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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Luke 10

 

 

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Verse 1

After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

As our Lord's end approaches, the preparations for the establishment of the coming Kingdom are quickened and extended.

After these things - but how long after does not appear. See introductory remarks on the large portion of this Gospel commencing with Luke 9:51.

The Lord. This august appellation is here in the highest degree suitable, the appointment about to be mentioned being, as Bengel remarks, truly lordly.

Appointed other seventy also , [ kai (Greek #2532) heterous (Greek #2087) hebdomeekonta (Greek #1440)] - an unhappy rendering. It should be, as we have pointed the Greek, 'appointed others also, seventy [in number]'-that is, others in addition to the Twelve, to the number of seventy. In all likelihood as the number Twelve had reference to number of the tribes of Israel, so the number Seventy had reference to the number of elders on whom Spirit rested in the wilderness (Numbers 11:24-25). This appointment, unlike that of the Twelve, was evidently quite temporary. All the instructions are in keeping with a brief and hasty pioneering mission, intended to supply what of general preparation for coming events the Lord's own visit afterward to the same "cities and places" (Luke 10:1), would not, from want of time, now suffice to accomplish; whereas, the instructions to the Twelve, besides embracing all those given to the Seventy, contemplate world-wide and permanent effects. Accordingly, after their return from this single missionary tour, we never again read of the Seventy.

And sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, where he himself would come , [ emellen (Greek #3195) autos (Greek #846) erchesthai (Greek #2064)] - or 'was going to come.'


Verse 2

Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

Therefore said he - or, 'So He said' unto them, The harvest ... See the notes at Matthew 9:37-38, and Remarks 1 and 2 at the close of that section.


Verses 3-12

Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

Go your ways ... See the notes at Matthew 10:7-16.


Verses 13-15

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

Woe unto thee, Chorazin ... See the notes at Matthew 11:21-24.


Verse 16

He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

He that heareth you ... See the note at Matthew 10:40.


Verse 17

And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

And the seventy returned again (evidently they had not been long away), with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through [or, 'in' en (G1722)] thy name. 'Lord, thou hast exceeded thy promise: We had not expected this.' The power to cast out devils, not being expressly in their commission, as it was in that to the Twelve (Luke 9:1), seems to have filled them with more astonishment and joy then the higher object of their mission. Yet they say, "in Thy name" - taking no credit to themselves, but feeling lifted into a region of unimagined superiority to the powers of evil, simply through their connection with Christ.


Verse 18

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

And he said, I behold [ etheooroun (G2334)] Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Since much of the force of this glorious statement depends on the nice shade of sense indicated by the imperfect tense in the original, it might have been well to bring it out in the translation: 'I was beholding Satan as lightning falling from heaven:'-q.d., 'I followed you on your mission, and watched its triumphs; while ye were wondering at the subjection to you of devils in My name, a grander spectacle was opening to My view; sudden as the darting of lightning from heaven to earth Satan was beheld by Mine eye falling from heaven!' By that law of association which connects a part with the whole, those feeble triumphs of the Seventy seem to have not only brought vividly before the Redeemer the whole ultimate result of His mission, but compressed it into a moment and quickened it into the rapidity of lightning! We have repeatedly observed that the word rendered "devils" [ daimonia (Greek #1140)] is always used for those spiritual agents employed in demoniacal possessions-never for the ordinary agency of Satan in rational men. When, therefore, the Seventy say, "the demons are subject to us," and Jesus replies, 'Mine eye was beholding Satan falling,' it is plain that He meant to raise their minds not only from the particular to the general, but from a very temporary form of satanic operation to the entire kingdom of evil. See John 12:31, and compare Isaiah 14:17.


Verse 19

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Behold, I give unto you - not with a view to the renewal of their mission, though probably many of them afterward became ministers of Christ, but simply as disciples.

Power to tread on serpents and scorpions - the latter more venomous than the former. This was to be literally fulfilled at the first starting of the Gospel ministry (Mark 16:17-18; Acts 28:5). But the following words,

And over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you - show that what is meant is the glorious power of faith to "overcome the world" and "quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one," by the communication and maintenance of which to His people He makes them innocuous (1 John 5:4; Ephesians 6:16).


Verse 20

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not (that is, not so much) that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. So far from forbidding this joy at the expulsion of demons by their instrumentality, He told them the exultation with which He followed it Himself; but since power over demons might unduly elate them, He gives them a higher joy to balance it, the joy of having their own names in Heaven's register. (Philippians 4:3).


Verse 21

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

In that hour Jesus rejoiced [ eegalliasato (G21), or 'exulted,'] in spirit - giving visible expression to His unusual emotions, while the words "in spirit" express the depth of them.

And said, I thank thee , [ Exomologoumai (Greek #1843) soi (Greek #4671)] - rather, 'I assent to thee;' but with the idea of full or cordial concurrence, expressed by the preposition. (See the note at Matthew 11:25.)

That thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.


Verse 22

All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.

[And turning to his disciples he said ] The words in brackets are in the Received Text of Stephens though [And turning to his disciples, he said,] The words in brackets are in the Received Text of Stephens, though not of the Elzevirs, nor in Beza's text; and our version, which in some places follows Beza's text in preference to the other, omits them here. But the authority for the insertion of them is preponderating. Tischendorf inserts them, though Tregelles does not.

All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. This sublime utterance has been regarded by some acute harmonists as but a repetition by Luke of what is recorded in Matthew 11:25-27, and so, as spoken only once. But besides that the occasions were not the same, the words in the First Gospel merely are, "Jesus answered and said," whereas here they are, "Jesus exulted in spirit, and said." If this should be thought of less moment, let it be observed that there it is merely said, "At that time," or 'season' [ kairoo (Greek #2540)]. He spoke thus-with a general reference to the rejection of His Gospel by the self-sufficient: whereas here it is, "In that hour Jesus said," with express reference probably to the humble class from which He had to draw the Seventy, and the similar class that had chiefly welcomed their message.


Verse 23-24

And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:

And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes that see the things that ye see ... See the notes at Matthew 13:16-17.

For Remarks on the Mission of the Seventy, see those on the analogous Mission of the Twelve, Matthew 10:1-42; and for Remarks on the lofty utterance with which this section closes, see those on the same in Matthew 11:25-27.


Verse 25

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him - `tried,' or 'tested Him' [ ekpeirazoon (Greek #1598)]; in no hostile spirit, yet with no tender anxiety for light on that question of questions, but just to see what insight this great Galilean teacher had.

Saying, Master [`Teacher' Didaskale (G1320)], what shall I do to inherit eternal life?


Verse 26

He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? - `an apposite question,' says Bengel, 'to a doctor of the law, and putting himself in turn to the test.'


Verse 27

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God ... - precisely as Christ Himself had answered another lawyer. See the notes at Mark 12:29-33.


Verse 28

And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 'Right: THIS do, and life is thine'-laying such emphasis on "this" as to indicate, without expressing it, where the real difficulty to a sinner lay, and thus non-plusing the questioner himself.


Verse 29

But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

But he, willing - or 'wishing' [ theloon (Greek #2309)].

To justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? - to get himself out of the difficulty by throwing upon Jesus the definition of "neighbour," 'which,' as Alford remarks, 'the Jews interpreted very narrowly and technically, as excluding Samaritans and Gentiles;


Verse 30

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

And Jesus answering said, A certain man - a Jew, as the story shows.

Went down from Jerusalem to Jericho - a distance of 18 miles northeast, a deep and very fertile hollow, and, as Trench says, the Tempe of Judea.

And fell among thieves , [ leestais (Greek #3027)] - rather 'robbers.' The road, being rocky and desolate, was a notorious haunt of robbers, then and for ages after, and is even to this day.

Which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.


Verse 31

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way. Jericho, the second city of Judea, was a city of the priests and Levites, and thousands of them lived there.

And when he saw him - so it was not inadvertently that he acted.

He passed by on the other side - although the law expressly required the opposite treatment even of the beast not only of their brethren but of their enemy (Deuteronomy 22:4; Exodus 23:4-5; and compare Isaiah 58:7).


Verse 32

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him - a further aggravation.

And passed by on the other side. If we suppose this priest and Levite to have been returning from their temple duties at Jerusalem, as Trench say, it would show that whatever else they had learnt there, they had not learnt what that meaneth, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice."


Verse 33

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

But a certain Samaritan - one of a race excommunicated by the Jews; a byword among them, and synonymous with heretic and devil (John 8:48; and see the note at Luke 17:18);

As he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. Compare what is said of the Lord Himself: "And when the Lord saw her (the widow of Nain). He had compassion on her" (Luke 7:13). No doubt the priest and Levite had their excuses for passing by their wounded brother.-`'Tisn't safe to be lingering hero; besides, he's past recovery; and then, mayn't suspicion rest upon ourselves?' So might the Samaritan have reasoned-but did not. Nor did he say, 'He would have had no dealings with me (John 4:9), and why should I with him?


Verse 34

And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine - the remedies used in such cases all over the East (Isaiah 1:6), and elsewhere; the wine to cleanse the wounds, the oil to assuage their smartings.

And set him on his own beast - himself going on foot, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.


Verse 35

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two pence - equal to two days' wages of a labourer, and enough for several days' support.

And gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him: and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.


Verse 36

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? - a most dexterous way of putting the question: first, turning it from the lawyer's form of it, 'Whom am I to love as my neighbour?' to the more pointed question, 'Who is the man that shows that love?' and next, compelling the lawyer to give a reply very different from what he would like-not only condemning his own nation, but those of them who should be the most exemplary; and finally, making him commend one of a deeply-hated race. And he does so, but it is almost extorted.


Verse 37

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

And he said, He that showed mercy on him. He does not answer, 'The Samaritan'-that would have sounded heterodox, heretical-but "He that showed mercy on him." It comes to the same thing, no doubt, but the circumlocution is significant.

Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Remark: O exquisite, matchless teaching! What new fountains of charity has not this opened up in the human spirit-rivers in the wilderness, streams in the desert! what noble Christian Institutions have not such words founded, all undreamed of until that Divine One came to bless this heartless world of ours with His incomparable love-first in words, and then in deeds which have translated His words into flesh and blood, and poured the life of them through that humanity which He made His own! But was this parable designed merely to magnify the law of love, and show who fulfils it and who not? Is not the mind irresistibly directed to Him who, as our Brother Man, "our Neighbour" did this as never man did it? The priests and Levites, says Trench, had not strengthened the diseased, nor bound up the broken (Ezekiel 34:4), while He bound up the broken-hearted (Isaiah 61:1), and poured into all wounded spirits the balm of sweetest consolation. All the Church-fathers saw, through the thin veil of this noblest of stories, the Story of love, and never wearied of tracing the analogy, though sometimes fancifully enough. 'He hungered'-exclaims Gregory of Nazianzum, in the fourth century, in a passage of singular eloquence, in one of his Sermons-`but He fed thousands; He was weary, but He is the Rest of the weary; He is saluted "Samaritan" and "Demoniac," but He saves him that went down from Jerusalem and fell among thieves,' etc. More of this noble passage will be found at Luke 19:28-44, Remark 2, at the close of that section.


Verse 38

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village. The village was Bethany-as to which, see the note at Luke 19:29. It will be seen how void of all definite note of time and place are the incidents recorded in this large portion of our Gospel, as noticed at Luke 9:51.

And a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. From this way of speaking we gather that the house belonged to her, and from all the notices of her it would seem that she was the older sister.


Verse 39

And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.

And she had a sister called Mary, which also - or 'who for her part,' as Webster and Wilkinson put it, as opposed to Martha.

Sat [or 'seated herself' parakathestheisa (G3868a)] at Jesus' feet. From the custom of sitting beneath an instructor, the phrase 'sitting at one's feet' came to mean being his disciple (Acts 22:3).

And heard , [ eekoue (Greek #191)] - or 'kept listening' to his word.


Verse 40

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

But Martha was cumbered [or 'distracted' periespato (G4049)] about much serving, and came to him , [ epistasa (Greek #2186)] - presenting herself, as from another apartment, in which her sister had "left her to serve, or make preparation, alone";

And said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? - `Lord, here am I with everything to do, and this sister will not lay a hand to anything; thus I miss something from Thy lips, and Thou from our hands.' Bid her therefore that she help me. She presumes not to stop Christ's teaching by calling her sister away, and thus leaving Him without His rapt auditor, nor did she hope perhaps to succeed if she had tried.


Verse 41

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha - emphatically redoubling upon the name.

Thou art careful and troubled , [ merimnas (Greek #3309) kai (Greek #2532) turbazee (Greek #5182)]. The one word expresses the inward fretting anxiety that her preparations should be worthy of her Lord; the other, the outward bustle of those preparations.

About many things - "much serving" (Luke 10:40); too elaborate preparation, which so engrossed her attention that she missed her Lord's teaching.


Verse 42

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

But one thing is needful. The idea of 'Short work and little of it sufficeth for Me' is not so much the lower sense of these weighty words, as implied in them as the basis of something far loftier than any present on economy. Underneath that idea is couched another, as to the littleness both of elaborate preparation for the present life and of that life itself compared with another.

And Mary hath chosen that (or 'the') good part - not in the general sense of Moses' choice (Hebrews 11:25) and Joshua's (Joshua 24:15), and David's (Psalms 119:30); that is, of good in opposition to bad; but, of two good ways of serving and pleasing the Lord, choosing the better. Wherein, then, was Mary's better than Martha's? What follows supplies the answer:

Which shall not be taken away from her. Martha's choice would be taken from her, for her services would die with her; Mary's never, being spiritual and eternal. Both were true-hearted disciples, but the one was absorbed in the higher, the other in the lower of two ways of honouring their common Lord. Yet neither would deliberately despise, or willingly neglect, the other's occupation. The one represents the contemplative, the other the active style of the Christian character.

Remark: This rebuke of Martha was but for the excess of a valuable quality, which on another occasion appears without that excess. See the note at Mark 14:3, and Remark 1 at the close of that section. The quality which was commended in Mary has its excesses too. It is true that a predominance of the impulsive activity of the one sister is unfavourable to depth of thought and elevation of feeling; but a predominance of the passive docility of the other sister is apt to generate an unhealthy tone, and lead rather to dreamy speculation or sentiment than to sound knowledge and wisdom. A Church full of Mary's would perhaps be as great an evil as a Church full of Martha's. Both are needed, each to be the complement of the other.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 10:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-10.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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