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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Luke 18



Verse 1

To the end that men ought ( πρὸς τὸ δεῖν )

Lit., with reference to its being necessary always to pray, etc.

Faint ( ἐγκακεῖν )

To turn coward or lose heart.

Verse 2

Regarded ( ἐντρεπόμενος )

See on Matthew 21:37.

Verse 3

Avenge ( ἐκδικησον )

The word is too strong. It means do me justice. See on Romans 12:19.

Verse 5

Lest by her continual coming she weary me ( ἵνα μὴ εἰς τέλος ἐρχομένη ὑπωπιάζῃ με )

Εἰς τέλος , lit., unto the end, may mean continually; but weary or wear out for ὑπωπιάζῃ is more than doubtful. That word is from ὑπώπιον , the part of the face under the eyes, and means to strike under the eye; to give one a black eye. It is used only once again, by Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:27, and in its literal sense: “I buffet my body;” treat it as the boxer does his adversary. The more literal sense of this word, and of εἰς τέλος , in the end, or finally, give a sound and much livelier meaning here. “Lest at last she come and assault me.” So Goebel and Meyer, and so Wyc., “Lest at the las t she, coming, strangle me;” and Tynd., “Lest at the last she come and rail on me. The judge fears lest importunity may culminate in personal violence. Perhaps, also, as Goebel suggests, he intentionally exaggerates his fear.

Verse 6

The unjust judge

Lit.,the judge of injustice. See on Luke 16:8.

Verse 7

And shall not God

The emphasis is on God. In the Greek order, “andGod, shall he not,” etc.

Though he bear long with them

A very difficult passage, and interpretations vary greatly.

(1.) The verb μακροθυμέω means to be long-suffering, or to endure patiently. Such is its usual rendering in the New Testament.

(2.) Them ( αὐτοῖς ) refers not to the persecutors of God's elect, but to the elect themselves. The Rev. cuts the knot by the most literal of renderings: “and he is long-suffering over ( ἐπι ) them.”

(3.) The secondary meaning of restraining or delaying may fairly be deduced from the verb, and explained either (a) of delaying punishment, or (b) of delaying sympathy or help.

The Am. Rev. adopts the former, and throws the sentence into the form of a question: “And is he slow to punish on their behalf” ( ἐπ ' αὐτοῖς )? I venture to suggest the following: Καὶ not infrequently has the sense of yet, or and yet. So Euripides' “Thou art Jove-born, and yet ( καὶ ) thy utterance is unjust “(“Helena,” 1147). Aristophanes: “O crown, depart, and joy go with thee: yet ( καὶ ) I part from thee unwillingly” (“Knights,” 1249). So John 9:30: “Ye know not from whence he is, and yet ( καὶ ) he hath opened my eyes.” John 16:32: “Ye shall leave me alone, and yet ( καὶ ) I am not alone,” etc. Render, then, “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry unto him day and night; yet he delayeth help on their behalf,” even as the unjust judge delayed to avenge the widow? Surely he will, and that ere long. This rendering, instead of contrasting God with the judge, carries out the parallel. The judge delays through indifference. God delays also, or seems to delay, in order to try his children's faith, or because his purpose is not ripe; but he, too, will do justice to the suppliant. Tynd., Yea, though he defer them.

“He hides himself so wondrously,

As though there were no God;

He is least seen when all the powers

Of ill are most abroad.

O there is less to try our faith,

In our mysterious creed,

Than in the godless look of earth

In these our hours of need.

It is not so, but so it looks;

And we lose courage then;

And doubts will come if God hath kept

His promises to men.”


Verse 8


Notwithstanding God is certain to vindicate, will the Son of man find on earth a persistence in faith answering to the widow's

Verse 9

Despised ( ἐξουθενοῦντας )

Lit., made nothing of. Rev., set at nought.

Others ( τοὺς λοιποὺς )

The expression is stronger. Lit., the rest. They threw all others beside themselves into one class. Rev., correctly, all others.

Verse 10

The other ( ἕτερος )

With an implication of his being a different man. See on Matthew 6:24.


See on Luke 3:12.

Verse 11

Stood ( σταθεὶς )

Lit., having been placed. Took his stand. It implies taking up his position ostentatiously; striking an attitude. But not necessarily in a bad sense. See on Luke 19:8; and compare Acts 5:20. Standing was the ordinary posture of the Jews in prayer. Compare Matthew 6:5; Mark 11:25.

Prayed ( προσηύχετο )

Imperfect: began to pray, orproceeded to pray.

Other men ( οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων )

Lit., the rest of men. See on Luke 18:9. A Jewish saying is quoted that s true Rabbin ought to thank God every day of his life; 1, that he was not created a Gentile; 2, that he was not a plebeian; 3, that he was not born a woman.


As the publicans.

This publican

Lit., this (one), the publican. This publican here. “He lets us see, even in the general enumeration, that he is thinking of the publican, so, afterward, he does not omit directly to mention him” (Goebel).

Verse 12

Twice in the week

The law required only one fast in the year, that on the great day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29; Numbers 29:7); though public memorial fasts were added, during the Captivity, on the anniversaries of national calamities. The Pharisees fasted every Monday and Thursday during the weeks between the Passover and Pentecost, and again between the Feast of Tabernacles and that of the Dedication of the Temple.

I give tithes ( ἀποδεκατῶ )

See on Matthew 23:23.

Possess ( κτῶμαι )

Wrong. The Israelite did not pay tithes of his possessions, but only of his gains - his annual increase. See Genesis 28:22; Deuteronomy 14:22. Besides, the verb, in the present tense, does not mean to possess, but to acquire; the meaning possess being confined to the perfect and pluperfect. Rev., get. Compare Matthew 10:9 (Rev.); Acts 22:28; Luke 21:19 (on which see note); 1 Thessalonians 4:4 (Rev.).

Verse 13

Standing ( ἑστὼς )

In a timid attitude: merely standing not posturing as the Pharisee. See on Luke 18:11.

Afar off.

Some explain, from the sanctuary; others, from the Pharisee.

Lift up his eyes

As worshippers ordinarily.

Be merciful ( ἱλάσθητι )

Lit.,be propitiated.

A sinner ( τῷ ἁμαρτωλῷ )

With the definite article, “the sinner.” “He thinks about no other man” (Bengel).


Verse 15

Infants ( τὰ βρέφη )

See on 1 Peter 2:2.


So Mark. Matthew has lay his hands on them and pray.

Verse 16


See on Matthew 19:14. Only Mark notes the taking in his arms.


Verse 18


Peculiar to Luke.

Verse 20

Why callest thou me good?

See on Matthew 19:17.

Do not commit adultery, etc

Compare the different arrangement of the commandments by the three synoptists.

Verse 22

Yet lackest thou one thing ( ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει )

Lit., still one thing is lacking to thee. Mark alone adds that Jesus, looking upon him, loved him.

Come ( δεῦρο )

Lit., hither.

Verse 23

He was very sorrowful

Rev., more correctly renders ἐγενήθη , he became. See on Mark 10:22.

Very rich.

The Greek order forms a climax: “richexceedingly

Verse 25


See on Matthew 19:24.

To go through the eye of a needle ( διὰ τρήματος βελόνης εἰσελθεῖν )

Rev., more literally, to enter in through a needle's eye. Both Matthew and Mark use another word for needle ( ῥαφίς ); see on Mark 10:25. Luke alone has βελόνη , which, besides being an older term, is the peculiar word for the surgical needle. The other word is condemned by the Greek grammarians as barbarous.

Verse 28

All ( πάντα ).

The best texts read τὰ ἴδια , our own. So Rev.


Verse 31

By the prophets ( διά )

Lit., through; the preposition expressing secondary agency.

Verse 34

Saying ( ῥῆμα )

See on Luke 1:37.

Were said ( λεγόμενα )

Or, more correctly, which were being said to them at the moment.


Verse 39

Cried ( ἔκραζεν )

A stronger word than ἐβόησεν , cried, in the previous verse, which is merely to cry or shout, while this is to cry clamorously; to scream or shriek. Compare Matthew 15:23; Mark 5:5; Acts 19:28-34.

To be brought unto ( ἀχθῆναι πρὸς )

Used by Luke alone in the sense of bringing the sick to Christ. He also uses the compound verb προσάγω , which was a common medical term for bringing the sick to a physician, both in that and in other senses. See Luke 9:41; Acts 16:20; Acts 27:27.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 18:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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