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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Luke 8

 

 

Verse 1

Luke 8:1. And it came to pass afterward — Probably the day after he had dined with Simon; or, as the expression, εν τω καθεξης, may be understood to imply, in the order of his work; for he went through it regularly, and the end of one good work was with him the beginning of another; he went throughout every city and village — Namely, in those parts, preaching and showing, &c. — κηρυσσων και ευαγγελιζομενος, proclaiming, and evangelizing, or publishing; the glad tidings of the kingdom of God — The kingdom which he was now about to erect among mankind: or, the glad tidings of his reconcileableness to men, of the necessity of reformation, and of the acceptableness of repentance, even in the chief of sinners. And the twelve were with him — As he thought it proper they should be for some time, that they might be further instructed for their important work, and that their having been thus publicly seen in his train might promote their reception, when they afterward came to any of these places by themselves.


Verse 2-3

Luke 8:2-3. And certain women — There were also some women with him; the monuments of his power and mercy, for they had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities — Some of them had been troubled in mind, and in a state of melancholy, through the influence of evil spirits, and others of them afflicted in body in different respects, and he had healed them all, and thereby had shown himself to be the physician of both soul and body. Mary, called Magdalene — Doubtless from ΄αγδαλα, the place of her residence, which was a town in Galilee beyond Jordan. Matthew 15:39. She seems to have been a woman of high station and opulent fortune; being mentioned by Luke here even before Joanna, the wife of so great a man as Herod’s steward. Besides, the other evangelists, when they have occasion to speak of our Lord’s female friends, commonly assign the first place to Mary Magdalene. Susanna also seems to have been a person of some considerable rank and circumstances in life, as were probably most of the others here referred to. These pious women, deeply sensible of the obligations which they were under to Jesus, for the deliverances he had wrought out for them, and the great blessings which they had received through his heavenly doctrine and holy example, were concerned to render unto him, in some measure, according to the goodness which he had shown them; and therefore ministered to his necessities. Mark, it must be observed, agrees with Luke in the circumstance of our Lord’s being supported by the charity of his friends. For, speaking of the women who were present at Christ’s crucifixion, he says, Mark 15:41, that when Jesus was in Galilee, they followed him, and ministered unto him of their substance. The evangelists nowhere else tell us in what way our Lord and his apostles were supported.


Verses 4-15

Luke 8:4-15. And when much people were gathered together — To be instructed by his discourse, as well as to see, or be healed by, his miracles; and were come to him — In crowds; out of every city — In that part of the country; he spake by a parable — Having first, for greater conveniency of being better heard and less incommoded by them, entered into a ship, where he sat, and from thence taught them. A sower went out to sow, &c. — See this parable explained at large in the notes on Matthew 13:3-23; and Mark 4:3-20.


Verses 16-18

Luke 8:16-18. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, &c. — See on Matthew 5:15; and Mark 4:21. Nothing is secret, &c. — See on Matthew 10:26. Take heed, therefore, how ye hear. In Mark 4:24, it is, Take heed what you hear. As it is the indispensable duty of all ministers of the Word to take heed what they preach, 1st, That their doctrine be true, that they may not deceive their hearers. 2d, That it be important, that they may not trifle with them: and, 3d, That it be suitable to their state and character; that they rightly divide the word of truth, and give to every description of hearers their portion of meat in due season; so it concerns all hearers to take heed what they hear. They must not take it for granted that what they hear is true, important, and suited to their state and character: but must bring it to the test of the Holy Scriptures, and examine it thereby; and for that purpose, must endeavour to make themselves well acquainted with the Scriptures: and if they find that, according to the divine oracles, the doctrine which they hear answers the above description, they must so take heed what they hear, as to attend to, and consider it well, that they may thoroughly understand and lay it to heart, and that it may have its designed effect upon their spirit and conduct.

But, according to Luke here, our Lord’s caution, inferred from the preceding parable, implied another thing equally important, Take heed how ye hear — 1st, That you do not hear so inattentively, and in such a prayerless state of mind, as not to understand, nor afterward meditate on what your hear, and so receive the seed as by the way-side. See on Matthew 13:19. 2d, That having heard, and understood in a measure what you heard, and being affected thereby, you do not rest in any ineffectual and transient impressions made on your mind, and therefore be offended and fall away in time of trial and temptation; but that the truth may take deep root in your mind, and that you may have root in yourself. See on Matthew 13:20-21. Take heed, 3d, That you guard against the cares of the world, the love of deceitful riches, the vain pleasures of life, and desires after other things; those pernicious weeds, which in so many choke the springing blade, or forming ear, so that no fruit is brought forth to perfection. See on Matthew 13:22. But hear, 1st, In simplicity of intention, with a single eye to the glory of God and your own salvation, present and eternal. 2d, In sincerity of heart, truly and earnestly desiring to discover and put away every error and every sin, and to know and do the whole will of God. 3d, In humility, conscious that you are unworthy to know the great and important things revealed in the gospel, the will of God, and the way of salvation from such great misery to such great happiness, unworthy that God should speak to you by his Son, and his inspired prophets, apostles, and evangelists. 4th, With reverence, remembering it is God’s word, and you are in God’s presence and under God’s eye. 5th, With seriousness, persuaded the truth you hear is no light matter, but for your life, your better and everlasting life. Would you not hear with seriousness the advice of a skilful physician respecting your health, or of a lawyer concerning your property? And will you not hear with equal, nay, with greater seriousness what concerns you infinitely more? 6th, With deep attention: let no sentence, or even word, that is uttered escape you, and fail not afterward seriously to consider what you have heard, and to examine yourself thereby. 7th, With prayer, while hearing, and before and after you hear, for the spirit of wisdom and revelation, Ephesians 1:17 : persuaded the things of God knoweth no man but by the Spirit of God, 2 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 2:14. 8th, Hear with faith, firmly believing the certainty and importance of what is taught you from the oracles of God, always remembering the word preached does not profit those who hear it, in whom it is not mixed with faith, Hebrews 4:2. 9th, In love to the truth, though searching and cutting, though disagreeable to your mind, like a bitter medicine to your taste, or giving pain, like a lance which opens an imposthume. 10th, With meekness, with a calm, unruffled, peaceful mind, that what you hear may prove an ingrafted word able to save your soul, James 1:21. Above all, 11th, Hear with a fixed resolution, formed in the strength of grace, to be a doer of the word, and not a hearer only, to practise all you hear as far as you see it to be agreeable to the word and will of God. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given. See note on Matthew 13:12; and Mark 4:25.


Verses 19-21

Luke 8:19-21. Then came to him his mother, &c. — See the notes on Matthew 12:46-50; and on Mark 3:31. My mother and my brethren are they which hear the word of God and do it — In these words we have an important branch of the character and the great dignity and happiness of the true disciples of Christ. As they make conscience of embracing all proper opportunities of hearing the word of God, so they take heed what and how they hear, as directed in Luke 8:18; and endeavour to hear it in the manner and spirit explained and inculcated in the last note. And their great honour and dignity Isaiah , 1 st, That they are regarded and esteemed by the Lord Jesus as his nearest and dearest relations; they are not only his subjects and his servants, but his brethren, his spouse, his members. They bear his name and image, and share his nature. The consequence of which is, that the relation in which they stand to him shall subsist, when all the relations of flesh and blood shall have ceased for ever. 2d, They are unspeakably dear to him; he loves them above all other men, and it should seem above all angels. He has their welfare infinitely at heart; in all respects acts the part of a kinsman, in caring and providing for them: he sympathizes with them in their infirmities and afflictions, and takes a share in their joys and sorrows. 3d, He admits them into his presence, — to his table, and the rich provisions of his house, — allows them the nearest access to, and greatest intimacy and familiarity with himself. He converses and corresponds freely with them, and even dwells among them. 4th, He is not ashamed of them, although poor and mean. When he died, he left them rich legacies; and does not forget them now he is in his kingdom; but defends, supports, directs, and comforts them many ways; sends them many rich presents and donations; will confess them as his friends and relations before all the principalities and powers of the universe, and will have them all, at last, to live eternally with him. Now from this near relation, in which those that hear the word of God, and do it, stand to the Lord Jesus, and from the great regard he has for them, it is easy to infer that all such should consider themselves as being nearly related to each other, and therefore should be very dear to one another. Being the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, 2 Corinthians 6:18; and the brethren and sisters of his blessed Son, they are of course brethren and sisters to each other; not only bearing the same common name of Christian, but partaking of the same heavenly nature, and manifesting the same divine likeness, as the children of the same family generally resemble each other. And as their relation to each other, like that in which they stand to the Lord Jesus, shall subsist and be a firm bond of union among them, when all the relations merely human, and all the ties of nature, civil society, and worldly interest shall have ceased for ever; surely a consideration of this ought to make them esteem and love each other with pure hearts fervently, notwithstanding any little difference of opinion, or mode of worship, or such like circumstance which may have place among them. And they should show how dear they are to each other every way in their power; and in particular by their delighting in each other’s company, and being free and familiar with each other, and by cultivating a spirit of sympathy and fellow-feeling with and toward one another; never being ashamed of each other, however poor or despised by the world; but acknowledging, supporting, and comforting one another, as children of the same family, and members of the same body; and, above all, always endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.


Verses 22-25

Luke 8:22-25. It came to pass on a certain day — According to Mark, the same day, when the evening was come; he went into a ship with his disciples — With a view to cross the lake. And they launched forth — Attended by a number of other little boats, which were full of people, Mark 4:36. But as they sailed, he fell asleep — In the stern of the vessel, fatigued with the work of the day. And there came down a storm, &c. — The weather suddenly changed, and a storm came on, which threatened to sink them to the bottom. The tempest increased the horrors of the night; the sky lowered; the wind roared, the sea and clouds were driven with the fury of the storm. Now they were tossed up to the top of the billows, then sunk down to the bottom of the deep, buried among the waves. The disciples exerted their utmost skill in managing their vessel, but to no purpose; the waves, breaking in, filled her so that she began to sink. Being now on the very brink of perishing, and ready to give themselves up for lost, they ran to Jesus, crying out, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose and rebuked the wind — Which instantly became silent; and the raging of the water — The huge waves of which sunk down on every side in a moment. And there was a calm — The sea was perfectly still around them, and not a breath of wind moved, nor was the least sound heard, except from the oars and sails of the boats which composed this little fleet. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? — In Mark it is, How is it that ye have no faith? As if he had said, After having seen me perform so many miracles, it is extremely culpable in you to be thus overcome with fear. Did you doubt my power to protect you? When they first awoke him, and before he had stilled the storm, he said, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? but their confusion and dismay, it seems, prevented their deriving any benefit from the rebuke: he therefore now repeats it, when the storm was over, and they had leisure to attend to it: and doubtless it contributed to make them more sensible of the evil of their fear. And they being afraid, wondered, &c. — When by the continuance of the calm they found what a great miracle was wrought, they were inexpressibly amazed, and their amazement was mixed with fear, because he had rebuked them so sharply. See this miracle more fully elucidated, on Matthew 8:23-27; and Mark 4:35-41.


Verses 26-39

Luke 8:26-39. See the contents of these verses explained at large, on Matthew 8:28-34; and Mark 5:1-17. I beseech thee, torment me not — Let me continue where I am, and do not, before my time, cast me into the place of torments. For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man — Being moved with pity at the sight of such a miserable spectacle; for oftentimes it had caught him — Therefore our compassionate Lord had made the more haste to cast it out. That he would not command them to go into the deep — This expression, the deep, in English, is invariably, the sea. In this sense it occurs often in Scripture. We find it in this gospel, Luke 5:4, where the Greek word, so rendered, is, το βαθος. That the sea is not meant here, is evident; for to the sea the demons went of themselves, when permitted, at their own request, to enter into the swine. The word αβυσσος, here used, evidently signifies the place where the wicked spirits are punished, as it does likewise Revelation 20:3, where it is translated, the bottomless pit. Indeed, it properly denotes a place without a bottom, or so deep that it cannot be fathomed. The Greeks describe their Tartarus in this manner: and the Jews, when they wrote in Greek, did not scruple to adopt their expressions, because they were universally understood. There was a herd of many swine feeding — Within their view, though at a distance. They besought him to suffer them to enter into them — Not that they could have any more ease in the swine than out of them: for had that been the case, they would not so soon have dislodged themselves, destroying the herd.


Verses 40-56

Luke 8:40-56. When Jesus returned, the people gladly received him — At landing, he met with a better reception than among the Gadarenes, for the multitude gathered round him to hear him preach, many having waited there in expectation of his return. To these, therefore, he preached the doctrines of salvation, for Mark represents him as tarrying with the people some time before he went into Capernaum. Behold there came a man named Jairus, &c. — See the notes on Matthew 9:18-26; and Mark 5:22-43.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 8:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/luke-8.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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