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Bible Commentaries
Luke 7

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Verses 1-99

7:1. The division of the chapters is misleading. This verse forms the conclusion of the preceding narrative quite in Lk’s manner. Comp. 4:30, 37, 44, 5:11, 26, 6:11, etc. It is not the introduction to what follows, for Jesus must have been in Capernaum some time before the centurion heard about Him. Lk. says nothint. about the impression which the discourse made upon the people (Matthew 7:28), or about their following Him (Matthew 8:1).

Ἐπειδὴ ἐπλήρωσεν πάντα τὰ π̔ήματα αὐτοῦ . This is the only place in N.T. in which ἐπειδή is used in the temporal sense of “after that, when now.” Hence Ἐπεἰ δέ is found in many texts. K has Ἐπειδὴ δέ, while D has Καἰ ἐγένετο ὅτε. In the causal sense of “since, seeing that,” ἐπειδή occurs only in Lk. and Paul (11:6; Acts 13:46, Acts 13:14:12, Acts 13:15:24; 1 Corinthians 1:21, 1 Corinthians 1:22, 1 Corinthians 1:14:16, 1 Corinthians 1:15:21). See Ellicott on Philippians 2:26. For ἐπλήρωσε, “completed,” so that no more remained to be said, comp. Acts 12:25, Acts 13:25, Acts 14:26, Acts 19:21.

εἰς τὰς�Acts 11:22, Acts 17:20. Both in bibl. Grk. and in class. Grk.�1 Samuel 2:24; 1 Kings 2:28; John 12:38; Romans 10:16). 2. “The sense of hearing” (2 Samuel 22:45; Job 42:5; 1 Corinthians 12:17; 2 Peter 2:8). 3. “The ear” (Mark 7:35; Hebrews 5:11; Heb_2 Mac. 15:39).

2-10. The healing of the Centurion’s Servant at Capernaum. Matthew 8:5-13. Mt. places the healing of the leper (Luke 5:12-14) between the Sermon on the Mount and the healing of the centurion’s slave. This centurion was a heathen by birth (ver. 9), and was probably in the service of Antipas. He had become in some degree attracted to Judaism (ver. 5), and was an illustration of the great truth which Lk. delights to exhibit, that Gentile and Jew alike share in the blessings of the kingdom. The anima naturaliter Christiana of the man is seen in his affection for his slave.

2. ἤμελλεν πελευτᾷν “Was on the point of dying,” and would have done so but for this intervention (Acts 12:6, Acts 16:27, etc.). Burton., § 73. For ἔντιμος “held in honour, held dear,” comp. 14:8; Philippians 2:29; 1 Peter 2:4, 1 Peter 2:6; Isaiah 28:16. The fact explains why this deputation of elders came.

3.�Acts 13:15, Acts 13:18:8, Acts 13:17), as Godet formerly advocated. The compound διασώζειν, “to bring safe through,” is almost peculiar to Lk. in N. T. (Acts 23:24, Acts 23:27:43, 44, Acts 23:28:1, Acts 23:4; Matthew 14:36; 1 Peter 3:20).

4. οἱ δὲ παραγενόμενοι A favourite verb (ver. 20, 8:19, 11:6, 12:51, 14:21; 19:16, 22:52; and about twenty times in Acts): elsewhere in N.T. eight or nine times, but very freq. in LXX.

ἄξιός ἐστιν ᾧ παρέξῃ τοῦτο “He is worthy that Thou shouldest de this for him”; 2 sing. fut. mid. The reading παρέξει (G Γ Λ) Isa_3 sing. fut. act. and must not be taken as analogous to the exceptional forms ὄει, ὄψει, and βούλει. But beyond doubt παρέξῃ (א A B C D R Ξ etc.) is the correct reading.


If Tell Hûm represents Capernamn, and if the ruins of the synagogue there are from a building of this date, they show with what liberality this centurion had carried out his pious work. But it is doubtful whether the excellent work exhibited in these ruins is quite so early as the first century. The centurions appear in a favourable light in N.T. (23:47; Acts 10:22, Acts 10:22:26, Acts 10:23:17, Acts 10:23, Acts 10:24, Acts 10:24:23, Acts 10:27:43). Roman organization produced, and was maintained by, excellent individuals, who were a blessing to others and themselves. As Philo says after praising Petronius the governor of Syria, τοῖς δὲ�

6. οὐ μακράν Comp. Acts 17:27. The expression is peculiar to Lk., who is fond of οὐ with an adj. or adv. to express his meaning. Comp. οὐ πολλαί (15:13; Acts 1:5), οὐ πολύ (Acts 27:14), οὐκ ὀλίγος (Acts 12:18, Acts 12:14:28, Acts 12:15:2, Acts 12:17:4, Acts 12:12, Acts 12:19:23, Acts 12:24, 27, Acts 12:20), οὐκ ὁ τυχών (Acts 19:11, Acts 28:2), οὐκ ἄσημος (Acts 21:39), οὐ μετρίως (Acts 20:12).

ἔπεμψεν φίλους Comp. 15:6, Acts 10:24. Mt. says nothings about either of these deputations, but puts the message of both into the mouth of the centurion himself, who comes in person. In Lk. the man’s humility and faith prevail over his anxiety as soon as he sees that the first deputation has succeeded, and that the great Rabbi and Prophet is really coming to him. Therefore he sends the second deputation to say that he is not worthy of a visit, and that e visit is not necessary.

κύριε, μὴ σκύλλου “Lord, cease to trouble Thyself.” The verb is a marked instance of the tendency of words to become weaker in meaning: σκύλλω (σκῦλον 11:22) Isa_1. “flay”; 2. “mangle”; 3. “vex, annoy” (8:49; Mark 5:35; Matthew 9:36). See Expositor, 1st series, 1876, 4. pp. 30, 31. What follows seems to show that the centurion was not a proselyte. The house of a Gentile was polluting to a Jew; and therefore οὐ γὰρ ἱκανός εἰμι, κ.τ.λ., is quite in point if he was still a heathen. But it is rather strong language if he had ceased to be a heathen. For ἵνα after ἱκανός see Burton., § 216.

7. εἰπὲ λόγῳ, καὶ ἰαθήτω ὁ παῖς μου. Lit. “Say with a word, and let my servant be healed.” The word is to be the instrument with which the healing is to take place, instead of Jesus’ coming in person: comp. Acts 2:40 and Galatians 6:11. There is no doubt that ὁ παῖς μου means “my servant.” This use is found in N.T. (12:45, 15:26; Matthew 8:6, Matthew 8:8, Matthew 8:13), and is very freq. in LXX and in class. Grk.

It has been contended that in Matthew 8:6, Matthew 8:8, Matthew 8:13 παῖς must mean “son,” because be centurion calls his servant δοῦλος in ver. 9: as if it were improbable the a person in be same conversation should speak sometimes of his “servant” and sometimes of his “boy.” In both narratives παῖς and δοῦλος are used as synonyms; and it is gratuitous to suppose that in using δοῦλος Lk. has misinterpreted the παῖς in the source which he employed. Comp. 15:22, 26. Here ὁ παῖς μου is more affectionate than ὁ δοῦλός μου would have been.

8. ἐγὼ�Malachi 3:6). The καὶ γάρ shows the intimate connexion with what precedes, εἰπὲ λόγῳ καὶ ἱαθήτω: see on 6:32, “I know from personal experience What a word from one in authority can do. A word from my superiors secures my obedience, and a word from me secures the obedience of my subordinates. Thou, who art under no man, and hast authority over unseen powers, hast only to say a word and the sickness is healed.” Perhaps ἄνθρωπος hints that Jesus is superhuman. Evidently ὑπὸ ἐξουσιχαν τασσόμενος means that, if an inferior can give effective orders, much more can a superior do so. It is the awminty of the result without personal presence that is the point.

9. ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐθαύμασεν αὐτόν This is stated in both narratives, Comp. Mark 6:6. Those who are unwilling to admit any limitations in Christ’s knowledge have to explain how wonder is compatible with omniscience. One limitation is clearly told us by Himself (Mark 13:32); so that the only question is how far such limitations extend. See on 2:46, 52, and 17:14. Note the solemn Λέγω ὑμῖν, and comp. ver. 28, 10:12, 24, 11:8, 9, 51, etc.

οὐδὲ ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ τοσαύτην πίστιν εὗρον . This again points to the centurion being still a heathen. Nowhere among the Jews had He found any one willing to believe that He could heal without being present. It is natural that Lk. should express this preference for a Antile more strongly than Mt., who has παρʼ οὐδενὶ τοσαύτην πίστιν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ εὗρον Lk. here omits the remarkable passage Matthew 8:11, Matthew 8:12; but he gives it in quite a different connexion 13:28, 29. Such teaching, so necessary and so unwelcome to the Jews, may easily have been repeated.

10. ὑποστρέψαντες . See on 1:56 and 4:14. Lk.’s ὑγιαίνοντα is stronger than the ἰάθη of Mt. The servant was not only cured, but “in good health.” Non modo sanum, sed sanitate utentem (Beng.) Hobart remarks that Lk. “is the only N.T. writer who uses ὑγιαίνειν in this its primary sense, ‘to be in sound health,’ with the exception of S. John, 3 Eph_2. For this meaning it is the regular word in the medical writers” (p. 10). See on 5:31 and comp. 15:27. Here and 5:31 Vulg. has sanus; in 15:27, salvus.

The identification of this miracle with that of the healing of the son of the royal official (βασιλικός) in Joh_4. is not probable: it involves an amount of misinformation or carelessness on one side or the other which would be very startling. Irenæus seems to be in favour of it; but “centurion” with him may be a slip of memory or a misinterpretation of βασιλικός. Origen and Chrysostom contend against the identification. Is there any difficulty in supposing that on more than one occasion Jesus healed without being present? The difficulty is to explain one such instance, without admitting the possession of supernatural powers: this Strauss has shown, and the efforts of Keim and Schenkel to explain it by a combination of moral and psychical causes are not satisfying. There is no parallel to it in O.T., for (as Keim points out) the healing of Naaman is not really analogous.

11-17. § The Raising of the Widow’s Son at Nain. Because Lk. alone records it, its historical character has been questioned. But there were multitudes of miracles wrought by Christ which have never been recorded in detail at all (4:23, 40, 41, 6:18, 19; John 2:23, John 4:45, John 7:31, John 12:37, John 20:30, John 21:25), and among these, as ver. 22 shows, were cases of raising the dead. We must not attribute to the Evangelists the modern way of regarding the raising of the dead as a miracle so amazing, because so difficult to perform, that every real instance would necessarily become widely known, and would certainly be recorded by every writer who had knowledge of it. To a Jew it would be hardly more marvellous than the healing of a leper; and to one who believes in miracles at all, distinctions as to difficulty are unmeaning. It is not unreasonable to suppose, either that this event never came to the knowledge of the other Evangelists, or that, although they knew of it, they did not see the necessity for recording it. It is worth noting that nearly all recorded instances of raising the dead were performed for women (1 Kings 17:23; 2 Kings 4:36; John 11:22, John 11:32; Acts 9:41; Hebrews 11:35).

11. ἐν τῷ ἑξῆς It is not easy to decide between the reading ἑν τῷ ἑξῆς, sc. χρόνῳ (A B R), and ἑν τῇ ἑξῆς, sc. ἡμέρᾳ (א C D). On the one hand, Lk. elsewhere, when he writes ἐν τῷ, has καθεξῆς (8:1); on the other, when he writes τῇ ἑξῆς he does not prefix ἐν (9:37; Acts 21:1, Acts 25:17, Acts 27:18). The less definite would be more likely to be changed to the more definite than vice versâ. Thus the balance both of external and internal evidence is in favour of ἐν τῷ ἑξῆς, and we must not limit the interval between the miracles to a single day. In N.T. ἑξῆς is peculiar to Lk. (9:37; Acts 21:1, Acts 24:17, Acts 27:18). So also is ὡς ἤγγισεν (v. 12, 15:25, 19:20, 41).

Ναΐν. The place is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture; and the village of that name in Josephus (B. J. iv. 9. 4) is on the other side of the Jordan, and cannot be the same. D. C. G. art. “Nain.”

A hamlet called Nein was found by Robinson about two miles west of Endor, on the north slope of Little Hermon, which is where Eusebius and Jerome place it; and it would be about a day’s journey from Capernaum. “One entrance alone it could have had, that which opens on the rough hillside in its downward slope to the plain” (Stanley, Sin. & Pal. p. 357); so that the very path on which the two companies met can be identified. About ten minutes’ walk on the road to Endor is a burying-place which is still used, and there are many tombs cut in the rock. Robinson, Psa_3. p. 469; Bibl. Res. 2:361; Thomson, Land & Book, p. 445; Tristram, Land of Israel, p. 127. The expression, πόλιν καλουμένην Ναΐν, looks as if Lk. were writing for those who were not familiar with the country; comp. 1:26, 39, 4:31. See on 6:15.

οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ. Including more than the Twelve; 6:13. See on 11:29.

12. καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐξεκομίζετο τεθνηκώς . “Behold there was being carried out a dead man.” Or, “there was being carried out dead the only son,” etc. The καί introduces the apodosis of ὡς δὲ ἤγγισε, and must be omitted in translation: ‘then” would be too strong. See on 5:12. The compound verb occurs here only in N. T. and nowhere in LXX. It is equivalent to ἐκφέρειν (Acts 5:6, Acts 5:9, Acts 5:10) and efferre, and is used of carrying out to burial, Polyb. 35:6, 2; Plut. Agis, 21.; Cic. 42. In later Gk. ἐκκομιδή is used for ἐκφορά of burial. With τεθνηκώς comp. John 11:44.

μονογενὴς υἱὸς τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ. Comp. 8:42, 9:38; Hebrews 11:17; Judges 11:34; Tobit 3:15, 8:17. Only in Jn. is μονογενής used of the Divine Sonship (1:14, 18, 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9).

καὶ αὐτὴ ἧν χήρα . The ἦν may safely be pronounced to be certainly genuine (א B C L S V Ξ, and most Versions). For αὐτή some editnors write αὕτη, and a few authorities have καὶ αὐτῇ χήρᾳ. The mourning of a widow for an only eon b typical for the extremity of grief: orba cum Flet unicum mater (Catull. 39:5). Comp. Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10; Zechariah 12:10; Proverbs 4:3.

ὄχλος τῆς πόλεως ἱκανός. Some of this multitude would be hired mourners, and musicians with flutes and cymbals. The mother would walk in front of the bier, and Jesus would naturally address her before touching it. This use of ἱκανός for “enough and to spare, much,” is specially freq. in Lk. (8:27, 32, 20:9, 22:38, 23:8, 9; Acts 8:2, Acts 8:9:23, 43, Acts 8:11:24, Acts 8:26, etc.). It is possibly colloquial: it occurs in Aristoph. Pax 354. See Kennedy, Sources of N.T. Grk. P. 79. D here has πολύς.

13. καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὴν ὁ κύριος ἐσπλαγχνίσθη ἐπʼ αὐτῇ. The introduction of ὁ Κύριος has special point here: it is the Lord of Life meeting sorrow and death. The expression is characteristic of Lk. Comp. 24:34, and see on 5:17. Compassion is elsewhere mentioned as a moving cause in Christ’s miracles (Matthew 14:14, Matthew 14:15:32, Matthew 14:20:34; Mark 1:41, Mark 8:2). The verb is peculiar to the Synoptists; and, excepting in parables (Luke 10:33, Luke 10:15:20; Matthew 18:27), is used of no one but Christ. It is followed, as here, by ἐπί c. dat. Matthew 14:14; and by περί c. gen. Matthew 9:36; but generally by ἐπί c. acc. (Matthew 15:32; Mark 6:34, Mark 8:2, Mark 9:22).

Μὴ κλαῖε. “Do not go on weeping, cease to weep”: comp. ver. 6. He is absolutely sure of the result; otherwise the command would have been unnatural. Quis matrem, nisi mentis inops, in funere nati Flere vetat?

14. ἥψατο τῆς σοροῦ, οἱ δὲ βαστάζοντες ἔστησαν. Lk. Clearly intimates that the purpose of the touching was to make the bearers stand still. At such solemn times words are avoided, and this Wet sign sufficed. Perhaps it also meant that Jesus claimed as His own what Death had seized as his prey. Lk. equally clearly intimates that the resurrection was caused by Christ’s command. This is the case in all three instances of raising the dead (8:54; John 11:43). The σορός may be either the bier on which the body as carried, or the open coffin (probably wicker) in which it was laid (Genesis 50:26; Hdt. 1:68, 3, 2:78, 1).

It is worth noting that βαστάζειν, which occurs twenty-seven times in N.T. (10:4. 11:27, 14:27, 22:10, etc.), is found only thrice in LXX.

σοὶ λέγω. “To thee I say, Arise.” To the mother He had said, “Weep not.” The σοί is emphatic. For this use of λέγω, almost in the sense of “I command,” comp. 11:9, 12:4, 16:9.

15.�Acts 9:40 in N. T.; in both cases of persons restored to life and sitting up. Not in LXX. In this intrans. sense it is rare, excepting in medical writers, who often use it of sick persons sitting up in bed (Hobart, p. 11). The speaking proved complete restoration.

To suggest that the young man was in a trance does not get rid of the miracle. How did Jesus know that he was in a trance, and know exactly how to rouse him? And can we suppose that this happened on three different occasions, even if we could reconcile Christ’s action with a character for truthfulness? Here and in the case of Jairus’ daughter it is the Evangelist who tells us that the person was dead; but Jesus Himself declared that Lazarus was dead (John 11:14). We are told that the symmetry of the three instances is suspicious, raised from the death-bed, raised from the bier, raised from the tomb. But no Evangelist gives us the triplet. Lk. is the only writer who records more than one and the two which he records he places in unsymmetrical order, the raising from the bier coming before the raising from the death-bed. Strauss has shown how unsatisfactory the trance theory is (Leben Jesu, ed. 1864, p. 469).

ἔδωκεν αὐτὸν τῇ μητρί. The sudden change of nominative causes no obscurity. Comp. 14:5, 15:15, 17:2, 19:4; Acts 6:6, Acts 10:4. Jesus might have claimed the life which He has restored, nam juvenis jam desierat esse matris suœ; but compassion for the mother again influences Him. Comp. 8:55; Acts 9:41; Act_1 Mac. 10:9; 1 Kings 17:23; 2 Kings 4:36.

16. Ἔλαβεν δὲ φόβος πάντας. It is natural that this should be the first feeling on seeing a corpse reanimated. But a writer of fiction would rather have given us the frantic joy of the mother and of those who sympathized with her. Comp. 1:65, 5:8, 26, 8:37; Acts 2:43, Acts 19:17. See on 1:12, and also Schanz, ad loc.

λέγοντες ὅτι … καὶ ὅτι. It is very forced to make ὅτι in both cases argumentative: “Saying, (We praise God) because … and because.” It is possible to take the second ὅτι in this way; but the common method of making both to be recitative is preferable. Both, therefore, are to be omitted in translation, the words quoted being in the oratio recta (Tyn. Cran. Cov. RV.). Cases in which ὅτι may be taken either way are freq. in N.T. (1:45, 2:11, 4:36, 7:39, 9:22, 10:21, 11:38, 22:70; 1 John 2:12-14, etc.).

Ἐπεσκέψατο ὁ θεὸς τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ. Comp. 1:68, 78; Acts 15:14; Hebrews 2:6. The verb was specially used of the “visits” of a physician. Comp. Matthew 25:36, Matthew 25:43; James 1:27; Acts 6:3, Acts 7:23, Acts 15:36, the only other passages in N.T. in which the word occurs. In the sense of visiting with judgment or punishment it is never used in N.T. and but seldom in LXX (Ps. 88:33; Jeremiah 9:9, Jeremiah 9:25, Jeremiah 9:11:22, Jeremiah 51:29). After the weary centuries during which no Prophet had appeared, it was indeed a proof of Jehovah’s visiting His people that one who excelled the greatest Prophets was among them. No one in O. T. raised the dead with a word.

17. ἐξῆλθεν ὁ λόγος οὗτος ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ περὶ αὐτοῦ. The λόγος is the one just mentioned,—that God had visited His people in sending a mighty Prophet. The statement does not imply that Lk. supposed Nain to be in Judæa. Ἰουδαία here probably means Palestine: see on 4:44 and 23:5. But even if we take it in the narrower sense of Judæa as distinct from Galilee, Samaria, and Peræa, there is no need to attribute to Lk. any geographical inaccuracy. “This saying went forth (from Nain and circulated) in Judæa”; i.e. it reached the headquarters of Christ’s opponents. For περὶ αὐτοῦ comp. 5:15. Syr-Sin. omits ὁ λόγος

This pregnant use of a prep. of rest after a verb of motion is perhaps found only in late Grk., for in Thuc. 4:42, 3 and Xen. Hellen. vii. 5, 10 the readings vary between�

καὶ πάσῃ τῇ περιχώρῳ. Note the position of this clause, which is added after περὶ αὐτοῦ with augmented force: “and (what is more) in all the region round about”; i.e. round about Ἰουδαία, not Nain. Comp. Acts 14:6. The verse prepares the way for the next incident by showing how the Baptist’s disciples came to hear about “all these things.”

The evidence that Jesus raised the dead is that of all four Gospels and of primitive tradition. The fact seems to have been universally believed in the early Church (Justin, Apol. i. ii, 48; Try. 69; Orig. c. Cels. ii. 48). Quadratus, one of the earliest apologists, who addressed a defence of Christianity to Hadrian a.d. 125, says in the only fragment of it which is extant, “But the works of our Saviour were always present, for they were true; those that were healed and those that were raised from the dead, who were seen not only when they were healed and when they were raised, but were also always present; and not merely while the Saviour was on earth, but also after His departure, they were there for a considerable time, so that some of them lived even to our own times” (Eus. H. E. iv. 3, 2). This does not mean that Quadratus had seen any of them, but that there was abundance of opportunity, long after the event, to inquire into the reality of these miracles. S. Paul uses the same kind of argument respecting the resurrectis on of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). Weiss points out how unsatisfactory are all the attempts to explain the evidence on any other hypothesis than the historical fact that Jesus raised the dead (Leben Jesu, 1. pp. 557-565, Eng. tr. 2:178-186). He concludes thus: “In no other miracle did the grace of God, which appeared in His Messiah, manifest itself so gloriously, by overcoming the consequences of sin and thereby giving a pledge for the highest consummation of salvation.” See Aug. In Joh. Trac. 69:2.

18-35. The message from the Baptist to the Christ. Peculiar to Lk. and Mt., who place it in different connexions, but assign to it the same occasion, viz. that John had “heard in his prison the works of the Christ” (Matthew 11:2). Lk.’s narrative, as usual, is the more full. He does not mention that John is in prison, having already stated the fact by anticipation (3:20). The περὶ πάντων τούτων shows that the works reported to the Baptist include the healing of the centurion’s servant and the raising of the widow’s son

πρὸς τὸν κύριον. This is probably the true reading (B L R X, a ft2 Vulg.) rather than πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν (א A X Γ, b c f). See on ver. 13.

19. Σὺ εἶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος; “Art Thou (in emphatic contrast to ἕτερον) He that cometh,” i.e. whose coming is a matter of quite notorious certainty (3:16, 13:35, 19:38; Hebrews 10:37).

ἤ ἕτερον προσδοκῶμεν; “Or must we look for another, different in kind?” whereas ἄλλον might be another of the same kind (Lft. on Galatians 1:6, Galatians 1:7). The reading ἕτερον (א B L R X Ξ) is right, and is of taken from Mt. It is ἄλλον (A D) that is the corruption. For the delib. subj. comp. 3:10, 12, 14. See on 3:15.

The meaning of the question thus sent to Christ has been much discussed. 1. Chrysostom and other Fathers have suggested that the question was asked for the sake of John’s disciples, who needed strengthening or correcting in their beliefs. See Oxford Library of the Fathers, 10. p. 267, note e. Luther, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Bengel, and others adopt this view. But the whole context is against it. Christ’s reply is addressed to John, not to the disciples; and it is not clear that the disciples even understood the message which they carried. 2. Weiss and other critics follow Tertullian (Marcion. iv. 18) in contending that John’s own faith was failing, because the career of Jesus did not seem to correspond with what he and the people had expected, and with what he had foretold (3:17). There is nothing incredible in this view; but the Baptist had had such a long and stern preparation for his work, and had received such convincing evidence that Jesus was the Messiah, that a failure in his faith is surprising. 3. Hase and others suggest that he was not failing in faith, but in patience. John was disappointed that Jesus did not make more progress, and he wished to urge Him on to take a more prominent and indisputable position. “If Thou do these things, manifest Thyself unto the world.” Perhaps John was also perplexed by the fact that one who could work such miracles did not set His forerunner free, nor “cleanse His threshing-floor” of such refuse as Antipas and Herodias. This view suits the context better than the second. John’s sending to Jesus is strong evidence that he was not seriously in doubt as to His Messiahship. For a false Christ would not have confessed that he was false; and what proof could the true Christ give more convincing than the voice from heaven and the visible descent of the Spirit? 4. The view of Strauss, that John had just begun to conjecture that Jesus is the Messiah, and that therefore this narrative is fatal to the story of his having baptiz Jesus and proclaimed Him as the Messiah, is answered by Hase (Gesch. Jesu, § 39, p. 388, ed. 1891). See also Hahn, 1. p. 475.

21. θεραπεύειν�

μαστίγων. “Distressing bodily diseases”; Mark 3:10, Mark 3:5:29, Mark 3:34. In LXX it is used of any grievous trouble, but not specially of disease: Psalms 35:15, 88:32 ; Ecclus. 40:9?; 2 Mac. 7:37: comp. Hom. Il. xii. 37, xiii. 812.; Aesch. Sept. 607; Ag. 642 The notion that troubles are Divine chastisements is implied in the word. It is used literally Acts 22:24 and Hebrews 11:36.

ἐχαρίσατο. “He graciously bestowed, made a free present of”; magnificum verbum (Beng.) ; Comp. 2 Mac. 3:31.


τυφλοὶ�Isaiah 35:5, Isaiah 35:6, Isaiah 61:1. It is clear, not only that Lk. and Mt. understand Jesus to refer to bodily and not spiritual healings, but that they are right in doing so. John’s messengers had not “seen and heard” Christ healing the spiritually blind and the morally leprous. Moreover, what need to add πτωχοὶ εὐαγγελίζονται, if all that precedes refers to the preaching of the good tidings? It is unnatural to express the same fact, first by a series of metaphors, and then literally. All the clauses should be taken literally. They seem to be arranged in two groups, which are connected by καί, and in each group there is a climax, the strongest item of evidence being placed last.

πτωχοὶ εὐαγγελίζονται. This was the clearest sign of His being the Cbrist (Isaiah 61:1), as He Himself had declared at Nazareth (4:18-21). His miracles need not mean more than that He was “a great Prophet”; moreover, the Baptist had already heard of them. But it was a new thing that the poor, whom the Greek despised and the Roman trampled on, and whom the priest and the Levite left on one side, should be invited into the Kingdom of God (6:20).For the passive sense of εὐαγγελίζεσθαι comp. Hebrews 4:2, Hebrews 4:6, and see Win. xxxix. 1. a, p. 326, and Fritzsche on Matthew 6:4. For εὐαγγέλλιον see on Romans 1:1.

23. μακάριος. Not μακάριοι, as it would have been if the direct reference were to the disciples of John. It implies that Baptist had in some way found an occasion of stumbling in Jesus (i.e. he had been wanting in faith, or in trust, or in patience); and it also encourages him to overcome this temptation.

σκανδαλισθῇ. Only here and 17:2 in Lk., but frequent in Mt. and Mk. The verb combines the notions of “trip up” and “entrap,” and in N. T. is always used in the figurative sense of “causing to sin.” See on 17:1. This record of a rebuke to the Baptist is one of many instances of the candour of the Evangelists. For ὃς ἐάν see Greg. Proleg. p. 96, and Win. lxi. 6, p. 390; this use of ἐάν for ἄν is common in LXX and N.T. (17:33?; Matthew 5:19, Matthew 5:32, Matthew 5:12:32, Matthew 5:18:5; James 4:4).

24. περὶ Ἰωάνου. This is further evidence that the question and ewer just recorded concerned John himself. The people had heard Jesus send a rebuke to the Baptist. But He forthwith guards them from supposing that John has ceased to be worthy of reverence. He waits till his disciples are gone; because if they had heard and reported Christ’s praise of John to their master, it might have cancelled the effect of the rebuke. This panegyric is almost the funeral oration of the Baptist; for soon after this he was put to death. For ἤρξατο see on 4:21.

Τί ἐξήλθατε. In each of the three questions it is possible to put the note of interrogation before the infinitive, and render, “Why went ye out? to behold?” etc. But the order of the words favours me usual punctuation. Perhaps θεάσασθαι implies “behold” with wonder and admiration.

κὰλαμον…σαλευόμενον. The literal meaning makes excellent sense: “Did you go out into the wilderness to admire what you would certainly find there, but which would have no interest or attraction? Or did you go out to see what would no doubt have been interesting and attractive, but which you were not likely to find there?” But it also makes good sense to interpret, “Had John been a weak and fickle person, you would not have made a pilgrimage to see him.”

25. ἄνθρωπον ἐν μαλακοῖς. Such a person would not be found in the wilderness; although he might have attracted them. This seems to show that the κάλαμον is not metaphorical, for this is obviously literal. Hastings, D.C.G. art. “Reed.”

οἱ ἐ ἱματισμῷ ἐδόξῳ καὶ τρυφῇ ὑπάρχοντες “Those who live in gorgeous apparel and luxury.” The word ἱματισμός is of late origin, and is seldom used excepting of costly vesture (9:29; Acts 20:33; John 19:24; 1 Timothy 2:9; 24:53; Exodus 3:22, Exodus 3:12:35; 1 Kings 10:5). See Trench, Syn. l. For ἐνδόξῳ comp. 13:17, and for ὑπάρχοντες see on 8:41. In N.T. τρυφή occurs only here and 2 Peter 2:13; in LXX only as v.l. Lamentations 4:5. But it is freq. in class. Grk. It means an enervating mode of life (θρύπτομαι, “I am broken up and enfeebled”).

26 περισσότερον προγήτηυ This completes the Climax : κάλαμον, ἄνθρωπον, προφήτην, περισσότερον προφήτου. In περισσότερον we have a late equivalent of πλέον. It may be masc. or neut., but is probably neut., like πλεῖον in 11:32. Comp. 12:4, 20:47. They went out to see something more than a Prophet, and they did see it.

27. This quotation from Malachi (3:1) is given by Mk. at the opening of his Gospel coupled with φωνὴ βοῶντος, κ.τ.λ., and attributed as a whole to Isaiah. Neither Heb. nor LXX has πρὸ προσώπου σου, which Mt. Mk. and Lk. all insert in the first dause. See on 9:52. Moreover, they all three have�

28. ἐν γεννητοῖς γυναικῶν. A solemn periphrasis for the whole human race; that it implies weakness and frailty is not evident: in Job 14:1 these qualities are expressed. It is human generation as distinct from heavenly regeneration that is meant. John’s superiority lay, not in his personal character, but in his office and mission: the glory of being the immediate forerunner of the Messiah was unique. He was a Prophet, like Moses and Elijah; yet he not only prophesied, but saw and pointed out to others Him of whom he prophesied. Lk. omits the Hebrew�

The word προφήτης is an interpolation. The external evidence against it is immense (א B K L M X Ξ and most Versions), and it is improbable that the possibility of Prophets outside Israel would be indicated.

ὁ δὲ μικρότερος. There is no need to make this a superlative, as AV. alone among English Versions: better, “he that is inferior,” i.e. less than other members of the Kingdom, less than any among the more insignificant. It is most unnatural to explain ὁ μικρότερος of Christ. Chrysostom says, περὶ ἑαυτοῦ λέγων εἰκότως κρύπτει τὸ πρόσωπον διὰ τὴν ἔτι κρατοῦσαν ὑπόνοιαν καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ δόξαι περὶ ἑαυτοῦ μέγα τι λέγειν (Hom. xxxvii. p. 417), and above he explains μικρότερος as κατὰ τὴν ἡλικίαν καὶ κατὰ τὴν τῶν πολλῶν δόξαν (p. 416). Much the same view is taken by Hilary, Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Fritzsche, and others. In that case ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Θεοῦ must be taken after μείζων, which is awkward; and we can hardly suppose that Jesus would have so perplexed the people as to affirm that He was inferior to the Baptist, who in all his teaching had enthusiastically maintained the contrary (3:16; Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:7 ; John 1:15, John 1:20, John 1:27, John 1:30, John 1:3:John 1:28-30). By his office John belonged to the old dispensation; he was its last and highest product (major prophetâ, quia finis prophetarum), but he belonged to the era of preparation. In spiritual privileges, in grace, and in knowledge any even of the humbler members of the Kingdom are superior to him. He is a servant, they are sons; he is the friend of the Bridegroom, they are His spouse. It is possible to understand Ἰωάνου after μικρότερος, but it is unnecessary: more probably the comparative refers to others in the Kingdom. The paradox, “He that is less than John is greater than John,” is capable of interpretation; but the principle that the lower members of a higher class are above the highest member of a lower class is simpler. The superlative of μικρός does not occur in N.T.

29, 30 Many have supposed that these two verses are a parenthetical remark of the Evangelist. But a comment inserted in the middle of Christ’s words, and with no indication that it is a comment, is without a parallel and improbable. John 3:16-21 and 31-36 are not parallel. There the question is whether comment is added. In both passages it is probable that there is no comment. But, assuming that the Evangelist is in both cases commenting, he appends his comment: he does not insert it into the utterances of others. Here vv. 29 and 30 are part of Christ’s address, who contrasts the effect which John’s preaching had upon the people and upon the hierarchy (see Schanz). The connexion between ver. 30 and ver. 31 is close, as is shown by the οὖν.

29. πᾶς ὁ λαὸς�

ἐδικαίωσαν τὸν Θεὸν, βαπτισθέντες. “Admitted the righteousness of God (in making these claims upon them and granting them these opportunities) by being baptized.” Their accepting baptism was an acknowledgment of His justice. See on ver. 35 and the detached note on the word δίκαιος and its cognates, Romans 1:17.

30. οἱ νομικοί. Lk. often uses this expression instead of οἱ γραμματεῖς, which might be misleading to Gentile readers (10:25, 11:45, 46, 52, 14:3). Elsewhere in N.T. the word occurs only Matthew 22:35; Titus 3:9, Titus 3:13. Comp. 4 Mac. 5:4; Corp. Inscr. 2787, 8. Hastings, D.C.G. art. “Lawyer.”

τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἠθέτησαν εἰς ἑαυτούς . “They frustrated the counsel of God concerning themselves”: comp. εἰς ὑμᾶς in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. The rendering, “for themselves, so far as they were concerned, they rendered the counsel of God effectless,” would require τὸ εἰς ἐαυτούς. The verb is a strong one: “render ἄθετον, placeless, inefficacious” (Galatians 2:21, Galatians 2:3:15; John 12:48; Luke 10:16). Free will enables each man to annul God’s purpose for his salvation. The phrase τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ is peculiar to Lk. in N.T. (Acts 13:36, Acts 13:20:27; Comp. 2:23, 4:28). It occurs Wisd. 6:4; comp. Psalms 32:11, 106:11; Proverbs 19:21. With μὴ βαπτισθέντες comp. the case of Nicodemus (John 3:4, John 3:5).

31. The spurious reading εἶπε δὲ ὁ Κύρις was interpolated at the beginning of this verse to mark vv. 29, 30 as a parenthetical remark of the Evangelist. Owing to the influence of the Vulgate the interpolation was followed by all English Versions prior to RV. Almost all MSS. and ancient versions omit the words. But their Spuriousness must not be quoted as evidence against the view which they support. Many false readings are correct glosses upon the true text, although that it probably not the case here.

Τίνι οὖν ὁμοιώσω. The οὖν would not be very intelligible if vv. 29, 30 were omitted; but after ver. 30 it is quite in place. “Seeing that the rulers and teachers have rejected the Divine invitation given by John, and that Ye (λέγετε, ver. 34) follow them in refusing to follow Me, to what, then, shall I liken the people of this generation?” so comprehensive a phrase as τοὺς�Mark 4:30.

32. There are two parties of children. This is more clearly marked by τοῖς ἑτέποις in Mt. than by�

With καθημένοις comp. 5:27; with�Mark 6:56; with προσφωνοῦσιν�Acts 22:2; with ηὐλήσαμεν 1 Corinthians 14:7; with ὠρχήσασθε 2 Samuel 6:21; with ἐθρηνήσαμεν John 16:20. Of these προσφωνεῖν is a favourite word: see on 6:13. Both θρηνεῖν and κλαίειν refer to the outward manifestation of grief as distinct from the feeling; and here the outward expression only is needed.

33. μὴ ἔσθων ἄρτον μήτε πίνων οἶνον. “Without eating bread or drinking wine”; spoken from the point of view of those who objected to John. He did not take the ordinary food of mankind; and so Mt. says, “neither eating nor drinking,” For the poetic form ἔσθω see on 10:7. Syr-Sin. omits ἄρτον and οἶνον

Δαιμόνιον ἔχει. They afterwards said the same of Jesus (John 7:20, John 8:48, John 10:20); and δαιμόνιον ἔχεις shows that δαιμόνιον is acc. and not nom. Renan compares the Arabic Medjnoun enté as showing that Orientals consider all madness to be possession by a demon (V. de J. p. 263). See on 4:33. One regrets that the American Revisers did not carry their point in getting “demon” substituted for “devil” as the rendering of δαιμόνιον. Tyn. Cov. and Cran. make great confusion by translating “hath the devil.” Wic. is better with “hath a fende.” The λέγετε in vv. 33 and 34 shows that some of those censured are present. Comp. 11:15, where Jesus is accused of casting out demons with the help of Beelzebub.

34. φάγος Like ὀνοπότης, this is a subst. and therefore paroxytone: φαγός which L. and S. give, would be an adj. See Chandler, Greek Accentuation, §215. Latin Versions vary between devorator (Vulg.), vorator (q), vorax (c e), manducator (d). English Versions vary between “devourer” (Wic.) “glutton” (Tyn. Cov.), “gurmander” (Rhem.), and “gluttonous man” (Cran. AV. RV.). The ref. is to 5:33 and similar occasions. For φίλος τελωνῶν see 5:27, 29, 30.

35. καὶ ἐδικαιώθη ἡ σοφία. “And yet wisdom was justified.” In N. T. καί often introduces a contrast, which is placed side by side with that with which it is contrasted: “and (instead of what might be expected), and yet.” This is specially common in Jn. (1:5, 10, 3:11, 32, 5:39, 40, 6:36, 43, 70, 7:28, etc.). Atque sometimes has the same tam; Cic. De Off. iii. II. 48. Although the Jews as a nation rejected the methods both of John and of Christ, yet there were some who could believe that in both these methods the Divine wisdom was doing what was right.

ἐδικαιώθη. This looks back to ἐδικαίωσαν in ver. 29, and ἡ σοφία looks back to τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ in ver. 30. Here, as in Romans 3:4 (Psalms 51:6), δικαόω means “Show or pronounce to be righteous, declare or admit to be just.” The analogy of verbs in -όω is often wrongly urged. An important distinction is sometimes overlooked. In the case of external qualities, such verbs do mean to “make or render, ” whatever the noun from which they are derived signifies (ἐρημόω, τυφλόω, χρυσόω, κ.τ.λ.).But in the case of moral qualities this is scarcely possible, and it may be doubted whether there is a passage in which δικαιόω clearly means “I make righteous.” Similarly,�Acts 14:11; Romans 9:29), or “consider like, compare” (ver. 31, 13:18, 20).

In ἐδικαιώθη we perhaps have an example of what is sometimes the ornic aorist. Comp. John 15:6; James 1:2, James 1:24; 1 Peter 1:24. Burton., § 43. But see Win. 11. b. 1, p. 346, where the existence of this aorist in N.T. is denied.

ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν τέκνων αὐτῶς. “At the hands of all her children”: the justification comes from them. It is certainly incorrect to interpret�Matthew 11:19 there is no πάντων, and D L M X omit A here. But it is certainly genuine: see on 6:30. In A P Ξ πάντων is placed last with emphasis: there are no exceptions. But the order of א B is to be preferred. Mt. has ἔργων for τέκνων, and אhas ἔργων here. For the personification of the Wisdom of God comp. Proverbs 8:9.; Ecclus. 24.; Wisd. 6:22-9:18.

36-50. § The Anointing by the Woman that was a Sinner. Without note of time or express connexion. The connexion apparently is that she is an illustration of ver. 35. The proposal to identify this anointing with that by Mary of Bethany just before the Passion (Matthew 26:6; Mark 14:3; John 12:3) is ancient, for Origen on Matthew 26:6 contends against it; and it still has supporters Thus Holtzmann is of opinion that the act of a “clean” person in the house of “an unclean” (Simon the leper) has been changed by Lk. into the act of an “unclean” person in the house of a “clean” (Simon the Pharisee), in order to exhibit the way in which Christ welcomed outcasts, a subject which Lk. often makes prominent. But the confusion of Mary of Bethany with a notorious ἁμαρτωλός by Lk., who knows the character of Mary (10:39, 42), is scarcely credible. And there is nothing improbable in two such incidents. Indeed the first might easily suggest the second. Simon is one of the commonest of names (there are ten or eleven Simons in N. T. and about twenty in Josephus), and therefore the identity of name proves nothing. Moreover, there are differences of detail, which, if not conclusive, are against the identification. The chief objection is the irreconcilable difference between Mary of Bethany and the ἁμαρτωλός. Strauss and Baur suggest a confusion with the woman taken in adultery. But the narrative betrays no confusion: everything is clear and harmonious. The conduct both of Jesus and of the woman is unlike either fiction or clumsily distorted fact. His gentle severity towards Simon and tender reception of the sinner, are as much beyond the reach of invention as the eloquence of her speechless affection.

On the traditional, but baseless, identification of the woman with Mary of Magdala see on 8:2. The identification of this woman with both Mary of Magdala and Mary of Bethany is advocated by Hengstenberg. His elaborate argument is considered a tour de force, but it has not carried conviction with it. The potest non eadem esse of Ambrose is altogether an understatement. It is probably from considerations of delicacy that Luke does not name her: or his source may have omitted to do so. The leading thought in the narrative is the contrast between Pharisees and sinners in their behaviour to Christ.

36. Ἠρώτα δέ τις αὐτὸν τῶν φαρισαίων ἵνα φάγῃ μετʼ αὐτοῦ. There is nothing to show that the Pharisee had any sinister motive in asking Him, although he was evidently not very friendly. As the Pharisees were generally hostile to Christ, it may have been a courageous thing. He is inclined to believe that Jesus may be a Prophet (ver. 39); and Jesus rebukes him as one who loved little, not as asecret enemy. But; like Herod Antipas, he may simply have been curious. Lk. records two other instances of Christ being the guest of a Pharisee (11:37, 14:1). For ἵνα see on 4:3, and comp. 6:31, 7:6; and for κατεκλίθη (א B D L X Ξ) see on 4:14.

37. καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνἠ ἥτις ἥν. The opening words imply that her presence created surprise. The ἥτις is stronger than ἥ and has point here: “who was of such a character as to be”: comp. 8:3. This is the right order, and ἐν τῇπόλει follows, not precedes, ητισἧν (א B L Ξ and most Versions). The exact meaning is not quite clear: either, “which was a sinner in the city,” i.e. was known as such in the place itself; or possibly, “which was in the city, a sinner.” The city is probably Capernaum.

ἁμαρτωλός. A person of notoriously bad character, and probably a prostitute: comp. Matthew 21:32. For instances of this use of ἁμαρτωλός see Wetst. To the Jews all Gentiles were in a special sense ἁμαρτωλό (6:32, 33, 24:7 ; Galatians 2:15; Gal_1 Mac. 2:44 );but something more than this is evidently meant here. The ἦν need not be pressed to mean, “She was even up to this time” (Alf.); nor does accessit ad Dominum immunda, ut rediret munda (Aug.) imply this. The ἦν expresses her public character: ἦν ἐν τῇπόλει. She had repented (perhaps quite recently, and in consequence of Christ’s teaching); but the general opinion of her remained unchanged. Her venturing to enter a Pharisee’s house in spite of this shows great courage. In the East at the present day the intrusion of uninvited persons is not uncommon (Trench, Parables, p. 302 n.; Tristram, Eastern Customs in Bible Lands, p. 36). Mary of Bethany was not an intruder. Note the idiomatic pres. κατακεῖται: just equivalent to our “He is dining with me to-day,” meaning that he will do so.

ἀλάβαστρου. Unguent-boxes or phials were called�Matthew 26:6.

The word is of all three genders in different writers; but in class Grk the sing. is�

38. στᾶσα ὀπίσω παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ. The sandals were removed at meals, and people reclined with their feet behind them ; she could therefore easily approach the feet. While Lk. writes παρὰ τοὺς πόδας (8:35, 41, 10:39?, 17:16, Acts 4:35, Acts 4:37, Acts 4:5:2, Acts 4:7:58, Acts 4:22:3), Mk. has πρὸς τοὺς πόδας (5:22, 7:25), and Jn. πρὸς τοὺς πόδας (11:32). Mt. has παρὰ τοὺς πόδας (15:30).

τοῖς δάκρυσιν ἥρξατο βρέχειν τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ καὶ ταῖς θριξίν, κ.τ.λ. This was no part of her original plan. She came to anoint His feet, and was overcome by her feelings; hence the ἤρξατο. The βρέχειν led to the ἐξέμασσεν, which was also unpremeditated. Among the Jews it was a shameful thing for a woman to let down her hair in public; but she makes this sacrifice. For βρέχειν comp. Psalms 6:7: it is probably a vernacular word (Kennedy, Sources of N.T. Grk. p. 39).

καὶκατεφίλει. Note the compound verb and the change of tense: “She continued to kiss affectionately.” The word is used of the kiss of the traitor (Matthew 26:49; Mark 14:45), which was demonstrative, of the prodigal’s father (Luke 15:20), and of the Ephesian elders in their last farewell (Acts 20:37), and nowhere else in N.T. Comp. Xen. Mem. ii. 6, 33. Kissing the feet was a common mark of deep reverence, especially to leading Rabbis (Xen. Cyr. vii. 5. 32; Polyb. xv. I. 7; Aristoph. Vesp. 608).

39. προφήτης. Referring to the popular estimate of Jesus (vv. 16, 17). The οὖτος is contemptuous. No true Prophet would knowingly allow himself to be rendered unclean by contact with such a person. The reading ὁ προφήτης (B Ξ) would mean “the great Prophet” of Deuteronomy 18:15 (comp. John 1:25, John 7:40), or possibly “the Prophet that He professes to be.” The art. is accepted by Weiss, bracketed by WH., put in the margin by Treg., and rejected by Tisch.

τίς καὶ ποταπὴ ἡ γυνὴ ἥτις ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ. “Who and of what character is the woman who is clinging to Him.” She was notorious both in person and in life. See on 1:29. The ἅπτεται implies more than mere touching, and is the pres. of continued action. Trench, Syn. xvii.; Lft. on Colossians 2:21. Imo si tu, Simon, scires, qualis hæc jam esset femina, aliter judicares (Beng.). The ὅτι comes after ἐγίωσκεν: “that she is,” not “because she is.” See on ver. 16, and comp. Isaiah 65:5.


41. Δύο χρεοφιλέται ἦσαν δανιστῇ τινί. For the orthography of the two substantives see WH. ii. App. p. 154; Greg. Proleg. p. 89. In N.T. χρεοφιλέτης occurs only here and 16:5; in LXX Job 31:37; Proverbs 29:13. The word is of late origin. All English Versions, except Rhein. and AV., rightly have “lender” and not “creditor” for δανιστής: Vulg. fœnerator, Luth. Wucherer. In weight of silver the denarius was considerably less than a shilling ; in purchasing power it was above two shillings, the wage of a daylabourer (Matthew 20:2) and of a Roman soldier (Tac. Ann. i. 17, 8, where see Furneaux). The two debts were about £50 and £5.

42. μὴ ἐχόντων αὐτῶν�Acts 4:14. Others render ἔχειν in these passages “to be able,” like habeo quod with the subjunctive. In ἐχαρίσατο, “he made them a present” of what they owed, we trace the Pauline doctrine of free grace and salvation for all. Comp. ver. 21.

τίς οὖν αὐτῶν πλεῖον�

43. Ὑπολαμβάνω. “I suppose,” “I presume,” with an air of supercilious indifference. Comp. Acts 2:15; Job 25:3; Tobit 6:18 ; Wisd. 17:2. It is very improbable that ὑπολαμβάνω here means “I reply,” as in 10:30; Job 2:4, Job 4:1, Job 9:1, Job 25:1. In N.T. it is almost peculiar to Lk. The Ὀρθῶς ἔκρινας may be compared with the πάνυ ὀρθῶς of Socrates, when he has led the disputant into an admission which is fatal. In N.T. ὀρθῶς occurs only here, 10:28, 20:21; Mark 7:35. Freq. in LXX. Comp. οὐκ ἐκρίνατε ὀρθῶς (Wisd. 6:4).

44. στραφεὶς πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκὰ. She was behind Him. His turning to her while He spoke to Simon was in itself half a rebuke.Up to this He seems to have treated her as He treated the Syrophenician woman, as if paying no attention. The series of contrasts produces a parallelism akin to Hebrew poetry, and in translating a rhythm comes almost spontaneously.

Βλέπεις ταύτην τὴν γυναῖκα; This is probably a question: Simon had ignored her presence. The σου being placed before εἰς τὴνοἰκίαν gives point to the rebuke, but it hardly makes the σου emphatic. An enclitic cannot be emphatic, and σου here is enclitic. The meaning is not “I entered into thine house,” in preference to others; but rather, “I came to thee in thy house,” and not merely in the public street; “I was thy invited guest.”

ὕδωρ μοι ἐπὶ πόδας. Comp. Genesis 18:4; Judges 19:21; 1 Samuel 25:41; John 13:5 ; 1 Timothy 5:10. The reading is somewhat uncertain, and there are many variations between ftot and μοι, and μου, πόδας and τοὺς πόδας and also of order: μου ἐπὶ τοὺς πόδας (א L Ξ) may be right.

45. φίλημα. Comp. 33:4; Exodus 18:7; 2 Samuel 15:5, 2 Samuel 19:39, 2 Samuel 20:9. The traitor’s choosing it as a sign seems to mark it as usual.

ἀφʼ ἦς εἰσῆλθον. The reading εἰσῆλθεν (L1 Vulg.) is an attempt to avoid the apparent exaggeration in “since the time I came in.” But there need be no exaggeration, or difference of meaning, between the two readings. The woman very likely entered with Christ and His disciples in order to escape expulsion. Fear of it would make her begin to execute her errand directly the guests were placed. The compound καταφιλοῦσα makes the contrast with φίλημα more marked, and τοὺς πόδας makes it still more so. The φίλμα would have been on the cheek, or possibly (if Simon had wished to be very respectful) on the hand.

46. ἐλαίῳ. Very cheap in Palestine, where olives abound, and very commonly used (Psalms 23:5, 141:5; Matthew 6:17). The μύρον would be more valuable, and possibly very costly (John 12:3, John 12:5). This woman, whom Simon so despised in his heart, had really done the honours of the house to his guest. This fact would be all the more prominent if she entered close after Jesus, and thus at once supplied Simon’s lack of courtesy. See Hastings, D. B.1 1. p. 101.

47. This is a verse which has been the subject of much controversy. What is the meaning of the first half of it? We have to choose between two possible interpretations. 1. “For which reason, I say to thee, her many sins have been forgiven, because she loved much”; i.e. οὖ χάριν anticipates ὅτι, and λέγω σοι is parenthetical. Her sins have been forgiven for the reason that her love was great; or her love won forgiveness. This is the interpretation of Roman Catholic commentators (see Schanz), and the doctrine of contritio caritate formata is built upon it. But it is quite at variance (a) with the parable which precedes; (b) with the second half of the verse, which ought in that case to run, “but he who loveth little, wins little forgiveness”; (c) with ver. 50, which states that it was faith, not love, which had been the means of salvation; a doctrine which runs through the whole of the N.T. This cannot be correct. 2. “For which reason I say to thee, her many sins have been forgiven (and I say this to thee), because she loved much”; i.e. λέγω σοι is not parenthetical, but is the main sentence. This statement, that her many sins have been forgiven, is rightly made to Simon, because he knew of her great sinfulness, he had witnessed her loving reverence, and he had admitted the principle that the forgiveness of much produces much love. This interpretation is quite in harmony with the parable, with the second half of the verse, and with 50. There were two things evident,—the past sin and the present love,—both of them great. A third might be known, because (according to the principle just admitted) it explained how great love could follow great sin,—the forgiveness of the sin. Remissio peccatorum, Simoni non cogitata, probata a fructu, qui est evidens, quum illa sit occulta (Beng).


49. λέγειν ἐν ἐαυτοῖς. “To say within themselves” rather than among themselves; so that Jesus answered their thoughts, as He had already answered Simon’s. The οὖτος is slightly contemptuous, as often (5:21; Matthew 13:55; John 6:42, John 6:52, etc.). The καί in ὅς καὶ ἁμαρτίας τήας�

50. εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα. “But He said unto the woman.” He ignored their objection, and yet indirectly answered it, by telling her that it was her faith that had delivered her from her sins.

πορεύου εἰς εἰρήνην. “Depart into peace,” i.e. into a lasting condition of peace: a Hebrew formula of blessing and of goodwill, with special fulness of meaning. Comp. 8:48; Mark 5:34; 1 Samuel 1:17, 1 Samuel 20:42. In Acts 16:36 and James 2:16 we have ἐνεἰρήνῃ, which is less strong, the peace being joined to the moment of departure rather than to the subsequent life: comp. Judges 18:6. In Acts 15:33 we have μετʼ εἰρήνης

Among the various points which distinguish this anointing from that by Mary of Bethany should be noted that here we have no grumbling at the waste of the ointment and no prediction of Christ’s death, while there no absolution is pronounced and Mary is not addressed. See Hase, Gesch. J. § 91, p. 651, ed. 1891; also Schanz, p. 250, at the end of this section.

D D. Cod. Bezae, sæc. vi. Given by Beza to the University Library at Cambridge 1581. Greek and Latin. Contains the whole Gospel.

Burton. Burton, N.T. Moods and Tenses.

G G. Cod. Harleianus, sæc. ix. In the British Museum. Contains considerable portions.

אԠא Cod. Sinaiticus, sæc. iv. Brought by Tischendorf from the Convent of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai; now at St. Petersburg. Contains the whole Gospel complete.

A A. Cod. Alexandrinus, sæc. v. Once in the Patriarchal Library at Alexandria; sent by Cyril Lucar as a present to Charles 1. in 1628, and now in the British Museum. Complete.

B B. Cod. Vaticanus, sæc. 4. In the Vatican Library certainly since 15331 (Batiffol, La Vaticane de Paul 3, etc., p. 86).


C. Cod. Ephraemi Rescriptus, sæc. 5. In the National Library at Paris. Contains the following portions of the Gospel: 1:2-2:5, 2:42-3:21, 4:25-6:4, 6:37-7:16, or 17, 8:28-12:3, 19:42-20:27, 21:21-22:19, 23:25-24:7, 24:46-53.

These four MSS. are parts of what were once complete Bibles, and are designated by the same letter throughout the LXX and N.T.

R R. Cod. Nitriensis Rescriptus, sæc. 8. Brought from a convent in the Nitrian desert about 1847, and now in the British Museum. Contains 1:1-13, 1:69-2:4, 16-27, 4:38-5:5, 5:25-6:8, 18-36, 39, 6:49-7:22, 44, 46, 47, 8:5-15, 8:25-9:1, 12-43, 10:3-16, 11:5-27, 12:4-15, 40-52, 13:26-14:1, 14:12-15:1, 15:13-16:16, 17:21-18:10, 18:22-20:20, 20:33-47, 21:12-22:15, 42-56, 22:71-23:11, 38-51. By a second hand 15:19-21.

Ξ̠Ξ. Cod. Zacynthius Rescriptus, sæc. viii. In the Library of the Brit. and For. Bible Soc. in London. Contains 1:1-9, 19-23, 27, 28, 30-32, 36-66, 1:77-2:19, 21, 22, 33-39, 3:5-8, 11-20, 4:1, 2, 6-20, 32-43, 5:17-36, 6:21-7:6, 11-37, 39-47, 8:4-21, 25-35, 43-50, 9:1-28, 32, 33, 35, 9:41-10:18, 21-40, 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 24-30, 31, 32, 33.

AV. Authorized Version.

Beng. Bengel.

Vulg. Vulgate.

§ Found in Luke alone.

L L. Cod. Regius Parisiensis, sæc. viii. National Library at Paris. Contains the whole Gospel.

S S. Cod. Vaticanus, sæc. x. In the Vatican. The earliest dated MS. of the Greek Testament. Contains the whole Gospel.

Tyn. Tyndale.

Cov. Coverdale.

RV. Revised Version.

Syr Syriac.

Sin. Sinaitic.

Win. Winer, Grammar of N.T. Greek (the page refers to Moulton’s edition).

Orig. Origen.

Eus. Eusebius of Cæsarea

Aug. Augustine.

X X. Cod. Monacensis, sæc. ix. In the University Library at Munich. Contains 1:1-37, 2:19-3:38, 4:21-10:37, 11:1-18:43, 20:46-24:53.

Greg. Gregory, Prolegomena ad Tischendorfii ed. N. T.

Trench, Trench, New Testament Synonyms.

K K. Cod. Cyprius, sæc. ix. In the National Library at Paris. Contains the whole Gospel.

M M. Cod. Campianus, sæc. ix. In the National Library at Paris. Contains the whole Gospel.

V. Vie de Jésus.

Wic. Wiclif.

Rhem. Rheims (or Douay).

Wetst. Wetstein.

Alf. Alford.

WH. Westcott and Hort.

Treg. Tregelles.

Tisch. Tischendorf.

Luth. Luther.

D. B. Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, 1st edition.

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on Luke 7". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/luke-7.html. 1896-1924.
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