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Bible Commentaries
Luke 7

Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New TestamentMeyer's Commentary

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Luke 7:1 . ἐπεὶ δέ ] Lachm. and Tisch. have ἐπειδή , following A B C* X 254, 299. This evidence is decisive, especially as D (comp. codd. of It.) is not opposed, for it has καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε . K has ἐπειδὴ δέ , whence is explained the rise of the Recepta .

Luke 7:4 . παρέξῃ ] So also Lachm. and Tisch. The Recepta is παρέξει , in opposition to decisive evidence.

Luke 7:10 . ἀσθενοῦντα ] is not found, indeed, in B L א , min. Copt. codd. of It. (deleted by Lachm. and Tisch.); but it is to be maintained, as the evidence in its favour is preponderating; the omission is very easily to be explained from the possibility of dispensing with the word, but there was no reason to suggest its addition.

Luke 7:11 . Instead of ἐν τῷ ἑξῆς , which Griesb. has approved, and Lachm. has in the margin, the edd. have ἐν τῇ ἑξῆς . The evidence for the two readings is about equally balanced. We must come to a conclusion according to the usage of Luke, who expresses “on the following day” by τῇ ἑξῆς , always without ἐν (Acts 21:1 ; Acts 25:17 ; Acts 27:18 ; moreover, in Luke 9:37 , where ἐν is to be deleted); we must therefore read in this place ἐν τῷ ἑξῆς . Comp. Luke 8:1 . Otherwise Schulz.

ἱκανοί ] is wanting in B D F L א , min. and most of the vss. Bracketed by Lachm. It is to be retained (even against Rinck, Lucubr. Crit. p. 321), the more so on account of the frequency of the simple οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ , and the facility, therefore, wherewith ΙΚΑΝΟΙ might be passed over by occasion of the following letters ΚΑΙΟ .

Luke 7:12 . After ἱκανός Elz. Scholz. Tisch. have ἦν , which is condemned by Griesb., deleted by Lachm.; it is wanting in authorities so important that it appears as supplementary, as also does the ἦν , which Lachm. Tisch. read before χήρα , although this latter has still stronger attestation.

Luke 7:16 . ἐγήγερται ] A B C L Ξ א , min. have ἠγέρθη , in favour of which, moreover, D bears witness by ἐξηγέρθη . On this evidence it is, with Lachm. and Tisch., to be preferred.

Luke 7:21 . Instead of αὐτῇ δέ , Tisch. has ἐκείνῃ on evidence too feeble, and without sufficient internal reason.

Elz. Scholz have τὸ βλέπειν . This τό might, in consequence of the preceding ἐχαρίσα ΤΟ , have just as easily dropt out as slipped in. But on the ground of the decidedly preponderating counter evidence, it is by Lachm. and Tisch. rightly deleted.

Luke 7:22 . ὅτι ] is wanting, it is true, in important authorities (although they are not preponderating), and is deleted by Lachm.; but the omission is explained from Matthew 11:5 .

Luke 7:24-26 . Instead of ἐξεληλύθατε , A B D L Ξ א (yet in Luke 7:26 not A also) have ἐξήλθατε ; so Lachm. It is from Matthew 11:7-9 .

Luke 7:27 . ἐγώ ] is wanting in B D L Ξ א , min. Copt. Arm. Vulg. codd. of It. Marcion, and is left out by Lachm. and Tisch. An addition from Matth.

Luke 7:28 . προφήτης ] is deleted, indeed, by Lachm. (in accordance with B K L M X Ξ א , min. vss. and Fathers), but was omitted in accordance with Matthew 11:11 , from which place, on the other hand, was added τοῦ βαπτιστοῦ (rightly deleted by Tisch.).

Luke 7:31 . Before τίνι Elz. has εἶπε δὲ ὁ κύριος , in opposition to decisive evidence. An exegetical addition, in respect of which the preceding passage was taken as historical narration.

Luke 7:32 . Instead of καὶ λέγουσιν , Tisch. has, on too feeble evidence, λέγοντες .

Luke 7:34 . The arrangement φίλος τελων . is decisively attested. The reverse order (Elz.) is from Matth.

Luke 7:35 . πάντων ] Lachm. and Tisch. Synops. [not Tisch. 8] have this immediately after ἀπό , but in opposition to preponderating evidence. It was omitted in accordance with Matthew 11:19 (so still in D F L M X, min. Arm. Syr.), and then restored to the position suggested by the most ordinary use.

Luke 7:36 . The readings τὸν οἶκον and κατεκλίθη (Lachm. Tisch.) are, on important evidence, to be adopted; ἀνακλ . was more familiar to the transcribers; Luke alone has κατακλ .

Luke 7:37 . ἥτις ἦν ] is found in different positions. B L Ξ א , vss. Lachm. Tisch. rightly have it after γυνή . In D it is wanting, and from this omission, which is to be explained from the possibility of dispensing with the words, arose their restoration before ἁμαρτ ., to which they appeared to belong.

Instead of ἀνάκειται is to be read, with Lachm. and Tisch., κατάκειται . Comp. on Luke 7:36 .

Luke 7:42 . δέ , both here and at Luke 7:43 , has authorities so important against it that it appears to have been inserted as a connective particle; it is deleted by Tisch.

εἰπέ is wanting in B D L Ξ א , min. Syr. Arr. Perss. Copt. Aeth. Vulg. It. Aug. Suspected by Griesb., deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. But why should it have been added? The entire superfluousness of it was the evident cause of its omission.

Luke 7:44 . After θριξί Elz. has τῆς κεφαλῆς , in opposition to decisive evidence. An addition from Luke 7:38 .

Verses 1-10

Luke 7:1-10 . See on Matthew 8:5-13 . In the present form of Mark’s Gospel the section must have been lost at the same time with the Sermon on the Mount, Luke 3:19 (Ewald, Holtzmann); both are supposed to have existed in the primitive Mark. Comp. on Mark 3:19 .

ἐπλήρωσε ] cum absolvisset , so that nothing more of them was wanting, and was left behind. Comp. 1Ma 4:19 (cod. A); Eusebius, H. E . iv. 15 : πληρώσαντος τὴν προσευχήν . Comp. συνετέλεσε , Matthew 7:28 .

ἀκοάς ] as Mark 7:35 .

The healing of the leper, which Matthew introduces before the healing of the servant, Luke has inserted already at Luke 5:12 ff.

Luke 7:3 . πρεσβυτέρους ] as usually: elders of the people , who also on their part were sufficiently interested in respect of the circumstance mentioned at Luke 7:5 . Hence not: chiefs of the synagogue; ἀρχισυναγώγους , Acts 13:15 ; Acts 18:8 ; Acts 18:17 .

ἄξιός ἐστιν , ᾧ ] equivalent to ἄξιός ἐστιν , ἵνα αὐτῷ . See Kühner, § 802. 4; Buttmann, Neut. Gr . p. 198 [E. T. 229].

ἐλθών ] Subsequently, in Luke 7:6 , he changed his mind; his confidence rose to a higher pitch , so that he is convinced that he needs not to suggest to Him the coming at all.

Luke 7:4 . παρέξῃ ] The Recepta παρέξει , as the second person, is not found anywhere; for ὄψει and βούλει (Winer, p. 70 [E. T. 89]) are forms sanctioned by usage , to which also is to be added οἴει ; but other verbs are found only in Aristophanes and the tragic writers (Matthaei, p. 462; Reisig, ad Soph. Oed. C . p. xxii. f.). If παρέξει were genuine, it would be the third person of the future active (min.: παρέξεις ), and the words would contain the utterance of the petitioners among themselves .

Luke 7:5-6 . αὐτός ] ipse , namely, of his own means. [106] The Gentile builder did not prejudice the sanctity of the building, because that came by means of the consecration . See Lightfoot, p. 775.

φίλους ] as Luke 15:6 ; Acts 10:24 , kinsfolk , relatives; see Nägelsbach, Anm. z. Ilias , Exodus 3:0 , p. 374.

Luke 7:7 . διό ] on account of my unworthiness.

οὐδέ ] not at all .

ἐμαυτόν ] in reference to those who had been sent , who were to represent him , Luke 7:3 .

παῖς ] equivalent to δοῦλος , Luke 7:2 . According to Baur, it is an unmerited accusation against Luke that he erroneously interpreted the παῖς of his original source, and nevertheless by oversight allowed it to remain in this place (Holtzmann).

Luke 7:8 . ὑπὸ ἐξουσ . τασσόμ ] an expression of military subordination: one who is placed under orders . Luke might also have written τεταγμένος , but the present depicts in a more lively manner the concrete relation as it constantly occurs in the service .

Luke 7:10 . τὸν ἀσθενοῦντα δ . ὑγιαίν ] the sick slave well (not: recovering ). ἀσθενοῦντα , present participle, spoken from the point of view of the πεμφθέντες , Luke 7:6 . Ού γὰρ ἅμα … ὑγιαίνει τε καὶ νοσεῖ ὁ ἄνθρωπος , Plat. Gorg . p. 495 E. As an explanation of this miraculous healing from a distance, Schenkel can here suggest only the “extraordinary spiritual excitement” of the sick person.

[106] He was such a friend of Judaism, and dwelt in the Jewish land. This was a sufficient reason for Jesus treating him quite differently from the way in which He afterwards treated the Syrophoenician woman. Hilgenfeld persists in tracing Matthew 8:5 ff. to the supposed universalistic retouching of Matthew. See his Zeitschr . 1865, p. 48 ff.

Verses 11-12

Luke 7:11-12 . The raising of the young man at Nain ( נָאִין , a pasture ground, situated in a south-easterly direction from Nazareth, now a little hamlet of the same name not far from Endor; see Robinson, Pal. III. p. 469; Ritter, Erdk. XV. p. 407) is recorded in Luke alone; it is uncertain whether he derived the narrative from a written source or from oral tradition.

ἐν τῷ ἑξῆς ] in the time that followed thereafter, to be construed with ἐγέν . Comp. Luke 8:1 .

μαθηταί ] in the wider sense, Luke 6:13 , Luke 17:20 .

ἱκανοί ] in considerable number, Mehlhorn, De adjectivor. pro adverb, pos. ratione et usu, Glog. 1828, p. 9 ff.; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 4. 12.

ὡς δὲ ἤγγισε … καὶ ἰδού ] This καί introducing the apodosis is a particle denoting something additional: also. Comp. Luke 2:21 . When He drew near, behold, there also was, etc. See, moreover, Acts 1:11 ; Acts 10:17 .

τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ ] Comp. Luke 9:38 ; Herod. vii. 221: τὸν δὲ παῖδα … ἐόντα οἱ μουνογενέα ; Aeschyl. Ag. 872: μονογενὲς τέκνον πατρί ; Tob 3:15 ; Judges 11:34 ; Winer, p. 189 [E. T. 264 f.].

The tombs ( ἐξεκομίζετο , comp. Acts 5:6 ) were outside the towns. See Doughty, Anal. II. p. 50 ff.

καὶ αὕτη χήρα ] scil. ἦν , which, moreover, is actually read after αὕτη by important authorities. It should be written in its simplest form, αὕτη (Vulg. and most of the codd. of It. have: haec). Beza: κ . αὐτῇ χήρᾳ (et ipsi quidem viduae).

Verses 13-15

Luke 7:13-15 . The sympathy with the mother was in itself sufficiently well founded, even without the need of any special (perhaps direct) acquaintance with her circumstances.

μὴ κλαῖε ] “Consolatio ante opus ostendit operis certo futuri potestatem,” Bengel.

The coffin ( ἡ σορός ) was an uncovered chest. See Wetstein in loc .; Harmar, Beob . II. p. 141.

The mere touch without a word caused the bearers to stand still. A trait of the marvellous.

νεανίσκε , σοὶ λ .] The preceding touch had influenced the bearers .

ἀνεκάθισεν ] He sat upright . Comp. Acts 9:40 ; Xen. Cyr . v. 19; Plat. Phaed . p. 60 B: ἀνακαθιζόμενος ἐπὶ τὴν κλίνην , and thereon Stallbaum.

ἔδωκεν ] Comp. Luke 9:42 . His work had now been done on him.

Verses 16-17

Luke 7:16-17 . Φόβος ] Fear , the first natural impression, Luke 5:26 .

ὅτι … καὶ ὅτι ] not recitative (so usually), but argumentative (Bornemann), as Luke 1:25 : (we praise God) because … and because . The recitative ὅτι occurs nowhere (not even in Luke 4:10 ) twice in the same discourse; moreover, it is quite arbitrary to assume that in the second half, which is by no means specifically different from the first, we have the words of others (Paulus, Kuinoel, Bleek).

They saw in this miracle a σημεῖον of a great prophet , and in His appearance they saw the beginning of the Messianic deliverance (comp. Luke 1:68 ; Luke 1:78 ).

ὁ λόγος οὗτος ] This saying , namely, that a great prophet with his claim made good by a raising from the dead, etc.

ἐν ὅλῃ τ . Ἰουδ .] a pregnant expression: in the whole of Judaea , whither the saying had penetrated. Comp. Thucyd. iv. 42: ἐν Λευκαδίᾳ ἀπῄεσαν . Judaea is not here to be understood in the narrower sense of the province, as though this were specified as the theatre of the incident (Weizsäcker), but in the wider sense of Palestine in general (Luke 1:5 ); and by ἐν πάσῃ τῇ περιχώρῳ , which is not to be referred to the neighbourhood of Nain (Köstlin, p. 231), it is asserted that the rumour had spread abroad even beyond the limits of Palestine.

περὶ αὐτοῦ ] so that He was mentioned as the subject of the rumour. Comp. Luke 5:15 .


The natural explanation of this miracle as of the awakening of a person only apparently dead (Paulus, Ammon; comp. Schleiermacher, L. J. p. 233) so directly conflicts with the Gospel narrative, and, moreover, places Jesus in so injurious a light of dissimulation and pretence, that it is decisively to be rejected, even apart from the fact that in itself it would be improbable, nay monstrous, to suppose that as often as dead people required His help, He should have chanced every time upon people only apparently dead (to which class in the end even He Himself also must have belonged after His crucifixion!). Further, the allegorical explanation (Weisse), as well as also the identification of this miracle with the narrative of the daughter of Jairus (Gfrörer, Heil. Sage , I. p. 194), and finally, the mythical solution (Strauss), depend upon subjective assumptions, which are not sufficient to set aside the objective historical testimony, all the more that this testimony is conjoined, in respect of the nature of the miracle, with that of Matthew (Jairus’ daughter) and that of John (Lazarus); and to suspect the three narratives of raisings from the dead taken together because of the gradual climax of their attendant circumstances (Woolston, Strauss: death-bed, coffin, grave) is inadmissible, because Luke has not the history of the raising on the death-bed until later (Luke 8:50 ff.), and therefore was not consciously aware of that progression to a climax. The raisings of the dead, attested beyond all doubt by all the four evangelists, referred to by Jesus Himself among the proofs of His divine vocation (Matthew 11:5 ; Luke 7:22 ), kept in lively remembrance in the most ancient church (Justin, Ap . i. 48. 22; Origen, c. Cels . ii. 48), and hence not to be left on one side as problematical (Schleiermacher, Weizsäker), are analogous σημεῖα of the specific Messianic work of the future ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν .

Verses 18-35

Luke 7:18-35 . See on Matthew 11:2-19 . Matthew has for reasons of his own given this history a different and less accurate position , but he has related it more fully, not omitting just at the beginning, as Luke does, the mention of the Baptist’s imprisonment . Luke follows another source.

περὶ πάντων τούτων ] such as the healing of the servant and the raising of the young man. [107]

Luke 7:21 . Luke also, the physician, here and elsewhere (comp. Luke 6:17 f., Luke 5:39 ) distinguishes between the naturally sick people and demoniacs. Besides, the whole narrative passage, Luke 7:20-21 , is an addition by Luke in his character of historian.

καὶ τυφλ .] and especially , etc.

ἐχαρίσατο ] “magnificum verbum,” Bengel. Luke 7:25 . τρυφή ] not to be referred to clothing, but to be taken generally, luxury .

Luke 7:27 . Malachi 3:1 is here, as in Matt. and in Mark 1:2 , quoted in a similarly peculiar form, which differs from the LXX. The citation in this form had already become sanctioned by usage.

Luke 7:28 . προφήτης ] The reflectiveness of a later period is manifest in the insertion of this word. Matthew is original.

Luke 7:29-30 do not contain an historical notice introduced by Luke by way of comment (Paulus, Bornemann, Schleiermacher, Lachmann, Köstlin, Hilgenfeld, Bleek, following older commentators), for his manner elsewhere is opposed to this view, and the spuriousness of εἶπε δὲ ὁ κύριος , Luke 7:31 (in Elz.), is decisive; but the words are spoken by Jesus , who alleges the differing! result which the advent of this greatest of the prophets had produced among the people and among the hierarchs. In respect of this, it is to be conceded that the words in their relation to the power, freshness, and rhetorical vividness of what has gone before bear a more historical stamp , and hence might reasonably be regarded as a later interpolation of tradition (Weisse, II. p. 109, makes them an echo of Matthew 21:31 f.; comp. de Wette, Holtzmann, and Weiss); Ewald derives them from the Logia , where, however, their original place was, according to him, after Luke 7:27 .

ἐδικαίωσαν τ . Θεόν ] they justified God, i.e. they declared by their act that His will to adopt the baptism of John was right.

βαπτισθ . is contemporaneous .

τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ] namely, to become prepared by the baptism of repentance for the approaching kingdom of Messiah. This counsel of God’s will ( βουλή , comp. on Ephesians 1:11 ) they annulled ( ἠθέτ .), they abolished, since they frustrated its realization through their disobedience. Beza says pertinently: “ Abrogarunt , nempe quod ad ipsius rei exitum attinet, quo evasit ipsis exitii instrumentum id, quod eos ad resipiscentiam et salutem vocabat.”

εἰς ἑαυτούς ] with respect to themselves , a closer limitation of the reference of ἠθέτησαν . [108] Bornemann (comp. Castalio): “ quantum ab ipsis pendebat ” (“ alios enim passi sunt,” etc.). This would be τὸ εἰς ἑαυτούς (Soph. Oed. R . 706; Eur. Iph. T. 697, and elsewhere).

Luke 7:31 . τοὺς ἀνθρ . τ . γεν . τ .] is related not remotely to Luke 7:29 (Holtzmann), but Jesus means to have the general designation applied (see also Luke 7:34 ) to the hierarchs , Luke 7:30 , not to πᾶς ὁ λαός . Comp. Matthew 12:39 ; Matthew 16:4 .

εἰσὶν ὁμ .] εἰσίν has the emphasis.

Luke 7:33 . As to the form ἔσθων , as we must write with Tischendorf [Tisch. 8 has ἐσθίων ], comp. on Mark 1:6 . The limitations ἄρτον and οἶνον , which are not found in Matthew, betray themselves to be additions of a later tradition, the former being an echo of Matthew 3:4 ; Mark 1:6 .

Luke 7:35 . See on Matthew 11:19 , and observe the appropriate reference of the expression ἐδικαιώθη κ . τ . λ . to ἐδικαιώσαν τ . Θεόν , Luke 7:29 . Even Theophylact, who is mistaken in his interpretation of Matt. l.c. , expresses in this place the substantially correct view that the divine wisdom which revealed itself in Jesus and the Baptist received its practical justification in the conduct of their followers. [109] Bornemann considers these words as a continuation of the antagonistic saying ἰδού … ἁμαρτωλῶν , and, indeed, as bitterly ironical : “Et (dicitis): probari, spectari solet sapientia, quae Johannis et Christi propria est, in filiis ejus omnibus, i.e. in fructibus ejus omnibus.” It is against this view that, apart from the taking of the aorist in the sense of habitual action (see on Matt. l.c. ), τέκνα τῆς σοφίας can denote only persons ; that, according to the parallelism with Luke 7:33 , the antagonistic judgment does not go further than ἁμαρτωλῶν ; and that Jesus would scarcely break off his discourse with the quotation of an antagonistic sarcasm instead of delivering with His own judgment a final decision in reference to the contradictory phenomena in question.

ΠΆΝΤΩΝ ] added at the end for emphasis, not by mistake (Holtzmann, Weiss), serves to confirm what is consolatory in the experience declared by ἘΔΙΚΑΙΏΘΗ Κ . Τ . Λ .

[107] Luke also thus makes the sending of John’s disciples to be occasioned by the works , the doings of Jesus, as Matthew ( ἔργα ). This in opposition to Wieseler (in the Gött. Vierteljahrsschr . 1845, p. 197 ff.).

[108] Bengel justly observes: “nam ipsum Dei consilium non potuere tollere.”

[109] Comp. Pressel, Philolog. Miscellen üb. d. Evang. Matth . (Schulprogramm), Ulm 1865, p. 3 f., who nevertheless takes ἀπό in the sense of in (Matthew 7:16 and elsewhere), without essential difference of meaning.

Verse 36

Luke 7:36 . This narrative of the anointing is distinct from that given in Matthew 26:6 ff.; Mark 14:3 ff.; John 12:1 ff. See on Matthew 26:6 . The supposition that there was only one incident of the kind, can be indulged only at Luke’s expense. He must either himself have put aside the actual circumstances, and have added new circumstances (Hug, Gutacht . II. p. 98), which is in itself quite improbable, or he must have followed a tradition which had transferred the later incident into an earlier period; comp. Ewald, Bleek, Holtzmann, Schenkel, Weizsäcker; Schleiermacher also, according to whom Luke must have adopted a distorted narrative; and Hilgenfeld, according to whom he must have remodelled the older narrative on a Pauline basis. But the accounts of Mark and Matthew presuppose a tradition so constant as to time and place, that the supposed erroneous (John 12:1 ff.) dislocation of the tradition, conjoined with free remodelling, as well as its preference on the part of Luke, can commend itself only less than the hypothesis that he is relating an anointing which actually occurred earlier, and, on the other hand, has passed over the similar subsequent incident; hence it is the less to be conceived that Simon could have been the husband of Martha (Heugstenberg). Notwithstanding the fact that the rest of the evangelists relate an anointing, Baur has taken our narrative as an allegorical poem (see his Evang . p. 501), which, according to him, has its parallel in the section concerning the woman taken in adultery. Strauss sought to confuse together the two narratives of anointing and the account of the woman taken in adultery. According to Eichthal, II. p. 252, the narrative is an interpolation, and that the most pernicious of all from a moral point of view!

Verses 37-38

Luke 7:37-38 . Ἥτις ἦν ἐν τ . πόλει ἁμαρτ .] According to this arrangement (see the critical remarks): who in the city was a sinner : she was in the city a person practising prostitution. [110] See on ἁμαρτωλός in this sense, Wetstein in loc .; Dorvill, ad Char . p. 220. Comp. on John 8:7 . The woman through the influence of Jesus (it is unknown how ; perhaps only by hearing His preaching and by observation of His entire ministry) had attained to repentance and faith, and thereby to moral renewal. Now the most fervent love and reverence of gratitude to her deliverer urge her to show Him outward tokens of these sentiments. She does not speak, but her tears, etc., are more eloquent than speech, and they are understood by Jesus. The imperfect ἦν does not stand for the pluperfect (Kuinoel and others), but Luke narrates from the standpoint of the public opinion, according to which the woman still was (Luke 7:39 ) what she, and that probably not long before, had been . The view, handed down from ancient times in the Latin Church (see Sepp, L. J. II. p. 281 ff.; Schegg in loc .), and still defended by Lange, [111] to whom therefore the πόλις is Magdala, which identifies the woman with Mary Magdalene (for whose festival the narrative before us is the lesson), and further identifies the latter with the sister of Lazarus, is, though adopted even by Hengstenberg, just as groundless (according to Luke 8:2 , moreover, morally inadmissible) as the supposition that the πόλις in the passage before us is Jerusalem (Paulus in his Comment. u. Exeg. Handb. ; in his Leben Jesu: Bethany ). Nain may be meant, Luke 7:11 (Kuinoel). It is safer to leave it indefinite as the city in which dwelt the Pharisee in question .

ὀπίσω παρὰ τ . πόδ . αὐτ .] According to the well-known, custom at meals, Jesus reclined, with naked feet, and these extended behind Him, at table.

ἤρξατο ] vividness of description attained by making conspicuous the first thing done .

τῆς κεφαλῆς ] superfluous in itself, but contributing to the vivid picture of the proof of affection.

κατεφίλει ] as Matthew 26:49 . Comp. Polyb. xv. 1. 7 : ἀγεννῶς τοὺς πόδας καταφιλοῖεν τῶν ἐν τῷ συνεδρίῳ . Among the ancients the kissing of the feet was a proof of deep veneration (Kypke, I. p. 242; Dorvill, ad Charit . p. 203), which was manifested especially to Rabbins (Othonius, Lex . p. 233; Wetstein in loc .).

The tears of the woman were those of painful remembrance and of thankful emotion.

[110] Grotius says pertinently: “Quid mirum, tales ad Christum confugisse, cum et ad Johannis baptismum venerint? Matthew 21:32 .” Schleiermacher ought not to have explained it away as the “sinful woman in the general sense.” She had been a πόρνη (Matthew 21:31 ).

[111] Heller follows him in Herzog’s Encykl . IX. p. 104.

Verses 39-40

Luke 7:39-40 . To the Pharisee in his legal coldness and conceit, the essence , the moral character of the proceeding, remains entirely unknown; he sees in the fact that Jesus acquiesces in this homage of the sinful woman the proof that He does not know her, and therefore is no prophet, because He allows Himself unawares to be defiled by her who is unclean.

οὗτος ] placed first with an emphasis of depreciation.

ποταπή ] of what character , Luke 1:29 .

ἥτις ἅπτ . αὐτοῦ ] she who touches , comes in contact with Him .

ὅτι ] that she, namely .

Luke 7:40 . Jesus saw into the thoughts of the Pharisee. The ἔχω κ . τ . λ . is a “comis praefatio,” Bengel. Observe that the Pharisee himself, in respect of such a scene, does not venture to throw any suspicion of immorality on Jesus.

Verses 41-43

Luke 7:41-43 . By the one debtor [112] the woman is typified, by the other Simon , both with a view to what is to be said at Luke 7:47 . The supposition that both of them had been healed by Jesus of a disease (Paulus, Kuinoel), does not, so far as Simon is concerned, find any sure ground (in opposition to Holtzmann) in the ὁ λεπρός of the later narrative of the anointing (in Matthew and Mark). The creditor is Christ , of whose debtors the one owes Him a ten times heavier debt (referring to the woman in her agony of repentance) than the other (the Pharisee regarded as the righteous man he fancied himself to be). The difference in the degree of guilt is measured by the difference in the subjective consciousness of guilt; by this also is measured the much or little of the forgiveness , which again has for its result the much or little of the grateful love shown to Christ, Luke 7:41 ff.

μὴ ἐχόντων ] “Ergo non solvitur debitum subsequente amore et grato animo,” Bengel.

On the interpolated εἰπέ , which makes the question more pointed, comp. Bremi, ad Dem. adv. Phil. I. p. 119.

[112] Instead of χρεωφ ., the late inferior form of writing, χρεοφ . is on decisive evidence to be adopted, along with Lachmann and Tischendorf (Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 691).

Verses 44-46

Luke 7:44-46 . Jesus places the affectionate services rendered by the woman in contrast with the cold respectable demeanour of the Pharisee, who had not observed towards Him at all the customs of courtesy (foot-washing, kissing) and of deference (anointing of the head).

σου εἰς τ . οἰκ ] I came into thy house . The σου being placed first sharpens the rebuke.

That, moreover, even the foot-washing before meals was not absolutely a rule (it was observed especially in the case of guests coming off a journey , Genesis 18:4 ; Jdg 19:21 ; 1 Samuel 25:41 ; 1 Timothy 5:10 ) is plain from John 13:0 , and hence the neglect on the part of the heartless Pharisee is the more easily explained.

ἔβρεξέ μου τ . πόδ .] moistened my feet . Comp. on John 11:32 ; Matthew 8:3 .

Observe the contrasts of the less and the greater : (1) ὕδωρ and τοῖς δάκρυσιν ; (2) φίλημα , which is plainly understood as a kiss upon the mouth , and οὐ διέλ . καταφ . μ . τοὺς πόδας ; (3) ἐλαίῳ τὴν κεφαλ . and μύρῳ ἤλ . μ . τοὺς πόδας ( μύρον is an aromatic anointing oil, and more precious than ἔλαιον , see Xen. Conv. ii. 3).

ἀφʼ ἧς εἰσῆλθον ] loosely hyperbolical in affectionate consideration, suggested by the mention of the kiss which was appropriate at the entering .

Verse 47

Luke 7:47 . Οὗ χάριν , by Beza, Grotius, Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, de Wette, Ewald, Bleek, and others, is separated from λέγω σοι by a comma, and connected with ἀφέωνται . But the latter has its limitation by ὅτι κ . τ . λ . It is to be interpreted: on account of which I say unto thee ; on behalf of this her manifestation of love (as a recognition and high estimation thereof) I declare to thee.

ἀφέωνται κ . τ . λ .] her sins are forgiven, the many (that she has committed, Luke 7:37 ; Luke 7:39 ), since she has loved much . This ὅτι ἠγάπησε πολύ expresses not the cause , and therefore not the antecedent of forgiveness. That the words do express the antecedent of forgiveness is the opinion of the Catholics, who maintain thereby their doctrine of contritio charitate formata and of the merit of works ; and lately, too, of de Wette, who recognises love for Christ and faith in Him as one; of Olshausen, who after his own fashion endeavours to overcome the difficulty of the thought by regarding love as a receptive activity; of Paulus, who drags in what is not found in the text; of Baumgarten-Crusius, and of Bleek. Although dogmatic theology is not decisive against this opinion (see the pertinent observations of Melanchthon in the Apol. iii. 31 ff. p. 87 f.), yet perhaps the context is, because this view directly contradicts the παραβολή , Luke 7:41-42 , that lies at its foundation, as well as the ᾧ δὲ ὀλίγον ἀφίεται κ . τ . λ . which immediately follows, if the love does not appear as the consequent of the forgiveness; the antecedent, i.e. the subjective cause of the forgiveness, is not the love, but the faith of the penitent, as is plain from Luke 7:50 . Contextually it is right, therefore, to understand ὅτι of the ground of recognition or acknowledgment : Her sins are forgiven, etc., which is certain, since she has manifested love in an exalted degree . Bengel says pertinently: “Remissio peccatorum, Simoni non cogitata, probatur a fructu , Luke 7:42 , qui est evidens et in oculos incurrit, quum illa sit occulta;” and Calovius: “probat Christus a posteriori .” Comp. Beza, Calvin, Wetstein, Hofmann, Schriftbew . I. p. 603 f.; Hilgenfeld also, Evang . p. 175. The objection against this view, taken by Olshausen and Bleek, that the aorist ἠγάπησε is inappropriate, is quite a mistake, and is nullified by passages such as John 3:16 . The ἀφέωνται expresses that the woman is in the condition of forgiveness ( in statu gratiae ), and that the criterion thereof is the much love manifested by her. It is thereafter in Luke 7:48 that Jesus makes, even to herself, the express declaration.

ὧ δὲ ὀλίγον ἀφίεται , ὀλίγ . ἀγαπᾷ ] a general decision in precise opposition to the first half of the verse, with intentional application to the moral condition of the Pharisee, which is of such a kind that only a little forgiveness falls to his share, the consequence being that he also manifests but little love (Luke 7:44-46 ). There was too much want of self-knowledge and of repentance in the self-righteous Simon for him to be a subject of much forgiveness.

Verse 48

Luke 7:48 . The Pharisee is dismissed, and now Jesus satisfies the woman’s need, and gives her the formal and direct assurance of her pardoned condition. Subjectively she was already in this condition through her faith (Luke 7:50 ), and her love was the result thereof (Luke 7:47 ); but the objective assurance , the declared absolution on the part of the forgiver, now completed the moral deliverance (Luke 7:50 ) which her faith had wrought.

Verse 49

Luke 7:49 . Ἤρξαντο ] The beginning , the rising up of this thought, is noteworthy in Luke’s estimation.

τίς οὗτός ἐστιν κ . τ . λ .] a question of displeasure.

καί : even .

Verse 50

Luke 7:50 . Jesus enters not into explanation in answer to these thoughts, but closes the whole scene by dismissing the woman with a parting word, intended to confirm her faith by pointing out the ground of her spiritual deliverance.

ἡ -g0- πίστις -g0- σ -g0- .] “ fides , non amor; fides ad nos spectat, amore convincuntur alii,” Bengel.

εἰς εἰρήνην ] as Luke 8:48 . See on Mark 5:34 .


From the correct interpretation of this section it is manifest of itself that this passage, peculiar to Luke, contains nothing without an adequate motive (Luke 7:37 ) or obscure (Luke 7:47 ); but, on the contrary, the self-consistency of the whole incident, the attractive simplicity and truth with which it is set forth, and the profound clearness and pregnancy of meaning characteristic of the sayings of Jesus, all bear the stamp of originality; and this is especially true also of the description of the woman who is thus silently eloquent by means of her behaviour. This is in opposition to de Wette (comp. also Weiss, II. p. 142 ff.). A distorted narrative (Schleiermacher), a narrative from “a somewhat confused tradition” (Holtzmann), or a narrative gathering together ill-fitting elements (Weizsäcker), is not marked by such internal truth, sensibility, and tenderness.

Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 7". Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hmc/luke-7.html. 1832.
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