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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Luke 7

 

 

Verse 2

Luke 7:2. ἔντιμος, dear) even on account of his obedience [as well as for other reasons]: Luke 7:8.


Verse 3

Luke 7:3. ἀκούσας, having heard) He had not yet seen Jesus.— πρεσβυτέρους, elders) These, though they were not destitute of faith, Luke 7:4, yet had less faith than he by whom they were being sent, Luke 7:9. Yet nevertheless it is not in vain that they ask in his behalf. [The benefits of Christ at that time appertained especially to the Jews: hence it was becomingly that the Jews in this case acted as intercessors.—V. g.] Often those who have little weight of influence with God, have more power to be of service to others, who are their superiors, than to themselves.


Verse 4

Luke 7:4. ἄξιος, worthy) The centurion himself thought differently of himself, “Neither thought I myself worthy,” Luke 7:7.— παρέξῃ) The Others read παρέξει; but the construction supports the Subjunctive: ἄξιός ἐστιν, παρέξῃ τοῦτο.(69)


Verse 5

Luke 7:5. ἀγαπᾷ, he loveth) A feeling which is rare in a Roman soldier.— γὰρ, for) It was in a different thing that his chief worthiness lay, namely, in his faith; Luke 7:9.— αὐτὸς) himself, of himself, of his own accord. This act, viz. his building a synagogue, was something greater and more rare than his loving their nation.— ᾠκοδόμησεν, he has built) at his own expense, or by his command: not merely did he not (as others) profane and violate a synagogue.


Verse 6

Luke 7:6. ἤδη δὲ, but now) Whilst he feels sensibly the promptness of the Lord, the reverence of his faith increases in the centurion.— φίλους, friends) He had sent elders for the sake of beseeching (Luke 7:4): now he employs friends to deliver a second message. Could then friends “come unto” the Lord, when the centurion himself did not? Yes; because they went unto the Lord in behalf of the centurion, not in behalf of themselves. The one and the same faith produces in different persons different mental effects and emotions.


Verse 7

Luke 7:7. εἰπὲ λόγῳ) say (command) in a word.


Verse 8

Luke 7:8. τασσόμενος) The present, with a reference to each particular order [being subject in each particular instance of authority exercised over me].


Verse 10

Luke 7:10. ὑγιαίνοντα) not merely whole and sound ( ὑγιῆ), but using the health and soundness given him [ ὑγιαίνοντα].


Verse 11

Luke 7:11. ἐν τῷ ἑξῆς) So ἐν τῷ καθεξῆς, ch. Luke 8:1. Ancient translators generally understand this expression of a day following, I know not whether precisely, the next day. The Vulgate has deinceps; but the genuine text of the Vulg. has, according to Mill, alia die. Mill cites no authority: and yet it is not of much consequence; for the sense even thus may be indefinite. Altera die [the second or next day], sequenti die,(70) which the Vulgate elsewhere is wont to use, would be different.(71) The series of events in this place requires a less definite time; for the raising of the young man of Nain is connected more closely with the subsequent message [deputation] sent by John, than with the preceding healing of the centurion’s servant, as we have shown in the Harmony of the Gospels, § 62. [The daughter of Jairus was first raised to life before the young man of Nain: and on that account the faith of Jairus is the more praiseworthy, because it had no precedent to look to of a dead man raised to life by Jesus. The Lord secretly raised the daughter of Jairus, and ordered that act of raising the dead to be even kept secret; but then next He raised up both the young man of Nain and Lazarus publicly. Nain was one of those cities of which mention is made in Matthew 11:1, nay, indeed previously in Matthew 9:35. For since the disciples went to the city of Nain in a body [whereas when sent forth they went “by two and two,” Mark 6:7], there is hardly reason to doubt that the raising up of the young man took place before the sending forth of the Twelve Apostles, who were confirmed in the faith by this very miracle.—Harm., p. 296.]— ναῒν, Nain) The specification of the name of the town, as also the double multitude [the “much people” following the Lord, and also the “much people” following the funeral of the young man, Luke 7:11-12] of spectators, confirms the certainty of the miracle.


Verse 12

Luke 7:12. ἐξεκομίζετο, was being carried forth) It is right that the dead should be carried forth for burial to places somewhat removed from the abodes of the living.— σὺν αὐτῇ, with her) Funeral rites and services were designed rather for the sake of the mourners than for the sake of the dead bodies.


Verse 13

Luke 7:13. κύριος, the Lord) This sublime appellation was better known and more used when Luke and John wrote, than when Matthew wrote. Mark holds a midway place. This head of the faith needed to be taught and established in the beginning: then afterwards it might be taken for granted.— ἐσπλαγχνίσθη, the bowels of His compassion were moved) And so for the consolation of the mother, the young man must return to this life.— μὴ κλαῖε, weep not) His thus administering consolation before the performance of the miracle, shows His power of surely performing it. It is His frequent preface elsewhere, Fear not. Among men [on the part of men] there is always something which the approach of God has to remove out of the way at the beginning.


Verse 14

Luke 7:14. ἣψατο, touched) A touch full of power.— σοροῦ, the bier) on which the youth seems to have been laid, rather than shut into [as in a coffin].— βαστάζοντες, the bearers) expecting help.— νεανίσκε, young man) Jesus knew that the youth who had died was not a daughter, but a son. He employed in such addresses, either the appellative, Mark 5:41, or else a proper name, John 11:43.— σοὶ λεγω, I say to thee) to thee, not as yet [as I shall at the general resurrection] to the other men.


Verse 15

Luke 7:15. ἔδωκεν, gave) For the youth had already ceased to belong to his mother.(72) Comp. ἀπέδωκε, ch. Luke 9:42; 1 Maccabees 10:9.


Verse 16

Luke 7:16. προφήτης, a prophet) Hebr. נביא is not only one who predicts the future, but one who imparts to men divine gifts, lessons.— καὶ ὅτι) By this formula the two epiphonemata [exclamations subjoined to the narrative which gave rise to them] are divided from one another.—[ ἐπεσκέψατο, hath visited) For that visitation we have even still reason to celebrate the divine love to man, φιλανθρωπία.—V. g.]


Verse 17

Luke 7:17. τῇ περιχώρῳ, the region round about) viz. of Galilee, not however excluding the adjacent Gentile regions.


Verse 18

[18. καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν, and the disciples of John announced) viz. when the works of Christ, then raising the dead, had reached their climax. Comp. John 5:21.—V. g.]


Verse 19

Luke 7:19. προσκαλεσάμενος, having called to him) John had not disciples so frequently with him as the Saviour had.


Verse 20

Luke 7:20. ἄνδρες, men) John had disciples of a more advanced age: Jesus had those who were youths.


Verse 21

Luke 7:21. νόσων καὶ μαστίγων, diseases and plagues) The νόσοι were lingering diseases; the μάστιγες, plagues, were attended with acute pain.— ἐχαρίσατο, He freely gave) A magnificent expression. To bestow as a free gift, χαρίσασθαι, was not a prerogative of the Apostles in their miracles. Comp. ἔδωκεν, He gave, in Luke 7:15.


Verse 23

[23. ΄ὴ σκανδαλισθῇ, shall not have taken offence at) Whatsoever is in Jesus Christ is good and profitable; even that very exterior (of lowliness, which Jesus had for a time, and) which gave offence to men of a perverse mind, is worthy of its own peculiar praise (has its peculiar meritoriousness).—V. g.]


Verse 27

Luke 7:27. ἰδοὺ, Behold) See Matthew 11:10, notes.


Verse 29

Luke 7:29. καὶ πᾶς, and all) Luke sets forth what the people did, and what on the other hand the Pharisees did, in order that he may show, why Jesus spake at the one time those things which are joined together by both verses.(73) A similar division of the sentence is to be seen, Matthew 9:6.(74)ἀκούσας, having heard) John.— καὶ) and [that is] especially the publicans, whom others had most despaired of as irreclaimable.— ἐδικαίωσαν, justified) They approved and submitted to the ordinance of God, the baptism of repentance, as being just. The same verb occurs presently, Luke 7:35.


Verse 30

Luke 7:30. νομικοὶ, the lawyers) Luke departs further from the Hebrew idiom than Matthew and Mark; for instance, he says even ἀληθῶς for ἀμήν. So often he says νομικοὺς, meaning the same persons, I imagine, as are elsewhere called γραμματεῖς, Hebr. ספרים, scribes.(75)εἰς ἑαυτοὺς) εἰς has the effect of limiting; as far as they themselves were concerned [But Engl. Vers. against themselves]: for they were not able to set aside the counsel of God itself, [however they might frustrate the loving provision of grace in their own case.]


Verse 31

Luke 7:31. ὁμοιώσω, shall I liken) viz. in words.— ὅμοιοι, like) viz. in actual fact. True words express the actual fact.


Verse 33

Luke 7:33. ἄρτον, bread) In the baking of bread, art intervenes: but John used whatever food was thrown in his way altogether unartificial.— καὶ λέγετε, and ye say) See Luke 7:39, where similar bad language was being spoken in the heart of a Pharisee.


Verse 35

Luke 7:35. καὶ ἐδικαιώθη σοφία ἀπὸ τῶν τέκνων αὐτῆς πάντων) and wisdom has been (habitually) justified by [on the part of, owing to] all who are her sons. καὶ has the force, and; for Jesus manifestly continues His complaint (comp. Matthew 11:19, where He does not express until the end of Luke 7:25 that which these words might otherwise be thought to denote, but all her children have justified wisdom): and moreover transfers, as it were indirectly, the complaint from the hypothesis, viz. concerning the perverseness of the men of that time, to the thesis, viz. concerning the perpetual and habitual characteristic of the Jewish people, just as He has also transferred it in ch. Luke 11:47-48. It is to this that the adjective πάντων, all, has reference: this also is the intention of the use of the past time (wherein often is included the force of the verb, is wont) in has been (habitually) justified (whereas, ye say, in the present time, precedes: Luke 7:34): this also is the reason of the employment of the term, Wisdom [viz. as appropriate when speaking, as here, of a fact habitual in all times]; for He is no longer now called the Son of man, as in the preceding verse, but Wisdom: and of these terms the one (Son of man) is suitable to Christ’s manifested state; the other (Wisdom) to all times: ch. Luke 11:49. Furthermore He is called in this place Wisdom, inasmuch as He Himself best knows what is to be done; and His own actions, replete with the purest accommodation [adaptation] to sinners, ought not to have been called to account. Add Proverbs 8:1; Proverbs 8:32. The children of this Wisdom are not Pharisees, and those like them (which otherwise would not be inappropriate to be said here; comp. ch. Luke 13:34, at the end, and Matthew 8:12); but the Apostles, as well as all publicans and sinners who had been converted to Jesus out of the whole people; whom He thus names, in order to show His own tie of connection with them, and His right of associating with them, and the perverseness of the calumniators. In Thucydides and other writers, δικαιοῦν, to justify, when used of a person, denotes to pass sentence or fix a punishment against (to be inflicted on) any one, and that a just sentence or punishment; when used of a thing, it denotes to account anything just. Gataker, Diss. de stilo Novi Instr. cap. 8, proves this in opposition to Pfochenius, and considers this to be an altogether striking instance of Biblical Græcism beins different from the Greek style of the heathen classics: for in the sacred writings הצדיק, δικαιοῦν, signifies to give one’s judgment in favour of any one, or in other words, to pronounce one just, whether by a just or unjust judgment. Comp. note on Romans 3:20. δικαιοῦσθαι, Sirach 18:22, is the same as ἀποδοῦναι: for he who owes a debt is as it were arraigned [a defendant]; he who pays it [ ἀποδίδωσι], or makes good what he was bound to make good, is set free [ δικαιοῦται]. French, s’acquitter [to pay off, lit. to acquit one’s self]. And yet we are not to think that both senses of the term cannot be reduced to the one notion, justifying; for the judge accounts that satisfaction has been given him, both in the case of him who has borne his full punishment, and in the case of him who has been acquitted, and thence that both are in his eyes just. There is in the former use of the word the additional element of an Euphemism, which is not needed in the latter. In this passage also δικαιοῦν is employed in the good sense: and ἐδικαιώθη, has been justified, contains a Metonymy of the consequent for the antecedent (for every justification presupposes an accusation, a cause at issue and some controversy, Romans 3:4; Genesis 44:16, LXX.: [and so here the consequent, has been justified, is put instead of the antecedent, has been subjected to trial]), combined with a strong Euphemism. Wisdom has been justified; that is to say, accusers have brought her to trial, have been offended at her, Luke 7:23, and have brought the matter to such a pass, that she has been at length obliged to have herself justified, and to be vindicated as just, and that it should be shown, that all her actions have been so ordered as to swallow up (counteract) injustice, and fulfil righteousness; whereas, however, she ought to have been embraced without any objection being raised to need justification of her. A similar passage occurs, Romans 10:21; 1 Corinthians 4:12-13. Wisdom has been defended and justified from the taunts of gluttony and wine-bibbing, thrown out against her; and that too by ( ἀπὸ) her own children, and by them all: on the part of all her own sons arose to her the necessity of justifying herself, and of defending all her actions along with them [as well as defending them]. See ch. Luke 5:22; Luke 5:30; Luke 5:33, Luke 6:2; Luke 6:7, and in this 7th chapter itself Luke 7:40; Luke 11:17; Luke 13:16; Luke 15:3; Luke 19:7; Matthew 15:2. Comp. the use of a ἀπὸ, Luke 19:3 [He was not able, ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου, owing to the throng]; 2 Corinthians 2:3,(76), Luke 10:7; Hebrews 10:22; LXX. Ecclesiastes 8:11; Isaiah 25:9; Job 35:9; Psalms 28:1 (Psalms 27:1), Psalms 33:8, Psalms 119:53, and Isaiah 49:19; Isaiah 2:3, in the Hebr. מדרכיו. So ἀπὸ, on account of, LXX. Psalms 67(Hebr. 68):29 [ ἀπὸ τοῦ ναοῦ σοῦ ἐπί ἱερουσαλὴ΄, on account of, because of, thy temple at Jerusalem; as here, Because of her children, Wisdom has had to be justified], where מ and על are parallel.


Verse 36

Luke 7:36. ἀνεκλίθη, He lay down (sat down) to meat) without having first taken a look at the house, as guests given to curiosity are wont; also without having taken water or oil, Luke 7:44 (comp. ch. Luke 11:37), so as to admit (receive) to Himself the penitent woman the sooner, Luke 7:45.


Verse 37

Luke 7:37. γυνὴ, a woman) whose name is unknown. [There is certainly a great correspondence between this history and that which John 12:3, etc.; Matthew 26:6, etc.; and Mark 14:3, etc., record: especially in this respect, that both events happened in the house of a certain Simon. But indeed the anointing described by Luke took place in a city of Galilee, before the transfiguration, nay, even before the second Passover: the other anointing took place at Bethany, six days before the third Passover. The woman in Luke had been heretofore a sinner; Mary had been a different kind of character, John 11:1-2 (comp. Luke 7:5). In fine, Simon the Pharisee doubted whether Jesus was a prophet: whereas Simon the leper had no longer any grounds left for doubting, inasmuch as Lazarus, who had been raised to life, was present.—Harm., p. 302.]— ἀμαρτωλὸς, a sinner) Referring to the chief sin which women can commit, unchastity.— καὶ ἐπιγνοῦσα, and having come to know [having learnt]) καὶ, and, omitted by many, is here a redundant particle;(77) but yet it adds grace to the sentence, as ו in ויבחר, 1 Chronicles 28:5. The particle may also seem to have been repeated after a parenthesis [ καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ (—) καὶ ἐπιγν.], for the purpose of separating the mention of her sins and of her conversion.— ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ, in the house) Love impelled her so, as that she did not expect to find a more convenient place or opportunity for effecting her purpose elsewhere.


Verse 38

Luke 7:38. ὀπίσω, behind) As being one who wished to make no ostentatious display of what she was doing. Love taught her to do that which, to one who loves not, would seem out of place [inept], and which no one would require his servant (slave) to do: and so love taught her without human instruction. Similar instances occur, ch. Luke 17:15, Luke 19:37.— θριξὶ) with the hairs, dishevelled, as in mourning. Most exquisite [refinement in her] reverence!


Verse 39

Luke 7:39. εἰ, if) Nay, but if thou, Simon, didst know what kind of a character this woman was now become, thou wouldest judge otherwise.— προφήτης, a prophet) [The people had called Him so, Luke 7:16.—V. g.] Previously Simon had doubted: now he quickly [and without hesitation] affirms the contrary [viz. that He without doubt is not a prophet].— ἐγίνωσκεν ἂν, He would have known) Not even does this follow, that he, whoever does not know any man that comes in his way, is decidedly no prophet.— ἅπτεται, touches) His idea was, that not even a touch of such a sinner was to be borne, much less the whole of her proceeding.


Verse 40

Luke 7:40. ἔχω, I have) A courteous preface. He does not call this Pharisee a hypocrite.— διδάσκαλε, Master) Simon had some degree of respectful modesty.


Verse 42

Luke 7:42. ΄ὴ ἐχόντων, when they had nothing) Therefore the debt is not paid by the love and grateful feeling which follow after.— ἀγαπήσει, will love) Future. For the debtor, who is not able to pay, before the remission of the debt, flies from the creditor [rather than loves him].


Verse 43

Luke 7:43. ὀρθῶς) כן, LXX. ὀρθῶς.— ἔκρινας, thou hast judged) a judgment which goes against thine own self; Luke 7:47.


Verse 44

Luke 7:44. ταύτην, this) The woman, by her very attitude and appearance at the time, was refuting Simon, and moving the emotions of all present [save Simon].— σοῦ, thy) Therefore in this instance Simon’s obligation [as being in his own house, and the host] was greater than that of the woman.— οὐκ ἔδωκας, thou hast not given) Simon treated Jesus in the way that a guest who is not honoured is treated.— τοῖς δάκρυσιν, with tears) The Lord observed and notices all the circumstantial details of her pious action: Psalms 56:9 (8). Tears are the most precious of waters.


Verse 45

Luke 7:45. φίλημα, a kiss) This Simon had omitted, owing to the smallness (the little degree) of his love: otherwise we do not read of even any of His disciples or friends having kissed the face of Jesus, which had something remarkable about it, ch. Luke 9:29; but the highest degree of love, such as here in Luke 7:38, and the utmost familiarity of intimacy, as in John 13:25, stopped considerably short of that liberty. We do not read of His having kissed even the little children. The traitor alone (for the unprecedented familiarity of a kiss was not a thing alien to his treachery) with impure mouth profaned the face of the Lord: except in this instance, it remained intact and unviolated by sinful flesh.


Verse 46

Luke 7:46. ἐλαίῳ, with oil) To this is opposed in antithesis μῦρον, the ointment [of the woman], precious and compounded. Oil was uncompounded, and, owing to the abundance of olives among the Jews, was less costly.— τοὺς πόδας, My feet) as she did not presume to anoint My head.


Verse 47

Luke 7:47. αἱ πολλαὶ, the many, [Engl. Vers. not so well, which are many]) the many sins, which thou, Simon, dost bring forward as objections against her. The article is to be referred to Luke 7:39.— ὃτι, because, seeing that) That is to say, the forgiveness of her sins, which was not thought of by Simon, is proved by the fruit, Luke 7:42 [where the love of the forgiven debtor is the proof that he has been indeed forgiven], which is evident, and forces itself upon the eyes of all present [is obvious to be seen], even though the forgiveness be hidden [is not to be seen with the eyes]. Add the antithesis which follows in the text, But to whom, etc. In order to refute Simon, there is cited by the Lord that which is “the fulfilling of the law,” namely, love, as being the criterion of sins being forgiven which was suited to the comprehension of the Pharisee: whereas to the woman herself, her faith (Luke 7:50) is said to have saved her. The former expression has more of an enigmatical character in it: the latter is more strictly literal. The more weight that each assigns to love in this matter above faith, the more like to Simon he is, and the more removed is he from the feeling of the woman, and of the Lord Himself. Love is the criterion of forgiveness, even though he who loves does not so think as to forgiveness.(78) δὲ, but to whom) mildly expressed; not actually saying, though meaning, thou, to whom, as the force of the antithesis implies; otherwise there are not wanting persons who “love much,” even though great transgressions have not been committed by them previous to their forgiveness.— ὀλίγον, little) Speaking comparatively, and after the manner of men, he loves tenfold less; Luke 7:41 [as the debtor who was forgiven fifty pence, a tenfold less debt than five hundred, loved proportionally less].— ἀγαπᾷ, loves) but yet he loves, provided only he has obtained forgiveness. The multitude of sins forgiven will exceedingly stimulate in the elect their eternal love towards God.


Verse 48

Luke 7:48. ἀφέωνται, are forgiven) Forgiveness is not now for the first time given to the woman, but is confirmed to her. The greatest sinners often become the largest vessels of grace. Even at table the Saviour used “the power of the keys.”


Verse 49

Luke 7:49. τίς οὗτός ἐστιν, who is this?) Answer: It is the Son of man.— καὶ) even. It is a greater exercise of power to forgive sins, as far as the reality is concerned, than to heal miraculously a sick man.


Verse 50

Luke 7:50. εἶτε δὲ, moreover He said) Jesus confirms the woman in her faith against all doubts. The same expression is found, ch. Luke 8:48, Luke 17:19, Luke 18:42.— πίστις, faith) not thy love. Faith has regard to ourselves: by love others are convinced [and convicted of their own want of love, in many cases, as in this instance].— πορεύου εἰς εἰρήνην) So LXX. 1 Samuel 1:17. So below, ch. Luke 8:48.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 7:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-7.html. 1897.

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