Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Luke 10

Verse 1

Appointed (ανεδειχενanedeixen). First aorist active indicative of αναδεικνυμιanadeiknumi an old verb, not only common, but in lxx. In the N.T. only here and Acts 1:24. Cf. αναδειχιςanadeixis in Luke 1:80. To show forth, display, proclaim, appoint.

Seventy others (ετερους εβδομηκοντα καιheterous hebdomēkonta kai). The “also” (καιkai) and the “others” point back to the mission of the Twelve in Galilee (Luke 9:1-6). Some critics think that Luke has confused this report of a mission in Judea with that in Galilee, but needlessly so. What earthly objection can there be to two similar missions? B D Syr. Cur. and Syr. Sin. have “seventy-two.” The seventy elders were counted both ways and the Sanhedrin likewise and the nations of the earth. It is an evenly balanced point.

Two and two (ανα δυοana duo). For companionship as with the Twelve though Mark 6:7 has it δυοduo (vernacular idiom). B K have here ανα δυοana duo a combination of the idiom in Mark 6:7 and that here.

He himself was about to come (ημελλεν αυτος ερχεσταιēmellen autos erchesthai). Imperfect of μελλωmellō with present infinitive and note αυτοςautos Jesus was to follow after and investigate the work done. This was only a temporary appointment and no names are given, but they could cover a deal of territory.

Verse 2

Harvest (τερισμοςtherismos). Late word for the older τεροςtheros summer, harvest. The language in this verse is verbatim what we have in Matthew 9:37, Matthew 9:38 to the Twelve. Why not? The need is the same and prayer is the answer in each case. Prayer for preachers is Christ‘s method for increasing the supply.

Verse 3

As lambs (ως αρναςhōs arnas). Here again the same language as that in Matthew 10:16 except that there “sheep” (προβαταprobata) appears instead of “lambs.” Pathetic picture of the risks of missionaries for Christ. They take their life in their hands.

Verse 4

Purse (βαλλαντιονballantion). Old word for money-bag, sometimes a javelin as if from βαλλωballō Only in Luke in the N.T. (Luke 10:4; Luke 12:33; Luke 22:35). See note on Luke 9:3; notes on Mark 6:7.; and the notes on Matthew 10:9. for the other similar items.

Salute no man on the way (μηδενα κατα την οδον ασπασηστεmēdena kata tēn hodon aspasēsthe). First aorist (ingressive) middle subjunctive with μηδεναmēdena The peril of such wayside salutations was palaver and delay. The King‘s business required haste. Elisha‘s servant was not to tarry for salutations or salaams (2 Kings 4:29). These oriental greetings were tedious, complicated, and often meddlesome if others were present or engaged in a bargain.

Verse 5

First say (πρωτον λεγετεprōton legete). Say first. The adverb πρωτονprōton can be construed with “enter” (εισελτητεeiselthēte), but probably with λεγετεlegete is right. The word spoken is the usual oriental salutation.

Verse 6

A son of peace (υιος ειρηνηςhuios eirēnēs). A Hebraism, though some examples occur in the vernacular Koiné papyri. It means one inclined to peace, describing the head of the household.

Shall rest (επαναπαησεταιepanapaēsetai). Second future passive of επαναπαυωepanapauō a late double compound (επι αναepi παυωana) of the common verb επ υμας ανακαμπσειpauō shall turn to you again (ανακαμπτωeph' humās anakampsei). Common verb anakamptō to bend back, return. The peace in that case will bend back with blessing upon the one who spoke it.

Verse 7

In that same house (εν αυτηι τηι οικιαιen autēi tēi oikiāi). Literally, in the house itself, not “in the same house” (εν τηι αυτηι οικιαιen tēi autēi oikiāi), a different construction. A free rendering of the common Lukan idiom is, “in that very house.”

Eating (εστοντεςesthontes). An old poetic verb εστωesthō for εστιωesthiō that survives in late Greek.

Such things as they give (τα παρ αυτωνta par' autōn). “The things from them.”

For the labourer is worthy of his hire (αχιος γαρ ο εργατης του μιστου αυτουaxios gar ho ergatēs tou misthou autou). In Matthew 10:10 we have της τροπης αυτουtēs trophēs autou (his food). 1 Timothy 5:18 has this saying quoted as scripture. That is not impossible if Luke wrote by a.d. 62. Paul there however may quote only Deuteronomy 25:4 as scripture and get this quotation either from Luke 10:7 or from a proverbial saying of Jesus. It is certainly not a real objection against the Pauline authorship of First Timothy.

Go not from house to house (μη μεταβαινετε εχ οικιας εις οικιανmē metabainete ex oikias eis oikian). As a habit, μηmē and the present imperative, and so avoid waste of time with such rounds of invitations as would come.

Verse 8

Such things as are set before you (τα παρατιτεμενα υμινta paratithemena humin). The things placed before you from time to time (present passive participle, repetition). Every preacher needs this lesson of common politeness. These directions may seem perfunctory and even commonplace, but every teacher of young preachers knows how necessary they are. Hence they were given both to the Twelve and to the Seventy.

Verse 9

Is come nigh unto you (ηγγικεν επ υμαςēggiken eph' humās). Perfect active indicative of εγγιζωeggizō as in Matthew 3:2 of the Baptist and Mark 1:15 of Jesus. Note επ υμαςeph' humās here.

Verse 10

Into the streets thereof (εις τας πλατειας αυτηςeis tas plateias autēs). Out of the inhospitable houses into the broad open streets.

Verse 11

Even the dust (και τον κονιορτονkai ton koniorton). Old word from κονιςkonis dust, and ορνυμιornumi to stir up. We have seen it already in Matthew 10:14; Luke 9:5. Dust is a plague in the east. Shake off even that.

Cleaveth (κολλητενταkollēthenta). First aorist passive participle of κολλαωkollaō to cling as dust and mud do to shoes. Hence the orientals took off the sandals on entering a house.

We wipe off (απομασσομεταapomassometha). Middle voice of an old verb απομασσωapomassō to rub off with the hands. Nowhere else in the N.T. But εκμασσωekmassō occurs in Luke 7:38, Luke 7:44.

Against you (υμινHumin). Fine example of the dative of disadvantage (the case of personal interest, the dative).

Verse 12

More tolerable (ανεκτοτερονanektoteron). Comparative of the verbal adjective ανεκτοςanektos from ανεχομαιanechomai An old adjective, but only the comparative in the N.T. and in this phrase (Matthew 10:15; Matthew 11:22, Matthew 11:24; Luke 10:12, Luke 10:14).

Verse 13

Would have repented (αν μετενοησανan metenoēsan). Conclusion (apodosis) of second-class condition, determined as unfulfilled.

Long ago (παλαιpalai). Implies a considerable ministry in these cities of which we are not told. Chorazin not mentioned save here and Matthew 11:21. Perhaps ΚαραζεKarāzeh near Tell Hum (Capernaum).

Sitting in sackcloth and ashes (εν σακκωι και σποδοι κατημενοιen sakkōi kai spodoi kathēmenoi). Pictorial and graphic. The σακκοςsakkos (sackcloth) was dark coarse cloth made of goat‘s hair and worn by penitents, mourners, suppliants. It is a Hebrew word, sag The rough cloth was used for sacks or bags. To cover oneself with ashes was a mode of punishment as well as of voluntary humiliation.

Verse 15

Shalt thou be exalted? (μη υπσωτησηιmē hupsōthēsēi̱). ΜηMē expects the answer No. The verb is future passive indicative second singular of υπσοωhupsoō to lift up, a late verb from υπσοςhupsos height. It is used by Jesus of the Cross (John 12:32).

Unto Hades (εως αιδουheōs Haidou). See note on Matthew 16:18 for this word which is here in contrast to Heaven as in Isaiah 14:13-15. Hades is not Gehenna. “The desolation of the whole neighbourhood, and the difficulty of identifying even the site of these flourishing towns, is part of the fulfilment of this prophecy” (Plummer). Ragg notes the omission of Nazareth from this list of cities of neglected privilege and opportunity. “Is it the tender memories of boyhood that keep from His lips the name of the arch-rejector (Luke 4:28 sqq.) Nazareth?”

Verse 16

Rejecteth him that sent me (ατετει τον αποστειλαντα μεathetei ton aposteilanta me). These solemn words form a fit close for this discourse to the Seventy. The fate of Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum will befall those who set aside (αa privative and τετεωtheteō from τιτημιtithēmi) the mission and message of these messengers of Christ. See this verb used in Luke 7:30 of the attitude of the scribes and Pharisees toward John and Jesus. It is this thought that makes it so grave a responsibility to be co-workers with Christ, high privilege as it is (John 9:4).

Verse 17

Returned with joy (υπεστρεπσαν μετα χαραςhupestrepsan meta charas). They had profited by the directions of Jesus. Joy overflows their faces and their words.

Even the demons (και τα δαιμονιαkai ta daimonia). This was a real test. The Twelve had been expressly endowed with this power when they were sent out (Luke 9:1), but the Seventy were only told to heal the sick (Luke 10:9). It was better than they expected. The Gospel worked wonders and they were happy. The demons were merely one sign of the conflict between Christ and Satan. Every preacher has to grapple with demons in his work.

Are subject (υποτασσεταιhupotassetai). Present passive indicative (repetition).

Verse 18

I beheld Satan fallen (ετεωρουν τον Σαταναν πεσονταetheōroun ton Satanān pesonta). Imperfect active (I was beholding) and second aorist (constative) active participle of πιπτωpiptō (not fallen, πεπτωκοταpeptōkota perfect active participle, nor falling, πιπτονταpiptonta present active participle, but fall, πεσονταpesonta). As a flash of lightning out of heaven, quick and startling, so the victory of the Seventy over the demons, the agents of Satan, forecast his downfall and Jesus in vision pictured it as a flash of lightning.

Verse 19

And over all the power of the enemy (και επι πασαν την δυναμιν του εχτρουkai epi pāsan tēn dunamin tou echthrou). This is the heart of “the authority” (την εχουσιανtēn exousian) here given by Jesus which is far beyond their expectations. The victory over demons was one phase of it. The power to tread upon serpents is repeated in Mark 16:18 (the Appendix) and exemplified in Paul‘s case in Malta (Acts 28:3-5). But protection from physical harm is not the main point in this struggle with Satan “the enemy” (Matthew 13:25; Romans 16:20; 1 Peter 5:8).

Nothing shall in any wise hurt you (ουδεν υμας ου μη αδικησειouden humās ou mē adikēsei). Text has future active indicative, while some MSS. read αδικησηιadikēsēi aorist active subjunctive of αδικεωadikeō common verb from αδικοςadikos (αa privative and δικοςdikos), to suffer wrong, to do wrong. The triple negative here is very strong. Certainly Jesus does not mean this promise to create presumption or foolhardiness for he repelled the enemy‘s suggestion on the pinnacle of the temple.

Verse 20

Are written (ενγεγραπταιengegraptai). Perfect passive indicative, state of completion, stand written, enrolled or engraved, from ενγραπωengraphō common verb. “As citizens possessing the full privileges of the commonwealth” (Plummer).

Verse 21

In that same hour (εν αυτηι τηι ωραιen autēi tēi hōrāi). Literally, “at the hour itself,” almost a demonstrative use of αυτοςautos (Robertson, Grammar, p. 686) and in Luke alone in the N.T. (Luke 2:38; Luke 10:21; Luke 12:12; Luke 20:19). Matthew 11:25 uses the demonstrative here, “at that time” (εν εκεινωι τωι καιρωιen ekeinōi tōi kairōi).

Rejoiced in the Holy Spirit (ηγαλλιασατο τωι πνευματι τωι αγιωιēgalliasato tōi pneumati tōi hagiōi). First aorist middle of the late verb αγαλλιαωagalliaō for αγαλλωagallō to exult. Always in the middle in the N.T. save Luke 1:47 in Mary‘s Magnificat. This holy joy of Jesus was directly due to the Holy Spirit. It is joy in the work of his followers, their victories over Satan, and is akin to the joy felt by Jesus in John 4:32-38 when the vision of the harvest of the world stirred his heart. The rest of this verse is precisely like Matthew 11:25., a peculiarly Johannine passage in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark, and so from Q (the Logia of Jesus). It has disturbed critics who are unwilling to admit the Johannine style and type of teaching as genuine, but here it is. See note on Matthew 11:25 for discussion. “That God had proved his independence of the human intellect is a matter for thankfulness. Intellectual gifts, so far from being necessary, are often a hindrance” (Plummer).

Verse 22

Knoweth who the Son is (γινωσκει τις εστιν ο υιοςginōskei tis estin ho huios). Knows by experience, γινωσκειginōskei Here Matthew 11:27 has επιγινωσκειepiginōskei (fully knows) and simply τον υιονton huion (the Son) instead of the “who” (τιςtis) clause. So also in “who the Father is” (τις εστιν ο πατερtis estin ho pater). But the same use and contrast of “the Father,” “the Son.” in both Matthew and Luke, “an aerolite from the Johannean heaven” (Hase). No sane criticism can get rid of this Johannine bit in these Gospels written long before the Fourth Gospel was composed. We are dealing here with the oldest known document about Christ (the Logia) and the picture is that drawn in the Fourth Gospel (see my The Christ of the Logia). It is idle to try to whittle away by fantastic exegesis the high claims made by Jesus in this passage. It is an ecstatic prayer in the presence of the Seventy under the rapture of the Holy Spirit on terms of perfect equality and understanding between the Father and the Son in the tone of the priestly prayer in John 17. We are justified in saying that this prayer of supreme Fellowship with the Father in contemplation of final victory over Satan gives us a glimpse of the prayers with the Father when the Son spent whole nights on the mountain alone with the Father. Here is the Messianic consciousness in complete control and with perfect confidence in the outcome. Here as in Matthew 11:27 by the use of willeth to reveal him (βουληται αποκαλυπσαιboulētai apokalupsai). The Son claims the power to reveal the Father “to whomsoever he wills” (ωι αν βουληταιhōi an boulētai indefinite relative and present subjunctive of βουλομαιboulomai to will, not the future indicative). This is divine sovereignty most assuredly. Human free agency is also true, but it is full divine sovereignty in salvation that is here claimed along with possession (παρεδοτηparedothē timeless aorist passive indicative) of all power from the Father. Let that supreme claim stand.

Verse 23

Turning to the disciples (στραπεις προς τους ματηταςstrapheis pros tous mathētas). Second aorist passive of στρεπωstrephō as in Luke 9:55. The prayer was a soliloquy though uttered in the presence of the Seventy on their return. Now Jesus turned and spoke “privately” or to the disciples (the Twelve, apparently), whether on this same occasion or a bit later.

Blessed (μακαριοιmakarioi). A beatitude, the same adjective as in Matthew 5:3-11. A beatitude of privilege very much like that in Matthew 5:13-16. Jesus often repeated his sayings.

Verse 24

Which ye see (α υμεις βλεπετεha humeis blepete). The expression of υμειςhumeis makes “ye” very emphatic in contrast with the prophets and kings of former days.

Verse 25

And tempted him (εκπειραζων αυτονekpeirazōn auton). Present active participle, conative idea, trying to tempt him. There is no “and” in the Greek. He “stood up (ανεστηanestē ingressive second aorist active) trying to tempt him.” ΠειραζωPeirazō is a late form of πειραωpeiraō and εκπειραζωekpeirazō apparently only in the lxx, and N.T. (quoted by Jesus from Deuteronomy 6:16 in Matthew 4:7; Luke 4:12 against Satan). Here and 1 Corinthians 10:9. The spirit of this lawyer was evil. He wanted to entrap Jesus if possible.

What shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Τι ποιησας ζωην αιωνιου κληρονομησωTi poiēsas zōēn aiōniou klēronomēsō̱). Literally, “By doing what shall I inherit eternal life?” Note the emphasis on “doing” (ποιησαςpoiēsas). The form of his question shows a wrong idea as to how to get it.

Eternal life (ζωην αιωνιονzōēn aiōnion) is endless life as in John‘s Gospel (John 16:9; John 18:18, John 18:30) and in Matthew 25:46, which see note.

Verse 26

How readest thou? (πως αναγινωσκεισpōs anaginōskeis̱). As a lawyer it was his business to know the facts in the law and the proper interpretation of the law. See note on Luke 7:30 about nomikos (lawyer). The rabbis had a formula, “What readest thou?”

Verse 27

And he answering (ο δε αποκριτειςho de apokritheis). First aorist participle, no longer passive in idea. The lawyer‘s answer is first from the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:3; Deuteronomy 11:13) which was written on the phylacteries. The second part is from Leviticus 19:18 and shows that the lawyer knew the law. At a later time Jesus himself in the temple gives a like summary of the law to a lawyer (Mark 12:28-34; Matthew 22:34-40) who wanted to catch Jesus by his question. There is no difficulty in the two incidents. God is to be loved with all of man‘s four powers (heart, soul, strength, mind) here as in Mark 12:30.

Verse 28

Thou hast answered right (ορτως απεκριτηςorthōs apekrithēs). First aorist passive indicative second singular with the adverb ορτωςorthōs The answer was correct so far as the words went. In Mark 12:34 Jesus commends the scribe for agreeing to his interpretation of the first and the second commandments. That scribe was “not far from the kingdom of God,” but this lawyer was “tempting” Jesus.

Do this and thou shalt live (τουτο ποιει και ζησηιtouto poiei kai zēsēi). Present imperative (keep on doing this forever) and the future indicative middle as a natural result. There was only one trouble with the lawyer‘s answer. No one ever did or ever can “do” what the law lays down towards God and man always. To slip once is to fail. So Jesus put the problem squarely up to the lawyer who wanted to know by doing what. Of course, if he kept the law perfectly always, he would inherit eternal life.

Verse 29

Desiring to justify himself (τελων δικαιωσαι εαυτονthelōn dikaiōsai heauton). The lawyer saw at once that he had convicted himself of asking a question that he already knew. In his embarrassment he asks another question to show that he did have some point at first:

And who is my neighbour? (και τις εστιν μου πλησιονkai tis estin mou plēsioṉ). The Jews split hairs over this question and excluded from “neighbour” Gentiles and especially Samaritans. So here was his loop-hole. A neighbour is a nigh dweller to one, but the Jews made racial exceptions as many, alas, do today. The word πλησιονplēsion here is an adverb (neuter of the adjective πλησιοςplēsios) meaning ο πλησιον ωνho plēsion ōn (the one who is near), but ωνōn was usually not expressed and the adverb is here used as if a substantive.

Verse 30

Made answer (υπολαβωνhupolabōn). Second aorist active participle of υπολαμβανωhupolambanō (See note on Luke 7:43), to take up literally, and then in thought and speech, old verb, but in this sense of interrupting in talk only in the N.T.

Was going down (κατεβαινενkatebainen). Imperfect active describing the journey.

Fell among robbers (ληισταις περιεπεσενlēistais periepesen). Second aorist ingressive active indicative of περιπιπτωperipiptō old verb with associative instrumental case, to fall among and to be encompassed by (περιperi around), to be surrounded by robbers. A common experience to this day on the road to Jericho. The Romans placed a fort on this “red and bloody way.” These were bandits, not petty thieves.

Stripped (εκδυσαντεςekdusantes). Of his clothing as well as of his money, the meanest sort of robbers.

Beat him (πληγας επιτεντεςplēgas epithentes). Second aorist active participle of επιτιτημιepitithēmi a common verb. Literally, “placing strokes or blows” (πληγαςplēgas plagues) upon him. See Luke 12:48; Acts 16:23; and Revelation 15:1, Revelation 15:6, and Revelation 15:8 for “plagues.”

Half-dead (ημιτανηhēmithanē). Late word from ημιhēmi half, and τνησκωthnēskō to die. Only here in the N.T. Vivid picture of the robbery.

Verse 31

By chance (kata sugkurian). Here only in the N.T., meaning rather, “by way of coincidence.” It is a rare word elsewhere and in late writers like Hippocrates. It is from the verb sugkureō though sugkurēsis is more common.

Was going down (katebainen). Imperfect active as in Luke 10:30. Passed by on the other side (antiparēlthen). Second aorist active indicative of antiparerchomai a late double compound here (Luke 10:31, Luke 10:32) only in the N.T., but in the papyri and late writers. It is the ingressive aorist (ēlthen), came alongside (para), and then he stepped over to the opposite side (anti) of the road to avoid ceremonial contamination with a stranger. A vivid and powerful picture of the vice of Jewish ceremonial cleanliness at the cost of moral principle and duty. The Levite in Luke 10:32 behaved precisely as the priest had done and for the same reason.

Verse 33

A certain Samaritan (Σαμαρειτης δε τιςSamareitēs de tis). Of all men in the world to do a neighbourly act!

As he journeyed (οδευωνhodeuōn). Making his way.

Came where he was (ηλτεν κατ αυτονēlthen kat' auton). Literally, “came down upon him.” He did not sidestep or dodge him, but had compassion on him.

Verse 34

Bound up his wounds (κατεδησεν τα τραυματαkatedēsen ta traumata). First aorist active indicative of καταδεωkatadeō old verb, but here only in the N.T. The verb means “bound down.” We say “bind up.” Medical detail that interested Luke. The word for “wounds” (τραυματαtraumata) here only in the N.T.

Pouring on them oil and wine (επιχεων ελαιον και οινονepicheōn elaion kai oinon). Old verb again, but here only in the N.T. Oil and wine were household remedies even for wounds (soothing oil, antiseptic alcohol). Hippocrates prescribed for ulcers: “Bind with soft wool, and sprinkle with wine and oil.”

Set him (επιβιβασαςepibibasas). An old verb επιβιβαζωepibibazō (επιepi βιβαζωbibazō), to cause to mount. In the N.T. only here and Acts 19:35; Acts 23:24, common in lxx.

Beast (κτηνοςktēnos). Old word from κταομαιktaomai to acquire, and so property (κτημαktēma) especially cattle or any beast of burden.

An inn (πανδοχειονpandocheion). The old Attic form was πανδοκειονpandokeion (from πανpan all, and δεχομαιdechomai to receive). A public place for receiving all comers and a more pretentious caravanserai than a καταλυμαkataluma like that in Luke 2:7. Here only in the N.T. There are ruins of two inns about halfway between Bethany and Jericho.

Verse 35

On the morrow (επι την αυριονepi tēn aurion). Towards the morrow as in Acts 4:5. (Cf. also Acts 3:1). Syriac Sinaitic has it “at dawn of the day.” An unusual use of επιepi out (εκβαλωνekbalōn). Second aorist active participle of εκβαλλωekballō It could mean, “fling out,” but probably only means “drew out.” Common verb.

Two pence (δυο δηναριαduo dēnaria). About thirty-five cents, but worth more in purchasing power.

To the host (τωι πανδοχειtōi pandochei). The innkeeper. Here only in the N.T.

Whatsoever thou spendest more (οτι αν προσδαπανησηιςhoti an prosdapanēsēis). Indefinite relative clause with ανan and the aorist active subjunctive of προσδαπαναωprosdapanaō to spend besides (προςpros), a late verb for the common προσαναλισκωprosanaliskō and here only in the N.T.

I will repay (εγο αποδωσωego apodōsō). Emphatic. What he had paid was merely by way of pledge. He was a man of his word and known to the innkeeper as reliable.

When I come back again (εν τωι επανερχεσται μεen tōi epanerchesthai me). Luke‘s favourite idiom of ενen and the articular infinitive with accusative of general reference. Double compound verb επανερχομαιepanerchomai f0).

Verse 36

Proved neighbour to him that fell (πλησιον γεγονεναι του εμπεσοντοςplēsion gegonenai tou empesontos). Second perfect infinitive of γινομαιginomai and second aorist active participle of εμπιπτωempiptō Objective genitive, became neighbour to the one, etc. Jesus has changed the lawyer‘s standpoint and has put it up to him to decide which of “these three” (τουτων των τριωνtoutōn tōn triōn priest, Levite, Samaritan) acted like a neighbour to the wounded man.

Verse 37

On him (μετ αυτουmet' autou). With him, more exactly. The lawyer saw the point and gave the correct answer, but he gulped at the word “Samaritan” and refused to say that.

Do thou (συ ποιειsu poiei). Emphasis on “thou.” Would this Jewish lawyer act the neighbour to a Samaritan? This parable of the Good Samaritan has built the world‘s hospitals and, if understood and practised, will remove race prejudice, national hatred and war, class jealousy.

Verse 38

Now as they went on their way (ην δε τωι πορευεσται αυτουςēn de tōi poreuesthai autous). Luke‘s favourite temporal clause again as in Luke 10:35.

Received him into her house (υπεδεχατο αυτον εις την οικιανhupedexato auton eis tēn oikian). Aorist middle indicative of υποδεχομαιhupodechomai an old verb to welcome as a guest (in the N.T. only here and Luke 19:6; Acts 17:7; James 2:25). Martha is clearly the mistress of the home and is probably the elder sister. There is no evidence that she was the wife of Simon the leper (John 12:1.). It is curious that in an old cemetery at Bethany the names of Martha, Eleazar, and Simon have been found.

Verse 39

Which also sat (η και παρακατεστεισαhē kai parakathestheisa). First aorist passive participle of παρακατεζομαιparakathezomai an old verb, but only here in the N.T. It means to sit beside (παραpara) and προςpros means right in front of the feet of Jesus. It is not clear what the point is in καιkai here. It may mean that Martha loved to sit here also as well as Mary.

Heard (ηκουενēkouen). Imperfect active. She took her seat by the feet of Jesus and went on listening to his talk.

Verse 40

Was cumbered (περιεσπατοperiespāto). Imperfect passive of περισπαωperispaō an old verb with vivid metaphor, to draw around. One has sometimes seen women whose faces are literally drawn round with anxiety, with a permanent twist, distracted in mind and in looks.

She came up to him (επιστασαepistāsa). Second aorist active participle of επιστημιephistēmi an old verb to place upon, but in the N.T. only in the middle voice or the intransitive tenses of the active (perfect and second aorist as here). It is the ingressive aorist here and really means. stepping up to or bursting in or upon Jesus. It is an explosive act as is the speech of Martha.

Dost thou not care (ου μελει σοιou melei soi). This was a reproach to Jesus for monopolizing Mary to Martha‘s hurt.

Did leave me (με κατελειπενme kateleipen). Imperfect active, she kept on leaving me.

Bid her (ειπον αυτηιeipon autēi). Late form instead of ειπεeipe second aorist active imperative, common in the papyri. Martha feels that Jesus is the key to Mary‘s help.

That she help me (ινα μοι συναντιλαβηταιhina moi sunantilabētai). Sub-final use of ιναhina with second aorist middle subjunctive of συναντιλαμβανομαιsunantilambanomai a double compound verb (συνsun with, αντιanti at her end of the line, and λαμβανομαιlambanomai middle voice of λαμβανωlambanō to take hold), a late compound appearing in the lxx, Diodorus and Josephus. Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, p. 87) finds it in many widely scattered inscriptions “throughout the whole extent of the Hellenistic world of the Mediterranean.” It appears only twice in the N.T. (here and Romans 8:26). It is a beautiful word, to take hold oneself (middle voice) at his end of the task (αντιanti) together with (συνsun) one.

Verse 41

Art anxious (μεριμναιςmerimnāis). An old verb for worry and anxiety from μεριζωmerizō (μεριςmeris part) to be divided, distracted. Jesus had warned against this in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25, Matthew 6:28, Matthew 6:31, Matthew 6:34. See also Luke 12:11, Luke 12:22, Luke 12:26).

And troubled (και τορυβαζηιkai thorubazēi). From τορυβαζομαιthorubazomai a verb found nowhere else so far. Many MSS. here have the usual form τυρβαζηιturbazēi from τυρβαζωturbazō Apparently from τορυβοςthorubos a common enough word for tumult. Martha had both inward anxiety and outward agitation.

But one thing is needful (ενος δε εστιν χρειαhenos de estin chreia). This is the reading of A C and may be correct. A few manuscripts have: “There is need of few things.” Aleph B L (and Westcott and Hort) have: “There is need of few things or one,” which seems like a conflate reading though the readings are all old. See Robertson, Introduction to Textual Criticism of the N.T., p. 190. Jesus seems to say to Martha that only one dish was really necessary for the meal instead of the “many” about which she was so anxious.

Verse 42

The good portion (την αγατην μεριδαtēn agathēn merida). The best dish on the table, fellowship with Jesus. This is the spiritual application of the metaphor of the dishes on the table. Salvation is not “the good portion” for Martha had that also.

From her (αυτηςautēs). Ablative case after απαιρητησεταιaphairēthēsetai (future passive indicative). Jesus pointedly takes Mary‘s side against Martha‘s fussiness.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 10". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.