Luke 10:39
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(39) A sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet.—The better MSS. give, “at the Lord’s feet.” Few readers can fail to notice the identity of character here and in the entirely independent narratives of John 11, 12. There also Martha is active (John 11:20) and conspicuous in serving (John 12:2); Mary, meditative and emotional, pouring her whole soul into one act of love (John 11:31; John 12:3).

10:38-42 A good sermon is not the worse for being preached in a house; and the visits of our friends should be so managed, as to make them turn to the good of their souls. Sitting at Christ's feet, signifies readiness to receive his word, and submission to the guidance of it. Martha was providing for the entertainment of Christ, and those that came with him. Here were respect to our Lord Jesus and right care of her household affairs. But there was something to be blamed. She was for much serving; plenty, variety, and exactness. Worldly business is a snare to us, when it hinders us from serving God, and getting good to our souls. What needless time is wasted, and expense often laid out, even in entertaining professors of the gospel! Though Martha was on this occasion faulty, yet she was a true believer, and in her general conduct did not neglect the one thing needful. The favour of God is needful to our happiness; the salvation of Christ is needful to our safety. Where this is attended to, all other things will be rightly pursued. Christ declared, Mary hath chosen the good part. For one thing is needful, this one thing that she has done, to give up herself to the guidance of Christ. The things of this life will be taken away from us, at the furthest, when we shall be taken away from them; but nothing shall separate from the love of Christ, and a part in that love. Men and devils cannot take it away from us, and God and Christ will not. Let us mind the one thing needful more diligently.Sat at Jesus' feet - This was the ancient posture of disciples or learners. They sat at the "feet" of their teachers - that is, beneath them, in a humble place. Hence, Paul is represented as having been brought up at the "feet" of Gamaliel, Acts 22:3. When it is said that Mary sat at Jesus' feet, it means that she was "a disciple" of his; that she listened attentively to his instructions, and was anxious to learn his doctrine. 39. which also—"who for her part," in contrast with Martha.

sat—"seated herself." From the custom of sitting beneath an instructor, the phrase "sitting at one's feet" came to mean being a disciple of any one (Ac 22:3).

heard—rather, "kept listening" to His word.

See Poole on "Luke 10:38" And she had a sister called Mary,.... Which also was a common name with the Jews, and is the same with Miriam; so we read of Mary, the daughter of Nicodemon, the same perhaps with Nicodemus; and the same person that is before called Martha, the daughter of Baithus, is sometimes called Mary, the daughter of Baithus (e), though these two names are certainly distinct:

which also sat at Jesus' feet; was a disciple of his, as well as Martha; for it was usual for disciples, or the scholars of the wise men, to sit at the feet of their masters, to which the allusion is in Deuteronomy 33:3; see Gill on Acts 22:3 The Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Coptic versions, read "at the Lord's feet": so Beza's ancient copy, and one of Stephens's; and the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read, "at our Lord's feet". The phrase is expressive of her great affection for Christ, her humble deportment, and close attention:

and heard his word; or discourse; for as soon as he entered into the house, he began to preach to those that were in it, and that came along with him, improving every opportunity for the good of souls; and Mary heard him with great eagerness and diligence, affection, pleasure, and profit.

(e) Echa Rabbati, fol. 49. 2.

And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 10:39-40. Τῇδε] This word usually refers to what follows, but here in a vividly realizing manner it points to what has gone before, as sometimes also occurs in the classical writers. See Bernhardy, p. 278; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 2. 3, iii. 3. 12.

ἣ καί] καί is not: even (Bornemann), which would have no reference to explain it in the context; but: moreover, bringing into prominence the fact that Mary, besides whatever else she did in her mind after the coming of Jesus, moreover seated herself at His feet, etc. See Klotz, ad Devar. p. 636.

The form παρακαθεσθεῖσα] (see the critical remarks), from παρακαθέζομαι, to sit down near to, belongs to later Greek. Joseph. Antt. vi. 11. 9.

Mary sits there as a learner (Acts 22:3), not as a companion at table (at the right of Jesus, where His outstretched feet were), as Paulus and Kuinoel will have it (women sat at table; see Wetstein in loc). For the text as yet says nothing of the meal, but only of the hospitable reception in general (Luke 10:38), and, moreover, Luke 10:40 alludes generally to the attendance on and entertainment of the honoured and beloved Guest, wherein Martha was exhausting her hospitality. There is no trace of any reclining at table; the context in κ. ἤκουε τ. λόγ. αὐτ. points only to the idea of the female disciple.

περισπᾶσθαι, in the sense of the being withdrawn from attention and solicitude by reason of occupations, belongs to later Greek. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 415. Comp. Plut. Mor. p. 517 C: περισπασμὸς κ. μεθολκὴ τῆς πολυπραγμοσύνης. The expression περί τι, about something, connected with verbs of being busied, of taking trouble, and the like, is also very frequent in Greek writers.

κατέλιπε] reliquit; she had therefore gone away from what she was doing, and had placed herself at the feet of Jesus.

ἵνα] therefore speak to her in order that. Comp. on Matthew 4:3.

As to συναντιλαμβάνεσθαί τινι, to give a hand with anybody, i.e. to help anybody, comp. on Romans 8:26.Luke 10:39. Μαρία, socially subordinate (inferrible from the manner of reference), though the spiritual heroine of the tale.—ἣ καὶ: the force of the καὶ is not clear, and has been variously explained. Grotius regards it as simply an otiose addition to the relative. Bornemann takes it = adeo = to such an extent did Mary disregard the customary duty of women, that of serving guests, “quem morem adeo non observat M. ut docenti Jesu auscultet”. Perhaps it has something of the force of δή = who, observe! serving to counterbalance the social subordination of Mary; the less important person in the house, but the more important in the Kingdom of God.—παρακαθεσθεῖσα, first aorist passive participle, from παρακαθέζομαι, late Greek form = sitting at the feet of Jesus. Posture noted as significant of a receptive mind and devoted spirit.—τοῦ Κυρίου, the Lord, once more for Jesus in narrative (Ἰησοῦ in T. R.).—ἤκουε τὸν λόγον α., continued hearing His word, a conventional expression as in Luke 8:21.39. which also sat at Jesus feet] 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.

and heard his word] Rather, was listening to His discourse.Luke 10:39. Ἀδελφὴ, a sister) a younger sister as is probable, and as it were a domestic virgin [free from all care of the household]. Martha stood in the position of matron of the household; John 12:2-3. [The author, in the Harm., pp. 392, 393, is of opinion that the Saviour was not at Bethany at this time,[102] and that Martha of Bethany did not possess at the same time a house in Galilee as well as in Bethany (John 11:1; John 12:2); and that therefore the pair of sisters bearing the same names (ὁμωνύμων) is different in Luke from the pair mentioned in the passages of John already quoted.] Comp. 1 Corinthians 7:32-33.—παρακαθίσασα, sitting down close to Him) So absolutely, ἐκαθέζετο, sat, John 11:20. The antithetic word is περιεσπᾶτο, was distracted or cumbered.

[102] It is called “a certain village,” and seems to have been in Galilee, not Judea.—ED. and TRANSL.Sat (παρακαθέσθεισα)

Only here in New Testament. Lit., sat beside (παρά).

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