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Bible Commentaries
Luke 12

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

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Verse 1

In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Beware of the leaven — Which our eyes cannot discern from dough by the colour, but only our palate, by the taste. Such is hypocrisy, which also, as leaven, is: 1. spreading; 2. swelling; 3. souring the meal; 4. impuring and defiling the house where it is, though it be but as much as a man’s fist.

Verse 2

For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

See Trapp on " Matthew 10:26 "

Verse 3

Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

See Trapp on " Matthew 10:27 "

Verse 4

And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

See Trapp on " Matthew 10:28 "

Verse 5

But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

See Trapp on " Matthew 10:28 "

Verse 6

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

See Trapp on " Matthew 10:29 "

Verse 7

But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

See Trapp on " Matthew 10:29 "

Verse 8

Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:

Whosoever shall confess me — Cyprian, reproving the rashness of those Christians that would go on their own accord to the heathen magistrates, professing themselves Christians, whereby they were put to death, hath a good and elegant speech: Confiteri nos magis voluit, quam profiteri. Christ would have us confess him; he saith not profess him. Now he confesseth that doth it being asked, as he professeth that doth it of his own free accord.

Verse 10

But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.

10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.

See Matthew 12:31-32 Mark 3:28 .

Verse 11

And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

Take ye no thought — See the note on Matthew 10:19 , and Mark 13:11 . Alice Driver, martyr, at her examination, put all the doctors to silence, so that they had not a word to say, but one looked upon another. Then she said, Have ye no more to say? God be honoured; you be not able to resist the Spirit of God in me, a poor woman. I was an honest poor man’s daughter, never brought up in the university as you have been. But I have driven the plough many a time before my father, I thank God; yet notwithstanding in the defence of God’s truth, and in the cause of my Master, Christ, by his grace I will set my foot against the foot of any of you all, in the maintenance and defence of the same. And if I had a thousand lives it should go for payment thereof. So the chancellor condemned her, and she returned to the prison as joyful as the bird of the day. (Acts and Mon.)

Verse 13

For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

Master, speak to my brother — While Christ was busily discoursing about the best things, this importunate fellow interrupts him with this unpleasing, and, therefore, unreasonable request, το ακαιρον πανταχου λυπηρον (Isoc.). But our Saviour soon rejects it, as out of the compass of his calling, and so cuts off from his adversaries all occasion of cavilling at him as a usurper of the magistrate’s office.

Verse 14

And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

A judge or a divider over you — It is work enough for a minister rightly to judge of the estate of his flock, and to divide the word of God unto them daily and duly. "What is that to thee?" said Christ to Peter when he meddled with that which belonged not to him, John 21:21 . Age quod tui muneris est, said Valentinian to Ambrose: Do thine own business. And Verbi minister es, hoc age, was Mr Perkins’ motto. Clericus in foro est piscis in arido.

Verse 15

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Take heed, and beware of covetousness — This our Saviour adds after "who made me a judge?" to teach us not to go to law with a covetous mind; but as Charles the French king made war with our Henry VII, more desiring peace than victory.

For a man’s life consisteth not, … — He can neither live upon them nor lengthen his life by them. Queen Elizabeth once wished herself a milk maid. Bajazet envied the happiness of a poor shepherd that sat on a hillside merrily reposing himself with his homely pipe. Therein showing, saith the historian, that worldly bliss consisteth not so much in possessing of much, subject to danger, as enjoying in a little contentment, void of fear. Covetous men by gaping after more lose the pleasure of that which they possess, as a dog at his master’s table swalloweth the whole meat he casteth him without any pleasure, gaping still for the next morsel.

Verse 16

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:

The ground of a certain rich man — Gr. η χωρα . The country; for he had laid field to field till he was the only landholder thereabouts, and had a country of grain, Isaiah 58:11 ;

Verse 17

And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

And he thought within himself — He was up with the more and down with the less; he cast up his reckonings, as covetous men’s manner is, and after long debate to and fro, concluded what to do.

He talked to himself, … — διελογιζετο . A marvellous proper word for the purpose.

Verse 18

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.

My barns — So my fruits, and my goods, all was his; God came not into this epicure’s thoughts. Hic Deus nihil fecit, Here God does nothing, one wittily twitted Pope Adrian, talking after the same rate.

Verse 19

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

Eat and drink, and be merry — A right epicure, one that had made his gut his god; another Sardanapahs, that did eat that in earth which he digested in hell, as Augustine hath it. How many, alas, are there, that having one foot in the grave and the other in hell, do yet put far away thoughts of either! These, when they should be building their tombs, are building their tabernacles, Donec mors vitae studiura praevertat, longa conantes opprimat. (Sen. Consol. ad Marc. xi.)

Verse 20

But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Thou fool, this night, … — This rich fool, when, like a jay, he was pruning himself in the boughs, came tumbling down with the arrow in his side; his hourglass had run out, when he thought it to be but recently turned. He chopped into the earth before he was aware: like as one that, walking in a field covered with snow, falleth into a pit suddenly. He was shot as a bird with a bolt, while he gazed at the bow. And this may be any man’s case. Which made Austin say he would not for the gain of a world be an atheist for one half hour; because he knew not but God might in that time call him.

Then whose shall those things be? … — As thy friends are scrambling for thy goods, worms for thy body, so devils for thy soul. We read of Henry Beaufort, that rich and wretched cardinal, bishop of Winchester, and chancellor of England in the reign of King Henry VI, that perceiving he must needs die, he murmured that his riches could not reprieve him. Fie, quoth he, will not death be hired? will money do nothing? No; it is righteousness only that delivereth from death. (Fox, Martyrol.)

Verse 21

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Rich to God — That is, rich in faith, James 2:5 ; rich in good works, 1 Timothy 6:18 .

Verse 22

And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

See Matthew 6:25-27 .

Verse 23

The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.

See Matthew 6:25-27

Verse 24

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

See Matthew 6:25-27

Verse 25

And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

See Matthew 6:25-27

Verse 26

If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

For the rest — For superfluities, when ye cannot provide yourselves of necessaries.

Verse 27

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Consider the lilies, … — Women and children use herbs and flowers to look on and smell to; apothecaries and others use them for food and physic; divines and all good people, for information and instruction in the best things; this being the chief use and end of all the creatures, ut scalae nobis, et alae fiant, that they help us on towards heaven.

Verse 29

If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

Neither be ye of doubtful mind — μη μετεωριζεσθε . Hang not in suspense, as meteors do in the air, not certain whether to hang or fall to the ground. Meteora dicta volunt quod animos hominum suspensos, dubios, et quasi fluctuantes faciant. Aristotle himself confesseth, that of some meteors he knew not what to say, though of some other he could say somewhat. One interpreter renders this word, "make not discourses in the air," as the covetous man doth, when his head is tossed with the cares of getting or fears of losing commodity; or it may note his endless framing of projects for the compassing of his desires. The Syriac rendereth it, "Let not your thoughts be distracted about these things." Surely as a clock can never stand still, so long as the plummets hang thereat; so neither can a worldling’s heart, for cares and anxieties. These suffer him not to rest night nor day; being herein like unto the flies of Egypt, or those tyrants, Isaiah 16:10 .

Verse 32

For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Fear not, little flock — Gr. little, little flock. There is in the original a double diminutive. If we divide the known parts of the world into three equal parts, the Christians’ part is but as five, the Mahometans’ as six, and the idolaters’ as nineteen. Among the best Churches, the most are the worst, as Philippians 3:18 . Chrysostom could not find a hundred in Antioch that he could be well persuaded that they should be saved.

Verse 33

Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

A treasure in the heavens — As a merchant being to travel into a far country, doth deliver his money here upon the exchange that so he may be sure to receive it again at his arrival in that country; so let us that are passing into another country lay up something that may stand us in stead in that day.

Verse 34

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

There will your heart be — Your most inward affection, your chief joy and trust.

Verse 35

Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

Let your loins be girded — It implies, 1. readiness; 2. nimbleness, handiness, and handsomeness. A loose, discinct, and diffluent mind is unfit to serve God. Here it is ungirt, unblest.

Verse 36

And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

And knockethsc. By the hammer of his word and Spirit, or by the hand of death, summoning you thereto by some sickness, death’s harbinger.

Verse 37

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

Blessed are those servants — So Luke 12:38 ; Luke 12:43 . They are three times said to be blessed that watch. Terque quaterque beati: Faelices ter et amplius. Horat.

Verse 38

And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

In the second watch — For serius aut citius, death will be upon us; neither is it sure that he will knock or give warning. Watch, therefore; since at the next puff of breath thou mayest blow away thy life. Fablus Senator, poto in lactis haustu uno pilo, strangulatus est, saith Pliny. Fabius was choked with a hair in a draught of milk.

Verse 39

And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

See Matthew 24:43 .

Verse 40

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Be ye therefore ready — See Matthew 24:46 ; See Trapp on " Matthew 24:46 "

Verse 41

Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?

Lord, speakest thou, … — The disciples ever dreamed of some singular happiness, some immunity and privilege, that they should have above others. Hence this question, that gave occasion to the ensuing parables.

Verse 42

And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

See Matthew 24:46-51 .

Verse 43

Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

See Matthew 24:46-51 .

Verse 44

Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

See Matthew 24:46-51 .

Verse 45

But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

See Matthew 24:46-51 .

Verse 46

The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him , and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

See Matthew 24:46-51 .

Verse 47

And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself , neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes .

Which knew his Lord’s will — None are so filled with God’s wrath as knowing men. Sapientes sapienter descendunt in infernum, The wise wisely go down into hell, saith Bernard. The devil is too hard for them.

Verse 48

But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes . For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Much is given — To know our Master’s will is the great talent of all other. There is a "much" in that. There is a special depositum, as the word here used importeth. ( παρεθεντο . here παρακαταθηκη , 1 Timothy 1:18 ; 1 Timothy 6:20 )

Verse 49

I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

To send fire on the earth — That is, that persecution that is evangelii genius, guardian of the gospel, as Calvin wrote to the French king, and dogs at the heels the preaching of the truth.

And what will I if it be already kindled? — As if he should say, Let it kindle as soon as it will, I am contented; I know much good will come of it.

Verse 50

But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!

And how am I staitened — This painful preconceit of his passion was a part of our Saviour’s passion. This made him spend many a night in prayer, bewailing our sins, and imploring God’s grace, and he was heard in that which he requested, Hebrews 5:7 .

Verse 51

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

See Matthew 10:34 .

Verse 52

For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

See Matthew 10:34 .

Verse 53

The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

See Matthew 10:34 .

Verse 54

And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.

See Matthew 16:2 .

Verse 57

And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.

56 Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?

57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?

Yea, and why even of yourselves — By consulting with your own consciences, which would, if rightly dealt with, tell you, that I am that Messiah you have so long looked for.

Verse 58

When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.

Give diligence — δος εργασιαν , Purus Putus Latinismus, saith Drusius. Da operam Id eat, festina, et labora, omnesque modos cogita quomodo ab eo libereris, as Theophylact expounds it. Be at utmost pains to get freed from him.

Verse 59

I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.

Till thou hast paid the very last mite — It is good to compound quickly with the Lord, and to take up the suit before it come to execution and judgment, lest we be forced to pay, not only the main debt, but the arrearages too, that is, the time of God’s longsuffering and patience, here and hereafter.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 12". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/luke-12.html. 1865-1868.
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