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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Luke 17

 

 

Verse 1

Luke 17:1. ΄αθητὰς, disciples) as in ch. Luke 16:1.— ἀνένδεκτόν ἐστι) So οὐκ ἐνδέχεται, it is not a thing usual to happen [ προφήτην ἀπολέσθαι ἔξω ἱερουσαλήμ], ch. Luke 13:33 [lit. a thing not admissible in the common course of things].— ἐλθεῖν, come) especially through the instrumentality of the Pharisees. [And their deriding cavils, ch. Luke 14:14.—V. g.]


Verse 2

Luke 17:2. τούτων, of these) By this pronoun, Luke shows evidently that “the little ones” were present in the midst of them.


Verse 3

Luke 17:3. προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς, take heed to yourselves) Not only do not give offence to others, Luke 17:1-2, or take offence from others who sin against you, Luke 17:3, but also take heed lest ye be an offence or stumbling-block to yourselves; Matthew 18:8. Comp. Galatians 6:1, at the end of the verse.— ἄφες, forgive) So God deals with us.


Verse 4

Luke 17:4. τῆς ἡμέρας, in the day) This passage many misapply, by erroneously connecting the idea with that in Proverbs 24:16 [A just man falleth seven times and riseth up again”] as if the just man fell seven times a day, and that, too, into sins.— ἐπιστρέψῇ, turn himself again) In antithesis to ἁμαρτήσῃ, if he shall have trespassed.— μετανοῶ, I repent) To say so openly and ingenuously, is not only not disgraceful, but is even salutary [tends towards one’s salvation]: the mind of the offender and that of the offended party are thereby admirably healed. [In a similar way, also, it is expedient that we entreat pardon before God, not merely in general terms, but in respect to the particular lapses into sin of which we are conscious.—V. g.]


Verse 5

Luke 17:5. εἰπον, said) Being moved with the sweetness of His words, Luke 17:4, they were wishing to have a more abundant enjoyment of the Divine benignity.— οἱ ἀπόστολοι, the apostles) who had in an especial degree need of great faith.— τῷ κυρίῳ, the Lord) This appellation being put here implies, that this petition was a very solemn one.— πρόσθες, add) They hereby recognise the Divine power of Jesus. Jesus deals with their petition in Luke 17:6, and Luke 17:7-10.— πίστιν, faith) which surmounts stumbling-blocks, and freely forgives offences.


Verse 6

Luke 17:6. εἰ) if) This IF itself sharpens the energies of minds striving after faith, and enlarges their powers so as to reach it. [By the very fact of setting forth the efficacy of faith, faith itself is increased.—V. g.]— συκαμίνῳ) שקמים, which the LXX. render συκάμινοι. The morus or mulberry tree, a tree often met in Palestine. See 1 Kings 10:27. Sometimes the συκομορέα is distinguished from it. See ch. Luke 19:4. See the lexicographers, and Bexa, on this passage. The wild fig-tree is a tree most deeply rooted. μόρον; an Egyptian kind that bears its fruit on the branches, and has leaves like the white mulberry. Ficus sycomorus, Linnæus.—E. and T.">(180)— φυτεύθητι, be thou planted) with thy roots, so as to remain in the sea. It is a similar effect to this which is produced on believers themselves.— ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ, in the sea) They were at the time near the sea; comp. Matthew 17:20; Matthew 17:27.— ὑπήκουσεν ἂν, it would obey you) Metaphysicians term it the obediential power. The recognition of the Divine omnipotence, which faith apprehends, increases faith.


Verse 7

Luke 17:7. τἱς, who) viz. is there?δὲ, but) There is apprehended by faith the Divine omnipotence, Luke 17:6, but what is still more blessed, the Divine compassion and grace, and that pure unmixed grace; Luke 17:7, et seqq.; comp. ch. Luke 10:20. [The fact of the disciples’ “names being written heaven,” is to their faith a greater cause for joy than “the spirits being subject” to them].— ἐξ ὑμῶν) of you, men, or disciples. Bartholomew is said to have been a nobleman.— δοῦλον, a servant) Christ, whilst He increases their faith, seems to lessen (disparage or impair) it [by putting them on the footing of a servant or slave]. The groundwork that lies underneath great faith and prayer is lowly poverty of spirit, and a profound sense of our ἀχρειότης, unprofitableness, and of the debt of duty we owe Him. Psalms 147:11; Psalms 123:2, [“Behold as the eyes of servants look unto the hands of their masters, etc., so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until He have mercy upon us.”]— ἀροτριῶντα, plowing) during the whole day: whence there follows, δειπνήσω, “wherewith I may have supper” [the meal at the close of the day].— εὐθέως, forthwith, quickly) In antithesis to μετὰ ταῦτα, afterwards, in Luke 17:8. Therefore we should construe εὐθέως with ἀνάπεσε, forthwith sit down to meat. Others [as the Engl. Ver., “will say unto him by and by,”] join εὐθέως with ἐρεῖ, will forthwith say, which gives a rather ax sense. For whether the master says this or that to the servant, he says it ‘forthwith,’ as soon as ever the servant hath come in from the field. But those persons wish forthwith or quickly to sit down to meat, who after they have laid aside all their other duties, fancy that the highest degree of faith should be ascribed to them, [“Qui missis cæteris officiis fidem sibi summam conferri oportere putant.”] Whereas they please God, who walk modestly, and demand nothing in a spirit of arrogance.— παρελθὼν, go forward and) See note, ch. Luke 12:37ἀνάπεσε) Others read ἀνάπεσαι. But both Aorists of this are of frequent occurrence in the Active, not in the middle.(181)


Verse 8

Luke 17:8. εὥς) until, even up to the time that, and as long.


Verse 9

Luke 17:9. ἐποίησε, he did) viz. in “plowing, or feeding cattle,” Luke 17:7.— οὐ δοκῶ) [“I trow not,” I rather think not] ΄είωσις.(182)


Verse 10

Luke 17:10. ὅταν ποιήσητε, when ye shall have done) The consideration of the apostles was at the time fixed too intently upon the obedience which they had heretofore rendered, especially as they saw the scandalous perversity [or the perversity which took offence ( σκάνδαλον) at the Saviour] on the part of others. See ch. Luke 16:14. The Lord calls them back from the remembrance of such things [which tended to lead them to exalt themself by the comparison].—[ λέγετε, say ye) We are to understand and supply the following, So your faith will become great. When the obstacles to faith have been taken out of the way, among which rashness and self-confidence easily hold the first place, faith of its own accord increases. For then the pure and unmixed grace of the Lord has unrestricted room for its exercise.—V. g.]— ὅτι) ὅτι seems twice to have the same force by Anaphora.(183)δοῦλοι ἀχρεῖοι, unprofitable [dispensable] servants)(184) The emphasis lies on the word servants (slaves), and every servant ought to confess himself unprofitable from the very fact that he is a servant who owes all things [to his heavenly Master], who, if he is guilty of a delinquency, deserves stripes; if he does all things required of him, he deserves nothing as a matter of debt; he ought to feel as if he had done nothing; no thanks are to be considered due to him, whose part it is not to demand aught of importance to be assigned to him as regards either trouble or reward. God can do without our usefulness (services), being Himself alone ‘good.’ Romans 11:35. [Who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again], Matthew 19:17. David saith, ἔσομαι ἀχρεῖος [Engl. Ver., vile], ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς σου καὶ μετὰ τῶν παιδισκῶν, ὧν εἶπάς με μὴ δοξασθῆναι, 2 Samuel 6:22, where the antithesis δοξασθῆναι follows, not without mention of servants [ παιδισκῶν]. He is wretched whom the Lord calls an unprofitable servant, Matthew 25:30 : Happy is he who calls himself so. As to the word ἀ χρειο͂ ς, see Eustathius.(185) There is a Metonymy of the consequent for the antecedent. Say ye, We are unprofitable servants; that is to say, there is no greater return of thanks due to us, than if we had done nothing: Job 9:21; Job 10:15.(186) Even the angels may call themselves unprofitable (dispensable) servants of God. And also the servant of a man may call himself an unprofitable servant, although he be profitable (serviceable) to his master. The reason is, I. The condition itself of a slave or servant [which makes service a matter of course, not something that can claim a reward]. II. In respect to God, there is to be added His own perfect blessedness. Acts 17:25 [Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things]. ἀχρεῖος is either used transitively, of one who is not profitable to another: or intransitively, of one who is of no profit to himself: and this again either of one’s own accord, as David says that he will be [in the passage quoted above, 2 Samuel 6:22], (not in the Hebrew, but in the Greek), or else involuntarily, as a servant or slave.— ὠφείλο΄εν, we were bound by our duty) as servants. The emphasis rests on this word, rather than upon the word, πεποιήκαμεν, we have done.


Verse 11

Luke 17:11. διὰ μέσου, through the midst) On the confines of both Samaria and Galilee. [The remembrance of the Saviour in His journey from Galilee through Samaria to Judea, was deeply engraven on men’s minds by the following miracle.—Harm., p. 416.]


Verse 13

Luke 17:13. ᾖραν φωνὴν, they lifted up their voices) An effort which their disease was scarcely admitting of. The one grateful Samaritan directed his voice to a pious use again in Luke 17:15.


Verse 14

Luke 17:14. ἱερεῦσι, unto the priests) To more than one priest, because there were more than one leper. This would have to take place at Jerusalem, a long journey. It is thus that the Samaritan is brought over to the faith of Israel. [For which reason he is said in Luke 17:15 to have returned, ὑπέστρεψεν.—V. g.] By this command the previous healing is by implication indicated.


Verse 15

[15. φωνῆς μεγάλης, with a loud voice) which was in itself a testimony to the fact of the cure having been performed, to the glory and praise of God. For it seems that the voice of lepers is ordinarily hoarse.—V. g.]


Verse 16

Luke 17:16. σαμαρείτης, a Samaritan) Luke 17:11 [Belonging to Samaria, through the borders of which Jesus was ‘passing’].


Verse 17

Luke 17:17. οἱ δέκα, the ten) A specimen of His omniscience.


Verse 18

Luke 17:18. οὐχ εὑρέθησαν, there have not been found) i.e. the nine have not been found.— ὑποστρέψαντες, who returned to give) A part of the Predicate. [In returning home from Jerusalem, it would have been but a slight deviation from their route to have repaired to Jesus; and yet they thought it too much trouble to go to Him.—V. g.]— δοῦναι, to give) They ought to have done so of their own accord.— ἀλλογενὴς, alien) who might seem to have been likely to have been benefited by the society of the rest, they being persons who were more bound to give thanks than he.


Verse 19

Luke 17:19. πορεύου, go thy way) It was not befitting at that time, that the Samaritan should remain long with Him.


Verse 20

Luke 17:20. πότε, when) They ask rather concerning the time, than concerning the place, which without dispute (or distinction) they supposed would be Jerusalem. The Lord answers both concerning the time and concerning the place, but in a way widely different from what they were supposing. Comp. Luke 17:37, ch. Luke 19:11, et seqq. [All along from Luke 17:20 to ch. Luke 18:14 there is one continued reply to that question of theirs; and those particulars which we have in ch. Luke 17:22-37, were repeated by the Saviour on the occasion recorded in Matthew 24, etc.—Harm., p. 419. It is a course full of danger, to neglect present duties, and then to extend the exercise of our prudence forward to what is future.—V. g.]— μετὰ παρατηρήσεως, with observation) with such pageant as that one can gradually and successively observe the πότε and the ὧδε, the time and the place. The correlatives are: the messengers, whom these who are observing [i.e. who are on the look out, as if the kingdom of God came with observation] would wish to say, here or there: and these observers themselves, who require to know the here or there.


Verse 21

Luke 17:21. οὐδὲ ἐροῦσιν, neither shall they say) viz. they who point out the kingdom. The verb put without the noun is consonant with this view. For the world does not recognise the messengers of the kingdom.—[ ὧδεἐκεῖ, here—there) Here includes under it the notion of the present time; there, that of the future.—V. g.(187)]— ἰδοὺ γὰρ, for behold) Ye ought to turn your earnest attention to the fact: Then you will see that the kingdom of God is already within your reach. This true (well-grounded) Behold, is put in antithesis to the Behold [“Lo, here or there”] which is looked for without good ground.(188) For behold ( ἰδοὺ γὰρ) does not belong to (stand under) ἐροῦσιν, they shall say.— ἐντὸς, within) Ye ought not to look to times that are future, or places that are remote: for the kingdom of God is within you; even as the King Messiah is in the midst of you: John 1:26 [“There standeth one among you ( μέσος ὑμῶν) whom ye know not”], Luke 12:35. Within is here used, not in respect of the heart of individual Pharisees (although in very deed Christ dwells in the heart of His people: Ephesians 3:17), but in respect to the whole Jewish people. The King, Messiah, and therefore the kingdom, is present: ye see and ye hear [Him]. The LXX. use ἐντὸς answering to קרב of those things which are in a man; but in this passage He is speaking of more than one. So the LXX. ed Hervag., θείας γραφῆς, παλαίας δηλάδη καὶ νέας ἅπαντα, by John Hervagius, 1545. The preface was by Melancthon. The text of Lonicerus is chiefly followed: there are in it some valuable various readings.—E. and T.">(189), Deuteronomy 5:14, ἐντὸς τῶν πυλῶν σου. Raphelius compares the words found in Xenophon, ὅσα ἐντὸς αὐτῶν καὶ χρήματα καὶ ἄνθρωποι ἐγένοντο, “whatever both property and men were inside (within), with them, in the camp.”— ἔστιν, is) The Present, appositely, and with emphasis. It cannot be said, the kingdom cometh, but it is now present: see John 3:8.


Verse 22

Luke 17:22. ΄αθητὰς, the disciples) who were likely to comprehend that saying, rather than the Pharisees.— ἐλεύσονται, shall come) Jesus intimates hereby that the present time of the kingdom of God [the time of its being present] will have passed away [will become past], whilst the Pharisees are seeking and inquiring when it is to come. His reply embraces events further off, Luke 17:24, et seqq., as well as nearer events, Luke 17:31, et seqq.ἐπιθυμήσετε, ye shall desire) A hypothetical statement;(190) for afterwards the Paraclete allayed that desire, but only in the case of the Christians: see ch. Luke 24:49; Luke 24:52. [Avail yourself of present privileges.—V. g.]— μίαν) one of such days, as ye have now in great numbers,(191), Matthew 9:15 : inasmuch as ye now see Me with your eyes (See on the appellation, “Son of man,” the note, Matthew 16:13): and the “heaven open,” John 1:51. After His ascension, but one such day, and that the greatest of all days, still remains, namely, the last day: see Luke 17:30.


Verse 23

Luke 17:23. ἐροῦσιν) they shall say [See, or Lo, here, or Lo there], the reverse of what happens in the case of the kingdom of God, Luke 17:21 [in the case of which “they shall not say, Lo here, or Lo there”]. But it is thus that they speak in the papacy, which affixes peculiar grace to particular places. The text is especially treating of the Apostolic age.— ἰδοὺ, Lo [See]) Here He is: viz. the Son of man, i.e. Jesus Christ. It is not the false Christs and their followers who are meant; but those who do not with truth point out the true Messiah.— μὴ ἀπέλθητε, do not go away) in the simple sense.— μηδὲ διώξητε, do not follow) with ardour. Often undue eagerness impels one towards an object, to which true reason does not guide.


Verse 24

Luke 17:24. ἀστράπτουσα, that flasheth) i.e. whilst it is in the act of flashing. It cannot be pointed out.— τῆς ὑπʼ οὐρανὸν) Often the expression, the earth ὑπʼ οὐρανὸν, which is beneath heaven, occurs in the LXX. Version, in Job and elsewhere.— οὓτως, so) most rapidly, and most widely.— τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, in His day) viz. the last day: Matthew 26:64.


Verse 25

Luke 17:25. πρῶτον, first) before that He enters upon that glory, in which He is about to come.— ἀποδοκιμασθῆναι, be rejected) in such a way as if He were not King. After the mention of His glory, immediately again comes the mention of His passion.— ταύτης, on the part of this generation) living in this age. It is hereby implied that the day of the Son of man would not be in that age.


Verse 26

Luke 17:26. καθὼς, even as) The last times of all correspond with the deluge, in respect to the universality of the catastrophe; and with the destruction of Sodom, in respect to the fact of fire being the agency employed.— καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις, also in the days) In the first instance, the actual day of the revelation of the Son of man in Luke 17:30 is called “the Day of the Son of man;” then afterwards also those days, which precede it, receive that appellation: the last days of [His] expectation: Hebrews 10:13 [From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool]. Comp. the phrase, Psalms 119(118):84, πόσαι εἰσὶν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ δούλου σου, “How many are the days of thy servant?” So also, before His coronation or nuptials, some time is assigned to the King or Bridegroom. A similar plural occurs, ch. Luke 9:51 [ ἐν τῷ συμπληροῦσθαι τὰς ἡμέρας τῆς ἀναλήψεως αὐτοῦ], where see the note. [Though the day of His assumption or ascension was one day, yet the forty days before it and after His resurrection were equivalent to a παρασκευή, or Preparation for it.]


Verse 27

[27. Comp. with this, Luke 17:33. How great, in truth, is the difference between those who are wholly immersed in temporal concerns, and those who give themselves up wholly to this one aim, that they may be enabled to stand accepted before the Son of man in the day of His appearing!—V. g.]


Verse 28

Luke 17:28. ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις λὼς, in the days of Lot) Genesis 19:14.— ἠγόραζον, they were buying) Already the world had become more motley in its employments in the time of Lot, than in that of Noah; how much more so in our times, when the arts of merchandise, navigation, war, the bar [or the market], the school, the senate, etc., have been advanced to the highest perfection!


Verse 30

Luke 17:30. ἀποκαλύπτεται) The Present, is revealed, suddenly and visibly.


Verse 31

Luke 17:31. ἐν ἐκείνῃ, in that day) that day, on which the kingdom of God shall come. The day of Jerusalem being besieged is meant: comp. Luke 17:34, note: a day which has many points (aspects under which it may be viewed) in common with the last day. Comp. Luke 17:22. After Jerusalem had been destroyed, Christianity was most freely propagated. See ch. Luke 21:28.


Verse 32

Luke 17:32. τῆς γυναικὸς λὼτ, the wife of Lot) who did not do what is enjoined in Luke 17:31. If you weigh well the strict meaning of the words, Genesis 19:26, and the variety of the interpretations, which are carefully enumerated by Wolf on this passage, the substance of the facts will amount to this: Lot’s wife looked back, and fled more slowly than her husband; and so, not reaching Zoar, she involved herself in that calamity of which the angels had warned her, and perished by a death nearly the same as befell the people of Sodom: for the extreme outskirts of the miraculous and fearful shower that rained on Sodom seized on the wretched woman, and deprived her of life, and suddenly scorched, covered over, discoloured, smote, and utterly changed [the state and look of] her body; so that she, who had not run as she ought, stopped altogether still. For her corpse, in that state, standing upright, and preserved from decomposition, is called a statue [pillar]: and that statue [pillar] was one, not of sulphur, but of that which is milder and yet akin to sulphur, viz. salt. Comp. Deuteronomy 29:22; Mark 9:49. The Asphaltic Lake, being a sea of salt, was similar. Had she fallen into the midst of the shower, she would have been at once wholly consumed; but whilst the fire was lightly playing about her, she became stiffened. However, there is no doubt but that either her dead body was buried a short while after (as is usually the case with bodies which have been both overwhelmed with, and afterwards drawn out from, snows, waters, and sands, or which have been killed by Divine interposition, Leviticus 10:5 [as was done in the case of Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons]), or else, when the salt melted, the body passed into decomposition. At all events, neither in the time of Moses nor in that of Christ, is that statue (pillar) said to have been in existence: and accordingly here He says, Remember, not, Look upon, Fix your eyes on.


Verse 33

Luke 17:33. ζητήσῃ, shall have sought) [i.e. by delaying to flee to the Refuge]. See Luke 17:31-32.— ψυχὴν, life) We must understand this of the whole man, as distinguished from the natural or spiritual life, which are respectively determined and defined by whatever is added in the language of the passages where they are intended to be understood.— ζωογονήσει) [shall preserve alive: a word of the LXX.] See note, Acts 7:19.


Verse 34

Luke 17:34. ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ, in this night [not as Engl. Vers. “in that night”]) He does not say, ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ “in that day,” comp. Luke 17:31 : Matthew 26:31 [ ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ταύτῃ, “All ye shall be offended because of Me this night”]. There are in our own day, saith He, persons who shall reach those times so widely different. Comp. the here in ch. Luke 9:27 [“There be some standing here,” etc., speaking of an event about to happen presently]. The event followed in the same generation: Matthew 24:34 [“This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled”].— εἷς) [the one]. So very many MSS.: and the expression, εἷς ἓτερος, is used just as ἑνὸςτοῦ ἑτέρου [the one—the other], ch. Luke 16:13; and πέντεκαὶ αἱ πέντε in Matthew 25:2.(192) Presently after, in Luke 17:35, Mill has omitted to notice, that in Luke 17:35 has also been omitted before μία, and that too in the text of Stephens’ Edition.(193)


Verse 36

Luke 17:36. δύο ἔσονται ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ, κ. τ. λ.) Very ancient authorities exhibit this versicle in Luke also, as well as in Matt. (Luke 24:40). Moreover, that it was not transferred here from Matthew, is evident from the difference of the words in Luke, as compared with those in Matthew, as also from the different order of the versicles in each Evangelist. [This is the reason for the change of the opinion which is found in the larger Ed. For both the margin of the Ed. 2 and of the Vers. Germ., following the example of the Gnomon, receive that clause concerning the two men in the field.—E. B.] Matthew has two paragraphs, viz. the one concerning the field, and that concerning the grinding at the mill: Luke adds a third, concerning the two men in one bed: just as on another occasion Matthew has two paragraphs concerning ‘following’ Jesus Christ, ch. Luke 8:19-20; to which Luke adds a third, ch. Luke 9:61-62 [“Let me first go bid them farewell which are at home—No man having put his hand to the plough,” etc.]. So likewise the former Evangelist has two paragraphs or clauses, viz. concerning ‘bread,’ and concerning “a fish,” ch. Luke 7:9-10 : the latter Evangelist adds a third, viz. that concerning an ‘egg’, ch. Luke 11:12.(194)


Verse 37

Luke 17:37. ποῦ, where) Where shall that occur, which is described in Luke 17:34-35?— ὁποῦ, where) The Lord indicates, by a periphrasis, the where, when He is now interrogated as to the calamities about to come, just as in Luke 17:21 He had answered on the question as to “the kingdom.”—[ τὸ σῶμα, the body) The whole Jewish nation, assembled at Jerusalem on the feast of Passover.— οἱ ἀετοὶ, the eagles) The Romans.—V. g.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 17:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-17.html. 1897.

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