Bible Commentaries
Luke 18

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

To the end that (προς το δειν).

With a view to the being necessary , προς and the articular infinitive. The impersonal verb δε here is in the infinitive and has another infinitive loosely connected with it προσευχεσθα, to pray.

Not to faint (μη ενκακειν). Literally, not to give in to evil (εν, κακεω, from κακος, bad or evil), to turn coward, lose heart, behave badly. A late verb used several times in the N.T. (2 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 4:16 etc.).

Verse 2

Regarded not (μη εντρεπομενος). Present middle participle of εντρεπω, old verb, to turn one on himself, to shame one, to reverence one. This was a "hard-boiled" judge who knew no one as his superior. See on Matthew 21:37.

Verse 3

Came oft (ηρχετο). Imperfect tense denotes repetitions, no adverb for "oft" in the Greek.

Avenge me of (εκδικησον με απο). A late verb for doing justice, protecting one from another (note both εκ and απο, here). Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, pp. 420ff.) quotes a στηλη of the second century B.C. with a prayer for vengeance for a Jewish girl that had been murdered which has this very verb εκδικεω.

Verse 4

He would not (ουκ ηθελεν). Imperfect tense of continued refusal.

Though (ε κα). Concerning sentence, not κα ε (even if).

Verse 5

Yet (γε). Delicate intensive particle of deep feeling as here.

Because this widow troubleth me (δια το παρεχειν μο κοπον την χηραν ταυτην). Literally, because of the furnishing me trouble as to this widow (accusative of general reference with the articular infinitive).

Lest she wear me out (ινα μη υπωπιαζη με). Some take it that the judge is actually afraid that the widow may come and assault him, literally beat him under the eye. That idea would be best expressed here by the aorist tense.

Verse 6

The unrighteous judge (ο κριτης της αδικιας). The judge of unrighteousness (marked by unrighteousness), as in Luke 16:8 we have "the steward of unrighteousness," the same idiom.

Verse 7

And he is longsuffering (μακροθυμε). This present active indicative comes in awkwardly after the aorist subjunctive ποιηση after ου μη, but this part of the question is positive. Probably κα here means "and yet" as so often (John 9:30; John 16:32, etc.). God delays taking vengeance on behalf of his people, not through indifference, but through patient forbearance.

Verse 8

Howbeit (πλην). It is not clear whether this sentence is also a question or a positive statement. There is no way to decide. Either will make sense though not quite the same sense. The use of αρα before ευρησε seems to indicate a question expecting a negative answer as in Acts 8:30; Romans 14:19. But here αρα comes in the middle of the sentence instead of near the beginning, an unusual position for either inferential αρα or interrogative αρα. On the whole the interrogative αρα is probably correct, meaning to question if the Son will find a persistence of faith like that of the widow.

Verse 9

Set all others at naught (εξουθενουντας τους λοιπους). A late verb εξουθενεω, like ουδενεω, from ουθεν (ουδεν), to consider or treat as nothing. In LXX and chiefly in Luke and Paul in the N.T.

Verse 10

Stood (σταθεις). First aorist passive participle of ιστημ. Struck an attitude ostentatiously where he could be seen. Standing was the common Jewish posture in prayer (Matthew 6:5; Mark 11:25).

Prayed thus (ταυτα προσηυχετο). Imperfect middle, was praying these things (given following).

With himself (προς εαυτον). A soliloquy with his own soul, a complacent recital of his own virtues for his own self-satisfaction, not fellowship with God, though he addresses God.

I thank thee (ευχαριστω σο). But his gratitude to God is for his own virtues, not for God's mercies to him. One of the rabbis offers a prayer like this of gratitude that he was in a class by himself because he was a Jew and not a Gentile, because he was a Pharisee and not of the am-haaretz or common people, because he was a man and not a woman.

Extortioners (αρπαγες). An old word, αρπαξ from same root as αρπαζω, to plunder. An adjective of only one gender, used of robbers and plunderers, grafters, like the publicans (Luke 3:13), whether wolves (Matthew 7:15) or men (1 Corinthians 5:19). The Pharisee cites the crimes of which he is not guilty.

Or even (η κα). As the climax of iniquity (Bruce), he points to "this publican." Zaccheus will admit robbery (Luke 19:8).

God (ο θεος). Nominative form with the article as common with the vocative use of θεος (so verse Luke 18:13; John 20:28).

Verse 12

Twice in the week (δις του σαββατου). One fast a year was required by the law (Leviticus 16:29; Numbers 29:7). The Pharisees added others, twice a week between passover and pentecost, and between tabernacles and dedication of the temple.

I get (κτωμα). Present middle indicative, not perfect middle κεκτημα (I possess). He gave a tithe of his income, not of his property.

Verse 13

Standing afar off (μακροθεν εστως). Second perfect active participle of ιστημ, intransitive like σταθεις above. But no ostentation as with the Pharisee in verse Luke 18:11. At a distance from the Pharisee, not from the sanctuary.

Would not lift (ουκ ηθελεν ουδε επαρα). Negatives (double) imperfect of

thelo , was not willing even to lift up, refused to lift (επαρα, first aorist active infinitive of the liquid compound verb, επ-αιρω). Smote (ετυπτε). Imperfect active of τυπτω, old verb, kept on smiting or beating. Worshippers usually lifted up their closed eyes to God.

Be merciful (ιλασθητ). First aorist passive imperative of ιλασκομα, an old verb, found also in LXX and inscriptions (εξιλασκομα, Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 224).

A sinner (τω αμαρτωλω). The sinner, not a sinner. It is curious how modern scholars ignore this Greek article. The main point in the contrast lies in this article. The Pharisee thought of others as sinners. The publican thinks of himself alone as the sinner, not of others at all.

Verse 14

This man (ουτος). This despised publican referred to contemptuously in verse Luke 18:11 as "this" (ουτος) publican.

Rather than the other (παρ' εκεινον). In comparison with (placed beside) that one. A neat Greek idiom after the perfect passive participle δεδικαιομενος.

For (οτ). This moral maxim Christ had already used in Luke 14:11. Plummer pertinently asks: "Why is it assumed that Jesus did not repeat his sayings?"

Verse 15

They brought (προσεφερον). Imperfect active, they were bringing. So Mark 10:13.

Their babes (τα βρεφη). Old word for

infants . Here Mark 10:13; Matthew 19:13 have παιδια (little children). Note "also" (κα) in Luke, not in Mark and Matthew.

That he should touch them (ινα αυτων απτητα). Present middle subjunctive (linear action, repeatedly touch or one after the other), where Mark 10:13 has aorist middle subjunctive (αψητα).

Rebuked (επετιμων). Imperfect indicative active. Either inchoative began to rebuke, or continued, kept on rebuking. Matthew and Mark have the aorist επετιμησαν.

Verse 16

Called (προσεκαλεσατο). Indirect middle aorist indicative, called the children with their parents to himself and then rebuked the disciples for their rebuke of the parents. The language of Jesus is precisely that of Mark 10:14 which see, and nearly that of Matthew 19:14 which see also. The plea of Jesus that children be allowed to come to him is one that many parents need to heed. It is a tragedy to think of parents "forbidding" their children or of preachers doing the same or of both being stumbling-blocks to children.

Verse 17

As a little child (ως παιδιον). Jesus makes the child the model for those who seek entrance into the kingdom of God, not the adult the model for the child. He does not say that the child is already in the kingdom without coming to him. Jesus has made the child's world by understanding the child and opening the door for him.

Verse 18

Ruler (αρχων). Not in Mark 10:17; Matthew 19:16.

What shall I do to inherit? (Τ ποιησας κληρονομησω;). "By doing what shall I inherit?" Aorist active participle and future active indicative. Precisely the same question is asked by the lawyer in Luke 10:25. This young man probably thought that by some one act he could obtain eternal life. He was ready to make a large expenditure for it.

Good (αγαθον). See on Mark 10:17; Matthew 19:16 for discussion of this adjective for absolute goodness. Plummer observes that no Jewish rabbi was called "good" in direct address. The question of Jesus will show whether it was merely fulsome flattery on the part of the young man or whether he really put Jesus on a par with God. He must at any rate define his attitude towards Christ.

Verse 22

One thing thou lackest yet (ετ εν σο λειπε). Literally, one thing still fails thee or is wanting to thee. An old verb with the dative of personal interest. Mark 10:21 has here υστερε σε, which see. It was an amazing compliment for one who was aiming at perfection (Matthew 19:21). The youth evidently had great charm and was sincere in his claims.

Distribute (διαδος). Second aorist active imperative of διαδιδωμ (give to various ones, δια-). Here Mark and Matthew simply have δος (give). The rest the same in all three Gospels.

Verse 23

Became (εγενηθη). First aorist passive indicative of γινομα. Like his countenance fell (στυγνασας), in Mark 10:22.

Exceedingly sorrowful (περιλυπος). Old adjective (περι, λυπη) with perfective use of περ.

Very rich (πλουσιος σφοδρα). Rich exceedingly. Today, a multimillionaire.

Verse 24

Shall they enter (εισπορευοντα). Present middle indicative, futuristic present.

Verse 25

Through a needle's eye (δια τρηματος βελονης). Both words are old. Τρημα means a perforation or hole or eye and in the N.T. only here and Matthew 19:24. Βελονη means originally the point of a spear and then a surgeon's needle. Here only in the N.T. Mark 10:25; Matthew 19:24 have ραφιδος for needle. This is probably a current proverb for the impossible. The Talmud twice speaks of an elephant passing through the eye of a needle as being impossible.

Verse 26

Then who (κα τις). Literally,

and who . The κα calls attention to what has just been said. Wealth was assumed to be mark of divine favour, not a hindrance to salvation.

Verse 27

The impossible with men possible with God (τα αδυνατα παρα ανθρωποις δυνατα παρα τω θεω). Paradoxical, but true. Take your stand "beside" (παρα) God and the impossible becomes possible. Clearly then Jesus meant the humanly impossible by the parabolic proverb about the camel going through the needle's eye. God can break the grip of gold on a man's life, but even Jesus failed with this young ruler.

Verse 28

Our own (τα ιδια). Our own things (home, business, etc.). Right here is where so many fail. Peter speaks here not in a spirit of boastfulness, but rather with his reactions from their consternation at what has happened and at the words of Jesus (Plummer).

Verse 30

Shall not receive (ουχ μη λαβη). Very strong double negative with aorist active subjunctive of λαμβανω.

Manifold more (πολλαπλασιονα). Late Greek word, here alone in the N.T. save Matthew 19:29 where Westcott and Hort have it though many MSS. there read εκατονπλασιονα (a hundredfold) as in Mark 10:30.

Verse 31

Took unto him (παραλαβων). Second aorist active participle of παραλαμβανω. Taking along with himself. So Mark 10:32. Matthew 20:17 adds κατ' ιδιαν (apart). Jesus is making a special point of explaining his death to the Twelve.

We go up (αναβαινομεν). Present active indicative, we are going up.

Unto the Son of man (τω υιω του ανθρωπου). Dative case of personal interest. The position is amphibolous and the construction makes sense either with "shall be accomplished" (τελεσθησετα) or "that are written" (τα γεγραμμενα), probably the former. Compare these minute details of the prophecy here (verses Luke 18:32) with the words in Mark 10:33; Matthew 20:18, which see.

Verse 33

The third day (τη ημερα τη τριτη). The day the third. In Matthew 20:19 it is "the third day" while in Mark 10:34 "after three days" occurs in the same sense, which see.

Verse 34

And they perceived not (κα ουκ εγινωσκον). Imperfect active. They kept on not perceiving. Twice already Luke has said this in the same sentence.

They understood none of these things (ουδεν τουτων συνηκαν). First aorist active indicative, a summary statement.

This saying was hid from them (ην το ρημα τουτο κεκρυμμενον απ' αυτων). Past perfect passive indicative (periphrastic), state of completion. It was a puzzling experience. No wonder that Luke tries three times to explain the continued failure of the apostles to understand Jesus. The words of Christ about his death ran counter to all their hopes and beliefs.

Verse 35

Unto Jericho (εις Ιερειχω). See on Matthew 20:29; Mark 10:46, for discussion of the two Jerichos in Mark and Matt. (the old and the new as here).

Begging (επαιτων). Asking for something. He probably was by the wayside between the old Jericho and the new Roman Jericho. Mark gives his name Bartimaeus (Luke 10:46). Matthew 20:30 mentions two.

Verse 36

Inquired (επυνθανετο). Imperfect middle. Repeatedly inquired as he heard the tramp of the passing crowd going by (διαπορευομενου).

What this meant (Τ ειη τουτο). Literally, What it was. Without αν the optative is due to indirect discourse, changed from εστιν. With αν (margin of Westcott and Hort) the potential optative of the direct discourse is simply retained.

Verse 37

Passeth by (παρερχετα). Present middle indicative retained in indirect discourse as παραγε is in Matthew 20:30. No reason for differences of English tenses in the two passages (was passing by, passeth by).

Verse 38

He cried (εβοησεν). Old verb, βοαω, to shout, as in Luke 9:38.

Son of David (υιε Δαυειδ). Shows that he recognizes Jesus as the Messiah.

Verse 39

That he should hold his peace (ινα σιγηση). Ingressive aorist subjunctive. That he should become silent; as with ινα σιωπηση in Mark 10:48.

The more a great deal (πολλω μαλλον). By much more as in Mark 10:48.

Verse 40

Stood (σταθεις). First aorist passive where Mark 10:49; Matthew 20:32 have στας (second aorist active) translated "stood still." One is as "still" as the other. The first is that Jesus " stopped."

Be brought (αχθηνα). First aorist infinitive in indirect command.

Verse 41

What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? (Τ σο θελεις ποιησω;). Same idiom in Mark 10:51; Matthew 20:32 which see, the use of θελω without ινα with aorist subjunctive (or future indicative). See same references also for ινα αναβλεψω "that I may see again" without verb before ινα. Three uses of αναβλεπω here (verses Luke 18:41; Luke 18:42; Luke 18:43).

Verse 43

Followed (ηκολουθε). Imperfect active as in Mark 10:52. Either inchoative he began to follow, or descriptive, he was following.

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 18". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.