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Bible Commentaries
Luke 7

Vincent's Word StudiesVincent's Studies

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Verse 1

Sayings [ρηματα] . See on ch. Luke 1:37.

In the ears [εις τας ακοας] . Lit., into the ears. See on ears, Luke 4:37.

Verse 2

Centurion [εκατονταρχου] . From ekaton, a hundred, and arcw, to command. Commander of a hundred men. Mark uses kenturiwn, a Graecized form of the Latin word centurio. A centuria was originally a division consisting of a hundred things of a kind; and thence came to mean any division, whether consisting of a hundred or not. In military language it meant a division of troops, a company, not necessarily of a hundred, the caption of which was called centurio. The numbers of a century varied from about fifty to a hundred. The Roman legion consisted of ten cohorts or speirai, bands, as "the Italian band," of which Cornelius was a centurion (Acts 10:1). The commanders of these cohorts were called chiliarchs, or chief captains (John 18:12, Rev.). Each cohort contained six centuries, or companies, of which the commanders were called centurions. The duty of the centurion was chiefly confined to the regulation of his own corps, and the care of the watch. The badge of his office was the vitis, or vine - stock. He wore a short tunic, and was also known by letters on the crest of his helmet. Dean Howson (" Companions of St. Paul ") remarks on the favorable impression left upon the mind by the officers of the Roman army mentioned in the New Testament, and cites, besides the centurion in this passage, the one at the cross, and Julius, who escorted Paul to Rome. See, further, on Acts 10:1.

Servant [δουλος] . A bond - servant. Matthew has paiv, a servant, which occurs also at ver. 7.

Dear [εντιμος] . Lit., held in honor or value. It does not necessarily imply an affectionate relation between the master and the servant, though such may well have existed. It may mean only that he was a valuable servant. See on 1 Peter 2:4. In this case Luke omits the mention of the disease, which is given by Matthew.

Beseeching [ερωτων] . Too strong. Better asking, as Rev. The word to beseech [παρακαλεω] occurs in the next verse. See on Matthew 14:23.

Heal [διασωση] . Better as Rev., save. See on ch. Luke 6:19.

Verse 4

They besought him instantly [παρεκαλουν σπουδαιως] . On besought, see on ch. Luke 6:24. Instantly, which commonly means at once, is used in its older meaning, pressingly, from the Latin instare, to urge or press upon. So Romans 12:12, "instant in prayer." Wyc., prayed busily. That he was worthy [οτι αξιος εστιν] . The A. V. renders oti as a conjunction, that. The Rev., more correctly, takes it as a mark of quotation, besides properly rendering ejstin is, instead of was. Render as Rev., He is worthy that thou shouldst do this; for the best texts read parexh, the second person, thou shouldst do, instead of the third person, parexei, he shall do.

Verse 5

He hath built [αυτος ωκοδομησεν] . He is emphatic; himself, at his own expense.

A synagogue [την συναγωγην] . The article, "the synagogue," marks the particular synagogue which these elders represented. Hence Rev., rightly, "our synagogue." " He did not merely avoid profaning the synagogue " (Bengel).

Verse 6

Went [επορευετο] . The imperfect tense is explained by what follows. He was going, was on the way, when he was met by the second messenger from the centurion.

Friends. Possibly kinsmen, not elders now.

Trouble [σκυλλου] . Lit., worry. See on Matthew 9:36; Mark 5:35.

Worthy [ικανος] . Lit., sufficient. Compare Matthew 3:11, "worthy to bear;" and 2 Corinthians 3:5, "not that we are sufficient [ικανοι] , but our sufficiency [ικανοτης] is of God." It is also used in the sense of much, many, long. See ch. Luke 7:12; Luke 8:27, Luke 8:32; Luke 20:9; Acts 9:23.

Verse 7

Say in a word. Lit., "say with a word."

My servant shall be healed [ιαθητω ο παις μου] . It is strange that the Rev. should have omitted to note the imperative mood here, at least in the margin. The literal rendering is the more graphic : Let my servant be healed. Note the professional word for heal. See on ch. Luke 6:19.

Verse 8

Also. See on Matthew 8:9.

Set under authority [υπο εξουσιαν τασσομενος] . It is not easy to render the exact force of these words. The sense of the present participle with the verb eijmi, I am, is very subtle. The words set under are commonly understood to mean placed in a subordinate position; but this would be more accurately expressed by the perfect participle, tetagmenov. The present participle indicates something operating daily, and the centurion is describing not his appointed position so much as his daily course of life. The word set originally means arranged, drawn up in order; so that the words might be paraphrased thus : "I am a man whose daily course of life and duty is appointed and arranged by superior authority." The centurion speaks in a figure which is well explained by Alford : "I know how to obey, being myself under authority; and I know how others obey, having soldiers under me. If then I, in my subordinate station of command, am obeyed, how much more thou, who art over all, and whom diseases serve as their Master." Just what estimate of Jesus these words imply we cannot say. It seems evident, at least, that the centurion regarded him as more than man. If that be so, it is a question whether the word man [ανθρωπος] may not imply more than is commonly assigned to it. Taking the Greek words in their order they may read, " For I also, a man (as compared with thee), am set under authority, having soldiers under myself. See on Matthew 8:9.

Verse 10

Whole [υγιαινοντα] . See on ch. Luke 5:31. The best texts omit that had been sick.

11 - 17. Peculiar to Luke.

Verse 11

The day after [εν τη εξης] . Others read ejn tw eJxhv, soon after. So Rev. Luke's usage favors the latter.

Nain. Mentioned nowhere else in the Bible. "On the northern slope of the rugged and barren ridge of Little Hermon, immediately west of Endor, which lies in a further recess of the same range, is the ruined village of Nain. No convent, no tradition marks the spot. But, under these circumstances, the name alone is sufficient to guarantee its authenticity. One entrance alone it could have had - that which opens on the rough hillside in its downward slope to the plain. It must have been in this steep descent, as, according to Eastern custom, they 'carried out the dead man, ' that, 'nigh to the gate ' of the village, the bier was stopped, and the long procession of mourners stayed, and 'the young man delivered back to his mother'" (Stanley, "Sinai and Palestine ")." It is in striking accord with the one biblical incident in the history of Nain that renders it dear to the Christian heart, that about the only remains of antiquity are tombs. These are cut in the rock, and are situated on the hillside to the east of the village "(Thomson," Land and Book ").

Verse 12

Carried out. The tombs were outside of the city.

Verse 13

The Lord. See on Matthew 21:3.

Saw her. Edersheim says, "Had it been in Judaea, the hired mourners and musicians would have preceded the bier; in Galilee they followed. First came the women; for, as an ancient Jewish commentary explains, woman, who brought death into our world, ought to lead the way in the funeral procession" (" Jewish Social Life ").

Had compassion [εσπλαγχνισθη] . From splagcna, the nobler entrails, regarded as the seat of the affections. See on pitiful, 1 Peter 3:8.

Verse 14

Touched. Not fearing the ceremonial defilement of contact with the dead.

The bier [σορος] . In classical Greek, originally, of a vessel for holding anything : sometimes of a cinerary urn. Here the open bier. Edersheim says "of wicker - work."

Verse 15

Sat up [ανεκαθισεν] . Compare Acts 9:40. In this intransitive sense the word is used mostly by medical writers.

Delivered [εδωκεν] . Rev., gave. "For he had already ceased to belong to his mother" (Bengel). Compare ch. 9 42.

Verse 16

There came a fear on all [ελαβεν δε φοβος απαντας] . Lit., as Rev., fear took hold on all.

Verse 17

This rumor. Rev., report : viz., of a great prophet who had vindicated his claims by raising the dead.

18 - 35. Compare Matthew 11:2-19.

Verse 19

Two [δυο τινας] . Lit, two certain ones. Rev., in margin, certain two. Art thou. The thou is emphatic. See on Matthew 11:3.

Verse 21

Diseases - plagues [νοσωνμαστιγων] . See on Matthew 4:23; Mark 3:10. Marking the two classes of disease recognized in medical writings, chronic and acute.

Evil spirits [πνευματων] . On ponhrov, evil, see ch. Luke 3:19. It is applied to evil spirits by Luke only, with the single exception of Matthew 12:45. In accordance with its signification of evil on its active side, it is applied in medicine to that which spreads destruction or corruption; as the poison of serpents. Note, moreover, that Luke distinguishes here between disease and demoniac possession, as often. See ch. Luke 6:17, Luke 6:18; Luke 8:2; Luke 13:32. He gave [εχαρισατο] . More is expressed by this verb than simple giving. He gave as a free, gracious, joy - giving gift. See on cariv, favor, ch. 1 30; and compare freely give, Romans 8:32. Also, 1 Corinthians 2:12.

Verse 22

The blind receive, etc. Better, are receiving, are walking, even while Jesus is speaking and John is in doubt.

Verse 23

Shall not be offended [μη σκανδαλισθη] . Rev., shall find none occasion of stumbling. See on Matthew 5:29. Note also the conditional not [μη] : "shall not find, whatever may occur."

Verse 24

To see [θεασασθαι] . Rev. is correct but awkward, to behold. The verb implies steadfast, intent gazing. See on Matthew 11:7.

Verse 25

Gorgeously apparelled [εν ιματισμω ενδοξω] . Lit., in splendid clothing.

Live delicately [τρυφη υπαρχοντες] . Lit., are in luxury. On uJparcontev, are, see on James 2:15. On trufh, luxury, see on 2 Peter 2:13, the only other place where it occurs. Compare the kindred verb trufaw, to live in luxury, James 5:5.

Kings' courts [βασιλειοις] . Only here in New Testament. Often rendered palaces. Sometimes, in later Greek, applied to a capital or royal city, a royal treasury, and a royal diadem.

Verse 26

A prophet [προφητην] . The popular conception of a prophet is limited to his foretelling future events. This is indeed included in the term, but does not cover its meaning entirely. The word is from fhmi, to speak, and pro, before, in front of. This meaning of the preposition may have reference to time, viz., before, beforehand; or to place, viz., in front of, and so, publicly; and this latter meaning, in turn, easily runs into that of in behalf of; for. The prophet is, therefore, primarily, one who speaks standing before another, and thus forming a medium between him and the hearer. This sense runs naturally into that of instead of. Hence it is the technical term for the interpreter of a divine message. So Plato : "For this reason it is customary to appoint diviners or interpreters to be judges of the true inspiration. Some persons call them diviners, seers [μαντεις] ; they do not know that they are only repeaters of dark sayings and visions, and are not to be called diviners at all, but interpreters, [προφηται] of things divine" (" Timaeus, "72). Similarly of an advocate to speak for, or instead of one. The central idea of the word is, one to whom God reveals himself and through whom he speaks. The revelation may or may not relate to the future. The prophet is a forth - teller, not necessarily a foreteller. The essence of the prophetic character is immediate intercourse with God. One of the Hebrew names for" prophet, " and, as some maintain, the earlier name, signified a shewer or seer. See 1 Samuel 9:10; and in 1 Corinthians 14:26-30, Paul shows that revelation stands in necessary connection with prophesying.

Verse 27

Prepare [κατασκευασει] . See on ch. Luke 1:17.

Least [μικροτερος] . Lit., less. Rev., but little; or, as we might say, "comparatively little."

Verse 29

Justified God. Declaring, by being baptized, that God 's will concerning John's baptism was right.

Verse 30

Lawyers [νομικοι] . Not legal practitioners, but interpreters and doctors of the Mosaic law.

Rejected [ηθετησαν] . Set aside, or annulled; made it vain through their disobedience.

Against themselves [εισ εαυτους] . More strictly, with reference to themselves.

Verse 32

Children [παιδιοις] . Diminutive; little children. See on Matthew 11:16.

Market - place. See on Matthew 11:16.

We piped. Playing at wedding.

Mourned [εθρηνησαμεν] . Rev., much better, wailed : playing at funeral. Weep [εκλαυσατε] . Of audible weeping. See on Matthew 5:4. Matthew has ejkoyasqe, beaten your breasts. See on Matthew 11:17.

Verse 33

Bread and wine. Peculiar to Luke.

Verse 37

A woman who [ητις] . Of that class which was, etc.

A sinner. Wyc., a sinneress. Her presence there is explained by the Oriental custom of strangers passing in and out of a house during a meal to see and converse with the guests. Trench cites a description of a dinner at a consul's house in Damietta. "Many came in and took their places on the side - seats, uninvited and yet unchallenged. They spoke to those at table on business or the news of the day, and our host spoke freely to them" (" Parables "). Bernard beautifully says : "Thanks to thee, most blessed sinner : thou hast shown the world a safe enough place for sinners - the feet of Jesus, which spurn none, reject none, repel none, and receive and admit all. Where alone the Pharisee vents not his haughtiness, there surely the Ethiopian changes his skin, and the leopard his spots" (cit. by Trench, " Parables ").

Sat [κατακειται] . Lit., is reclining at meat : a lively change to the present tense.

Alabaster. See on Matthew 26:7.

Verse 38

At his feet behind. The body of the guest rested on the couch; the feet were turned from the table toward the walls, and the left elbow rested on the table.

Wash [βρεχειν] . More literally and better, as Rev., wet, as with rain. Wiped [εξεμασσεν] . See on ch. Luke 5:2.

Verse 41

Creditor [δανειστη] . From daneion, a loan. Properly a lender of money at interest. Rev., lender. See on ch. Luke 6:34.

Pence [δηναρια] . See on Matthew 20:2.

Verse 42

Frankly forgave [εχαρισατο] . Rev. omits frankly, which is implied in the verb. See on ver. 21.

Verse 43

I suppose [υπολαμβανω] . The verb literally means to take up by getting under. It might be rendered, accordingly, I take it.

Verse 45

Ceased (die lipen). Only here in New Testament. Common in medical language, meaning to be intermittent, and to discontinue giving remedies for a time.

To kiss [καταφιλουσα] . The compound verb has the force of kissing tenderly, caressing.

Verse 46

Oil [ελαιω] . In vv. 37, 38, the word muron, liquid ointment, is used. This was the finer and costlier of the two. Christ means to say to Simon, " thou didst not anoint my head, the nobler part, with ordinary oil. She hath anointed my feet with costly ointment.

Verse 49

They began. Luke notes the first uprising of the thought.

Within themselves [εν εαυτοις] . Better, among themselves, as Rev., in margin.

Also [και] . Much better as Rev., "who even forgiveth sins."

Verse 50

In peace [εις ειρηνην] . Lit., into peace. See on Mark 5:34. ===Luke 8:0


1 - 3. Peculiar to Luke.

Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 7". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/luke-7.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.
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