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Bible Commentaries
Luke 7

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary

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A.M. 4035. A.D. 31.

In this chapter,

(1,) Christ confirms the doctrine he had preached in the plain, by two glorious miracles, the curing the believing centurion’s servant at a distance, Luke 7:1-10 ; and by raising a widow’s only son from the dead, Luke 7:11-18 .

(2,) He confirms the faith of John the Baptist and his disciples by an account of his miracles, Luke 7:19-23 ; commends John, and reproves the Jews for their contempt of him and his doctrine, Luke 7:24-35 .

(3,) He comforts a sorrowful, penitent woman; declares her sins pardoned; and justifies his kind treatment of her against the cavils of Simon, a proud Pharisee, by the parable of the two insolvent debtors, Luke 7:36-50 .

Verses 1-10

Luke 7:1-10. When he had ended all his sayings Namely, those contained in the preceding chapter; in the audience of the people For though his discourse was immediately addressed to his disciples, he delivered it in the hearing of the people who stood round him in the plain; he entered into Capernaum Near which town the plain was in which he had preached. And a certain centurion’s servant was sick See some of the circumstances of the miracle explained on Matthew 8:5-10. And when he heard of Jesus Of his miracles and of his arrival at Capernaum; he sent unto him the elders of the Jews “Magistratus oppidi, aut præpositos synagogæ, either the magistrates of the town, or the rulers of the synagogue.” Grotius. For, as it was anciently the custom of the Jews to intrust the management of public affairs to persons advanced in years, as having most wisdom and experience, they called all who discharged those offices elders, even when, in later times, they were admitted to them without any regard to their age at all. It is plain, from the more circumstantial account here given of this miracle by Luke, than that given by Matthew, that when the latter says, There came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, &c., he is not to be understood as signifying that the centurion came in person, but only by his messengers. Indeed, it is usual in all languages, especially in the Hebrew, to ascribe to a person himself the things which are done, and the words which are spoken, by his order. Accordingly, Matthew relates as said by the centurion himself, what others said by order from him. An instance of the same kind we have in the case of Zebedee’s children: from Matthew 20:20, we learn it was their mother that spoke those words which, Mark 10:35-37, they themselves are said to speak; because she was only their mouth. In John 4:1, Jesus is said to baptize, when he baptized by his disciples. And John 19:1, Pilate is said to take and scourge Jesus, when he did it only by his soldiers. Thus, in the following Jewish proverbs, adduced by Le Clerc on this passage, “The messenger of any man is as, or equal to, the man himself. The ambassador of a king is as, or equal to the king.” And nothing is more frequent, even at this day, in our courts of law, than to say that a person comes into the court, and asks a thing, which he asks perhaps only at the third hand, by the counsel, whom his solicitor has employed in his cause. They besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy This centurion seems to have been what they called a proselyte of righteousness; for he was a lover of the Jewish nation, on account of their religion, and therefore had built them a synagogue: which attachment to them, and uncommon generosity, had made him greatly beloved in that country. Hence these elders of Capernaum, where he now resided, heartily espoused his cause on this occasion, presented his petition to Jesus, and urged it also from the consideration of his character. Then Jesus went with them As he constantly embraced every opportunity of doing good, whether to the bodies or souls of men; so he did not decline this that was now offered him, but cheerfully went with the elders as they desired, in order to heal the centurion’s servant. And when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him In the way, some of the centurion’s friends, whom he had sent, met Jesus with a message from him, in which he expressed the highest opinion of our Lord’s power, and desired him not to take the trouble of coming, but to order the cure, which he knew he could easily do. When Jesus heard these things he marvelled at him Admired him, on account of his great humility, and the strength of his faith. See on Matthew 8:5. And turned him about, and said unto the people With great solemnity; I say unto you What it is of great importance that you should consider and lay to heart; I have not found so great faith As now appears in this stranger; no, not in Israel In all my journeys through the country, and converse with its inhabitants. Observe, reader, Christ will have those that follow him to observe and consider the great examples of faith that are sometimes set before them; especially when any such are found among those who do not profess to follow Christ so closely as they do; in order that, by considering the strength of the faith of such, they may be ashamed of the weakness and wavering of their own. And they, returning, found the servant whole The cure was immediately and perfectly wrought. Observe also, 1st, The kindness of this centurion to his servant, and the anxiety he showed to get him cured, were suitable to the character of a humane master, and exhibit an excellent pattern of duty, very fit to be imitated by Christian masters, with whom it is but too common to treat their servants and dependants as if they were not creatures of the same rank with themselves, but of an inferior order. 2d, Christ will take cognizance of the distressed case of poor servants, and be ready to relieve them; for there is no respect of persons with him. Nor are the Gentiles excluded from the benefit of his grace. Nay, this was a specimen of that much greater faith which would be found among the Gentiles, when the gospel should be preached to them, than among the Jews.

Verses 11-12

Luke 7:11-12. He went into a city called Nain A town situated about a mile or two south of Tabor, and near Endor. And many of his disciples went with him Among these, doubtless, were the twelve appointed to be apostles: for, “it is not to be imagined that he would suffer the chosen witnesses of his miracles to be absent, when so great a miracle was to be performed as the raising a person from the dead, and to be performed so publicly, in the presence of all those who were attending the funeral.”

There was a dead man carried out “When Jesus and the multitude that attended him came to the gates of Nain, they met the corpse of a youth, whom much people of the city were carrying out to burial, accompanied by his afflicted mother bathed in tears. This woman, being a widow, had no prospect of any more children, wherefore, as he was her only son, the loss she sustained in him was very great. Hence the sympathy which she received from her relations and friends was singular. In testimony of their concern for her, a crowd of people, much greater than was usual on such occasions, attended her while she performed the last duty to her beloved son. This circumstance the evangelist takes notice of to show, that though there had been no persons present at the miracle but those who attended the funeral, it was illustrious on account of the number of the witnesses.” Macknight.

Verses 13-15

Luke 7:13-15. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, &c. Jesus, whose tenderness made him susceptible of the strongest impressions from occurrences of this kind, knowing that the mother’s affliction was bitter, and the occasion of it real, was greatly moved with compassion at the sorrowful scene. Here was no application made to him for her, not so much as that he would speak some words of comfort to her; but, ex mero motu, purely from the goodness of his nature he was troubled for her, and said unto her, Weep not. Observe, reader, Christ has a concern for mourners, for the miserable, and often prevents them with the blessings of his goodness. He undertook the work of our redemption and salvation in his love and in his pity, Isaiah 63:9. What a pleasing idea doth this give us of the compassion of the Lord Jesus, and the multitude of his tender mercies, which may be very encouraging to us, when at any time we are in sorrow! Let poor widows comfort themselves in their sorrows with this, that Christ pities them, and knows their souls in adversity; and, if others despise their grief, he does not. Christ said, Weep not; and he could give her a reason for it, which no one else could; weep not for a dead son, for he shall presently become a living one. This was a reason peculiar to her case; yet there is a reason, common to all that sleep in Jesus, (which is of equal force against inordinate and excessive grief for their death,) that they shall rise again, shall rise in glory, and therefore we must not sorrow as those that have no hope, 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Let Rachel, that weeps for her children, refrain her eyes from tears; for there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border, Jeremiah 31:17. And let our passion at such a time be checked and calmed by the consideration of Christ’s compassion. And he came and touched the bier Which he could do without contracting pollution. The people of the East bury their dead without coffins, but they carry them to the grave on a bier that is shaped like one. By touching this, Jesus intimated to the bearers that they should not proceed. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise And no sooner had he uttered this command than he that was dead sat up Without any human help, having received life from Jesus, which was thus evinced, as it was also by his beginning to speak. Thus, when Christ communicates spiritual life to a person who had been dead in trespasses and sins, he instantly arises out of the state of insensibility, darkness, and death, in which he had lain, and his lips are opened in prayer and praise. And he delivered him to his mother Christ did not oblige this young man, to whom he had given a new life, to go along and continue with him, as his disciple to minister to him, though he owed him much, even his own self; much less as a trophy of his dominion over death, to get honour by him; but presented him to his mother, to attend her, as became a dutiful son, showing hereby, that it was in compassion of her affliction he had wrought the life-giving miracle. Indeed, all Christ’s miracles were miracles of mercy; and a great act of mercy this was to this widow. Now she was comforted according to the time in which she had been afflicted, and much more; for she could now look upon this son as a particular favourite of Heaven, with more pleasure than if he had not died. And as this miracle was an illustrious display of our Lord’s compassion for a person in distress, so it was a striking confirmation of his divine mission; this youth being raised from the dead near the gate of the city, a place of public resort, and in the presence of many witnesses, particularly the multitude which came with Jesus, the people who accompanied the corpse, and all who happened in that instant to be in or passing through the gate upon business.

Verse 16

Luke 7:16. And there came a fear on all All the people present, being sensible that Jesus showed, in this instance, not only the greatness of his power, but the truth of his mission from God, were seized with a religious awe and reverence, which had him for its object. And they glorified God For the Lord and his goodness, as well as the Lord and his greatness, are to be feared and glorified; saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us. This was the inference which they drew from the miracle, that God had again graciously regarded his ancient people, by raising up among them an extraordinary prophet, as he had often done in former ages. It was indeed reasonable to conclude that the person must be divinely inspired, who could thus restore the dead to life; nay, and that he was the great prophet they had been long looking for, and that in and by him God had visited his people to redeem them, as was expected, Luke 1:68. This would be life from the dead indeed, to all them that waited for the consolation of Israel. And when dead souls are thus raised to spiritual life, by a divine power going along with the gospel, we must glorify God, and look upon it as his graciously visiting his people. And this rumour of him went forth Wherever this miracle was reported, which was not only in Judea, but in all the neighbouring regions, it produced the same opinion in those who heard of it, namely, that God had visited his people in an extraordinary way, and had raised up among them a very eminent prophet, which greatly heightened and increased the mighty expectations from him, which long before they had begun to entertain. “The ancients,” says Grotius, “observe, that in three of the miracles, performed by Jesus after his sermon on the mount, the three kinds of God’s benefits are represented to us: 1st, Of those which are conferred upon our suing to God for them ourselves, as in the case of the leper. 2d, Of those which are obtained for us by the prayers of others, as in the case of the centurion’s servant. And, 3d, Of those which God bestows out of his own free mercy, as in the present case. To which kind of mercy the apostles very justly refer the calling of the Gentiles.”

Verse 18

Luke 7:18. And the disciples of John showed him these things All this while John the Baptist was in prison; Herod having confined him for the freedom which he took in reproving his adulterous commerce with Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. But his confinement was not of the closest kind, for his disciples had access to him frequently. In one of those visits they gave him an account of the election of the twelve apostles to preach the gospel, and of Christ’s miracles, particularly that he had lately raised from the dead Jairus’s daughter and the widow of Nain’s son; as is plain from what Luke says in the following verses, who brings in the history of John’s message immediately after these miracles.

Verses 19-28

Luke 7:19-28. And John, calling unto him two of his disciples, sent them to Jesus, &c. See this whole paragraph explained in the notes on Matthew 11:2-11. To the poor the gospel is preached Which is the greatest mercy and the greatest miracle of all.

Verses 29-35

Luke 7:29-35. And all the people That were present, and the publicans in particular, when they heard this discourse, having been formerly baptized with the baptism of John, justified God Owned his wisdom and mercy, in having called them to repentance by John’s ministry, and prepared them for him that was to come. But the Pharisees and lawyers The good, learned, honourable men; rejected the counsel of God against themselves That is, to their own prejudice. They made void God’s gracious and merciful design, with regard to themselves; or disappointed all the methods of his love, and would receive no benefit from them. By calling the gospel the counsel of God, the grandest idea of it possible is given. It is nothing less than the result of the deep consideration and deliberation of God; for which reason the crime of men’s rejecting it is very atrocious. Now, to show these Pharisees and lawyers the perverseness of their disposition, in resisting the evidence of John’s mission, and the gracious design of God in calling them to repentance by his ministry, he told them they were like children at play, who never do what their companions desire them, but are so froward and perverse that no contrivance can be found to please them. It is plain, our Lord means that they were like the children complained of, not like those that made the complaint. Whereunto shall I liken, &c. See this passage elucidated in the note on Matthew 11:16-19. We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced, &c. The application of this proverb to the Pharisees our Lord justified by observing, that the Divine Wisdom had tried every method proper for converting them, but in vain. For, first of all, the Baptist was sent unto them in the stern dignity of their ancient prophets, so that it was natural to think they would have reverenced him; nevertheless, they rejected him altogether. John came neither eating bread, as others do, nor drinking wine But living on locusts, and honey, and water, in the wilderness; and ye say, He hath a devil He acts like a wild, distracted demoniac, whom an evil spirit drives from the society of men. Such, it seems, was the pride and malice of the Pharisees, that, when they found their own ostentatious and hypocritical mortifications utterly eclipsed by the real austerities of this holy man’s life, they impudently affirmed that his living in deserts, his shunning the company of men, the coarseness of his clothing, the abstemiousness of his diet, with other severities which he practised, were all the effects of madness, or religious melancholy. The Son of man came eating and drinking The severity of John’s ministry proving unsuccessful, with respect to the conversion of the scribes and Pharisees, God sent his own Son to address and conduct himself toward them in a more free and familiar manner: but neither was this method successful in bringing them to repentance and newness of life. They said, Behold a gluttonous man, &c. Ungratefully injuring his character for that humanity and condescension, which they should rather have applauded. But Wisdom is justified in all her children The children of wisdom are those who are truly wise, wise unto salvation, and who prove themselves to be so by a sincere and ardent love of truth and goodness, of wisdom, piety, and virtue; and the wisdom of God in all these dispensations, these various ways of calling sinners to repentance, and in all the methods of his divine providence, however offensive they may be to wicked men, are readily owned and heartily approved of by all these, See on Matthew 11:19.

Verses 36-38

Luke 7:36-38. And one of the Pharisees, &c. When Jesus had finished the preceding observations on the ministry of John, the obstinacy of the scribes and Pharisees, and the conduct of all the true lovers of wisdom, a Pharisee named Simon, who, it seems, was a man of a better disposition than the generality of his sect, invited him to dinner. And he went into the Pharisee’s house He accepted the invitation, and went with him; and sat down to meat Without taking any notice of the omission of some usual ceremonies of respect, which so great a guest might well have expected. And behold a woman which was a sinner This character given of her renders it probable that she had formerly been a harlot. But her conduct on this occasion proves that she was now awakened to a sense of her sin and folly. She is said to have lived in the city, namely, Capernaum, which is often described in that general way. It may be necessary to observe here, that the following is a very different story from that of Mary of Bethany anointing Christ’s head a little before his death. See Matthew 26:6, &c. Neither was this woman, as many have supposed, the person who, in the gospel, is called Mary Magdalene, an opinion for which there appears to be no reason, excepting that Mary Magdalene is mentioned by Luke in the next chapter, as our Lord’s attendant, and one out of whom he had cast seven devils. See note on Luke 8:2. When she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house Probably she was acquainted at his house, for, it appears, she got easy access even into the room where the company was sitting; brought an alabaster box of ointment With a design to testify her respect and reverence for Jesus, who had shown himself to be her compassionate Saviour. And stood at his feet behind weeping Being come into the room, she placed herself behind Jesus, and from a deep conviction of her many sins, and of the obligations she lay under to him for bringing her to a sense of them, she shed tears in such abundance, that they trickled down on his feet, which were then bare. It must be observed, that neither the Jews nor Romans wore stockings, and as for their shoes or sandals, they always put them off when they took meat: for they did not sit on chairs at meals as we do, but lay on couches covered with stuffs, the quality whereof was suitable to the circumstances of the entertainer. On these couches they placed themselves on their sides, and supported their heads with one arm bent at the elbow, and resting on the couch; with the other they took their food, and were supported at the back by cushions. Their feet of course were accessible to one who came behind the couch. And began to wash ( βρεχειν , to water)

his feet with tears, and wipe them with the hairs of her head We are not to imagine that she came with a purpose thus to wash and wipe the feet of Christ; but probably hearing that the Pharisee, who invited Jesus to dinner, had neglected the usual civility of anointing the head of his divine guest, she was willing to supply the defect, bringing for that purpose the alabaster box of ointment; and as she stood near Jesus she was so melted with his discourse, that she shed such a flood of tears as wetted his feet; and observing this, she wiped them with her hair, which she now wore flowing loose about her shoulders, as mourners commonly did; and then, not thinking herself worthy to anoint his head, poured out the liquid perfume on his feet, and thereby showed at once, both great love and great humility. In this view, all appears natural and unaffected. It is well known that long hair was esteemed a great ornament in the female dress, and women of loose character used to nourish and plait it, and to set it out with garlands and flowers.

Verse 39

Luke 7:39. Now when the Pharisee saw it When Simon observed what was done, that Jesus permitted such a notorious sinner to approach, nay, and to touch him; he spake within himself He thought in his heart; This man, if he were a prophet As he pretends to be; would have known what manner of woman What a vile, abominable creature; this is that toucheth him Thus familiarly; and instead of allowing her to do so, would immediately have driven her away with just disdain, as the tradition of the elders directs; for it was a maxim with the Pharisees, that the very touch of the wicked caused pollution. “But though Simon did not declare his sentiments, they were not hidden from Christ, who, to show him that he was a prophet, and that he knew not only the characters of men, but the inward and invisible state of their minds, conversed with him immediately upon the subject of his thoughts. The scope indeed of what he said was, to convince Simon how absurdly he reasoned. Nevertheless, Jesus did not expose him before the company, by making what he said within himself public, but, with great delicacy, pointed out the unreasonableness of his thoughts to Simon alone, without letting the guests at table know any thing of the matter.”

Verses 40-43

Luke 7:40-43. Jesus answering What Simon spake within himself; said, Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee Though he was kindly entertained at his table, yet even there he judged it proper to reprove him for what he saw amiss in him, and not to suffer sin upon him. This he does, however, in a most tender and courteous manner. And he saith, Master, διδασκαλε , teacher, say on Though Simon would not believe him to be a prophet, because he suffered so great a sinner to touch him, yet he could compliment him with the title of teacher, like those that say to him, Lord, Lord, but do not the things which he enjoins. Then Jesus immediately delivered the following parable as a just, yet mild reproof of his host. A certain creditor had two debtors That were both insolvent; the one owed five hundred pence Greek, δηναρια , Roman pence, in value about seven pence halfpenny sterling, so that five hundred of them were nearly equivalent to fifteen guineas sterling, and fifty to one guinea and a half. There is no reason to believe that there was any mystery intended in Christ’s fixing on these sums, rather than any others that had as great a difference between them. And when they had nothing to pay Could neither of them discharge any part of this debt; he frankly forgave them both The whole of what they respectively owed: Tell me, therefore Since it may be reasonably expected that both would have some sense of, and gratitude for his goodness; which of them would love him most In return for this his great kindness and generosity? Observe, reader, neither of them would love him at all before he had forgiven him. An insolvent debtor, till he is forgiven, does not love, but shun his creditor. Simon answered, He to whom he forgave most He surely was under the greatest obligations, and must reasonably be supposed to feel the greatest affection for his merciful and generous creditor: And he said, Thou hast rightly judged And the reflection is evidently suited to the case that we have before us.

Verses 44-48

Luke 7:44-48. And he turned to the woman That had been a scandalous, notorious sinner, and was the greater, the five hundred pence debtor. The Pharisee, however, though the less, the fifty pence debtor, yet was a debtor too; which was more than he thought himself to be, judging rather that God was his debtor, Luke 18:10-11. Seest thou this woman Afflicted and distressed as she is? and canst thou avoid taking notice of the extraordinary tenderness and affectionate regard to me that she has now manifested? I entered into thy house As a guest, on thine own express invitation; thou gavest me no water for my feet Though that be so customary and necessary a refreshment on these occasions. But she hath washed my feet with her tears Tears of affection for me, tears of affliction for sin; and wiped them with the hairs of her head In token of her great love to me. Thou gavest me no kiss When I first came under thy roof. So little was thy love to me. It was customary with the Jews to show respect and kindness to their welcome guests, by saluting them with a kiss, by washing their feet, and anointing their heads with oil, or some fine ointment. It is possible Simon might omit some of these civilities, lest his brethren, who sat at the table with him, should think he paid Jesus too much respect; and, if there was any such slight intended, it might be an additional reason for our Lord’s taking such particular notice of the neglect. But this woman, since the time I came in Or rather, as many copies read it, εισηλθεν , she came in, hath not ceased to kiss even my feet With the greatest humility and affection. My head with oil thou didst not anoint Though few entertainments fail of being attended with that circumstance, (see Deuteronomy 28:40; Micah 6:15; Psalms 2:5; and Psalms 104:15; and Psalms 141:5;) but she, as thou seest, hath anointed my feet with precious and fragrant ointment; wherefore I say unto thee I declare it openly, both for her vindication and for thy admonition; her sins, which are many And exceedingly heinous, as I well know; are forgiven Freely and graciously; for Rather, therefore, as οτι undoubtedly ought here to be translated, she loved much As I have been the means of bringing her to repentance, and to enjoy pardon and peace, she has thus testified the great love and high regard she has for me, as being persuaded that she never can sufficiently express her sense of the obligation. But to whom little is forgiven Or who thinks his debt was but small; the same loveth little Is not much affected with the kindness of the creditor that forgives him: and feels but little gratitude and love to him on that account. The substance, therefore, of our Lord’s answer to the Pharisee is, “It is true, this woman has been a great sinner; but she is a pardoned sinner, which supposes her to be a penitent sinner: what she has done to me, is an expression of her great love to me, her Saviour, by whom her sins are forgiven: and as she is pardoned, who was so great a sinner, it may reasonably be expected that she will love her Saviour more than others, and give greater proofs of it; and if this be the fruit of her love, flowing from a sense of the pardon of her sins, it becomes me to accept of it, and ill becomes any to be offended at it.” It must be carefully observed here, that her love is mentioned as the effect and evidence, not the cause of her pardon. She knew that much had been forgiven her, and therefore she loved much. It is true, Jesus had not yet given her any express intimation in word of the pardon of her sins; yet, having, by his sermons and his grace attending her hearing them, brought her to true repentance, without doubt she was assured of her pardon by the general doctrine of the gospel, which she had heard; by the promise of rest, which Jesus had lately made to all weary and heavy-laden sinners; and especially by the Spirit of adoption, which he had sent into her heart, sealing forgiveness upon her conscience, begetting her again to immortal hopes, and filling her with joy and peace, through believing that God was pacified toward her after all she had done.

As a further proof of the justness of this interpretation, it may not be improper to produce here the following testimony of Dr. Whitby: “Christ saith not her sins are forgiven because she loved much, but this ought to be a token, that her sins, which rendered her unworthy to touch me, have been forgiven; this great love to me being an indication of her deep sense of God’s mercy to her in pardoning her many sins; and this do I, the prophet and the Son of God, declare unto her. To this sense lead both the parable of the great debtor, to whom his lord frankly had forgiven all, for he loved much because much had been forgiven, and the conclusion of it, in these words, he that hath little forgiven, loveth little. Whence it appears, that οτι here cannot be causal, or intimate that she was forgiven much because she loved much; the cause assigned of her forgiveness being, not her love, but faith, Luke 7:50; but only consequential, denoting the effect, or indication of the forgiveness of her many sins. So, Hosea 9:15, all their iniquity was in Gilgal, οτι , therefore there I hated them; for they did not sin in Gilgal because he hated them there; but he hated them there because there they offended.” Thus also Dr. Campbell, who translates the words, Therefore her love is great, observing, “The whole context shows that the particle οτι is illative, and not causal, in this place. The parable of the debtors clearly represents the gratuitous forgiveness as the cause of the love, not the love as the cause of the forgiveness. And this, on the other hand, is, Luk 7:50 th, ascribed to her faith.” Observe, reader, 1st, The Pharisee doubted whether Jesus was a prophet or not, nay, he, in effect, denied it; but Christ here shows that he was more than a prophet, that he was one who had power on earth to forgive sins, and to whom the affections and thankful acknowledgments of penitent sinners were due; in other words, that he was the Messiah, the Son of God, whose sole prerogative and right it was, in conjunction with the Father, to forgive men’s sins. 2d, In testifying that this pardoned sinner loved much, because she had had much forgiven, and in signifying that to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little; he intimated to the Pharisee, that his love to Christ was so little, that he had reason to question whether he loved him at all in sincerity; and consequently, whether indeed his sins, though comparatively little, were forgiven him. From this we learn that, instead of grudging great sinners the mercy they find with Christ upon their repentance, we ought to be excited by their example to examine ourselves, whether we be indeed forgiven, and do at all love Christ. “Our Lord did not make the application of this parable more directly, but left Simon to do it, because he could not but see that if love invites love, and merits a return, Jesus would have been ungenerous had he treated this woman with rudeness and contempt. Having expressed greater love to him, she deserved higher returns of gratitude from him than even Simon himself; for which reason he was not to blame when he allowed her to wash his feet with her tears, wipe them with the hairs of her head, kiss them, and anoint them with fragrant ointment.” And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven Having vindicated her, he spake kindly to her, and assured her, in express terms, that her sins, of which he knew she had truly repented, were actually forgiven.

Verses 49-50

Luke 7:49-50. And they that sat at meat began to say Not indeed openly, but within themselves, Who is this, &c. “They were exceedingly offended at the power which he claimed. But Jesus, contemning all their malicious murmurings, repeated his assurance by telling the woman that her faith had saved her from the punishment of her sins, and bidding her depart in peace, that is, impressed with a strong sense of the love of God, and filled with the satisfaction which naturally arises from that attainment.” Macknight. Upon the whole of this story, let us learn from the candour with which Christ accepted this invitation, and the gentleness and prudence with which he behaved at this insnaring entertainment, to mingle the wisdom of the serpent with the innocence and sweetness of the dove; and neither absolutely to refuse all favours, nor severely to resent all neglects, from those whose friendship might at best be very dubious, and their intimacy by no means safe. Above all, let us be careful to avoid that very ill temper which the Pharisees showed, in upbraiding this poor, humble penitent with the scandals of her former life. Where we have reason to believe that sin has been lamented and forsaken, and consequently that God has forgiven it, let us cheerfully receive those whom our holy Master has not rejected; and if the remembrance of former irregularities cannot be entirely lost, let it only engage us to magnify the riches of divine grace toward such persons, and to rejoice with them in the display of it. See Doddridge.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 7". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/luke-7.html. 1857.
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