corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Luke 18



Verse 1

To the end that (προς το δεινpros to dein).

With a view to the being necessary, προςpros and the articular infinitive. The impersonal verb δειdei here is in the infinitive and has another infinitive loosely connected with it προσευχεσταιproseuchesthai to pray.

Not to faint (μη ενκακεινmē enkakein). Literally, not to give in to evil (εν κακεωen κακοςkakeō from kakos bad or evil), to turn coward, lose heart, behave badly. A late verb used several times in the N.T. (2 Corinthians 4:1, 2 Corinthians 4:16, etc.).


Verse 2

Regarded not (μη εντρεπομενοςmē entrepomenos). Present middle participle of εντρεπωentrepō old verb, to turn one on himself, to shame one, to reverence one. This was a “hard-boiled” judge who knew no one as his superior. See Matthew 21:37.

Verse 3

Came oft (ηρχετοērcheto). Imperfect tense denotes repetitions, no adverb for “oft” in the Greek.

Avenge me of (εκδικησον με αποekdikēson me apo). A late verb for doing justice, protecting one from another (note both εκek and αποapo here). Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, pp. 420ff.) quotes a στηληstēlē of the second century b.c. with a prayer for vengeance for a Jewish girl that had been murdered which has this very verb εκδικεωekdikeō f0).

Verse 4

He would not (ουκ ητελενouk ēthelen). Imperfect tense of continued refusal.

Though (ει καιei kai). Concerning sentence, not και ειkai ei (even if).

Verse 5

Yet (γεge). Delicate intensive particle of deep feeling as here.

Because this widow troubleth me (δια το παρεχειν μοι κοπον την χηραν ταυτηνdia to parechein moi kopon tēn chēran tautēn). Literally, because of the furnishing me trouble as to this widow (accusative of general reference with the articular infinitive).

Lest she wear me out (ινα μη υπωπιαζηι μεhina mē hupōpiazēi me). Some take it that the judge is actually afraid that the widow may come and assault him, literally beat him under the eye. That idea would be best expressed here by the aorist tense.

Verse 6

The unrighteous judge (ο κριτης της αδικιαςho kritēs tēs adikias). The judge of unrighteousness (marked by unrighteousness), as in Luke 16:8 we have “the steward of unrighteousness,” the same idiom.

Verse 7

And he is longsuffering (μακροτυμειmakrothumei). This present active indicative comes in awkwardly after the aorist subjunctive ποιησηιpoiēsēi after ου μηou mē but this part of the question is positive. Probably καιkai here means “and yet” as so often (John 9:30; John 16:32, etc.). God delays taking vengeance on behalf of his people, not through indifference, but through patient forbearance.

Verse 8

Howbeit (πληνplēn). It is not clear whether this sentence is also a question or a positive statement. There is no way to decide. Either will make sense though not quite the same sense. The use of αραāra before ευρησειheurēsei seems to indicate a question expecting a negative answer as in Acts 8:30; Romans 14:19. But here αραāra comes in the middle of the sentence instead of near the beginning, an unusual position for either inferential αραāra or interrogative αραāra On the whole the interrogative αραāra is probably correct, meaning to question if the Son will find a persistence of faith like that of the widow.

Verse 9

Set all others at naught (εχουτενουντας τους λοιπουςexouthenountas tous loipous). A late verb εχουτενεωexoutheneō like ουδενεωoudeneō from ουτενouthen (ουδενouden), to consider or treat as nothing. In lxx and chiefly in Luke and Paul in the N.T.

Verse 10

Stood (στατειςstatheis). First aorist passive participle of ιστημιhistēmi Struck an attitude ostentatiously where he could be seen. Standing was the common Jewish posture in prayer (Matthew 6:5; Mark 11:25).

Prayed thus (ταυτα προσηυχετοtauta prosēucheto). Imperfect middle, was praying these things (given following).

With himself (προς εαυτονpros heauton). A soliloquy with his own soul, a complacent recital of his own virtues for his own self-satisfaction, not fellowship with God, though he addresses God.

I thank thee (ευχαριστω σοιeucharistō soi). But his gratitude to God is for his own virtues, not for God‘s mercies to him. One of the rabbis offers a prayer like this of gratitude that he was in a class by himself because he was a Jew and not a Gentile, because he was a Pharisee and not of the αρπαγεςam-αρπαχhaaretz or common people, because he was a man and not a woman.

Extortioners (αρπαζωharpages). An old word, η καιharpax from same root as ο τεοςharpazō to plunder. An adjective of only one gender, used of robbers and plunderers, grafters, like the publicans (Luke 3:13), whether wolves (Matthew 7:15) or men (1 Corinthians 5:10.). The Pharisee cites the crimes of which he is not guilty.

Or even (τεοςē kai). As the climax of iniquity (Bruce), he points to “this publican.” Zaccheus will admit robbery (Luke 19:8).

God (ho theos). Nominative form with the article as common with the vocative use of theos (so Luke 18:13; John 20:28).

Verse 12

Twice in the week (δις του σαββατουdis tou sabbatou). One fast a year was required by the law (Leviticus 16:29; Numbers 29:7). The Pharisees added others, twice a week between passover and pentecost, and between tabernacles and dedication of the temple.

I get (κτωμαιktōmai). Present middle indicative, not perfect middle κεκτημαιkektēmai (I possess). He gave a tithe of his income, not of his property.

Verse 13

Standing afar off (μακροτεν εστωςmakrothen hestōs). Second perfect active participle of ιστημιhistēmi intransitive like στατειςstatheis above. But no ostentation as with the Pharisee in Luke 18:11. At a distance from the Pharisee, not from the sanctuary.

Would not lift (ουκ ητελεν ουδε επαραιouk ēthelen oude epārai). Negatives (double) imperfect of επαραιthelō was not willing even to lift up, refused to lift (επαιρωepārai first aorist active infinitive of the liquid compound verb, ετυπτεep -τυπτωairō). Smote (ιλαστητιetupte). Imperfect active of ιλασκομαιtuptō old verb, kept on smiting or beating. Worshippers usually lifted up their closed eyes to God.

Be merciful (εχιλασκομαιhilasthēti). First aorist passive imperative of τωι αμαρτωλωιhilaskomai an old verb, found also in lxx and inscriptions (exhilaskomai Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 224).

A sinner (tōi hamartōlōi). The sinner, not a sinner. It is curious how modern scholars ignore this Greek article. The main point in the contrast lies in this article. The Pharisee thought of others as sinners. The publican thinks of himself alone as the sinner, not of others at all.

Verse 14

This man (ουτοςhoutos). This despised publican referred to contemptuously in Luke 18:11 as “this” (ουτοςhoutos) publican.

Rather than the other (παρ εκεινονpar' ekeinon). In comparison with (placed beside) that one. A neat Greek idiom after the perfect passive participle δεδικαιομενοςdedikaiomenos (οτιhoti). This moral maxim Christ had already used in Luke 14:11. Plummer pertinently asks: “Why is it assumed that Jesus did not repeat his sayings?”

Verse 15

They brought (προσεπερονprosepheron). Imperfect active, they were bringing. So Mark 10:13.

Their babes (τα βρεπηta brephē). Old word for infants. Here Mark 10:13; Matthew 19:13 have παιδιαpaidia (little children). Note “also” (καιkai) in Luke, not in Mark and Matthew.

That he should touch them (ινα αυτων απτηταιhina autōn haptētai). Present middle subjunctive (linear action, repeatedly touch or one after the other), where Mark 10:13 has aorist middle subjunctive (απσηταιhapsētai).

Rebuked (επετιμωνepetimōn). Imperfect indicative active. Either inchoative began to rebuke, or continued, kept on rebuking. Matthew and Mark have the aorist επετιμησανepetimēsan f0).

Verse 16

Called (προσεκαλεσατοprosekalesato). Indirect middle aorist indicative, called the children with their parents to himself and then rebuked the disciples for their rebuke of the parents. The language of Jesus is precisely that of Mark 10:14 which see, and nearly that of Matthew 19:14 which see note also. The plea of Jesus that children be allowed to come to him is one that many parents need to heed. It is a tragedy to think of parents “forbidding” their children or of preachers doing the same or of both being stumbling-blocks to children.

Verse 17

As a little child (ως παιδιονhōs paidion). Jesus makes the child the model for those who seek entrance into the kingdom of God, not the adult the model for the child. He does not say that the child is already in the kingdom without coming to him. Jesus has made the child‘s world by understanding the child and opening the door for him.

Verse 18

Ruler (αρχωνarchōn). Not in Mark 10:17; Matthew 19:16.

What shall I do to inherit? (Τι ποιησας κληρονομησωTi poiēsas klēronomēsō̱). “By doing what shall I inherit?” Aorist active participle and future active indicative. Precisely the same question is asked by the lawyer in Luke 10:25. This young man probably thought that by some one act he could obtain eternal life. He was ready to make a large expenditure for it.

Good (αγατονagathon). See Mark 10:17 and Matthew 19:16 for discussion of this adjective for absolute goodness. Plummer observes that no Jewish rabbi was called “good” in direct address. The question of Jesus will show whether it was merely fulsome flattery on the part of the young man or whether he really put Jesus on a par with God. He must at any rate define his attitude towards Christ.

Verse 22

One thing thou lackest yet (ετι εν σοι λειπειeti hen soi leipei). Literally, one thing still fails thee or is wanting to thee. An old verb with the dative of personal interest. Mark 10:21 has here υστερει σεhusterei se which see note. It was an amazing compliment for one who was aiming at perfection (Matthew 19:21). The youth evidently had great charm and was sincere in his claims.

Distribute (διαδοςdiados). Second aorist active imperative of διαδιδωμιdiadidōmi (give to various ones, διαdia -). Here Mark and Matthew simply have δοςdos (give). The rest the same in all three Gospels.

Verse 23

Became (εγενητηegenēthē). First aorist passive indicative of γινομαιginomai Like his countenance fell (στυγνασαςstugnasas), in Mark 10:22.

Exceedingly sorrowful (περιλυποςperilupos). Old adjective (περι λυπηperi περιlupē) with perfective use of πλουσιος σποδραperi rich (plousios sphodra). Rich exceedingly. Today, a multimillionaire.

Verse 24

Shall they enter (εισπορευονταιeisporeuontai). Present middle indicative, futuristic present.

Verse 25

Through a needle‘s eye (δια τρηματος βελονηςdia trēmatos belonēs). Both words are old. ΤρημαTrēma means a perforation or hole or eye and in the N.T. only here and Matthew 19:24. ελονηBelonē means originally the point of a spear and then a surgeon‘s needle. Here only in the N.T. Mark 10:25; Matthew 19:24 have ραπιδοςrhaphidos for needle. This is probably a current proverb for the impossible. The Talmud twice speaks of an elephant passing through the eye of a needle as being impossible.

Verse 26

Then who (και τιςkai tis). Literally, and who. The καιkai calls attention to what has just been said. Wealth was assumed to be mark of divine favour, not a hindrance to salvation.

Verse 27

The impossible with men possible with God (τα αδυνατα παρα αντρωποις δυνατα παρα τωι τεωιta adunata para anthrōpois dunata para tōi theōi). Paradoxical, but true. Take your stand “beside” (παραpara) God and the impossible becomes possible. Clearly then Jesus meant the humanly impossible by the parabolic proverb about the camel going through the needle‘s eye. God can break the grip of gold on a man‘s life, but even Jesus failed with this young ruler.

Verse 28

Our own (τα ιδιαta idia). Our own things (home, business, etc.). Right here is where so many fail. Peter speaks here not in a spirit of boastfulness, but rather with his reactions from their consternation at what has happened and at the words of Jesus (Plummer).

Verse 30

Shall not receive (ουχι μη λαβηιouchi mē labēi). Very strong double negative with aorist active subjunctive of λαμβανωlambanō more (πολλαπλασιοναpollaplasiona). Late Greek word, here alone in the N.T. save Matthew 19:29 where Westcott and Hort have it though many MSS. there read εκατονπλασιοναhekatonplasiona (a hundredfold) as in Mark 10:30.

Verse 31

Took unto him (παραλαβωνparalabōn). Second aorist active participle of παραλαμβανωparalambanō Taking along with himself. So Mark 10:32. Matthew 20:17 adds κατ ιδιανkat' idian (apart). Jesus is making a special point of explaining his death to the Twelve.

We go up (αναβαινομενanabainomen). Present active indicative, we are going up.

Unto the Son of man (τωι υιωι του αντρωπουtōi huiōi tou anthrōpou). Dative case of personal interest. The position is amphibolous and the construction makes sense either with “shall be accomplished” (τελεστησεταιtelesthēsetai) or “that are written” (τα γεγραμμεναta gegrammena), probably the former. Compare these minute details of the prophecy here (Luke 18:32.) with the words in Mark 10:33.; Matthew 20:18., which see.

Verse 33

The third day (τηι ημεραι τηι τριτηιtēi hēmerāi tēi tritēi). The day the third. In Matthew 20:19 it is “the third day” while in Mark 10:34 “after three days” occurs in the same sense, which see.

Verse 34

And they perceived not (και ουκ εγινωσκονkai ouk eginōskon). Imperfect active. They kept on not perceiving. Twice already Luke has said this in the same sentence.

They understood none of these things (ουδεν τουτων συνηκανouden toutōn sunēkan). First aorist active indicative, a summary statement.

This saying was hid from them (ην το ρημα τουτο κεκρυμμενον απ αυτωνēn to rhēma touto kekrummenon ap' autōn). Past perfect passive indicative (periphrastic), state of completion. It was a puzzling experience. No wonder that Luke tries three times to explain the continued failure of the apostles to understand Jesus. The words of Christ about his death ran counter to all their hopes and beliefs.

Verse 35

Unto Jericho (εις Ιερειχωeis Iereichō). See note on Matthew 20:29 and note on Mark 10:46 for discussion of the two Jerichos in Mark and Matthew (the old and the new as here).

Begging (epaitōn). Asking for something. He probably was by the wayside between the old Jericho and the new Roman Jericho. Mark gives his name Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46). Matthew 20:30 mentions two.

Verse 36

Inquired (επυντανετοepunthaneto). Imperfect middle. Repeatedly inquired as he heard the tramp of the passing crowd going by (διαπορευομενουdiaporeuomenou).

What this meant (Τι ειη τουτοTi eiē touto). Literally, What it was. Without ανan the optative is due to indirect discourse, changed from εστινestin With ανan (margin of Westcott and Hort) the potential optative of the direct discourse is simply retained.

Verse 37

Passeth by (παρερχεταιparerchetai). Present middle indicative retained in indirect discourse as παραγειparagei is in Matthew 20:30. No reason for differences of English tenses in the two passages (was passing by, passeth by).

Verse 38

He cried (εβοησενeboēsen). Old verb, βοαωboaō to shout, as in Luke 9:38.

Son of David (υιε Δαυειδhuie Daueid). Shows that he recognizes Jesus as the Messiah.

Verse 39

That he should hold his peace (ινα σιγησηιhina sigēsēi). Ingressive aorist subjunctive. That he should become silent; as with ινα σιωπησηιhina siōpēsēi in Mark 10:48.

The more a great deal (πολλωι μαλλονpollōi māllon). By much more as in Mark 10:48.

Verse 40

Stood (στατειςstatheis). First aorist passive where Mark 10:49; Matthew 20:32 have σταςstas (second aorist active) translated “stood still.” One is as “still” as the other. The first is that Jesus “ stopped.”

Be brought (αχτηναιachthēnai). First aorist infinitive in indirect command.

Verse 41

What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? (Τι σοι τελεις ποιησωTi soi theleis poiēsō̱). Same idiom in Mark 10:51; Matthew 20:32 which see, the use of τελωthelō without ιναhina with aorist subjunctive (or future indicative). See same references also for ινα αναβλεπσωhina anablepsō “that I may see again” without verb before ιναhina Three uses of αναβλεπωanablepō here (Luke 18:41, Luke 18:42, Luke 18:43).

Verse 43

Followed (ηκολουτειēkolouthei). Imperfect active as in Mark 10:52. Either inchoative he began to follow, or descriptive, he was following.


Copyright Statement
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)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 18:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology