Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 13:5

I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Impenitence;   Repentance;   Wicked (People);   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   The Topic Concordance - Perishing;   Repentance;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Judgments;   Pardon;   Repentance;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Siloam;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Evil;   Suffering;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Disease;   Providence of God;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Repentance;   Wrath, Wrath of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Anger (Wrath) of God;   Matthew, Gospel According to;   Parable;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Consciousness;   Discourse;   Justice (2);   Providence;   Redemption (2);   Reserve;   Salvation;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom or Church of Christ, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Jesus Christ (Part 2 of 2);   Repentance;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Ye shall all likewise perish - Ὡσαυτως, ὁμοιως, In a like way, in the same manner. This prediction of our Lord was literally fulfilled. When the city was taken by the Romans, multitudes of the priests, etc., who were going on with their sacrifices, were slain, and their blood mingled with the blood of their victims; and multitudes were buried under the ruins of the walls, houses, and temple. See Josephus, War, b. vi. ch. iv., v., vi.; and see the notes on Matthew 24 (note).

It is very wrong to suppose that those who suffer by the sword, or by natural accidents, are the most culpable before God. An adequate punishment for sin cannot be inflicted in this world: what God does here, in this way, is in general:

    1st, through mercy, to alarm others;

2, to show his hatred to sin;

3, to preserve in men's minds a proper sense of his providence and justice; and

4, to give sinners, in one or two particular instances, a general specimen of the punishment that awaits all the perseveringly impenitent.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

I tell you, Nay - It is improper to suppose that those on whom heavy judgments fall in this world are the worst of people. This is not a world of retribution. Often the most wicked are suffered to prosper here, and their punishment is reserved for another world; while the righteous are called to suffer much, and “appear” to be under the sore displeasure of God, Psalm 73. This only we know, that the wicked will not always escape; that God is just; and that none who do suffer here or hereafter, suffer more than they deserve. In the future world, all that seems to be unequal here will be made equal and plain.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-13.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

I tell you, Nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

The verbatim repetition of this verse in a single short paragraph shows: (a) that Christ frequently repeated sayings, as indicated throughout the Gospels, (b) that the necessity of repentance on the part of all who would be saved is absolute and invariable, and (c) that Christ thus avoided any implication that Galileans should repent, whereas the Jews were in any manner exempt from it.

Before leaving this paragraph, the universal command that all should repent should be identified as the most important thing in it, a fact attested by its repetition. In the light of this divine imperative, what becomes of the notion that people are justified "by faith alone," which by any definition is faith without repentance? Along with faith and baptism, repentance is established as one of the preconditions of salvation, as clearly enunciated by the apostle Peter (Acts 2:38). Just as those ancient Jews supposed that they did not need to repent, since Pilate had not murdered them and no tower had fallen upon them, there are people today who suppose the same thing on the basis that they have believed in Christ; and regarding both suppositions, one is as logical as the other. To be sure, in the sense of the ultimate, justification is based upon nothing that a sinner either believes or does, but upon the merit of Christ alone. Repentance, however, stands between every man and the merit which is in Christ Jesus.

Christ's call to repentance was next extended to include a third warning, that of the parable of the barren fig tree.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

I tell you, nay,.... I affirm it, and you may depend upon it, they were not greater sinners than others: though such a melancholy accident befell them, not without the providence of God:

but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish; or perish in the same manner; that is, shall be buried under the ruins of the city and temple of Jerusalem, when one stone should not be left upon another; just as these eighteen men were buried under the ruins of the tower of Siloam, of which it was a pledge and emblem; and accordingly great numbers of them did perish in the temple, and were buried under the ruins of itF4Joseph. de Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 4. .

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-13.html. 1999.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Except ye repent (εαν μη μετανοησητεean mē metanoēsēte). First aorist active subjunctive, immediate repentance in contrast to continued repentance, μετανοητεmetanoēte in Luke 13:3, though Westcott and Hort put μετανοητεmetanoēte in the margin here. The interpretation of accidents is a difficult matter, but the moral pointed out by Jesus is obvious.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-13.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

The Fourfold Gospel

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish1.

  1. I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. And Jesus therefore concludes that all shall likewise perish, he pronounces upon the entire people--Jews and Galilean alike--a punishment made certain by the decree of God. It is significant that the Jewish people did, as a nation, perish and lie buried under the falling walls of their cities, and the debris of their temple, palaces, and houses. But the word "likewise" is not to be pressed to cover this fact.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-13.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD

‘Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’

Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5

The murder of the Galilæans is an event of which we know nothing certain. The motives of those who told our Lord of the event we are left to conjecture. At any rate, they gave Him an opportunity of speaking to them about their own souls. He bade His informants look within, and think of their own state before God. He seems to say, ‘What though these Galilæans did die a sudden death? What is that to you? Consider your own ways. Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’

I. People are much more ready to talk of the deaths of others than their own.—The death of the Galilæans, mentioned here, was probably a common subject of conversation in Jerusalem and all Judæa. It is just the same in the present day. A murder, a sudden death, a shipwreck, or a railway accident, will completely occupy the minds of a neighbourhood, and be in the mouth of every one you meet. And yet these very persons dislike talking of their own deaths and their own prospects in the world beyond the grave. Such is human nature in every age. In religion, men are ready to talk of anybody’s business rather than their own.

II. Our Lord lays down the universal necessity of repentance.—Twice He declares emphatically, ‘Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’ The truth here asserted is one of the foundations of Christianity. If we have already repented in time past, let us go on repenting to the end of our lives. There will always be sins to confess and infirmities to deplore, so long as we are in the body. Let us repent more deeply, and humble ourselves more thoroughly, every year. Let every returning birthday find us hating sin more, and loving Christ more. He was a wise old saint who said, ‘I hope to carry my repentance to the very gate of heaven.’

Illustration

‘It is evident that our Lord’s informants were filled with the vulgar opinion that sudden deaths were special judgments, and that if a man died suddenly he must have committed some special sin. Our Lord bids them understand that this opinion was a mere baseless delusion. We have no right whatever to conclude that God is angry with a man because He removes him suddenly from the world. Ford gives a quotation from Perkins which deserves reading: “The common opinion is, that if a man die quietly, and go away like a lamb (which in some diseases, as consumption, any man may do), then he goes straight to heaven. But if the violence of the disease stirs up impatience, and causes frantic behaviour, then men use to say, ‘There is a judgment of God, serving either to discover a hypocrite or to plague a wicked man.’ But the truth is otherwise.—A man may die like a lamb, and yet go to hell; and one dying in exceeding torment and strange behaviour of body, may go to heaven.”’

(SECOND OUTLINE)

THE GALILÆANS’ WARNINGS

Our Lord does not say, Those Galilæans were not sinners at all. Their sins had nothing to do with their death. Those on whom the tower fell were innocent men. We know nothing of the circumstances of either calamity.

I. The warning to the Jewish nation.—This we know, that our Lord warned the rest of the Jews that unless they repented they would all perish in the same way. And we know that that warning was fulfilled within forty years, so hideously and so awfully that the destruction of Jerusalem remains as one of the most terrible cases of wholesale ruin and horror recorded in history.

II. The warning to individuals.—These Galilæans were no worse than the other Galilæans; yet they were singled out as examples, as warnings, to the rest. Pestilences, conflagrations, accidents of any kind which destroy life wholesale, even earthquakes and storms, are instances of this law; warnings from God, judgments of God, in the very strictest sense; by which He tells men, in a voice awful enough to the few, but merciful and beneficent to the many, to be prudent and wise.

III. The warning to evil systems.—The more we read, in histories, of the fall of great dynasties, or of the ruin of whole classes or whole nations, the more we feel—however much we may acquiesce with the judgment as a whole—sympathy with the fallen. It is not the worst, but often the best specimens of a class or of a system who are swallowed up by the moral earthquake which has been accumulating its force, perhaps, for centuries. May not the reason be that God has wished to condemn, not the persons, but their systems? that He has punished them, not for their private, but for their public faults?

—Rev. F. D. Maurice.

Illustration

‘The folly and uncharitableness of mankind are in nothing more clearly seen than in their disposition to blame every one who is unfortunate, and to think themselves surely in the right as long as they are prosperous. “While he lived,” said the Psalmist of the worldly-minded, “he counted himself an happy man; and so long as thou doest well unto thyself men will speak good of thee.” On the other hand, let one be smitten with disease or poverty, he shall never want some to ascribe his sufferings to the intemperance of his youth, to his extravagance, carelessness, or vicious indulgences while he had money, or to the judgments of God on his covetousness and want of generosity. And yet every day’s experience proves, both in public and private life, that the wisest of us is deceived, and the best man disappointed in three out of four of his worldly hopes and expectations. The reason of this is, that the present life is a state of trial, and not of reward and punishment; and the use to be made of it is, that the afflicted learn patience, the prosperous godly fear, and all men charity and candour in judging of others.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/luke-13.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Ver. 5. But except ye repent] Except the best of you all repent more and more when ye see the examples of God’s wrath, &c. God would not have the wounds of godly sorrow so healed up in his own children, but that they should bleed afresh upon every good occasion. De aliorum plagis faciamus medicamenta vulneribus nostris. Make best use of others’ miseries.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-13.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 13:5. Ye shall all likewise perish. That is, "either by the sword, or in the ruins of your city." See on Luke 13:2-3.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-13.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 1533

REPENTANCE

Luke 13:5. Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

TWICE are these words repeated by our Lord within the space of three verses. And wherefore are they so repeated? Our Lord intended to check that common propensity which we all have to judge others; and to lead us rather to judge ourselves, and to prepare for that awful judgment which shall ere long be passed upon ourselves. Some of his hearers, taking occasion from what he had just spoken, respecting the danger of persons delaying to seek reconciliation with God till they were hurried unprepared into his presence, told him of the Galileans, who had been slain by Pilate in the very act of offering their sacrifices, and whose blood had been thereby mingled with their sacrifices. Our Lord, seeing that they intended to insinuate that this calamity was a judgment from God on account of some enormous wickedness, rectified their error, and taught them to look to themselves instead of judging and condemning others. Such calamities as these, he observed, fell indiscriminately on the righteous and the wicked: but there was a day coming when a just discrimination would be made, and the impenitent would be subjected to God’s heaviest judgments.

After seeing what stress our blessed Lord laid upon these truths, we cannot be thought uncharitable if we open them to you according to their true import. In order to this we will point out,

I. The nature of repentance—

All are ready to imagine that they know what repentance is; though, in truth, very few have any just notions respecting it. It consists in,

1. A humiliation before God on account of sin—

[Though this will not be disputed, few are aware what kind of humiliation is required.

It must be deep. It is not a slight superficial sorrow that will suffice. Sin is a dreadful evil, and must be lamented in a way suited to its enormity. Hear in what manner God himself teaches us to deplore the commission of it: “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heaviness: humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [Note: James 4:8-10.].” Such was the compunction felt by the three thousand on the day of Pentecost [Note: Acts 2:37.]: such also was the overwhelming sense of guilt which David felt [Note: Psalms 38:4; Psalms 51:3.]: and such in every view was the contrition of Ezra, when he confessed before God his own and his people’s iniquities [Note: Ezra 9:5-6.]. This is the humiliation which God requires; and every thing that falls short of this will he despise [Note: Psalms 51:17.].

It must be ingenuous. There is a sorrow, like that of Felix or of Judas, arising from convictions of the natural conscience, and ending in despair. But this is in no respect acceptable to God; for it will consist with a love of sin, and a hatred of God’s law; and the person who is impressed with it would prefer a life of sin, provided only he might be assured of escaping the punishment attendant on it. Our sorrow should resemble that of the Corinthian Church, when they had seen their error, and were humbled for it, with “a sorrow which wrought in them a repentance not to be repented of:” “For behold,” says the Apostle, “this self-same thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter [Note: 2 Corinthians 7:10-11.].” In them we behold what we consider as eminently characterizing true repentance, namely, an ingenuous shame on account of their past conduct, a readiness to justify God in any judgments he should inflict on them, a hatred of their sin, and a determination through grace to walk more circumspectly in future: and wherever such an experience is, there is the grace of God in truth [Note: Ezekiel 20:43-44.].

It must be abiding. Transient emotions, of whatever kind they be, can never be regarded as constituting true repentance. Pharaoh’s confessions [Note: Exodus 9:27; Exodus 10:16-17.], and Saul’s [Note: 1 Samuel 24:16-18; 1 Samuel 26:21.], appeared to indicate a change of heart: but no real change was wrought in them, as is evident from their reverting almost immediately again to their former ways. The generality, if they had attained the humiliation of Ahab, would be ready to account themselves real penitents: but his subsequent conduct shewed the insincerity of all his professions [Note: 1 Kings 21:27-29; 1 Kings 22:27.]. Far different from this must our contrition be, if ever we would be accepted of our God: we must retain the impressions which have been made upon us: we must say with Hezekiah, “I will go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul [Note: Isaiah 38:15.]:” and, instead of accounting our acceptance with God a reason for putting off this frame of mind, we should regard it rather as a motive to still deeper humiliation. This is the design of God in exercising mercy towards us [Note: Romans 2:4.]; and it is the inseparable effect, where that mercy is received aright [Note: Ezekiel 16:63.].]

2. A turning to God in newness of life—

[This also will be acknowledged as essential to true repentance. But let not this change be mistaken:

It must be cordial; not the service of a slave under the influence of fear and dread, but the result of a conviction that sin is an intolerable bondage, and that the service of God is perfect freedom. Whatever change proceeds not from the heart, is mere hypocrisy [Note: Jeremiah 3:10.]; that which characterizes sound conversion, engages all the faculties of the soul [Note: Jeremiah 24:7.]. Thus it is represented by Solomon in his intercessory prayer [Note: 2 Chronicles 6:37-38.]: and agreeable to their representation is the direction given to us by the prophet Joel: “Turn ye even to me with all your heart, with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning [Note: Joel 2:12.].”

It must be progressive. Conversion is not a work that is accomplished all at once, or ever so perfect in this life, but that we need to be pressing forward for higher attainments. Even Paul himself, towards the close of his life, did “not consider himself as having attained perfection, or apprehended all for which he had himself been apprehended of Christ Jesus: and hence he, like a person in a race, forgat all that was behind, and reached forward for that which was before [Note: Philippians 3:12-14.].” As the body, though perfect in its parts even in the earliest infancy, grows in every part till it arrives at manhood; so does the new man advance toward “the full measure of the stature of Christ [Note: Ephesians 4:13.].” We should “grow in grace;” and so grow as to make our “profiting to appear.” We may not indeed be able to see any actual advance at very short intervals, any more than we can see the advance of the sun every minute: but yet we perceive after a time that the sun has proceeded in its course; and in like manner must our path be like the shining light, which “shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” We must be “going on unto perfection,” and aspire after that which is proposed to us as the proper object of our ambition; namely, “to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God [Note: Colossians 4:12.].”

It must be uniform. Nothing under heaven is to divert us from our duty. We are not ever to be influenced by times or circumstances, so as to decline a positive duty through fear of man, or to commit a positive evil for the sake of any earthly advantage. The changes which we see in the conduct of St. Paul, did not proceed from any deviation from principle, but from a strict adherence to principle. His one object was to save the souls of men: and in things that were non-essential, he accommodated himself to their habits and prejudices, in order to promote his main design: but when he saw that any evil was likely to arise from a particular act of conformity, he was as immoveable as a rock. Thus we may vary our conduct on particular occasions, provided we can appeal to God that we are actuated by a regard for the welfare of others, and not by any personal considerations of our own. But in no instance whatever must this principle be extended so far as to violate any known duty or the dictates of our own conscience: life itself must be of no value in our eyes in comparison of God’s honour, and the preservation of a conscience void of offence towards God and man.

It must be unreserved. Not only must we labour to undo what we have done amiss, by making restitution of ill-gotten gain, and warning those whom we have led into sin, but we must strive to mortify sin of every kind in every degree. Every man has some “sin that more easily besets him,” and to which he will be more strongly tempted. This sin is different in different persons; in one, pride; in another, passion; in another, lust; in another, covetousness; in another, ambition and the love of praise: in another, sloth; but, whatever it be, our victory over it is a just criterion of our state: if it lead us captive, we are yet carnal and unrenewed: whatever repentance we may fancy ourselves to have experienced, it has all been ineffectual; we are yet in our sins; we are “in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.” A right eye must be plucked out, if it cause us to offend, and a right hand must be amputated: no alternative remains to us, but to part with that, or to suffer the miseries of hell [Note: Mark 9:43-48.].

Such is the view which God himself gives us of repentance; and to this alone does he annex any hope of salvation: “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin [Note: Ezekiel 18:30.].”]

These views of repentance will appear in all their importance, if we consider,

II. The necessity of it—

The word which we translate ‘likewise,’ may possibly be intended to mark a resemblance between the calamities that awaited the impenitent Jews, and those which had befallen the persons just spoken of [Note: In ver. 3. it is ὡσαύτως, and in the text ὀμοίως.]. But, as we are more interested in what relates to ourselves, we shall rather take a general view of the subject, than attempt a parallel, which would be more curious than useful. We say then, in reference to repentance, that the necessity for it is,

1. Indispensable—

[On this, eternal happiness and eternal misery depend; “except we repent, we must all perish.” It is not for us to say what God might do: it is sufficient to know what he will do. He has appointed repentance, as the means of obtaining reconciliation with him: and he has given his own Son to die for us, in order that, the guilt of sin having been expiated by the blood of the cross, he may be able to receive returning sinners in a perfect consistency with the demands of law and justice. Let this matter be clearly understood. He has not appointed repentance to atone for sin; for if we could shed rivers of tears, they never could wash away the smallest sin: it is the blood of Christ only, that can cleanse from sin: no other fountain ever was, or ever can be, opened for sin and for unclean-ness, but that which issued from the wounds of our adorable Redeemer. But repentance is necessary in order to prepare our souls for a worthy reception of the Divine mercies, and for a suitable improvement of them. Though therefore it cannot atone for sin, or merit any thing at the hands of God, It is indispensably necessary; and, if we do not repent, we must for ever remain in the snare of the devil, and the gates of heaven will assuredly be closed against us [Note: 2 Timothy 2:25-26.]. The declaration in our text will certainly be fulfilled: and sooner shall heaven and earth pass away, than one jot or tittle of it ever fail. Know ye then, that whatever is implied in the “perishing” of an immortal soul, must be the portion of every impenitent sinner — — —]

2. Universal—

[There are authors, of no mean name, who have endeavoured to prove that there are some who need not to repent. Because our Lord says, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance;” and, that “there is more joy among the angels over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance;” they imagine, there is a class of persons whose natures are so pure, and their conduct so blameless, as not to have given any occasion for repentance. But the former of these passages relates to those who thought themselves righteous, and who, from a conceit of their being “whole,” despised the proffered aid of a physician [Note: See Matthew 9:12-13. It might be interpreted of those who were renewed and made righteous by the Holy Spirit. But the former sense is more agreeable to the context.]: the latter evidently refers to those who have already been converted to God, and are as sheep living in the fold of Christ. Such persons are considered as secure, whilst those who are unconverted are in most imminent danger: and, as the recovery of a lost sheep affords more sensible pleasure to its owner, than the possession of a hundred that have not strayed; so the angels are filled with pre-eminent joy at the conversion of one, whom they had considered as in a lost and perishing condition [Note: See Luke 15:7. If this be interpreted as though it referred to sheep that have never strayed, it must then mean that they have not strayed to such an extent as others. But the other interpretation is far preferable.]. That these passages cannot be understood as sanctioning the idea that there are any persons so good as not to need repentance, must be evident to every one who considers what the Scriptures elsewhere speak respecting the universal state of man. St. Paul collects a multitude of texts, to prove that “there is none righteous, no not one: that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God: and that therefore every mouth must be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God [Note: Romans 3:9-19.].” “There is not a man that liveth and sinneth not,”says Solomon. “In many things we offend all,” says St. James. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,” says St. John, “and the truth is not in us.” But where shall we find these persons who need no repentance? Will the advocates for this strange opinion venture to point out a person that possesses this high attainment? If they did, the person himself, unless peculiarly blinded by the devil, would contradict their testimony. But we will suppose this paragon of excellence produced: is he more righteous than Job, of whom God himself testified, that “there was none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feared God and eschewed evil [Note: Job 1:8.]?” For argument sake, we will suppose him equal to Job: would he then not need to repent? Hear what Job says of himself; “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life. If I wash myself with snow-water, and make my hands never so clean, yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me [Note: Job 9:20-21; Job 9:30-31.].” Let those then who will maintain such an unscriptural sentiment lay to heart that warning of the Almighty, “Thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me: behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned [Note: Jeremiah 2:35.]” If they will not humble themselves now, let them prepare to maintain their own cause against God in the day of judgment.

We say then that the necessity of repentance is universal: and we entreat every one to apply the declaration to his own soul, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”]

Address—

1. To those who think themselves penitents—

[What has been spoken on the nature of repentance, may well lead us to examine ourselves, and to fear lest we should deceive our own souls. We entreat you all therefore to bear in mind the particulars which you have heard, and to try yourselves by them. If in any thing we appear to have pressed the point too far, let the confession which we always utter at the Lord’s supper, be taken in connexion with it; and it will be found that we have not uttered a single sentiment which is not contained in that formulary.

And here we cannot but entreat all who are in the habit of frequenting the Lord’s table to inquire, whether their repentance be such as, in that prayer, they profess it to be. We are told by our Church what is required of them that come to the Lord’s supper, namely, To examine themselves whether they repent them truly of their former sins. This examination we now most earnestly recommend; lest in the midst of allyour sacrifices” the wrath of God break forth against you and you “perish” in a far more fearful manner than ever the “Galileans” did [Note: ver. 1.].]

2. To those who desire to repent—

[Delay not one moment to execute your purpose, lest death find you unprepared to meet your God. Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we would “persuade” you so to turn to him that you may have no reason to dread them. Yet remember not to address yourselves to the work of repentance in your own strength: for it is God alone who can give it you; and he has “exalted the Lord Jesus to his own right hand on purpose to give you repentance and remission of sins [Note: Acts 5:31.].” If you are tempted to doubt whether he will bestow it upon you, know that “he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance [Note: 2 Peter 3:9.].” In proof of that, we need only consider what is implied in the words of our text. When it is said, that “except we repent we shall all perish,” we may fairly take the converse of it to be true, and conclude, that they who do repent shall not perish. O blessed truth, confirmed by thousands of positive declarations! Not to insist on that instructive parable of the Prodigal Son (which yet may be a source of comfort to every contrite soul); let that representation of God’s love to penitents, which is given us by the prophet Jeremiah, be duly considered, and you will need no other encouragement to turn unto God with your whole hearts [Note: Jeremiah 31:18-20.]. Behold, then, our parting exhortation to every one amongst you is, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon [Note: Isaiah 55:7.].”]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/luke-13.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 13:5. ἀπολεῖσθε, ye shall perish) This actually took place in the siege and destruction of the city.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-13.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Luke 13:4"

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 13:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-13.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“I tell you, No. But, except you repent, you will all similarly perish.”

And His reply is that that is no different. Whether applying to a Galileans or to inhabitant of Jerusalem the same principle applies. Sudden deaths are not to be seen as necessarily resulting from the sinfulness of the persons involved. And the same warning is given. If they do not want to perish in a similar way they must repent, for in the end all who do not repent will perish everlastingly.

The implication is clear. Firstly that deaths by violence or accident do not necessarily indicate the special sinfulness of the people involved, and secondly that all such should be seen as a warning to be ready for the day of judgment, and as an indication of the fire that He has come to cast on the earth. Like the debtor in the previous verses they need to be reconciled to God before it is too late.

In The Light Of His Warnings They Should Ensure That Their Lives Are Fruitful So That They Will Not Be Cut Down (compare 3:9).

Jesus now applies His warnings that they be reconciled with God while there is yet time (Luke 12:57-59), and repent before it is too late (Luke 13:1-5) by means of a parable that applies to them the teaching of John the Baptiser (Luke 3:9). It is a warning that if their lives are not fruitful they will face God’s judgment when the proper time comes. Even the fig tree must be ‘made straight’ (Luke 13:13).

From this point on we find an interesting sequence typical of Luke, a man who plants a fig tree, a woman who is bent double and is healed, a man who sows a mustard seed in his garden, and a woman who places leaven in flour. Note the distinction between the sexes. Luke constantly seeks to balance the sexes (see Introduction).

Analysis.

a He spoke this parable, “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it, and found none” (Luke 13:6).

b “And he said to the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and have found none” (Luke 13:7 a).

c “Cut it down. Why does it also act as a burden on the ground?” (Luke 13:7 b).

b “And he answering says to him, “Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and feed it with manure” (Luke 13:8 a).

a And if it bear fruit from then on, well, and if not, you shall cut it down” (Luke 13:8 b).

Note that in ‘a’ the owner sought fruit and found none, and in the parallel if it still did not bear fruit it should be cut down. In ‘b’ he speaks to the vinedresser about its condition, and in the parallel the vinedresser answers him by explaining how he might treat its condition. Central to all in ‘c’ is that the tree should come under judgment because it is fruitless.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-13.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 13:5. All likewise perish. The threatened destruction came upon ‘all,’ since during the siege the city was full of people from the provinces; multitudes perished in the ruin and rubbish of the city and its falling walls.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-13.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Unless you do penance, &c. The Jews did not penance; and therefore, forty years after our Lord's Passion, the Romans came, and beginning with Galilee, destroyed this impious nation to its roots, and polluted not only the court of the temple, whither the sacrifices were carried, but the inner sanctuary, with human blood. (Ven. Bede)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-13.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-13.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
except
3; Isaiah 28:10-13; Ezekiel 18:30
Reciprocal: Numbers 29:7 - afflict;  Deuteronomy 8:19 - I testify against;  Job 5:4 - they are crushed;  Psalm 37:20 - But the;  Psalm 68:21 - of such;  Ezekiel 3:18 - I say;  Matthew 3:2 - Repent;  Mark 6:12 - preached;  Luke 15:10 - one;  Luke 16:30 - repent;  Luke 17:34 - I tell;  John 3:5 - cannot;  John 6:53 - Except;  John 8:11 - go;  Acts 17:30 - but;  Acts 20:21 - repentance;  Acts 26:20 - repent;  Revelation 2:22 - except;  Revelation 16:9 - and they

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 13:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-13.html.