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1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,
Ver. 1. Pontius Pilate being governor ] Tacitus calleth him procurator only of Judea. But St Luke here makes little difference between his office and the imperial honour of his master Tiberius; for he useth the same word to express both, ηγεμονευοντος ηγεμονια . The Earl of Flanders counts it a great prerogative, that he writes himself Comes Dei gratia. Others only Dei clementia. The Duke of Milan, that he is the prime duke of Europe. The deputy of Ireland, that there cometh no vicegerent in Europe more near the majesty and prerogative of a king than he, &c.
2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
Ver. 2. Annas and Caiaphas being high priests ] By turns, John 11:49 ; Acts 4:6 , contrary to the old order. Throughout the whole Turkish territories, there is but one Mufta, or high priest, and he is the supreme judge and rectifier of all actions, as well civil as ecclesiastical.
3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
Ver. 3. Preaching the baptism of repentance ] John’s note was still repentance. Christ comes not where this herald hath not been before him. Yet now it is come to that pass, that many men scorn to hear a sermon of repentance. It is a sign, say some, that the minister hath been idle that week, or that his stock is spent when he comes to preach of such a common theme as repentance. If God be not merciful, we shall quickly dispute away all our repentance, as a famous preacher justly complaineth.
4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Ver. 4. In the book of the words of Esaias ] Called a great roll, Isaiah 8:1 ; (because it treats of great things, maxima in minimo ), and said to be written with the pen of a man, that is, clearly that the simplest of men may understand it, Deuteronomy 30:11 .
5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
Ver. 5. Every valley shall be filled ] Every hole, or hollow, φαραγξ (Barathrum). Fainting of heart unfits the way for Christ, as well as the swelling hills of pride. Plain things will join in every point one with another; not so, rough and hollow things: so plain spirits close with God’s truths; not so, those that are swollen, and uneven.
6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Ver. 6. All flesh shall see ] viz. All that order their conversation aright, Psalms 50:23 , which is the life of thankfulness, ibid.
7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Ver. 7. See Trapp on " Mat 3:7 "
8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Ver. 8. See Trapp on " Mat 3:8 " See Trapp on " Mat 3:9 "
9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Ver. 9. See Trapp on " Mat 3:10 "
10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
Ver. 10. What shall we do? ] q.d. What are those fruits worthy of repentance, that we in our places must bring forth? That we may find in ourselves that confident answer, stipulation, or interrogation, επερωτημα , rather of a good conscience toward God, mentioned by St Peter, 1 Peter 3:21 , in allusion (I suppose) to this text.
11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
Ver. 11. He that hath two coats ] Thus Tyre evidenced her repentance, Isaiah 23:18 , by feeding and clothing God’s saints with her merchandise. Thus Zaccheus, Dorcas, &c. This is all the lesson that for the present he sets them, being but young scholars in the school of Christ.
12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
Ver. 12. Then came also publicans ] These were toll takers, custom gatherers for the Romans, and most of them greedy gripers. Publicans they were called, because they took up publica, the goods of the empire. See Trapp on " Mat 9:9 "
13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
Ver. 13. Exact no more ] πρασσετε , make no more of your places, than ye may with a good conscience. Shun that mystery of iniquity that is crept into most callings. A great part of the Turk’s civil justice to this day is grounded upon Christ’s words, "Thou shalt not do what thou wouldest not have done to thee."
14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
Ver. 14. Do violence to no man ] Διασεισητε, shake no man by the shoulders, toss no man to and fro to put him into a fright, smite no man with the fist of wickedness. Tamerlane took such order with his soldiers that none were injured by them: if any soldier of his had but taken an apple or the like from any man, he died for it. One of his soldiers having taken a little milk from a country woman, and she thereof complaining, he caused the said soldier to be presently killed, and his stomach to be ripped, where the milk that he had of late drunk being found, he contented the woman, and so sent her away, who had otherwise undoubtedly died for her false accusation, had it not so appeared.
Neither accuse any falsely ] Get nothing by sycophancy, (calumnious accusation) Μηδε συκοφαντησητε . Oppress no man either by force or fraud, and forged cavillation, as it is rendered, Luke 19:8 .
15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
Ver. 15. Whether he were the Christ ] Yet John did no miracle, but he was a burning and a shining light, he thundered in his doctrine and lightened in his life. Hence was he so much admired.
16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
Ver. 16. The latchet of whose shoes, &c. ] By this expression the Baptist acknowledgeth Christ’s godhead, as did also Mary by washing his feet. But what doth the pope that holds forth his feet to be kissed? Is not this he that sits as God in the temple of God? Is not this Dominus Deus noster Papa? The Lord God our Pope. Learned he not this abominable insolence of Diocletian, that bloody persecutor? who as he was the first Roman emperor that would be worshipped as God, so he was the first that wore shoes embellished with precious stones, and held forth his feet to be kissed of his prostrate suitors. (Eutropius.)
17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
Ver. 17. Whose fan ] viz. The preaching of the gospel.
18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.
Ver. 18. And many other things preached he ] Being concionator admirabilis (as Keckerman saith of Jeremiah), an admirable preacher, full of pregnant instructions and admonitions, he did no miracle indeed, but he uttered many sweet oracles, which St Luke here passeth over, that he may hasten to speak of Christ, his main design.
19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,
Ver. 19. For Herodias his brother Philip’s wife ] Whom it was not lawful for Herod to have, though Philip were dead, as Josephus saith he was. This was the case so much controverted here and beyond seas in Henry VIII’s time, touching his marriage with his brother Arthur’s widow, by Papal dispensation. The king had first a scruple cast into his mind about it by the bishop of Baion, the French ambassador, who came to him to consult of a marriage between the Lady Mary and the Duke of Orleans, whether Mary were legitimate, &c. This gave occasion to the casting the pope’s authority out of England. Mary was forced, for fear of death, to renounce the bishop of Rome, and to acknowledge her mother’s marriage to have been incestuous and unjust, &c. Though afterwards she set up the pope here again, and it was her policy so to get and keep the crown upon her head.
And for all the evils which Herod, &c. ] John reproved him with the same liberty that Herod committed them. So did John Chrysostom the great ones of his time. Ita quidem ut etiam Ducum, Eutropii et Gainae, imo ipsius Imperatoris errata reprehenderet: he spared not dukes, princes, nay, not the Emperor himself. (Osiand. Hist. Eccles. Cent. 5.)
20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.
Ver. 20. Added yet this ] There is no stint in sin; but as one wedge makes way for another, so here. As after Jonathan and his armourbearer, came the whole host, so.
21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
Ver. 21. And praying, the heaven was opened ] Prayer is the key of God’s kingdom, and must be used, as at other times, so especially when we or ours receive the sacraments; though the most, if urged hereto, must say, if they say truly, as 1 Samuel 17:39 , I cannot go with these accoutrements, for I am not accustomed to them.
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Ver. 22. See Trapp on " Mat 3:16 " See Trapp on " Mat 3:17 "
23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
Ver. 23. Being, as was supposed ] But falsely: for Joseph was no more than his Pater politicus, as Postellus calleth him, his foster-father, reputed father.
Which was the son of Eli ] That is, his son-in-law. For Eli was Mary’s natural father; and it is Mary’s genealogy that is here described; but put upon Joseph, because the Hebrews reckon not their genealogies by women, but by men only. So Rth 1:11-13
24 Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph,
Ver. 24. St Luke reckoneth from the last of Christ’s progenitors to the first. And first he mentioneth private men, not read of in the Scriptures. 2. Captains after the Babylonish captivity. 3. Kings and men of great name in and before the captivity. 4. Private persons again before David up to the patriarchs. 5. Lastly, the patriarchs themselves up to Adam the protoplast, the first and common parent.
25 Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge,
Ver. 25. St Luke reckoneth from the last of Christ’s progenitors to the first. And first he mentioneth private men, not read of in the Scriptures. 2. Captains after the Babylonish captivity. 3. Kings and men of great name in and before the captivity. 4. Private persons again before David up to the patriarchs. 5. Lastly, the patriarchs themselves up to Adam the protoplast, the first and common parent.
26 Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda,
Ver. 26. St Luke reckoneth from the last of Christ’s progenitors to the first. And first he mentioneth private men, not read of in the Scriptures. 2. Captains after the Babylonish captivity. 3. Kings and men of great name in and before the captivity. 4. Private persons again before David up to the patriarchs. 5. Lastly, the patriarchs themselves up to Adam the protoplast, the first and common parent.
27 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri,
Ver. 27. Which was the son of Neri ] Salathiel was naturally the son of Neri, but legally, and by succession, the son of Jechoniah,Matthew 1:12; Matthew 1:12 , for he succeeded him in the kingdom. Neri, which signifieth my candle, seemeth to have been so named from the candle which the Lord reserved for David and his house, 2 Chronicles 21:7 .
28 Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er,
29 Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi,
30 Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim,
Ver. 30. Which was the son of Simeon ] Our saviour’s genealogy is here the more accurately described, because there were those who would have substituted and put false Christs upon the Church,Ezra 2:62; Ezra 2:62 . The priests that could not produce their genealogies were outed.
31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David,
32 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson,
33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda,
34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor,
Ver. 34. Which was the son of Thara ] So there are reckoned ten generations from Abraham to Noah. And again, ten from Noah to Adam.
35 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala,
Ver. 35. Which was the son of Thara ] So there are reckoned ten generations from Abraham to Noah. And again, ten from Noah to Adam.
36 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,
Ver. 36. Which was the son of Cainan ] This name crept, by some means, into the Greek copies after Jerome’s time, say Beza and Paraeus. Others say that St Luke herein followed the Septuagint’s translation, out of wisdom and charity to the Hellenists or Greek-Jews that had received it, and read it. 2. That writing for heathens, he followed the heathen’s Bible in his quotations. 3. That in his genealogies he was to be a copier, not a corrector.
37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,
38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
Ver. 38. Which was the Son of God ] Not by generation, but creation. Therefore the Syriac translator hath it Demen Elaha, A Deo, of God, not Bar Elaha, the Son of God.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29