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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Luke 13



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Verse 4

Sinners ( ὀφειλέται )

Lit., debtors. Possibly with reference to the figure at the close of the last chapter. Compare Matthew 5:25; Matthew 6:12; Matthew 18:24; Luke 11:4.

Verse 7

These three years I come

The best texts insert ἀφ ' οὗ , from which, or since. “It is three years from the time at which I came.”

Cut it down ( ἔκκοψον )

Rather, “cut it out ” ( ἐκ ) from among the other trees and the vines.

Why cumbereth it

The A. V. omits the very important καὶ , also (Rev.), which, as Trench observes, is the key-word of the sentence. Besides being barren in itself, it also injures the soil. “Not only is it unfruitful, but it draws away the juices which the vines would extract from the earth, intercepts the sun, and occupies room” (Bengel). The verb cumbereth ( καταργεῖ ) means to make of no effect. So Romans 3:3, Romans 3:31; Galatians 3:17. Cumbereth expresses the meaning in a very general and comprehensive way. The specific elements included in it are expressed by Bengel above. De Wette, makes the land unfruitful. See on barren and unfruitful, 2 Peter 1:8.

Verse 9

And if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that

Join afar that with bear fruit. “If it bear fruit for the future ( εἰς τὸ μέλλον , Rev., thenceforth )well; but if not, thou shalt cut it down.” Trench (“Parables”) cites an Arabian writer's receipt for curing a palm-tree of barrenness. “Thou must take a hatchet, and go to the tree with a friend, unto whom thou sayest, 'I will cut down this tree, for it is unfruitful.' He answers, 'Do not so, this year it will certainly bear fruit.' But the other says, 'It must needs be - it must be hewn down;' and gives the stem of the tree three blows with the back of the hatchet. But the other restrains him, crying, 'Nay, do it not, thou wilt certainly have fruit from it this year, only have patience with it, and be not overhasty in cutting it down; if it still refuses to bear fruit, then cut it down.' Then will the tree that year be certainly fruitful and bear abundantly.” Trench adds that this story appears to be widely spread in the East.

Thou shalt cut it down

The vine-dresser does not say, “I will cut,” but refers that to the master.

Verse 11

Spirit of infirmity

A spirit which caused infirmity. An evil demon, see Luke 13:16, though it is not certain that it was a case of possession. The details of the disease, and the noting of the time of its continuance, are characteristic of a physician's narrative.

Bowed together ( συγκύπτουσα )

Only here in New Testament.

Lift herself up ( ἀνακύψαι )

Only here in New Testament, unless John 8:7-10 be accepted as genuine. Used by Galen of strengthening the vertebrae of the spine.

Verse 12

Thou art loosed ( ἀπολέλυσαο )

The only passage in The New Testament where the word is used of disease. Medical writers use it of releasing from disease, relaxing tendons, and taking off bandages. (Luke 13:25). In Matthew 7:13, where the image is of a gate opening into a way, πύλη ,gate, is used.

Verse 13

She was made straight ( ἀνορθώθη )

The verb occurs, Acts 15:16, of setting up the tabernacle of David, and Hebrews 12:12, of lifting up the hands which hang down.

Verse 15

Loose ( λύει )

Compare thou art loosed, Luke 13:12.


See on Luke 2:7.

Verse 16


“True to its principle of contrast, this book gives Satan a prominent position” (Abbot). See Luke 4:13; Luke 10:18; Luke 22:3, Luke 22:31. See Introduction.

Verse 17

Were ashamed.

Rev., more correctly, were put to shame.

Glorious things

See on Matthew 11:20.

Were done ( γινομένοις )

Lit., are being done, denoting their being then in progress.

Verse 19

His garden

Properly, as Rev., his own ( ἑαυτοῦ ) where he could personally observe and tend it.

Great tree

The best texts omit great.


See on Luke 9:58.

Branches ( κλάδοις )

See on Mark 11:8.

Verse 21


See on Matthew 13:33.

Verse 24


Used only by Luke and Paul, except John 18:36. Originally to contend for a prize in the public games; and thus conveying a sense of struggle. The kindred noun, ἀγωνία , agony, is used of Christ's struggle in Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). Compare 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7.

Strait gate ( στενῆς θύρας )

Rev., narrow door. See on Matthew 7:13. The door of a house, and not a gate, is meant

Verse 25

When once ( ἀφ ' ou)

Lit.,from the time that. Compare Luke 13:7. Some editors connect this with the previous sentence: “Shall not be able when once, etc.

Whence ( πόθεν )

Of what family. Ye do not belong to my household. See John 7:27: “We know whence he (Jesus) is;” i.e., we know his birthplace and family.

Verse 26

In thy presence ( ἐνώπιον σοῦ )

Not as beloved and familiar guests. Compare with you ( μεθ ' ὑμῶν ) Matthew 26:29.

Verse 27

I know not whence

“The sentence is fixed, but it is repeated with emphasis” (Bengel).

Shall sit down ( ἀνακλιθήσονται )

Sit down at table. Jesus casts his thought into a familiar Jewish image. According to the Jewish idea, one of the main elements of the happiness of the Messianic kingdom was the privilege of participating in splendid festive entertainments along with the patriarchs of the nation. With this accords Luke 13:30, in allusion to places at the banquet. Compare Luke 14:7-9; Matthew 23:6.

Verse 31


The best texts read hour.

Will kill ( θέλει ἀποκτεῖναι )

As in so many cases the A. V. renders as the future of the verb to kill; whereas there are two distinct verbs; to will or determine, and to kill. The meaning is, Herod willeth or is determined to kill thee. Rev., would fain, seems rather feeble.

Verse 32

That fox

Herod. Describing his cunning and cowardice.

Cures ( ἰάσεις )

Used by Luke only.

I shall be perfected ( τελειοῦμαι )

The present tense: “the present of the certain future” (Meyer). The meaning is, I come to an end: I have done. Expositors differ greatly. Some interpret, “I end my career of healing, etc.; others, my life.

Verse 33

It cannot be ( οὐκ ἐνδέχεται )

The verb means to accept or admit; so that the sense is, “it is not admissible that.” The expression is ironical and hyperbolical, with reference to Jerusalem as having a monopoly of such martyrdoms. “It would be contrary to use and wont, and, in a manner, to theocratic decorum, if such a prophet as I should perish elsewhere than in Jerusalem” (Godet).

Verse 34

Would I have gathered ( ἠθέλησα ἐπισυνάξαι )

Lit., “I desired to gather.” See on will kill, Luke 13:31.


See on Matthew 23:37.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 13:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
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