Partner with as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

Luke 8

Verse 1


See Matthew 9:35; Matthew 12:22-37; Mark 6:6.

1. Afterward After the laying of the Platform of the new dispensation, by preaching the Sermon on the Mount, and confirming it by miracles indicating his power over body and soul, Jesus entered upon an extensive range of ministry in Galilee.

The twelve were with him As they had been regularly installed in their number before the Sermon on the Mount Their number was adjusted to that of the twelve tribes, so that Jesus was now fully prepared to receive all Israel into that kingdom of God which he and they went forth to announce.

Verse 2

2. Certain women And this was suitable and right. For must the ministry to Jesus be confined to the male sex alone? These women, however, could serve Jesus in no fashion or character like the apostles, but unofficially and purely according to the full spontaneous dictates of a devout heart.

Evil spirits and infirmities So that evil spirits and infirmities are not the same thing. Devils and diseases may combine, but they are not identical.

Mary called Magdalene So called from Magdala, now Medjil, a town on the west side of Lake Gennesaret. See map at page 62, vol. i, and note on Matthew 14:34.

Luke makes mention of Mary here for the first time, and that in such a manner as clearly to imply that she is not the same as the sinful woman in the last chapter. Her native town is but a few miles from Capernaum, and she had met the Saviour and experienced his miraculous mercy. That her life had been unchaste, is a perfectly unauthorized notion. If we should infer any special sin from her demoniac possession, we should be as inclined to select sorcery as unchastity.

To sorcery the Jews, after the captivity, resorted as a dark substitute for their ancient Divine revelations and prophetic guidance; and hence it was, perhaps, that their persons became liable to demoniac possession; a result of which modern Spiritism might well beware.

Seven devils Words of mysterious but terrible import! Seven may be a symbolical and indefinite number to indicate the complete evil control under which Mary had come.

See sup., note to chap. 6. Redeemed by Jesus, she now gratefully came from under the despotism of her demoniac masters into the blessed service of a divine Lord.

Verse 3

3. Joanna The feminine of John, (see note on Luke 1:13,) and the same as Jane.

Chuza… Herod’s steward The manager of his property concerns and his household affairs. The royal residence of Herod Antipas, Sepphoris, which was the Roman capital of Galilee, stood near the centre of that province, on an elevated table-land but a small distance from Capernaum. From the mountain which separated it from the broad plain Nazareth was plainly visible. Hence Herod, the actual sovereign, and Jesus, the rightful sovereign by birth, were in close proximity. And hence the wife of Herod’s steward might easily hear of such miracles as the healing the centurion’s servant and the raising of the widow’s son at Nain. There were saints, perhaps, in Herod’s house, as there afterwards were in Caesar’s.

See note on Matthew 14:2.

Of their substance These seem to be mentioned by Luke, including Mary Magdalene, as women of rank, wealth, and character. In a very incidental way he gives us to understand how the Son of man was as a man supported. He did not live by miracle. He commanded no stones to be made bread. The kingdom of God is to be built up, society is to be improved and renovated, not by miracle, but by the natural process of human agency.

Verses 4-18

§ 49. PARABLE OF THE SOWER, Luke 8:4-18 .

(Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20)

Luke, after having in the previous paragraph stated the general progress and work of Jesus through Galilee, is either not solicitous of the order of the following events, or his sources of information did not enable him to know or form it. He places here first the Parable which we know from Matthew, in the parallel passage, to have been delivered the first of all his parables on the great day of the seven parables by the sea side. It was the first parabolic seed the great sower sowed.

Verses 16-18

16-18. Similar words were used in the Sermon on the Mount. They were appropriate on both occasions.

Verses 19-21


(See notes on Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35.)

Verses 22-25


(See notes on Matthew 8:18-27; Mark 4:35-41.)

Verses 26-40


The events 22-42 take place after the day of the seven parables, § 49.

Verses 41-56


(See notes on Matthew 9:1; Matthew 9:10-26; Mark 5:22-43.)

Jesus, after recrossing the lake, from dispossessing the demoniacs of Gadara, attends the feast given by Matthew in his honour to his brother publicans, and is in full tide of rebuke to the Pharisees who were cavilling at his eating in such company, when a sudden interruption takes place. No less a person than the Ruler of the Synagogue of Capernaum appears, prostrates himself before Jesus, and, announcing that his daughter of twelve years old is at the point of death, beseeches him that he will come and lay his hand upon her. Such is the ruler’s faith, (according to Mark 5:23,) that although he did not, like the centurion of Capernaum, say that Jesus could restore her at a distance, yet he held that he could by a touch of the hand. Luke and Mark make the ruler say that she is a dying; is at the point of death; Matthew makes him say even now dead. He may, in his importunity, have said all three. In finally saying that she was dead, he may, in his intense feeling, have overstated, or may have felt that her death would occur before Jesus could arrive. Or, finally, Matthew may have substantially condensed the statements of the ruler and the messengers from home into one. See our note on chapter Luke 7:1.

Of Rulers of the Synagogue there sometimes appear to be several, as in Acts 13:15; and sometimes but one, who may have been president of the whole, as in Luke 13:14.

Verses 43-48

43-48. On the way to Jairus’s house occurs the miracle of the Bloody Flux. (Notes on Mark 5:22-23.)

Verse 50

50. Believe only In his earlier ministry Jesus allowed his miracle to precede the faith in order to create faith; in his advancing ministry he had a right, from his past works, often to require faith before the miracle; and then the miracle justified and rewarded the faith.

Verse 52

52. Not dead, but sleepeth It was hardly to be expected that such a commentator as Olshausen would quote this language in proof that this maiden was only in a state of suspended animation. What is more common in all languages and habits of human thought than the likening of death to sleep? If our Lord was really in this language endeavouring to state the literal fact, we have no doubt he would have had better success, and would have said outright, she is not dead, but is in a swoon, epilepsy, or a trance. Literally and physically an epilepsy is no more sleep than it is death. The disciples could have understood him no otherwise than saying, To you this is indeed death without hope of resurrection; but with me, in power and in purpose, it is but a sleep, from which she is now to be awakened.

Verse 53

53. They laughed him to scorn It was the crowd of “minstrels and people making a great noise,” and whom Jesus put forth from the room, who laughed; suddenly changing their hired hypocritical mourning to scorn. Their scorn is expressed at the very idea that she is not dead; thus with Olshausen, putting the literal construction on Jesus’s term sleepeth. That the maiden was actually dead we thus have the testimony of the father, of the messengers to the father from home, and now in the most intense form of these mercenary mourners. The scorn they felt at Jesus was excited, doubtless, by the indications furnished in his word sleepeth that he was about to deprive them of a profitable job in their trade of professional howling.

Verse 54

54. Put them all out Their noise, their mercenary character, and their disrespect, entitled them to this dismissal; and the implicitness with which our Lord was obeyed, shows that his authority here was confessed and absolute.

As the fact of the maiden’s death was, as we have shown above, plentifully attested, so the fact of her after living must have become known to all the living acquaintances. But Jesus allowed but five witnesses to behold the actual process, his three elect disciples (51) and the two parents. The disciples are chosen to testify it among the followers of Jesus, and record it for future ages; the parents to testify it to the friends of the maiden, and to confirm it whenever its reality was questioned among serious inquirers.

Verse 55

55. Commanded to give her meat From miracle he hands her over to the usual means of life, honouring thereby the laws and course of nature, even after he had performed an act above the level of ordinary nature.

Verse 56

56. Tell no man No man beyond the circle of those who of course would know that the once dead maiden still lived. They were to tell it to nobody but those who essentially already knew it; thereby giving it no unsafe notoriety. See note on Matthew 8:4.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.