. Then we have already found too many examples of the process of aggregation used in the first Gospel, to have our confidence shaken thereby in the narrative of Luke. We shall inquire, therefore, with impartiality, as we proceed, which of the two situations is that which best suits the words of Jesus.
This piece contains: 1 st. The rebukes addressed to the Pharisees ( Luk 11:37-44 ); 2 d. Those addressed to the scribes ( Luk 11:45-54 ); 3 d. The encouragements given to the disciples in face of the animosity to which they are exposed on the part of those enraged adversaries ( Luk 12:1-12 ).
Luke 11:45-46. Literalism. “ Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. 46. And He said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. ”
There seems to be no essential difference between the terms νομικός , νομοδιδάσκαλος , and γραμματεύς . See Luke 11:53; and comp. Luk 11:52 with Matthew 23:13. Yet there must be a shade of difference at least between the words; according to the etymology, νομικός denotes the expert, the casuist, who discusses doubtful cases, the Mosaic jurist, as Meyer says; νομοδιδάσκαλος , the doctor, the professor who gives public or private courses of Mosaic law; γραμματεύς would include in general all those who are occupied with the Scriptures, either in the way of theoretical teaching or practical application.
Our Lord answers the scribe, as He had answered the Pharisee, in three sentences of condemnation. The first rebuke is the counterpart of that which He had addressed in the first place to the latter, to wit, literalism; this is the twin brother of formalism. The paid scribes were infinitely less respectable than the generality of the Pharisees. As to those minute prescriptions which they discovered daily in the law, and which they recommended to the zeal of devotees, they had small regard for them in their own practice. They seemed to imagine that, so far as they were concerned, the knowing dispensed with the doing. Such is the procedure characterized by Jesus in Luke 11:46. Constantly drawing the heaviest burdens from the law, they bind them on the shoulders of the simple. But as to themselves, they make not the slightest effort to lift them.
2 d. To the Scribes: Luke 11:45-54. A remark made by a scribe gives a new turn to the conversation. The Pharisees were only a religious party; but the scribes, the experts in the law, formed a profession strictly so called. They were the learned, the wise, who discovered nice prescriptions in the law, such as that alluded to in Luke 11:42, and gave them over for the observance of their pious disciples. The scribes played the part of clerical guides. The majority of them seem to have belonged to the pharisaic party; for we meet with no others in the N. T. But their official dignity gave them a higher place in the theocracy than that of a mere party. Hence the exclamation of him who here interrupts Jesus: “Thus saying, Thou reproachest us, us scribes also,” which evidently constitutes in his eyes a much graver offence than that of reproaching the Pharisees. In His answer Jesus upbraids them on three grounds, as He had done the Pharisees: 1 st. Religious intellectualism ( Luk 11:46 ); 2 d. Persecuting fanaticism ( Luk 11:47-51 ); 3 d. The pernicious influence which they exercised on the religious state of the people ( Luk 11:52 ).
Vers. 53 and 54 describe the end of the feast.
Vers. 47-51. Persecuting Orthodoxy. “ Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 48. Truly ye are witnesses that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. 49. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: 50. That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51. From the blood of Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation. ” Head religion is almost always connected with hatred of living piety, or spiritual religion, and readily becomes persecuting.
All travellers, and particularly Robinson, mention the remarkable tombs, called tombs of the prophets, which are seen in the environs of Jerusalem. It was perhaps at that time that the Jews were busied with those structures; they thought thereby to make amends for the injustice of their fathers. By a bold turn, which translates the external act into a thought opposed to its ostensible object, but in accordance with its real spirit, Jesus says to them: “Your fathers killed; ye bury; therefore ye continue and finish their work.” In the received reading, μαρτυρεῖτε , ye bear witness, signifies: “When ye bury, ye give testimony to the reality of the bloodshed committed by your fathers.” But the Alex. reading μάρτυρές ἐστε , ye are witnesses, is undoubtedly preferable. It includes an allusion to the official part played by witnesses in the punishment of stoning (Deuteronomy 17:7; Act 7:58 ). It is remarkable that the two terms μάρτυς , witness, and συνευδοκεῖν , to approve, are also found united in the description of Stephen's martyrdom. They seem to have had a technical significance. Thus: “Ye take the part of witnesses and consummators of your fathers' crimes.” The reading of the Alex., which omit αὐτῶν τὰ μνημεῖα , their graves, at the end of Luke 11:48, has a forcible conciseness. Unfortunately those MSS. with the T. R. read αὐτούς after ἀπέκτειναν ; and this regimen of the first verb appears to settle that of the second.
In connection with the conduct of the Jews toward their prophets, whom they slew, and honoured immediately after their death, the saying has been rightly quoted: sit licet divus, dummodo non vivus.
The parallel passage in Matthew ( Mat 23:29-31 ) has a rather different sense: “ Ye say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets; Wherefore ye witness against yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. ” The oneness of sentiment is here proved, not by the act of building the tombs, but by the word children. The two forms show such a difference, that they could not proceed from one and the same document. That of Luke appears every way preferable. In Matthew, the relation between the words put by Jesus into the mouth of the Jews, Luke 11:30, and the building of the tombs, Luke 11:29, is not clear.
Διὰ τοῦτο καί : “And because the matter is really so, notwithstanding appearances to the contrary, the wisdom of God hath said.” What does Jesus understand by the wisdom of God? Ewald, Bleek, etc., think that Jesus is here quoting a lost book, which assigned this saying to the wisdom of God, or which itself bore this title. Bleek supposes that the quotation from this book does not go further than to the ναί , Luke 11:51; the discourse of Jesus is resumed at the words, Verily I say unto you. But, 1. The discourses of Jesus present no other example of an extra-canonical quotation; 2. The term apostle, in what follows, seems to betray the language of Jesus Himself; 3. The thought of Luk 11:50-51 is too profound and mysterious to be ascribed to any human source whatever. According to Meyer, we have indeed a saying of Jesus here; but as it was repeated in oral tradition, it had become a habit, out of reverence for Jesus, to quote it in this form: The wisdom of God (Jesus) said, I send...Comp. Matthew 23:34: I send ( ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω ). This form of quotation was mistakenly regarded by Luke as forming part of the discourse of Jesus. But Luke has not made us familiar thus far with such blunders; and the διὰ τοῦτο , on account of this, which falls so admirably into the context of Luke, and which is found identically in Matthew, where it has, so to speak, no meaning (as Holtzmann acknowledges, p. 228), is a striking proof in favour of the exactness of the document from which Luke draws. Baur thinks that by the word, the wisdom of God, Luke means to designate the Gospel of Matthew, itself already received in the Church as God's word at the time when Luke wrote. But it must first be proved that Luke knew and used the Gospel of Matthew. Our exegesis at every step has proved the contrary; besides, we have no example of an apostolical author having quoted the writing of one of his colleagues with such a formula of quotation. Neander and Gess think that here we have a mere parenthesis inserted by Luke, in which he reminds us in passing of a saying which Jesus in point of fact did not utter till later (Matthew 23:0). An interpolation of this kind is far from natural. The solitary instance which could possibly be cited ( Luk 7:29-30 ) seems to us more than doubtful.
Olshausen asserts that Jesus intends an allusion to the words ( 2Ch 24:19 ): “ He sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto Him; but they would not receive them. ” But the connection between those two sayings is very indirect. I think there is a more satisfactory solution. The book of the O. T. which in the primitive Church as well as among the Jews, in common with the books of Jesus Sirach and Wisdom, bore the name of σοφία , or wisdom of God, was that of Proverbs. Now here is the passage which we find in that book ( Luk 1:20-31 ): “ Wisdom uttereth her voice in the streets, and crieth in the chief places of concourse...Behold, I will pour out my Spirit upon you (LXX., ἐμῆς πνοῆς ῥῆσιν ), and I will make known my words unto you...But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof. Therefore I will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh...(and I shall say), Let them eat of the fruit of their works! ” This is the passage which Jesus seems to me to quote. For the breath of His Spirit, whom God promises to send to His people to instruct and reprove them, Jesus substitutes the living organs of the Spirit
His apostles, the new prophets; then He applies to the Jews of the day (Luke 11:49 b) the sin of obstinate resistance proclaimed in the same passage; finally ( Luk 11:50-51 ), He paraphrases the idea of final punishment, which closes this prophecy. The parallelism seems to us to be complete, and justifies in the most natural manner the use of the term, the wisdom of God. By the words prophets and apostles Jesus contrasts this new race of the Spirit's agents, which is to continue the work of the old, with the men of the dead letter, with those scribes whom He is now addressing. The lot which lies before them at the hands of the latter, will be precisely the same as the prophets had to meet at the hands of their fathers; thus to the sin of the fathers there will be justly added that of the children, until the measure be full. It is a law of the Divine government, which controls the lot of societies as well as that of individuals, that God does not correct a development once commenced by premature judgment. While still warning the sinner, He leaves his sin to ripen; and at the appointed hour He strikes, not for the present wickedness only, but for all which preceded. The continuous unity of the sin of the fathers involves their descendants, who, while able to change their conduct, persevere and go all the length of the way opened up by the former. This continuation on the part of the children includes an implicit assent, in virtue of which they become accomplices, responsible for the entire development. A decided breaking away from the path followed was the only thing which could avail to rid them of this terrible implication in the entire guilt. According to this law it is that Jesus sees coming on the Israel round about Him the whole storm of wrath which has gathered from the torrents of innocent blood shed since the beginning of the human race. Comp. the two threatenings of St. Paul, which look like a commentary on this passage (Romans 2:3-5; 1Th 2:15-16 ).
Jesus quotes the first and last examples of martyrdoms mentioned in the canonical history of the old covenant. Zacharias, the son of the high priest Jehoiada, according to 2 Chronicles 24:20, was stoned in the temple court by order of King Joash. As Chronicles probably formed the last book of the Jewish canon, this murder, the last related in the O. T., was the natural counterpart to that of Abel. Jesus evidently alludes to the words of Genesis ( Luk 4:10 ), “ The voice of thy brother's blood crieth from the ground,” and to those of the dying Zacharias, “ The Lord look upon it, and require it. ” Comp. ἐκζητηθῆ , Luke 11:50, and ἐκζητηθήσεται , Luke 11:51 (in Luke). If Matthew calls Zacharias the son of Barachias, it may be reconciled with 2 Chronicles 24:0 by supposing that Jehoiada, who must then have been 130 years of age, was his grandfather, and that the name of his father Barachias is omitted because he had died long before. Anyhow, if there was an error, it must be charged against the compiler of the first Gospel (as is proved by the form of Luke), not against Jesus.
Ver. 52: The Monopoly of Theology. “ Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. ” The religious despotism with which Jesus in the third place charges the scribes, is a natural consequence of their fanatical attachment to the letter. This last rebuke corresponds to the third which He had addressed to the Pharisees the pernicious influence exercised by them over the whole people. Jesus represents knowledge ( γνῶσις ) under the figure of a temple, into which the scribes should have led the people, but whose gate they close, and hold the key with jealous care. This knowledge is not that of the gospel, a meaning which would lead us outside the domain of the scribes; it is the real living knowledge of God, such as might already be found, at least to a certain extent, in the O. T. The key is the Scriptures, the interpretation of which the scribes reserved exclusively to themselves. But their commentaries, instead of tearing aside the veil of the letter, that their hearers might penetrate to the spirit, thickened it, on the contrary, as if to prevent Israel from beholding the face of the living God who revealed Himself in the O. T., and from coming into contact with Him. The pres. part. εἰσερχόμενοι denotes those who were ready to rise to this vital knowledge, and who only lacked the sound interpretation of Scripture to bring them to it.
Matthew, in a long discourse which he puts into the mouth of Jesus in the temple (chap. 23), has combined in one compact mass the contents of those two apostrophes addressed to the Pharisees and lawyers, which are so nicely distinguished by Luke. Jesus certainly uttered in the temple, as Matthew relates, a vigorous discourse addressed to the scribes and Pharisees. Luke himself ( Luk 20:45-47 ) indicates the time, and gives a summary of it. But it cannot be doubted that here, as in the Sermon on the Mount, the first Gospel has combined many sayings uttered on different occasions. The distribution of accusations between the Pharisees and lawyers, as we find it in Luke, corresponds perfectly to the characters of those two classes. The question of the scribe ( Luk 11:45 ) seems to be indisputably authentic. Thus Luke shows himself here again the historian properly so called.
Vers. 53 and 54: Historical Conclusion.
These verses describe a scene of violence, perhaps unique, in the life of Jesus. Numerous variations prove the very early alteration of the text. According to the reading of the principal Alex., And when He had gone thence, this scene must have taken place after Jesus had left the Pharisee's house; but this reading seems designed to establish a closer connection with what follows ( Luk 12:1 et seq.), and produces the impression of a gloss. On the other hand, the omission of the words, and seeking, and that they might accuse Him, in B. L. ( Luk 11:54 ), renders the turn of expression more simple and lively. The reading ἀποστομίζειν ( to blunt) has no meaning. We must read ἀποστοματίζειν , to utter, and then to cause to utter.
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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on Luke 11". "Godet's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany