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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 17:17

Then Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine--where are they?

Adam Clarke Commentary

Where are the nine? - Where are the numbers that from time to time have been converted to God? Are they still found praising him, with their faces on the dust, as they did at first? Alas! how many are turned back to perdition! and how many are again mingled with the world! Reader! art thou of this number?


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-17.html. 1832.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And Jesus answering said, Were not the ten cleansed? but where are the nine? Were there none found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger?

Sadness seems to have been the dominant emotion as Jesus contemplated the ingratitude of the nine. How could men be so thoughtless and unappreciative of God's favors? Why, it may be asked, did the nine not return?

One waited to see if the cure was real.

One waited to see if it would last.

One said he would see Jesus later.

One decided that he had never had leprosy.

One said he would have gotten well anyway.

One gave the glory to the priests.

One said, O well, Jesus didn't really DO anything.

One said, just any rabbi could have done it.

One said, "I was already much improved."SIZE>

"How often do the love and life of the pardoned sinner fail to respond to the grace that saved him!"[24]

These lepers had come to Jesus in the extremity of a most loathsome and pitiful disease; they pleaded with him to help, and he healed them; but nine of them never even said, "Thanks." Barclay developed a sermon on ingratitude from this text stressing: (1) the ingratitude of children to their parents, (2) the ingratitude toward our fellow men, and (3) man's ingratitude toward God.[25]

Except this stranger ... Significant words indeed are these.

This very word, "foreigner" ([@allogenes]) is found on the limestone block from the temple of Israel in Jerusalem. It was placed in the court of the Gentiles next to the Court of the Women. "Let no foreigner enter," it said. Alas, a foreigner might not be permitted to enter the Jewish part of the temple (upon penalty of death); but one "foreigner," or "stranger," found grace with the Lord of the temple![26]

Twice in this episode, the worship of the healed Samaritan, was called "giving God the glory" (Luke 17:15,18); and as it was Jesus whom he worshipped, we must understand that Jesus is God in human form; worshiping Jesus is worshiping God. Both the sacred historian and the Christ himself teach this in this passage.

[24] J. S. Lamar, The New Testament Commentary (Cincinnati, Ohio: Chase and Hall, 1877), Vol. II, p. 219.

[25] William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1956), p. 226.

[26] Herschel H. Hobbs, op. cit., p. 250.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-17.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Jesus answering, said,.... After the Samaritan had paid his respects to him, and made his acknowledgments in this grateful way:

were there not ten cleansed? so many applied for a cure, and so many had it:

but where are the nine? or nine of them; here was one, but where were the rest? they went and showed themselves to the priests, and then returned to their several places of abode, and took no notice of their physician and Saviour, to make any returns to him. They are many, that are cleansed by the blood of Christ; his blood was shed for many, for the remission of sins; and by his righteousness, he justifies many; at least there are many who profess themselves to be cleansed by him, and yet there are but few that glorify him, by keeping close to the rule of his word, by giving up themselves to the churches of Christ, and by walking with them in the ordinances of the Gospel: Christ's flock, which is separated from the world, and walks in Gospel order, within the inclosures of it, is but a little flock; they are but a few names in Sardis, who have not defiled themselves, with corruptions in doctrine and discipline; and these few are often such, who have been the worst of men, the vilest of sinners, from whom it has been least expected, they should glorify Christ: publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of heaven, the Gospel church state, embrace its doctrines, and submit to its ordinances, when the Scribes and Pharisees, self-righteous persons, do not: ingratitude is a crime many are guilty of, and it is highly resented by Christ; instances of gratitude are few, but as one in ten; now and then a single Samaritan, a stranger, one that has been a vile sinner, comes and acknowledges the grace of Christ in cleansing him; comes to the ministers of Christ, and to the churches, and tells them what God has done for his soul: but where are the rest, the many others, who have received spiritual advantages, and never come to relate them, and express by words and deeds, thankfulness for them?


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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 Rightes 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

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-17.html. 1999.

The Fourfold Gospel

And Jesus answering said, Were not the ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

  1. Were there not the ten cleansed? but where are the nine? The Lord publicly noted the indifference and ingratitude of the nine and the thanksgiving of the tenth. As we look around today and see how many are ungrateful for the blessings which they receive, the words ring like an echo in our ears.


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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.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-17.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

INGRATITUDE

‘Where are the nine?’

Luke 17:17 (The Gospel)

There are few things that we feel more than ingratitude. This was a very bad case, an extreme case, because the disease that these men suffered from was the very worst. And then, not only was the disease such an extreme case, but the cure was absolutely complete. At a word they were made whole. When the Lord Jesus Christ cures, He cures indeed. Yet out of the ten who were cleansed only one returned to thank Him. ‘Where are the nine?’

I. Nine to one!—Do you think that is a good proportion? Do you think that is the proportion that would stand if we were to count up the present congregation in church to-day? You got up this morning in health; you are well, and have come to church. Let us just ask ourselves how many of us have thanked God. Do you think nine out of ten? How many of us, as we are to-day, kneel down and thank God for creation, for preservation, for the blessings of to-day?

II. Nine prayed, but only one praised.—They were all most earnest about their prayers. When you have wanted something, when you were in great trouble, you have knelt in your room and asked God to help you. We were very earnest in our prayer when we were in trouble, but we never went into His House and gave Him thanks for recovery, or lifted up our voices to praise God. The ten prayed very earnestly, and only one of them said, ‘Thank God.’

III. The only one who redeemed the occasion was a Samaritan!—Does not that correct something within our souls? Deep down beyond all our religious distinctions there is humanity—the touch of nature which makes all men kin.

IV. A few aspects of the thanksgiving.

(a) He returned and gave thanks himself in person. If you are to thank God, do it personally. Say to yourself, God has been good to me; I must thank Him.

(b) It must come right out of the heart. You know what this man did. He turned back and threw himself down at Jesus’ feet worshipping. Thanksgiving to God is the need of a soul that knows God has blessed him.

(c) He did it at once, then and there, without a pause. I hope that some of you feel some qualms within yourselves if you have not thanked God as you ought. Do it now; now is the opportunity. Do not wait. Do not say, ‘I will thank God to-morrow.’ Now, in church—now is your opportunity.

—Rev. A. H. Stanton.

Illustration

‘This Samaritan is not praised for returning to give thanks to his earthly benefactor. “There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” This Samaritan alone had faith to discern that it was at the feet of Jesus his vows to God could best be offered. He saw that there was One greater than the Temple, One higher than the sons of Aaron, even that Great High Priest, through Whom alone our petitions and our thanksgivings can be offered with acceptance to the Father. So we think a higher blessing was conveyed to him than to the nine.’

(SECOND OUTLINE)

A DEFECT IN CHRISTIAN CHARACTER

Who of us can read the story without a sense of self-reproach? ‘Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,’ says the Psalmist; but how prone we are to forget! How eagerly, how selfishly, do we appropriate the blessing! How little we think of the love that bestows it! There are three main reasons for this serious defect in our character as Christians.

I. Are we not apt to receive the gifts of God too much as a matter of course, if not a matter of right?—We are wanting in that spirit of humility which recognises and realises an utter absence of merit. In the story of the ten lepers, which has led us into this train of thought, it was a stranger who returned to give thanks. The Jew was apt to take everything that came to him as a matter of right, and wonder that he did not get more, as being one of God’s peculiar people.

II. In regard to daily mercies their very commonness dulls our sense of gratitude.—Familiarity breeds forgetfulness. If a man has a hair’s-breadth escape from drowning, or comes safe out of a disastrous railway accident, he kneels down and thanks God for such a signal mercy; or if some long-desired but long-denied thing comes into his life, he will say to himself, ‘What a cause for thankfulness!’ But the daily bread that nourishes him, the daily health that makes life a joy to him, the friendships that cheer him, the love of wife and children that fills his home with brightness and comfort, are, or become, so much a matter of course, that it hardly occurs to him that they should ‘be received with thanksgiving.’

III. We may find another cause of this ingratitude in the fact that even sincere Christians walk too much by sight, too little by faith.—‘Out of sight, out of mind,’ is a familiar saying; how sad that it should have any application to the relations that exist between God and His children! We touch, we taste, we see, we handle; the things we enjoy day by day present themselves to our senses, but the Giver of all is an object of faith. ‘No man hath seen God at any time,’ so He is forgotten; shares the fate of the machinery that produces our food and raiment; we forget Him for the same reason that we forget the mill that grinds our corn and the loom that produces our cloth; ‘out of sight, out of mind.’

—Rev. G. S. Streatfeild.

Illustration

‘There is more prayer than praise in the world. It ought to be the reverse. There should be more praise than prayer. For what we have received is much more than what we want. Our mercies accumulate much faster than our necessities.’


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/luke-17.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

Ver. 17. Were there not ten cleansed?] Christ keeps count how many favours men receive from him, and will call them to a particular account thereof. He is an austere man this way.

But where are the nine?] Erasmus tells of a Popish dolt, that thought he could prove that there were ten worlds from those words of Christ, Nonne decem facit sunt mundi? Are there not ten created worlds? Another presently disproved him with the words following, Sed ubi sunt novem? But where are the nine?


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-17.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 17:17. But where are the nine? The ingratitude of these Jews will appear monstrous, if we consider that the leprosy, the malady from which they were delivered, is itself one of the most loathsome diseases incident to human nature; and a disease which by the law of Moses subjected them to greater hardships than any other distemper whatever. But though the cure of this dreadful disorderwas produced without the smallest pain, or even trouble to the lepers, and so speedily that it was completed by the time they had got at a small distance from him, (as appears by the Samaritan's finding Jesus, where they left him) the Jews would not give themselves the trouble of returning to glorify God, by making the miracle public, not to honour Jesus by acknowledging the favour. Such were the people who gloried in their being holy, and who insolently called the men of all other nations dogs: but their hypocrisy and presumption received a severe reprimand on this occasion; for our Lord, in his observation on their behaviour, plainly declared, that the outward profession of any religion, however true and excellent that religion may be in itself, is of no value before God, in comparison of piety and inward holy dispositions:—and in this view we should not be too forward to condemn the Jews;—for have we not too much reason to doubt whether, of the multitudes who are indebted to the divine goodness, one in ten has a becoming sense of it. We should labour to impress our hearts deeply with such a sense, always remembering what it is that God expects of us, and considering that as the exercise of gratitude towards such a benefactor is most reasonable, so it is also proportionably delightful to the soul. It is indeed like the incense of the Jewish priests, which, while it did an honour to God, did likewise regale with its own fragrancy the person by whom it was offered.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-17.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

In the face of these ten lepers we may, as in a glass, behold the face and complexion of all mankind. How few are there, oh Lord! Scarce more than one in ten, who after single mercies return suitable thanks. Men howl to God upon their beds, but run away from God as soon as they are raised up by him.

Observe farther, what an exact account Christ keeps of his own dispensed favors: Were there not ten cleansed? He forgets our sins, but records his own mercies. It is one of his glorious titles, a God forgiving and forgetting iniquity; but his mercies are over all his works, and deserve everlasting remembrance. God keeps a register of his mercies towards us. Oh shall we not record the favors received from him, at once declare his bounty towards us, and our thankfulness towards him?

Observe lastly, the thankful leper was a Samaritan, but the nine that were unthankful were Israelites.

Learn thence, that the more we are bound to God, the more shameful is our ingratitude towards him; where God may justly expect the greatest returns of praise and service, he sometimes receives least. God has more rent, and better paid him, from a smokey cottage, than he has from some stately palaces.


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Bibliography
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-17.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

17.] Were not the ten cleansed? but (of those ten) the nine, where (are they)?


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-17.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 17:17. οἱ δέκα, the ten) A specimen of His omniscience.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-17.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 17,18. These ten lepers were a representation of all mankind; not more than one of ten that receive signal mercies from the bountiful hand of Divine Providence cometh to give God any suitable homage. Thus he maketh his sun to shine and his rain to fall upon the just and upon the unjust. Men howl to God upon their beds, but glorify him not when they are raised up. But this increpation of our Saviour lets us know, that this their way is their folly.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 17:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-17.html. 1685.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

17. οὐχὶ οἱ δέκαοἱ δὲ ἐννέα ποῦ; Literally, ‘Were not the ten cleansed? but the nine—where?’ What worse leprosy of superstition, ignorance, eager selfishness, or more glaring ingratitude had kept back the others? We do not know.


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Bibliography
"Commentary on Luke 17:17". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/luke-17.html. 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17. Were there not—Literally, Were not the ten cleansed? Did God’s mercy fail, or did man’s unworthiness display itself?


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-17.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 17:17. Were not the ten cleansed? The perceptible tone of sadness is readily accounted for by the circumstances. Our Lord had, as we supposed, first taken final leave of Galilee, where His popularity had been greatest, but which gradually closed against Him. The nine were Galileans, and represented the ingratitude of their district, our Lord’s own home. The incident is prophetic of the reception accorded to Christ by the Jews and heathen respectively.

Where are the nine? They had doubtless gone to the priest, feeling that this was their chief duty as Jews, and been declared clean. Some gratitude they had, but the personal gratitude which takes the form of lave they lacked. They had enough of faith to receive bodily healing, but it is left uncertain whether they received any spiritual benefit.


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-17.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 17:17. οὐχ ( οὐχὶ, T.R.): asking a question and implying an affirmative answer. Yet the fact of asking the question implies a certain measure of doubt. No direct information as to what happened had reached Jesus presumably, and He naturally desires explanation of the non-appearance of all but one. Were not all the ten ( οἱ δέκα, now a familiar number) healed, that you come back alone?— ποῦ: emphatic position: the nine—where? expressing the suspicion that not lack of healing but lack of gratitude was the matter the nine.


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Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-17.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Were there not. ? = Were not (Greek. ouchi. App-105.) the ten cleansed? but the nine, where [are they]?


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-17.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten, cleansed? [ ouchi (Greek #3780) hoi (Greek #3588) deka (Greek #1176) ekatharistheesan (Greek #2511)] - rather, 'Were not the ten cleansed?'-that is, the whole ten. A striking example this of Christ's omniscience, as Bengel notices.

But where are the nine? [ hoi (Greek #3588) de (Greek #1161) ennea (Greek #1767) pou (Greek #4226)] - 'but the nine, where [are they]?'


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-17.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) Were there not ten cleansed?—There is, it is clear, a tone of mingled surprise, and grief, and indignation, in the question thus asked. Looking to the facts of the case, an ethical question of some difficulty presents itself. If the nine had had faith to be healed—and the fact that they were healed implies it—how was it that faith did not show itself further in gratitude and love? The answer is to be found in the analogous phenomena of the spiritual life which are found at times in cases that are as the cleansing of the soul’s leprosy. Men have the faith which justifies; they are pardoned, and they have the sense of freedom from the burden and the disease of sin, and yet their lives show no glow of loving gratitude. They shrink from fellowship with those who, having been sharers in the same blessing with themselves, are separated from them by outward lines of demarcation. We may, perhaps, think, without being over-bold, of the twelve disciples of the Baptist, who continued in their separatist life at Ephesus, without knowing the warmth and love and joy of the indwelling of the Spirit, as presenting such analogous phenomena. (See Notes on Acts 19:1-7.) The history of most churches or smaller religious societies, perhaps also that of most individual men, presents many more.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
but
Genesis 3:9; Psalms 106:13; John 8:7-10; Romans 1:21

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 17:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-17.html.

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