Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 17:2

It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Jesus, the Christ;   Millstone;   Wicked (People);   The Topic Concordance - Offense;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Jesus Christ;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Eschatology;   Tribulation, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of;   Vessels and Utensils;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Matthew, Gospel According to;   Sin;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Discourse;   Drowning;   Fierceness;   Judgment;   Little Ones;   Mill-Stone ;   Neck;   Offence (2);   Proverbs ;   Religion (2);   Social Life;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Cast;   Neck;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for April 29;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A mill-stone - That drowning a person with a stone tied about the neck was an ancient mode of punishment, see proved in the note on Matthew 18:6, Matthew 18:7; (note), to which let the following be added. To have a mill-stone hanged about the neck, was a common proverb. "Samuel saith, A man may marry, and after that addict himself to the study of the law. Rab. Jochanan saith, No: shall he addict himself to the study of the law with a mill-stone about his neck?" The place in Aristophanes, to which the reader is referred in the note on Matthew 18:6; (note), is the following: -

Αραν μετεωρον εις το βαραθρον εμβαλωπ,

Εκ του λαρυγγος εκκρεμασας ὑπερβολον

"Lifting him up into the air, I will plunge him into the deep: a great stone being hung about his neck."

Aristoph. in Equit. ver. 1359.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-17.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

It were better for him that a millstone,.... See Gill on Matthew 18:6 and See Gill on Mark 9:42.

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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 17:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-17.html. 1999.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

2. It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

[That a millstone were hanged about his neck.] There is mention among the Talmudic authors, concerning an ass-mill, and it is distinguished from a hand-mill. "Whoso hireth a house of his neighbour, he may build an ass-mill, but not a hand-mill."

To have a millstone hanged about his neck was a common proverb. "Samuel saith, It is a tradition, that a man may marry, and after that apply himself to the study of the law. But R. Jochanan saith, No. Shall he addict himself to the study of the law with a millstone about his neck?"

Suidas tells us, When they drowned any in the sea, they hung stones about their necks. And quotes that of Aristophanes:

Lifting him up, I'll plunge him to the deep,
A stone hung at his neck.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-17.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

It were well for him (λυσιτελει αυτωιlusitelei autōi). An old word, but only here in the N.T., from λυσιτεληςlusitelēs and this from λυωluō to pay, and τα τεληta telē the taxes. So it pays the taxes, it returns expenses, it is profitable. Literally here, “It is profitable for him” (dative case, αυτωιautōi). Matthew has συμπερειsumpherei (it is advantageous, bears together for).

If a millstone were hanged (ει λιτος μυλικος περικειταιei lithos mulikos perikeitai). Literally, “if a millstone is hanged.” Present passive indicative from περικειμαιperikeimai (to lie or be placed around). It is used as a perfect passive of περιτιτημιperitithēmi So it is a first-class condition, determined as fulfilled, not second-class as the English translations imply. ΜυλικοςMulikos is simply a stone (λιτοςlithos), belonging to a mill. Here only in the text of Westcott and Hort, not in Mark 9:42 which is like Matthew 18:6 μυλος ονικοςmulos onikos where the upper millstone is turned by an ass.

Were thrown (ερριπταιerriptai). Perfect passive indicative from ριπτωrhiptō old verb. Literally, is thrown or has been thrown or cast or hurled. Mark has βεβληταιbeblētai and Matthew καταποντιστηιkatapontisthēi which see, all three verbs vivid and expressive. Rather than (η). The comparative is not here expressed before η as one would expect. It is implied in λυσιτελειlusitelei See the same idiom in Luke 15:7.

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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)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-17.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

It were better ( λυσιτελεῖ )

Only here in New Testament. The verb means to pay what is due, and is equivalent to our phrase, it pays.

Millstone

Compare Matthew 18:6. The correct reading here is λίθος μυλικός , a millstone; not a great millstone as Matthew

Thrown ( ἔῤῥιπται )

Hurled: with an underlying sense of violence, called out by so great an outrage.

sa40

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-17.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Little ones — Weak believers.

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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.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-17.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

It were well for him if a millstone were hanged about his neck1, and he were thrown into the sea, rather than that he should cause one of these little ones2 to stumble3.

  1. It were well for him if a millstone were hanged about his neck, etc. See . Not the large millstone mentioned by Mark and Matthew, but the small one which was turned by hand. See Mark 9:42

  2. Rather than that he should cause one of these little ones. Beginners in the faith, or weaklings (Romans 14:1).

  3. To stumble. See Romans 14:1.

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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 17:2". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-17.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Offend one of these little ones; lead any one of the humble disciples of Christ away into sin.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-17.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Ver. 2. {See Trapp on "Matthew 18:6"} {See Trapp on "Matthew 18:7"}

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-17.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

2.] See Matthew 18:6-7, and notes.

τῶν μικ. τ., perhaps the publicans and sinners of ch. Luke 15:1;—perhaps also, repeated with reference to what took place, Matt. l. c.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-17.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 17:2. τούτων, of these) By this pronoun, Luke shows evidently that “the little ones” were present in the midst of them.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-17.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Luke 17:2"

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 17:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-17.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

мельничный жернов Буквально «жернов осла». См. пояснение к Мф. 18:6.

малых сих Верующих; детей Божьих, о которых Он заботится. См. пояснение к Мф. 18:5.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-17.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2.A millstone—See our note on Matthew 18:7.

These little ones— Publicans and sinners, and others lately converted to Jesus. Our Lord, as we understand it, uttered these words in Matthew as a general truth; he utters them here in application to a particular class. They were little ones as being but babes in Christ.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-17.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 17:2. Gain. Peculiar to Luke. The reference to the effect of the behavior of the Pharisees is sustained by the mention of little ones.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-17.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 17:2. ( , ), it profits or pays; here only in N.T. = in Matthew 18:6.— , a millstone, not a great millstone, one driven by an ass ( , T.R.), as in Mt.: the vehement emphasis of Christ’s words is toned down in Lk. here as often elsewhere. The realistic expression of Mt. is doubtless truer to the actual utterance of Jesus, who would speak of the offences created by ambition with passionate abhorrence.— = perf. pass. of in sense = has been placed; with , another perfect, suggesting the idea of an action already complete—the miscreant with a stone round his neck thrown into the sea.— : here again a subdued expression compared with Mt.— , than to scandalise; the subj. with = the infinitive. Vide Winer, § 44, 8.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-17.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

It were better. Christ here speaks after the manner of the Jews, who were accustomed to inflict this punishment only on the greatest malefactors. So that we must be ready to undergo the most excruciating torments, rather than cause any scandal to our neighbour; though we must here observe, that if our neighbour take scandal at our good works, we ought not on that account to desist from doing good, or desert the truth. (Ven. Bede) --- St. Luke, in this chapter, inserts four instructions, which have no connection with each other, and which by the writers of evangelical harmony, are given in different places; as in Matthew xviii. after ver. 14, &c.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

better = well. Greek. lusiteleo. Occurs only here.

that = if. App-118.

millstone. See note on Matthew 18:6.

about = round. Greek. peri. App-104.

cast = hurled (with violence).

into. Greek. eis. App-104.

offend = be a cause of stumbling to. This was spoken with reference to the traditions of the Pharisees in Luke 16:15-30.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-17.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences ... It were better for him that a millstone ... See the note at Mark 9:42.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-17.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) It were batter for him . . .—See Note on Matthew 18:6, where the order of the two sayings is inverted. Assuming the words to have been repeated where we find them here, the “little ones” must mean the disciples of Christ who are, in both senses of the word “offended” by the worldliness of those who profess to be religious. They are made to stumble by the temptation to follow the bad example, or their faith in the reality of godliness is shaken by seeing that the form exists without the power.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
better
Matthew 18:6; 26:24; Mark 9:42; 1 Corinthians 9:15; 2 Peter 2:1-3
one
Isaiah 40:11; Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 18:3-5,10,14; John 21:15; 1 Corinthians 8:11,12; 9:22
Reciprocal: Matthew 5:30 - offend;  Matthew 10:42 - one;  Matthew 18:5 - receive;  Romans 14:1 - weak;  Romans 14:13 - put;  Romans 14:21 - whereby;  1 Corinthians 8:9 - take;  1 John 2:10 - occasion of stumbling

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 17:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-17.html.