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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

Luke 10



Other Authors
Verse 1

1. μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα, i.e. after finally leaving Galilee, and starting on His great Peraean progress.

ἀνέδειξεν. ‘He appointed.’ Comp. ἀνάδειξις in Luke 1:80 and ἀνάδειξον in Acts 1:24.

καὶ ἑτέρους ἑβδομήκοντα. ‘Also others’ (besides the Twelve) ‘seventy in number.’ (Comp. ἕτεροι δύο, Luke 23:32.) Some MSS. read seventy-two (BDM, &c.). The number had evident reference to the Elders of Moses (Numbers 11:16), where there is the same variation; the numbers of the Sanhedrin; and the Jewish belief (derived from Genesis 10) as to the number of the nations of the world. It is true that no special allusion is here made to the Gentiles. The references to Elim with its 12 wells and 70 palm-trees are mere plays of allegoric fancy. Doubtless, as Ewald says, many of these 70 may have been among the 120 of Acts 1:15.

ἀνὰ δύο. The same merciful provision that we see in the brother-pairs of the Twelve.

εἰς πᾶσαν πόλιν, &c. Clearly with the same object as in Luke 9:52. It may have been all the more necessary because hitherto He had worked less in the Transjordanic regions.

οὗ. In grammatical strictness we should have had οἷ, ‘whither,’ but the use of adverbs of rest with verbs of motion is very common. Comp. ποῦ and ἐκεῖ, in Luke 12:17-18.

ἤμελλεν αὐτὸς ἔρχεσθαι. He intended to come in person.

Verses 1-24


Verses 1-42

CHAPS. Luke 9:51 to Luke 18:31

This section forms a great episode in St Luke, which may be called the departure for the final conflict, and is identical with the journey (probably to the Feast of the Dedication, John 10:22) which is partially touched upon in Matthew 18:1 to Matthew 20:16 and Mark 10:1-31. It contains many incidents recorded by this Evangelist alone, and though the recorded identifications of time and place are vague, yet they all point (Luke 9:51, Luke 13:22, Luke 17:11, Luke 10:38) to a slow, solemn, and public progress from Galilee to Jerusalem, of which the events themselves are often grouped by subjective considerations. So little certain is the order of the separate incidents, that one writer (Rev. W. Stewart) has made an ingenious attempt to shew that it is determined by the alphabetic arrangement of the leading Greek verbs (ἀγαπᾶν, Luke 10:25-42; αἰτεῖν, Luke 11:1-5; Luke 11:8-13, &c.). Canon Westcott arranges the order thus: The Rejection of the Jews foreshewn; Preparation, Luke 9:43 to Luke 11:13; Lessons of Warning, Luke 11:14 to Luke 13:9; Lessons of Progress, Luke 13:10 to Luke 14:24; Lessons of Discipleship, Luke 14:25 to Luke 17:10; the Coming End, Luke 17:10 to Luke 18:30.

The order of events after ‘the Galilaean spring’ of our Lord’s ministry on the plain of Gennesareth seems to have been this: After the period of flight among the heathen or in countries which were only semi-Jewish, of which almost the sole recorded incident is the healing of the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman (Matthew 15:21-28) He returned to Peraea and fed the four thousand. He then sailed back to Gennesareth, but left it in deep sorrow on being met by the Pharisees with insolent demands for a sign from heaven. Turning His back once more on Galilee, He again travelled northwards; healed a blind man at Bethsaida Julias; received St Peter’s great confession on the way to Caesarea Philippi; was transfigured; healed the demoniac boy; rebuked the ambition of the disciples by the example of the little child; returned for a brief rest in Capernaum, during which occurred the incident of the Temple Tax; then journeyed to the Feast of Tabernacles, in the course of which journey occurred the incidents so fully narrated by St John (John 7:1 to John 10:21). The events and teachings in this great section of St Luke seem to belong mainly, if not entirely, to the two months between the hasty return of Jesus to Galilee and His arrival in Jerusalem, two months afterwards, at the Feast of Dedication;—a period respecting which St Luke must have had access to special sources of information.

For fuller discussion of the question I must refer to my Life of Christ, II. 89–150.

Verse 2

2. ὁ μὲν θερισμὸς πολύς. Compare Matthew 9:37; John 4:35.

ἐκβάλῃ. The word literally means ‘drive forth,’ and though it has lost its full force implies urgency and haste. See similar uses of the word in John 10:4, Matthew 9:38, Mark 1:12.

Verse 3

3. ὑπάγετε. For this word, which occurs frequently in the other Synoptists, St Luke generally substitutes the more classical πορεύεσθαι.

ὡς ἄρνας. Comp. ‘As sheep,’ Matthew 10:16 (of the Twelve). The slight variation must not be pressed as though it meant that the 12 were τελειοτέρους (Euthym.). The impression meant to be conveyed is merely that of simplicity and defencelessness. A tradition, as old as Clemens Romanus, tells us that St Peter had asked (on the previous occasion), ‘But how then if the wolves should tear the lambs?’ and that Jesus replied, ‘Let not the lambs fear the wolves when the lambs are once dead,’ and added the words in Matthew 10:28. There is no reason to doubt this interesting tradition, which may rank as one of the most certain of the ‘unwritten sayings’ (ἄγραφα δόγματα) of our Lord.

Verse 4

4. μὴβαλλάντιον. Compare Luke 9:1-6, and notes; Matthew 10:1-42. The double λ is best supported by the MSS. though λ is more correct. St Luke alone uses this word (Luke 12:33; Luke 22:35-36). St Mark the Oriental ζώνην, ‘girdle.’

μὴ ὑποδήματα. The verb βαστάζετε shews the meaning to be that they were not to carry a second pair of sandals.

μηδένα κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ἀσπάσησθε. A common direction in cases of urgency (2 Kings 4:29), and partly explicable by the length and loitering elaborateness of Eastern greetings (Thomson, Land and Book, II. 24).

Verse 5

5. εἰρήνη τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ. Adopted in our service for the Visitation of the Sick. God’s messengers should begin first with prayers for peace, not with objurgations. Bengel.

Verse 6

6. υἱὸς εἰρήνης. ‘A son of peace,’ i.e. a man of peaceful heart. Comp. for the phrase Luke 16:8, Luke 20:36; John 17:12; Ephesians 5:6; Ephesians 5:8. υἱὸς ὀργῆς, Ephesians 2:3. γεέννης, Matthew 23:15. It is a Hebraism. Acts 4:36.

ἐπαναπαύσεται. The reading of א B is ἐπαναπαήσεται. The meaning is the same and the form is a possible one, since the 2nd aor. pass. in Chobotem is ἐπάην. Comp. Revelation 14:13 (AG, La[222] &c.).

ἐφ' ὑμὰς ἀνακάμψει. Matthew 10:13. “My prayer returned into mine own bosom,” Psalms 35:13.

Verse 7

7. ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ οἰκίᾳ. Not ‘in the same house’ as in A. V[223] (which would require ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ) but ‘in this house.’ St Luke however is fond of the collocation αὐτῇ τῇ for the ἐκείνῃ τῇ of the other Evangelists. The perf. means that the kingdom ‘has drawn near,’ and therefore ‘is near.’

ἔσθοντες καὶ πίνοντες τὰ παρ' αὐτῶν. As a plain right. 1 Corinthians 9:4; 1 Corinthians 9:7-11. τὰ παρ' αὐτῶν means ‘the things from them,’ i.e. what they give.

ἄξιος γὰρ ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὐτοῦ. Referred to by St Paul, 1 Timothy 5:18. Doubtless he may have been aware that our Lord had used it, but the saying was probably proverbial.

Verse 9

9. ἤγγικεν ἐφ' ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ. So that our Lord’s last messages resembled His first preaching, Matthew 4:17.

Verse 11

11. καὶ τὸν κονιορτόν. Acts 13:49-51; Acts 18:5-7.

πλήν. In late Greek πλὴν (in the sense of caeterum ‘only, nevertheless,’) is often followed immediately by a finite verb. This construction is rare and chiefly poetic in classical Greek.

Verse 12

12. Σοδόμοις ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ ἀνεκτότερον. The words ‘in that day’ are left vague. They may refer primarily to approaching national judgments; ultimately to the Great Day. By the punishment of the city we must of course understand the punishment of its inhabitants. The great principle which explains these words may be found in Luke 12:47-48 (compare Hebrews 2:2-3; Hebrews 10:28-29).

Verse 13

13. οὐαί σοι Χοραζείν. The mention of this town is very interesting because this is the only occasion (Matthew 11:21) on which the name occurs, and we are thus furnished with a very striking proof of the fragmentariness of the Gospels. The very site of Chorazin was long unknown. It has now been discovered at Keraseh, the ruins of an old town on a wady, two miles inland from Tel Hum (Capernaum). At a little distance these ruins look like mere rude heaps of basaltic stones. Etiam periere ruinae.

Βηθσαϊδά. See on Luke 9:10.

αἱ δυνάμεις. Literally, ‘the powers.’

πάλαι ἂνμετενόησαν. Like Nineveh (Jonah 3:5-10), “Surely had I sent thee unto them they would have hearkened unto thee,” Ezekiel 3:6; comp. James 4:17.

καθήμενοι. This is a constructio ad sensum. The participle does not agree with the fem. name of the towns but refers to their inhabitants.

Verse 14

14. ἀνεκτότερονἐν τῇ κρίσει. A very important verse as proving the ‘intermediate state’ (Hades) of human souls. The guilty inhabitants of these cities had received their temporal punishment (Genesis 19:24-25); but the final judgment was yet to come.

Verse 15

15. καὶ σὺ Καφαρναούμ. Christ’s “own city.”

μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ; Shalt thou be exalted by inestimable spiritual privileges? “Admitted into a holier sanctuary, they were guilty of a deeper sacrilege.” A better reading (for ὑψωθεῖσα) is μὴ ὑψωθήσῃ; “Shalt thou be exalted to heaven? Thou shalt be thrust down …!” It must however be admitted that μὴ may have originated by homoeteleuton from the final μ of Capernaum.

ἕως ᾅδου καταβιβασθήσῃ. Thou shalt be thrust down as far as Hades. The curse must be understood in a general and national sense. The bright little town on the hill by the lake with its marble synagogues doubtless expected to be the prosperous capital of Galilee. Its fate was far different. When our Lord uttered this woe these cities on the shores of Gennesareth were populous and prospering; now they are desolate heaps of ruins in a miserable land. The inhabitants who lived thirty years longer may have recalled these woes in the unspeakable horrors of slaughter and conflagration which the Romans then inflicted on them. It is immediately after the celebrated description of the loveliness of the Plain of Gennesareth that Josephus goes on to tell of the shore strewn with wrecks and putrescent bodies, “insomuch that the misery was not only an object of commiseration to the Jews, but even to those that hated them and had been the authors of that misery,” Jos. B.J. III. 10, § 8. For fuller details see my Life of Christ, II. 101 sq.

Verse 16

16. ἀθετεῖ. Literally, “setting at nought.” For comment on the verse see 1 Thessalonians 4:8; Matthew 18:5; John 12:44.

Verse 17

17. ὑπέστρεψανμετὰ χαρᾶς. The success of their mission is more fully recorded than that of the Twelve.

καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια. ‘Even the demons.’ Plura in effectu experti sunt quam Jesus expresserat. Bengel. They had been bidden (Luke 10:9) to “heal the sick;” but these are the only healings that they mention.

ὑποτάσσεται. ‘Are being subjected.’

Verse 18

18. ἐθεώρουν τὸν σατανᾶν ὡς ἀστραπὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πεσόντα. ‘I was observing Satan as lightning fallen from heaven,’ Isaiah 14:9-15. We find similar thoughts in John 16:11; John 12:31, “Now shall the prince of this world be cast out;” 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 2:14. πεσόντα, not cadentem but lapsum. The metaphor is a picturesque one, and the mixture of the imperfect (ἐθεώρουν) with the aorist (πεσόντα) seems to imply the two thoughts that Christ watched—followed with His gaze—Satan’s fall from the zenith, and saw him lying where he had fallen. The fall implies the conception of Satan as “prince of the power of the air” (τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις). Comp. Revelation 12:9; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12.

Verse 19

19. δέδωκα. ‘I have given,’ with א BCL, &c.

τὴν ἐξουσίαν. ‘The authority.’

τοῦ πατεῖν ἐπάνω ὄφεων καὶ σκορπίων. Compare Mark 16:17-18. So far as the promise was literal, the only fact of the kind referred to in the N.T. is Acts 28:3-5. In legend we have the story of St John saved from the poison, which is represented in Christian art as a viper escaping from the cup (Jameson, Sacred and Legendary Art, I. 159). But it may be doubted whether the meaning was not predominantly spiritual, as in Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20; Psalms 91:13; Isaiah 11:8. For the metaphorical application of ‘serpents’ and ‘scorpions’ see Luke 3:7; Revelation 9:5.

οὐδὲν ὑμᾶς οὐ μὴ ἀδικήσει. Romans 8:28; Romans 8:39.

Verse 20

20. μὴ χαίρετεχαίρετε δὲ ὅτι. Here, as often, the ‘not’ followed by ‘but’ means ‘not so much … as that.’ “Nolite tam propterea laetari … quam potius.” This idiom, which is very important to observe in the interpretation of Scripture, is found in Acts 5:4 (not so much to man, as to God), 1 Corinthians 15:10 (not I alone, but the grace of God with me), &c. See Winer, p. 621.

ἐνγέγραπται ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. ‘Have been recorded in the heavens’. On this ‘Book of God,’ or ‘Book of Life,’ see Exodus 32:32; Psalms 69:28; Daniel 12:1; Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 21:27. Such a record is the opposite to being “written in the earth,” Jeremiah 17:13. The reading ἐγράφη would point to the single fact of their names being inscribed; ἐγγέγραπται, to their standing permanently recorded. Comp. Esther 10:2.

Verse 21

21. ἠγαλλιάσατο. ‘Exulted,’ a much stronger word than the ‘rejoiced’ of the A.V[224]; and most valuable as recording one element—the element of exultant joy—in the life of our Lord, on which the Evangelists touch so rarely as to have originated the legend, preserved in the spurious letter of P. Lentulus to the Senate, that He wept often, but that no one had ever seen Him smile. The word ἐνεβριμήσατο τῷ πνεύματι (John 11:33) expresses the opposite extreme of emotion.

ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι πάτερ. Literally, “I make grateful acknowledgment to Thee.” For the verb see Romans 14:11. It has this sense often in the LXX[225] It also means ‘to confess,’ Matthew 3:6, &c.

ἀπὸ σοφῶν καὶ συνετῶννηπίοις. Here we have the contrast between the ‘wisdom of the world,’ which is ‘foolishness with God,’ and the ‘foolishness of the world,’ which is ‘wisdom with God,’ on which St Paul also was fond of dwelling, 1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 1:26; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Romans 1:22. For similar passages in the Gospels see Matthew 16:17; Matthew 18:3-4.

νηπίοις, i.e. to all who have “the young lamb’s heart amid the full-grown flocks”—to all innocent childlike souls, such as are often those of the truly wise. Genius itself has been defined as “the heart of childhood taken up and matured into the power of manhood.” God, says Gess, met the pride of intellect by blindness, and rewarded truth-loving simplicity by revelation.

ναὶ ὁ πατήρ. The nom. is here used in a vocative sense, as in Luke 8:54, ἡ παῖς ἔγειρε; Matthew 27:29, χαῖρε ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων. This is especially the case with the imperative, as in Luke 12:32, μὴ φοβοῦ τὸ μικρὸν ποίμνιον. The meaning is not however exactly the same as in the πάτερ at the beginning of the verse, but ‘Thou who art my Father.’

εὐδοκία ἔμπροσθέν σου. A Hebraism. Exodus 28:38.

Verse 22

22. πάντα μοι παρεδόθη ὑπό. ‘Were delivered to me by,’ cf. Luke 20:14. This entire verse is one of those in which the teaching of the Synoptists (Matthew 28:18) comes into nearest resemblance to that of St John, which abounds in such passages (John 1:18; John 3:35; John 5:26-27; John 6:44; John 6:46; John 14:6-9; John 17:1-2; 1 John 5:20). In the same way we find this view assumed in St Paul’s earlier Epistles (e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:27), and magnificently developed in the Epistles of the Captivity (Philippians 2:9; Ephesians 1:21-22).

γινώσκει. Lit. ‘recogniseth.’ The various reading adopted by Marcion—ἔγνω—is as ancient as Justin Martyr, the Clementines, &c.

τίς ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸςτίς ἐστιν ὁ πατὴρ. The periphrasis seems to express the same as the ἐπιγινώσκει, ‘fully knows,’ of St Matt., and both may be (as Godet suggests) modes of representing the Aramaic idiom ידע על .

Verse 23

23. μακάριοι οἱ ὀφθαλμοί. Comp. Matthew 13:16.

Verse 24

24. προφῆται καὶ βασιλεῖς. E.g. Abraham, Genesis 20:7; Genesis 23:6; Jacob, Genesis 49:18; Balaam, Numbers 24:17; David, 2 Samuel 23:1-5.

καὶ οὐκ εἶδαν. John 8:56; Ephesians 3:5-6; Hebrews 11:13.

“Save that each little voice in turn

Some glorious truth proclaims

What sages would have died to learn,

Now taught by cottage dames.”


Verse 25

25. νομικός τις. A teacher of the Mosaic Law—differing little from a scribe, as the man is called in Mark 12:28. The same person may have had both functions—that of preserving and that of expounding the Law.

ἐκπειράζων αὐτόν. Literally, “putting Him fully to the test” (Luke 4:12); but the purpose does not seem to have been so deliberately hostile as in Luke 11:54.

τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω; See Luke 18:18, and the answer there also given. It is interesting to compare it with the answer given by St Paul after the Ascension, Acts 16:30-31. Had the ‘lawyer’ known what ‘eternal life’ is (John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:47; John 17:37, &c.) he would have framed his question very differently.

Verses 25-37


Verse 26

26. πῶς ἀναγινώσκεις; The phrase resembled one in constant use among the Rabbis (מאי קראת ) and therefore involves a grave rebuke. The lawyer deserved to get no other answer because his question was not sincere. The very meaning and mission of his life was to teach this answer.

Verse 27

27. ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου. This was the summary of the Law in Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 10:12; Leviticus 19:18.

ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου. Only three substantives are used in the Hebrew and the LXX[226], but the latter translate לב, ‘heart,’ by διανοία, ‘understanding.’ St Mark also has the four substantives, but uses σύνεσις for διανοία. St Matthew has three (Luke 22:37). Godet.

καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν. Hillel had given this part of the answer to an inquirer who similarly came to put him to the test, and as far as it went, it was a right answer (Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:13-14; James 2:8); but it became futile if left to stand alone, without the first Commandment.

Verse 28

28. ὀρθῶς ἀπεκρίθης. Comp. “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” Genesis 4:7; “which if a man do, he shall live in them,” Leviticus 18:5; Romans 10:5; but see Galatians 3:21-22.

τοῦτο ποίει. As the passage from Deuteronomy was one of those inscribed in the phylacteries (little leather boxes containing four texts in their compartments), which the scribe wore on his forehead and wrist, it is an ingenious conjecture that our Lord, as He spoke, pointed to one of these.

Verse 29

29. θέλων δικαιῶσαι ἑαυτόν. Desiring to justify himself “before men”—a thing which the Pharisees were ever prone to do, Luke 16:15. He felt that Christ’s answer involved a censure and therefore wished to justify his question.

τίς ἐστίν μου πλησίον; No doubt the meaning is who is my neighbour? but as πλησίον is an adv. the omission of the article is unusual and not easily explained. He wants his moral duties to be labelled and defined with the Talmudic precision to which ceremonial duties had been reduced.

Verse 30

30. ἄνθρωπός τις. Clearly, as the tenor of the Parable implies, a Jew.

κατέβαινεν ἀπὸ Ἱερουσαλὴμ εἰς Ἱερειχώ. A rocky, dangerous gorge (Jos. B. J. IV. 8, § 3), haunted by marauding Bedawin, and known as ‘the bloody way’ (Adommim, Jerome, De loc. Hebr. and on Jeremiah 3:2). Some explain this name by the dark red colour of the overhanging rocks. The “went down” is strictly accurate, for the road descends very rapidly from Jerusalem to the Jordan valley. The distance is about 21 miles. For Jericho, see Luke 19:1.

λῃσταῖς περιέπεσεν. ‘Fell among robbers, or brigands.’ The phrase is a classical one, Hdt. VI. 105, &c. Palestine was notorious for these plundering Arabs. Herod the Great had rendered real service to the country in extirpating them from their haunts, but they constantly sprung up again, and even the Romans could not effectually put them down (Jos. Antt. XX. 6, § 1; B. J. XI. 12, § 5). On this very road an English baronet—Sir Frederic Henniker—was stripped and murdered by Arab robbers in 1820. “He was probably thinking of the Parable of the Samaritan when the assassin’s stroke laid him low,” Porter’s Palestine, I. 151.

πληγὰς ἐπιθέντες. ‘Laying blows on him.’

ἡμιθανῆ. Some MSS. omit the τυγχάνοντα, ‘chancing to be still alive.’ So far as the robbers were concerned, it was a mere accident that any life was left in him. The τυγχάνοντα with one graphic touch expresses the absolute indifference of these bandits to so small a matter as his living or dying.

Verse 31

31. κατὰ συγκυρίαν. ‘By coincidence.’ i.e. at the same time. The word ‘chance’ (τύχη) does not occur in Scripture. The nearest approach to it is the participle τυχὸν in 1 Corinthians 15:37 (if τυγχάνοντα be omitted in Luke 10:30). ‘Chance,’ to the sacred writers, as to the most thoughtful of the Greeks, is ‘the daughter of Forethought:’ it is “God’s unseen Providence, by men nicknamed Chance” (Fuller). “Many good opportunities work under things which seem fortuitous.” Bengel. The rare word συγκυρία is, like others used by St Luke, found chiefly in the writings of Hippocrates.

ἱερεύς τις. His official duties at Jerusalem were over, and he was on his way back to his home in the priestly city of Jericho. Perhaps the uselessness of his external service is implied. In superstitious attention to the letter, he was wholly blind to the spirit, Deuteronomy 22:1-4. See 1 John 3:17. He was selfishly afraid of risk, trouble, and ceremonial defilement, and, since no one was there to know of his conduct, he was thus led to neglect the traditional kindness of Jews towards their own countrymen (Tac. Hist. Luke 10:5; Juv. XIV. 103, 104), as well as the positive rules of the Law (Deuteronomy 22:4) and the Prophets (Isaiah 58:7).

ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἐκείνῃ. ‘On that road.’ It is emphatically mentioned, because there was another road to Jericho which was safer, and therefore more frequently used.

Verse 32

32. ἐλθὼν καὶ ἰδών. This vivid touch shews us the cold curiosity of the Levite, which was even baser than the dainty neglect of the priest. Perhaps the priest had been aware that a Levite was behind him, and left the trouble to him: and perhaps the Levite said to himself that he need not do what the priest had not thought fit to do. By choosing Galatians 3:16-23 as the Epistle to be read with this Gospel (13th Sunday after Trinity) the Church indicates her view that this Parable implies the failure of the Jewish Priesthood and Law to pity or remove the misery and sin of man.

Verse 33

33. Σαμαρίτης τις. A Samaritan is thus selected for high eulogy—though the Samaritans had so ignominiously rejected Jesus (Luke 9:53).

ὁδεύων. He was not ‘coming down’ as the Priest and Levite were from the Holy City and the Temple, but from the unauthorised worship of alien Gerizim.

ἐσπλαγχνίσθη. The aorist implies that his pity was instantaneous. There was no looking on and weighing considerations, as in the case of the calculating Levite. He thereby shewed himself, in spite of his heresy and ignorance, a better man than the orthodox priest and Levite; and all the more so because he was an ‘alien’ (see on Luke 17:18), and “the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9), and this very wounded man would, under other circumstances, have shrunk from the touch of the Samaritan as from pollution. Yet this ‘Cuthaean’—this ‘worshipper of the pigeon’—this man of a race which was accused of misleading the Jews by false fire-signals, and of defiling the Temple with human bones—whose testimony would not have been admitted in a Jewish court of law—with whom no Jew would so much as eat (Jos. Antt. XX. 6, § 1, XVIII. 2, § 2; B. J. II. 12, § 3)—shews a spontaneous and perfect pity of which neither Priest nor Levite had been remotely capable. The fact that the Jews had applied to our Lord Himself the opprobrious name of “Samaritan” (John 8:48) is one of the indications that a deeper meaning lies under the beautiful obvious significance of the Parable. One main difference between the Samaritan and the ecclesiastics who had gone before him was that his thoughts were of mercy and theirs of sacrifice (Matthew 9:13).

Verse 34

34. ἐπιχέων ἔλαιον καὶ οἶνον. The ordinary remedies of the day. Isaiah 1:6; Mark 6:13; James 5:14. See Excursus VII. The present participle with the aorist verb implies that he kept pouring the oil and wine on (not in. A.V[227]) the wounds while he bound them up. See Plin. H. N. XXIX. 9; xxxi. 7.

ἐπιβιβάσας αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τό ἴδιον κτῆνος. The word implies the labour of ‘lifting him up,’ and then the good Samaritan walked by his side. ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν εἰς πανδοχεῖον. The Attic form of the word is πανδοκεῖον. See on Luke 2:7. There the word is κατάλυμα, a mere khan or caravanserai. Perhaps this inn was at Bahurim. In this and the next verse a word or two suffices to shew the Samaritan’s sympathy, helpfulness, self-denial, generosity, and perseverance in kindliness.

Verse 35

35. ἐπὶ τὴν αὔριον. Towards the morning. The Samaritan would, like all oriental travellers, start with the actual dawn. Comp. ἐπὶ τὸ πρωΐ, Mark 15:1; ἐπὶ τὴν ὥραν τῆς προσευχῆς, Acts 3:1.

ἐκβαλών. Literally, “throwing out” of his girdle.

δύο δηνάρια. i.e. two denarii; enough to pay for the man for some days. The Parable lends itself to the broader meaning, which sees the state of mankind wounded by evil passions and spiritual enemies; left unhelped by systems of sacrifice and ceremonial (Galatians 3:21); pitied and redeemed by Christ (Isaiah 61:1), and left to be provided for until His return by spiritual ministrations in the Church. But to see in the “two pence” any specific allusion to the Old and New Testaments, or to ‘the two sacraments,’ or to see in ‘the beast of burden’ Christ’s body, and in the ‘landlord’ the Bishop, is to push to extravagance the elaboration of details.

τῷ πανδοχεῖ. The word occurs here only in the N.T., and the fact that in the Talmud the Greek word for ‘an inn with a host’ is adopted, seems to shew that the institution had come in with Greek customs. In earlier and simpler days the open hospitality of the East excluded the necessity for anything but ordinary khans.

ἐγώ. The expression of the ἐγώ and its emphatic position shew that it is meant to imply ‘come exclusively to me for payment. Do not trouble this poor wounded traveller who has lost his all.’ There is therefore in the word a deep theological significance. Our wounded Humanity can offer nothing of its own to God.

Verse 36

36. πλησίονγεγονέναι. ‘To have proved himself a neighbour.’

Verse 37

37. τὸ ἔλεος. ‘The pity.’ By this poor periphrasis the lawyer avoids the shock to his own prejudices, which would have been involved in the hated word, ‘the Samaritan.’ “He will not name the Samaritan by name, the haughty hypocrite.” Luther.

μετ' αὐτοῦ. An unclassical use of μετά. The recipient of the act is here (inaccurately) regarded as a partner in it. The use of μετὰ is extended in later and modern Greek. Winer, p. 471.

πορεύου καὶ σὺ ποίει ὁμοίως. The general lesson is that of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:44. The Scribe had looked for a scholastic, theologically accurate definition of the word “neighbour,” such as a Pharisaic Rabbi would have furnished to his pupils. Our Lord never gave scholastic or theological answers, but shews him how he could make anyone his neighbour.

Verse 38

38. εἰς κώμην τινά. Undoubtedly Bethany, John 11:1. Both this and the expression “a certain woman” are obvious traces of a tendency to reticence about the family of Bethany which we find in the Synoptists (Matthew 26:6; Mark 14:3). It was doubtless due to the danger which the family incurred from their residing in the close vicinity of Jerusalem, and therefore of “the Jews,” as St John always calls the Pharisees, Priests, and ruling classes who opposed our Lord. By the time that St John wrote, after the destruction of Jerusalem, all need for such reticence was over. It is mere matter of conjecture whether ‘Simon the leper’ was the father of the family, or whether Martha was his widow; nor can Lazarus be identified with the gentle and holy Rabbi Eliezer of the Talmud. This narrative clearly belongs to a period just before the winter Feast of Dedication, because Bethany is close to Jerusalem. Its introduction at this point by St Luke (who alone preserves it, see Introd. p. 27) is due to subjective grouping, and probably to the question “what shall I do?” Luke 10:25.

Verses 38-42


Verse 39

39. ἣ καὶ παρακαθεσθεῖσα πρὸς τοὺς πόδας τοῦ κυρίου. The “also” shews that Mary too, in her way, was no less anxious to give Jesus a fitting reception. Here, in one or two lines, we have a most clear sketch of the contrasted character of the two sisters, far too subtly and indirectly accordant with what we learn of them in St John to be due to anything but the harmony of truth. This is one of the incidents in which the Evangelist shews such consummate psychologic skill and insight that he is enabled by a few touches to set before us the most distinct types of character.

ἤκουεν τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ. ‘Was listening to His discourse.’

Verse 40

40. περιεσπᾶτο περὶ πολλὴν διακονίαν. The word for “cumbered” literally means ‘was being dragged in different directions,’ i.e. was distracted (1 Corinthians 7:35). She was anxious to give her Lord a most hospitable reception, and was vexed at the contemplative humility which she regarded as slothfulness. The occurrence of ἀπερισπάστως, μεριμνᾷ, εὐπρόσεδρον in 1 Corinthians 7:34-35 seems to shew that St Paul had orally heard this narrative.

ἐπιστᾶσα. ‘But suddenly coming up’ (Luke 20:1; Acts 23:27). We see in this inimitable touch the little petulant outburst of jealousy in the loving, busy matron, as she hurried in with the words, “Why is Mary sitting there doing nothing?”

με κατέλιπεν. The word means ‘left me alone in the middle of my work’ to come and listen to you.

εἰπὸν οὖν αὐτῇ ἵνα μοι συναντιλάβηται. We almost seem to hear the undertone of ‘It is no use for me to tell her.’ Doubtless, had she been less ‘fretted’ (θορυβάζῃ), she would have felt that to leave her alone and withdraw into the background while this eager hospitality was going on was the kindest and most unselfish thing which Mary could do.

Verse 41

41. ΄άρθα ΄άρθα. The repeated name adds traditional tenderness to the rebuke, as in Luke 22:31; Acts 9:4.

μεριμνᾷς καὶ θορυβάζῃ περὶ πολλά. “I would have you without carefulness,” 1 Corinthians 7:32; Matthew 6:25. The words literally mean, ‘Thou art anxious and bustling.’ Her inward solicitude was shewing itself in outward hastiness.

Verse 42

42. ἑνὸς δέ ἐστιν χρεία. The context should sufficiently have excluded the very bald, commonplace, and unspiritual meaning which has been attached to this verse,—that only one dish was requisite, or that only one person was wanted to work in the kitchen. Clearly the lesson conveyed is the same as in Matthew 6:33; Matthew 16:26, even if our Lord’s first reference was the lower one. The various readings ‘but there is need of few things,’ or ‘of few things or of one’ (א B various versions, &c.) seem to have risen from the notion that even for the simplest meal more than one dish would be required. This, however, is not the case in the simple meals of the East.

΄αρία γάρ. The γὰρ implies ‘Nor can I rebuke her; for she, &c.’

μερίδα. ‘Portion’ (as of a banquet, Genesis 43:34, LXX[228]; John 6:27) or ‘inheritance,’ Psalms 73:26. ἥτις=quippe quae. The nature of the portion is such that, &c.

ἥτις οὐκ ἀφαιρεθήσεται αὐτῆς. To speak of such theological questions as ‘indefectible grace’ here, is to use the narrative otherwise than was intended. The general meaning is that of Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5. It has been usual with Roman Catholic and other writers to see in Martha the type of the active, and in Mary of the contemplative disposition, and to exalt one above the other. This is not the point of the narrative, for both dispositions may and ought to be combined as in St Paul and in St John. The gentle reproof to Martha is aimed not at her hospitable activity, but at the ‘fret and fuss,’ the absence of repose and calm, by which it was accompanied; and above all, at the tendency to reprobate and interfere with excellence of a different kind.


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Luke 10:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

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