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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Luke 12

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 12

Luke 12:4. Here also (comp. on Matthew 10:28; Mark 12:5) read, following A E K L U V γ δ א, min., with Lachm. and Tisch., ἀποκτεννόντων.

Luke 12:7. οὖν] is wanting in B L R 157, Copt. Sahid. codd. of It. Ambr. Bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch. From Matthew 10:31.

Luke 12:11. προσφέρωσιν] B L X א, min. Vulg. codd. of It. have εἰσφέρωσιν. So Tisch. D, Clem. Or. Cyr. of Jerus. 12 :have φέρωσιν. The latter is to be preferred; the compound forms are attempts at more accurate definition; had either of them been original there was no occasion for substituting the simple form.

Luke 12:14. δικαστήν] Lachm. and Tisch. have κριτήν, in accordance with B L א, min. Sahid., as also D, 28, 33, Cant. Colb. Marcion, which have not μεριστ.

δικαστ. was introduced by way of gloss, through a comparison of Acts 7:27; Acts 7:35.

Luke 12:15. πάσης πλεονεξ. is to be adopted on decisive evidence (Elz. Scholz have τῆς πλ.).

Instead of the second αὐτοῦ, Lachm. and Tisch. have αὐτῷ, in favour of which is the evidence of B D F L R א** min. Bas. Titus of Bostra, Cyr. Rightly; αὐτοῦ is a mechanical repetition of what has gone before.

Luke 12:22. After ψυχῇ Elz. Scholz have ὑμῶν. Condemned by Griesb., deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. on decisive evidence. It is from Matthew 6:25; whence also in B, min. vss. ὑμῶν has also been interpolated after σώματι.

Luke 12:23. γὰρ ψυχή is indeed attested by authorities of importance (B D L M S V X א, min. vss. Clement); yet γάρ (bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch.) betrays itself as a connective addition, in opposition to which is the evidence also of οὐχὶ ψυχή in min. (following Matthew).

Luke 12:25. The omission of μεριμνῶν (Tisch.) is too weakly attested by D and two cursives for us to be able to regard the word as an addition from Matthew [Tisch. 8 has restored it]. The Homoioteleuton after ὑμῶν might easily cause its being dropped out.

Luke 12:26. οὔτε] Lachm. and Tisch. have οὐδέ. Necessary, and sufficiently attested by B L א, etc.

Luke 12:27. πῶς αὐξάνει· οὐ κοπ. οὐδὲ νήθει] D, Verc. Syr.cur. Marcion? Clem. have πῶς οὔτε νήθει οὔτε ὑφαίνει. So Tisch., and rightly; the Recepta is from Matthew 6:28.

Luke 12:28. τὸν χόρτον ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ σήμ. ὄντα] many variations. Both the word τῷ and the order of the Recepta are due to Matthew 6:30. Following B L א, etc., we must read with Tisch. ἐν ἀγρῷ τὸν χόρτον σήμερον ὄντα [Tisch. 8, following א, B L λ, 262, Sah. Copt., has ὄντα σήμερον] (Lachm. has τ. χόρτον σήμ. ἐν ἀγρ. ὄντα).

Luke 12:31. Elz. Scholz have τοῦ θεοῦ. But the well-attested αὐτοῦ was supplanted by τοῦ θεοῦ, following Matthew 6:33, whence also was imported πάντα after ταῦτα (Elz. Scholz).

Luke 12:36. ἀναλύσει] ἀναλύσῃ is decisively attested, and is hence, with Lachm. and Tisch., to be preferred.

Luke 12:38. οἱ δοῦλοι] is wanting in B D L א, vss. Ir. Suspected by Griesb., deleted by Tisch. An addition in accordance with Luke 12:37 [Tisch. 8 has also deleted ἐκεῖνοι, which is wanting in א*].

Luke 12:40. οὖν] is to be struck out with Lachm. and Tisch., as also is αὐτῷ [not omitted by Tisch. 8], Luke 12:41.

Luke 12:42. Instead of φρόν., Elz. Scholz have καὶ φρόν., in opposition to preponderating evidence. καί is from Matthew 24:45.

Luke 12:47. ἑαυτοῦ] Lachm. and Tisch. have αὐτοῦ on very weighty evidence. The Recepta is to be maintained. The significance of the reciprocal pronoun was very often not observed by the transcribers.

Luke 12:49. Instead of εἰς, Lachm. and Tisch. have ἐπί. The authorities are much divided, but ἐπί bears the suspicion of having come in through a reminiscence of Matthew 10:34.

Luke 12:53. διαμερισθήσεται] Lachm. and Tisch. (both of them joining it to what has gone before) have διαμερισθήσονται, in accordance with important uncials (including B D א) and a few cursives, Sahid. Vulg. codd. of It. Fathers. Rightly; it was attracted to what follows (so also most of the editions), which appeared to need a verb, and therefore was put in the singular. According to almost equally strong attestation we must read τὴν θυγατέρα and τὴν μητέρα instead of θυγατρί and μητρι (Lachm. and Tisch. omitting the unequally attested article). The Recepta resulted from involuntary conformity to what precedes.

Luke 12:54. τὴν νεφέλ.] The article is wanting in A B L X δ א, min. Lachm. Tisch. But how easily was τήν, which in itself is superfluous, passed over between ἴδητε and νεφέλ.!

Luke 12:58. παραδῷ] Lachm. and Tisch. have παραδώσει. Rightly; the transcribers carried on the construction, as in Matthew 5:25. So also subsequently, instead of βάλλῃ (Elz.) or βάλῃ (Griesb. Scholz) is to be read, with Lachm. and. Tisch., βαλεῖ.


Verse 1

Luke 12:1. During what was narrated in Luke 11:53-54 ( ἐν οἷς), therefore while the scribes and Pharisees are pressing the Lord after He has left the house with captious questions, the crowd, without number, had gathered together ( ἐπισυναχθ.), and now at various intervals He holds the following discourse, primarily indeed addressing His disciples ( πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ, Luke 12:22), yet turning at times expressly to the people (Luke 12:15 ff., Luke 12:54 ff.), and in general in such a manner (Luke 12:41) that the multitude also was intended to hear the whole, and in its more general reference to apply it to themselves. With the exception of the interlude, Luke 12:13-21, the discourse is original only in this way, that very diverse, certainly in themselves original, fragments of the Logia are put together; but when the result is compared with the analogous procedure of Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew is found to be the more original of the two. Among the longer discourses in Luke none is so much of a mosaic as the present. Although the historical situation of Luke 12:1 is not invented, yet by the designed and plainly exaggerated bringing together of a great multitude of people it is confused. It would be too disproportioned an apparatus merely to illustrate the contents of Luke 12:2 f. (Weizsäcker).

τῶν μυριάδων] The article denotes the innumerable assembled mass of the people (very hyperbolically, comp. Acts 21:20).

ὥστε καταπατ. ἀλλήλ.] οὕτως ἐφιέμενοι ἕκαστος πλησιάζειν αὐτῷ, Theophylact.

ἤρξατο] He began, pictorial style.

πρῶτον] before all, is to be taken with προσέχετε, comp. Luke 9:61, Luke 10:5; Gersdorf, p. 107. It does not belong to what precedes (Luther, Bengel, Knapp, Schulz, Scholz, Paulus, Lachmann, Tischendorf), in connection with which it would be absolutely superfluous, although A C D א, etc., do take it thus. Ewald well says, “As a first duty.”

τῆς ζύμης] see on Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15. Here also is not meant the vice of hypocrisy (the usual interpretation), because in that case the next clause would have ὑπόκρισις (with the article); but it glances back to the subject of the previous conversation at the table,(152) and means: the pernicious doctrines and principles. Of these He says: their nature is hypocrisy; therein lies what constitutes the reason of the warning ( ἥτις, quippe quae).


Verses 2-10

Luke 12:2-10. See on Matthew 10:26-33. The connection is indicated by means of the continuative δέ: “Ye must the more, however, be on your guard against this hypocritical ζύμη, since your teaching is destined to the greatest publicity for the future.” Comp. Mark 4:22. Publicity which lies open to the world’s judgment, and hypocritical character which must shun disclosure, are irreconcilable. If you would not dread the former, the latter must remain far from you. According to Weiss, Luke has given to the whole saying only the meaning, that everything concealed by hypocrisy nevertheless one day comes to light, and therefore, even every word, however secretly it is spoken, shall come one day to publicity. But this supposition, without any ground for it, attributes to Luke a complete misapprehension of the meaning.

Luke 12:3. ἀνθʼ ὧν] quare, wherefore. See Hermann, ad Viger. p. 710; Schaefer, Appar. Dem. I. p. 846.

ὅσα ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ κ. τ. λ.] Everything which (in dread of persecutions) ye shall have spoken in the darkness, i.e. shall have taught in secret, shall (in the triumph of my cause) be heard in the clear daylight, i.e. shall be known in full publicity by your preaching and the preaching of others. The expression ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ used of the apostolic agency is not inappropriate (de Wette), since it characterizes it not in general, but only under certain circumstances (Luke 12:4). But certainly the original form of the saying is found in Matthew 10:27, while in Luke it was altered to suit the apostolic experiences after these had often enough proved the necessity of teaching in secret what at a later period came to be publicly proclaimed before the whole world,(153) when the gospel, as in Luke’s time, was triumphantly spread abroad.

ἐν τῷ φωτί] in the clear day; Hom. Od. xxi. 429; Xen. Cyr. iv. 2. 26; Wisdom of Solomon 18:4.

Luke 12:4. If Jesus reminded His disciples by ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ and πρὸς τὸ οὖςἐν τ. ταμείοις, Luke 12:3, of the impending pressure of persecutions, He now exhorts them to fearlessness in presence of their persecutors.

τοῖς φίλοις μου] for as such they were the object of persecution.

μετὰ ταῦτα] μετὰ τὸ ἀποκτεῖναι. The plural depends on the idea of being put to death, comprising all the modes of taking away life. See Kühner, II. p. 423.

Luke 12:5 f. Observe the marked emphasis on the φοβήθητε.

Luke 12:8-10. Not an admonition for the disciples to remain faithful, for Luke 12:10 would not be appropriate to that, inasmuch as there was no occasion to be anxious at all about their speaking against the Son of man, and it would have been even inappropriate to bid them beware of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost;(154) but Jesus adds to the previous encouragements a new one ( λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, comp. Luke 12:4), saying to them how momentous for the eternal destiny of men is the apostolic work conducted by the Holy Spirit, how even the decision of the judgment on men would be given in accordance with the result of the work of the apostles among them. Hence, Luke 12:10 has been wrongly regarded as not pertinent to this (Kuinoel, de Wette); while, on the other hand, Schleiermacher considers the arrangement of Matthew 12 as less appropriate, in that he introduces a contrast of the present time (in which the Son is resisted) with the future (when the more rapid and mighty agency of the Spirit is blasphemed). In itself the saying is appropriate in both places, nay, it may have been uttered more than once; but in Matthew and Mark we have its closest historical connection and position.

As to the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, see on Matthew 12:31 f.


Verse 11-12

Luke 12:11-12. But when they bring you—following out this denial of me and blasphemy against the Spirit—to the synagogues, etc.

πῶς τί] Care not about the kind and manner, or the substance of your defence. See also on Matthew 10:19; Mark 13:11. On ἀπολογ. τί, comp. Xen. Mem. iv. 8. 4; Dem. 227. 13; Plat. Gorg. p. 521 A, Phaed. p. 69 D, Polit. 4, p. 420 B Acts 24:10.


Verses 13-21

Luke 12:13-21. Peculiar to Luke; from his source containing the account of the journey.

Luke 12:13 f. τὶς] certainly no attendant of Jesus (Lightfoot, Kuinoel, and others), as Luke himself points out by ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου; besides, such a one would have known Jesus better than is betrayed by this uncongenial request. It was a Jew on whom the endowments and authority of Jesus produced such an impression that he thought he might be able to make use of Him in the matter of his inheritance. Whether he was a younger brother who grudged to the first-born his double share of the inheritance (Ewald), must be left in doubt.

ἐκ τ. ὄχλ.] belongs to εἶπε, as is shown by the order. The mode of address, ἄνθρωπε, has a tone of disapproval, Romans 2:1; Romans 9:20; Plat. Protag. p. 350 D Soph. Aj. 778, 1132. Observe that Jesus instantly rejects the application that concerns a purely worldly matter; on the other hand, He elsewhere gives a decision on the question of divorce.(155)


Verse 15

Luke 12:15. Jesus recognised πλεονεξία as that which had stirred up the quarrel between the brothers, and uses the occasion to utter a warning against it.

πρὸς αὐτούς] i.e. πρὸς τὸν ὄχλον, Luke 12:13.

ὅτι οὐκ ἐν τῷ περισσεύειν κ. τ. λ.] for not by the fact of a man’s possessing abundance does his life (the support of his life) consist in his possessions. This—the fact that one’s life consists in one’s possessions—is not dependent on the abundance of the possession, but—this, the contrast unexpressed, but resulting from Luke 12:30—on the will of God, who calls away the selfish collector of treasures from the midst of his abundance. The simple thought then is: It is not superfluity that avails to support a man’s life by what he possesses. “Vivitur parvo bene.” To this literal meaning, moreover, the following parable corresponds, since it does not authorize us to understand ζωή in its pregnant reference: true life, σωτηρία, or the like (Kuinoel, Bornemann, Olshausen, Ewald, and the older commentators); on the other hand, Kaeuffer, De ζωῆς αἰων. not. p. 12 f.(156) Observe, moreover, that οὐκ has been placed at the beginning, before ἐν τῷ περισσ., because of the contrast which is implied, and that τινί, according to the usual construction, that of the Vulgate, goes most readily with περισσευειν (Luke 21:4; Tobit 4:16; Dion. Hal. iii. 11), and is not governed by what follows. An additional reason for this construction lies in the fact that thus the following αὐτοῦ is not superfluous. Finally, it is to be noted that εἶναι ἐκ is the frequent proficisci ex, prodire ex. De Wette is wrong in saying: “for though any one has superfluity, his life is not a part of his possessions, i.e. he retains it not because he has these possessions.” In this manner εἶναι ἐκ would mean, to which belong; but it is decisive against this view entirely that οὐκ ἐν τῷ περισσεύειν must be taken together, while in respect thereof, according to the former view, no contrast can be conceived; for the life is in no case a part of our possessions (in the above sense).


Verses 16-19

Luke 12:16-19. On the idea of this parable, comp. Psalms 49:18; Sirach 11:17 ff.

εὐφόρησεν] not in the sense of the pluperfect (Luther, Castalio, and others), but: bore well. Examples of this late and rare verb (Hipp. Ep. 1274, 20; Joseph. Bell. ii. 21. 2) may be found in Kypke. Comp. εὐφόρως φέρειν (Lobeck, Paralip. p. 533).

χώρα] the estate, Xen. Cyr. viii. 4. 28; Jerome, x. 5, and elsewhere.

Luke 12:17 ff. Observe the increasing vivacity of the description of the “animi sine requie quieti” (Bengel).

οὐκ ἔχω ποῦ] “quasi nusquam essent quibus pascendis possent impendi,” Grotius.

καθελῶ μου κ. τ. λ.] I will pull down my storehouses (Matthew 3:12).

τὰ γεννήματα] see on Matthew 26:29.

καὶ τ. ἀγ. μ.] and in general, my possessions.

τῇ ψυχῇ μου] not equivalent to mihi, but: to my soul, the seat of the affections; in this case, of the excessive longing for pleasure. Comp. on Luke 1:46, and see Jacobs, ad Del. Epigr. VII. 1. How frequently also in the Greek writers the actions of the Ego are predicated of the soul, may be seen in Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. II. p. 365 A.

ἀναπαύου κ. τ. λ.] An instance of “asyndeton,” expressing eager anticipation of the enjoyment longed for. On the thought, comp. Sirach 11:19; Tobit 7:9; Plaut. Mil. Glor. iii. 1. 83; Soph. Dan. VI. (181, Dind.): ζῆ, πῖνε, φέρβου.


Verse 20-21

Luke 12:20-21. εἶπε κ. τ. λ.] is not to be converted into a decrevit (Kuinoel), etc. We have, indeed, no history; πλάττεται γὰρ ταῦτα παραβολή, Theophylact.

ταύτῃ] with emphasis.

ἀπαιτοῦσιν] the categoric plural (see on Matthew 2:20), which therefore does not prevent our regarding God Himself as the author of what was done, although the subject is left undetermined. The thought of a robber and murderer (Paulus, Bornemann) is not to be allowed on account of Luke 12:21.

τίνι ἔσται] not to thee will it belong, but to others!

Luke 12:21. So, having incurred the loss of his happiness by the unexpected appearance of death, is he who collects treasure for himself (for his own possession and enjoyment), and is not rich in reference to God; i.e. is not rich in such wise that his wealth passes over to God (Romans 10:12), by his possession, namely, of treasures in heaven, which God saves up in order to impart them to the man when Messiah’s kingdom shall be set up. See on Matthew 5:12; Matthew 6:20. Comp. 1 Timothy 6:19, and on Colossians 1:5. The πλουτεῖν εἰς θεόν (unless, however, εἰς is to be taken for ἐν, as Luther, Beza, Calovius, and others would have it) is substantially the same as ἔχειν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ (comp. Luke 12:33), and it is realized through δικαιοσύνη, and in the case of the rich man, especially through loving activity (Matthew 19:21; Luke 16:9), such as Christ desires, Matthew 6:2-4. It is not temporal possession of wealth which is applied in usum et honorem Dei (Majus, Elsner, Kypke, comp. Möller, Neue Ansichten, p. 201 ff.), but the higher ideal possession of wealth, the being rich in Messianic possessions laid up with God, and one day to be received from Him, which is wanting to the egoistic θησαυρίζων ἑαυτῷ. Against the former view, entertained by Majus and the rest, it is decisive that the negation of the being rich in relation to God (not of the becoming rich) is regarded as bound up with the selfish heaping up of treasure. This withal in opposition to Bornemann: “qui quod dives est prosperoque in augendis divitiis successu utitur, sibi tribuit, non Deo.”


Verses 22-31

Luke 12:22-31. See on Matthew 6:25-33. Jesus now turns from the people (Luke 12:16) again to His disciples.

διὰ τοῦτο] because this is the state of things with the θησαυρίζων ἑαυτῷ κ. μὴ εἰς θεὸν πλουτῶν.

Luke 12:24. τοὺς κόρακας] not in reference to the young ravens forsaken by the old ones (Job 38:41; Psalms 147:9); but a common and very numerous species of bird is mentioned (the pulli corvorum must otherwise have been expressly named: in opposition to Grotius and others).

Luke 12:28. According to the Recepta (but see the critical remarks), ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ would have to be connected with ὄντα; on the other hand, following the reading of the amended texts: but if in the field God in such wise clothes the grass, which to-day is here and to-morrow is cast into an oven, etc. Instead of ἀμφιέννυσι, we must read, with Lachmann, ἀμφιάζει, or, with Tischendorf, ἀμφιέζει. Both forms belong to later Greek (Themist., Plut., LXX.).

Luke 12:29. καὶ ὑμεῖς] as the ravens and the lilies.

μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε] The Vulgate rightly translates: “nolite in sublime tolli;” and Luther: “be not high-minded.” Exalt not yourselves; lift not yourselves up to lofty claims, which is to be taken as referring not to mere eating and drinking, but generally. The usus loguendi of μετεωρίζεσθαι, efferri, physically and (Aristoph. Av. 1447; Polyb. iii. 70. 1, iv. 59. 4, vii. 4. 6; Diodor. xi. 32. 41) psychically is well known. See also the passages from Philo in Loesner, p. 116. But others (Castalio, Beza, Grotius, Maldonatus, Hammond, Wolf, Bengel, Krebs, Valckenaer, Rosenmüller, Kuinoel, Paulus, Bleek, and many more) have: nec inter spem metumque fluctuetis. Comp. Ewald: “waver not, lose not your balance.” The view of Euthymius Zigabenus also is that Christ refers to τὸν περισπασμὸν τὸν ἀπὸ τῶν οὐρανίων ἐπὶ τὰ γήϊνα. Certainly, as μετέωρος may mean: fluctuans (see Schweighäuser, Lex. Pol. p. 387; Josephus, Antt. iv. 3. 1, Bell. iv. 2. 5), μετεωρίζειν may signify: to make wavering (Dem. 169. 23; Polyb. v. 70. 10; Schol. ad Soph. Oed. R. 924; Eurip. Or. 1537); but there appears no reason in the connection for departing from the above, which is the usual meaning in which the word is currently employed, even in the LXX. and in the apocryphal writers (2 Maccabees 7:34; 2 Maccabees 5:17; 3 Maccabees 6:5). This μετεωρ. has for its opposite the συναπάγεσθαι τοῖς ταπεινοῖς, Romans 12:16.


Verse 32

Luke 12:32. Peculiar to Luke. An encouragement to fearlessness in the endeavour after the Messiah’s kingdom, by means of the promise of the divinely-assured final result.

μὴ φοβοῦ] in consideration of their external powerlessness and weakness ( τὸ μικρ. ποίμνιον). But Christians generally, as such, are not the little(157) flock (which is not to be changed into a poor oppressed band, as de Wette, following Grotius, does), but the little community of the disciples (Luke 12:22), as whose head He was their shepherd (comp. John 10:12; Matthew 26:31).

εὐδόκησεν] it has pleased your Father. See on Romans 15:26; Colossians 1:19.

δοῦναι ὑμῖν τ. β.] see Luke 20:29 f.


Verse 33-34

Luke 12:33-34. Comp. Matthew 6:19-21. This end is so important that, in order to strive thereafter with your whole interest (Luke 12:34), ye must renounce your earthly possessions, etc. This selling and giving up of the proceeds as alms ( ἐλεημοσ., as Luke 11:41) is not required of all Christians (Luke 12:22), as de Wette will have it, but of the disciples, who, in the discharge of their office, needed perfect release from what is temporal. All the less do the words furnish a basis for the consilium evangelicum and the vow of poverty (Bisping).

ἑαυτοῖς] while ye give to others.

βαλλάντια (Luke 10:4) μὴ παλαιούμενα is explained by the following θησαυρὸνοὐρανοῖς.(158) As to this θησαυρός, comp. on Luke 12:21.


Verse 35-36

Luke 12:35-36. Only echoes of the following references to the Parousia occur at Matthew 24:42 ff. All the less is the originality to be attributed only to Luke (Olshausen) or to Matthew (Kuinoel). In Luke the exhortations to preparedness for the Parousia are readily accounted for by the previous promise of the Messiah’s kingdom (Luke 12:32) and the requirement associated therewith (Luke 12:33).

ἔστωσανκαιόμενοι] The meaning stripped of figure is: Be in readiness, upright and faithful to your calling be prepared to receive the coming Messiah. The nimble movement that was necessary to the servant made requisite the girding up of the outer garment round the loins (1 Peter 1:13, and see Wetstein), and slaves must naturally have had burning lamps for the reception of the master when he returned home at night. The ὑμῶν emphatically placed first, as ὑμεῖς at Luke 12:36, corresponds to the special duty of disciples; that your loins should be girded, … and that ye like men, etc.

ἀνθρώποις] i.e. according to the context: slaves, as it is frequently used in the classical writers, Mark 14:12.

ἐκ τῶν γάμων] not: from his marriage, but from the marriage, at which he (as a guest) has been present. For his marriage is after the Parousia (see on Matthew 22:2; Matthew 25:1). The detail of the figure is not to be pressed into interpretation further than to imply the blessed condition ( τὴν ἄνω εὐφροσύνην κ. ἀγαλλίασιν, Euthymius Zigabenus) from which the Messiah returns.

ἐλθόντοςἀνοίξ. αὐτῷ] a well-known construction, Winer, p. 186 [E. T. 258 f.]. On the direct πότε, see Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 215 f. [E. T. 251].


Verse 37

Luke 12:37. A symbolic representation of the most blessed recompense, which the servants of Christ, who are faithful to their calling, shall receive from Him at His Parousia. It is not the idea of the great and general Messianic banquets (Matthew 8:11) that underlies this, but it is the thought of a special marriage-feast for those servants (the disciples). That the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus, John 13, gave occasion (de Wette) to the mode of representation, according to which the Lord Himself serves (“promissio de ministrando honorificentissima et maxima omnium,” Bengel), is the less probable the greater the difference is seen to be between the idea expressed by the foot-washing and that which is here set forth. The thought of the Saturnalia (Grotius, comp. Paulus and Olshausen) brings in something wholly foreign, as also the calling of the slaves to partake in certain sacred feasts according to the law, Deuteronomy 12:17 f., Luke 16:11 f., is something very different from the idea of this feast (in opposition to Kuinoel, de Wette, and others), in respect of which, moreover, it has been assumed (see Heumann, Kuinoel, de Wette) that the Lord brought with Him meats from the wedding feast,—an assumption which is as needless as it is incapable of proof.

περιζώσεται κ. τ. λ.] a vivid representation of the individual details among which even the drawing near to those waiting ( παρελθών) is not wanting.

The parable, Luke 17:7-10, has an entirely different lesson in view; hence there is no contradiction between the two.


Verse 38

Luke 12:38. The earlier or later time of the Advent will make no difference in this blessed recompense. Jesus does not mention the first of the four night-watches (see on Matthew 14:25), because in this the marriage-feast took place; nor the fourth, because so late a return would have been unusual, and in this place contrary to the decorum of the events that were represented.


Verse 39-40

Luke 12:39-40. See on Matthew 24:43 f. The less, however, should ye be wanting in watchfulness, since the Messiah will appear unexpectedly like a thief in the night. A sudden change of figures, but appropriate for sharpening the warning in question, and not at all startling to people accustomed to the sudden turns of Oriental imagery. Whether, moreover, the passage has received its true historical place here or in the discourse on the end of the world, Matthew 24, cannot be decided.


Verse 41

Luke 12:41. Certainly original (in opposition to de Wette, Holtzmann, Weizsäcker, Weiss), the more certainly, the finer are the threads with which what follows down to Luke 12:48 is linked on to such a question. The succeeding passage at least offered no occasion for either the tradition or Luke inventing the question. If it had been suggested to Luke by Mark 13:37, the answer of Jesus would also have been in closer agreement with the meaning of the passage in Mark.

πρός] in reference to, for us, comp. Luke 20:19; Romans 10:21.

τὴν παραβ. ταύτ.] to wit, of the slaves who wait for their lord, Luke 12:36 ff. See Luke 12:42 ff. The reference to the master of the house and the thief, Luke 12:39, belonged also thereto as a concrete warning example.

καί] Peter asks whether the parable is intended for the disciples, or also (or at the same time also) has a general reference.


Verses 42-44

Luke 12:42-44. In the pregnant style characteristic of Jesus as it most of all appears in John, He makes no direct reply to that question, but proceeds with His parable of the servants, and among these He now for the first time begins to speak of that one (the apostles generally cannot be described in Luke 12:42-46) whom He, before His departure, would set over the rest of the household as οἰκονόμος (the post destined for Peter!). He depicts his great recompense in the event of his being faithful, and his heavy punishment in the event of his being unfaithful (down to Luke 12:48); and He consequently made Peter, whose question betrayed an inconsiderate exaltation above the crowd, understand His reply to mean: Instead of meddling with that question, thou hast thine own consequent position to keep in view with fear and trembling! Then, however, Luke 12:47 f., he links on the general law of retribution under which every one comes, and which every one has to lay to heart. As to the reference of τίς ἄρα, and the relation of the question to Luke 12:43, see on Matthew 24:45 f.


Verse 45-46

Luke 12:45-46. But if that slave, whom the lord will place over his servants as οἰκονόμος (Luke 12:42), instead of being faithful, shall have thought, etc.

Moreover, see on Matthew 26:48-51.

μετὰ τῶν ἀπίστ.] with the faithless (Luke 12:42), whose final destiny is the punishment of Gehenna (Luke 12:5).


Verse 47-48

Luke 12:47-48. This passage, which is peculiar to Luke, gives explanatory information of a general kind, yet related to Matthew 25:14 ff., to account for the severity of the punishment, Luke 12:46. This will ensue, in accordance with the general rule of retribution coming into operation at the return of the Lord: that that slave, etc. ἐκεῖνος, though placed first for emphasis, does not refer to the single concrete person indicated at Luke 12:45, but is a general term indicating the class to which the οἰκονόμος also belongs; and δέ carries on the meaning with an explanatory force (Hermann, ad Viger. p. 845; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. ii. 1. 1).

ἑαυτοῦ] of his own Lord, makes the responsibility to be felt the more strongly.

ἑτοιμάσας] ἑαυτόν is not to be supplied (Luther, Kuinoel, and many others), but: and has not made ready, has made no preparation. Comp. Luke 9:52. It belongs also to πρὸς τὸ θέλ. αὐτοῦ.

δαρήσεται πολλάς] πληγὰς δηλονότι (see Schaefer, ad Bos. Ell. p. 387; Valckenaer, Schol. p. 214; Winer, p. 520 [E. T. 737]), τουτέστι κολασθήσονται χαλεπῶς, διότι εἰδότες κατεφρόνησαν, Euthymius Zigabenus. On the accusative, comp. μαστιγοῦσθαι πληγάς, Plat. Legg. viii. p. 845 B, and see Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 164 [E. T. 189].

Luke 12:48. δὲ μὴ γνούς] but the slave, who shall not have learnt to know it. Such a one cannot be left without punishment, not because he has not obeyed the Lord’s will (for that has remained unknown to him), but because he has done that which deserves punishment; even for such a one there is that which deserves punishment, because, in general, he had the immediate moral consciousness of his relation to his Lord as a subjective standard (comp. Romans 2:12 ff.), even although he did not possess the objective law of the Lord’s will positively made known to him, on which account also a lighter punishment ensues. Theophylact and Euthymius Zigabenus are wrong in thinking here of such as could have learnt to know the Lord’s will, but from laziness and frivolity have not learnt to know it. An arbitrary limitation; and can such an ignorance diminish the responsibility? Romans 1:28 ff. We can the less regard the responsibility as diminished when we remember that by δὲ μὴ γνούς is described the case of a slave of Christ, who has remained ignorant of his Lord’s will.

παντὶ δὲ κ. τ. λ.] but of every one, in order, moreover, still to add this general law as explanatory information on the subject of that so severe punishment, Luke 12:46, etc.

ἐδόθη πολύ] in official duties, as to the οἰκονόμος.

πολὺ ζητήσεται] in official efficiency. The collocation of πολὺ, πολύ, and then πολὺ, περισσότερον, has a special emphasis.

The second member παρέθεντο (the categoric plural, as at Luke 12:20 : in reality κύριος is the subject) κ. τ. λ. is a parallel similar in meaning to the first, but with the climax: περισσότερον, which is not to be taken as: “plus quam aliis, quibus non tam multa concredita sunt” (Kuinoel, Bleek, following Beza, Grotius, and others, which would be insipid, and a mere matter of course), but: in the case of him to whom much has been entrusted (with whom a large sum has been deposited), still more than this entrusted πολύ will be required of him. In this statement is implied the presupposition that the capital sum must have been increased by interest of exchange or by profit of commerce. Comp. Matthew 25:15 ff. The deposit was not to lie idle. On παρατίθεσθαι, comp. Herod. vi. 86; Xen. R. Ath. ii. 16; Polybius, iii. 17. 10, xxxiii. 12. 3; Tobit 1:14; 1 Maccabees 9:35. The construction in both members is a well-known form of attraction, Kühner, II. p. 512; Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 247 [E. T. 288].


Verse 49

Luke 12:49 f. The sequence of thought is found in this, that the whole of that earnest sense of responsibility, which characterizes the faithfulness just demanded, must be only infinitely intensified by the heavy trials of the near future, which the Lord brings vividly before His view.

πῦρ] Fire, is a figurative designation, not of the Holy Spirit, as most of the Fathers and others, including Bengel, will have it, nor of the word of God with its purifying power (Bleek); but, as is manifest from Luke 12:51 ff., of the vehement spiritual excitement, forcing its way through all earthly relations, and loosing their closest ties, which Christ was destined to kindle. The lighting up of this fire, which by means of His teaching and work He had already prepared, was to be effected by His death (see ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν, Luke 12:52), which became the subject of offence, as, on the other hand, of His divine courage of faith and life (comp. Luke 2:35). The expression itself βαλεῖν ἐπὶ τ. γῆν proceeded from the consciousness of His heavenly origin. Comp. Matthew 10:34.

καὶ τί θέλω κ. τ. λ.] It is the usual and the correct view, held also by Kuinoel, Olshausen, de Wette, Bleek, which interprets: and how earnestly I wish, if (that) it were already kindled! ἐπισπεύδει γὰρ τὴν ἄναψιν τούτου τοῦ πυρός, Theophylact. Regarding the τί, see on Matthew 7:14. Moreover, the usus loquendi of εἰ with θέλω (instead of the more confident ὅτι, as with θαυμάζω, etc.; see on Mark 15:44) is not to be disputed. See Sirach 23:14 : θελήσεις εἰ μὴ ἐγεννήθης; Herod. ix. 14, also vi. 52: βουλομένην δὲ εἴ κως ἀμφότεροι γενοίατο βασιλέες. Accordingly, there is no sufficient reason for the view of Grotius, which disjoins the utterance into question and answer: And what do I wish? If it should be already kindled! This is less simple, and fails to bring out the correspondence between the expression in question and the parallel exclamation in Luke 12:50. The particle εἰ is used not merely with the optative (see Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 836), but also with the indicative in the imperfect and aorist in the sense of utinam, dummodo; in the latter case the non-accomplishment is known to the person who utters the wish. Comp. Luke 19:42; Joshua 7:7; Grotius in loc.; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 516; in the Greek prose writers it is usual to find εἴθε or εἰ γάρ in such a sense. Bornemann takes τί for cur, and εἰ as ἐπεί: “et cur ignem volo in terram conjicere, cum jam accensus sit? remota quaestione: non opus est accendam.” But without considering the extremely insipid thought which is thus expressed, Luke 12:52 in this way requires that the kindling of the fire should be regarded as still future. This, moreover, is in opposition to Ewald: and what will I (can I be surprised), if it be already kindled?

Jesus entertains the wish that the fire were already kindled, because between the present time and this kindling lay His approaching grievous passion, which must still first be undergone; see Luke 12:50.


Verse 50

Luke 12:50. δέ] places in face of the εἰ ἤδη ἀνήφθη! just wished for, what is still to happen first: But I have a baptism, to be baptized with. This baptism is His deep passion awaiting Him, into which He is to be plunged (comp. on Mark 10:38); and He has this baptism as the destiny ordained for Him, and consequently appropriated to Him.

καὶ πῶς συνέχομαι κ. τ. λ.] and how am I distressed (comp. Luke 8:37; Dem. 1484. 23, 1472. 18) till the time that it shall be accomplished! A true and vivid expression of human shrinking at the presentment of the agonies that were imminent, similar to what we find in Gethsemane and at John 12:27. It was a misapprehension of the human feeling of Jesus and of the whole tenor of the context, to make out of συνέχομαι an urgency of longing ( ὡσανεὶ ἀγωνιῶ διὰ τὴν βραδυτῆτα, Euthymius Zigabenus, comp. Theophylact). So also de Wette and Bleek, who wrongly appeal to Philippians 1:23. See on the passage, also on 2 Corinthians 5:14. Jesus does not long for and hasten to death, but He submits Himself to and obeys the counsel of God (comp. John 12:27; Philippians 2:8; Romans 5:19, and elsewhere), when His hour is come (John 13:1 and elsewhere). Ewald takes the question as making in sense a negative assertion: I must not make myself anxious (comp. on πῶς, Luke 12:56), I must in all patience allow this worst suffering to befall me. This agrees with Ewald’s view of τί θέλω κ. τ. λ., Luke 12:49; but, according to our view, it does not correspond with the parallelism. And Jesus actually experienced anguish of heart (comp. 2 Corinthians 2:4, συνοχὴ καρδίας) at the thought of His passion, without detracting from His patience and submissiveness.


Verses 51-53

Luke 12:51-53. See on Matthew 10:34 f., where the representation is partly simplified, partly, on the model of Micah 7:6, enriched.

ἀλλʼ ] but only, originated from ἄλλο and , without, however, its being required to write ἄλλʼ . See on this expression in general, Krüger, de formula ἄλλʼ et affinium particul. etc. natura et usu, Brunsvig. 1834; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 31 ff. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 1:13. Otherwise Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaedr. p. 81 B.

ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν] Jesus already realizes His approaching death. Comp. Luke 22:69.

In Luke 12:53 are three hostile couples; the description therefore is different from that at Luke 12:52, not a more detailed statement of the circumstances mentioned in Luke 12:52 (Bleek).


Verses 54-56

Luke 12:54-56. See on Matthew 16:2 f. The reason of those hostile separations, spoken of in Luke 12:52 f., lay, on the part of the people in whose bosom they were sure to arise, in the mistaking of the Messianic period as such. Hence the rebuke that now follows is addressed to the people; it is otherwise in the historical connection that appears in Matthew. Still the significant saying, in different forms, may have been uttered on two different occasions.

τὴν νεφέλην] the cloud, which shows itself.

ἀπὸ δυσμ.] therefore from the region of the sea. Comp. 1 Kings 8:44, and see Robinson, Pal. II. p. 305.

εὐθέως] so undoubted it is to you.

Luke 12:55. νότον πνέοντα] scil. ἴδητε, to wit, in the objects moved by it.

Luke 12:56. ὑποκριταί] see on Matthew 16:3. Not unsuitable as an address to the people (de Wette), but it has in view among the people, especially through pharisaical influence (Luke 12:1), the untrue nature (the ὑπόκρισις) which, as such, made them blind to the signs of the times!

τὸν δὲ καιρὸν τοῦτον] but this season, the phenomena of which so unmistakeably present to you the nearness of the Messiah’s kingdom (and Jesus Himself as the Messiah), how is it possible that ye should leave it so unexamined?


Verses 57-59

Luke 12:57-59. See on Matthew 5:25 f. Pott (de natura … orat. mont. p. 13), Kuinoel, de Wette refuse to acknowledge any connection (comp. Euthymius Zigabenus: ἐφʼ ἕτερον μετέβη λόγον), and assume a mistaken reminiscence, suggested by the affinity of δοκιμάζειν and κρίνειν. But Luke did not weave together the discourses of Jesus in so thoughtless a manner. The train of thought, even although the connection is less clear and appropriate, is as follows: As, however, it turns to your reproach that ye do not rightly estimate the present time, so not less also is it your reproach that ye do not of your own selves judge what is duty. Jesus refers to the duty of repentance which is still seasonable, and by means of the rhetorical figure metaschematismus—since He pictures repentance as an agreement with an adversary who has a pecuniary claim to make, but by this adversary He means (not the devil, Euthymius Zigabenus, nor the poor, Michaelis; but) God, to whom man is a debtor

He represents this duty of repentance as still seasonable, in order not to incur the divine punishment, like the accused person who still seasonably comes to terms with his creditor.

καὶ ἀφʼ ἑαυτῶν] even of yourselves, even of your own independent judgment. Comp. Bengel: “sine signis et citra considerationem hujus temporis.” These words indicate the progressive advance of the discourse. Comp. on Luke 21:30.

Luke 12:58. γάρ] explanatory.

ὡς] is the simple sicuti: As thou, namely, art in the act of going away with thine adversary to an archon (in correspondence with this condition of time and circumstance), give diligence on the way, etc.; while you are still on the way, before it is too late, make the attempt, that may avert the danger. ὑπάγεις has the emphasis (comp. subsequently ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ); so close is the time of decision! Both the ἄρχων and the κριτής must be considered as local magistrates ( κριτής not as an assessor of the Sanhedrim, with which κατασύρῃ is not in accord, for this certainly cannot be taken as a dragging to Jerusalem). Comp. κρίσις, Matthew 5:21, and the remark thereafter. By one of the archons, i.e. of the chief city officials, who, namely, is a competent person in matters of debt, the accused is recognised as liable to pay, and in default of payment the κριτής, who happens to be subordinate to the ἄρχων, orders compulsion to be used. For the rest, this handing over from one official to another belongs to the details of civic procedure, without being intended for special interpretation.

δὸς ἐργασίαν] da operam, a Latin idiom, probably taken from the common speech, Hermogenes, de Invent. iii. 5. 7; Salmasius and Tittmann (Synon. p. 102), following Theophylact, erroneously interpret: give interest. This is not the meaning of ἐργασία, and the Israelites were forbidden to take interest from one another (Michaelis, Mos. R. § 154 f.; Saalschütz, M. R. pp. 184, 278, 857).

ἀπηλλάχθαι ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ] in order to be delivered from him, Xen. Anab. vii. 1. 4; Plat. Legg. ix. p. 868 D Josephus, Antt. x. 6. 2, and elsewhere. The genitive might also stand alone, Thuc. iii. 63; Dem. 11. 16, 237. 14, and elsewhere, and the passages in Kypke and Loesner. Settlement is to be conceived of as obtained by payment or by arrangement. Comp. Dem. 34:22.

πράκτωρ] exactor, collector, bailiff. In Athens the collector of the court fees and fines was so called (Böckh, Staatshaush. I. pp. 167, 403; Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 151. 3). The πράκτωρ also is part of the imagery, without contemplating thereby any special interpretation (otherwise, the angels would have to be understood, Matthew 13:41 f.).

τὸ ἔσχ. λεπτόν] (Mark 12:42): to wit, of the debt sued for. But this terminus in the punitive condition depicted (in the Gehenna) is never attained. Comp. on Matthew 18:34.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 12:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-12.html. 1832.

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