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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Luke 11

 

 


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Verse 1

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place - where, it is impossible to say; see introductory remarks at Luke 9:51.

When he ceased, one of his disciples - struck, no doubt, with both the matter and the manner of our Lord's own prayers.

Said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. From this reference to John, it is probable this disciple had not heard the Sermon on the Mount, containing very specific instructions on the subject of Prayer. It is worthy of notice that we have no record of John's teaching on this subject, and that but for this allusion to it we should never have known that he Had touched on it. It shows that the Baptist's inner or more private teaching was of a much more detailed nature than we should have supposed; the specimens of it which we have in the Gospels being chiefly what he taught to the general multitude. One would like to have known more of his teaching on the subject of Prayer. But whatever it was, we may be sure he never taught his disciples, when they prayed, to say, "Our Father." That was reserved for a Greater than he.


Verse 2

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father, [Tischendorf and Tregelles-whom Alford follows, and Meyer approves-here omit both the word, heemoon (Greek #2257), "our," and the following words, ho (Greek #3588) en (Greek #1722) tois (Greek #3588) ouranois (Greek #3772) "which art in heaven." But the authority for inserting these words is most decisive, as we judge. Lachmann inserts them.]

Which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. [Here again the same critical editors, on the some authority, omit the entire petition - Geneetheetoo (Greek #1096) to (Greek #3588) theleema (Greek #2307) sou (Greek #4675), hoos (Greek #5613) en (Greek #1722) ouranoo (Greek #3772) kai (Greek #2532) epi (Greek #1909) tees (Greek #3588) gees (Greek #1093) "Thy will," etc. But here, also, as we judge, the evidence is clear in favour of the disputed words.]


Verse 3

Give us day by day our daily bread.

Give us day by day our daily bread. This is an extension of the petition in Matthew for "this day's" supply, to every day's necessities.


Verse 4

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. [This last clause is, by the above editors, on the same authority, excluded from the text, but on insufficient warrant, as we judge.] See the notes at Matthew 6:9-13, with the corresponding Remarks at the close of that section. There is no closing doxology here. On the question, whether it formed part of the Lord's Prayer in the Sermon on the Mount, see the note at Matthew 6:13. Perhaps our Lord purposely left that part open; and as the grand Jewish doxologies were ever resounding, and passed, immediately and naturally, in all their hallowed familiarity into the Christian Church, probably this Prayer was never used in the Christian assemblies but in its present form, as we find it in Matthew, while in Luke it has been allowed to stand as originally uttered.


Verse 5

And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;


Verse 6

For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

For a friend of mine in his journey , [ exodou (Greek #1841)] - the marginal rendering, 'out of his way,' is to be rejected.

Is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him. The heat in warm countries makes evening preferable to day for traveling; but "midnight" is everywhere a most unseasonable hour of call, and for that very reason it is here selected.


Verse 7

And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not - the trouble making him insensible both to the urgency of the case and the claims of friendship.

The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee - without such exertion as he was unwilling to make.


Verse 8

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend - or for friendship's sake.

Yet because of his importunity , [ anaideian (Greek #335)]. The word is a strong one, signifying 'shamelessness;' expressing his persistency, in the face of all that seemed reasonable, and refusing to take a denial.

He will rise and give him as many as he needeth. His reluctance once overcome, all the claims of friendship and necessity are felt to the full. The sense is obvious: If the churlish and self-indulgent-deaf both to friendship and necessity-can, after a positive refusal, be won over by sheer persistency to do all that is needed, how much more may the same determined perseverance in prayer be expected to prevail with Him whose very nature it is to be "rich unto all that call upon Him" (Romans 10:12).


Verses 9-12

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you ... If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father ... See the notes at Matthew 7:7-10.

Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? - looking quite like an egg at some distance, but of a deadly nature.


Verse 13

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

If ye then, being evil - evil though ye be.

Know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? In Matthew 7:11, it is "give good gifts to them that ask Him:" here, at a riper stage of His teaching, and to His disciples apart from the multitude, He says "the Holy Spirit;" to teach us that this, the Gift of gifts, descending on the Church through Christ, comprehends all "good gifts."

For Remarks on the subjects embraced in this section, see those at Matthew 6:2-15, at the close of that section; and at Matthew 7:7-11, at the close of that section.


Verses 14-36

And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered.

See the notes at Matthew 12:22-28.

Verse 14-20 For the expostion of this portion, see the notes at Matthew 12:22-28.

Verse 21. When a (or 'the') strong man armed keepth [or 'guardeth' fulassee (G5442)] his palace , [ auleen (Greek #833)]. 'This stands for "palace" (says Olshausen), a great pile surrounded with forecourts and halls.' Meyer repudiates this sense, contending for the primary meaning of the word, an open 'court.' But though this does not materially affect the statement itself, the secondary meaning is most suitable here, as interpreters generally agree. The palace here meant by our Lord is man, whether viewed more largely or in individual souls-men as nations, churches, or individuals; the "strong man" is Satan. His being "armed" points to all the subtle and varied methods by which he wields his dark power over men.

His goods are in peace - undisturbed, securely in his possession.

Verse 22. But when a stronger (or 'the Stronger') than he. Glorious title of the Lord Jesus in relation to Satan! (1 John 3:8).

Shall come upon him, and overcome him - sublimely expressing the Redeemer's approach, as the Seed of the woman, to bruise the Serpent's head.

He taketh from him all his armour , [ teen (Greek #3588) panoplian (Greek #3833)] - 'his panoply,' 'his complete armour.' Vain would be the victory, were not the means of regaining his lost power wrested from him. It is this that completes the triumph and ensures the utter overthrow of his kingdom.

Verse 23. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. The nature and force of this statement, in relation to the foregoing parable will be best perceived when we have taken up the one that follows.

Verse 24. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places , [ anudroon (Greek #504)] - literally, 'un-watered,' and so desert, uninhabited places; where are no men to possess and destroy;

Seeking rest; and finding none - because out of his element, which is human misery and destruction:

He saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out: 'It may be I shall find it tired of its new religious ways, and not unwilling to entertain, overtures of reconciliation with its old friend.'

Verse 25. And when he cometh, he findeth it - "empty" (Matthew 12:44); occupied by no rival: but further.

Swept and garnished - not only empty, but all ready to receive him; nay, decked out as if to invite his return.

Verse 26. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself. Seven being the number of completeness, a sevenfold diabolic force, the wickedness of each of which exceeds that of the first, is the strongest conceivable expression of a power sufficient to secure them against all disturbance for the future.

And they enter in, No resistance now. As we say, they walk the course.

And dwell there. No temporary sojourn or precarious stay do they make now. They dwell there as in their own proper and permanent abode.

And the last state of that man is worse than the first. Matthew adds this important application to the And the last state of that man is worse than the first. Matthew adds this important application to the second parable (Matthew 12:45), "Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation:" implying that the illustration of this parable which that wicked generation was to furnish was but one example of the working of a great general principle. But an awful illustration of it it was which that generation was to furnish. By the ministry of the Baptist their 'heart was turned to the Lord,' to a large extent: then was their opportunity to receive Christ and live; but they did not: so they became worse than at the first, and soon put their very Deliverer to death. These exceedingly vivid parables bear a strong resemblance to each other; but they differ far more widely than they agree. The subject of both is the same-the soul of man changing from the worse to the better. In both the soul is pictured to us as the residence of the Evil One; in the one parable as his "palace," in the other as his "house." In the one parable the strength of this mysterious enemy is the prominent idea; in the other his uncleanness.

In both parables the soul is delivered from this mighty and filthy enemy. But here the resemblance terminates, and the vast difference between the two parables comes out. The unclean spirit goes out only to come in again; but the strong man is grappled with and mastered, and the palace is permanently occupied by the Victor. The one is a temporary, if not a voluntary departure; the other is a total defeat, and an absolute, resistless expulsion. In the one case the last state of the soul is worse than the first; in the other the last is its best and noblest state. Both are cases of conversion; but in the one case the conversion is partial and abortive; in the other it is thorough and enduring. And the cause of this difference is most strikingly depicted. Why was it that the unclean spirit, after going out of the man, entered in again without a struggle, never more to be dislodged? Because on his return he found no rival to dispute the ground with him: the devil was out, but Christ was not in. Precisely the reverse of this was the reason why, in the other parable, his return was hopeless. As it was the Stronger than he that put him out, so His presence, as the rightful Occupant of the palace henceforth, secures it against all successful assault for the future. And now we are prepared to listen to the great saying that comes in between the two parables (Luke 11:23), and to apprehend both its import and its weight: "He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth." This last clause seems to be an allusion to gleaners, whose labour is lost if they follow not in the wake, or work not in the company, of their leader. Thus are proclaimed these great maxims: 'Whatever in religion is disconnected from Christ comes to nothing;' 'Neutrality in religion there is none;' 'The absence of positive attachment to Christ involves hostility to Him.'

Verse 27. And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company , ek (Greek #1537) tou (Greek #3588) ochlou (Greek #3793)] - or 'from the crowd.'

Lifted up her voice, and said, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.

Verse 28. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. A charming Little incident, and profoundly instructive. With true womanly feeling, she envies the mother of such a wonderful Teacher. Well, and higher and better than she had said as much before her, Luke 1:28; Luke 1:42; and our Lord is far from condemning it. He only holds up, as "blessed rather," the hearers and keepers of God's word; in other words, the humblest real saint of God. See the notes at Matthew 12:49-50. How utterly alien is this sentiment from the teaching of the Church of Rome, which would excommunicate any one of its members that dared to talk in the spirit of this glorious saying!

Verse 29-32. And when the people [rather, 'the multitudes' toon (G3588) ochloon (G3793)] were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign. Matthew tells us (Matthew 12:38) that certain of the scribes and Pharisees said, "Master, we would see a sign from thee;" and it was to this that our Lord here replied.

And there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet ... On this and the three following verses, see the notes at Matthew 12:38-42.

Verse 33-36. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place ... On this and the three following verses, see the notes at Matthew 5:14-16; and at Matthew 6:22-23. But Luke 11:36, here, is peculiarly vivid, expressing what pure, beautiful, broad perceptions the clarity of the inward eye imparts.

For Remarks on Luke 11:14-20; Luke 11:29-32, see those on the corresponding verses of Matthew 12:1-50 and for Remarks on Luke 11:33-36, see those on the corresponding verses of Matthew 5:1-48; Matthew 6:1-34 above noted: it only remains, then, on this section, that we add two on the parables here illustrated (Luke 11:21-26), to bring out more in detail the distinctive features of the two cases.

Remarks:

(1) In the second parable we have three successive stages in the history of a soul. The first is a change for the better: The unclean spirit goes out of the man. When is this? Seldom is it seen in a period of general religious indifference. Then the strong man hardly needs to guard his palace; his goods are in undisturbed peace. But where a ministry like the Baptist's is attended with great success, and men are stirred to their depths, and many are fleeing from the wrath to come, then may be seen, among real conversions, not a few that are but partial, temporary, abortive. For a while, under the terrors of the coming wrath or the joys of the Gospel, all seems changed, and a thorough conversion appears to have taken place-the unclean spirit has gone out of the man. The house has become uncongenial to him. As an unwelcome guest, and out of his element, he takes his leave - "going" rather than "cast out." But there is no real exchange of masters, of services, of felicities; of Christ for Belial, of spiritual principles for carnal, of heavenly for earthly affections.

If the old man seems put off, the new man has not been put on; if old things seem to have passed away, all things have not become new. A heap of negatives make up the change: the man has not been born again. Accordinagly, when the unclean spirit returns, he finds the house as "empty" as when he left it. But worse-it is now "swept and garnished." This seems to point to such a relapse in the interval as has transformed it out of the unsympathetic state which drove him forth, into a prepared and inviting habitation for him. The soul's lively interest in religion and relish for divine things has cooled down; the standard has been by little and little lowered; carnal interests and affections have returned; the world has re-assumed its faded charms, and sin its enticing forms; devotion, when not intermitted, has dwindled into wretched and hurried generalities. At length sin is tampered with, and the unclean spirit sees his advantage.

But he is in no haste to seize his prey. On the contrary, "he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there" - never more to go or be put out. And so, "the last state of that man is worse than the first." Not, it may be, in the way of abandoning itself to greater abominations. But it is more utterly hopeless. There are several laws of the moral system which explain this. There is such a thing as God giving men over to a reprobate mind. Nor is the rage of the wicked one to be overlooked in these mysterious escapes from him for a time and subsequent welcomings back. And over and above these, there is the well-known and terrific law, in virtue of which habits and practices, abandoned with difficulty and afterward taking fresh possession, become more inveterate than ever before-the power of a resisting will being destroyed. Thus is there no medium between the unclean spirit going out of the man, only to come in again, and the effectual expulsion of the strong man by the Stronger than he. There is no safety for the heart of man but in cordial subjection to Christ.

(2) In the first parable, see the palace of the soul in secure, but not unguarded, possession of the strong man. This dark master of the soul - "the prince, the god of this world" - is "armed" and "guards" his palace. Some are easily guarded against serious thought and alarm about their eternal state-drowned in fleshly lusts, or engrossing secularities, or scientific pursuits; the cravings of the spirit after peace and fellowship with God, holiness and heaven, either systematically quenched, or never consciously-at least painfully-felt. But when religious convictions end alarms refuse to be lulled, false principles are made to play about the soul, if possible to seduce it out of its cravings for that relief which only the Gospel of Christ supplies. But when "the Stronger than the strong man" takes the case in hand, this ruler of the darkness of this world must quit his hold.

Glorious name of Jesus this - "The Stronger than the Strong One" - to as many as are sighing for emancipation from felt bondage, and not less, but rather more so, to those whom the Son hath made free indeed. Majestic and varied are the manifestations of His superiority to the strong one in this matchless Gospel History. But the secret of His strength to expel this enemy from the soul of man lies in the victory which He achieved over him in His Cross. "Now," says He Himself, "shall the prince of this world be cast out, and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." As it was sin that sold us into the enemy's hands, so when He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, He opened the prison-doors and set us free. And now hath He gone up to receive, as His fitting reward, the Gift of the Holy Spirit, by whose agency in the souls of men He grapples with the enemy, and casts Him out, that He may get Him a temple for God, a palace for Himself to dwell in - "When the Stronger than he shall come upon him." Sublime expression this of Christ's approach to the stronghold for a deadly encounter with the strong man.

But it may be quick or slow, simple or elaborate in preparation. Now is the "armour" of the strong man put to busy use: 'God is merciful; there have been many worse than thou, with whom, if thou perish, it will go harder still; thou art sorry for sin; thou sighest after holiness; thou hast made some progress; all will yet come right; and there is no such urgent haste.' These whispers of the father of lies lull for a time, but do not last. The urgency of the case is borne in with resistless power by the sinner's mighty Friend, and now the last thrust is given-`Thine is a gone case; it is now all too late.' But this last piece of his infernal "armour" is at length "taken from him;" the soul falls sweetly into the arms of its mighty Friend; the strong man is made to quit his palace, and the Stronger than he, now its real as before its rightful owner, divides the spoil. Fain would the bruised serpent, in his retreat, hiss for rage after the woman's Seed-`What hast Thou gained by the pardon and restoration of this rebel? he hath no taste for Thy company; he is of his father the devil, and the lusts of his father he will continue to do.' But the Stronger than he cries after him, 'I have put my fear in his heart, that he may not turn away from Me-Get thee behind Me!'

What, now, is the conclusion of this whole matter? Freedom from both masters, or entire moral independence, is impossible. The palace is freed from the usurped dominion of the strong man, only to become the willing recipient of the Stronger than he. But subjection to Christ is no bondage; it is the very law of liberty. "If the Son," then, O my readers, "shall nake you free, ye shall be free indeed!"


Verse 37

And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.

And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat.


Verse 38

And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.

And when the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that he had not first washed before dinner. See the notes at Mark 7:2-4.


Verses 39-52

And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.

And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside ... For the exposition of all these verses, see the notes at Matthew 23:1-36.


Verse 53

And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things:

And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things;


Verse 54

Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.

Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him. How exceedingly vivid and affecting! They were stung to the quick-and can we wonder?-yet had not materials for the charge they were preparing against Him. For Remarks on this section, see those on Matthew 23:1-39, at the close of that section.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 11:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-11.html. 1871-8.

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