Luke 11:49
Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(49-51) Therefore also said the wisdom of God.—The words that follow are in the main the same as those of Matthew 23:34-36, where see Notes. There are, however, some remarkable variations, each of which suggests some questions of interest. (1) The words here appear at first sight as if they were a quotation from a book recognised as of divine authority, and not a few critics have supposed that there was such a book, bearing the title of “The Wisdom of God,” either when our Lord spoke, or when St. Luke wrote. On the other hand there is no trace of the existence of a book with that name; and if it had been prominent enough to be quoted, as it seems to be quoted here, it could scarcely have failed to have left its impress elsewhere. On the whole, then, it seems best to look on the words as a solemn utterance which our Lord’s human soul had received as an oracle from God, and which was therefore proclaimed by Him as coming from His Wisdom. His words that “Wisdom is justified of her children” (Matthew 11:19), present, it is obvious, another example of the same way of speaking of the divine purpose. (2) For “the prophets, and wise men, and scribes” of St. Matthew, we have here “prophets and apostles.” The combination points to a Christian, not a pre-Christian, terminology, and is the first example of the union of the two terms that afterwards became normal. (See Note on Luke 10:1.) It goes some way, it may be remarked, to confirm the view suggested in that Note, that two distinct bodies, known respectively as “Prophets” and “Apostles,” had already been appointed, and that as the Twelve answered to the latter, so did the Seventy to the former.

Some of them shall they slay and persecute.—Note, as perhaps characteristic of St. Luke, the absence of the specific forms of persecution, “crucifying” and “scourging in the synagogues.”

11:37-54 We should all look to our hearts, that they may be cleansed and new-created; and while we attend to the great things of the law and of the gospel, we must not neglect the smallest matter God has appointed. When any wait to catch something out of our mouths, that they may insnare us, O Lord, give us thy prudence and thy patience, and disappoint their evil purposes. Furnish us with such meekness and patience that we may glory in reproaches, for Christ's sake, and that thy Holy Spirit may rest upon us.The wisdom of God - By the "wisdom of God," here, is undoubtedly meant the Saviour himself. What he immediately says is not written in the Old Testament. Jesus is called "the word of God" John 1:1, because he is the medium by which God "speaks" or makes his will known. He is called "the wisdom of God," because by him God makes his wisdom known in creation (Colossians 1:13-18 and in redemption 1 Corinthians 1:30. Many have also thought that the Messiah was referred to in the Proverbs 8:1 of Proverbs, under the name of Wisdom.

I will send ... - See Luke 10:3; Matthew 10:16.

Shall slay ... - Compare John 16:2; Acts 7:52, Acts 7:59; James 5:10; Acts 12:2; Acts 22:19; 2 Corinthians 11:24-25; 2 Chronicles 36:15-16.

49-51. said the wisdom, &c.—a remarkable variation of the words in Mt 23:34, "Behold I SEND." As there seems plainly an allusion to ancient warnings of what God would do with so incorrigible a people, so here Christ, stepping majestically into the place of God, so to speak, says, "Now I am going to carry all that out." Could this be other than the Lord of Israel in the flesh? See Poole on "Luke 11:47" Therefore also said the wisdom of God,..... The Syriac version only reads "wisdom"; by which seems to be meant not the perfection of God's wisdom: though it is usual with the Jews to represent the divine perfections as speaking, as the justice and mercy of God. They say (b), that

"when the holy blessed God sought to make Hezekiah the Messiah, and Sennacherib, Gog, and Magog, , "the property of judgment", or "justice, said" before the holy, blessed God, Lord of the world, &c.''

and so the sense may be here, that the infinite wisdom of God said within himself, determined in his own breast, to do what follows. But I rather think that Christ is intended, who, as God, is the essential wisdom of God; and, as man and mediator, has the spirit of wisdom resting on him, and the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hid in him; since this is said by Christ, Matthew 23:34 though the words here seem to be the words of the evangelist relating what Christ had said. Some have thought, that some book, under the name of "The Wisdom of God", is here cited, which had in it the following words,

I will send them prophets and apostles; which, in Matthew, are called prophets, wise men, and Scribes; and by whom are meant the apostles of Christ, and the ministers of the Gospel. The Persic version reads, "lo, I send to you", as in Matthew 23:34,

and some of them they shall slay and persecute; some of them they shall put to death, and others they shall persecute from one place to another; See Gill on Matthew 23:34.

(b) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 94. 1. Vid. Targum in Eccl. x. 8. & in Lam. i. 1. & ii. 20.

Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and {l} persecute:

(l) They will so vex them and trouble them, that at length they will banish them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 11:49-51. See on Matthew 23:34-39.

διὰ τοῦτο] on account of this your agreement with your fathers as murderers of the prophets, which affinity the wisdom of God had in view when it gave its judgment. Under the guidance of the doctors of the law, the people among whom the gospel teachers were sent (εἰς αὐτούς) rejected these latter, etc. See Luke 11:52.

ἡ σοφία τ. Θεοῦ] Doubtless a quotation, as is proved by εἶπεν and αὐτούς, but not from the Old Testament, since no such passage occurs in it (Olshausen mentions 2 Chronicles 24:19 interrogatively, but what a difference!), and quotations from the Old Testament are never introduced by ἡ σοφία τ. Θεοῦ.[147] To suppose a lost Jewish writing, however, which either may have had this title (Ewald, Bleek, Baumgarten-Crusius, Weizsäcker) or may have introduced the חכמת יהוה as speaking (Paulus),[148] is contrary to the analogy of all the rest of the quotations made by Jesus, as well as to the evangelical tradition itself, which, according to Matthew 23:34, attributed these words to Jesus. Accordingly, it is to be supposed (Neander, L. J. p. 655; Gess, Person Chr. p. 29; comp. also Ritschl, Evang. Marcions, p. 89) that Jesus is here quoting one of His own earlier utterances (observe the past tense εἶπεν), so that He represents the wisdom, of God (Wis 7:27; Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:35) as having spoken through Him. Allied to this is the idea of the λόγος. According to this, however, the original form of the passage is not to be found in Luke (Olshausen, Bleek); for while Matthew gives this remarkable utterance in a directly present form, Luke’s method of recording it transfers to the mouth of Jesus what rather was a later mode of citing it, and gives it in the shape of a result of reflective theology akin to the doctrine of the Logos.[149]

ἐκδιώξ.] to drive out of the land.

ἽΝΑ ἘΚΖΗΤ. Κ.Τ.Λ.] an appointment in the divine decree. The expression corresponds to the Hebrew בִּקֵּשׁ דָּם, 2 Samuel 4:11; Ezekiel 3:18; Ezekiel 3:20, which sets forth the vengeance for blood.

The series of prophets in the more general sense begins with Abel as the first holy man.

[147] The passage is very inaccurately treated by Köstlin, p. 163, according to whom Luke has here heaped misunderstanding on misunderstanding. He is said to have referred the entire utterance to the Old Testament prophets, and on that account to have placed before it κ. ἡ σοφία τ. Θεοῦ εἶπεν, in order to give to it the character of an ancient prophecy, which, however, had no existence at all, etc.

[148] Strauss also, in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschrift, 1863, p. 87 ff., who is thinking entirely of a Christian document.

[149] The utterance in Matthew, ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω κ.τ.λ., was historically indicated in the Church by: ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ εἶπεν· ἀποστελῶ κ.τ.λ. And Luke here makes Jesus Himself speak in this later mode of indicating it. It is a ὕστερον πρότερον in form. According to Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 101 (comp. also Schegg), Jesus announces God’s counsel in the form of a word of God. Comp. Grotius and van Hengel, Annot. p. 16 f. To this view εἰς αὐτούς (instead of εἰς ὑμᾶς) would certainly not be opposed, since those whom the speech concerned might be opposed as third persons to the wisdom of God which was speaking. But instead of εἶπεν might be expected λέγει; for now through Jesus the divine wisdom would declare its counsel (Hebrews 3:10, to which Hofmann refers, is different, because there εἶπον in connection with προσώχθισα actually relates to the past). Moreover, if by ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ were not meant the personal wisdom of God that appeared in Christ, and emitted the utterance, it would not be conceivable why it should not simply have been said: διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὁ Θεὸς λέγει. Nowhere else in the New Testament is a declaration of God called a declaration of the divine wisdom. Besides, according to Matthew 23:34, Jesus is the subject of ἀποστελῶ; and this is also the case in the passage before us, if ἡ σοφία τ. Θεοῦ is understood of the person of Christ as being the personal self-revelation of the divine wisdom. Christ sends to His Church the prophets and apostles (Luke 10:3), Ephesians 4:11. Riggenbach’s explanation (Stud. u. Krit. 1855, p. 599 f.) is similar to that of Hofmann,—though more correct in taking the σοφία τ. Θεοῦ in the Logos-sense, but interpreting the past tense εἶπεν by an “at all times” arbitrarily supplied.Luke 11:49. ἡ σοφία τ. Θ.: vide notes on Matthew 23:34.—ἀποστόλους, apostles, instead of wise men and scribes in Mt.—ἐκδιώξουσιν, they shall drive out (of the land), in place of Mt.’s σταυρώσετε.49. the wisdom of God] There is an allusion to 2 Chronicles 24:20-22 (comp, 2 Chronicles 36:14-21), but as the exact passage nowhere occurs in the O. T. some suppose that our Lord quotes (1) from a lost book called ‘The Wisdom of God’ (Ewald, Bleek, &c.); or (2) from previous words of His own; or (3) from the Gospel of St Matthew (see Matthew 23:34); or (4) from the Book of Proverbs (Luke 1:20-31). It is a general paraphrase of the tenor of several O. T. passages.

some of them they shall slay and persecute] See on Luke 6:23.Luke 11:49. Ἡ σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ, the Wisdom of God) A sweet designation. The קהלת, Koheleth or Ecclesiastes: the Preacher that gathers together assemblies. See ch. Luke 13:34.—εἶπεν, said) See Matthew 23:34, note.—προφήτας, prophets) who existed under the Old Testament.—ἀποστόλους, apostles) who exist under the New Testament.—ἐκδιώξουσιν) they shall by persecution cast out. A word of frequent occurrence in the LXX.Verse 49. - Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets. "'Therefore" - in other words, 'Because of the determined, irreconcilable hatred of you Pharisees, and the people whom you guide, to all that is noble and true and real; because, in spite of your seeming piety, you are fast rooted in impiety' - 'Therefore said the wisdom of God, I will send.'" The expression, "wisdom of God," has been a difficulty to commentators. The words have been referred

(1) to a quotation of the Lord's from a lost apocryphal book of that name; but we have no instance of Jesus ever quoting from an apocryphal book, known or unknown.

(2) St. Luke is here quoting from the similar passage in St. Matthew's Gospel, which, when he was compiling his Gospel, lay before him, and alludes to the earlier memoir as "The Wisdom of God." Against this we have no proof that St. Luke ever saw St. Matthew's Gospel, but a strong probability exists to the contrary; besides which, the expression is never used by an apostolic writer in such a sense.

(3) A reference is here intended to the Book of Proverbs, which in the early Church was known by the title of "The Wisdom of God," and the passage referred to is Luke 1:20 and 31. Putting aside all these, it seems best to consider the expression simply as a solemn utterance of the Lord, in which he identifies himself with the "Wisdom of God." And this certainly is borne out by a comparison with the report of St. Matthew of a similar announcement made by Jesus on another occasion (Matthew 23:34). There we read that the Master said, "Behold, I send unto you prophets," etc. The I is emphatic, and betrays the Divine self-consciousness of Jesus. For a moment the poor Rabbi of Galilee is forgotten, and in his lofty indignation, in his profound sorrow over the stubborn heart of Israel, on both the occasions in which he is reported to have spoken these words of awful prophecy, the Redeemer identifies Himself with God. St. Matthew, "Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets," etc.; St. Luke, "Therefore also said the Wisdom of God, I will send them prophets," etc. The form of the prediction and the original thought were both, no doubt, derived by Jesus from the solemn passage in 2 Chronicles 24:19, "Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord;... but they would not give ear," etc. This was followed immediately by the account of the preaching of Zechariah (the instance chosen here by the Lord, ver. 51), and how the faithful witness was stoned by the people in the court of the house of the Lord (2 Chronicles 24:20, 21). And apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute. The title "apostle" is joined here with the well-known title of "prophet." The earthly reward that these his servants, the apostles, will meet with at the hands of the people of Israel will be the same as that meted out to those old martyr-prophets, viz. persecution and death.
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