Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 17:37

And answering they *said to Him, "Where, Lord?" And He said to them, "Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Jerusalem;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Scofield Reference Index - Inspiration;   The Topic Concordance - Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Eagle;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Eschatology;   Tribulation, the;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Banner;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Cain (1);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Eagle;   Matthew, Gospel According to;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Animals;   Announcements of Death;   Body (2);   Discourse;   Luke, Gospel According to;   Nature and Natural Phenomena;   Parable;   Pillow;   Questions and Answers;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Eagle;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Ather;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Eagle;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Games;   Parousia;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Birds;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Where, Lord? - In what place shall all these dreadful evils fall? The answer our Lord gives in a figure, the application of which they are to make themselves. Where the dead carcass is, there will be the birds of prey - where the sin is, there will the punishment be. See on Matthew 24:28; (note).

Thither will the eagles (or vultures) be gathered together. The jackal or chakal is a devourer of dead bodies; and the vulture is not less so: it is very remarkable how suddenly these birds appear after the death of an animal in the open field, though a single one may not have been seen on the spot for a long period before. The following chapter seems to be a continuation of this discourse: at least it is likely they were spoken on the same occasion. Both contain truths which the reader should carefully ponder, and receive in the spirit of prayer and faith, that he may not come into the same condemnation into which these have fallen.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

See the notes at Matthew 24:26.

Where, Lord? - Where, or in what direction, shall these calamities come? The answer implies that it would be where there is the most “guilt and wickedness.” Eagles flock where there is prey. So, said he, these armies will flock to the place where there is the most wickedness; and by this their thoughts were directed at once to Jerusalem, the place of eminent wickedness, and the place, therefore, where these calamities might be expected to begin.

Copyright Statement
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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-17.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Luke 17:37

Wheresoever the body is

God’s judgments

The twofold inquiry that always greets the prophet is Where?
and When? These two questions are prompted by curiosity and self-interest. The passionate desires of human nature to know the future are testified to by the whole history of superstition and imposture. Even inspired prophecy has been treated in the spirit of this desire. Our Lord teaches us how such questions should be answered, and how such a spirit should be dealt with. He does not answer the “Where” and “When”; not even in the revelation to His beloved disciple does He do so.

I. Observe how in A VERY REAL SENSE HE DOES ANSWER THE QUESTIONS. The answer in effect is this: My judgment shall come upon the earth as come the vultures upon the dead by an unerring and terrible instinct. So truly then as there is ripeness for judgment, and wherever there is that ripeness, there shall come the judgment of the day of the Lord.

II. MARK WHAT THESE WORDS TELL US CONCERNING THE GREAT LAWS OF GOD’S JUDGMENT. These judgments are not arbitrary judgments, but are joined to the offence by a natural and necessary law. Where there is ripeness for them there is no escape from them; but they only fall where there is that ripeness. We learn also, that before the last and crowning judgment there must be many lesser and preliminary days of judgment.

III. WHERE ARE WE TO LOOK FOR SIGNS OF OUR LORD’S COMING? Not to the heavens far off, but at the dead thing which lies, it may be, at your very feet. Can we discern here and there the corpse that calls and the eagles of judgment that come at its calling. In the case of individuals it is not wise to judge; but with families, churches, nations, there is no judgment sound but a present judgment. The practical lesson is, “Judge therefore, yourselves, brethren, that ye be not judged by the Lord.” (Bishop Magee.)

The carcass and the eagles

In the sphere of human life, that which is the life of things is their use. When that is spent, all things else conspire to have them not only disabled but abolished. On sea and land where man is not, it may be only contingent, though usual, that where the carcass is, there the eagles are gathered together; but where man is, it is certain. Steam and electricity are new ideas, new forces by which man has extended his command over material resources indispensable for his existence. As surely as these new ideas are introduced, there is found to be implied in them destruction as well as creation. A host of things in which there was life because there was use become refuse and old lumber--hand-looms, wooden ships, mail coaches--and with regard to them the question is how they are to be got rid of. A new gun is invented in America or in England, and all the stands of arms in all places of arms throughout the world become lumber until they have undergone a process of conversion which is a process of destruction. Belshazzar’s feast is not a spectacle pleasing to gods or men, that small part of mankind excepted for whom the lights flare upon rude riot and excess. It may be a product of civilization and of national struggles and aspirations. It is not exuberant life, but rampant disease and corruption, and as such it is marked for dissolution and destruction. Always when it is at its height there is to be seen the handwriting on the wall, telling that tyranny and oppression have but their day, that they are weighed in the balance and found wanting, that the next thing to heedless excess is destruction. The doctrine of constitutional liberty gains a footing in a country ignorant of it before--the result, if not at once, inevitably is, that institutions, laws, privileges, class distinctions, offices and officers, lose what vitality they had, and with regard to them, as with regard to all that is dead, the question is, what is the swiftest and most effectual method of destruction. In every department of human life the same process is at work, that which lives and grows necessitating the dissolution and removal of that which is useless and corrupt. In this view of it, the process is a necessary part of the fulfilment of the Divine order on the side of progress and improvement. It is beneficent. That which so often makes it seem other than beneficent--and this too has to be recognized as a fact--is the redundance of vested interests--it is that in so many instances the interests and affections of men and nations are linked rather with what may have been once good than with that which being better is destined to dissolve and to replace it. This is why destruction which goes along with creation is so often a painful and terrible experience. It is not unfortunate or unnecessary for mankind that Belshazzar and his courtiers should have but their day, or rather their night; but, when the handwriting on the wall makes its appearance, the mighty king and his court cannot well be expected to welcome it. There is comfort and satisfaction for a benevolent and thoughtful mind in the reflection that the sanatory arrangements of the universe are as wonderful as any of the other arrangements in it; but for men and nations whose habits and feelings are involved in the existence and perpetuation of what is opposed to them and inconsistent with them, these arrangements cannot but be felt to act often in a harsh, peremptory, ruthless, unsparing manner. It is well, however, to accustom ourselves to look at them in the proper light, namely, as beneficent, not only that we may not miss or misread a great deal which is written for our learning in the pages of history, but that in the changing fashions of our theology we may be always mindful of one thing, to recognize God as not a God of the dead but of the living. (J. Service, D. D.)

The gathering of the eagles

It will be necessary here to compare the ancient and modern interpretations of the verse--“for wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”

1. The generally received modern interpretation sees here the great law of Divine judgment condensed into one terrible image. The “carcass,” according to this, is the putrid carrion; the “eagles” are, strictly speaking, vultures. Thus, to the modern mind, we have here the condensed image of the continuous judgment of God. In hot countries God has so moulded the instincts of the winged scavengers of cliff and peak, that far away, as they wheel and circle over the awful depths into which the traveller looks with reeling brain, they scent the slain in battle, or the bodies that taint the air. So, wherever there is a body of moral and spiritual death--something rotten in Church or State--the vultures of judgment, the punishers and avengers that belong to it in the very nature of things, come mysteriously from their places, and with boding voices, deepening upon the breezes, gather round the spoil. So with Jerusalem falling to pieces in its last decomposition and self-dissolution. The flap of avenging wings was heard overhead by prophetic ears. The vultures were wheeling on the steaming air, under the vault of the Syrian sky, barking in the far mountain glens, and collecting together to gorge themselves upon the “glittering rottenness.” This view is not only rhetorically powerful, but something more and higher.

2. Notwithstanding this, the ancient interpretation represents more truly the Divine thought in the symbol of the eagles and their food. And so this image of the eagle belongs to the glorious Lord and to His Christ. And His people are as His eaglets--nay, themselves eagles of God. Is it not written--“Ye have seen how I bare you on eagles’ wings”? And more fully--“As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did bear him.” Is not the Church the woman to whom were given “the wings of the eagle, that great eagle,” which is Christ? Even here and now, wherever the corpse is, wherever Jesus is evidently set forth crucified, there, mysteriously raised above earthly things, made lofty and royal in their graces, Christ’s eagles “gather round” Him who is the spiritual food and the life eternal of all such eagles. The meaning, then, on the whole, according to this interpretation, is as follows: The “carcass”--the corpse of Jesus Christ as crucified--that is the meeting-point of human souls, the centre of attraction in the world of spirits. The Lord of nature, in the Book of Job, says of the eagle, His creature--“she abideth upon the rock from thence she seeketh the prey; her eyes behold afar off … where the slain are, there is she.” The Lord of grace adds His application--as the eaglets gather round the corpse, so the souls of men, and especially of the elect, gather round Jesus. Ay, and round Jesus, not always as the eternal Word, not always as in His glory, but in the pathetic beauty of His weakness, staggering under the weight of His cross.

Nay more, dying, with the red drops of the Passion upon His brow; dead--nay, fallen in His sacred helplessness. There are mysterious instincts inevery heart that turn to Jesus crucified. Keen and swift as eagles for the prey are Christians for the Lord who died. It is the same underlying thought with that noble utterance in the twelfth chapter of St. John. There the few Greeks are to that prophetic eye the first shoreward ripple of the great springtide of humanity which is to break in thunder at His feet. The lifting up a few feet above the soil of Golgotha becomes, by a majestic irony, the elevation above the earth, the centre of attraction for uncounted souls. “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” So He seems to promise--“I, if I be fallen upon the earth, the helpless, lifeless, ruined thing which men call a corpse, will yet gather round Me every eagle that clasps the crag, or soars upward with the sunlight in his glorious eye.” (Bp. Wm. Alexander.)

The gathering of the eagles

1. These words have many meanings for us. First we may think of them as referring to the fall of Jerusalem. There indeed was the body, the dead corrupt body of the Jews, who had refused to hear the message of salvation, and had taken and slain the Son of God outside the wall of their fated city. And where the body was, there were the eagles gathered together. That enemy, of which the prophets had spoken long ago, had come, and encompassed Jerusalem in on every side. The Roman eagles glittered upon their helmets, and flashed upon their standards. They set up their banners for tokens, even within the sacred courts of the temple, and so was fulfilled the prophecy of the “abomination of desolation standing in the holy place.”

2. Again, we take the words of the text as applying to the hour of death, and first of the death of the body. Whoever has stood at a good man’s death-bed must feel that the dying man is not alone, nor allowed in that last hour for any pains of death to fall from God. Where that poor worn-out body lies, there are the eagles of God’s host gathered together, strengthening, comforting the dying man, ready to bear his soul as swift as on eagles’ wings to Paradise. There is a beautiful fancy of the East which makes Azrael, the angel of death, speak thus to a dying saint:--

“‘Thou blessed one,’ the angel said, ‘I bring thy time of peace,

When I have touched thee on the eyes, life’s latest ache will cease;

God bade me come as I am seen amid the heavenly host,--

No enemy of awful mould, but he who loveth most.’”

So looks the Christian on death, as being a fair and gracious messenger from God, bringing to the captive liberty, and to the weary rest. “Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.”

3. These words are terribly true of the death of the godless and impenitent. Julian, the apostate emperor, took for his crest an eagle pierced through the heart by an arrow feathered from his own wing, and as a motto the words, “Our death flies to us with our own feather.” So every sinner who dies impenitent knows that the arrow of remorse which pierces him is of his own making, that the dark spectres, which are gathered like eagles around him, are of his own inviting.

4. Once more, and in another and brighter sense, we will take tile text as applying to the Blessed Sacrament of the altar; so it has always been understood by the old writers of the Church. One of them says--

“Where the sacred body lieth, eagle souls together speed;

There the saints and there the angels find refreshment in their need.

And the sons of earth and heaven on that one Bread ever feed.”

When we kneel at that altar and receive the Body of our Lord, we are not alone. The very word “Communion” teaches us that we are encompassed by a great cloud of witnesses. Not only are we in that Sacrament made one with Christ, and with all true members of His Church, but we join in the work of saints and angels, and they take part with us. Thus we say, “With angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious name.” “Wheresover the body is,” wheresoever the Body of Jesus Christ is present in the Sacrament, there will the faithful worshippers be gathered together like eagles, and there too will be high and holy ones present, although unseen by us, making the altar a ladder between earth and heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. (H. J.Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)
.

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Luke 17:37". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/luke-17.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And they say unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Where the body is, thither will the eagles also be gathered together.

This enigmatic statement is difficult of understanding; and perhaps it was not intended to be otherwise. Even the word "eagles" is stoutly maintained by some to be "vultures," and other scholars, as in the English Revised Version (1885), insist on translating it "eagles."

The body ... In all probability, this refers to the body of mankind, at last completely dead in sin, demanding by their sins and rebellion against God that the final judgment be executed upon them; just as a dead body would draw vultures, so humanity that is morally dead will inevitably draw the judgment of God upon them. "As surely as a carcass draws birds of prey, so sin would draw judgment, and there would the Messiah be found."[39] Also Bruce wrote, "Where there is a situation ripe for divine judgment, the executors of that judgment will unerringly find it out, just like vultures find the carrion."[40] However, it should be remembered that Jesus was not here speaking of just any situation ripe for judgment, but of the final and terminal situation with the posterity of Adam, when at last, their day of grace expired, God shall make an end of all human probation, summoning all people to the judgment of the Great White Throne.

[39] Anthony Lee Ash, op. cit., p. 84.

[40] F. F. Bruce, Answers to Questions (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1972), p. 56.

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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 17:37". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". 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 they answered and said unto him, where, Lord?.... That is, either the Pharisees put this question to Christ, who demanded of him when the kingdom of God would come, Luke 17:20 or rather the disciples, to whom Christ more especially directed his discourse, Luke 17:22 who hearing of the distinction that would be made of persons in these dismal times, ask where it should be; not where the persons would be left, but whither the others would be taken, and by whom: and he said unto them,

wheresoever the body is; the carcass of the Jewish nation, as at Jerusalem chiefly, and in whatsoever place:

thither will the eagles be gathered together; the Roman army, whose ensign was the eagle; these will come, seize upon them, and take them and devour them, as they did: the Persic version renders it, "vultures"; See Gill on Matthew 24:28. These words can by no means be understood of sinners fleeing to Christ for eternal life and salvation; nor of the gathering of saints to him, at the last day; for how fitly soever such persons may be compared to "eagles", the word "body", or "carcass", as in Matthew 24:28 and which is so read in some copies here, is not so suitable to Christ; and especially at his glorious appearing; and besides, the words are an answer to a question, where such persons would be, who would be taken and destroyed, when others would be left, or preserved; and manifestly refer to the body, or carcass of the Jewish people at Jerusalem, and other fortified places; where they should think themselves safe, but should not be so, the Roman armies gathering about them, and seizing them as their prey: it is yet a more strange interpretation, which is proposed by a very learned manF9Teelmaunus. ; that by the "eagle" is meant, Christ; and by "the body", or "carcass", the church in the times of antichrist; and by "gathering" to it, the coming of Christ: for though Christ may be said to bear and carry his people, as the eagle bears and carries its young upon its wings, which he observes from Exodus 19:4 yet not a single eagle, but "eagles", in the plural number, are here mentioned; which shows, that not a single person, as Christ, but many are here intended, even legions of Roman soldiers: nor can the church of Christ be compared to a dead and filthy carcass, in the worst of times, even in the times of antichrist; for however forlorn, distressed, and afflicted her condition is, she is kept alive, and in some measure pure from antichristian pollutions; and is represented by a woman, to whom two wings of a great eagle are given (wherefore she should rather be designed by the eagles) to fly with into the wilderness, where she is preserved and nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, Revelation 12:14. Nor is Christ's coming ever expressed by the gathering of him to his people; but on the other hand, they are always said to be gathered unto him; see 2 Thessalonians 2:1.

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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 17:37". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

12 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body [is], thither will the eagles be gathered together.

(12) The only way to continue is to cleave to Christ.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-17.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Where — shall this occur?

Wheresoever, etc. — “As birds of prey scent out the carrion, so wherever is found a mass of incurable moral and spiritual corruption, there will be seen alighting the ministers of divine judgment,” a proverbial saying terrifically verified at the destruction of Jerusalem, and many times since, though its most tremendous illustration will be at the world‘s final day.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-17.html. 1871-8.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

THE CARCASS AND THE EAGLES

Luke 17:37. “And responding, they say to Him, Where, Lord? And He said to them, Where the carcass is, there the eagles will also be gathered.” This statement is momentously significant. Humanity has always been a failure, every dispensation winding up with tremendous calamities — Eden, with the fall; the Antediluvian, with the flood; the Patriarchal, with slavery, the desolating plagues, the death of the first-born, and the drowning of Pharaoh’s army. Now, the awful doom o£ Judaism is hastening and her destruction ripening. Jesus sees the Roman armies coming to obliterate the nation and annihilate the Jewish polity. Judaism at that time, both political and ecclesiastical, was well comparable to an old carcass, full of diseases, rotten, odoriferous, and already seeming up the birds of prey. The vulture belongs to the eagle species, mad is here really meant, as the bird of all others most voracious of carrion. It would be an exceedingly superficial view of these prophecies that would restrict them to their merely preliminary fulfillment in the destruction of Jerusalem; whereas you see plainly that the great moment is our Lord’s second coming, which did not take place at that time. He began this discourse by reminding His disciples of His speedy death, resurrection, ascension, and utter removal from the earth, and their subsequent anxiety “to see one of the days of the Son of man.” Hence you observe the emphasis laid on His personal coming throughout, and at the same time the warning He gives them in reference to the signs which would precede the destruction of Jerusalem, posting them lest they be led astray with reference to His coming, and at the same time assuring them that His personal return to the earth will be so distinctly marked that no one can possibly be mistaken, as “every eye shall see Him.” Now, we know that this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, neither the rapture of the saints nor the gathering of the eagles, except in a preliminary sense at the termination of preceding dispensations.

“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool; His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fire stream issued, and came forth from before Him; a thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him… I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:9-14.)

This is a clear and unmistakable prophecy setting forth the glorious pre- millennial coming of the Lord, preceded by the Ancient of Days — i. e., the Father — who has nobody, and is consequently invisible, but will come, and, as you here see, shake every monarch from his throne, both political and ecclesiastical, thus clearing the way for the coronation of His Son, according to His promise, “Sit Thou on My right hand, until I may make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” Do you not see in the above quotation from Daniel, that when the Father comes to “cast down the thrones,” He will be accompanied by innumerable hosts of angels? Quite legitimate is the conclusion that these are angels of vengeance — i. e., destroying angels — executive of the just retribution which the righteous government will inflict upon the usurpers of earth when the awful castigatory wars of Armageddon, so prominent in the prophecies, shall vacate every human throne for the coronation of the Son, as you see in verse 14, King of kings and Lord of lords, to reign forever. Hence these destroying angels are symbolized by the eagles, that will devour the old, corrupt, and debauched body of the Gentile dispensation, both political and ecclesiastical, thus literally verifying the “great tribulation.”

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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/luke-17.html.

People's New Testament

See notes on Matthew 24:28.
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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.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-17.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The eagles (οι αετοιhoi aetoi). Or the vultures attracted by the carcass. This proverb is quoted also in Matthew 24:28. See Job 39:27-30; Habakkuk 1:8; and Hosea 8:1. Double compound (επισυνepi -επισυναχτησονταιsun -) in epi -sun -achthēsontai completes the picture.

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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 17:37". "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

Eagles

See on Matthew 24:28.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "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

And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

Matthew 24:28.

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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 17:37". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-17.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And they answering say unto him, Where, Lord1? And he said unto them, Where the body [is], thither will the eagles also be gathered together2.

  1. And they answering say unto him, Where, Lord? The disciples desired to know where this manifestation and division would take place, looking upon it as a local prediction.

  2. And he said unto them, Where the body [is], thither will the eagles also be gathered together. Jesus gave a proverbial answer, the meaning of which is that sin courts and draws to itself punishment and destruction just as a carcass draws winged scavengers. Applying his words, we may say that as the corruption of the antediluvians drew upon them, the devastation of the flood, and as the crimes of the Sodomites called down upon them, the fires from heaven, and as the unbelief of the Jews of Christ's day caused the destruction of Jerusalem and the death of the nation, so the wickedness of the men of the last times will result in the ending of the world. The word translated "eagles" is generic, and included the vultures also (Pliny, Nat. Hist. 9:3). It is likely that the Revision Committee retained the word "eagles" instead of vultures because of the mistaken notion of Lightfoot and others that our Lord here makes a covert allusion to the eagles which were borne upon the Roman standards. A passage similar to the latter part of this section is found at Matthew 24:17-41.

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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 17:37". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-17.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The eagles; the birds of prey.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-17.html. 1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Wheresoever

See "Armageddon" Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:17. (See Scofield "Revelation 19:17").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Luke 17:37". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/luke-17.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

Ver. 37. Where, Lord?] Or, whither, Lord, viz. shall they be taken of whom thou speakest? To heaven, saith he. See the notes on Matthew 24:28.

There the eagles] Those vulturine eagles that are said to fly two or three days before to the place where armies are to meet and carcases shall be.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-17.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 17:37. Wheresoever the body is, &c.— "As eagles find out, and gather round a carcase; so wherever wicked men are, the judgments of God will pursue them; and particularlyin whatever part of the land any number of the unbelieving Jews are, there will the Romans, the executioners of the divine vengeance upon this nation, be gathered together to destroy them." The expression is proverbial, and will appear to have been beautifully applied, when it is remembered that the Romans bore in their standards the figure of an eagle, and that a certain kind of eagle mentioned by Aristotle is found to feed on carcases. Dr. Clarke explains our Lord's answer thus: "Your question is of no moment; no matter where or when the same thing comes to pass; wherever the case and circumstances are alike, there also will the event be proportionably the same; as wheresoever the prey is, thither will the birds of prey resort: so wherever the doctrine of Christ is received, there is the kingdom of Christ; and wherever the persons to be judged shall be found endued with the like diversity of qualifications, there also shall the impartial judgment of God, the searcher of hearts, distinguish them with the like distinctions."

Inferences drawn from the cure, &c. of the ten lepers, Luke 17:11-19. The Jews and Samaritans could not abide each other; yet here in the leprosy they became social: here was one Samaritan leper with the Jewish lepers: community of sufferings had made them friends, whom even religion had disjoined. What virtue there is in misery, that can unite even the most estranged hearts!

These ten are met together, and they meet Christ; not casually, but upon due deliberation: no wonder if they thought no attendance too long to be delivered from so loathsome, so miserable a disease. We are all sensible enough of our bodily infirmities; O that we could be equally weary of our spiritual maladies and deformities, which are no less mortal, if they be not healed; and they cannot be healed by any human means. These men had died lepers, if they had not met with Christ. O Saviour, give us grace to seek, and patience to wait for thee, and then we know thou wilt find us, and we shall find a remedy.

Though these men came to seek Christ; yet, finding him, they stand afar off, whether for reverence, or for security, God had enacted this distance: it was their charge, if they had occasion to pass through the streets, to cry out, I am unclean; it was no less than duty to proclaim their own infectiousness; there was not danger only, but sin in their approach; and yet these lepers, though far off in the distance of place, are near in respect of the acceptance of their prayer. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him in truth.

He that stands near, may whisper; he that is afar off, must cry aloud: so did these lepers, (Luke 17:13.) yet did not so much the distance as the ardour of desire strain their voices: that which can give voice to the dumb, can give loudness to the vocal.

All cried together, uniting their ten voices in one sound, that their conjoined forces might besiege that gracious ear. All affected with one common disease, all lift up their voices together; and Jews and Samaritan agree in joint supplication. When we would obtain universal favours, we must not content ourselves with solitary devotions, but join our spiritual forces together, and supplicate the Almighty in full assembly. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labour. O holy, happy violence, which is thus offered to Heaven: how can we want blessings, when so many cords draw them down upon our heads!

Too much like these lepers in our condition, why do we not imitate them in their conduct? Whither should we fly, but to our Jesus? How should we stand aloof in regard to our own wretchedness? How should we also lift up with them the voice of supplication, and sue for favour in those well-adapted terms, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us! Jesus, when he saw them, said, Go, shew yourselves unto the priests (Luke 17:14.): the disease is cured ere it can be complained of; for their shewing to the priest, presupposes them to be whole.

The original command in this case runs, "either to Aaron or to one of his Sons." But why to them? The leprosy was a bodily sickness; what is this to spiritual persons?—But this affection of the body is joined with a legal uncleanness, and it must come under their cognizance, not as a sickness, but as an impurity. Nor was it only the peculiar judgment of the priest that was here intended, but the thankfulness of the patient too; that, by the sacrifice which he should bring with him, he might render to God the glory of his cure. O God, whomsoever thou curest of their spiritual leprosy, are bound to present thee with the true evangelical sacrifices, not of their praises only, but of themselves, which is their reasonable service.

The lepers did not, would not, go of themselves, but are sent by Christ (Luke 17:14.); Christ, who was above the law, would not transgress it: he knew that this was his charge by Moses. Justly might he have dispensed with his own injunction; but he would not: though the law does not bind the divine Legislator, yet will he voluntarily bind himself. This was but a branch of the ceremonial law; yet would he not slight it, but in his own person sets the example of a studious observance. How carefully should we submit ourselves to the royal laws of our Creator, and to the wholesome laws of our superiors, when the Son of God would not omit this punctuality in a ceremony.

Had this duty been neglected, what clamours had perhaps been raised by his envious adversaries! what scandals diffused!—though the fault had been that of the patients, not of the physician. They that watched Christ so narrowly, and were apt to take such miserable exceptions at his sabbath cures, at his disciples' unwashen hands, &c.—how much more might they have calumniated him, if by his neglect the law of leprosy had been palpably transgressed? Not only evil must be avoided, but offence also (see Luke 17:1.): that offence is ours, which we did not prevent when we might. But neither offence to others, nor torment or death in respect to ourselves, should prevent our fulfilling the clear will of God.

What a noble, what an irrefragable testimony was this to the power and truth of the Messiah! How can this Jewish nation but believe, or be made inexcusable in not believing? When they shall see so many lepers come at once to the temple, all cured by a secret volition, without word or touch; how can they choose but say, "This work is supernatural; no limited power could do this; how is he not God, if his power be infinite?"—Their own eyes shall be witnesses and judges of their own conviction.

This act of shewing to the priest, was not more required by the law, than pre-required of these lepers by our Saviour, for the trial of their obedience. It has ever been God's custom, by small precepts, to prove men's dispositions: obedience is as well tried in a trifle, as in the most important charge; yea, so much the more, as the thing required is less. What command soever we receive from God, or from our human superiors agreeably to the will of God, let us not scan the weight of the injunction, but the authority of the enjoiner. Difficulty or ease in the execution of the command, are equally vain pretences for disobedience.

These lepers are wiser: they obeyed, and went. What was the issue? As they went, they were healed, (Luke 17:14.) Lo! had they stood still, they had still been lepers: now they went, they are whole.—What haste the blessing makes to overtake their ready obedience.

Yet besides this recompence, O Saviour! thou wouldst herein have respect to thine own just glory. Had not these lepers been cured in the way, but in the end of their walk, upon their shewing themselves to the priests, how much light had the miracle lost! Perhaps the priests would have challenged it to themselves, and attributed it to their prayers: perhaps the lepers might have thought it was thy purpose to honour the priests as the instrument of their marvellous cure. As it is, there can be no colour of any other participation: as thy power, so thy praise admits of no partners.

And now, methinks, I see what astonishing joy revels among these lepers, as they perceive this instantaneous cure. Each tells the other what a change he feels; each comforts the other with the assurance of his outward cleanness; each congratulates the other's happiness, and thinks and says, how joyful this news will be to their friends, to their families! Their society now serves them well to applaud, and to heighten their own felicity.

The miracle, wrought indifferently upon all, is differently received. One only was thankful (Luke 17:15.). Where the ox finds grass, the viper sucks in poison. O my God! if we look not up to thee, we may come, and not be healed; we may be healed, and not be thankful.

This one man breaks away from his fellows to seek Christ, and pour forth the fulness of a grateful heart. It is a base and unworthy thing for a man so to subject himself to the examples of others, as not sometimes to resolve to be an example to others. When either evil is to be done, or good neglected, how much better is it to retire and go the right way alone, than to err in company!

O noble pattern of thankfulness! What diligent officiousness is here! What a hearty recognition of the blessing! What a humble reverence of his Benefactor! He falls down at his feet, giving him thanks, as acknowledging at once Christ's beneficence and his own unworthiness. Happy were it for all Israel, if they would but learn of this Samaritan.

It is not for nothing, that note is taken of the country of this thankful leper;—He was a Samaritan. The place is known and branded with the infamy of paganism: outward disadvantage of place or parentage cannot block up the way of God's grace towards the penitent sinner, whatever be his country; as, on the other hand, the privileges of birth and nature avail us nothing without repentance.

How sensible wert thou, O Saviour, of thy own beneficence; (Luke 17:17.) were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine? The favours of God are universal; not a creature but tastes of his bounty: his sun and rain are for others besides his friends. But none of his gracious dealings escape either his knowledge or record. Why should not we, O God, keep a book of our receipts from thee, which, agreeing with thine, may at once declare thee bounteous and us grateful!

Our Saviour did not ask this by way of doubt, but of exprobation. Full well did he count the steps of those absent lepers; but he upbraids their ingratitude, that they were not where they should have been. There are not found that return to give glory to God, save this stranger. Had they been all Samaritans, this had been criminal: but now they were Israelites, their ingratitude was more foul than their leprosy: the more we are bound to God, the more shameful is our unthankfulness. There is scarce one in ten that is careful to give God his own: this neglect is not more general than displeasing; and Christ had never missed their presence, had not their absence been hateful and injurious.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The discourse given us, Luke 17:1-10 is particularly addressed to the disciples, and contains,

1. A warning against giving offence. It must needs be, considering the natural corruption of our nature, the craft of Satan, and the temptations of the world, that offences come; but woe to persecutors, who discourage and oppose the work of God; woe to seducers, who corrupt the truth, and deceive the souls of men with pernicious heretics; woe to faithless professors, whose carnal lives stumble the weak and harden the wicked: better were it for them to die with the vilest of malefactors, than live to increase their everlasting misery.

2. A command to forgive all injuries. Take heed to yourselves, as not to give offence, so also not to take it. When others are provoking, hold in your own spirit, and in patience possess your souls; let no angry thought, no passionate word or wish, no violence, break forth or be indulged. Mildly endeavour to convince an offending brother; and the moment he expresses his repentance, let the arms of forgiveness and reconciliation be open to him. If he, through carelessness, forgetfulness, or imprudence, seven times in a day repeat the offence, and turn again, professing his sorrow, and promising greater watchfulness, we must still forgive, and neither upbraid him, nor keep in mind his repeated provocations.

3. In the next place, instruction is given, how we can alone discharge this difficult duty. Lord, say the apostles, Increase our faith. This is the root whence all other graces flow; as this strengthens, they increase and manifest themselves. The apostles themselves were conscious of the weakness of their faith; they knew that his grace alone could supply their wants; therefore in prayer to him they make their application. We must go to the same Saviour, and he will not send us empty away. To their request the Lord replied, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye might say unto this sycamine-tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you: such being the mighty efficacy of divine faith; and every duty, under its influence, becomes practicable.

4. Christ enjoins upon them humility in all their services. Whatever works they were enabled to perform, whatever difficulties they might be called to encounter, they must regard themselves as his servants, and fulfil the duties of their station; nor think they had merited any thing by their labours: for, as a servant, when he returns from his work in the field, does not expect to be attended, but is required first to wait on his master before he sups himself, nor is thanked for so doing, because it is his duty; in like manner must Christ's ministers and servants, when they have done their best, acknowledge that they are unprofitable servants; and if they had indeed performed all things commanded them, they would have done no more than was their duty to do, and would have no merit to plead; our goodness extendeth not to God, we can never make him our debtor for duty, while we must daily own ourselves his debtors for pardoning and sanctifying grace.

2nd, The leprosy was a disorder not only incurable, and most nauseous, but which rendered the unhappy patient ceremonially defiled, and excluded him from the comforts of human society. We have the miraculous cure of ten men afflicted with that miserable disease.

1. They met Christ on his journey, hearing it may be of his coming that way; and assembled to move his compassion, and unite their supplications to him. Keeping at a humble distance, they lifted up their voice and cried aloud for mercy to him, whom fame had proclaimed the Saviour of the miserable. Note; (1.) A humble sense of our own vileness should deeply affect our souls in all our approaches to God. (2.) Joint sufferers should unite their prayers, and thus more powerfully besiege the throne of grace.

2. Christ sent them to the priests for inspection, whom the law had made the judges of leprosy. And herein he intimated his design to cleanse them, if they in faith obeyed his direction; and withal hereby his power and glory would be made evident to those in the sanctuary, who, pronouncing these persons clean, might learn by what means the wondrous cure was wrought.

3. As they went, they were healed. They did not hesitate about the journey, or say, To what purpose should we go? but went in faith, and were accordingly healed: for in the way of duty we may expect Christ's powerful hand of grace to work effectually for us, where we are utterly unable to help ourselves.

4. One of the poor lepers no sooner received his cure, than he immediately returned, with a loud voice glorifying God, adoring the power and grace which he had so richly experienced; and fell at the feet of Jesus, with warmest gratitude expressing his acknowledgments of the mercy which he had received. Note; The least we can render to God for his goodness towards us, is praise; and therein we are bound to be speedy and hearty, deeply sensible that we are less than the least of all his mercies.

5. Christ expresses his approbation of his conduct, and encourages his faith. Nine out of the ten went on; but this man, though a Samaritan, a stranger to the commonwealth of Israel, evinced deeper gratitude and more unfeigned religion than those who professed themselves of the peculiar people of God. Our Lord therefore dismisses him with an assurance of a present internal salvation. His faith had not only obtained his cure in common with the rest, but had brought salvation into his soul. Note; (1.) Ingratitude is a common sin. How many more receive mercies from God than are thankful for them? (2.) We often meet with the greatest gratitude where we least expected it: while sometimes they who make profession of religion, most grievously disappoint us.

3rdly, We have our Lord's answer to the Pharisees' question, when the kingdom of God should come; that glorious temporal kingdom of the Messiah which their prejudices taught them to expect.

1. He informs them that it will come with none of that outward show which they imagined, nor occasion any such observation as they looked for; as when a prince makes his progress through his kingdom, every mouth is full of it, Lo here he comes, or lo there he resides: for behold the kingdom of God is within you; the heart is the seat of the Messiah's kingdom; there he sets up his throne, bringing the soul, with all its faculties, into obedience to his blessed Self. Note; (1.) Christianity knows no sect or party; Christ is not confined here or there; but all, who believe in him and love him in sincerity, are subjects of his happy government. (2.) We must look into our hearts whether Christ be formed in us. All true religion is internal and experimental, and without this the form and shew of godliness avail nothing.

2. He directs his discourse to his disciples, with a view to warn them of the difficulties that they must encounter.

Far from becoming great men in this world, esteemed and honoured as they flattered themselves, they would meet with such seasons of distress and persecution, as would make them look back with desire and regret upon one of these days, when they enjoyed Christ's personal presence with them, and wish for it in vain.

3. He foretels them of his speedy and unexpected appearance to destroy Jerusalem and the Jewish people; when driven to extremities, they would be ready to hearken to every impostor who pretended that Christ was here or there, ready to rescue them from the power of the Romans; but, like lightning, he would appear and utterly consume that devoted city and nation. Or, this may represent also the mighty efficacy of his gospel, which, with irresistible power and rapidity, should spread to the ends of the earth, notwithstanding all opposition.

4. He informs them that the Messiah must suffer many things, and be rejected of that generation: but when, by death, he has completed the great work of atonement, then all his enemies and theirs must fall before him.

5. His coming to destroy Jerusalem would be sudden and terrible, as the flood which consumed the old world, and the fire that devoured the cities of Sodom; while the sensuality and carnal security of the Jewish people would be like that which prevailed in the days of Lot and Noah, whose warnings were despised and disbelieved, till the threatened ruin came, and, too late, brought the dire conviction of their truth. So would the unbelieving Jews reject the warnings of Christ and his apostles, and perish as these despisers of old. Note; (1.) The inordinate pursuit of this world's gratifications is apt to lull the soul into a fatal security. (2.) It is common for sinners to go fast asleep into eternal misery, and not to be apprehensive of their danger till they lift up their eyes in torments.

6. He admonishes his disciples, as soon as they saw the danger approach, and the Roman army advancing to Jerusalem, to flee without delay; nor to regard what they left behind in the city, nor stop to cast a look thither-wards, lest, as Lot's wife was made a monument of divine vengeance, a like destruction should overtake them, if, solicitous about what they left, they should look back, or go back to save it. In these days of persecution, when tempted to save their lives by base compliances, they must remember that this would be the sure way to perish everlastingly; while readiness to meet death itself, in the way of duty, would most effectually secure their eternal life and glory. Note; (1.) We should often remember Lot's wife, and tremble at the thought of drawing back. (2.) If we would make a right estimation of our gain and loss, we must look forward to eternity, and take that into the reckoning.

7. God's distinguishing providence will in that day take care of his believing people, who, though exposed to the same dangers as others, shall be then singularly preserved, and escape from the general desolation.

8. In answer to his disciples, who inquired, Where, Lord? what will become of those who are left, and where shall the judgment light, he informs them, Where the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together: wherever the Jews are, the Romans, as eagles, will pursue them, seize them in their fastnesses, and utterly root them out of the land. And this may be applied to Christ himself, to whom all his believing people eagerly flock and feed on him, to the great strengthening and comfort of their souls.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-17.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

The disciples hearing our Saviour speak of such tremendous calamities, enquire, where these judments should fall. He answers them figuratively, and by a proverbial speech, that where the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together: signifying, that Jerusalem, and the obdurate nation of the Jews, was the carcass which the Roman armies, whose ensign was the eagle, would quickly find out and feed upon; and that Judea in general, and Jerusalem in particular, would be the theatre and stage of those tragical calamities.

Learn thence, that the appointed messengers of God's wrath, and the instruments of his vengeance, will suddenly gather together, certainly find out, and severely punish, an impenitent people devoted to destruction. Where the carcass is, (that is, the body of the Jewish nation,) there will the eagles, that is, the Roman soldiers, be gathered together.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-17.html. 1700-1703.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS

Oh! thou blessed Lord Jesus! well is it said by thee, that offences will come. Yes! thou, dear Lord! art thyself, to every carnal, unawakened sinner, a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence. Thy humble birth, thy meek deportment, thy cross, thy despised followers, to those who looked for temporal prosperity, was indeed an offence that nothing but sovereign grace could overcome. Blessed be that distinguishing grace of my God bestowed upon my poor heart, that I am no longer offended in thee!

Oh! for grace to every sensible, awakened sinner, to come to Jesus under the leprosy of sin. Would to God, I would say, like the poor captive servant in Syria, that all such were with my Lord, the Lord God of the prophets, that is Lord over Israel, Jesus. He can heal all of their leprosy of sin. Blessed Jesus! make all thy people sensible of this, according to the covenant promise in the day of thy power.

My soul! seek not for Christ's kingdom, in the mere outward things of observation; but seek it in the power of grace within, in the Lord's empire in the heart. Seek it in the Father's testimony of his dear Son; seek it in the complete, full, all-sufficient, and all-justifying righteousness, and blood shedding of the Lord Jesus Christ: and seek it in the precious, blessed, regenerating, and renewing grace of God the Holy Ghost. Here Jesus manifests his distinguishing love and mercy in the taking of one, and leaving the other; for while m any are called, few are chosen.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/luke-17.html. 1828.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

37.] ποῦ, not ‘how?’ (Kuinoel) but literal—where shall this happen? The disciples know not the universality of this which our Lord is announcing to them, and which His dark and awful saying proclaims, see note on it, Matthew 24:28.

Observe, there is not a word, except so far as the greater coming includes the lesser, in all this, of the destruction of Jerusalem. The future παρουσία of the Lord is the only subject: and thus it is an entirely distinct discourse from that in Matthew 24, or our ch. 21.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-17.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 17:37. ποῦ] not: quomodo (Kuinoel), against which ungrammatical rendering even the following ὅπου ought to have guarded him; but: where will this separation occur? As to what follows, see on Matthew 24:28. On σῶμα, corpse (of man or beast, the latter here), see Duncan, Lex. Homer. ed. Rost, p. 1069. Comp. Luke 23:52; Acts 9:40.

REMARK.

With regard to the discourses which are set forth here, Luke 17:22-37, but in Matthew 24 at another time and in another connection, viz. in that of the great discourse on the end of the world (comp. Luke 21), some have attributed (Schleiermacher, p. 215 ff., 265 ff., Neander, Olshausen, Bleek), others have denied (de Wette), originality to Luke. The latter view depends upon the assertion of a want of connection, and partial inappropriateness of the expressions in Luke, which assumption, however, is not justified by the exposition. But the former cannot be allowed at the expense of Matthew (see especially Schleiermacher, who supposes in Matthew a mingling of the originally separate discourses, Luke 17:22 ff; Luke 21:5 ff.), since even in Matthew everything stands in strictly linked connection; but Luke 21, in the same way as Matthew, places the Parousia in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem, Luke 21:25 ff. (comp. Strauss, II. p. 338). Without doing injustice to the one or the other evangelist, originality is to be conceded to both, so that Luke 17:22 ff. has preserved, in accordance with his original source, a discourse spoken by Jesus, which, not preserved by Matthew, and belonging to an earlier period than Matthew 24 and Luke 21, has the characteristic feature that it remains entirely apart from connection with the destruction of Jerusalem. That the substance of its contents was repeated by Jesus Himself in the great discourse of Matthew 24, is, in respect of the similarity of the material, intelligible enough, and this holds good especially of the characteristic words—lightning, deluge, eagles. But it cannot be decided how much in the execution and form is carried over from the one discourse into the other by the mingling processes of reminiscence and tradition, the rather that in general we can ascribe to the discourses in the synoptic Gospels on the end of the world originality only within certain limits, i.e. originality modified by the reflection and expectation of the church (see on Matthew 24, Remarks).

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-17.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 17:37. ποῦ, where) Where shall that occur, which is described in Luke 17:34-35?— ὁποῦ, where) The Lord indicates, by a periphrasis, the where, when He is now interrogated as to the calamities about to come, just as in Luke 17:21 He had answered on the question as to “the kingdom.”—[ τὸ σῶμα, the body) The whole Jewish nation, assembled at Jerusalem on the feast of Passover.— οἱ ἀετοὶ, the eagles) The Romans.—V. g.]

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". 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

Concerning the sense of this proverbial expression, and the various application of it by interpreters, See Poole on "Matthew 24:28". In our evangelist (where it is swma, not ptwma, as in Matthew, the word there properly signifying a dead body, the word here a living body) it seems to be applied to Christ’s glorious coming to judgment: Where I shall be, who am to be the Judge both of the quick and the dead, thither shall all the world be gathered before me, but my saints especially, who have eagles eyes, senses exercised to discern betwixt good and evil, to discern me as their Redeemer, and the true Messiah; according to that, Psalms 1:5,6. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 17:37". 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

См. пояснение к Мф. 24:28.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-17.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Where, Lord? where will such calamities come? Wheresoever the body is; wherever the unbelieving Jews are, there will their destroyers be upon them, as eagles upon their prey. Matthew 24:28.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-17.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

37.Where, Lord—See notes on Matthew 24:28. It is plain that the words Where, Lord, etc., are a fragment detached from some connected discourse. From what discourse? To no other place in the world can it be referred but to Matthew 24:28. In our note on that verse, (vol. i, p. 283,) we have so “incorporated Matthew and Luke together” in a little Harmony, as to present, probably, our Lord’s real words. Let us add this present fragment to that little Harmony, and suppose the disciples to ask, Where, Lord, shall the battlefields of that great slaughter be? Our Lord would reiterate his reply, Where the carcase, there the eagles. Wherever a company of Jews makes a stand, a cohort of Romans shall be upon them.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-17.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

What to look for17:37

Evidently the disciples ( Luke 17:22) wanted to know where this judgment would occur. Rather than giving them a geographical site, Jesus told them what to look for. The presence of corruption would indicate the coming of one to clean it up. Similarly the presence of a dead body outdoors indicated that a vulture would be along soon to eat the carrion (cf. Matthew 24:28; Revelation 19:21). Jesus may have been using a proverbial expression.

"Vultures hovering over dead bodies graphically depict the death and judgment that comes with Jesus" return as the judging Son of Man ( Luke 17:37)." [Note: Bock, "A Theology . . .," p137.]

The general teaching of the parable is that Jesus" appearing and the beginning of the kingdom will be sudden and unexpected by most people who are alive then. It will be an unmistakable event in history and will involve physical danger for earth-dwellers because divine judgment will follow immediately. No one will be able to miss it when it occurs. Jesus did not say exactly when it would occur, but clearly it would not happen immediately. An interval of time would have to elapse.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-17.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 17:37. Where, Lord? The Pharisees had inquired in regard to the time; the disciples ask about the place, with special reference to the separation just spoken of. They did not understand its universality. The answer of our Lord: where the body is, etc., proclaims this universality. In Matthew 24:28, we find precisely the same thought, ‘carcass’ being substituted for ‘body.’ There, however, a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem is probably included; here the second coming of Christ alone is spoken of. The principle is general.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "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 17:37. , the carcase = , Matthew 24:28; so used in Homer, who employs for the living body.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-17.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

the question of his disciples in the preceding verse, our blessed Saviour only returns this enigmatical answer, which seems to mean, that where-ever there are guilty Jews, there shall their enemies pursue them and find them out, not only in Jerusalem, but in all the cities of Judea, Galilee, &c. every where the vengeance of the Lord shall follow them, and overtake them. For the interpretation of other parts of this chapter, see St. Matthew chap. xxiv. (Calmet) --- If we observe some discrepancies between the precise words of our Lord, as given by St. Matthew and St. Luke, as in St. Matthew chap. xxiv. ver. 40, and in Luke xvii. 34, and alibi passim [elsewhere in various places], we can reconcile those apparent variations, by supposing that our Lord, in the course of his conversation, made use of both expressions. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Where, Lord? The question repeated in Matthew 24:28, as well as the answer.

Lord. App-98.

Wheresoever, &c. Figure of speech Parcemia. App-6.

body = carcass.

eagles = vultures. See Job 39:30. Compare Habakkuk 1:8. Hosea 8:1. Revelation 19:17-21.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "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

And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? Where shall this occur? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Though what is here said of the eagles is true rather of the vultures, yet as both are birds of prey, the former are named here (and in Matthew 24:28), with an evident allusion to the Roman eagles-the standard of the Roman army-to signify the vengeance more immediately referred to. 'As birds of prey scent out the carrion, so wherever is found a mass of incurable moral and spiritual corruption, there will be seen alighting the ministers of divine judgment;' a proverbial saying terrifically verified at the destruction of Jerusalem, and many times since, though its most tremendous illustration will be at the world's final day. For Remarks on this section, see those at the close of Mark 13:1-37.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "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

(37) Where, Lord?—The question comes in naturally here, where the future had been foreshadowed in parables and dark sayings. It would not have been natural in Matthew 24:28, where the whole context determined the locality of which our Lord was speaking.

Wheresoever the body is.—See Note on Matthew 24:28, the only variation being the use of “body” instead of “carcase.” The repetition of the half-proverbial saying at a later period indicates its importance as a law of God’s government. Men ask where His judgments fall, and the answer is that they fall wherever they are needed.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
wheresoever
Job 39:29,30; Daniel 9:26,27; Amos 9:1-4; Zechariah 13:8,9; 14:2; Matthew 24:28; 1 Thessalonians 2:16; Revelation 19:17,18 Reciprocal: Habakkuk 1:8 - they;  Luke 21:35 - dwell

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 17:37". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-17.html.