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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Luke 13

 

 

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Verse 1

Luke 13:1. τῷ καιρῷ, at that same season) Opportunely they were present; comp. ch. Luke 12:57.— ἀπαγγέλλοντες, announcing the tidings) as of a recent event.— πιλάτος, Pilate) This act of Pilate is in consonance with the ‘enmity’ which he had entertained towards Herod; ch. Luke 23:12. Each of the two had a different cause [for the enmity].— ἔμιξε, mingled) An Euphemism. [See Append.]


Verse 2

Luke 13:2. δοκεῖτε) A Metonymy for, Think ye that you are innocent, and will escape without punishment? We ought to have regard, not so much to what has happened to others, or why it has so happened, as to what may happen to ourselves, and what ought to be done by us. [This is the principal use to be made of the news which we hear.—V. g.— ὅτι, seeing that, because that) It is rather unsafe to draw a conclusion from individual calamities to individual sins (to think great calamities of individuals must be the result of their great sins, as Job’s friends thought of him).—V. g.]


Verses 3-5

Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5. λέγω ὑμῖν, I tell you) The Lord puts forth this from His treasures of Divine knowledge.— πάντες, all) Galileans and inhabitants of Jerusalem alike.— ὡσαύτως) This signifies, in the same manner: ὁμοίως means, in like manner. ὡσαύτως means something more than ὁμοίως [Engl. Vers. loses this by translating ὡσαύτως, likewise]. The event accordingly corresponded to the prediction: for the Jews were punished by the same nation to which Pilate belonged: and also at the same time, viz. the Passover time, when the offering of sacrifices prevailed: and also with the sword.


Verse 4

Luke 13:4. , or) From the Galileans He passes in His discourse, inasmuch as His departure from Galilee was close at hand, to the people of Jerusalem; comp. Luke 13:33. He passes from slaughter inflicted by men to a casualty, which might seem to have happened by chance.— οἱ δέκα καὶ ὀκτὼ, those eighteen) A profound and mysterious judgment in the case of the deaths of so many joined together.— ὀφειλέται, debtors(129)) Comp. Luke 13:34.— κατοικοῦντας ἐν ἰερουσαλὴ΄) So the LXX. In Jerusalem, a city in other respects esteemed “the holy city.”


Verse 5

Luke 13:5. ἀπολεῖσθε, ye shall perish) This actually took place in the siege and destruction of the city.


Verse 6

Luke 13:6. συκῆν, a fig-tree) a tree which in itself has no rightful place in a vineyard. God took Israel as His people by the freest exercise of grace.— αὐτοῦ, His) The Father has a vineyard, and Christ cultivates and dresses it, עבד יהוה. Comp. Luke 13:8, Lord [which implies, the vineyard has Him for its Lord and owner]: or else Christ has the vineyard, and His ministers cultivate it.— πεφυτευμένην, planted) designedly.


Verse 7

Luke 13:7. τρία, three) A number in some measure decisive and determinate. The Lord was beginning His third year of teaching, as the true harmony of the Evangelists shows.— ἔρχομαι, I come) An abbreviated expression, as in ch. Luke 15:29, τοσαῦτα ἔτη δουλεύω, these so many years I (have served and still) serve thee.— ἔκκοψον, cut it off [down]) (Great, severity (stern strictness in punishing) is expressed in this word: as also there is implied the great power of the ἀμπελουργὸς, Vine-dresser.— ἵνα τί καὶ, why even [not expressed in the Engl. Vers.]) Not only is it of no use, but it even draws off the juices, which the vines would otherwise extract (suck) out of the earth, and intercepts the sun’s rays; and it takes up valuable room.


Verse 8

Luke 13:8. ἀποκριθεὶς, having answered) By reason of His tender affection for the tree, inasmuch as being the object of His care as its dresser.— ἄφες, let it alone) This is akin to an argument drawn from its costing no great trouble or expense, [To such a degree are even they benefited by the intercession of Christ, who if left to themselves would have long since perished.—V. g.]— τοῦτο τὸ ἔτος, this year) the third, year, on which Jesus most especially visited them (in mercy), ch. Luke 19:42; Luke 19:44; and perfected the work of redemption, and sent His apostles: Acts 2. [It follows from this parable, that three Passovers in all elapsed between the baptism and resurrection of Christ.—Harm., p. 403.]— κόπρια) Greg. Naz., κόπρια περιβαλεῖν. Sing. κόπριον.


Verse 9

Luke 13:9. κἂν, and if) The Apodosis is to be understood: It is well, or I will leave it to stand; or else, let it bear fruit. It comes to the same.— ἐκκόψεις, thou shalt cut it off [down]) The Vine-dresser does not say, I will cut it off (down); comp. Luke 13:7; but refers the whole case to the Lord of the vineyard: however, He ceases to intercede for the fig-tree, that it should be spared.— μέλλον) viz. ἔτος, in the year to come, in antithesis to this year ( τοῦτο τὸ ἔτος), Luke 13:8.


Verse 11

Luke 13:11. γυνὴ, a woman) This seems to have been a pious woman; for she was one to whom it was not said in this passage [as in the case of others], Thy sins are forgiven thee: nay, even she is called a daughter of Abraham in Luke 13:16.— συγκύπτουσα, bowed together) The state and posture of her body, which turned her face from the gaze of heaven, was in consonance with her misery in having a “spirit of infirmity” ( πνεῦμα ἀσθενείας).


Verse 12

Luke 13:12. ἰδὼν, having seen) The woman seems to have had longing desire after Him, and confidence in Him.— ἀπολέλυσαι, thou art loosed) even now already: the preterite. The same expression occurs Luke 13:15-16.


Verse 13

Luke 13:13. ἀνωρθώθη, she was raised up straight) The upright posture is one that is in consonance with the nobility of man.— ἐδόξαζε, glorified) The soul and body, after having received help [and relief from above], become, as it were, an instrument just freshly acquired for sounding the Divine praises.


Verse 14

Luke 13:14. τῷ ὄχλῳ, to the multitude) But all the while he obliquely aimed at Jesus. [For doubtless the benefit of the healing came to the woman without her expecting it.—V. g.]— ἕξ, six) quite many enough.


Verse 15

Luke 13:15. ὑποκριταὶ, ye hypocrites) The plural is used, including more persons, but addressed to one person; comp. Luke 13:17 [where all His adversaries are included]: as also in Luke 11:46, compared with Luke 11:45. There was some degree of reverence felt on the part of the ruler of the synagogue towards Jesus; and it was not owing to any peculiar prejudice of his own, but owing to the common error of the Jews on the subject, that he was led to oppose the Saviour.(130)λύει, doth loose) A most apt illustration. Comp. λυθῆναι, to be loosed, applied to the woman in Luke 13:16.— ἀπαγαγὼν, having led away) Words are heaped together in order to show the amount of work [comp. ἐργάζεσθαι, Luke 13:14, in the complaint of the ruler] done on the Sabbath in such a case.


Verse 16

Luke 13:16. θυγατέρα ἀβραὰμ, a daughter of Abraham) not merely a daughter of Adam. There is a strong antithesis to the beast of burden (the ox or the ass). Christ brought salvation to all the children of Abraham: they who remained without share in it had themselves to blame. Comp. as to Zaccheus, ch. Luke 19:9.— ἰδοὺ δέκα καὶ ὀκτὼ ἔτη eighteen years ago. The nominative. So the LXX. according to the Aldine copy, in Joshua 1:11, ἔτι τρεῖς ἡμέραι ὑμεῖς διαβήσεσθε [Al. καὶδιαβαίνετε]. A specimen of the omniscience of Jesus Christ: The Lord knew all about the cause of the disease, and its duration, which seems not to have been made known to Him previously by any outward means of information. זה ἰδου τεσσαράκοντα ἔτη, Deuteronomy 8:4.— οὐκ ἔδει, ought not, was it not fitting?) The argument holds good, both when drawn from the daily necessary wants of the beast, Luke 13:15, and also when drawn from any sudden danger into which it may fall, ch. Luke 14:5. Nor is it permitted one to make the objection: “But the human being, who has been sick for so many years, may wait some few hours until the end of the Sabbath;” for not even in the case of the beast is the case one of the extremest necessity, and yet help is given to the beast; and in the case of a human being’s affliction, where there is the opportunity of getting or giving aid, even an hour is of great importance, when first the patient and the physician meet one another.


Verse 17

Luke 13:17. κατῃσχύνοντο πάντες οἱ ἀντικείμενοι αὐτῷ) Comp. Isaiah 45:16, LXX., αἰσχυνθήσονται καὶ ἐντραπήσονται πάντες οἱ ἀντικείμενοι αὐτῷ [which words were probably in Luke’s mind, whilst recording their partial fulfilment].— πᾶς, all) The following verses should be compared with this.— ἔχαιρεν, rejoiced) with a noble and ingenuous joy.— γινομένοις, which were being done) by His word and His miracles.


Verse 18

Luke 13:18. τίνι, to what) Comp. ch. Luke 7:31. [The Saviour had put forth the same similes, as to the grain of mustard and the leaven, at about the interval of a year before this, as recorded in Matthew, ch. Luke 13:31; Luke 13:33, and also in Mark, ch. Luke 4:31.—Harm., p. 404.]— βασιλεία, the kingdom) Many were about to enter it of the Jews and Gentiles: comp. Luke 13:17; Luke 13:29.


Verse 19

Luke 13:19. κῆπον, garden) which is enclosed. Comp. in connection with the same thought, hid ( ἐνέκρυψεν), Luke 13:21.—[ καὶ ηὔξησε, and it grew) You have instances in point in Luke 13:13; Luke 13:17.—V. g.]


Verse 21

Luke 13:21. ἐνέκρυψεν, hid in) so that the leaven seemed to be quite absorbed by the dough.— ἄλευρον) The words, ἀλεύρου σάτα τρία, seem to have been introduced into the text here from Matthew: I have, as I think, demonstrated clearly enough in my Apparatus Crit. that the very ancient Italic Version had ἄλευρον. And the steady testimony of Ambrose to the same is exhibited, not merely in his commentary on this passage, but also in his Fifth Discourse.


Verse 22

Luke 13:22. εἰς, towards) His route was arranged with a view to reaching Jerusalem at the terminus of a journey especially memorable. See Luke 13:33, ch. Luke 17:11, Luke 18:31, Luke 19:11; Luke 19:28.


Verse 23

Luke 13:23. εἰ ὀλίγοι, whether few) The man seems to have thought that out of the pale of Judaism there would be no salvation.


Verse 24

Luke 13:24. ἀγωνίζεσθε, strive as in a contest) A merely speculative question is at the very outset turned to a practical account: strive by faith, with prayers, holiness, patient perseverance. However there follows also a reply to the subject of the question: see Luke 13:28, et seqq. [There are many, indeed, who are being saved, Luke 13:28-29; but they are such persons whom, of all men, thou wouldest have supposed least likely to be saved, Luke 13:29-30.—V. g.]— πολλοὶ) many, including Israelites also: see Romans 9:31. In antithesis to the ὀλίγοι, few.— οὐκ ἰσχύσουσιν, shall not be able) יכל, LXX. ἰσχύω, absolutely. The contest (agon, from ἀγωνίζεσθε) is maintained by strength, especially the contest which we have in relation to God. They shall not have strength; namely, because they seek near by and about the gate [but do not go straight and direct, and with decision, to the entrance itself], and so at length, when the gate has been firmly shut fast, they shall not be able to burst through it: They neither seek in good earnest, nor put forth the strength which is needed for victory. See Luke 13:27 at the end.


Verse 25

Luke 13:25. ἀφʼ οὗ, from the time that once [when once]) This being abruptly subjoined, has great force. The Apodosis is in τότε, then, in Luke 13:26 : nor is the employment of the Indicative ἐρεῖ, shall say, an objection to this view of the construction. Comp. note on Mark 3:27.— ἐγέρθῃ, shall have risen up) from the banquet (supper) in order to shut the door. For He is not speaking concerning His advent: for at the Advent it is not the Lord that opens to the servants, but it is the servants who open unto their Lord: ch. Luke 12:36.— ἀποκλείσῃ) shall have shut, against strangers alien to Him. Now, now is the time for striving in the [good] contest.— τὴν θύραν, the door) What seems to those standing outside to be a gate, is a door to those who are within, as in a house (home).(131) καὶ ἄρξησθε, and ye shall have begun) This too depends on ἀφʼ οὗ, from the time that once; for the ζητήσουσιν, shall seek, is handled (treated of) in Luke 13:26; and the οὐκ ἰσχύσουσιν, shall not be able, is handled (treated of) in Luke 13:27. Such persons had never thought so before. O how new [implied in τότε ἄρξεσθε] shall be their sense of misery then first realized, and how late, and how long-continuing! It is when his opportunity has passed by, that man begins to wish: Numbers 14:40. [The Israelites began thus to feel only when doomed to forty years wandering, whereas, had they believed in time, they would have entered the promised land at once: Too late “they rose up early, etc., and said, Lo we be here and will go up,” etc.]— κρούειν τὴν θύραν, to knock at the door) which was now not merely στενὴ, as before, Luke 13:24, but by this time closed and shut to ( ἀποκλείσῃ, Luke 13:25).— πόθεν, whence) Herein is implied the point of view in which He refuses to know them. They are recognised by Him, in their character as workers of iniquity.


Verse 26

Luke 13:26. τότε ἄρξεσθε, then ye shall begin) though previously having relied on other pretexts. [They who have remained estranged from Christ heretofore, when they had the opportunity of intimate communion with Him presented to them, shall, at the time when they would wish that they had been His familiar friends, be banished by Him from His presence.—V. g.]— λέγειν, to say) Meaning to say this, “Why shouldest Thou not know us?” [Thou hast seen into our daily conversation and walk: we have had Thee in the midst of us.—V. g.] This properly applies to those who were living at that time.— ἐνώπιόν σου· ἐν ταῖς πλατείαις ἡμῶν, in Thy presence; in our streets) Therefore we must not merely eat and drink in the presence of Christ, but we must be partakers of (have a share in) Christ [if we are to be acknowledged by Him at last]; and not merely throw open our streets, but our hearts, to His saving doctrine.


Verse 27

Luke 13:27. λέγω ὑμῖν, I say unto you, I tell you) He repeats the same words: His sentence stands fast and unchangeable; but in repeating them, He does so with emphasis.— ἀδικίας, of iniquity, of unrighteousness) Therefore the righteous shall enter the kingdom. See Matthew 5:20.


Verse 28

Luke 13:28. ἐκεῖ, there) in that place, to which ye shall be commanded to depart. [See that thou dost in due time reflect on that a “terror of the Lord,” lest hereafter thou shouldest in actual fact be forced to know it by bitter experience.—V. g.]— ὄψησθε) when ye shall see, but not taste [their blessedness]. A sight full of misery. See ch. Luke 16:23. The ungodly, on the contrary, shall be a festive sight to the saints:(132), Isaiah 66:23-24.— ἀβραὰμ, Abraham) The patriarchs and all the prophets looked to Christ; and whosoever do not follow their faith, shall not recline at the heavenly feast with them.— πάντας, all) All the prophets were saints. The Jews used to boast themselves of these, though their fathers had rejected them. There is here, as also in Luke 13:29, a softening down of the apprehension which the ‘fewness’ of the saved might create: see Luke 13:23.— βασιλείᾳ, the kingdom) Luke 13:29.— ἐκβαλλομένους, persons who are being cast out) The Present. The weeping shall forthwith begin.


Verse 29

Luke 13:29. ἥξουσιν, they shall come) Here there is not added many, [as there is in Luke 13:24 and Matthew 8:11. It is a rather stern reply to the question proposed, inasmuch as the question was one easily liable to abuse.—V. g.]— ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ δυσμῶν καὶ βοῤῥᾶ καὶ νότου, from the East and West and North and South) It was almost in this order that the several peoples were converted to the faith. It is especially in the South that as yet the Gospel has to be preached.


Verse 30

Luke 13:30. ἰδοὺ εἰσὶνκαί εἰσι, behold, there areand there are) The present with emphasis, in antithesis to the future: Luke 13:29; Luke 13:24.— εἰσὶν ἔσχατοι, there are last) This has reference to Luke 13:28-29. The absence of the article makes the whole assertion in the sentence indefinite, and denotes that there is to be an interchange in the relative positions of some, though not of all, of the first and of the last, not that there is to be an account taken of both in the mass without discrimination: For those coming from the four quarters of the world shall recline at the banquet with the fathers and the prophets, not the latter with them (the former). See Matthew 8:11.— εἰσὶ πρῶτοι, there are first) This is to be referred to Luke 13:24, et seqq.


Verse 31

Luke 13:31. ἡρώδης, Herod) The Pharisees, in saying this, did not say what was decidedly untrue: for Herod did earn the appellation, fox; and Simonius suspects that he was so called by many. But Herod was wishing that this worker of miracles, whom he suspected to be John, should be removed as far as possible from him [For which reason he the more frequently drove Him from place to place: Matthew 4:12; Matthew 14:1, comparing Luke 13:13.—Harm., p. 407]: and the same object was the aim of the Pharisees: hence both conspired together against Jesus. Again, on the other hand, Herod does not seem in serious earnest to have wished to kill Jesus; for if he was struck with fear after having killed John, ch. Luke 9:7-8, he could not but have been struck with more violent fear had he killed Jesus; but he tried to agitate Jesus (by alarming Him, and to thrust Him out of his country, under the pretext of his territorial right (comp. Amos 7:12, [where Amaziah uses the same policy towards the prophet]), and by means of threats derived from that plea, which the Pharisees reported to Him, as if in the way of friendly admonition, not in Herod’s words, but in their own words, and perhaps with exaggerations of their own invention. Therefore Jesus replies to both in accordance with the real state of the case, not being terrified by anything (in any respect). He calls Herod a fox, employing an epithet accurately characterizing him, on account of his cunning and hypocritical cowardice (comp. ch. Luke 9:7), inasmuch as he was throwing out threats which were but a feint, and declaring that He is not to be deterred by those threats from the performing of miracles: but, at the same time, He upbraids the persons who announced the tidings of Herod’s threats, as also the whole of Jerusalem, with their ungrateful and blood-thirty spirit: Luke 13:33-34. Herod was a fox, a persecutor on a comparatively small scale, compared with Jerusalem, the great persecutor (‘persecutrix’).— θέλει σε ἀποκτεῖναι, wishes to kill Thee) being irritated perhaps with the act of Pilate, mentioned Luke 13:1.


Verse 32

Luke 13:32. εἴπατε, tell ye) if you dare.— ἐκβάλλω, κ. τ. λ., I cast out) He does not add, I preach the Gospel; for this would have been less within the comprehension of Herod. From the goodness of Jesus’ actions, the wickedness of Herod’s designs against Him stands out the more palpable and glaring.(133)ἐπιτελῶ, I use despatch in performing cures [conficio]) I am urgent, inasmuch as My time is short. He speaks with majesty in making answer to His enemies; with humility towards His friends. See Matthew 11:5; Matthew 12:27.— σήμερον καὶ αὔριον) So the LXX., σή΄ερον καὶ αὔριον, Joshua 22:18 [ ἐὰν ἀποστῆτε σή΄ερον ἀπὸ κυρίου, καὶ αὐριὸν ἐπὶ πάντα ἰσραὴλ ἔσται ὀργή], with which comp. Luke 13:28.(134) It is equivalent to a proverb concerning the time to come; as the phrase, yesterday and the day before, χθὲς καὶ τρίτην ἡμέραν, is used concerning the time past. If it had depended on Herod, not even a day would have been left to the Lord.— τελειοῦμαι) I reach the goalthe consummation. Comp. Hebrews 11:40 [“That they without us should not be perfect.”] On the third day He departed from Galilee [the territory of Herod], turning His course towards Jerusalem, being about to die there; see Luke 13:33, at the end: and so, from this time forth, He vividly realized to His own mind the consummation. [Nor did He return after this to Galilee, previous to His resurrection.—Harm., p. 407.]


Verse 33

Luke 13:33. τῇ ἐχομένῃ, on the following day) This expression has a wider meaning than τῇ τρίτῃ, on the third day (the day after to-morrow), which is included in τῇ ἐχομένῃ. The journey to the city of Jerusalem was not a journey of only two days: see Luke 13:22, ch. Luke 17:11. Whence it appears that the third day was not merely a day of consummation, πλὴν [beginning of this ver.], but also, before this, of farther journeying and progress.(135) [“If I were to proceed straight-way,” saith He, “to the place where I am about to be slain, there would be need of at least a three days’ journey.”—Harm., l. c.]— πορεύεσθαι, to walk, depart) They had said, πορεύου, depart, Luke 13:31. He replies, This very thing which you so suddenly enjoin upon Me (viz. to depart), is not a thing to be done in one day.— οὐκ ἐνδέχεται, it is not usual(136)) This phrase admits of exceptions: for instance, John the Baptist was “a prophet” who “perished out of Jerusalem.”— ἀπολέσθαι, perish) by a public judicial procedure.


Verse 34

Luke 13:34. ἰερουσαλὴμ, Jerusalem) It is not without cause that His discourse is turned to this city; the Pharisees had an intimate tie of connection with it: see Luke 13:31 : and it was in the same city that Herod was about to assail Jesus [ch. Luke 23:11].— πόσακις, how often) Luke 13:7. He had come thither thrice since His baptism: [John 2:23; John 5:1; John 7:10.—Harm., l. c.]— νοσσίαν, her young brood) A collective noun.


Verse 35

Luke 13:35. ἰδοὺ ἀφίεται ὑμῖν οἶκος ὑμῶν) Many have added ἔρημος from Matthew.(137) In Luke the Saviour is represented as having said these words in Galilee: nor did He subsequently afford the people of Jerusalem the opportunity of seeing Him, until, after the resurrection of Lazarus, at His own royal entry, they said, Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord.(138) Therefore, from the time of this declaration and prelude up to the time of that entry of His, He left their house to them,(139) though not yet however ‘desolate’ [therefore the ἔρη΄ον here is spurious]. But in Matthew, after His royal entry, going out from the temple for the last time, He solemnly declared their house to be left desolate.(140) [We have been permitted to observe the same nice distinction in the words respectively used, between Luke 11:49, and Matthew 23:34 : see the notes on both passages.—Harm., p. 407.]— λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, but I say unto you) He speaks sternly, and yet mercifully, as we have just now remarked. Nay, even in Matthew 23:39, the ἀμὴν, verily, is wanting, by the insertion of which in Luke some have intensified the sternness of His denunciation.(141) The particle, δὲ, but, opposes to one another the present desolation of their abandoned house, and their acclamations so soon about to follow.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 13:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-13.html. 1897.

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the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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