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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Luke 5

Verse 1

Pressed ( ἐπικεῖσθαι )

Lit., were laid upon.

To hear

The A. V. is correct according to the reading τοῦ ἀκούειν , which it follows. The true reading is καὶ ἀκούειν ,and heard. So Rev.

He stood ( αὐτὸς ἦν ἑστὼς )

The pronoun distinguishes him from the crowd which pressed upon him: he on his part stood. Render the participle and finite verb as Rev., was standing.

Lake ( λίμνην )

An illustration of the more classical style of Luke as compared with Matthew and Mark. They and John also use θάλασσα ,sea. See on Matthew 4:18.

Verse 2

Ships ( πλοῖα )

Used of vessels in general. Some texts read πλοιάρια , a diminutive form, meaning little boats.

Were washing

From the sand and pebbles accumulated during the night's work. Luke uses four different words for washing or cleansing: πλύνω , here, see also Revelation 7:14; ἀπομάσσω , of wiping the dust from the feet, only at Luke 10:11; ἐκμάσσω , of the woman wiping Christ's feet with her hair, Luke 7:38, Luke 7:44; ἀπολούω , of washing away sins, Acts 22:16; λούω , of washing the prisoners' stripes and the body of Dorcas, Acts 16:33; Acts 9:37. The reading ἀποπλύνω is rejected by the best texts, so that ἀπομάσσω is the only one peculiar to Luke. All the words were common in medical language.

Verse 3

Thrust out ( ἐπαναγαγεῖν )

Rev., put out. The special nautical word for putting out to sea.

Taught ( ἐδίδασκεν )

The imperfect. He continued the teaching he had begun on the shore.

Verse 4

Launch out

Rev., put out. The singular number, addressed to Peter as master of the craft.

Let down ( χαλάσατε )

The plural, addressed to the whole of the boat's crew. Originally, to slacken or loosen, as a bowstring or the reins of horses; hence to let sink as a net. Also of unbarring a door. Metaphorically, to be indulgent, to pardon. The word occurs in the New Testament seven times, and five of these in Luke. He uses it of letting down Paul in a basket at Damascus (Acts 9:25); of striking a ship's sails, and of letting down a boat into the sea (Acts 27:17, Acts 27:30). Matthew, Mark, and John use βάλλω , or ἀμφιβάλλω , for casting a net (Matthew 4:18; Matthew 13:47; Mark 1:16; John 21:6), which appears also in the compound noun for a casting-net ( ἀμφίβληστρον , see on Matthew 4:18). The word used by Luke was in common use in medical writings, to denote relaxation of the limbs; loosening of bandages; abatement of sickness; letting herbs down into a vessel to be steeped.

Verse 5

Master ( ἐπιστάτα )

Used by Luke only, and always with reference to Jesus. He never uses Rabbi, as John especially. Wyc., commander.

Toiled ( κοπιάσαντες )

From κόπος ,suffering, weariness; and therefore indicating exhausting toil.

At thy word ( ἐπί )

Relying on: on the ground of.

The net ( δίκτυον )

A general term for a net, whether for fish or fowl. See on Matthew 4:18. Some, as Rev., read τὰ δίκτυα ,the nets.

Brake ( διεῤῥήγνυτο )

Some texts read διερήσσετο , from the later form of the verb. The difference is unimportant. The A. V. fails to give the force of the imperfect, were breaking, as Rev.; or even better, possibly, began to break. Trench suggests were at the point to break. The word occurs also at Luke 8:29; Acts 14:14, and only twice beside in the New Testament. Luke alone uses the two compounds περιῤῥήγνυμι , of rending off clothes (see on Acts 16:22), and, προσρήγνυμι to beat violently (Luke 6:48, Luke 6:49). See on those passages. All the words occur in medical writings.

Verse 7

They beckoned ( κατένευσαν )

The word originally means to nod assent, and so, generally, to make a sign. They made signs because of the distance of the other boat; hardly, as has been suggested, because they were too much amazed to speak.

Help ( συλλαβέσθαι )

Lit., take hold with. Compare Philippians 4:3.

Began to sink ( βυθίζεσθαι )

Only here and 1 Timothy 6:9, of drowning men in destruction. From βυθός ,the depth. Wyc., they were almost drenched.

Verse 8

Fell down at Jesus' knees

Compare Sophocles, “Oedipus at Colonus,” 1605:

“Zeus from the dark depths thundered, and the girls

Heard it, and shuddering, at their father's knees

Falling, they wept.”

Verse 9

He was astonished ( θάμβος περιέσχεν αὐτὸν )

Lit., amazement encompassed him. See on 1 Peter 2:6.

The draught ( τῇ ἄγρα )

The word is used both of the act of catching and of that which is caught. In Luke 5:4 it has the former sense: “let down your net for catching: here, the latter, the catch or haul.

Verse 10

Partners ( κοινωνοὶ )

In Luke 5:7 the word rendered partners is μέτοχοι ; from μετά ,with, and ἔχω ,to have. The word here denotes a closer association, a common interest. The kindred noun, κοινωνία ,fellowship, is used of the fellowship of believers with Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9); the communion of the body and blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16); the communion of the Holy Ghost (2 Corinthians 13:14). The persons referred to in Luke 5:7 might have been only hired workmen (Mark 1:20), temporarily associated with the principals.

Thou shalt catch ( ἔσῃ ζωγρῶν )

Lit., thou shalt be catching, the participle and finite verb denoting that this is to be his habitual calling. Both Matthew and Mark make the promise to be addressed to Peter and his companions; Luke to Peter alone. The verb ζωγρέω , to catch, is compounded of ζωός , living, and ἀγρεύω ,to catch or take. Hence, lit., to take alive: in war, to take captive, instead of killing. Thus Homer, when Menelaus threatens the prostrate Adrastus:

“Adrastus clasped the warrior's knees and said,

O son of Atreus, take me prisoner ( ζώγρει )Iliadvi., 45,6; compare Iliad, x., 378.

So Herodotus: “The Persians took Sardis, and captured Croesus himself alive” ( ἔξώγρημαν ). - I., 86.

There is certainly a reason for the use of this term, as indicating that Christ's ministers are called to win men to life. Compare 2 Timothy 2:26, where, according to the best supported rendering, the servant of God is represented as taking men alive out of the power of Satan, to be preserved unto the will of God;i.e., as instruments of his will (compare A. V. and Rev.). The word thus contains in itself an answer to the sneering remark of the Apostate Julian, that Christ aptly termed his apostles fishers; “for, as the fisherman draws out the fish from waters where they were free and happy, to an element in which they cannot breathe, but must presently perish, so did these.”


Verse 12

Full of leprosy

Matthew and Mark have simply a leper. The expression,full of leprosy, seems to be used here with professional accuracy. Leprosy was known among physicians under three forms: the dull white, the clear white, and the black. Luke means to describe an aggravated case. The wordfull in this connection is often used by medical writers, as, full of disease; the veins full of blood; the ears full of roaring.

Make me clean ( καθαρίσαι )

All three evangelists say cleanse instead of heal, because of the notion of uncleanness which specially attached to this malady.

Verse 13

I will ( θέλω )

See on Matthew 1:19.

Be thou clean ( καθαρίσθητι )

Rev., more accurately, gives the force of the passive voice, be thou made clean.

Verse 14

He charged ( παρήγγειλεν )

A strong word, often of military orders. Aristotle uses it of a physician: to prescribe. Mark has ἐμβριμησάμενος , strictly or sternly charged. See on Mark 1:43.

No one ( μηδενὶ )

The conditional negative: no one that he might chance to meet.

Go, shew thyself

A lively change from the narrative to direct address.

Verse 15

Went abroad ( διήρχετο )

Διά throughout the region. Wyc., the word walked about.

Came together ( σηνήρχοντο )

Imperfect. Kept coming together, or were coming.

To be healed ( θεραπεύεσθαι )

Originally, to be an attendant, to do service; and therefore of a physician, to attend upon, or treat medically. In classical writers it has also the meaning to heal, as undoubtedly in the New Testament, and in Luke (Luke 13:14; Acts 4:14, etc.). See on Matthew 8:7, and compare ἰαομαι , to heal, in Luke 5:17.

Infirmities ( ἀσθενειῶν )

A strictly literal rendering; ἀ , not, and σθένος strength, exactly answering to the Latin in, not, and firmus, strong.

Verse 16

Withdrew ( ἦν ὑποχωρῶν )

The participle with the imperfect of the finite verb denoting something in progress, and thus corresponding to the imperfect in Luke 5:15. The multitudes were coming together, but he was engaged in retirement and prayer, so that he was inaccessible. The word occurs only in Luke, the usual New Testament word for withdraw being ἀναχωρέω . See Matthew 2:12; Matthew 12:15; Mark 3:7.


Verse 17

He was teaching

The pronoun has a slightly emphatic force: he as distinguished from the Pharisees and teachers of the law.

Doctors of the law ( νομοδιδάσκαλοι )

Only in Luke and 1 Timothy 1:7. Luke often uses νομικὸς , conversant with the law, but in the other word the element of teaching is emphasized, probably in intentional contrast with Christ's teaching.

Judaea and Jerusalem

The Rabbinical writers divided Judaea proper into three parts - mountain, sea-shore, and valley - Jerusalem being regarded as a separate district. “Only one intimately acquainted with the state of matters at the time, would, with the Rabbis, have distinguished Jerusalem as a district separate from all the rest of Judaea, as Luke markedly does on several occasions (Acts 1:8; Acts 10:39)” (Edersheim, “Jew ish Social Life”).

Was present to heal them

The A. V. follows the reading, αὐτούς , them; i.e., the sufferers who were present, referring back to Luke 5:15. The best texts, however, read αὐτόν , him, referring to Christ, and meaning was present that he should heal; i.e., in aid of his healing. So Rev.

Verse 18

Taken with a palsy ( παραλελυμένος )

Rev., more neatly, palsied. Whenever Luke mentions this disease, he uses the verb and not the adjective παραλυτικός paralytic (as Matthew 4:24; Matthew 8:6; Mark 2:3-10; compare Acts 8:7; Acts 9:33); his usage in this respect being in strict accord with that of medical writers.

Verse 19


Wyc. has sclattis, elates.

Couch ( κλινιδίῳ )

Luke uses four words for the beds o£ the sick: κλίνη , as Luke 5:18, the general word for a bed or couch; κράββατος , (Acts 5:15; Acts 9:33), a rude pallet (see on Mark 2:4); κλινίδιον , a small couch or litter, as here, a couch so light that a woman could lift and carry it away. Thus, in the “Lysistrata” of Aristophanes, 916, Myrrine says: “Come now, let me carry our couch” ( κλινίδιον )The fourth term, κλινάριον (Acts 5:15), cannot be accurately distinguished from the last. The last two are peculiar to Luke.

Into the midst before Jesus

See on Mark 2:4.

Verse 21

To reason

See on Mark 2:6. The words who is this that speaketh blasphemy, form an iambic verse in the Greek.

Verse 22


See on Mark 2:8.

Verse 23

Walk ( περιπάτει )

Lit., walk about.

Verse 24

Unto thee ( σοὶ )

Standing first for emphasis. Luke emphasizes the direct address to the man: unto thee I say, in contrast with the apparently less direct, thy sins be forgiven thee. In Jesus' mind the connection between the sins and the man's personal condition was assumed; now he brings out the personal side of the connection. In forgiving the man's sins he had healed him radically. The command to rise and walk was of the same piece.

Verse 26

They were all amazed ( ἔκστασις ἔλαβεν ἅπαντας )

Lit., amazement took hold on all, as Rev. On ἔκστασις , amazement, see on Mark 5:42.

Strange things ( οαρα.διξα )

From παρά , contrary to, and δόξα , opinion. Something contrary to received opinion, and hence strange. Compare the English paradox. Only here in New Testament.


Verse 27

He saw ( ἐθεάσατο )

Better, as Rev., beheld, since the verb denotes looking attentively. See on Matthew 11:7.

A publican

See on Luke 3:12.

Receipt of custom

See on Matthew 9:9.

Verse 28

He followed ( ἠκολούθει )

Imperfect. He began to follow, and continued following.


Verse 29

Feast ( δοχὴν )

Only here and Luke 14:13. From the same root as δέχομαι , to receive.Areception.

Verse 31

They that are whole ( οἱ ὑγιαίνοντες )

Both Matthew and Mark use ἰσχύοντες , the strong. This use of the verb in its primary sense, to be in sound health, is found in Luke 7:10; Luke 15:27; and once in John, 3Ep. 3 John 1:2. For this meaning it is the regular word in medical writings. Paul uses it only in the metaphorical sense: sound doctrine, sound words, sound in faith, etc. See 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3; Titus 1:13, etc.

Verse 33

Often ( πυκνὰ )

Only here, Acts 24:26; 1 Timothy 5:23. The word literally means close-packed, as a thicket, or the plumage of a bird.

Prayers ( δεήσεις )

Used by no other evangelist. From δέομαι , to want, and hence distinctively of petitionary prayer. In classical Greek the word is not restricted to sacred uses, but is employed of requests preferred to men. Rev., more correctly, supplications.

Verse 34

Children of the bride-chamber

Better, as Rev., sons ( υἱοὺς ). See on Mark 2:19.

Verse 35

But the days will come when, etc. ( ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι καὶ ὅταν )

The A. V. follows a reading which omits καὶ , and, which is inserted in all the best texts. The thought is broken off. “The days shall come - and when the bridegroom shall be taken away, then shall they fast.” So Rev.

Verse 36

A parable

“From a garment and from wine, especially appropriate at a banquet” (Bengel).

Putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old ( ἐπίβλημα ἱματίου καινοῦ ἐπιβάλλει ἐπὶ ἱμάτιον παλαιόν )

The best texts, however, insert σχίσας , having rent, which directly governs ἐπίβλημα , piece; so that the rendering is, No man having rent a piece from, a new garment, putteth it, etc. So Rev., No man tendeth a piece and putteth. Both Matthew and Mark have cloth instead of garment, by the use of which latter term “the incongruity of the proceeding comes more strongly into prominence” (Meyer). ἐπίβλημα , a piece, is, literally, a patch, from ἐπί , upon, and βάλλω , to throw: something clapped on. Compare the kindred verb here, ἐπιβάλλει , putteth upon.

The new maketh a rent ( τὸ καινὸν σχίζει )

The best texts read σχίσει , will rend, governing the new, instead of being used intransitively. Render, as Rev., He will rend the new.

Agreeth not ( οὐ συμφωνεῖ )

The best texts read συμφωνήσει , the future; will not agree. So Rev.

In Matthew and Mark there is only a single damage, that, namely, to the old garment, the rent in which is enlarged. In Luke the damage is twofold; first, in injuring the new garment by cutting out a piece; and second, in making the old garment appear patched, instead of widening the rent, as in Matthew and Mark.

Verse 37

Bottles ( ἀσκοὺς )

Rev., wine-skins. See on Matthew 9:17.

Verse 39

Better ( χρηστότερος )

The best texts read χρηστός ,good. See on Matthew 11:30.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.