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the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Luke 8

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

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Verses 1-3

D. Galilee and the Surrounding Regions, without excluding Capernaum. Luke 8:1 to Luke 9:50

1. The First Christian Family Circle.Luke 8:1-3

1And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve werewith him, 2And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities,Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, Which ministered unto him [them, V. O.1] of their substance.


Luke 8:1. Afterward, ἐν τῷ καθ. sc. χρόνῳ.—Luke is here not concerned to arrange the different events in a strict chronological succession, but only in general to call attention to the fact that the activity of the Saviour, in His journeys through Galilee, was continued uninterruptedly, while he now adjoins a mention of the services rendered by women in this period, of which none of the other Evangelists make mention. Occasion to do this he more than probably found in the immediately preceding narrative.

Κατὰ πόλιν καὶ κώμην. From town to town, and from village to village; comp. Acts 15:21. The unweariedness of the Saviour’s activity comes here with especial clearness into view.

Luke 8:2. And certain women.—In the earlier period the disciples still wondered when they saw their Master in conversation with a woman, John 4:27. Now there has already been formed a circle of female disciples, who were joined to the Master by thankful love.—Mary of Magdala. See above. Respecting Magdala, see Lange, on Matthew 15:39.

Luke 8:3. Joanna is only here and in Luke 24:10 referred to by name, as the consort, perhaps the widow, of Chuza, steward of Herod. If we assume with some that Chuza was the βασιλικός (John 4:46-54), we might suppose that grateful love for the deliverer of her son had brought the mother to Jesus.—Susanna, that is, Lily, שׁוֹשׁנָּה, is not further known.—And many others.—Comp. Matthew 27:55.

which ministered unto them.—The female friends of our Lord appear for the most part to have belonged to the well-circumstanced higher class, since the here-mentioned ministration doubtless consisted principally in support rendered to earthly necessities from their property. This ministration was rendered to the whole travelling company. The reading αὐτῷ is perhaps in some manuscripts a correction, which visibly arose from the effort to represent the service of these women as an act of Divine service, which was exclusively limited to the Master.


1. The brief account which Luke gives us respecting these women is peculiarly adapted to awaken a vivid conception of the journeyings of the Saviour through Galilee. We see Him proceeding from one town to another, wearing as clothing the simple yet becoming tunic, which was not sewed but woven from above throughout, perhaps the gift of love; the sandals bound crosswise over His uncovered feet; the disciples near by without money in their girdles, without shoes, staff, on wallet; perhaps a little flask with oil, after the Oriental usage, hanging over their shoulders, for the refreshment of their wearied limbs (Mark 6:13; Luke 10:34; Genesis 28:18); and at a beseeming distance the women covered with their veils, who were concerned with tender affection for the wants of the company, now and then preparing for their beloved Master a refreshing surprise, and now holding discourse with one another, now with Him. The view of such a circle of brethren and sisters, whose centre the Lord is, makes an impression that elevates the heart.

2. The unhesitating way in which the Saviour admitted and accepted the loving services of these women is a striking proof not only of His condescending love, which endures services rendered to Him, although He did not come to be ministered unto (Matthew 20:28), but at the same time of His firm confidence in the purity and faithfulness of these Galilean friends, which indeed did remain, even beyond His death, unchangeably the same.

3. We see here an emancipation of woman in the noblest sense of the word, and the beginning of the service of women in the church of Christ (Wichern), and at the same time also a decided triumph of the evangelical spirit over the limitation of the Jewish Rabbinism, and the prophecy of the new world of love called into being through Christ.


In Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, man nor woman, but a new creature.—Thankful ministration of love well pleasing to the Lord.—Diversity and agreement among the first female friends of Jesus.—What the Saviour is for woman, and what woman must be for the Saviour.—Woman in Christ no longer slave of the man, but a fellow-heir of the grace of life, 1 Peter 3:1.—Women of high condition also cannot possibly dispense with the Saviour.—The Head of the church served by and in His members.—The destination of earthly good also to the advancement of the kingdom of God.—The first Christian circle of sisters united for a work of love, 1. Whose origin is pure, 2. whose character is that of power, 3. whose fruit is abundant, 4. whose duration is perennial.—The service of the poor, Divine service (Angelus Merula).—Among the women of the evangelical history not one enemy of the Lord.

Starke:—Whoever hath tasted that the Lord is gracious, such an one cannot abandon Him.—If Christ was not ashamed of the ministrations of others, why should we be ashamed when we find ourselves in like circumstances?—Quesnel:—Godly women have at all times helped to build up the kingdom of God by the exercise of love towards Christ’s servants and His poor members, Romans 16:1-2; Romans 16:6.—Majus:—For spiritual benefits to render something temporal is becoming, and yet a poor payment.—For His poor children God knows well how to provide.


Luke 8:3; Luke 8:3.—Rec.: αὐτῷ. Αὐτοῖς has preponderating authority, see Tischendorf ad loc. “The singular appeared more obvious to the copyists, partly because ἧσαν τεθεραπ. preceded, partly through reminiscence of Matthew 27:55; Mark 15:41.” Meyer. [Αὐτῷ, A., L., M., X., Cod. Sin.; αὐτοῖς, B., D., E.2, 10 other uncials.—C. C. S.]

Verses 4-21

2. The Parables concerning the Kingdom of God. Luke 8:4-21

(Parallels: Matthew 13:1-23; Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31 to Mark 4:23.—Luke 8:4-15, Gospel for Sexagesima Sunday)

4And when much people were gathered together, and were come [when they werecoming] to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: 5A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and thefowls of the air devoured it. 6And some fell upon a rock [the rock]; and as soon as itwas sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 7And some fell among [the] thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and [having sprung; om., and] chokedit. 8And other fell on [the] good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit a hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.9And his disciples asked him, saying [om., saying, V. O.2], What might this parablebe [i.e., mean]? 10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others [the rest only] in parables; that seeing they might notsee, and hearing they might not understand. 11Now the parable is this: The seed is theword of God. 12Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should [that they may not, ἵνα μὴ]13believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptationfall away. 14And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, andbring no fruit to perfection. 15But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience [or,16persevere in bringing forth fruit]. [But] No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, thatthey which enter in may see the light. 17For nothing is secret, that shall not be mademanifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. 18Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoeverhath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. 19Then came tohim his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. 20And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiringto see thee. 21And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.


General Remarks.—Chronology: Luke correctly places the preaching of the kingdom of God on the part of the Saviour in this period of His Galilean activity. The comparison with Matthew and Mark teaches us, however, that he passes over several important particulars. Without here entering upon a criticism of the different earlier and later arrangements of the evangelical narrations, we simply state what order appears to us most worthy of credit: 1. The meal in Simon’s house (Luke 7:36-50). 2. Beginning of a new journey through Galilee (Luke 8:1-3). 3. Return εἰς οῖ̓κον (Mark 3:20). 4. Blasphemy respecting a covenant with Beelzebub (Mark 3:20-30. Comp. Matthew 12:22-37). 5. His mother and His brethren (Mark 3:31-35. Comp. Luke 8:19-21; Matthew 12:46-50). 6. The parables (Matthew 13:0; Mark 4:0; Luke 8:0),—that of the Sower first, according to all the Synoptics.

Luke 8:4. Much people.—Here, too, the Evangelists are not at variance, but complement one another. According to Luke the cities of all Galilee furnished their contingent to swell the company of hearers of the Lord—“ex quavis urbe erat cohors aliqua,” (Bengel.) According to Matthew and Mark this concourse is so great that the Saviour has to ascend a ship on the shore in order there to be heard better. Of the different parables which, according to Mark and Luke, were delivered at the same time on this occasion, Luke communicates only the first, together with its interpretation.

Luke 8:5. By the wayside.—“Eo, ubi ager et via inter se attingunt.” Here the first portion of the seed is threatened by a double danger—the feet of travellers and the birds of heaven. Notice how much the vividness of the parable is heightened by this last feature.

Luke 8:6. Upon the rock.—To be understood of a rocky soil covered with a thin layer of earth, so that the seed is repelled as soon as it attempts to shoot out roots. It grows comparatively high (ἐξανέτειλε, Matthew and Mark), but can only unfold itself above and not below.

Luke 8:7. Among the thorns.—Not an overgrown thistle-field, but a place in the arable ground where formerly thorns have grown up, which now come (from the roots) into development together with the seed, and finally entirely suffocate this, since they grow much more quickly, and first repressing the slow growing of the seed, soon make it entirely impossible.

Luke 8:8. On the good ground.—Which, through the care of the husbandman in preparation, has become good. Luke only mentions summarily the hundredfold increase, while Matthew and Mark speak of the thirty and sixtyfold.

When He had said these things.—Just so Matthew and Mark. According to the latter an ἀκούετε had also preceded. This whole parable is intended to constitute not only one out of many, but as the first in a closely connected series to form as it were His inaugural discourse as a teacher of parables. Comp. Mark 4:13.

Luke 8:9. Asked Him.—Here also the brief report of Luke must be filled up from the more detailed one of Matthew and Mark. It then appears that they asked not only for the interpretation of this parable, but in general concerning the cause why He speaks to the people in parables. The answer which Luke gives, Luke 8:10, is the answer to the question, which he himself does not state.

Luke 8:10. Unto you it is given.—According to all three Evangelists the kingdom of God is agreeably to this word of the Saviour: 1. A μυστήριον, which, however, 2. His disciples know, but, 3. only after it is given to them through the preparing grace of God, δέδοται γνῶναι. The true reconciliation between the Supernaturalism and Rationalism of the more ancient and the more modern form will have to proceed from this, that justice is done at once to each of these three thoughts.

But to the others only in parables.—We are not to supply: With the rest speak I in parables, but: to the rest it is given to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God only when they are laid open to them in parabolic form.

That seeing they might not see.—Comp. Isaiah 6:9-10, where, however, we are never to lose from view, that: “The effect of hardening through prophecy is an eliciting, and so revealing, of the hardening which already exists and which through their fault reveals itself in reference to the word.” Stier. Comp. Lange on Matthew 11:12.

Luke 8:11. The seed.—In the explanation it is, according to Luke, the Seed, according to Mark, the Sower, that stands in the foreground.

Luke 8:12. They that hear.—That is, who merely hear, without the word of preaching being mixed with faith. It is to be noticed that the Saviour only ascribes the miscarriage of the first, and not of the second and third portion of the seed to direct diabolical influence. The evil one is as quickly at hand (εὐθέως, εῖ̓τα) as the birds by the just-sown seed.

The distinction between the second and third kind appears especially to lie in this, that those sown upon the rock are the superficially touched, who are soon offended by persecution; those sown among the thorns, the half-hearted, who are soon seduced by temptation. “Hic ordo” says Calvin very correctly of the former, “a superiore differt, quia temporalis fides, quasi seminis conceptio, fructum aliquem promittit, sed non ita bene et penitus subacta sunt corda, ut ad continuum alimentum eorum mollities sufficiat, Et sane, ut œstu solis probatur terrœ sterilitas, ita persecutio et crux eorum vanitatem detegit, qui leviter tincti, nescio quo desiderio, non probe serio pietatis affectu imbuti sunt. Sciendum est, non vere esse incorruptibili semine regenitos, quod nunquam marcescit, quemadmodum Petrus docet.”

Luke 8:14. Cares and riches and pleasures.—Here, as in Mark 4:19, a threefold cause for the miscarriage of the third class, earthly care, possession, and enjoyment. Luke very beautifully describes these hearers as going away among the one and the other (πορευόμενοι), after they had listened for a while. “A picturesque addition” (De Wette).

And are choked.—See Meyer ad loc.

Luke 8:15. In an honest and good heart.—Not in an absolutely ethical sense (Meyer), for purity of heart cannot precede faith, but must follow it. Yet honest and good to receive seed and to bear fruit. An intimation of the right disposition for hearing, which itself in turn is a fruit of the gratia prœveniens. Comp. Acts 10:35.

Luke 8:16. But no man.—The same saying appears again, Luke 11:33. Nothing stands in the way of our supposing that the Saviour repeated words of this kind on fitting occasions. In Mark also, Luke 8:21-22, it appears immediately after the parable of the Sower, and the connection of thought is not very difficult to give. The Saviour does not mean to say that as He had sufficiently illustrated to them the preceding parable, so they also should now on their part spread this abroad among others (Meyer, De Wette), but He utters it to be applied to what He had said in relation to the different reception of the word of God among men: namely, that the fruit of preaching would one day be known, and that it is therefore of the greatest importance actually to keep the word in a good and pure heart in order that in time to come it may become evident that it has brought forth fruit an hundredfold.

Luke 8:18. Take heed therefore.—In Luke the πῶς, in Matthew the τί, is brought more into prominence, while that which in Matthew 13:12, appears in another connection, Luke here very fittingly adjoins. By this connection the significance of the—in all appearance—proverbial way of speaking is in a peculiar manner more precisely defined.—For whosoever hath, namely, of fruits of the word which he obtained by the fact that he heard in the right way. The productiveness is conditioned by the receptivity. Whoever first bears in himself a germ of the higher life, such a one will in the use of the prepated means continually receive more of spiritual blessing. Whoever neglects that which is deposited by God within him loses what he never rightly possessed. Ὅ δοκεῖ ἔχειν�, an exact interpretamentum of the original form in Mark, ὃ ἔχει. The so-called possession had been the fruit of a mere imagination.

Luke 8:19. Then came to Him.—Originally this occurrence belongs before the parable (see above), but apparently Luke communicates it here because it might serve very well to commend the right hearing, inasmuch as it indicates the high rank which the doers of the word (James 1:25), according to the Saviour’s judgment, enjoy.

And could not come at Him.—We gain a clear conception of the fact only by comparing Mark 3:21-30. The simplest understanding of Mark 3:20-21, is however apparently this, that no one else than the relatives of the Lord on this occasion had been afraid that He was beside Himself; in respect to His brothers, who, according to John 7:6, even later did not yet believe on Him, we can at least not call this inconceivable. Intentional malice existed here as little as Acts 26:24. If we remark, however, that mother and brothers wait very quietly until He has finished speaking, and that the latter publicly requested Him to come unto them, we can just as well conceive that they lay hold of the calumny set afoot by the Pharisees: ὅτι Βεελζεβοὺλ ἔχει, as a means of withdrawing Jesus, out of well-meaning yet misguided affection, from this stormy sea. In no case does the account say that Mary uttered or believed these words of blasphemy. She stands here more in the midst than at the head of His relatives, and not possibly could she name the holy thing that was born of her, lunatic. Yet of one error she makes herself, together with her family, guilty. She wishes to withdraw the Saviour (perhaps out of provident care that He might take food, Mark 3:20), from the work which He regards as His food. This Jesus refuses with holy sternness, yet at the same time with tender forbearance. Of the self-denial which He demands in respect to earthly kindred, Matthew 10:37, He Himself gives a brilliant example. What is said of Levi, Deuteronomy 33:9, is true now in a higher measure of Him.

Luke 8:20. And it was told Him.—Perhaps by one who would have been glad to see the immediately preceding discourse of rebuke, Mark 3:23 seq., continue no longer, and therefore with some eagerness makes use of this welcome interruption in order to direct the Saviour’s attention to something else.

Thy mother and thy brethren.—The difficult question, whom we have actually to understand by the ἀδελφοῖς of the Lord, has been even to the latest times answered in different ways. The view of those who here understand natural brothers of the Lord, children of Joseph and Mary, born after Jesus, has, according to the opinion we have hitherto held, at least the fewest difficulties. This view is powerfully vindicated by Dr. A. H. Blom, in his Disput. Theol. Inaug. de Christi ἀδελφοῖς καὶ�, L. B. 1839. On the other side the later scruples of Lange and others, who here understand cousins of the Lord, may not be condemned. The question appears yet to demand a continued investigation in order finally to come to full decision. Comp. meanwhile the valuable essay of Wieseler, Stud, und Krit. 1842, 1., but particularly also the appendix to the 9th prælection on the Life of Jesus, by C. J. Riggenbach, Basel, 1858, where the grounds for and against each principal view have been very judiciously set forth. S. 286–304.

Luke 8:21. And He answered.—Comp. Lange on Matthew 12:50. According to the picturesque trait in Mark, Luke 8:34, He in saying this looks with a benevolent glance over those immediately surrounding Him. With full consciousness He sacrifices, if it must be so, earthly relationships to higher ones. Thus does He assure His disciples of the higher rank which they enjoy in His eyes, while they are forgotten by the world. His mother and brothers, on the other hand, when they have come near enough, hear the only condition upon which He in truth can call them His own: namely, if they honor the will of the Father, who has assigned Him another circle than their limited dwelling. Doubtless at this word a voice in Mary’s heart testified that she belonged in a yet higher sense than κατὰ σὰρκα to the kindred of Christ. From the fact that the Saviour speaks alone of mother, brother, and sister, but not of His father, as indeed the latter nowhere appears in the history of His public life, it may with great probability be concluded that Joseph was now already dead. [The fact that Joseph nowhere appears in the course of our Lord’s ministry, renders it sufficiently probable that he was dead. But the fact that our Lord, among the possible relations which human beings can sustain to Him, does not include that of Father, may well be explained from His unwillingness to attribute to any human being that relation which God alone sustained to Him.—C. C. S.] His disciples He calls brethren, comp. Hebrews 2:11; but from this it by no means follows that His disciples themselves had the right to give to Him in too familiar a manner the name Brother.


1. For the first time in the Gospel of Luke we here meet with the Lord teaching the people in parables, which of itself certainly could not have been strange to His hearers. The fiery orientals, whose fancy is so rich, whose thoughts are so accustomed to poetical vesture, early availed themselves of a form of teaching which could at once excite to reflection and satisfy the taste. Prophets like Nathan, sages like Solomon, poets like Isaiah, had veiled their oracles in the guise of the parable (2 Samuel 12:1-7; Ecclesiastes 9:14-16; Isaiah 5:1; Isaiah 28:23-29); and in the days of our Lord also the Jewish Rabbis availed themselves of this inviting mode of representation. One of the Rabbis, in particular, afterwards distinguished himself in this, namely, R. Nahorai, who lived a century after Christ, shortly before Bar-Cochba, and whose parables remind us in many respects of these of the Saviour. It would be indeed well worth the trouble to institute a distinct investigation upon the point how much the moral portion of the Talmud is indebted in this respect to the gospel. Comp. Sepp, L. J. ii. p. 243. And if we ask what, why, and how the Saviour taught in parables, we find new occasion to repeat the declaration, John 7:46.

2. By a parable we understand an invented narrative taken from nature or daily life, wherein weighty duties, truth, or promises, are set forth in a pictorial manner. While the philosophical myth must bring an abstract idea within the sphere of our conception; under the garb of the parable, on the other hand, a present or impending fact is placed before the eyes. While the simile gives only a simple agreement between two different things, it lacks the dramatic development and the striking issue which we meet with in a completed parable. Even from the fable is it distinguished, inasmuch as it moves within the bounds of possibility, and not only, like the fable, presents moral teaching, but also religious truth. The chief thought around which all the parables of the Saviour more or less directly revolve is the hidden character of the kingdom of God. It has therefore been attempted in many ways to arrange the different parables of our Lord into a complete whole, in which the doctrine of the kingdom of Heaven in all its parts is contained (Neander, Lisco, Lange, Schweitzer, &c). Nothing is easier than to derive a Theology, Anthropology, Soteriology, and Eschatology of Jesus from His parables, in which, however, it must be borne in mind that not every delicate feature of the representation can be used as a stone for a dogmatic edifice, but that only the tertium, comparationis, the leading idea, is to be made prominent according to the particular design.

3. The purpose of the parable is twofold, comp Matthew 13:13, and Lange ad loc. Justly, therefore, has Lord Bacon already said: “Parabola est usus ambigui, facit enim ad involucrum, facit etiam ad illustrationem, in hoc docendi, in illo occultandi artificium quœri videtur.” Comp. John 9:39. However, we must not overlook the fact that the veiling of the truth in parables was only relative and temporary. They were not like the bushel under which the light was hid, but more like the veil of mist which indeed obscures the brilliancy of the sun, yet also more often allows it to stream through. The explanation which the Saviour gives of some parables in particular He would undoubtedly have given of all, had He been inquired of with the desire of salvation.

4. In respect to the parables also the Gospel of Luke shows an indisputable wealth. It is true we miss here individual parables which are found in Matthew 13:0, Mark 4:0, and elsewhere, but on the other hand several of the most exquisite parables have been preserved to us by Luke alone. Without speaking now of many gnome-like sayings which he communicates as parables, e.g. Luke 14:7, let us consider particularly the rich treasure of parables which he has preserved in the narrative of the Saviour’s last journey to Jerusalem, Luke 9:51 seq To these belong: 1. The Good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-37; Luke 2:0. The Importunate Friend, Luke 11:5-8; Luke 3:0. The Rich Fool, Luke 12:16-21; Luke 4:0. The Unfruitful Fig-tree, Luke 13:6-9; Luke 5:0. The Great Supper, Luke 14:6-24; Luke 6:0. The Tower and The War, Luke 14:28-32; Luke 7:0. The Lost Sheep, Coin, and The Prodigal Son, Luke 15:0. (of which, however, the first two appear with another design in Matthew 18:12-13); 8. The Unjust Steward, Luke 16:1-9; Luke 9:0. Lazarus and Dives, Luke 16:19-31; Luke 10:0. The Servant Ploughing, Luke 17:7-10; Luke 11:0. The Unjust Judge and the Widow, Luke 18:1-8; Luke 12:0. The Pharisee and the Publican, Luke 18:9-14; Luke 13:0. The Parable of the Pounds (to be distinguished from that of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-30), Luke 19:12-27. Even when Luke narrates parables given in the other Evangelists, he is not wanting in new peculiar features of them. Comp. for instance Luke 12:35-48, with Matthew 24:42-51. Especially does he communicate the parables which are in agreement with the broad Pauline position of his Gospel, while we scarcely fear a contradiction when we maintain that it is among the parables preserved by him that the most exquisite in detail appear. Who would give up the dogs in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man? Who the trait of the haughty Pharisee standing by himself, σταθεὶς πρὸς ἑαυτόν, or of the eldest of the two sons who does not come out of the house, but directly from the field where he has served his father by his labor? How much would the parable of the Good Samaritan have lost in beauty if over against this friend of man, not a priest and Levite, but a simple citizen of Jerusalem, had been placed! Even if some of the parables in Luke contain particular cruces interpretum, yet the labor of investigation is richly compensated, as in reference also to all the parables related by him, the fine expression is applicable: “The miracles of Jesus are manifestly great individual parables of His general activity,—parables in act. His parables, on the other hand, unfold themselves as miracles of His word. The miracle is a fact which comes from the word and is converted into the word. The parable is a word which comes out of a fact and stamps itself in the fact. The common birthplace of these ideal twin forms is therefore the world-creating and world-transfiguring Word.” Lange.

5. Although in judging of the prophetic character of the parable, men have not always been temperate enough, and have certainly gone too far in finding in many the indication of individual periods in the development of Christianity beyond the general intimation of earlier or later times, it is nevertheless entirely beyond doubt that precisely like many prophecies, so do also many parables realize themselves continuously in ever-augmenting measure in the history of the kingdom of God [or, as Bacon says: “have a springing and germinant fulfilment in every age.”—C. C. S.]. This is true of the very first parable, the Sower. Considered in the most general way, it contains truth in reference to God’s word in the world as to when, how, and where, it has been sown at all times. But very especially is it applicable to the activity of the Great Sower in the kingdom of God, Christ; and certainly it is of moment how He here Himself communicates in parabolic form the result of His experience up to that time among His mainly unbelieving contemporaries. But continually does the fulfilment of the parabolic sketch repeat itself in the preaching of the gospel by apostles, martyrs, reformers, nay, and that of the most obscure country pastor. And so long as the world remains the world it will not cease to be true that a good part, nay the greatest part, of the seed is continually lost through the fault of men.

6. That the Saviour, not in the parable, but in the explanation of the parable to His disciples, speaks so unequivocally of the Evil One, is a convincing proof that the New Testament Satanology is to be regarded as something entirely different from a pædagogic accommodation to a superstitious popular fancy.

7. The cause why the seed with some bears no fruit and with some bears fruit more richly than with others, is not to be found in the fact that the heart of the one is by nature so much better than that of the other. Whoever would bring up Luke 8:15 as a proof against the doctrine of general depravity would do well first to read over once more Mark 7:21-23. The καλὸν καὶ� is in the spirit of the Saviour’s teaching the fruit of the gratia prœveniens, from which the man has not withdrawn himself since God Himself has wrought in him the will, Philippians 2:13. It belongs to the work of the modern believing Dogmatics to develop the doctrine of prevenient grace in its deep religious and Christian ground more than has hitherto been done.

8. It is to be understood that among those of whom the Lord says that they fall away in time of temptation, there are no genuine believers. He Himself has declared that they believe πρὸς καιρόν, and the distinction between fides temporalis and salvifica, even on the ground of this expression, has a deep significance. Everywhere where the seed is lost there is lacking that ὑπομονῄ to which Luke 8:15 makes so emphatic allusion. Much may go on in a heart without its becoming in truth a partaker of the new life. Every conversion which has effect only in the sphere of the intellect, the feeling, the imagination, or the course of action itself, without having penetrated into the innermost sanctuary of the will, may be a blossom that endures long, but yet finally falls off without bearing fruit.

9. By the different measure of fruitfulness in good are indicated the different degrees of faith, love, sanctification, hope, &c., which have been attained in consequence of hearing. Therefore also the different measures of talents, gifts, and capacity to carry on the sowing for the kingdom of God through the ages (Lange). The cause of the great distinction is as little to be sought exclusively on the side of man as on the side of God. Here also both factors work together, and it must be well considered on the one hand that not every place of the field is ploughed and harrowed equally long; on the other hand, that not every spiritual gift bestowed is used with equal care. Here also the rule holds good that grace works ever mystically, yet never magically, and again: “Whoever will keep firm hold of the Lord’s gifts must use them in diligent labor for increase; for that are they in their nature given; keeping and gaining increase therewith are one. Works are faith’s nourishment, the diligence of faithful use is the oil for the burning lamp; to do nothing in the might of grace and to reap no fruit from its sowing is enough to bring with it the judgment which takes again what one appeared to have, and thought he had, but which was already no longer a true having.” Stier.
10. What the Saviour here says very definitely of the fruit of the word may be also asserted in a wider sense of all mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Publicity before the judgment and in God’s hour is here emphatically the watchword.

11. What Paul declares of himself, 2 Corinthians 5:16, is to be seen in a yet higher sense in the Son of Man. The saying respecting His mother and His brothers is essentially only the repetition of the same principle which the boy of twelve years, Luke 2:49, had already uttered as His own. That Mary, even after the instruction received, John 2:4, could yet again have a thought of interfering to some extent actively in the plan of His labors is a new proof how far the Mary of the Gospels is still below the Immaculate Concepta of Rome. If Mary became great in the kingdom of God, this is not because she was after the flesh the mother of the Lord, but because she on her part fulfilled the will of His Father. [On the other hand, doubtless, for the mother of the Lord not to have been a believer would have been something too monstrous for Divine grace and providence to have for a moment permitted.—C. C. S.] Here also, as ever, the natural relation of the Saviour, compared with the spiritual, recedes far into the background.


Where Jesus preaches there is never lack of hearers.—The shore of the sea of Gennesaret a sowing field.—The word of God a seed: 1. Of heavenly origin; 2. of inestimable worth.—Let three quarters of the seed be lost, if only the last quarter prospers.—The feelingless heart is like a hard-trodden path.—The Evil One under the guise of innocent birds.—Inward hardening not seldom coupled with superficial feeling.—A lively impression of the word seldom also a deep one.—Prosperous growth must go on at once upward and downward.—Thorns grow up quicker than wheat-stalks.—Apostasy in the time of persecution: 1. A speedy; 2. an intelligible; 3. a miserable apostasy.—Faith for a time and faith for eternity.—Earthly care, earthly possession, earthly enjoyment in its relation to the word of preaching.—One can promise fruit without actually bringing it forth.—The effect of the word conditioned by the state of the heart.—Perseverance in good a token of genuine renewal; comp. Matthew 24:13.—The different measure of fruitfulness and good, or what it has: 1. Remarkable; 2. humble; 3. encouraging.—The disciple desiring to learn must go with his questions, not from, but to, Jesus.—The kingdom of God: 1. A secret; 2. which, however, is intended to be understood; 3. the right understanding of which is granted, but; 4. only to the disciple of Christ.—The hiding of the truth in the parable for the not yet receptive mind, a manifestation of the Divine: 1. Holiness; 2. Wisdom 3. grace.—The disciple of the Lord not the light—but yet the candlestick.—Publicity the watchword of the kingdom of God; here all things; 1. Song of Song of Solomon 2:0. must; 3. shall, at some time, come perfectly to light.—The perverse and the right way to hear the word.—Take heed how ye hear! 1. To the hearing itself you are obliged; 2. but one can hear in very different ways; 3. it is by no means indifferent in what way we hear; 4. therefore take heed.—Who hath, to him shall be given, &c.: 1. A marvellous saying; 2. a saying of truth; 3. a saying of wisdom.—The kindred of the Lord after the flesh and His kindred after the Spirit.—The pure and impure desire of seeing Christ.—A wish that appears laudable is not always really devout.—The high value which the Lord attaches to the hearing and fulfilling of the word.—His saying concerning His mother and brethren, the application of the fourth part of the parable of the Sower.—The spiritual family of the Saviour: 1. The wide-spread family likeness; 2. the firm family bonds; 3. the rich family blessing.

Starke:—Cramer:—Many hearers, few devout ones.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Formerly the people hasted from the cities to Christ, now, when one has not so far to go, they hasten from Him.—Christian teachers in their many unfruitful labors must possess their souls in patience and not hastily give up all for lost, Isaiah 49:4.—If grace does not moisten our heart and make it full of sap, the seed of the Divine word therein must dry up, for our heart is a rock.—Majus:—Take good note of the hindrances to thy conversion, and remove what stands in the way.—Auris condita est ad audiendum quœ conditor loquitur, Gordius Martyr.—Quesnel:—The understanding of the Holy Scripture and its mysteries is not given to all; one must humbly seek it from the fountain of wisdom.—Satan also knows that God’s word is the blessed means of conversion and salvation.—Canstein:—God gives no one the light of His knowledge for his own use merely, but also for the common benefit, 1 Corinthians 12:1.—Often for the punishment of unbelief even in this life all is taken away and the light turned into darkness, Matthew 25:28.—Quesnel:—Whoever fervently loves Christ cannot long do without Him.—The Virgin Mary has no better right to Christ than other people, Luke 11:27-28.—A Christian in what concerns the service of God must forget even his parents, Matthew 19:29.—Believers are spiritually related to Christ, and as dear to Him as children never are to their parents, Hebrews 2:11; Isaiah 49:15.

Luther (XII. 23, 24):—“This is it that has the most fearful sound, that such pious hearts as have a good root, are full of holy intention, of fixed purpose and fervent effort, yea to whom not even perseverance itself is lacking, have nevertheless been robbed of fruit. These are therefore those who will serve two Lords, please both God and the world together, and who do many and great things for God’s sake, and even that becomes a snare to them, because they take pleasure in that they become aware that they are filled with gifts and make profit. Such also are those who serve God most devoutly, but they do it for the sake of enjoyment and honor, or at least for the sake of religious benefit, either in this life or that to come.”

Heubner:—Similarity of the preaching of the Divine word and of sowing.—Two main classes of human character: 1. Evil: a. hardened, b. frivolous, c. impure, earthly minded (all human characters may be thrown into these classes, as indeed Kant has done it according to this very parable, Religion Innerhalb, &c., § 22. pp. 21, 22); 2. Hearts full of longing after salvation, &c.—The main part in preaching belongs to the hearer.—The preaching of the gospel never wholly fruitless; a ground of comfort, especially for young ministers.—Ahlfeld:—The husbandry of our Lord Jesus Christ: 1. The husbandman; 2. the field.—Stier:—1. The word of God is a seed; 2. even this seed’s thriving depends on the field; 3. what now is the good ground or heart for God’s word?—From whence comes such good ground?—G. Schweder:—The hearts of believers also are like to the various ground.—Baumeister:—The seeming Christian and the true Christian.—There are, namely: 1. Christians with a merely outward religion; 2. Christians with a shallow religion; 3. Christians with a half religion; 4. Christians with a true religion.—Thym:—Whose fault is it if few hearers of the word are saved? 1. Is it God’s who causes the word to be proclaimed?—2. Is it the fault of the word which is proclaimed to men?—3. Or is it that of the man to whom the word is proclaimed?—Burk:—The might of the word of God: 1. Through how manifold hindrances it breaks away; 2. what a rich and mighty fruit it brings forth.—Ritter:—As the man so his religion.—Florey:—What is required if God’s word is to bring forth fruit in us?—Rautenberg:—The complaint that God’s word brings forth so little fruit: 1. What ground for it; 2. what comfort against it; 3. what duty concerning it we have.—Harless:—The word of the kingdom an open secret.


Luke 8:9; Luke 8:9.—Rec.: λέγοντες. At least doubtful. [Om., Cod. Sin.]

Verses 22-25

3. The King of the Kingdom of God at the same time the Lord of Creation, of the World of Spirits, of Death. Luke 8:22-56

a. The Stilling Of The Storm In The Lake. Luke 8:22-25

(Parallels: Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41. Gospel for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany.)

22Now it came to pass on a certain day [one of the days], that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. 23But as they sailed, he fell asleep: and there came down a storm [gust] of wind on the lake; and they were filled [were filling] with water, and were in jeopardy. 24And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, Master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: andthey ceased, and there was a calm. 25And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man Isaiah 3:0 this! for he commandeth even the winds and [the] water, and they obey him.


Harmony.—Without doubt the stilling of the tempest took place on the same evening on which the Saviour had delivered the parable of the Sower and some others. The parable of the Mustard Seed, and of the Leaven (Matthew 13:0), Luke gives in another connection (Luke 13:18-21); that of the Tares, of the Treasure in the Field, of the Pearl, of the Fishing-net, and of the Slow Growing of the Seed (Mark 4:26-29) he passes over. The question, whether it is in and of itself probable that the Saviour delivered all these parables almost uno tenore on one and the same day on which so much had already taken place (Mark 3:20-35), may here remain provisionally undecided. Enough that the stilling of the tempest, which, according to Luke, took place on one of the days (Luke 8:22), took place, according to Mark (Luke 8:35), on the same day at evening. According to Matthew, who is as far from contradicting as from confirming these chronological statements, the Saviour wished at the same time to withdraw Himself in this way from the people, Luke 18:0. If it should appear that he transposes the miracle into an earlier period of the life of the Lord than it occurred, we are not to forget that Matthew 8:9 is a collection of different miracles of the Saviour without the apostle’s having observed any very strict chronological arrangement. On internal grounds, however, we consider it probable that the offer of the two men who wished to follow Jesus (Matthew 8:19-22) immediately preceded the tempestuous voyage. Luke communicates this particular in the account of another voyage, narrating those two, moreover, with a third similar case, Luke 9:57-62. Taking it all together now, it no longer is difficult to represent distinctly to ourselves the whole course of events. The long day—one of the few in the public life of the Lord where we find ourselves in a condition to follow Him almost from step to step—was visibly hurrying towards evening, but still Jesus beholds around Him numerous throngs desiring instruction and help. If, therefore, He is to enjoy the rest which at last has become absolutely necessary, He must withdraw Himself from the throng and give the multitude opportunity to reflect upon the parables they have heard. Accordingly He gives immediate command to His disciples as to the departure, after He had previously left behind on the shore the scribe who had desired to follow Him, and another whom He called in vain. His disciples took Him with them in their vessel, according to the graphic expression of Mark: ὠς ῆ̓ν, that is, without any further preparation for the journey. As to the rest, the Synoptics give essentially the same account. If Mark communicates particulars which confirm the surmise that the personal remembrances of Peter have not been without some influence upon the form of his account, he nevertheless agrees perfectly with Luke. From the two, Matthew deviates in this twofold respect; namely, that he, in the first place, has given the address of the Saviour to His disciples as if preceding His word of might to the tempest; and secondly, that he has put the exclamation of astonishment at the very end, not exclusively in the disciples’ mouths, but in those of the men (ἄνθρωποι) who were in the ship. But as respects the last, we do not see what improbability there is in the view, that besides the Twelve some other persons also, attendants and the like, may have been present in the ship, and may have joined with the disciples in the tone of wonder to which the disciples (Mark and Luke) undoubtedly give louder and stronger expression than all the rest. With regard to the first mentioned point, the representation of Matthew, it appears, has the most probability in its favor, for we know that the Saviour was wont first to awaken faith, before He performed a miracle; and on a later occasion also the wind did not sink until He had asked the sinking Peter: “Oh, thou of little faith, wherefore dost thou doubt?” The address to the disciples and the mighty word of deliverance followed one another so quickly, that Mark and Luke might easily reverse the order without making themselves guilty of a censurable inaccuracy.

Luke 8:22. That He went into a ship.—According to Mark 4:36, there were other vessels also accompanying the Saviour near by, which is least of all to be wondered at, at the end of such a day. If one is not disposed, therefore, to seek the ἄνθρωποι of Matthew (Luke 8:27) upon the vessel of the apostles, the conjecture then that the companions of the voyage on the ἄλλοις πλοιαρίοις had been, at some distance, witnesses of the miracle, and, therefore, made manifest their astonishment without reserve,—such a conjecture certainly will not be too hazardous.

Unto the other side.—The eastern shore is here meant. According to Mark, the Saviour seats Himself in the πρύμνα, hinder part of the ship, comp. Acts 27:29; Acts 27:41, and falls fast asleep upon a προςκεφαλαίῳ. Now awakes the storm,—according to Matthew and Mark, a σεισμός (by which also an earthquake is signified, Matthew 28:2); according to Luke, more precisely, a λαίλαψ�, which precipitates itself from above upon the sea.

Luke 8:24. Master, Master.—If we assume that Luke has most accurately communicated the words of the troubled disciples, we should then notice in the expression itself the trace of the anxious fear that was in them. They call the Lord, we may note, with a double ἐπιστάτα to help while Mark puts in their mouths a διδάσκαλε, and Matthew even a κύριε. But more than the expression, the exclamation itself bears witness of utter faintness of heart. So ὀλιγόπιστοι (Matthew) are they, that really it may be said of them, they have no faith (Mark and Luke), yet now as ever their faith manifests itself in this, that in their distress they flee to none but Jesus. Without doubt the storm must have been very unexpected and violent, for experienced sailors like these to be attacked by so violent a terror. But the malady of unbelief also has an epidemic character, and undoubtedly the unwonted view of the sleeping Saviour did not a little augment their distress.

Luke 8:24. A calm, γαλήνη = דְּמָמָה, Psalms 107:29 in Symmachus.—An additional sign of a miracle, since otherwise, even when the storm has subsided, a disturbed movement of the air and the water always continues for a time. According to Mark, the Saviour gives His rebuke with the words: “σιώπα, desiste a sonitu, and πεφίμωσο, obmutesce, desiste impetu.” Bengel. First of all the Lord rebukes the storm in the heart, afterwards the storm in nature.

Luke 8:25. What manner of man is this?—No question, we may believe, of doubt, but of the deepest astonishment, which is heightened by the unexpectedness and unexampled character of the miracle. Here also, as in Luke 5:8, the astonishment is so great because the miracle is wrought in a sphere familiar to them. It is as if they had never yet conceded to the greatness of the miraculous worker its full rights. It is true, they knew Him previously, and yet their feeling is like that of the Baptist when he exclaimed: “I knew Him not.” John 1:31.


1. A miracle such as this we have not yet met with in the Gospel of Luke. We have, in miracles of nature like this, as well as at Cana and elsewhere, to meet the objection that wholly inanimate nature appears to offer no point of attachment whatever to the mighty will of the miracle-worker; but that this difficulty gives us no warrant whatever for the fallacies of the naturalistic interpretation, needs hardly be mentioned. The vindicators of this show that they have as little knowledge of nature, as true knowledge of the human heart. As little can we accede to the view of those (Neander) who, by sharply distinguishing the objective and the subjective side of the account, suppose that the Saviour actually only quieted His disciples; so that now before the eyes of their enlightened faith the raging of nature displayed itself in another form, and their ear, as it were, no longer heard the raging of the storm, while later, when the storm had actually subsided, that was ascribed to the working of Jesus upon nature, which was only the consequence of His influence upon their mind.—[This of Neander may fairly be called as flat and vapid a rationalizing away of a simple narrative as Paulus himself was ever guilty of.—C. C. S.] This error, moreover, could hardly remain concealed from the Saviour, and at least could have exercised no influence on the less susceptible shipmen, who did not belong to the Apostolic circle, and least of all could it have been favored by the Saviour Himself. Whoever leaves it undecided (Hase) whether the Saviour professed or wrought the miracle, contradicts in fact the sacred record. No, that they here mean to relate a miracle is plain to the eye, and the question can only be simply this: did it take place or did it not take place? Have we here history or myth?

2. The mythical explanation stumbles not only against these general obstacles, but has here, moreover, the particular difficulty to solve that not a single Old Testament narrative has so much agreement with the Evangelical as to allow of the assumption that the latter arose from the former. It is undoubtedly not hard with lofty air to explain this whole miracle as “an anecdote of the kind that have been related of every century and of the miracle-workers of all times, and whose origin may be explained in a thousand ways” (Weisse). Such arbitrariness, however, condemns itself, so long as the genuineness of one of the Synoptical gospels is still admitted. Nothing else, accordingly, is left but to acknowledge the reality of the miracle, and if one wishes to seek a medium of it, to say with Lange: “The Saviour rebukes the storm in the inner world of His disciples, in order to find a medium of rebuking the storm in nature. He removes the sin of the microcosm, in order to remove the evils of the macrocosm.” We have here the concurrence of the will of the Father with that of the Son, which belongs to the deepest mysteries of His Theanthropic being. In His whole fulness Christ stands here before us as an image of Him who “sitteth upon the waters and drinketh up the sea by His rebuke.” Psalms 29, 93. What Moses performed in the might of Jehovah when he opened with his staff the way through the waters for himself, that the Son of the Father does through the efficacy of His will alone. Here also we meet with that union of the Divine and human nature and operation which we so often discover in the Gospel. He who wearied with His day’s work lays Himself a while to sleep, because He needs bodily rest, and remains quiet in the most threatening danger, rises at once in Divine fulness of might and commands the tempestuous wind and bridles the sea. As sinful man can work mechanically upon the creation, so does the God-Man work dynamically, and thus does this whole activity become a prophecy of the future in which the spirit of redeemed mankind will govern matter, and the hope of Paul, Romans 8:19-23, will be fully realized.

3. The purpose of this miracle soon strikes the eye. It was to make the companions of the apostles in the voyage for the first time or renewedly attentive to the Lord; it was to exercise and strengthen the disciples in faith, but above all it was to hold up before them a sensible image of that which afterwards, when they were entered upon the apostolical career, would befall them. As their little ship was now thrown around, so should also the young church, at whose head they stood, appear often given over to the might of the waves and billows. But then also they should become aware at the right time of the Lord, who would arouse Himself to change the darkness into light. This is the deep sense of the symbolical explanation of the miracle, which deserves censure only when it is put in opposition to the purely historical, instead of being grounded upon it. No wonder if many have essayed it, if not always so beautifully as, for example, Erasmus, when he writes, Prœfat. in Evang. Matth. in fine: “hinc nimirum illa periculosa tempestas, quia Christus dormit in nobis.—Diffisi prœsidiis nostris, inclamemus Jesum, pulsemus aures illius, vellicemus, donec expergiscatur. Dicamus illi flebili voce: Domine, tua non refert, si pereamus? Ille, ut est exorabilis, audiet suos, suoque spiritu repente sedabit tempestatem mundano spiritu agitatam. Dicet vento: quiesce,” &c. Comp. the Hymn of Fabricius: “Hilf, lieber Gott, was Schmach und Spott,” &c., and the spiritual interpretation of this narrative in Luther’s Kirchen-Postille, ad loc. The homage which was offered to Christ after He had performed the miracle, is an echo of the Old Testament Choral: Psalms 107:23-30.


Wherever Jesus goes, thither must His disciples accompany Him.—The duty of the disciples of the Lord: 1. To follow Him upon every way; 2. to call on Him in every distress; 3. to glorify Him after every deliverance.—The calm is followed by a tempest, the tempest by greater calm.—Jesus sleeping in the storm; by this one feature of the narrative, 1. The greatness of the Lord is manifested; 2. the perplexity of the disciples explained; 3. the rest of the Christian prophesied.—The distress of the disciples of Jesus: 1. Its causes; 2. its culmination; 3. its limits.—Whoever, even in distress, can call on Jesus, has no destruction to fear.—No storm so vehement but the Lord can still it: 1. In the world; 2. in the Church; 3. in the house; 4. in the heart.—The question, “Where is your faith?” now as of old: 1. A question for the life; 2. a question for the conscience; 3. a question for the times.—What manner of man is this that he commandeth even the wind and the water?—Jesus’ greatness revealed in the obscure night of tempest. On the little ship He exhibits Himself as: 1. The true and holy Man; 2. the wise and gracious Master; 3. the almighty and adorable Son of God.—The storm on the sea an image of the Christian life: 1. The threatening danger; 2. the growing anxiety; 3. the delivering might; 4. the rising thanks.—If the storms within us are still, those without us then also subside.—Trial and deliverance work together: 1. To reveal the Lord; 2. to train His people; 3. to advance the coming of His kingdom.

Starke:—Quesnel:—The present life is, so to speak, only a passage from one side to the other, and finally from time into eternity.—Canstein:—Sleeping and rest has even in the ministry its season. Enough that the Keeper of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. Psalms 121:4.—Where Christ is there is danger, and sometimes even greater than where He is not; yet not for destruction, but for trial.—Majus:—Danger at sea is a mighty arouser to prayer.—Osiander:—Christ is the Lord of the sea and of the winds, and to Him, even after His human nature, all things are subject. Psalms 8:2 seq.—So oft as we receive a benefit from the dear God, our faith should become stronger.

Heubner:—Nil desperandum, Christo duce.—Christian fearlessness in danger: 1. Its necessity, 2. its nature, 3. the means of attaining it.—Dr. J. J. Doedes, Prof. in Utrecht, a homily:—1. The commencement of the voyage; 2. the raging of the tempest; 3. the fear of the disciples; 4. the rest of the Lord; 5. the rebuke of the weak in faith; 6. the power of the word of might.—Rautenberg:—The heavier the cross, the more earnest the prayers.—Gerdessen:—The appearance of Christ in earthly tumult: 1. He lets it rage, a. as if without measure, b. without concern, c. without remedy; 2. He stills it, a. the stormy world, b. the stormy life, c. the stormy heart.—Lisco:—Concerning trust in the Lord: 1. Wherein it reveals itself; 2. what its nature Isaiah 3:0. how it is rewarded.—Florey:—The words in the ship at the storming of the sea: 1. The word of terror; 2. the word of censure; 3. the word of might; 4. the word of astonishment.—Höpfner:—The disciples of Christ according to this Gospel: 1. Willingly following, 2. anxious, 3. praying, 4. ashamed disciples.—Denninger:—The wondrous ways of the Lord: Wonderfully does He bring His own: 1. Down into the deep, 2. up out of the deep.—Fuchs:—Why sleeps the Lord so often in the tempests of this life? He will lead us: 1. To the knowledge of our powerlessness; 2. to faith in His almightiness; 3. to prayer for His help; 4. to praise of His name.


Luke 8:25; Luke 8:25.—Ἐστιν is according to Tischendorf and Lachmann (A., B., L., X., cursives) an addition whose genuineness is doubtful. [Tischendorf in his 7th ed. has it with Cod. Sin. and 13 other uncials; om., A., C., L., X.—C. C. S.]

Verses 26-39

b. The Demoniac At Gadara (Luke 8:26-39)

(Parallels: Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20)

26And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes,4 which is over against Galilee. 27And when he went forth [had gone out] to land, there met him out of the city a certain man [a certain man of the city met him], which had devils [was possessed by demons] long time, and ware [wore] no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.28When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. 29(For he had [om., had] commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes [for a long time] it had caught [seized upon] him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of 30[by] the devil [demon] into the wilderness [desert places].) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because [for] many devils [demons] 31were entered into him. And they [or, he5] besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep [abyss]. 32And there was there a herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. 33Then went the devils [demons] out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place [the cliff] into the lake, and were choked [drowned]. 34When they that fed them [the keepers] sawwhat was done [had happened], they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. 35Then they went out to see what was done [had happened]; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils [demons] were departed, sitting at 36the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils [by the demons] was healed. 37Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: andhe went up [om., up] into the ship, and returned back again. 38Now the man, out of whom the devils [demons] were departed, besought him that he might be with him; but Jesus [he, V. O.6] sent him away, saying, 39Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.


Luke 8:26. The Gadarenes.—That in Matthew 8:28, the reading Γαδαρηνῶν deserves the preference appears hardly to admit of a doubt. See Lange ad loc. But in Luke also we find no sufficient ground to read with Lachmann and Tischendorf on the authority particularly of B., D., Γερασηνῶν, and still less again to read with L., Δ. [Cod. Sin.] and a few others, Γεργεσηνῶν. The very distinction between these two latter readings shows how much hesitation there has been, and how soon the old and true reading Γαδαρηνῶν was supplanted. We cannot possibly understand Gerasa, one of the ten cities of the Decapolis, the present Djerasch, since it lay more than ten [German, fifty English] miles distant from the sea, and as respects Gergesa, we find, it is true, mention made of Gergesites, Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 24:11 [E. V., Girgashites]; but I do not from that alone venture to affirm the existence of a city of this name at the time of Jesus. The authority of Origen is not a sufficient support for the reading Γεργεσηνῶν, since he chose this only on geographical and not on critical grounds, and besides, he assures us that even at his time, in some manuscripts, the reading Γαδαρηνῶν was found, which he only rejects because this city was too far distant from the shore. In respect to this last objection, there is nothing in the way of the conjecture that Jesus had proceeded a certain distance inland when He saw the demoniac, and that, according to the very accurate calculation of Ebrard, ad loc. S. 381, the city was at least a league distant from the sea. We for our part are of the opinion that the region of the shore of the sea is likely in the mouth of the people to have still retained the name of “the land of the Gergesenes” after the Gergesites of Joshua’s day, and that a copyist, for more exact definition of the original expression, “land of the Gadarenes,” first wrote on the margin the words, “of the Gergesenes,” which afterwards in many manuscripts supplanted the original reading. In this way the comparatively wide diffusion of the incorrect reading is perhaps best explained.

Luke 8:27. A certain man of the city.—So also Mark. According to Matt. there were two. This plural in Matt. which several times recurs when the other Synoptics have a singular, belongs to the peculiarities of his gospel, for whose explanation a general law must be sought for. There is no want of conjecture in favor of there having been two (Strauss, De Wette, Lange), and it is no doubt possible that Luke and Mark mention only one, namely, the most malignant; but on the other hand we cannot regard it as probable that the original two should thus have been reduced to a unity, and we find moreover in the whole account no one proof that the Saviour here had really two demoniacs to deal with. Nor may we forget that the whole account of Mark and Luke as to this event is much more precise and complete than that of Matthew. We therefore give to them, here also, the preference, and have only to inquire now, from whence the second demoniac has come into the narrative of Matthew. The conjecture (Ebrard, Olshausen) that he joins in mind the demoniac in the synagogue at Capernaum with this one (Mark 1:23) is wholly without proof. More happy appears to us the opinion (Da Costa) that the raging demoniac precisely at the moment when the Lord arrived was involved in strife with one of the passers by (Comp. Matthew 8:28 b), so that Matt. relates κατ̓ ὕψιν, without diplomatic exactness. Or should we assume (Neander, Hase, De Wette) that the plurality of the here-mentioned demons led to the inexact mention of a plurality of demoniacs? Perhaps if we assume that Matthew originally wrote in Hebrew, this difference might possibly be laid to the account of the Greek translator. But if none of these conjectures is acceptable there is nothing left then but to acknowledge here one of the minute differences, for whose explanation we are wanting in the requisite data, and which can give offence only from the point of view of a one-sided and mechanical theory of inspiration. More ancient attempts at explanation, see in Kuinoel ad loc. In no case is it admissible with Von Ammon to explain the variation in this subordinate point by assuming that none of the apostles were personally present, inasmuch as they, when the Saviour disembarked, probably remained on the ship in order to fish; and at the same time also, not improbably to sell some fish in Gadara while the Master preached or performed miracles!!

Luke 8:27. In the tombs.—There are still found in the neighborhood of the ancient Gadara (the present Omkeis) many caves and chalk ranges which served as places of burial, and from other accounts also we know that the inhabitants carried on an active traffic in cattle and especially in swine. No wonder, for they consisted of a mixture of Jews, Greeks, and Syrians, of whom the former stood in very low esteem with their countrymen in Judea and Galilee, because they had assimilated themselves more than the latter to other nations. Only seldom did the Saviour visit these regions, in which He found but few lost sheep of the house of Israel. The first time that we meet Him here, He performed a miracle which more perhaps than any other has been to many expositors a λίθος προσκόμματος. What the ass of Balaam is in the Old Testament that are the swine of Gadara in the New Testament, foolishness and a stumbling-block to the wisdom of this world.

Possessed by demons.—See remarks on Luke 4:33.

Luke 8:28. Jesus, Thou Son of God.—Perhaps the demoniac was a Jew not wholly unacquainted with the Messianic hope; but certainly it is in the spirit of the Evangelists if we believe that the knowledge of the Lord which the demons usually exhibited had been attained in a supernatural way.

Luke 8:29. For He commanded, παρήγγειλεν.—“Not in the sense of the pluperfect, but like ἕλεγεν, Mark 5:8.” Meyer. According to Luke the Saviour had therefore commanded the spirit to come out before the latter had begged for forbearance, but we do not therefore need to assume that He had uttered this command to the unfortunate man from some distance, even before the latter had come to Him. Perhaps the words of the demoniac in the extreme tension of his mental condition had only been ejaculated interruptedly. First the question: “What have I to do with thee Jesus thou Son of God?” Afterwards the answer of the Saviour, who never accepted public acknowledgment from demoniacs, ἔξελθε, κ.τ.λ. Mark 5:8. Afterwards the abrupt entreaty: “I beseech thee torment me not,” and then the inquiry after the name.

For for a long time.—A more particular explanation of Luke, which throws into more relief on the one hand the misery of his condition, on the other the miraculousness of the deliverance; comp. Mark 5:2-4.—Seized upon.—So that he hurried him along unresistingly with himself.—He was kept bound with chains and fetters.—Whenever his relatives or keepers had succeeded in bringing him back home for a while, out of the wilderness.

Luke 8:30. What is thy name?—The answer to the question whether the Saviour here speaks to the demoniac himself, or to the demon tormenting him, depends entirely on the conception which we form of such unfortunates. In the first case it is an attempt to bring the demoniac in a psychological way to reflection and to help him to distinguish his own conceptions from those of the unclean spirit. In the other case it is an inquiry of the King of the personal world of spirits, which He addresses to the author of so much misery, and we must say with Stier: “We interpreters will here modestly remain without when the Son of God speaks with one from hell, only with the just conviction that the two have well understood one another.”—Legion.—The demoniac is in feeling entirely identified with the evil powers that control and torment him. Respecting the name “Legio,” see Lange on Matthew 26:53.

For many demons.—Less accurately this reason stated for the name given, is in Mark put in the mouth of the demons themselves.

Luke 8:31. And he besought Him.—The demon, that is; who in this instance was still working with unlimited power upon the unhappy man, and at the same time uttered himself in the name of the whole Legion. Why the demons desire to go into the swine is a question which we, so far as we are concerned, can answer only with a confession of the entire incompetence of our intelligence on this mysterious ground. Only one folly would be yet greater than that of a presumptuous decision: the folly, namely, of those who are as little acquainted with the nature of demons as of swine, and yet at once utter, ex cathedra, the word “absurd; impossible.” Much better: “Potestas Christi etiam super animalia, dœmones, abyssum porrigitur. Idque agnovere dœmones.” Bengel.

Into the abyss.—That is, into hell; comp. Revelation 9:11; Revelation 20:3. “The evil spirits also have their wishes and understand their interest as well as man. As they therefore in this ever-intensifying conflict between themselves and the Messiah, become aware that they must in some way yield before Him, they entreat at least to be handled in the mildest way and to be permitted to go into a tolerably near herd of swine (and only too fully does their man concur in this wish, because otherwise he fears that he must die): against this wish Christ has nothing to object. But so powerful is yet, from fear before the Messiah (?), the momentum of the evil spirits in going out, that they enter into a corresponding number of swine and drive these again into wild flight; nay more, precipitate them down the cliff into the water, and so against their will must, nevertheless, go out of the dying man (rather the sick man) into hell, while the man, liberated from them, comes to his long sighed-for repose.” Von Ewald. The terror and the precipitation of the herd into the sea, we should, however, rather explain, with Lange and many others, as resulting from the last terrible paroxysm which, as usual, preceded the healing. The number of the swine (Mark 5:13) may moreover be stated in a round number, either according to the reckoning of the spectators or according to the statement of the embittered possessors.

Luke 8:33. And entered into the swine.—It is of course understood that we here have not to understand individual indwelling, but dynamic influence, of the demoniacal powers upon the defenceless herd. But if philosophy declares that such an influence is entirely impossible, we demand the proof for the right of deciding in so lofty a tone upon a matter which lies entirely outside of the limits of experience, and are, therefore, on the contrary, fully in our right when we, after the credibility of Luke is once established, conclude ab esse ad posse. If the psychologist accounts it impossible that irrational beings should experience the influence of spiritual forces, we will wait till he gives us a little more assurance with regard to the souls of beasts than we have hitherto possessed. And if the critic wishes to know for what end the demoniacal power caused the swine to rush so quickly into the lake, we will acknowledge our ignorance, but simply desire that one should not declare incomprehensible and ridiculous to be synonymous. It is indeed possible that the swine were precipitated against the will of the demons into the lake, because the organism of these animals proved too weak to resist their overmastering influence. In this case it plainly appears from the result that the entreaty had been an unintelligent one; but then, does not mental confusion belong to the nature of evil? Enough; one thing stands fast, that it was by no means wholly unexpected or against the intention of Jesus that the swine were controlled by demoniacal influence (against Paulus, Hase, Von Ammon). The Saviour must have known what He conceded with the word of might ὑπάγετε; moreover He afterwards does not excuse Himself for an instant to the owners of the herd by saying that He had not been able to foresee their loss. He simply goes His way and listens to the entreaty of the demons, unconcerned whether the herd shall be able to endure this terror or not. With His special concurrence does it take place, that the possession of the rational man passes over upon the irrational herd. We believe, if we may compare the supernatural with a mysterious natural fact, that here something similar took place to what even now often takes place by magnetic forces, when some bodily evil is transferred from one object to another, even from man to animals. Undoubtedly Jesus found such a miraculous diversion of the malady necessary for the restoration of the sick man, and the possibility that demoniacal conditions may pass over upon others, even upon beasts, appears not to admit of denial. Comp. Kieser, System des Tellurismus, ii. p. 72.

Finally, as respects the question how far a permission of the Saviour is to be justified which occasioned so considerable a loss, see Lange on Matthew 8:31. Some answers to this question have certainly turned out rather unlucky, e.g., that of Hug, that the flesh might have been still fished up and salted and used. Without entirely excluding the thought that here there is a just retribution for the defilement of the Jewish population (Olshausen), the answer suffices us that Jesus’ word: “not come to destroy, but to save,” applies indeed to men, but not to beasts. At any price He will pluck this soul from the powers of darkness. He exerts His miraculous might, not with the immediate purpose of destroying the herd; but if the loss of these is the inevitable consequence of His beneficent activity, this loss can be made good, while the opportunity to save this man is not likely ever to return. He who afterwards gave Himself up for a pure sacrifice does not here account the life of unclean beasts at a higher rate than it deserves. The imputation that He in this way infringed upon the property-rights of strangers, made by Woolston and others, was not once brought forward by the Gadarenes themselves, and the attempt to vindicate their rights more strongly than they themselves in this case thought necessary, may be dismissed with a ne quid nimis. Finally it must not be overlooked that the healing was a benefit not only for the demoniac, but also for the whole region. Comp. Matthew 8:28 b.

Luke 8:35. Clothed.—The Evangelist says not from whence or by whom. Perhaps we may here understand the intervention of the Saviour’s disciples, who here also accompanied Him. The healed one moreover now sits παρὰ τοὺς πόδας τοῦ Ἱησοῦ, as a disciple at the feet of his Master.

Luke 8:36. They also which saw it.—Matthew also speaks, 5:33, of keepers, who had been witnesses of the miracle.

Luke 8:37. To depart from them.—A longer stay of the Saviour could have had little attraction for men who, above all, calculated the material loss, and were seized with superstitious and half heathen fear. The abode of the dangerous demoniac in the midst of them is less burdensome to them than the longer sojourn of such a worker of miracles. A sad contrast to the entreaty of the Samaritans, John 4:40. But the Saviour here and there alike yields to the desire expressed.

Luke 8:38. Now the man.—Comp. Mark 5:18-20. The prayer with which the recovered demoniac follows the departing Saviour may serve as an unequivocal proof of the completeness of his healing, as well as of the warmth of his thankfulness. The Saviour does not grant the request, partly perhaps for the reason that for the perfectness and duration of his recovery somewhat more of rest was required. But that He here encourages the one whom He had delivered to a proclamation of the benefit bestowed upon him, while on those who were healed elsewhere silence is imposed, is a proof the more that He had not the intention to return into the land of the Gadarenes; there must, therefore, at least one living and speaking memorial of His miraculous power abide there. Moreover, in Peræa the diffusion of such accounts was less critical than in Galilee, which was so inclined to insurrection. In the directing of the man back to his home, it is at the same time implied that the Saviour remembers his perhaps distressed or anxious relatives, for whom now his untroubled domestic life is to be the theatre of his gratitude and obedience. Yet not only to his own friends, but throughout the whole of Decapolis, does the man proclaim what had been done, so that the astonishment which he at all events awakens, without doubt became a beneficent preparation for the later preaching of the gospel in these dark regions.

Luke 8:39. How great things. Ὅσα.—In a remarkable manner are the great works of God and Jesus at the conclusion of the narrative co-ordinated. Without doubt it is the intention of the Evangelist here to indicate that it was God Himself who in and through the miraculous power of the Messiah displayed in extraordinary wise His workings.


1. There is no revelation of Christ as the King of the world of spirits which contains so much that is obscure as that which took place at Gadara. In relation to such miracles also does the Saviour’s own word hold good, Luke 7:23, and this Macarism can only be fulfilled in him who with Paul continues mindful of the φρονεῖν εἰς τὸ σωφρονεῖν.

2. The miracle here narrated conflicts in no way with the well-known summing up of the biography of the Saviour, διῆλθεν εὐεργετῶν, Acts 10:38. It is no miracle of punishment, any more than the drying up of the fig-tree was one, and that for the reason that swine and fig-tree are irrational creatures, to which therefore as a class the conception of punishment is only very loosely applicable. Moreover, the Saviour acts here as representative of the Father on earth, who daily destroys the lesser that the higher may be nourished and preserved, and has never yet forbidden His lightnings to purify the atmosphere for fear they might perchance strike the trunks of some trees. Had the herd of swine been driven by a tempest into the sea, who would accuse God of the wickedness of having infringed upon the property-rights of legal possessors? How many a murrain has taken off far more than 2,000 victims!

3. “That the diseased life of the soul falls into the duality of a so-to-speak subjective and an objective, of a dominant and a suppressed, Ego, can be a matter of surprise only to him who does not know or does not clearly keep in mind that the Ego even in itself and in a healthy condition is this duplicity of a subject-object.” Strauss, in a review of Justin Kerner’s Essay on Demoniacs of Modern Times.

4. The healing of the demoniac of Gadara is a striking symbol on the one hand of the conflict which the kingdom of God continually carries on against the realm of darkness; on the other hand of the triumph which it finally, although after heavy sacrifices, attains; at the same time a proof how much in earnest the Saviour was in His own declaration, Matthew 16:26.

5. In the command with which the Saviour parts from the recovered man, there lies an honor put upon devout domestic life, which is the less to be overlooked, inasmuch as it is a striking revelation of Christianity as the principle of the purest Humanity.

6. Peter, too, had once begged that the Lord would depart from Him, Luke 5:8, and yet the Lord had turned into his house more than ever before; but the prayer of the Gadarenes He accepts in fearful earnestness, because He penetrates their unbelief, their sin. This mournful result of the miracle at Gadara, moreover, is a striking proof how even the most astounding miracles cannot constrain to faith when the requisite disposition of heart and conscience is lacking.


To the storm on the sea succeeds the contest with the world of spirits.—When Israel amalgamates with the heathen, the demons find a roomy dwelling prepared for themselves.—The deep wretchedness of the man who is ruled by demoniacal powers.—Domestic life most direfully desolated by the might of darkness.—The Lord of Heaven known to the dwellers of hell.—The Evil One feels that his Vanquisher draws nigh.—Evil also is fruitful and multiplies.—Even where the Lord leaves the might of darkness free, its own destruction is the wretched end of this freedom.—Beasts, men, and demons alike subject to the Son of Man.—The worth of the soul: 1. No harm so great as when harm occurs to the soul; 2. no price too dear, if only the soul is redeemed; 3. no thankfulness so heartfelt as when the soul feels itself delivered.—The miracle at Gadara a revelation of the glory of the Saviour: 1. As the Son of the living God; 2. as the King of the world of spirits; 3. as the Deliverer of the wretched; 4. as the Holy One, who does not suffer Himself to be entreated in vain to depart.—Whoever is saved by the Lord must, as a disciple, sit at His feet.—The great things which Jesus did by this miracle: 1. In the world; 2. in the house; 3. in the land of the Gadarenes.—The enmity of the flesh is to be changed by no benefit, however great it be.—The redeemed of the Lord wishes nothing more ardently than to abide with Him.—Domestic life the worthy theatre of active gratitude.—Through the redeemed of Christ must the Father be glorified.—Even when Jesus departs He leaves yet witnesses of His grace behind.—The might of darkness runs ever into its own destruction.—Presumptuous transgression of the law is ever sooner or later visited.

Starke:—Christ neglects no land in the world with His grace.—The angels rejoice over a sinner’s conversion, but the devil is sorely disgusted when a soul is freed from his tyranny.—J. Hall:—Those are no true Christians who deny the Godhead of Christ, since the devil nevertheless acknowledges it, 1 John 4:15.—God sets the devil also his bounds and says finally: “It is enough,” Job 38:11.—Osiander:—There must an astonishing number of the angels have fallen away from God.—Satan has not even power over irrational creatures except as it is permitted him of God.—Brentius:—God often lets outward possessions escape from us that we may receive spiritual good.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—That is the way of the godless world; they love swine more than Christ.—Brentius:—Christendom is full of Gergesenes.—Quesnel:—It is a fearful judgment of God upon sinners when He hears their prayer to their hurt, as He does the demons’ prayer.—Teachers and preachers must at their expulsion be resigned and content.—New converts are wont to fall into all manner of self-devised ways, therefore they need faithful admonition and direction.—Obedience is better than sacrifice.—Canstein:—To glorify the grace of conversion helps much to the edifying of our neighbor.

On the whole, the treatment of this narrative offers to the preacher peculiar difficulties not less great than that of the Temptation in the Wilderness. It is therefore, unless one is obliged to it by ecclesiastical ordinances, not to be commended to any one at least, who in reference to the Biblical demonology occupies a sceptical or negative position. But even if one in this respect takes the Lord at His word, we have here especially to take heed of being wiser than the Scripture and, in an ill-applied apologetical zeal, of vindicating the conduct of the Saviour in such a way as involuntarily to remind those who think differently of the maxim, “Qui excusat, accusat.” Perhaps it is best to leave the metaphysical question wholly or mainly untouched, and to give especial prominence to the practical side of the deliverance of the soul from the powers of darkness, as to its greatness, its worth, and the like. As an example of an admirable sermon upon this δυσνόητον we may adduce les Démoniaques, in the sermons par Adolph Monod. 2 Recueil, Montauban, Paris, 1857. So also, Fr. Arndt, who in his Sermons upon the Life of Jesus, 3 p. 39–52, found in this narrative occasion to preach with wholly practical aim respecting: 1. The character; 2. the causes; 3. the healing of the malady of the demoniac.


Luke 8:26; Luke 8:26.—Respecting the different readings: Gadarenes, Gergesenes, Gerasenes, &c., see below in Critical and Exegetical remarks.

Luke 8:31; Luke 8:31.—Van Oosterzee Las “he besought him,” &c. Παρεκάλει might have as its subject either ἀνήρ or the neuter δαιμόνια. The fact that παρεκάλεσαν in the next verse is used, where δαιμόνια is the subject, may incline us to prefer the singular subject here.—C. C. S.]

Luke 8:38; Luke 8:38.—Rec.: ὁ Ἰησοῦς. [Om., B., D., L., Cod. Sin.—C. C. S.]

Verses 40-56

c. The Raising Of Jairus’ Daughter (Luke 8:40-56)

(Parallels: Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43. Gospel for the 24th Sunday after Trinity.)

40And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him. 41And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler [the president] of the synagogue; and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: 42For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But [And it came to pass, V. O7] as he went the people thronged him. 43And a woman having [who had had] an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon [for] physicians, 44neither could be healed of [by] any, Came [Approached] behind him, and touched the border [fringe, Numbers 15:38] of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out [perceived virtue to have gone out] of me. 47And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him8 before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort [om., be of good comfort, V. O.9]: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. 49While he yet spake [is yet speaking], there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him,10 Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 50But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole [lit., saved]. 51And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in [with him11], save Peter, and James, and John [John and James, V. O.12], and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; [for, V. O.13] she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54And he put them all out [omit this clause, V. O.14], and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat [something to eat]. 56And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.


Harmony.—According to Mark and Luke, the raising of Jairus’ daughter follows immediately after the return of Jesus from the land of the Gadarenes. According to Matthew, on the other hand, this raising immediately preceded the healing of the paralytic and the calling of Matthew to the apostleship. It appears to us that the former arrangement deserves the preference (similarly Wieseler, a. o.). The words of Matthew, Luke 8:18, ταῦτα αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος αὐτοῖς, seem occasionally to be rather a standing formula to adapt one narrative to another, than a diplomatically exact indication of the actual state of the case. Matthew 8:9; Matthew 8:9. bear rather a chrestomathic than a strictly chronological character, while the arrangement in Mark and Luke is much more natural and simple. The opposite view is represented by Olshausen, Lange, Stier. We believe that one must lose himself in a sea of insurmountable difficulties, if he makes Matthew 9:18-26 follow immediately upon Luke 8:1-17.

Luke 8:40. The people gladly received Him.—According to the concurrent accounts of Mark and Luke, the people wait upon the shore for the Saviour while He was returning from the land of the Gadarenes. It appears as if the throngs that had streamed together, also interested themselves for the fate of Jairus. Respecting his office as president of the synagogue, see Lange on Matthew 9:18.

Luke 8:41. And he fell down at Jesus’ feet.—A revelation of the life of faith in the president of a synagogue certainly not too friendly to Jesus, of no mean significance. By distress he also was impelled to Jesus, although it could not previously be observed that the healing in the synagogue at Capernaum (Luke 4:31-44), the miracle upon the paralytic (Luke 5:12-26), or that on the servant of the centurion at Capernaum (Luke 7:1-10) had made upon this ruler a decisive impression. But now when he is himself in need he without doubt calls to mind all this, and derives therefrom boldness to come with his own sorrow to Jesus.

Luke 8:42. One only daughter, about twelve years of age.—The statement of the age Luke alone has; it interested him doubtless as physician also. That the woman with an issue of blood had also been ailing twelve years is a coincidence such as real life affords thousands of. An inventor would without doubt have taken care that these two numbers should not have agreed with one another.

She lay a dying.—Ἀπέθνησκεν, imperfect, not “obierat, absente mortuamque ignorante patre” (Fritzsche). According to Matt. ἄρτι ἐτελεύτησεν. From Luke 8:49 it appears, however, that Jairus at this moment did not yet regard her as dead. The different accounts admit of easy combination, if we only consider the excited state of the speaker, who certainly did not weigh his words in a gold-balance. “He left her as one who was dying, and might therefore express himself waveringly.” Lange. As to the rest, the prayer of Jairus shows a singular mixture of faith and weakness of faith; he stands below the heathen centurion and almost on a level with the βασιλικός, John 4:46-54. He desires not only healing, but stipulates moreover expressly that the Saviour must, above all, Himself come and lay His hands on his little daughter. He conceives the miracle only under one, and that the most ordinary, form, instead of entreating, “Speak in a word.” But just this brings him also into perplexity, since the Saviour allows Himself to be detained on the way.

As He went.—The Saviour therefore does not allow Himself to be kept back by the exceedingly imperfect form of Jairus’ faith, since He is persuaded of its sincerity. Comp. Matthew 12:20.

Ἰατροῖς, “for physicians.” With his psychological tact Luke brings into relief how much the wearisome suffering of this woman had been aggravated by the fact that with all her suffering she had in addition made so many fruitless essays to be relieved (προσαναλώσασα). Mark expresses himself less favorably for the faculty: “πολλὰ παθοῦσα ὑπὸ πολλῶν ἰατρῶν καὶ μηδὲν ὠφεληθεῖσα, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εἰςτὸ χεῖρον ἐλθοῦσα.”

Luke 8:44. The fringe of His garment.—The κράσπεδον, צִיצִת, comp. Numbers 15:38, and Winer, Realwörterbuch, Art. Saum.

Luke 8:45. Peter and they that were with him.—Peculiar to Luke, since Mark only speaks of the disciples in general. Entirely in agreement with the precipitate character of Peter, who thinks merely of an accidental, and not in the least of a believing, touch.

Luke 8:46. Somebody hath touched Me.—“Hoc absurdum videtur, quod gratiam suam effuderit Christus nesciens, cui benefaceret. Certe minime dubium est, quin sciens ac volens mulierem sanaverit, sed eam requirit, ut sponte in medium prodeat. Si testis miraculi sui fuisset Christus, forte non fuisset ejus verbis creditum, nunc vero, quum mulier, metu perculsa, quod sibi accidit, narrat, plus ponderis habet ejus confessio.” Calvin.

I perceived virtue to have gone out of Me.—It is and remains a difficult question how we are to conceive this going forth of virtue. Certainly not in any such way as if His healing power resembled an electric battery, which was obliged to discharge itself involuntarily at the least touch. There proceeds nothing from Him unless He will, but He has ever the will to help when and so soon as He only meets with believing confidence. It is therefore not unconsciously, but with full consciousness, that He permits healing power to stream forth when the hand of faith lays hold upon Him. The people press Him on all sides, but experience nothing of the ever-ready healing power, even though one or another might have had a concealed disease, simply because this confidence is lacking in them. And that this virtue proceeds from the Lord need occasion as little perplexity as that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, John 15:26. Of this going forth of His miraculous power now, the Saviour has no sensuous feeling, but an intellectual knowledge; He knows it within Himself (ἔγνων). Into what definite individual the virtue had passed the Saviour did not know directly. The miraculous knowledge of the Godman was no magical clairvoyance, and His question, “Who is the one (Masc. ὁ, not ἡ) who has touched me?” was by no means a mere feigning. He looks around that the concealed believer might come forward, for this He knows, that without faith the beneficent power would in no case have been elicited from Him. In the spirit He has already heard the cry of distress of a suffering and trusting soul. That His garment was the cause of the healing, the mechanical conductor of the healing power, of this the Evangelist says nothing; but by the touch of His garment faith might be as well tested as by the grasping of His mighty hand. Designedly, therefore, does He cause the woman to come forward from obscurity to the full light, that she may be brought back from the fancy of a magical, to the apprehension of a freely intended working of the Saviour. Not Jesus’ garment, but her own faith, has saved her, even though this faith in the beginning was by no means wholly free from superstition.

Luke 8:47. And how she was healed immediately.—According to tradition, Eusebius, H. E. vii. 18; Sozomenus v. 21, the woman erected at Paneas, her birthplace, a memorial of this benefit, which the Emperor Julian is said afterwards to have removed and to have erected his own statue in the place of it. Elsewhere, as in the Gospel of Nicodemus, Luke 7:0, and in Thilo i. 561, this woman appears under the name of Veronica, who, in the presence of Pilate, proclaimed Jesus’ innocence in loud voice, and on the way to Golgotha wiped His face with the handkerchief that is still preserved. Without being obliged to criticise the genuineness and value of these accounts, they may, however, serve as proofs how, even in Christian antiquity, the faith and the hope of this sufferer were esteemed. Compare, moreover, the similar miracles Matthew 14:36; Acts 5:15; Acts 19:11. In Sepp, Leben Jesu, ii. § 399, we find important particulars in reference to the manner of healing the ῥύσις αἵματος by Jewish physicians. The completeness of the miraculous healing is admirably expressed by Luke the physician in the παραχρῆμα ἔστη ἡῥύσις τ. αἵμ.

Luke 8:49. While He is yet speaking.—By the use of the present in the narrative the vividness and dramatic power of Luke’s representation is not a little heightened. It appears, moreover, from this message, that Jairus had come forth with the knowledge and approbation of his family to call the Master. Perhaps, however, this resolution had produced a reaction with some; at least these messengers, probably sent by the distressed mother to the sorrowing father, show now plainly enough that they expect no further benefit from the Teacher.

Luke 8:50. Fear not.—The whole delay with the woman had been for Jairus a trial of fire. His just awakened faith had been most intensely shaken; but now, when about to succumb, he is strengthened by the Saviour.—Καὶ σωθήσεται. Still more accurately, as it appears, this word is omitted by Mark, although, of course, the event showed that this indirect promise had been comprehended in the “Only believe.” In that the Saviour at such an instant forbids all fear and demands only faith, He causes Jairus already to expect something great, but does not as yet tell him definitely what.

Luke 8:51. He suffered no man to go in.—As the Saviour did not bring with Him all His disciples, it appears to have been His intention to keep the miracle as much as possible concealed. That He causes Himself to be accompanied by the three disciples, who also upon Tabor, and in Gethsemane, entered into the innermost sanctuary, is a proof of the high significance which He Himself attributes to this raising of the dead.

Luke 8:52. And all wept and bewailed her.—Comp. Matthew 9:23 and De Wette, Archæology, § 263, who makes mention of this expression, among others, from the Talmud: “Etiam pauperrimus inter’ Israelites, uxore mortua, prœbebit ei non minus quam duos tibias et unam lamentatricem.” We can easily imagine how great a din, in the house of an Israelite of distinction, after the loss of his only daughter, there must have been.

She is not dead.—Against the explanation of it as a swoon, Lange justly declares: Matt. ad loc. It is true, Von Ammon concludes, from the small number of witnesses that Jesus takes with Him, that the awakening maiden above all things had need of rest and quiet, and therefore was not really dead; but just as well might he, from the command given to the bearers at Nain to stand still, have been able to conclude that the motion of the bier might hive been injurious to the only seemingly dead man. The explanation of Olshausen and others is in conflict with the ethical character of the Lord, who was never wont to surround His deeds with an illusory glitter, with the consciousness of the parents and Family, Luke 8:53, and with the express account of Luke: “her spirit returned,” Luke 8:55, comp. 1 Kings 17:22. It is not to be doubted, moreover, that the figurative speech taken from sleep serves still more to veil the miracle. A vaunter would have said of one apparently dead: “She sleeps not, but she is dead.” The Prince of life says of one dead, “She is not dead, but sleepeth.” In the eyes of the Saviour she was at this moment already living, although she as yet lay there fettered corporeally by the power of death.

Luke 8:55. To give her something to eat.—Here also there appears in the miracle of the Saviour a trait of benevolence and provident care which forgets nothing, for which nothing is too trivial. Thus does He elsewhere take care that the crumbs should be gathered; that Lazarus should be freed from the grave-clothes,—at once a proof of the truth of the account, and of the completeness of the miracle.

Luke 8:56. That they should tell no man.—The opinion that the command to keep silence is here interpolated in the wrong place, and was given, not at this miracle, but at a former one (Hase), is destitute of all proof. The command, on the other hand, is occasioned by the intense expectation of the people at the time, who might easily have given themselves up to insurrectionary commotions. Besides, it was a training school for Jairus and his family, who, after they had now beheld the miraculous power of the Saviour, had to be guided to further faith and obedience. And as respects the little daughter, awakened by Jesus to new life, who does not feel how injuriously the continual questions and expressions of astonishment and curiosity would have worked upon the higher and inward life in her case.


1. It is important to note the different forms in which faith reveals itself in Jairus and in the woman with the issue of blood. The former comes courageously forward, but is secretly anxious, and appears stronger than he really is. The other approaches timorously, but is secretly strong in faith, and is really far more than she appeared. Both types have in the Christian world many spiritually related to them.
2. This double narrative of miracle bears in almost every trait the stamp of truth, simplicity, and quiet sublimity. This anxiety of the father and this timidity of the woman; this restlessness of the people and this composure of the Saviour; this surprise of the disciples and His own decisively repeated “Some one hath touched me!” this laugh of unbelief over against the outbreak of sorrow; this majesty in revealing, and this care in concealing, His miraculous power; all this forms a so inimitable whole that one may grasp the truth almost with his hands. Matthew, according to his custom, relates concisely and objectively; with Mark the influence of the eye-witness Peter is unmistakable; the particulars of Luke reveal the physician, and his statement of the age of the child is in some measure supported by Mark, inasmuch as the latter says that she walked. All the accounts admit of combination in a most unforced manner, and if any one could take them merely for artfully interwoven threads of a pious invention, we should with reason have to doubt not only his religious sense, but also his natural sense of beauty and truth.

3. A striking similarity appears between the raising of Jairus’ daughter and that of Lazarus. Both times does the Lord delay before He brings the help, and permits the sick one to whom He is called, to die. Both times He gives a mysterious promise of deliverance. Both times finally does He declare the death a sleep. Here also the Synoptic agrees with the Johannean Christ. [It may be questioned whether in either case the death had not occurred when the message of entreaty reached Him. It seems, at least, hard to believe that the Saviour would have permitted any mortal to pass through the agonies of death, merely for the purpose of displaying His miraculous power more fully. On either interpretation, however, the similarity between the present miracle and the raising of Lazarus remains.—C. C. S.]

4. “The journey to this miracle is a remarkable type of many an inward leading. When Jesus has already arrived with the man almost at the goal of his conversion and perfection, just then comes often the hardest shock; by which even what of faith has been gained, appears to fall again completely in ruins. Yet it is only meant to serve for the complete overcoming of all misgiving in the man, for the perfecting of faith and for the glory of the divine Benefactor.” Von Gerlach. Comp. moreover the remarks on the raising of the young man of Nain, Luke 7:11-17.


When Jesus has been missed for a time, He is received with the greater joy.—How life’s distress drives to Jesus.—Jesus the best refuge for the troubled parent’s heart.—No youth or strength secures from death.—Jesus looks not mainly at the completeness, but at the sincerity of the faith that calls upon Him.—Jesus the Physician of our hidden infirmities.—The hopeless essays to heal one’s self.—The world a physician under whom the sick man grows continually worse and worse.—The bold grasp of faith: 1. What it ventures; 2. what it wins.—How many surround Jesus outwardly, but how few touch Him believingly!—Hidden faith must finally come to light: 1. For the glory of the Lord; 2. for its own attestation; 3. for the encouragement and for the comfort of others.—The tranquillity of the Saviour in opposition: 1. To the thronging of the people; 2. to the contradiction of the disciples; 3. to the perplexity of the woman; 4. to the anxiety of Jairus.—The faith of the woman with the issue of blood: 1. Secretly nourished; 2. courageously shown; 3. immediately discovered; 4. humbly acknowledged; 5. nobly clowned.—Even the hidden benefits of the Lord come at their time to light.—“Fear not, only believe!” 1. An astounding, 2. a legitimate, 3. a possible, 4. a most salutary requirement.—Jesus the best guide on the way of faith. (Jairus.) We see, 1. Supplicating faith heard by Jesus; 2. eager faith tried by Jesus; 3. sinking faith strengthened by Jesus; 4. steadfast faith crowned by Jesus; 5. thankful faith perfected by Jesus.—The way of the Saviour between mourners on the one hand, and laughers on the other.—A hopeless sadness, once for all, proscribed by Jesus when He called death a sleep.—Sleep the image of death; both are, 1. Preceded by weariness; 2. accompanied by a rest; 3. followed by a wakening.—The raising of the spiritually dead also is performed by the Saviour for the most part in holy stillness.—Unbelief which will be wiser than Jesus, is ever put to shame.—The spiritually awakened also need, and at once, nourishment.—Self-denial the best proof of the gratitude of faith.—Even in reference to the Saviour’s deeds, there is time for silence as well as for speech.

Starke:—If Jesus with His Gospel is repulsed in one place, He is bidden welcome in another.—God often permits men to wait a while before He comes, that they may be the more eager and the more fitted to receive Him.—Brentius:—Great the man, great the cross.—In coming to the help of sufferers, there should not be long delay.—The miracles that in our day are said to be wrought by touching the bones of saints, are mere cheatery.—God heals also our secret infirmities, of which we are ashamed.—Cramer:—Christ is a Searcher of hearts, and one can undertake nothing so secret that He does not see it.—Osiander:—God lets His children sometimes be put to shame, that He may afterwards honor them the more.—The Saviour knows how to speak a word in season to the weary.—Christ Lord of both dead and living.—Romans 14:9.—Learn thou to accommodate thyself to the horas and moras of our God.—J. Hall:—It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting.—Christ and His own are by the unbelieving world continually laughed to scorn.—The scoffing of the world must not keep the Christian back from good works.

Heubner:—When a spiritual father calls on Jesus for a soul entrusted to Him, he may hope of Jesus not to entreat in vain.—The folly of men appeared of old also as now, partly even in excessive funeral pomp.—The trust which Jesus knew how to inspire in Himself.—Lisco:—How faith is assaulted and strengthened.—The mighty help of the Lord Jesus.—Palmer (The Pericope):—As there, the Saviour’s eye sees ever in secret; as there, the Saviour’s hand helps ever in secret.—The Lord’s dealings with a believer here amid the tumult of the world, yonder in the eternal Sabbath-stillness.—Fuchs:—The example of the two sufferers in the Gospel teaches us, what Paul says, Romans 5:3 : 1. Tribulation worketh patience; 2. patience worketh experience; 3. experience worketh hope; 4. hope maketh not ashamed.—Souchon:—The Lord’s leadings for our salvation.—Couard:—We have a God that helps, a Lord God that delivers from death.


Luke 8:42; Luke 8:42.—Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ πορεύεσθαι αὐτόν. Rec.: Ἐν δὲ τῷ ὑπάγειν αὐτόν. [Former reading accepted by Tischendorf, Alford, Meyer, Lachmann with C.1, D., P. Cod. Sin. agrees with Recepta.—C. C. S.]

Luke 8:47; Luke 8:47.—Rec.: αὐτῷ, which, however, is to be expunged. [Om., Cod. Sin.]

Luke 8:48; Luke 8:48.—Rec.: θάρσει, which the Saviour undoubtedly said according to Matthew 9:22, and perhaps also according to Mark 5:34, but certainly not according to the original text of Luke. See Meyer and Tischendorf ad loc. [Om., Tischendorf, Lachmann, Meyer, Tregelles, Alford with B., D., L., Ξ., Cod. Sin.—C. C. S.]

Luke 8:49; Luke 8:49.—Rec.: λέγων αὐτῷ. Not sufficiently attested. [Tischendorf, Alford, Lachmann retain αὐτῷ with A., C., D., E., 11 other uncials; om., B., Cod. Sin., X., Ξ.—C. C. S.]

Luke 8:51; Luke 8:51.—The words σὺν αὐτῷ have sufficient authority for themselves, to be received with a good conscience into the text, although they are wanting in the Recepta. [The Cod. Sin. agrees substantially with this, but has συνεισελθειν αυτω instead of εισελθειν συν αυτω.—C. C. S.]

Luke 8:51; Luke 8:51.—Rec.: James and John. From Mark 5:37. [Recepta supported by Cod. Sin., A., L., S., X., A.—C. C. S.]

Luke 8:52; Luke 8:52.—Rec. omits γάρ. The number of witnesses for γάρ in Luke is too great to allow us to regard it as merely a copulative borrowed from Matthew 9:24. [Lachmann, Tregelles, Alford insert γάρ with Cod. Sin., B., C., D., L., X., Δ. Meyer and Tischendorf omit it with A., E., and 9 other uncials.—C. C. S.]

Luke 8:54; Luke 8:54.—Rec.: Αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκβαλὼν ἔξω πάντας. These words appear to have been with good reason expunged by Lachmann and Tischendorf, as Griesbach had already suspected them. B., D., [Cod. Sin.,] L., X., and other MSS. have them not, and it is much easier to explain how they have been interpolated from Matthew and Mark, than why they should have been omitted, if they had really stood in the original text of Luke. The variation in the arrangement of the words also (C.1 does not read ἔξω, and several MSS. and versions place it after πάντας) appears to strengthen the probability of interpolation.

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Luke 8". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/luke-8.html. 1857-84.
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