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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Luke 6

 

 

Verses 1-5

Luke 6:1-5. On the second sabbath after the first — The original expression here, εν σαββατω δευτεροπρωτω, says Dr. Whitby, “should have been rendered, In the first sabbath after the second day, namely, of unleavened bread; for, after the first day of the passover, (which was a sabbath, Exodus 12:16,) ye shall count unto you (said God) seven sabbaths complete, Leviticus 23:15, reckoning that day for the first of the week, which was therefore called, δευτεροπρωτον, the first sabbath from this second day of unleavened bread; (the 16th of the month;) the second was called δευτεροδευτερον, the second sabbath from that day; and the third, δευτεροτριτον, the third sabbath from that second day; and so on, till they came to the seventh sabbath from that day; that is, to the forty-ninth day, which was the day of pentecost. The mention of the seven sabbaths, to be numbered with relation to this second day, answers all that Grotius objects against this exposition. Epiphanius expressly says, Our Lord’s disciples did what is here recorded, τω σαββατω, τω μετα την ημεραν των αζυμων, on the sabbath following the [second] day of unleavened bread. And if pentecost was called the feast of harvest, Exodus 23:16, (as Bochart, Mr. Mede, Dr. Lightfoot, and the Jews say,) because then their barley and wheat harvest was gathered in, this feast could not be pentecost, as Grotius conjectures, because then the corn must have been gathered in, and therefore could not have been plucked by Christ’s disciples in the field.” There are other expositions of the phrase, but this seems by far the most probable. He went through the corn-fields, &c. This paragraph is largely explained in the notes on Matthew 12:1-8; and Mark 2:23-28.


Verses 6-11

Luke 6:6-11. And on another sabbath he entered into the synagogue — The service of which he and his disciples seem to have generally attended: and there was a man whose right hand was withered — Of the miracle here recorded, see notes on Matthew 12:9-13; and Mark 3:1-5; where all the circumstances of it are noticed.


Verse 12-13

Luke 6:12-13. And it came to pass in those days — Namely, of his teaching near the sea of Galilee; that he went out into a mountain to pray — Jesus, seeing the general notice which was taken of his appearance, and the desire which multitudes manifested of being further informed concerning the design of his coming, and the nature of his doctrine, determined to choose a number of persons who should assist and succeed him in his ministerial work. And as the office which he intended to assign them was of great importance, even to the remotest ages, previous to his choice of them, he retired to a mountain in the neighbourhood, and, notwithstanding all the labours of the preceding day, continued all night in prayer to God; so much was his heart enlarged on this momentous occasion. The original phrase, εν τη προσευχη του θεου, is singular and emphatical, being literally, in the prayer of God, implying an extraordinary and sublime devotion. Or, if the word προσευχη be taken for the proper name of a place, the clause may be rendered, he continued all night in the oratory, or prayer-place, of God; the Jews having many houses on mountains, and by the sides of rivers, &c., set apart for prayer. These houses, it is well known, were open at the top, and planted round with trees. This is the sense in which Drusius, Prideaux, Whitby, Hammond, and many other good critics, understand the expression. This interpretation does not alter the meaning of the passage, for as Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, we cannot avoid supposing that he spent the greatest part of the night in acts of devotion. And when it was day he called to him his disciples — Mark says, whom he would. And of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles — A name which well expressed the office for which they were designed. These he now fixed upon, that for some time they might be always with him, in order that from his own mouth they might learn the doctrine which they were, in due time, to preach through the world; “that they might see his glory, John 1:14, the transcendent glory of the virtues which adorned his human life; and that they might be witnesses of all the wonderful works which he should perform, and by which his mission from God was to be clearly demonstrated. The twelve were thus to be qualified for supplying the people with that spiritual food which their teachers neglected to give them; and that both before and after their Master’s death. Accordingly, when they had continued with Jesus as long as was necessary for this end, he sent them out by two and two into Judea, on the important work of preparing the people for his reception, who was the true shepherd. Hence he named them apostles, that is, persons sent out. But the name was more peculiarly applicable to them, and their office was raised to its perfection, after Christ’s ascension, when he sent them out into all the world with the doctrine of the gospel, which he enabled them to preach by inspiration, giving them power at the same time to confirm it by the most astonishing miracles. That this was the nature of the new dignity which Jesus now conferred on the twelve, is evident from John 20:21, where we find him confirming them in the apostolical office: as my Father hath sent me, so send I you; I send you upon the same errand, and with the same authority: I send you to reveal the will of God for the salvation of men. And I bestow on you both the gift of tongues and the power of working miracles, that you may be able to preach the doctrine of salvation in every country, and to confirm it as divine, in opposition to all gainsayers.” — Macknight. Of the probable reason why the number of twelve was fixed upon rather than any other, and for a further elucidation of the passage, see the notes on Mark 3:13-17; and Matthew 10:1-4. After their election, the twelve accompanied Jesus constantly, lived with him on one common stock as his family, and never departed from him, unless by his express appointment.


Verses 14-16

Luke 6:14-16. Simon, whom he also named Peter — Matthew, Mark, and Luke have all given us a catalogue of the names of the apostles; and their exactness in this particular is greatly to be praised. For as the apostleship clothed the person on whom it was conferred with the high authority of directing the religious faith of mankind, it was of no small importance to the world to know who they were to whom that dignity belonged. In these catalogues, Simon is first named, not because he was of greater dignity than the rest, but because he was one of the most early followers of Christ, and the first that was called to a stated attendance upon him, and a person whose remarkable zeal and piety rendered him a kind of leader among the others. These reasons are so evidently sufficient for his being named first, that it is strange any should have attempted to prove from that circumstance, that Christ invested him with authority over his brethren; when we never find any such thing declared by Christ, or claimed by Peter, or owned by any of the other apostles, but rather find many scriptures which appear to look a contrary way; Matthew and Luke mention Andrew next to Peter, as being his brother, and one of Christ’s first disciples. The names of James and John follow, as having been called next, (see Matthew 4:21,) and being persons of great eminence for piety and usefulness, and James is placed before John, as being the elder brother. The names of the others seem to be placed nearly, at least, in the order in which they became disciples. Judas Iscariot, however, though, perhaps, not last called, is named last, because he was the traitor. But whatever might be the reason of ranking the apostles in the catalogue in the order in which we find them, we are certain they are not ranged according to their dignity; for, had that been the case, the order of the names would have been exactly the same in all the evangelists, which it is not, Andrew being placed the second in order, as we have observed, by Matthew and Luke, and the fourth by Mark; and Thomas being placed before Matthew by that apostle, and after him by Mark and Luke. To this may be added, on supposition that the apostles are ranked in the catalogues according to their dignity, it would follow, that John and Matthew, whose praise is in all the churches, on account of their writings, were inferior to apostles who are scarce once named, except in the catalogues. With regard to the epithet, or surname, (Zelotes, the Zealous,) added by Luke here to the name of Simon; because there was a particular sect or faction, among the Jews, termed the Zealots, who, in later times, under colour of zeal for God, committed all imaginable disorders, some are of opinion, that Simon the apostle had formerly been one of this faction. But as there is no mention made of that sect till a little before the destruction of Jerusalem, (Josephus, Bell., Luke 4:3,) we may rather suppose that this epithet was added to his name on account of his uncommon zeal in matters of true piety and religion.


Verses 17-19

Luke 6:17-19. And he came down with them, &c. — After he had acquainted these twelve persons with his design, and had given them such private instructions as he judged necessary to render their attendance on him subservient to the execution of their important office, he came down from the mountain with them, and stood in the neighbouring plain; where were assembled, not only the rest of his disciples, but a great multitude of people collected from parts at a great distance from each other, namely, not only out of all Judea and Jerusalem, but from the coast of Tyre and Sidon — Many of whom came to hear and be instructed by his discourses, and others to be healed of their diseases: circumstances these which prove beyond contradiction, how universal the persuasion now was, that he was a divinely-commissioned teacher; and that real miracles were wrought by him. And the whole multitude sought to touch him, &c. — In order to multiply the proofs of his mission, and to render them indubitable, he caused virtue to go out from himself, and to heal all, without exception, who came and touched, though it were but his clothes, in expectation of being healed; and that, in some instances, in which Christ did not so much as take any apparent notice of the cases. By this benignity he put the cure in the power of the diseased themselves; and wrought many more miracles than could have been performed in the way of a formal application to him for a cure.


Verse 20

Luke 6:20. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples — The multitude that pressed to touch Jesus, in order to be healed, being at length rendered still and quiet, he turned to his disciples, and in their audience, and that of the multitude, repeated, standing on the plain, many remarkable passages of the sermon he had before delivered, sitting on the mount; which for the importance and variety of matter contained in it was, of all his sermons, the most proper to be remembered by the twelve disciples, now that they were constituted apostles, and appointed to preach. “The Evangelist Matthew, having recorded the former sermon in its place, judged it unnecessary to give this repetition of it here. But if the reader is of opinion that the two sermons are the same, because this in Luke comes immediately after the election of the twelve apostles, as that in Matthew comes after the calling of the four disciples, Simon, Andrew, James, and John, let him consider, in the first place, that the calling of the four disciples, which precedes the sermon in Matthew, is without doubt a fact entirely different from the election of the twelve apostles preceding the sermon in Luke, and happened long before it. Besides, the sermon in Luke was preached immediately after the election of the twelve, whereas a large tour through Galilee, which may have taken up some months, intervened between the calling of the four disciples and the sermon in Matthew. And to name no more differences, the sermon recorded by Matthew was delivered on a mountain, in a sitting, posture; whereas, when he pronounced this, which Luke speaks of, he was in a plain, or valley, where he could not sit because of the multitude which surrounded him, but stood with his disciples. But though there was not so much evident disagreement in the facts preceding these two sermons, the reader might easily have allowed that they were pronounced at different times, because he will find other instances of things really different, notwithstanding in their nature they may be alike, and were preceded, and also followed, by like events. For instance, the commission and instructions given to the seventy, were, in substance, the same with the commission and instructions given to the twelve, Matthew 10., and were introduced after the same manner: The harvest is plenteous, &c., Matthew 9:37. Yet from Luke himself it appears they were different, that evangelist having related the mission of the twelve as a distinct fact, Luke 9:1. So likewise the two miraculous dinners were not only like each other in their natures, but in their circumstances also, for they were introduced by the same discourses, and followed by like events; particularly at the conclusion of both, Jesus passed over the sea of Galilee. Nevertheless, both being found in the same evangelist, no reader can possibly think them the same.” — Macknight. Dr. Whitby and Dr. Doddridge view this subject in exactly the same light. “Hardly any thing,” says the latter, “that I have observed in the common harmonies surprises me more than that so many of them make this discourse to be the very sermon on the mount, recorded at large by Matthew. That was delivered by Christ sitting on a mountain, this standing in a plain; and, which weighs yet much more with me, there is such a difference in the expression, when the parallel passages come to be compared, that it seems evident the evangelists have not related it exactly, if they meant to give us the same. On the other hand, there appears not the least difficulty in supposing that Christ might here repeat a part of what he had delivered some months before to another auditory, and probably at some greater distance than just in the same neighbourhood. For it is plain from other instances, that this is nothing more than what he often had occasion to do. Compare Matthew 9:32-34 with Matthew 12:22; Matthew 12:24; and Matthew 16:21 with Matthew 17:23; and Matthew 20:17-19.” This, therefore, for the reasons above stated, being evidently a different sermon from that delivered on the mount, and preached to a different auditory, and on a different occasion; and there being here only four of the eight beatitudes mentioned in that sermon, and not one of these being expressed in the same words which are there used; it is not necessary that they should be understood in the same sense. The poor here may either mean the poor in spirit; the hungry, those that hunger after righteousness; and the mourners, those that sorrow after a godly manner to repentance, 2 Corinthians 7:9; or the condition added to the last clause, Luke 6:22, for the Son of man’s sake, may be understood as implied in all the clauses, and that those disciples of Christ only are pronounced blessed, who are exposed to, and patiently suffer, poverty, hunger, grief, or persecution for his sake, that they may obtain that kingdom, and that reward in heaven, which he hath promised to his faithful servants. Indeed our Lord’s words are only addressed to his disciples, Luke 6:20, he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed, (or rather, happy, as μακαριοι means,) are ye poor, &c. — As to those who are not the true disciples of Christ, but are ignorant and wicked, or carnal and worldly, however poor, destitute, afflicted, or reproached they may be in this world, they are not happy, but miserable, and in the way to be miserable for ever. We must therefore say, in explanation of this passage, the poor are happy if they be enriched with divine knowledge and grace; for they are entitled to the kingdom of God in all its transcendent and eternal glories. They that hunger now, and are destitute of all the comfortable accommodations of life, are happy if they feel that nobler appetite, by which the pious soul longs after improvements in holiness: for the time is near when they shall be filled with what they long for, and shall be made partakers of the most substantial and valuable blessings. Happy are they who now weep and mourn under a sense of sin, or under that wholesome discipline of affliction, by which God reduces his wandering children, and trains them up to superior virtue; for all their sorrow shall pass away like a dream, and they shall ere long laugh and rejoice in a complete deliverance from it. They whom men hate, separate from their company, and reproach, &c., for the Son of man’s sake, are happy, for that glorious and powerful and gracious Person, on whose account they are thus treated, is abundantly able, and as willing as able, amply to recompense them for all they suffer for his sake. And therefore far from being dismayed and overwhelmed with trouble and distress, at such abuses and assaults, they ought to rejoice and leap for joy, fully assured that their reward in heaven will be in proportion to their sufferings on earth. Besides, such persecuted followers of Christ may comfort themselves with this consideration, that the servants of God, in all ages, have been treated in a similar manner.


Verse 24-25

Luke 6:24-25. But wo, &c. — Here we see that this discourse differs very materially from the sermon on the mount; there our Lord pronounced blessings only, here he denounces curses; or, to speak more properly, he compassionately bewails the condition of persons of a contrary character to that of those pronounced happy in the preceding verses. For, as Grotius justly observes, the expression, ουαι υμιν, wo unto you, “vox est dolentis, non irâ incensi,” is the expression of one lamenting, [or bewailing the unhappy condition of another,] not of one inflamed with anger. It is like that used by our Lord, Matthew 24:19, wo to them that are with child, &c., in those days; an expression which no one can understand otherwise than as a declaration of the unhappiness of women in these circumstances, at such a time of general calamity as is referred to. The parallel passage in Luke 23:29 where we have the same prophecy, makes this evident. As our Lord, therefore, in the former sentences, pronounces the poor, the needy, the mournful, and the persecuted happy, so he here pronounces the rich, the jovial, and the applauded, miserable; the circumstances in which such are placed being peculiarly insnaring, and the danger being great lest they should be so taken up with the transient pleasures of time, as to forget and forfeit everlasting happiness. His words may be thus paraphrased: Miserable are ye rich — If ye have received or sought your consolation or happiness in your riches. Miserable are you that are full — Of meat and drink, and worldly goods, and take up with these things as your portion; for you shall ere long hunger — Shall fall into a state of great indigence and misery, aggravated by all the plenty which you enjoyed and abused. Miserable are you that laugh — That spend your lives in mirth and gayety, or are of a light, trifling spirit; for you shall mourn and weep — You have reason to expect a portion in those doleful regions, where, without intermission and without end, you shall be abandoned to weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. “Our Lord’s malediction,” [declaration,] says a modern author, “is not inconsistent with the apostle’s precepts, which command Christians always to rejoice. Neither is the mirth against which the wo is here denounced to be understood of that constant cheerfulness of temper, which arises to true Christians from the comfortable and cheerful doctrines with which they are enlightened by the gospel, the assurance they have of reconciliation with God, the hope they have of everlasting life and the pleasure they enjoy in the practice of piety and the other duties of religion. But it is to be understood of that turbulent, carnal mirth, that levity and vanity of spirit, which arises, not from any solid foundation, but from sensual pleasure, or those vain amusements of life by which the giddy and the gay contrive to make away their time; that sort of mirth which dissipates thought, leaves no time for consideration, and gives them an utter aversion to all serious reflections.” Persons who continue to indulge themselves in this sort of mirth through life, shall weep and mourn eternally, when they are excluded from the joys of heaven, and banished for ever from the presence of God, by the light of whose countenance all the blessed are enlightened, and made transcendently happy.


Verse 26

Luke 6:26. Wo unto you — Miserable are you; when all men speak well of you — Because such universal applause is not to be gained without sinful compliances. “For,” as Dr. Whitby observes, “he that will be pleasing to all must speak things grateful to all, and do what they like; now that cannot be good which is grateful to bad men: thus the false prophets, whom the Jews commended, spake to them smooth things, and prophesied lies, because the people loved to have it so; they prophesied of peace, when war was at hand; they strengthened the hands of evil doers, Jeremiah 23:14, and daubed the ruinous wall with untempered mortar, Ezekiel 13:10-11.”


Verse 27-28

Luke 6:27-28. But I say unto you which hear — You who hear me now, and you who in future ages shall hear my gospel. Hitherto our Lord had spoken only to particular sorts of persons; now he begins speaking to all in general. Love your enemies, &c. — The disposition which my gospel cherishes in its votaries, is that of love and kindness, even to the evil and unthankful; and therefore all who hear the gospel ought to be of this disposition. See on Matthew 5:44.


Verses 29-31

Luke 6:29; Luke 6:31. To him, &c. — You who hear my gospel ought to be patient under injuries, as well as benevolent toward the unthankful. To him that smiteth thee on thy cheek — that taketh away thy cloak — These seem to be proverbial expressions, to signify an invasion of the tenderest points of honour and property. Offer the other, &c. Forbid not thy coat — That is, rather yield to his repeating the affront, or injury, than gratify resentment in righting yourself, in any method not becoming Christian love. Give to every man — Friend or enemy, what thou canst spare, and he really wants; and of him that taketh away thy goods — By borrowing; ask them not again — If he be insolvent: or, do not exact them if it will distress the person concerned to repay thee: rather lose them, if consistent with other duties, than demand them by a legal process. Dr. Doddridge translates and paraphrases the clause thus: “From him that taketh away thy possessions, in an injurious manner, do not immediately demand them back in the forms of law, but rather endeavour, by gentle methods, to reduce the offender to reason.” The Greek expression, του αιροντος τα σα, here rendered, taketh away thy goods, properly signifies, taketh them away violently, or by fraud. But, as Dr. Macknight observes, “Whatever sense we put on our Lord’s precept, it must be understood with the limitations which common sense directs us to make; namely, that we give and lend freely to all who ask, or permit them to retain what they have unjustly taken, provided only that it be a thing of small account, which we can easily spare, and the persons who ask or take such things be in real necessity.” And as ye would that men should do unto you, &c. — See note on Matthew 7:12.


Verses 32-36

Luke 6:32-36. If ye love them which love you, what thank have ye — What great thanks are due to you on that account? For there are some sentiments of gratitude common even to the worst of men, which incline the most scandalous sinners to love those that love them, and to profess an affectionate regard for those by whom they have been treated with respect and kindness. Here, says Theophylact, “If you only love them that love you, you are only like the sinners and heathen; but if you love those who do evil to you, you are like to God; which therefore will you choose? to be like sinners or like God?” Here we see that our Lord has so little regard for one of the highest instances of natural virtue, namely, the returning love for love, that he does not account it even to deserve thanks. For even sinners, saith he, do the same — Men who do not regard God at all. Therefore he may do this who has not taken one step in Christianity. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive — And that, perhaps, with considerable advantage to yourselves; what thank have ye? — What favour do you show in that? or, what extraordinary thanks are due to you on that account? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive, τα ισα, equal favours, in return. But love ye your enemies — Ye who profess to be my disciples. See on Matthew 5:43-45. Do good and lend, hoping for nothing again — Do good to those from whom you have no expectation of receiving any favour in return; and lend, in cases of great distress, even when you have little reason to expect what is lent to be repaid. Because the Greek expression, μηδεν απελπιζοντες, has, in no Greek author, the sense here, and in most translations, given to it, namely, hoping for nothing again; many commentators have declared in favour of the signification affixed to it by the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions; neminem desperare facientes, causing no man to despair: the copies from which these translations were made reading μηδεν’, with an apostrophe, for μηδενα. But, as Dr. Whitby observes, “this is putting a double force upon the words; 1st, reading, without the authority of any MS., μηδενα, no man, for μηδεν, nothing; and, 2d, interpreting απελπιζειν, to cause to despair; of which sense they give no instance.” The context seems evidently to justify our translation of the clause; for the preceding words are, If ye lend to them, παρων ελπιζετε απολαβειν, from whom ye hope to receive again, namely, what you lend, or a similar favour, what thank have ye, for sinners also lend to sinners to receive as much again. It then naturally follows, But do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again — That is, lend not you on so mean an account, but even when you do not hope to have that returned which you lend, or to receive at some future time a like favour from the person you lend to. And whereas we are told that the word απελπιζω bears no such sense, “I hope,” says the doctor, “the credit of Stephanus, who says the word is rightly rendered by the Vulgate, nihil inde sperantes, hoping for nothing thence; and of Casaubon, who says απελπιζειν is to hope for something from a person or matter; may be sufficient to support the credit of our translation; especially when we read, in the Life of Solon, that he made no law against parricides, δια το απελπισαι, because he did not expect that such a crime would be committed; and find this like composition of the word

απεχειν, when it signifies απο τινος εχειν, to receive from any one; and in the word απεσθιειν, which is used for απο τινος εσθιειν, to eat of any thing.” It must be acknowledged, however, that the more common and classical meaning of the term is, despero, to despair; and accordingly Dr. Campbell, with many others, renders the clause, not at all, or nowise despairing: observing, among several other arguments in support of this translation, “That what commonly proves the greatest hinderance to our lending, particularly to needy persons, is the dread that we shall never be repaid. It is, I imagine, to prevent the influence of such an over-cautious mistrust, that our Lord here warns us not to shut our hearts against the request of a brother in difficulties. Lend cheerfully, as though he had said, without fearing the loss of what shall be thus bestowed. It often happens that, even contrary to appearances, the loan is thankfully returned by the borrower; but if it should not, remember (and let this silence all your doubts) that God charges himself with what you give from love to him, and love to your neighbour: he is the poor man’s surety.” It may not be improper to add, that several Latin MSS., agreeably to this interpretation, read nihil desperantes, “nothing despairing.” Our Lord enforces the exhortation by adding, and your reward shall be great, probably even in this world, in the temporal prosperity with which God, in the course of his providence, will bless you: for to him that hath, uses aright what he hath, shall be given, and he shall have more abundance, Matthew 13:12. But if you are not recompensed in this world you certainly shall be in the world to come: for God is not unfaithful to forget our work and labour of love, which we show to his name. And ye shall be the children of the Highest — His genuine children, resembling him, bearing the image of his goodness; for he is kind unto the unthankful and the evil — Causing the undeserved benefits of the sun and rain to descend upon them, and conferring on them of his free unmerited bounty other innumerable benefits daily. Be ye therefore merciful — Compassionate, kind, beneficent, to the unworthy; as your Father also is merciful — Continually setting you an example of gratuitous goodness; as all his works, whether of creation, providence, or grace, amply declare. See notes on Matthew 5:44-48.


Verse 37-38

Luke 6:37-38. Judge not, &c. — See notes on Matthew 7:1-2; Matthew 6:14-15. Give — Liberally to those that need your assistance; and it shall be given unto you — For your kindness and liberality will naturally gain you love and respect; and God also, by his supernatural grace, will influence men’s hearts in your favour. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over — “Our Lord makes use of these three phrases to express all the different kinds of good measure, according to the different nature of the things measured. Some of them, to make the measure good, must be pressed down and trodden; some of them must be shaken, as the several kinds of grain; and some of them must be running over, such as all sorts of liquors. The figure of giving this good measure into one’s bosom, is an allusion to the eastern habits, which were long pieces of cloth wrapped round their bodies, and girded up with a girdle. Their garments being of this kind, they could receive into their lap or bosom a considerable quantity of such dry goods as they sold by measure.” — Macknight. For with the same measure that ye mete it shall be measured, &c. — Amazing goodness! So we are permitted even to carve for ourselves! We ourselves are, as it were, to tell God, how much mercy he shall show us! And can we be content with less than the very largest measure? Give, then, to man, what thou designest to receive of God.


Verse 39-40

Luke 6:39-40. And he spake a parable, &c. — Our Lord sometimes used parables, when he know plain and open declarations would too much inflame the passions of his hearers. It is for this reason that he uses this parable. Can the blind lead the blind — Can the scribes teach this way, which they know not themselves? Will not they and their scholars perish together? The disciple is not above his master — Can they make their disciples any better than themselves? If the master be ignorant, foolish, and wicked, will not the scholar, or disciple, be so likewise? But every one that is perfect — Or, perfected, as κατηρτισμενος means: that is, perfectly instructed by Christ’s doctrine, and perfectly renewed by his grace: whose mind is fully enlightened, and his heart entirely changed: made wise unto salvation by God’s word, and endued with all the graces of his Spirit; shall be as his Master — Shall come to the measure of the stature of his Master’s fulness, shall be conformed to the image of God’s Son, and as he was, shall be in this world, 1 John 4:17.


Verse 41-42

Luke 6:41-42. And why beholdest thou the mote — See notes on Matthew 7:3-5. Be not ye like the disciples of the Pharisees, censuring others, and not amending yourselves.


Verses 43-45

Luke 6:43-45. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit, &c. — See notes on Matthew 7:16-20; Matthew 12:33-35. For of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh — The meaning of this whole passage is, as a tree is known to be either good or bad by its fruit, so a man is known to be either good or bad by his words; especially when he speaks of the characters and actions of others, or pretends to rebuke them. On such occasions he will, either by the charitable and mild constructions which he puts upon the doubtful actions of others, show himself to be a good man; or, by his uncharitable and harsh interpretations, demonstrate the wickedness of his own heart.


Verses 46-49

Luke 6:46-49. And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? — What will fair professions avail, without a life answerable thereto? Our Lord’s words may also refer to what he had just spoken in praise of good words. As if he had said, Though I have thus spoken, you must take notice, that it is in a particular case especially that your good words will manifest the state of your hearts to be good, namely, when the characters and actions of others are spoken of and censured. Good words, on many other occasions, are of no avail; for the best advices given to others, Luke 6:42, or the fairest speeches imaginable addressed to me, your Master, and your giving me the highest titles of respect, are of no manner of signification, if you do not keep my commandments, and possess the graces, and practise the duties which I describe and enjoin. And the flood arose — Here is an allusion to the violent rains and sweeping floods in the eastern countries, in the winter. “Though the rains are not extremely frequent at that season, yet, when it does rain, the water pours down with great violence for three or four days and nights together, enough to drown the whole country. Such violent rains in so hilly a country as Judea must occasion inundations very dangerous to buildings within their reach, by washing the soil from under them, and occasioning their fall.” — Harmer. See the notes on Matthew 7:21-29; where the contents of this paragraph are explained. “May these beautiful, striking, and repeated admonitions, which our Saviour gives us of the vanity of every profession which does not influence the practice, be attended to with reverence and fear! We are building for eternity; may we never grudge the time and labour of a most serious inquiry into the great fundamental principles of religion! May we discover the sure foundation, and raise upon it a noble superstructure, which shall stand fair and glorious when hypocrites are swept away into everlasting ruin, in that awful day in which heaven and earth shall flee away from the face of him that sits upon the throne!

Revelation 20:11.” — Doddridge.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 6:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/luke-6.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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