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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Luke 14

 

 

Verse 1

Luke 14:1. ἐν τῷ ἐλθεῖν, when He was coming) by invitation. See Luke 14:12.— ἀρχόντων, of the chiefs) The Pharisees had their own chiefs, and these also numerous, possessing pre-eminent authority; which, however, Jesus did not regard with fear. See Luke 14:12, at the beginning. [— ἦσαν παρατηρούμενοι αὐτὸν, they were craftily watching Him) The spiritual Sabbath is grossly profaned by crafty and wicked thoughts.—V. g.]


Verse 2

Luke 14:2. ὑδρωπικὸς, a man in the dropsy) who was brought hither for this very reason.


Verse 3

Luke 14:3. ἀποκριθεὶς, answering) to the thoughts of His adversaries.— νομικοὺς, lawyers) who, though the law was their profession, notwithstanding did not understand aright the law concerning the Sabbath.


Verse 4

Luke 14:4. ἰάσατο, He healed him) His adversaries were using the dropsical man as the cloke for assailing the Lord: but yet Jesus conferred the benefit on him.


Verse 5

Luke 14:5. ἀνασπάσει, will pull out) with much toil.


Verse 7

Luke 14:7. παραβολὴν, a parable) Taken from external manners, but having regard to internal principles.— ἐπέχων [when He marked] directing His attention to the fact(142)) Attention in conversation and social intercourse is a most wholesome (profitable) habit.


Verse 8

Luke 14:8. εἰς γάμους, to a wedding-feast) There was no wedding then going forward; therefore this element is introduced into the parable for the sake of treating of social civic life.— μὴ, not) comp. Proverbs 25:6-7 [“Stand not in the place of great men: for better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither, than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince”]. Each man knows his own calling, not that of all others.— εἰς τὴν πρωτοκλισίαν) in the highest seat. To this, which is in the singular, there corresponds the word ἐντιμότερος, one more honourable, and τὸν ἔσχατον τόπον, the lowest place. The proud man sets himself before not merely some men, but all men; Psalms 10:4-5.— ἐντιμότερος) This in the parable marks one esteemed more honourable among men (LXX., Numbers 22:15): and at the same time one who is esteemed, in the main aim of his life, more precious in the sight of God, even though sometimes coming [to the heavenly feast] somewhat late. Moreover, the humble man esteems all others more precious and ‘honourable’ than himself. Comp. Sirach 10:7 to Sirach 11:6, in the Greek.


Verse 9

Luke 14:9. ἐλθὼν, having come) Comp. Matthew 22:11.— καὶ αὐτὸν, and him) The dignity of the guests, and the relative degrees of that dignity, depend on the ‘calling’ [ σε καὶ αὐτὸν καλέσας]. The words καὶ αὐτὸν, and him, are not repeated in Luke 14:10 [but only κεκληκώς σε, He that bade or called thee]. For in this passage the words are employed as a motive for modesty [seeing that he too as well as thyself is called].— ἐρεῖ) The Indicative, shall say, after μήποτε κεκλημένος, Subjunctive, as presently after, in Luke 14:12, μήποτε ἀντικαλέσωσινγενήσεται, where see the note.(143)δὸς, give) There is not added φίλε, Friend as there is in Luke 14:10.— ἄρξῃ, thou shalt begin) To be the last and lowest is not attended with ignominy, except in the case of one who aspired to a higher position.— αἰσχύνης, with shame) In antithesis to δόξα, glory [Engl. Vers. worship, in the old English sense of honour, respect], in Luke 14:10. This is appropriately so.— ἔσχατον) not merely a lower place, but the lowest of all. He who is once bidden to give place, is put away to a distance [from the Lord of the feast].


Verse 10

Luke 14:10. πορευθεὶς, having gone [Go and]) i.e. in taking the lowest place, do so with alacrity and from the heart [this is the force of πορευθεὶς].—[ τὸν ἔσχατον, the lowest) He who sets himself before even one, may possibly be forced to give place to that one. Therefore it is good to take the lowest place of all. No wrong that you can do to yourself, can inflict less of real loss upon you than this, if indeed it should happen that without thinking of it you should thereby do to yourself a wrong.—V. g.]— προσαναβῆθι) go up higher to others, who are [like thyself] ‘honourable’ guests. Proverbs 25:7, LXX., κρεῖσσον γάρ σοι τὸ ῥηθῆναι ἀναβῆναι, ταπεινῶσαί σε ἐν προσώπῳ δυνάστου.


Verse 11

Luke 14:11. πᾶς, every one) A weighty word. [An axiom very often repeated, and that with the most impressive force; ch. Luke 18:14; Matthew 23:12.—V. g.]


Verse 12

Luke 14:12. [ τῷ κεκληκότι, to him that had bidden Him) This Pharisee was not one of the worst stamp; see Luke 14:14.—V. g.]— ἄριστον δεῖπνον, a dinner [rather the morning meal, or breakfast], or a supper [rather a dinner]) More usually there is made the simple mention of supper: therefore the meal at this time may have been the early meal [ ἄριστον, prandium, breakfast or luncheon]. See Luke 5:1; Luke 5:25.— μὴ φώνει τοὺς φίλους, do not give an invitation to thy friends) that is to say, I do not tell thee to invite thy friends, etc. Jesus leaves as it were in their own place [as generally recognised] invitations which arise out of a natural or social tie of connection. He Himself enjoins [besides] a better class of invitations. He does not altogether abolish the offices of friendly courtesy.— πλουσίους, [when they happen to be] rich) This epithet is to be joined to τοὺς φίλουςἀδελφοὺςσυγγενεῖςγείτονας, those of thy friends, brethren, relatives, neighbours who may be rich, but who are often neglected when they are poor: But the epithet chiefly belongs to γείτονας, neighbours; to which four classes of those well-off in the world, there are opposed as many classes of those who are not so in Luke 14:13,— μήποτεἀνταπόδομα, lest—a recompense) This kind of fear is unknown to the world, as is also fear of riches [Give me neither poverty nor riches], Proverbs 30:8. This is the foundation of true liberality, and αὐταρκεία, independent contentedness. Who is there that would wish that all his acts in this life should be recompensed according to their desert? [And yet there are not wanting persons, who wish that everything whatever, which they give or lend, should be most quickly, abundantly, and with accumulated interest, repaid to them: nay they even hunt after both peculiar privileges and undeserved opportunities which for crushing many others, with such great eagerness, that one might suppose that there was no resurrection at hand or recompense of men’s deed, nay, indeed, as if nothing is to be taken away (wrested) from those, who practically deny their faith in things future by their unbridled panting after things present. At what a fearful cost do these things present stand to not a few persons, with whom they are turned into a matter of plunder and rapacity! Happy is he, who is not loath to wait (for his good things). Do not be unduly chagrined, if at any time it will happen that in some case you fail (are disappointed) in the world. But beware of judging rather harshly of others, whom, whether you will or not, you cannot but perceive to have precedency given to them above yourself.—V. g.]— καὶ γενήσεται) Concerning this construction, μήποτε καὶ αὐτοί σε ἀντικαλέσωσι [Subj.], καὶ γενήσεταί [Indic.], σοι ἀνταπόδομα, the exact counterpart to which occurs in Luke 14:9 [where see note], a judgment may be formed from the note on Mark 3:27, which see. From not observing this, many have altered γενήσεται to γένηται.(144)


Verse 13

Luke 14:13. κάλεῖ) invite, bid, call, simply; not φώνει,(145) as in Luke 14:12, φωνεῖν conveys the idea of something more loud (clear) and formal (solemn).— πτωχοὺς, the poor) It is such whom God Himself invites Luke 14:21.


Verse 14

Luke 14:14. γὰρ, for) There is nothing left without retribution.— σοὶ, to thee) as being a friend of the Saviour.— ἀναστάσει, the resurrection) Before the resurrection there is not a full retribution, but rather, whilst life lasts, an opportunity for further sowing against the final harvest of recompense; and after death, there is a state of rest [not of full recompense]. See Revelation 14:13.— τῶν δικάιων, of the just) Acts 24:15 [Matthew 25:46; John 5:29.]


Verse 15

Luke 14:15. ἀκούσας, having heard) and having been touched thereby. [However one feels inclined to suspect, that something of a worldly character crept into His thoughts concerning the kingdom of GOD.—V. g.]— μακάριος, blessed) Alluding to the μακάριος, blessed, in Luke 14:14. Often this epithet includes in its signification the idea of something that is rare and uncommon. Comp. Luke 14:24. It is not enough to pronounce godly men ‘blessed;’ but each must exert himself for his part to the best of his ability. Comp. the following verses: also ch. Luke 13:23-24.— φάγεται) shall eat.— ἄρτον) Many read ἄριστον; but the reading ἄρτον is better established, especially as there is joined to it the verb φάγεται, which is more appropriate to ἄρτον, than ἄριστον: comp. Luke 14:1 [ φαγεῖν ἄρτον].(146) However at that time it seems to have been the ἄριστον, prandium, breakfast or luncheon, the early meal: see note on Luke 14:12. On that account it is worthy of the greater attention that in the parable set before them in Luke 14:16, it is a δεῖπνον, cæna, supper (our late dinner), which is specified.(147)


Verse 16

Luke 14:16. ΄έγα, great) Both a sumptuous supper and one capable of satisfying abundantly many. What is meant is the kingdom of grace, in so far as through it the entrance is to be to the kingdom of glory.— ἐκάλεσε, bade, invited) This word forms the bond of connection between the two discourses on the subject of banqueting or entertainments, such as are calculated to lead to blessedness, Call (invite) the poor to thee: Obey the call (invitation) of God.


Verse 17

Luke 14:17. εἰπεῖν, to say) The successive steps of the gradation are to be observed: Luke 14:17, εἰπεῖν, to say, κεκλημένοις, to the called: Luke 14:21, εἰσάγαγε, bring in, τοὺς πτωχοῦς, the poor: Luke 14:23, ἀνάγκασον, compel, εἰς τὰς ὁδοὺς, i.e. those who are in the highways, etc. The call goes forward to those that are at a greater distance, and by its continually increasing urgency it compensates for the delay previously incurred. [The called are of Israel.—V. g.— ἤδη) already now. Herein the time of the New Testament is shown to be the present time.


Verse 18

Luke 14:18. ἤρξαντο, they began) Previously they had professed for their part to be in a state of expectation [waiting for the call to be given].— ἀπὸ μιᾶς) ‘Elliptical,’ says Camerarius, who adds, “ ἀπὸ μιᾶς, viz. γνώμης, with one consent or mind (with unanimity); or ἀπὸ μιᾶς παραιτήσεως (with one declining), i.e. they all alike began to decline the invitation. So almost similarly in Iliad βʼ, εἴγε ποτʼ ἔσγε μιάν βουλεύσομεν, namely, supplying βουλὴν, if ever we shall deliberate with unity of counsel among us: and so elsewhere, οὐχ ὁσιή, κταμένοισιν ἐτʼ ἀνδράσιν εὐχετάασθαι, namely, εὐχή, the vaunting is not pious wherewith one vaunts over the dead. And in Psalms 26, μιὰν ᾐτησάμην παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου, namely, αἴτησιν; and in Psalms 57, εὐθείας κρίνετε υἱοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, namely, κρίσεις.” [— παραιτεῖσθαι, to make excuse) “To buy a piece of ground,” etc., are things not bad in themselves; but it is bad to be entangled and encumbered by such things, and to make as our pretext necessity in the case of earthly things combined with (alleged) impossibility (Luke 14:26, οὐ δύναμαι ἐλθεῖν, I cannot come) in the case of spiritual things.—V. g.— αὐτῷ, to Him) who had prepared the banquet.—V. g.]— ἄγρον, a field [piece of ground]) In this verse there is implied a farm, in the following verse, trafficking, merchandise. Comp. Matthew 22:5 [They went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise]. The verb, ἠγόρασα, I have bought, repeated in both cases, Luke 14:18-19, implies eagerness to make gain, as is the usual feeling whilst the transaction is still recent. To a worldly man when he is made sensible of the Divine call, all vain things are new and sweet.—[ ἠγόρασα, I have bought) It is profitable to allege on the opposite side as a ground for denying the world, another and very different purchase of a field (the Gospel-field containing the pearl of great price), Matthew 13:44, another kind of plowing (the Gospel-plow), Luke 9:62, in fine, another espousal (viz. to Christ), 2 Corinthians 11:2.—V. g.]— ἔχω ἀνάγκην, I must needs, I feel it necessary) Often there meet together the most acceptable seasons of grace, and the most urgent calls of worldly business. This man makes as his pretext a feigned necessity: The second, a mere inclination after other things, Luke 14:19, πορευόμαι, I go; The third, Luke 14:20, a perverse allegation of impossibility, I cannot come. This last one declares expressly that he cannot; the two former declare that they will not, but use a courteous formula of apology. The holy hatred ( μισεῖ τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ) spoken of in Luke 14:26 [if they had felt it] could have healed them all of their excuses. However the variety in their modes of rejecting the invitation lay not so much in their state of mind [which was the same in all three] as in the objects on which their rejection of it rested, “the piece of land,” “the oxen,” “the wife.” Comp. Matt. l. c.— ἐρωτῶ, I beg, I pray, thee) A most unworthy and wretched prayer (request) whereby the kingdom of God is refused.


Verse 19

Luke 14:19. ἠγόρασα, I have bought) 1 Corinthians 7:30.— πέντε, five) A purchase by no means small.


Verse 20

Luke 14:20. γυναῖκα) See Luke 14:6. Comp. 1 Corinthians 7:30; 1 Corinthians 7:29.— οὐ δύναμαι, I cannot) This excuser of himself, the more plausible and fair-looking is the excuse which he thinks he has, is in proportion the more blunt in his refusal.


Verse 21

Luke 14:21. ἀπήγγειλε, reported) It is the part of ministers to lay before the Lord in prayer an account of the obedience and disobedience of their hearers.— ὀργισθεὶς, being angry) Therefore He had invited them with entire sincerity.— ἔξελθε, go out) So Luke 14:23.— ταχέως, quickly) Because all the viands were already prepared, and, as it were, still hot; and the excellence of these viands is to be vindicated from contempt [such as had been thrown on them by the self-excusers] by means of other guests.— πλατείας, streets) which are larger.— ῥύμας, lanes) which are smaller.— τῆς πόλεως, of the city) We may suppose, that by these are meant those nations, among which the Jews were dispersed.—V. g. (Comp. however the following note, E. B.)]— τοὺς πτωχοὺς, the poor) Those already called [ κεκλημένοι, Luke 14:24] were those, who were accounted among the Jews to be the best men, Luke 14:1; Luke 14:3 [“the chief Pharisees and lawyers”]; the poor in the streets are the “Publicans and sinners” [who welcome the invitation in], ch. Luke 15:1 : see Matthew 21:31.— πτωχοὺς, the poor) whom otherwise no one feels disposed to invite.— ἀναπήρους, the maimed) whom no wife (woman) would take, Luke 14:20.— χωλοὺς, the lame) who cannot go ( πορεύομαι), Luke 14:19.— τυφλοὺς, the blind) who cannot see ( ἰδεῖν, Luke 14:18.


Verse 22

Luke 14:22. γέγονεν, it is done) Comp. Ezekiel 9:11.


Verse 23

Luke 14:23. φραγμοὺς, hedges) which are the house-walls of beggars [the only kind of houses they have.]—[ εἰς τὰς ὁδοὺς, into the highways) Pure unmixed paganism is hereby meant.—V. g.]— ἀνάγκασον εἰσελθεῖν, compel them to come in) It is not compulsion of every kind that is meant: for he who is altogether dragged or hurried by force cannot be said to come in [which implies a voluntary act]. Comp. the ἠνάγκασεν, Matthew 14:22, “He constrained His disciples,” etc. [which does not mean physical force compulsion, but by urgent command induced]; 2 Corinthians 12:11; Galatians 2:14; παραβιάζεσθαι, in Luke 24:29; Acts 16:15. It was in altogether different ways that Saul, when mad with zeal for Judaism, compelled men, and Paul the servant of Jesus Christ compelled men. [The later the call is, the more strongly urgent in proportion is he; Luke 14:23, εἰπεῖν, say, Luke 14:17, εἰσάγαγε, bring in, Luke 14:21, ἀνάγκασον, compel, Luke 14:23, are in successive gradation (form an ascending climax).—V. g.]— γεμισθῇ, may be filled) Neither nature nor grace admits of a vacuum. The blessed ones form a multitude, which acquires the greatest portion of its fulness in the last periods of the world. [In consonance with this is the prophecy that Christ after “having seen the travail of His soul shall be satisfied,” Isaiah 53:11.—V. g.]


Verse 24

Luke 14:24. γὰρ, for) This is to be referred to ἐξελθε, Go out in Luke 14:23. The Lord now seeks any persons whatever, rather than those who had been bidden, and yet rejected the invitation. [Nor is there any longer any room left open for the despisers of the Lord’s goodness.—V. g.]— ὑμῖν, unto you) The plural appertains to the ‘poor,’ the ‘maimed,’ etc., who had been brought in.— τῶν ἀνδρῶν, of the men) men of distinction and wealth though they were.— ἐκείνων, of those men) The pronoun has the force of putting them to a distance [the Lord putting them away from Him]. Here too that common saying holds good, “The absent must go without” [must want. He who absents himself must have no share in the good things of the supper].— γεύσεται, shall even taste) much less be allowed to enjoy. The contumacious Jews fall short of even the kingdom of grace [not to say the kingdom of glory] and any taste of it.


Verse 26

Luke 14:26. [ εἴ τις, if any man) Wherever the greatest multitude of men flocked together, there at times Jesus used especial sternness of language.—V. g.]— οὐ μισεῖ τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ, doth not hate his father) viz. hate his father, etc., in that respect, in which he is bound to hate himself ( τὴν εἁυτοῦ ψυχήν), namely, whereinsoever father, etc., or self are inconsistent with love to Christ [are averse from Christ]. This text applies to that time especially, in which few were really following Christ: many hated, who deserved to be hated themselves. This hatred must be understood not merely in the comparative [hate, i.e. love less] or conditional and qualified sense, but even absolutely: For whoever hath derived from Christ a ripened knowledge, taste, and appetite for God and heavenly good things (Luke 14:16, the viands of the “great supper”), has also a contempt and hatred of self and of the whole creature that [of the whole creation, so far as it] is subject to vanity, a hatred that is at once high-spirited and yet at the same time removed from all bitterness of feeling. Comp. note, John 12:25.— ἀδελφοὺς, brethren) Comp. Luke 14:12.— ἔτι δὲ, yea besides his own life) What is dearest to man, himself. Often he who has seemed to attain to a lower degree of this holy hatred, proves wanting in a higher degree of it.— τὴν εἁυτοῦ ψυχὴν, his own soul or life) i.e. himself.— μαθητὴς εἶναι, my disciple he cannot be) The order is reversed in the following verse, εἶναι μαθητὴς, be my disciple. In both passages the accent in pronunciation falls upon the word which stands first.(148)


Verse 27

Luke 14:27. καὶ) “whosoever doth not bear his cross,” and yet (not, and does not come) comes, and walks after me, as ye do, as though he was wishing to be my disciple. [But Engl. Ver. takes it in the way which Beng. rejects, “Whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me,” etc.] Comp. note, Matthew 16:24.(149)


Verse 28

Luke 14:28. πύργον) a strong-hold [‘tower’].— καθίσας, having sat down) so as to give himself time for making a summary calculation of his means and resources. So too in Luke 14:31 [ ψηφίζει, calculates). This calculation of the expenses of building, or a consultation on a question of war, are things of no inconsiderable moment. But do thou see to it, whether thou hast ever bestowed more careful deliberation on the (infinitely more momentous) question of eternal salvation or else misery. Easy is the descent to hell!—V. g.]


Verse 29

Luke 14:29. ἄρξωνται, begin to) No one laughs at the man, whose attempts are not abortive.(150)


Verse 30

Luke 14:30. οὗτος, this man) A proper name is meant. They commonly put N. N.(151)


Verse 31

Luke 14:31. , or) Christianity is a great and difficult thing. It is therefore compared with great and difficult things: such as is the undertaking of a costly building in one’s private concerns, of a war, in the case of public concerns. The former parable expresses the ‘hatred’ of “father, mother,” etc.: the second parable expresses hatred of one’s “own life.”— βασιλεὺς, king) The Christian warfare has something royal and kingly in it.— εἰς πόλεμον, to engage in war). Comp. Genesis 32:24.


Verse 32

Luke 14:32. ἐρωτᾷ, he beggeth) The king finds it an easier matter to prevail on himself to expend [to expose to the risks of war] an army, than to beg a peace. This begging of peace, therefore, expresses the hatred of one’s own soul, wherewith one, having utterly denied self, gives himself up to dependence on pure and unmixed grace. We may also, by changing the figure, understand peace as the avoidance of hatred on the part of his own people, which is a bad kind of peace.(152)


Verse 33

Luke 14:33. οὐκ ἀποτάσσεται, doth not renounce or detach himself from [bid farewell to]) The builder exercises self-denial as to (renounces), and expends, unhesitatingly, sums of money, the warrior his forces, and the disciple parents, and all ties of affection. The former two have a positive expenditure; the latter, a negative (self-denying) expenditure (the foregoing, where called on, of that which one might otherwise enjoy, home affections). [It is a mighty undertaking to compass the being a disciple of Christ. He is better to abstain from the attempt, who is not altogether well pleased with all the things which tend to the attainment of that object.—V. g.]


Verse 34

Luke 14:34. ἅλας, salt) Which means the disciples: Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:50. Salt is something pungent (sharp): let the Christian be so. See the preceding verse [in which the strong pungency which attends Christian self-renunciation is brought out strikingly.] [We must do sharply what is to be done, and must do it also gravely (seriously).(153)—V. g.]


Verse 35

Luke 14:35. οὔτε, neither) That is to say, it brings with it neither immediate (direct) nor mediate (indirect) profit. The divine who is destitute of spiritual salt is not even politically profitable: Isaiah 9:14-15.— ἔξω, out) There is sternness here, even in the mode of expression.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 14:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-14.html. 1897.

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Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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