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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Luke 10

Verse 1

1. ] μετὰ ταῦτα chronological after these things, not ‘ besides these things ,’ as Schleiermacher and Olsh. render it.

ἀνέδ ., an official word: see reff. Bleek has observed, that ὁ κύριος , of our Lord, in narration, is peculiar to St. Luke, and to narrations which he alone gives. Cf. ch. Luke 7:13 ; Luke 11:39 ; Luke 12:42 ; Luke 13:15 ; Luke 17:5-6 ; Luke 18:6 ; Luke 22:31 ; Luke 22:61 . But this is only true of the Synoptic Gospels. It occurs in the fragment at the end of St. Mark ( Mar 16:19 ), and in John ( Joh 4:1 reff.). In the Acts, the usage is very general: see Luke 2:47 ; Luke 5:9 ; Luke 5:14 ; Luke 9:1 , &c.; and in St. Paul’s Epistles: see 1 Corinthians 6:14 ; 1 Corinthians 6:17 ; 1 Corinthians 7:10 , &c.

[ καὶ ] ἑτ . ἑβδ ., not ‘ other seventy also ,’ but others [ also ], seventy in number. The ἑτέρους may refer, either to the Twelve, ch. Luke 9:1 , or perhaps, from the similarity of their mission, to the ἄγγελοι in ch. Luke 9:52 . But perhaps the first is more probable, from the similarity of the discourses.

The number of seventy might perhaps have reference to the seventy elders of Israel, Exodus 24:1 ; Numbers 11:16 : all sorts of fanciful analogies have been found out and insisted on (and moreover forced into the text), which are not worth recounting.

οὗ for οἷ , see reff.

Verses 1-16

1 16. ] MISSION OF THE SEVENTY. It is well that Luke has given us also the sending of the Twelve; or we should have had some of the Commentators asserting that this was the same mission. The discourse addressed to the Seventy is in substance the same as that to the Twelve, as the similarity of their errand would lead us to suppose it would be. But there is, as Stier has well remarked (iii. 89, edn. 2), this weighty difference. The discourse in Matthew 10:0 in its three great divisions (see notes there), speaks plainly of an office founded, and a ministry appointed, which was to involve a work, and embrace consequences, co-extensive , both in space and duration, with the world . Here, we have no such prospective view unfolded. The whole discourse is confined to the first division there ( Luk 10:1-15 ), and relates entirely to present duties .

Their sending out was not to prove and strengthen their own faith, as Hase supposes (Leben J. p. 194), but to prepare the way for this solemn journey of the Lord, the object of which was the announcement of the near approach of the kingdom of God, and the termination of it, the last events at Jerusalem. Their mission being thus temporary, and expiring with their return, it is not to be wondered at that we hear nothing of them in the Acts . This last is surely an absurd objection to bring against the historic truth of their mission, seeing that the Acts are written by this same Evangelist , and the omission is therefore an argument for , and not against, that truth.

Verse 2

2. ] See Mat 9:37 and notes.

If ἐκβάλλ were read, the pres. , as usual, would have the force of the continually repeated act: as it is, the aor. (as in [84] Matt.) indicates the whole mission , considered as one great act.

[84] When, in the Gospels, and in the Evangelic statement, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 , the sign (║) occurs in a reference, it is signified that the word occurs in the parallel place in the other Gospels, which will always be found indicated at the head of the note on the paragraph. When the sign (║) is qualified , thus, ‘║ Mk.,’ or ‘║ Mt. Mk.,’ &c., it is signified that the word occurs in the parallel place in that Gospel or Gospels, but not in the other or others .

Verses 3-4

3, 4. ] The time was now one of greater danger than at the mission of the Twelve; therefore Luk 10:3 is bound immediately up with their present sending , whereas in Mat 10:16 it regards a time yet distant in the future; also one requiring greater haste, which accounts for the addition, μηδένα κ . τ . ὁδ . ἀσπ . These reasons also account for merely the healing the sick being enjoined, Luke 10:9 .

Verse 6

6. ] υἱὸς εἰρ ., a (or more probably, the, as words like πατήρ , μήτηρ , νἱός , &c., are often definite though anarthrous) son of peace: i.e. persons receptive of your message of peace; see reff.

Verse 7

7. ] ἐν αὐτῇ δὲ τῇ οἰκ ., but in the (that) house itself (see Luke 10:5 , where it was last spoken of, the inhabitants having been since mentioned) remain. Beware of rendering it in the same house , q. d. ἐν δὲ τῇ αὐτῇ οἰκ .

τὰ παρ ʼ αὐτῶν , the things which come from them; which are theirs, and by them set before you: cf. Luke 10:8 .

Verses 7-12

7 12. ] See on Matthew 10:11-15 . The particular directions here are different.

Verse 9

9. ] ἤγγικεν ἐφ ʼ ὑμᾶς ἡ β . τ . θ . is a later announcement than generally ἤγγ . ἡ βασ . τ . οὐρ ., Matthew 10:7 .

Verse 11

11. ] ἀπομασσόμεθα ὑμῖν can hardly be with Wordsw., “ we wipe off from ourselves on you: ” the dat. pron. holds too slight and unemphatic a place for this, and is merely a dativus incommodi: ‘ against you ,’ as E. V. Cf. Acts 13:51 , where ἐπ ʼ αὐτούς represents the same, and is similarly rendered in E. V.

Verse 13

13. ] In these words, which our Lord had uttered before (Matthew 11:21 ff.), He takes His solemn farewell of the cities where the greatest number of His miracles had been done, and discourses uttered: they being awful examples of the πόλις ἐκείνη just described. It is wonderful how De Wette can write of these four verses falsche Reminiscenz , s. z. Mat 11:20 and this when he believes Luke to have had Matt. before him.

Verse 16

16. ] See Mat 10:40 and notes.

Verse 17

17. ] The ἐν τῷ ὀν . σου is perhaps too much lost sight of in the ἡμῖν here; though I would not lay so much stress on this as Stier has done.

Verses 17-24

17 24. ] RETURN OF THE SEVENTY. As in ch. Luke 9:6-10 , Luke attaches the return of the Seventy very closely to their mission. They probably were not many days absent. They say nothing of the reception of their message, or it is not brought out in the Gospel, as not immediately belonging to the great central object of narration; they rejoice that more power seems to be granted to them than even His words promised, seeing that He commissioned them only to heal the sick, not to cast out devils, as He did the Apostles, ch. Luke 9:1 . That this was a ground of joy not to be prominently brought forward , is the purport of our Lord’s answer; the whole of which as far as Luk 10:24 incl. is in the strictest connexion, and full of most weighty and deep truth.

Verse 18

18. ] This verse has been generally misunderstood, and its force lost, by imagining it to refer to some triumph just gained , which our Lord announces as the reason for their newly manifested power. The truth is, that in this brief speech He sums up proleptically , as so often in the discourses in John, the whole great conflict with and defeat of the Power of evil, from the first even till accomplished by His own victory. The ἐθεώρ . τ . σ . refers to the original fall of Satan, when he lost his place as an angel of light, not keeping his first estate; which fall however had been proceeding ever since step by step, and shall do so, till all things be put under the feet of Jesus who was made lower than the angels. And this ἐθεώρουν belongs to the period before the foundation of the world when He abode in the bosom of the Father. He is to be (see Luk 10:22 ) the Great Victor over the Adversary, and this victory began when Satan fell from heaven. (I would not altogether erase the foregoing interpretation: but surely it is grammatically more correct, with Bleek, to refer the imperfect to the time just past, to the Lord’s prophetic sight at the time of the ministering of the Seventy. Cf. Act 18:5 for a similar imperfect. If this view be correct, the words do not refer to any “ triumph just gained ,” but to the Lord’s glorious anticipations of final triumph, felt during the exercise of power by His servants.)

ὡς ἀστ . ] Not the suddenness only of the fall, but the brightness of the fallen Angel is thus set forth. The description is not figurative, but literal; i.e. as far as divine words can be said to be literal, being accommodated to our sensuous conceptions. See on this verse, Isaiah 14:9-15 , to which the words have a reference; and Revelation 12:7-12 .

Verse 19

19. ] Our Lord here, including all the evil and poison in nature in the δύναμις τοῦ ἐχθ ., from the power given Him over that enemy, asserts the gift to them, extended afterwards to all believers ( Mar 16:18 ), of authority to ‘bruise the head of the serpent’ ( Gen 3:15 ). There is an evident allusion to Psalms 91:13 .

Verse 20

20. ] The connexion is ‘seeing that the power which I grant to you is so large, arising from my victory over the enemy, make not one particular department of it your cause of joy, nor indeed the mere subjection of evil to you at all but this, the positive and infinite side of God’s mercy and goodness to you, that He hath placed you among His redeemed ones .’

τὰ πνεύμ . is something different from τὰ δαιμόνια in those words above, and denotes a wider range of influence influence over spirit for good whereby the πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας are subjected to the believers in Christ.

The ἐγγέγραπται ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς is an expression in various forms frequent in Scripture, and is opposed to ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς γραφήτωσαν , Jeremiah 17:13 , said of the rebellious. But no immutable predestination is asserted by it; in the very first place where it occurs, Exodus 32:32-33 , the contrary is implied, see Psalms 69:28 ; Isaiah 4:3 ; Daniel 12:1 ; Philippians 4:3 ; Hebrews 12:23 ; Revelation 3:5 ; Revelation 13:8 ; Revelation 20:12 ; Revelation 20:15 . The τὰ ὀνόμ . ὑμ . seems to be a reference to ἐν τῷ ὀν . σου above, which perhaps was with them a medium of self-praise , as so often with Christians. Our Lord says, ‘the true cause of joy for you is, not the power shewn forth by or in you in My Name , but that you, your names , are in the book of life’ as testified by the πνεῦμα which συμμαρτυρεῖ τῷ πν . ἡμῶν ὅτι ἐσμὲν τέκνα θεοῦ , Romans 8:16 . And this brings us to Luke 10:21 , where our Lord rejoices in the revelation of these things even to the babes of the earth by the will and pleasure of the Father: these things not, the power over the enemy but all that is implied in ἐγγέγραπται ἐν τ . οὐρ .

This, which is the true cause of joy to the believer, causes even the Saviour Himself to triumph, anticipating Isaiah 53:11 .

Verse 21

21. ] The words τῷ ἁγίῳ cannot well be excluded from the text; the expression as thus standing, forms an ἅπαξ λεγ ., but is agreeable to the analogy of Scripture: cf. Romans 1:4 ; Heb 9:14 ; 1 Peter 3:18 ; see also Rom 14:17 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:6 . The ascription of praise, and the verses following, are here in the very closest connexion , and it is perfectly unimaginable that they should have been inserted in this place arbitrarily. The same has been said of their occurrence in Matthew 11:25 ; and, from no love of harmonizing or escaping difficulties, but from a deep feeling of the inner spirit of both discourses, I am convinced that our Lord did utter, on the two separate occasions , these weighty words; and I find in them a most instructive instance of the way in which such central sayings were repeated by Him. It was not a rejoicing before (in Matt.), but a confession: compare the whole discourse and notes.

That the introductory words ἐν αὐτῇ τ . ὥρᾳ , = ἐν ἐκ . τῷ καιρῷ , may have been introduced from one passage into the other, and perhaps by some one who imagined them the same, I would willingly grant, if needful; not that, in the presence of such truths, such a trifle is worth mention, but that the shallow school of modern critics do mention , and rest upon such. On Luke 10:21-22 , see notes on Matthew 11:25-27 , observing here the gradual narrowing of the circle to which our Lord addresses himself, Luke 10:22 , στραφ . πρ . τ . μ ., then Luk 10:23 the same, with κατ ʼ ἰδίαν added.

Verse 23

23. ] This verse should not be marked off from Luk 10:22 by a new paragraph, as is done in the E. V.: much less, as in the Gospel for the 13th Sunday after Trinity, joined with what follows: except perhaps that the lesson taught us by its occurring there is an appropriate one, as shewing us how the grace of Christian love , which is the subject of the following parable, fulfils and abounds over, legal obedience. It is in connexion with the preceding, and comes as the conclusion after the thanksgiving in Luke 10:21 . A similar saying of our Lord occurs Matthew 13:16-17 , but uttered altogether on a different occasion and in a different connexion.

Verse 24

24. προφ . κ . βασ . ] David united both these, also Solomon. There may be an especial reference to the affecting last words of David, 2 Samuel 23:1-5 , which certainly are a prophecy of the Redeemer, and in which he says, Luke 10:5 , “This is all my salvation, and all my desire, though he make it not to grow:” see also Genesis 49:18 .

Verse 25

25. ] No immediate sequence from Luk 10:24 is implied.

νομικός , a kind of scribe, = νομοδιδάσκαλος , ch. Luk 5:17 whose especial office it was to teach the law, see Titus 3:13 ; = εἷς τῶν γραμματέων , Mark 12:28 .

There is no reason to suppose that the lawyer had any hostile intention towards Jesus, rather perhaps a self-righteous spirit (see Luk 10:29 ), which wanted to see what this Teacher could inform him, who knew so much already . Thus it was a tempting or trying of Jesus, though not to entangle Him: for whatever had been the answer, this could hardly have followed.

τί ποιήσας ] He doubtless expects to hear of some great deed; but our Lord refers him back to the Law of which he was a teacher.

Verses 25-37

25 37. ] QUESTION OF A LAWYER: THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN. Peculiar to Luke . As Stier remarks (iii. 101, edn. 2), it is well that Luke has related the other incident respecting an enquiry of the same kind, for the critics would be sure to have maintained that this incident was another report of Matthew 19:16 . Such clear cases as this should certainly teach us caution, where no such proof is given of the independence of different narratives: and should shew us that both questions addressed to our Lord, and answers from Him, were, as matter of fact, repeated.

See however a case to which this remark does not apply, ch. Luke 9:57 ff.

Verse 26

26. πῶς ἀν .; ] A common Rabbinical formula for eliciting a text of Scripture.

πῶς is not merely = τί , but implies how? i.e. to what purport; so that the answer should contain a summary of his reading in the Law.

Verse 27

27. ] The first part of this, together with Deuteronomy 11:13 ff., the Jews had written on their phylacteries, and recited night and morning: but not the second; so that Kuinoel’s idea that Jesus pointed to the phylactery of the lawyer, will not hold.

Meyer thinks the man answered thus, because he had before heard our Lord cite these in connexion, and with an especial view to asking the question τίς ἐστίν μου πλησίον ; It may have been so; but I should rather believe the same spirit with which he began, to have carried him on to this second question. The words θέλ . δικ . ἑαυτ . seem to imply this, but see below.

Verse 29

29. ] Meyer explains this: The questioner, having been by our Lord’s enquiry, πῶς ἀναγ ., himself thrown into the position of the answerer, yet, θέλων δικ . ἑαν ., wishing to carry out the purpose with which he asked at first, and to cover what otherwise would be his shame at being answered by so simple a reply, and that his own, asks τίς ἐστίν μου πλησίον ; I may observe that we need not take the whole of this explanation, but may well suppose that δικαιῶσαι ἑαυτ . may mean, ‘to get himself out of the difficulty:’ viz. by throwing on Jesus the definition of ὁ πλησίον , which was very narrowly and technically interpreted among the Jews, excluding Samaritans and Gentiles.

Verse 30

30. ] ὑπολ ., taking him up, implies that the question was made an occasion of saying more than the mere answer . See Herod. vii. 101: Thucyd. ver. 49.

κατέβ ., both because Jerusalem was higher, and because ‘to go up’ is the usual phrase for journeying towards a metropolis.

ἀπὸ Ἱερ . εἰς Ἱεριχώ , about 150 stadia distant. The road passed through a wilderness ( Jos 16:1 ) which was notorious for the robberies committed there. “Arabas … quæ gens, latrociniis dedita, usque hodie incursat terminos Palestinæ, et descendentibus de Hierusalem in Hiericho obsidet vias, cujus rei et Dominus in Evangelio recordatur.” Jerome, Comment. on Jeremiah 3:2 , vol. iv, p. 857. The same Father mentions that a part of the road was so infamous for murders, as to be called the red or bloody way, and that in his time there was a fort there garrisoned by Roman soldiers, to protect travellers (De locis Hebræis, under Adommim, vol. iii. p. 150).

περιέπ ., exactly fell among. They surrounded him.

ἐκδύσ ., not merely of his clothing, but of all he had; ‘despoliaverunt eum,’ Vulg.

τυγχάνοντα is not = ὄντα : ὄντα is understood with ἡμιθ ., in a state of ( being ) half-dead.

Verse 31

31. ] Many priests journeyed this way, for Jericho was a priestly city; this man is perhaps represented as having been up to Jerusalem in the order of his course, and returning ( κατέβαινεν ).

The Law and Prophets enjoined the act of mercy which this priest refused (see Exodus 23:4-5 ; Deuteronomy 22:1-4 ; Isa 58:7 ); not, it is true, literally , and therefore he neglected it.

“The form συγκυρία is uncommon: Polybius has συγκύρημα and - ρησις .” Bleek.

ἀντιπαρῆλθεν , he did not even go up to him to examine him, but passed by on the opposite side of the road.

Verse 32

32. ] The Levite, the inferior minister of the Law, did even worse; when he was at the place, he came and saw him; came near, and then passed, as the other.

Verses 33-35

33 35. ] The Samaritans were entirely, not half , Gentiles (= ἀλλογενής , ch. Luk 17:18 ).

Why our Lord mentions the name here, see below.

ἐσπλαγχν . ] This was the great difference between the Samaritan and the others; the actions which follow are but the expansion of this compassion.

ἔλαιον κ . οἶνον ] These were usual remedies for wounds in the East: Galen, cited by Wetstein in loc., prescribes thus for a wound in the head, ἐλαίας φύλλα τὰ ἁπαλώτατα τρίψας παράχει ἐλαίου καὶ οἴνου μέλανος καὶ κατάμασσε : see also Isaiah 1:6 .

ἐπὶ τὸ ἴδ . κτ ., thereby denying himself the use of it.

κτῆνος is rarely found in the sing. in the classics: see an instance, Herod. ii. 132.

πανδοχεῖον ] The Attic form, as in the cognate words ἱεροδόκος , ξενοδοκεῖν , δωροδόκος , &c., is πανδοκεῖον . So Phryn.: οἱ διὰ τοῦ χ λέγοντες ἁμαρτάνουσιν · διὰ γὰρ τοῦ κ χρὴ λέγειν πανδοκεῖον κ . πανδοκεὺς κ . πανδοκευτρία : p. 307, where see Lobeck’s note. This is the only place where an inn , as we understand the word, a house for reception of travellers kept by a host as distinguished from an empty caravanserai, is mentioned. The Rabbinical writers frequently speak of such, but under a name adopted from this word, פונדק (Wetstein). Bleek remarks that this serves to shew, that there were such inns in that neighbourhood, though certainly they were not frequent.

ἐξελθ .… ] when he went on his journey.

δύο δην . ] Some see in this, two days’ wages ( Mat 20:2 ).

Verse 36

36. ] It will be observed that our Lord not only elicits the answer from the questioner himself, but that it comes in an inverted form . The lawyer had asked, to whom he was to understand himself obliged to fulfil the duties of neighbourship? but the answer has for its subject one who fulfilled them to another . The reason of this is to be found, partly in the relation of neighbourship being mutual , so that if this man is my neighbour, I am his also; but chiefly in the intention of our Lord to bring out a strong contrast by putting the hated and despised Samaritan in the active place, and thus to reflect back the ὁμοίως more pointedly. “Observe γεγονέναι , to have become neighbour. The neighbour Jews became strangers, the stranger Samaritan became neighbour, to the wounded traveller. It is not place, but love, which makes neighbourhood.” Wordsworth.

Verse 37

37. πορεύου , κ . τ . λ . ] The rendering is as in E. V., go and do thou likewise. The καὶ σύ belongs, not to the πορεύου , but to the ποίει , which carries the main stress, the πορεύου being only secondary.

The lawyer does not answer ‘The Samaritan:’ he avoids this; but he cannot avoid it in conviction and matter of fact.

ποίει ὁμ . , i.e. ‘count all men thy neighbours and love them as thyself.’

The student accustomed to look at all below the surface of Scripture, will not miss the meaning which lies behind this parable, and which while disclaiming all fanciful allegorizing of the text I do not hesitate to say that our Lord Himself had in view when He uttered it. All acts of charity and mercy done here below, are but fragments and derivatives of that one great act of mercy which the Saviour came on earth to perform. And as He took on Him the nature of us all, being ‘not ashamed to call us brethren,’ counting us all His kindred, so it is but natural that in holding up a mirror (for such is a parable) of the truth in this matter of duty, we should see in it not only the present and prominent group, but also Himself and His act of mercy behind. And thus we shall not (in spite of the scoffs which are sure to beset such an interpretation, from the superficial school of critics) give up the interpretation of the Fathers and other divines, who see in this poor traveller, going from the heavenly to the accursed city (Joshua 6:26 ; 1Ki 16:34 ), the race of man, the Adam who fell; in the robbers and murderers, him who was a murderer from the beginning ( Joh 8:44 ); in the treatment of the traveller, the deep wounds and despoilment which we have inherited from the fall; in the priest and the Levite passing by, the inefficacy of the law and sacrifice to heal and clothe us: Galatians 3:21 (Trench remarks, Parables, p. 316, note, edn. 4, that the Church, by joining the passage Gal 3:16-23 as Epistle, with this Parable as Gospel for the 13th Sunday after Trinity, has stamped this interpretation with her approval): in the good Samaritan, Him of whom it was lately said, “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan , and hast a devil?” ( Joh 8:48 ) who came to bind up the broken-hearted , to give them the oil of joy for mourning (Isaiah 61:1 ff.); who for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich: who, though now gone from us, has left with us precious gifts, and charged His ministers to feed His lambs, promising them, when the chief Shepherd shall appear, a crown of glory that fadeth not away (1 Peter 5:2 ; 1Pe 5:4 ). Further perhaps it is well not to go; or, if we do, only in our own private meditations, where, if we have the great clue to such interpretations, knowledge of Christ for ourselves , and a sound mind under the guidance of His Spirit, we shall not go far wrong. But minutely to allegorize, is to bring the sound spiritual interpretation into disrepute, and throw stumbling-blocks in the way of many, who might otherwise arrive at it.

Verse 38

38. ] ἐν τῷ πορ . need make no difficulty the whole of the events related in this section of the Gospel are allotted, as in the widest sense they belonged, to the last journey of our Lord from Galilee , which ended in the triumphal entry into Jerusalem: see note on ch. Luke 9:51 ff. Jesus, as we know that He afterwards did, so now probably, when at Jerusalem (at the feast of Dedication), abode at Bethany. He ‘loved’ (only used in this sense by John with regard to this family , and to himself ) Martha and Mary and Lazarus and this word implies surely hospitality and intercourse.

γυνή τις it does not follow that Martha was a widow; the incident brings out the two sisters , and therefore no others are mentioned. She may have had a husband or a father living. At all events, it is a consistency belonging to real life, that we find the same person prominent in the family in John, as here.

Verses 38-42

38 42. ] ENTERTAINMENT OF OUR LORD AT THE HOUSE OF MARTHA AND MARY. It surely never could be doubted who this Martha and Mary were, nor where this took place, but that the harmonizing spirit has so beclouded the sight of our critics. Bengel believes them not to be the sisters of Lazarus , but another Martha and Mary somewhere else; and this in spite of the deep psychological identity of characters which meets us in Joh 11:12

Greswell, still more strangely, believes the persons to be the same , but that they had another residence in Galilee, and endeavours to establish this from John 11:1 (where he says ἀπό only indicates residence, ἐκ origin; and the κώμη is not Bethany, but the village in Galilee: see notes there). I shall, as elsewhere, take the text in its most obvious and simple interpretation, and where nothing definite is inserted in it , throw light on it from what we know from other sources. And I believe most readers will agree with me in taking these for the sisters of Lazarus, and the village for Bethany. “As regards the name Martha , it is in Aramæan מרתא , from מר dominus , and answers to the Greek κυρία .” Bleek.

Verse 39

39. ] It does not appear that the meal had begun; far rather is it likely that Martha was busy about preparing it. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, as His disciple, while He was discoursing.

Verse 40

40. ] περιεσπ . (as also the form παρακαθεσθεῖσα above) is a word of later Greek. We have in Dion. Hal. ix. 43, περισπᾷ περὶ τὰς ἔξω στρατείας τὸν δῆμον : and in Jos. Antt. ver. 1. 4, πρὸς τοσαύτας ὑπηρεσίας διασπώμενος . See also Diod. Sic. i. 74: Polyb. xv. 3. 4. It exactly answers to the Latin ‘torqueor’ used in the same connexion by Horace, Sat. ii. 8. 67, and to a midland provincial expression ‘ to be put about ,’ meaning to be ‘distracted with officious care.’ See Phryn. ed. Lobeck, p. 415, who gives ἄσχολος εἶναι for the corresponding classical expression.

ἐπιστ ., generally, but not always, used by Luke of a sudden coming into presence . It looks here as if our Lord were teaching in another apartment from that where the διακονία was going on: this appears also in the κατέλειπεν .

Verses 41-42

41, 42. ] The repetition of her name indicates reproof.

μεριμνᾷς expresses the inner anxiety (from μερίζω ), θορυβάζ the outer bustle and confusion. The latter word is not elsewhere found in Greek.

πολλά , many things.

ἑνός , of one thing; perhaps we should not express the two words more definitely, for fear of narrowing the wide sense in which they are spoken. I can hardly doubt that our Lord, in the first and most obvious meaning, indicated that simpler preparation would have been all that was needful, but the πολλά leads to the ἕν , and that to the ἀγαθὴ μερίς , the ἕν being the middle term of comparison between the natural πολλά and the spiritual ἀγαθὴ μερίς . So that the whole will imply only within the circle of Christ’s disciples, those who act from love (mistaken or otherwise) to Him much as John 6:27 , and will set before us the bread which perisheth on one hand, and that which endureth to everlasting life on the other. The ἀγαθὴ μερίς , the good portion, is the ἕν which is needful see John 6:53 , the feeding on the bread of life by faith; which faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the ῥῆμα χριστοῦ , which Mary was now receiving into her soul, and which ( Joh 6:54 ) shall never be taken away, but result in everlasting life.

The two types of character have ever been found in the Church; both, caring for Him, and for love to Him doing what they do: but the one busy and restless, anxious and stirring; the other quiet and humble, content to sit at His feet and learn. We see here which of the two He praises. But on the other hand we must not derive any argument hence against an active Christian life of doing good: this is , in fact, to sit at His feet and learn to take His yoke on us, and learn of Him. It is the bustling about the πολλά of which there is no need, which is blamed: not the working out the fruits of the Spirit, which are needful, being parts themselves of the ἀγαθὴ μερίς .

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Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 10". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.