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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Luke 12

 

 

Introduction

Luke 9:51 to Luke 18:14.—Lk. now more than atones for his great omission (of Mark 6:45 to Mark 8:26) by a great insertion. This section is mainly peculiar to Lk. It describes incidents of the last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem.


Verses 1-12

Luke 12. A Collection of Sayings taken from Q and arranged in groups with more or less suitable introductions.

Luke 12:1-12. Jesus Encourages His Disciples.—(For parallels in Mt. see below.) After a warning against Pharisaism, Jesus exhorts His followers fearlessly to acknowledge Him as their leader and to proclaim His teaching. This may bring trouble upon them, but perfect trust in God will cast out fear.

Luke 12:1. An attempt to connect what follows with ch. 11. Hence the reference to the Pharisees and their leaven (Mark 8:15, Matthew 16:6*), which Luke takes to be hypocrisy.

Luke 12:2. Lk. only. Hypocrisy is not only wrong, but useless; a day is coming when all masks will be torn off. In accordance with this statement Lk. gives an altered version of Matthew 10:27 ("What I tell you in darkness, speak ye in the light," etc.). The early house instruction (Luke 9:4) is to give way to public preaching.

Luke 12:3-9. Cf. Matthew 10:27-33*

Luke 12:4 f. The slight changes which Lk. makes are suggestive. Loisy thinks there is a trace here of the belief in judgment immediately after death as in Luke 16:22, Luke 23:43.

Luke 12:8 f. before men, i.e. magistrates.—angels of God: Mt. "My Father which is in heaven." In Lk. the angels are judges, before whom the Son of Man gives evidence. Does Lk. (cf. Luke 9:26, Mark 8:38) or Q think of the Son of Man as another than Jesus? If so, Mt.'s "I" may be a correction to prevent such a misunderstanding.

Luke 12:10. The saying has a better context in Mark 3:28 f., Matthew 12:32*, though Lk.'s form is good, and it may be inserted here as encouragement to the disciples. J. Weiss thinks it may originally have come after Luke 12:12; he who blasphemes the Holy Spirit (speaking through the disciples) shall not be forgiven.

Luke 12:11 f. Matthew 10:19 f.*. Lk.'s form suggests Pauline experiences.


Verses 13-21

Luke 12:13-21. Parable of the Rich Fool.—Lk. only.

Luke 12:13. The crowd of Luke 12:1 reappears here.

Luke 12:14. Jesus declines to usurp the functions of the civil judge.

Luke 12:15 is an editorial link between the incident (in which there is no allusion to covetousness, unless indeed that term be taken to cover the claiming of one's rights) and the parable. Tr. "a man's life is not part of his possessions because he has ample wealth" (Moffatt).

Luke 12:20. this night: apparently just when he has carried his plans through.—thy soul (or life) is required: lit. "they demand thy soul"; "they," possibly the man's wronged and oppressed labourers, probably the angels of death.

Luke 12:21. rich towards God: i.e. gaining the riches of God, laying up treasure in heaven, cf. Luke 12:33 f.


Verses 22-34

Luke 22:22-34. Warning against Worry (Matthew 6:25-33*, Matthew 6:19-21*).—In Mt. the section follows the saying about God and Mammon, with which the parable just given by Lk. has an analogy. Lk. and Mt. agree closely, though Lk. has "ravens" for "birds of the heavens" (Luke 12:24), and "the rest" (Luke 12:26) (i.e. all necessaries other than food) for "raiment." Luke 12:32 takes the place of Matthew 6:34, and leads up to Luke 12:33 f. The fear is lest they (the disciples) should not enter the Kingdom. They are assured that they will do so if (unlike the rich fool) they renounce all their possessions and give them in alms to the poor. The advice is more definite than in Mt.


Verses 35-38

Luke 12:35-48 Three References to the Parousia.

Luke 12:35-38 (with Luke 12:47 f.). The Need of Watchfulness.—These verses, like Luke 13:25, are clearly akin in thought to Mt.'s parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (cf. also Mark 13:33-37)* Loisy thinks we have here reminiscences and echoes of that parable; Wellhausen thinks Lk.'s form the earlier; "the fermentation in Lk. has in Mt. settled down and disappeared." But it is quite possible that Mt. and Lk. are independent of each other here, especially if we disregard the "return from the marriage feast" in Luke 12:36. Certainly the main point is the other feast—prepared for the faithful servants. This is the true Messianic banquet. If we retain the first feast as well, it must mean the joy of heaven from which the Messiah returns.

Luke 12:38 f. Be Ready (Matthew 24:43 f.*).


Verses 39-48

Luke 12:39-48. The Faithful Steward (Matthew 24:45-51*). Luke 12:39 is peculiar to Lk. The answer to Peter's question is that the injunctions to watchfulness are particularly applicable to the Twelve. This is emphasized by Lk.'s use of "steward" for Mt.'s "servant." The other variants are not significant, but Luke 12:47 f. is found only in Lk.: it seems to refer to another affair, and may have been originally a continuation of Luke 12:35-38. It contains a lesson either for Jews (especially Scribes) in contrast with Gentiles, or for Christians (especially teachers and leaders) in contrast with heathen.

Luke 12:46. cut him asunder: cf. Hebrews 11:37; but see mg. and Matthew 24:51*.


Verses 49-59

Luke 12:49-59. Signs of the Times.—For parallels see below. Jesus is oppressed with the thought of the future till it is accomplished.

Luke 12:49 f. Lk. only. Fire is what Jesus has come to cast on the earth (cf. Luke 3:16 f.); here it probably means division (Luke 12:51; Mt. "sword"). Would that the discord had set in—it would mean that the Kingdom was nigh. But something else has to precede the Kingdom, perhaps also the discord, viz., His death, here referred to as a baptism, i.e. a new consecration (cf. Mark 10:38). The passage should be compared with the more formal predictions of the Passion, which may have been edited after the event.

Luke 12:51-53. Cf. Matthew 10:34-36. Lk. is more elaborate—he pictures a household of husband and wife, son and his wife, and daughter. The two men quarrel and the elder woman quarrels with the two younger ones. Such hostility on the part of elders to the young who are attracted by the Christian message is well illustrated in the modern mission field, especially in India.

Luke 12:54-56. Matthew 16:2-4*. Lk. has the better setting. The Jews recognise the signs of the weather, they refuse to recognise the signs of the approaching Judgment, with the need for repentance. The sign is of course Jesus Himself and His message. Even apart from signs they ought to judge what is right (Luke 12:57), and to do it while there is yet time, like a debtor satisfying his creditor before the case comes into court, where only utter condemnation is to be looked for.

Luke 12:58 f. Matthew 5:25 f.* Perhaps the setting is better in Lk., where the moral is implied that men must repent before God in view of the imminence of the Judgment.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Luke 12:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/luke-12.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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