Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Luke 12

Verse 1

An innumerable multitude ( τῶν μυριάδων τοῦ ὄχλου )

The word μυρίας strictly means a number of ten thousand. It is our word myriad. Hence, generally, of any countless number.

First of all

Many connect this with what follows: “first of all beware,” etc.


See on Matthew 13:33.

Which ( ἥτις )

Classifying the leaven: which belongs to the category of hypocrisy.


See on hypocrites, Matthew 23:13.

Verse 2

Covered up ( συγκεκαλυμμένον )

Only here in New Testament: implying close concealment.

Verse 3

Closets ( ταμείοις )

The word has the same root as: τέμνω , to cut or divide, and means an apartment where supplies are divided and apportioned: a treasury, magazine, and therefore a secret and well-guarded place. There the steward ( ταμίας ), the distributor, has his seat.


See on Matthew 24:17.

Verse 4

Unto you, my friends ( ὑμῖν τοῖς φίλοις μου )

See on Pharisees and lawyers, Luke 11:43, Luke 11:46. Not an address, “O my friends,” but, “unto you, the friends of me.”

Be not afraid of ( μὴ φοβηθῆτε ἀπὸ )

Lit.,fear not from;” i.e., from the hands of.

Verse 5

I will forewarn ( ὑποδείξω )

Rev., warn. See on warned, Luke 3:7.


See on Matthew 5:22.

Verse 6


See on Matthew 10:29.


See on Matthew 10:29.

Verse 7

Confess me

Lit., “confess in meSee on Matthew 10:32.

Verse 10

A word ( λόγον )

Distinguished from blaspheme, which follows. A word against the poor and humble Son of Man might, as Godet observes, have proceeded from a sincerely pious Jew, under the influence of his early education, which taught him to regard Jesus as an enthusiast or even as an impostor. The sin of the Jews was in rejecting and resisting the power of the Spirit of Pentecost. Pardon was offered them there for the sin of crucifying the Lord (see Acts 2:38-40, and compare Acts 3:17-19).

Verse 11

Answer ( ἀπολογήσησθε )

See on 1 Peter 3:15.

Verse 14

Made ( κατέστησεν )

Appointed or constituted.

Verse 15

Beware of ( φυλάσσεσθε ἀπὸ )

Lit., guard yourselves from.

Verse 17

Bestow ( συνάξω )

Lit., gather together.

Verse 18

Fruits ( γενήματα )

Some texts, however, read τὸν σῖτον , my corn. So Rev.

Verse 19

Soul ( ψυχή )

See on Mark 12:30.

Take thine ease

See on Matthew 11:28.

Verse 20

Fool ( ἄφρων )

Senseless. In Xenophon's “Memorabilia, Socrates, addressing Aristodemus, says, “Which do you take to be the more worthy of admiration, those who make images without sense ( ἀφρονά ) or motion, or those who make intelligent and active creations?” (1, iv., 4). Sometimes, also, in the sense of crazed, frantic, but never in New Testament.

Is required ( ἀπαιτοῦσιν )

Lit., they require; i.e., the messengers of God. The indefiniteness is impressive.

Whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?

The Greek order puts that first which was uppermost in the rich man's thought - his accumulations:and the things which thou hast provided (Rev., prepared )whose shall they be?” God does not say, “the things which thou hast or possessest. The whole question of the tenure of his property is opened for the rich man. He had said my fruits and my goods. Now his proprietorship is ignored. They are not his. Whose shall they be? He is to be dispossessed at once. Plato relates how Pluto complained to Zeus that the souls of the dead found their way to the wrong places, because the judged have their clothes on, and evil souls are clothed in fair bodies, so that the judges, who also have their clothes on and their souls veiled by their mortal part, are deceived. Zeus replies: “In the first place, I will deprive men of the foreknowledge of death which they now have. In the second place, they shall be entirely stripped before they are judged, for they shall be judged when they are dead; and the judge, too, shall be naked; that is to say, dead. He, with his naked soul, shall pierce into the other naked soul, and they shall die suddenly and be deprived of all their kindred, and leave their brave attire strewn upon the earth” (“Gorgias,” 523).

Verse 22

Take no thought

See on Matthew 6:25.

Verse 24


See on Matthew 7:3.

Storehouse ( ταμεῖον )

See on Luke 12:3.

Verse 25

Stature ( ἡλικίαν )

The original meaning of the word is time of life, age. So, commonly, in classical Greek. See, also, John 9:21, John 9:23; Hebrews 11:11. The other meaning, stature, also occurs. Herodotus speaks of one who was of the same height ( ἡλικιήν ) with another (3:16). But both the usage and the connection are in favor of the meaning age. A measure of time is sometimes represented by a measure of length, as in Psalm 39:5; but, most of all, the addition of a cubit (a foot and a half) to one's stature would not be a small one, as the text implies (that which is least )but a very large one. Moreover, Christ is speaking of food and clothing, the object of which is to foster and prolong life. Rev., age, in margin.

Verse 27

How they grow

Some texts omit they grow, and readhow they toil not, etc.

Toil - spin ( κοπιᾷ - νήθει )

Some read, instead of toil, ὑφαίνει weave.

Verse 28

Which is to-day in the field

Construe in the field with the grass; and render is absolutely: exists, lives. So Rev., the grass in the field which to-day is.

Oven ( κλίβανον )

Strictly, a covered earthen vessel, wider at bottom than at top, in which bread was baked by putting hot embers round it. The regular oven or furnace is ἰπνός . Herodotus, speaking of the papyrus-plant (byblus)the lower portion of which is used for food, says, “Such as wish to enjoy the by-blue in full perfection, bake it first in a closed vessel ( ἐν κλιβάνῳ )heated to a glow” (ii., 92).

And seek not what ye, etc

Ye is emphatic: “and ye, seek not what,” etc.

Verse 29

Be ye of doubtful mind ( μετεωρίζεσθε )

Only here in New Testament. The verb primarily means to raise to a height; buoy up, as with false hopes; and so to unsettle, or excite, or keep in fluctuation. Thus Thucydides says of the war between Athens and Sparta: “All Hellas was excited ( μετέωρος ) by the coming conflict between the two chief cities” (ii., 8).

Verse 33

Bags ( βαλλάντια )

From βάλλω , to throw. Something into which money and other things are cast. Rev.,purses. See on Luke 10:4:. Wyc., satchels.


Compare James 5:2.

Verse 36

Shall return ( ἀναλύσῃ )

The verb means, originally, to unloose: so of vessels, to unloose their moorings and go to sea. Of departing generally. This is its sense in the only other passage where it occurs, Philemon 1:23, “having a desire to depart, or break up; the metaphor being drawn from breaking up an encampment.” Compare departure ( ἀναλύσεως ) 2 Timothy 4:6. The rendering return is a kind of inference from this: when he shall leave the wedding and return.

Wedding ( τῶν γάμων )

Properly, the marriage-feast. See on Matthew 22:2.

Verse 37


See on Mark 13:35.

Gird himself

As a servant girding up his loose garments to wait on the table.


See on minister, Matthew 20:26.

Verse 38

Second watch

See on Mark 13:35.

Verse 39

What hour ( ποίᾳ ὥρᾳ )

See on Matthew 24:42.

Would come

Lit., cometh. See on Matthew 24:43.

Broken through

See on Matthew 6:19.

Verse 42

That faithful and wise steward

Lit., that faithful steward, the wise man.

Household ( θεραπείας )

From its original meaning of waiting on, attendance (Luke 9:11), it comes to mean the retinue of attendants; the body of household servants.

Portion of meat ( σιτομέτριον )

Lit.,measure of food.

In due season

At the appointed time for distributing rations. See on Matthew 24:45.

Verse 45


The emphatic word, since the thought of the lord's delay and of the postponement of the reckoning is uppermost in the servant's thought.

Verse 46

Unbelievers ( ἀπίστων )

Much better as Rev., the unfaithful; for it is offidelity, not offaith, that Christ is speaking. Wyc., unfaithful men.

Verse 48


See on Luke 10:30.


See on set before, Luke 9:16.

Verse 49


A spiritual impulse which shall result in the divisions described in the following verses.

Verse 50

Am I straitened

See on Luke 4:38, and compare 2 Corinthians 5:14; Philemon 1:23. Wyc., constrained.

Verse 53

The father shall be divided, etc

But the verb is in the plural. Rightly, as Rev., “They shall be divided, the father against the son,” etc.


See on Matthew 10:35.

Verse 54

A cloud

With the definite article, the cloud, which you so often see.

There cometh a shower

Or, a shower is coming. See on James 5:7.

It is ( γίνεται )

Better, as Rev., it cometh to pass.

Verse 55

Heat ( καύσων )

See on James 1:11; and Matthew 20:12.

Discern ( δοκιμάζειν )

See on trial and tried, 1 Peter 1:7. It means here test or prove. You can test and prove the weather by your signs; but you cannot apply the proof which lies in the signs of the times. Rev., interpret, gives the idea. Wyc., prove.

Verse 57

Of yourselves

In the exercise of your ordinary habits of observation which you apply to the heavens.

Verse 58

When thou goest ( ὡς γὰρ ὑπάγεις )

The A. V. does not translate γὰρ , for. Rev., correctly, for as thou art going. Their own judgment should show them the necessity of repentance toward God; and this duty is urged under the figure of a debtor who meets his creditor in the way, and whose best policy it is to make terms on the spot.

As thou art in the way

Emphatic, standing first in the Greek order: “On the way give diligence.”

Hale ( κατασύρῃ )

Drag. Compare haul. Only here in New Testament.

Officer ( κράκτορι )

From πράσσω , to effect or accomplish; to bring things to an issue, and hence to exact. The name praktor was given at Athens to an officer charged with the collection of taxes; hence an exactor, as Rev., in margin. Only here in New Testament.

Mite ( λεπτὸν )

See on Mark 12:42.

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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 12". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.