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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Luke 13

 

 

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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 1-9

Luke 13:1-9. Exhortations to Repentance.—The theme of Luke 12:57-59 is continued and illustrated by references to two incidents and by a parable. The section is peculiar to Lk. A company of Galilean pilgrims had come into collision with the Romans and had been massacred by Pilate's orders while they were sacrificing in the Temple courts. A garrison was always kept in the Tower of Antonia to quell disturbances. Neither Josephus nor any other writer refers to the affair, but it is quite in the line of Pilate's policy and conduct. Jesus, hearing of it, declines to admit that the calamity implied exceptional sin on the part of the sufferers, but emphasizes instead the truth that sin involves calamity, and warns His audience that unless they repent they will surely be overwhelmed in the coming disaster. He repeats the warning by reference to an accident that had recently happened in Jerusalem. Eighteen workmen building aqueducts at the Pool of Siloam (on the south side of the city) had been buried under some falling masonry. They were not necessarily the worst men in Jerusalem. Note the word "Offenders" or "debtors"; there is a suggestion that they are so styled because Pilate paid them with Sacred money from the Temple treasury. Jesus' point is that all His hearers are debtors to Divine justice (cf. Luke 12:58). National sins, if not repented of, will lead to national destruction.

Luke 13:5. repent: the tense of the Gr. verb marks the need of immediate repentance; likewise denotes more exact similarity than "in like manner" (Luke 13:3).

Luke 13:6-9. In the parable of the Barren Fig Tree the lesson is taught that those who are spared for a (short) time should not miss the opportunity of repentance. The parable, with which cf. Isaiah 5:1-7, may well have been the source of the miracle of Mark 11:12-14; Mark 11:21 f.*, Matthew 21:18-21*. The "three years" (Luke 13:7) is not to be pressed as an indication of the duration of Christ's ministry. Note that the tree not only yields no fruit, it nullifies or sterilises the ground, making good soil useless.


Verses 10-21

Luke 13:10-17. A Woman Healed on the Sabbath. (Lk. only; cf. Luke 6:1-11).—Loisy is too fanciful in connecting this section with what precedes by suggesting that as the barren tree stands for unrepentant Israel so the healed woman, and those who rejoice with her, represent those Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah. The phrase "spirit of infirmity" shows that the case was regarded as one of demoniacal possession, perhaps Lk.'s misconception of Jesus' reference to Satan in Luke 13:16. There is no hint of exorcism in the story; the woman has a curved spine and Jesus heals her by imposition of hands. With "daughter of Abraham," cf. Luke 19:9. The official in charge somewhat meanly attacks Jesus through the people, and especially the patient, though there is no indication that she had come seeking a cure. Jesus shows how even the Law gave way to common-sense and human feelings in the case of beasts on the Sabbath; much more so should it yield in the case of a woman (cf. Matthew 12:12).

Luke 13:13-21. Parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven (Mark 4:30-32*, Matthew 13:31-33*).—There is no real connexion with the foregoing incident; "therefore" (Luke 13:18) is only an attempt at a link; though Loisy, who has seen converted Jews in Luke 13:16, sees converted Gentiles in the "birds" of Luke 13:19, and the heathen world in the "three measures of meal" (Luke 13:21). Three measures (see pp. 115f.) was a usual baking (Genesis 18:6)—there is no allegory of "body, mind, and spirit" or "earth, Church, and State."


Verses 22-30

Luke 13:22-30. The Narrow Entrance into Life.—Parallels are found in Matthew 7:13 f., Matthew 25:11 f., Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 8:11 f; Matthew 19:30. The two preceding parables serve to lead up to a resumption of teaching concerning the Judgment. The villages are apparently in Peræa. An inquirer wonders if there are few who are in the way of salvation, and is bidden with other hearers to make sure that he is in it himself. The Kingdom may be extensive (Luke 13:19; Luke 13:21), yet to secure entrance is no light task, but a strenuous struggle. The mention of "the narrow door" (Luke 13:24), a familiar figure, suggests another door, that of the festal chamber. The Master rises up (from table or dais) to shut it. There are occasions when, though one knocks (Luke 11:9), the door is not opened—mere acquaintance or even association with the Messiah does not entitle a man to the blessings of the Kingdom. Luke 13:24-25 should be connected as in mg. A full stop may be put after "door" (Luke 13:25 a). From this reminiscence of the Parable of the Bridesmaids, though the stress here is rather on conduct than on time, we are taken back to the Sermon on the Mount and to Matthew 8:11 f.*, where the arrangement is better. Lk. tries to adapt a contrast between Jews and Gentiles to one between Christians and non-Christians, though in Luke 13:29 f. he must refer to Gentiles.


Verses 31-33

Luke 13:31-33. The Enmity of Herod.—Peræa was part of Herod Antipas's territory. It is possible that the Pharisees wished to get Jesus into Judæa and so nearer the arm of the Sanhedrin. The reference of Jesus to His death in Jerusalem (Luke 13:33) may point this way. If so they, more than Herod, were the "fox." There were, however, Pharisees that were friendly to Jesus, cf. Luke 14:1 ff. As applied to Herod the epithet sums up the "tyranny, timidity, and insolence" of the Idumæan character of the Herods. Jesus asserts that His work of exorcising and healing is only a preliminary to the coming of the Kingdom and His entry into glory. "I am perfected" need not mean death, though it is usually so interpreted.

Luke 13:33 may be an addition meant to lead up to Luke 13:34 f.; the word for howbeit is often used by Lk. in such cases. Wellhausen also finds Luke 13:33 difficult after Luke 13:32, and emends the two verses so as to read "I cast out devils and perform cures to-day and to-morrow. Howbeit I must go on my way the day following, for it cannot be," etc. He takes "I am perfected" (prediction of death) to be an early interpolation, after which a reference to journeying on the third day was out of place and called for the further interpolation of "to-day and to-morrow" in Luke 13:33 a.


Verse 34

Luke 13:34 f. Lament over Jerusalem.—Matthew 23:37-39*. where the setting is more suitable. Lk. omits "desolate." For the saying cf. 2 Esdras 1:30-33, and also the LXX of Isaiah 16:1 f., a passage which was Messianically interpreted, and has the word "desolate" and a reference to scattered birds. It is more likely that Luke 13:35 is a prediction of the Parousia than a mere statement (on one of several visits to Jerusalem) that the citizens will not see Jesus again until He comes as a pilgrim to the Passover and hears the usual greeting accorded to pilgrims.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Luke 13:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/luke-13.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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