Luke 6:12
And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) He went out into a mountain to pray.—Better, into the mountain, or, the hill-country. The stress laid on the prayers of Jesus is again characteristic of St. Luke.

Continued all night in prayer to God.—The original, at least, admits of another rendering. The word translated “prayer” (proseuchè) had come to be applied to the place dedicated to prayer—the chapel or oratory by the river-side, or on the mountain-side, where there was a running stream available for ablutions, to which devout Jews could retire for their devotions. Such a proseuchè there seems to have been at Philippi (Acts 16:13). Another is named at Halicarnassus. Such, the language of Roman poets (in quâ te quœro proseuchâ, Juvenal, Sat. iii. 296) shows us, there were at Rome. The fact mentioned by Josephus that there was one near Tiberias (Life, c. 54) shows that they were not unknown in Galilee. The precise combination of words—literally, in the prayer of God—is not found elsewhere for prayer as offered to God.

Luke 6:12-13. And it came to pass in those days — Namely, of his teaching near the sea of Galilee; that he went out into a mountain to pray — Jesus, seeing the general notice which was taken of his appearance, and the desire which multitudes manifested of being further informed concerning the design of his coming, and the nature of his doctrine, determined to choose a number of persons who should assist and succeed him in his ministerial work. And as the office which he intended to assign them was of great importance, even to the remotest ages, previous to his choice of them, he retired to a mountain in the neighbourhood, and, notwithstanding all the labours of the preceding day, continued all night in prayer to God; so much was his heart enlarged on this momentous occasion. The original phrase, εν τη προσευχη του θεου, is singular and emphatical, being literally, in the prayer of God, implying an extraordinary and sublime devotion. Or, if the word προσευχη be taken for the proper name of a place, the clause may be rendered, he continued all night in the oratory, or prayer-place, of God; the Jews having many houses on mountains, and by the sides of rivers, &c., set apart for prayer. These houses, it is well known, were open at the top, and planted round with trees. This is the sense in which Drusius, Prideaux, Whitby, Hammond, and many other good critics, understand the expression. This interpretation does not alter the meaning of the passage, for as Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, we cannot avoid supposing that he spent the greatest part of the night in acts of devotion. And when it was day he called to him his disciples — Mark says, whom he would. And of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles — A name which well expressed the office for which they were designed. These he now fixed upon, that for some time they might be always with him, in order that from his own mouth they might learn the doctrine which they were, in due time, to preach through the world; “that they might see his glory, John 1:14, the transcendent glory of the virtues which adorned his human life; and that they might be witnesses of all the wonderful works which he should perform, and by which his mission from God was to be clearly demonstrated. The twelve were thus to be qualified for supplying the people with that spiritual food which their teachers neglected to give them; and that both before and after their Master’s death. Accordingly, when they had continued with Jesus as long as was necessary for this end, he sent them out by two and two into Judea, on the important work of preparing the people for his reception, who was the true shepherd. Hence he named them apostles, that is, persons sent out. But the name was more peculiarly applicable to them, and their office was raised to its perfection, after Christ’s ascension, when he sent them out into all the world with the doctrine of the gospel, which he enabled them to preach by inspiration, giving them power at the same time to confirm it by the most astonishing miracles. That this was the nature of the new dignity which Jesus now conferred on the twelve, is evident from John 20:21, where we find him confirming them in the apostolical office: as my Father hath sent me, so send I you; I send you upon the same errand, and with the same authority: I send you to reveal the will of God for the salvation of men. And I bestow on you both the gift of tongues and the power of working miracles, that you may be able to preach the doctrine of salvation in every country, and to confirm it as divine, in opposition to all gainsayers.” — Macknight. Of the probable reason why the number of twelve was fixed upon rather than any other, and for a further elucidation of the passage, see the notes on Mark 3:13-17; and Matthew 10:1-4. After their election, the twelve accompanied Jesus constantly, lived with him on one common stock as his family, and never departed from him, unless by his express appointment.6:12-19 We often think one half hour a great deal to spend in meditation and secret prayer, but Christ was whole nights engaged in these duties. In serving God, our great care should be not to lose time, but to make the end of one good duty the beginning of another. The twelve apostles are here named; never were men so privileged, yet one of them had a devil, and proved a traitor. Those who have not faithful preaching near them, had better travel far than be without it. It is indeed worth while to go a great way to hear the word of Christ, and to go out of the way of other business for it. They came to be cured by him, and he healed them. There is a fulness of grace in Christ, and healing virtue in him, ready to go out from him, that is enough for all, enough for each. Men regard the diseases of the body as greater evils than those of their souls; but the Scripture teaches us differently.And it came to pass in those days - The designation of the time here is very general. It means "about" the time when the events occurred which had been just narrated.

He went out into a mountain - Jesus was accustomed to resort to such places to hold communion with God, Mark 6:46. He did it because it was retired, free from interruption, and fitted by impressiveness and grandeur to raise the thoughts to the God that had formed the high hills and the deep-shaded groves.

And continued all night in prayer to God - There has been a difference of opinion about this passage, whether it means that he spent the night in the act of "praying" to God, or in a "place" of prayer. The Jews had places of prayer, called "oratories," built out of their cities or towns, where they could retire from the bustle of a city and hold communion with God. They were built on the banks of rivers (compare Acts 16:13), in groves, or on hills. They were rude inclosures, made by building a rough wall of stone around a level piece of ground, and capable of accommodating a small number who might resort thither to pray. But the more probable opinion is that he spent the whole night in supplication; for:

1. This is the obvious meaning of the passage.

2. The object for which he went out was "to pray."

3. It was an occasion of great importance. He was about to send out his apostles - to lay the foundation of his religion - and he therefore set apart this time especially to seek the divine blessing.

4. It was no unusual thing for Jesus to spend much time in prayer, and we are not to wonder that he passed an entire night in supplication. If it be asked why Jesus should pray "at all" if he was divine, it may be replied that he was also a "man" - a man subject to the same sufferings as others, and, "as a man," needing the divine blessing. There was no more inconsistency in his "praying" than there was in his "eating." Both were "means" employed for an end, and both were equally consistent with his being divine. But Jesus was also "Mediator," and as such it was proper to seek the divine direction and blessing. In "this" case he has set us an example that we should follow. In great emergencies, when we have important duties, or are about to encounter special difficulties, we should seek the divine blessing and direction by "prayer." We should set apart an unusual portion of time for supplication. Nay, if we pass the "whole night" in prayer, it should not be charged as enthusiasm. Our Saviour did it. Men of the world often pass whole nights in plans of gain or in dissipation, and shall it be esteemed strange that Christians should spend an equal portion of time in the far more important business of religion?

Lu 6:12-49. The Twelve Apostles Chosen—Gathering Multitudes—Glorious Healing.

12, 13. went out—probably from Capernaum.

all night in prayer … and when … day, he called, &c.—The work with which the next day began shows what had been the burden of this night's devotions. As He directed His disciples to pray for "laborers" just before sending themselves forth (see on [1581]Mt 9:37; [1582]Mt 10:1), so here we find the Lord Himself in prolonged communion with His Father in preparation for the solemn appointment of those men who were to give birth to His Church, and from whom the world in all time was to take a new mould. How instructive is this!

Those who straining this text would interpret the words, en th proseuch, for, the place of prayer, will be concerned to find us out that house of prayer which stood in this mountain, or to tell us where we shall find in holy writ any place but the temple so called, and why it should be said that

he went out into a mountain to pray, if it were not to signify unto us, that he sought a privacy and retiredness, which he could not have had in the temple, nor in any other common place for prayer. Those interpreters certainly judge righter that say, that our Saviour, being about to send put his twelve apostles, thought so great a work should not be done without solemn prayers; he therefore seeketh a place of privacy, and goeth thither to spend some more time than ordinary in the duty of prayer, and the evangelist saith that he continued all night; so setting us an example what to do in great affairs, especially such as are the sending out of persons to so great an employment as that of the ministry, and by his own example commending to us what Paul afterwards commanded, Ephesians 6:18 Colossians 4:2, Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. And it came to pass in those days,.... When Christ was teaching by the lake of Gennesaret, or in one or other of the cities of Galilee near that place:

that he went out; of the synagogue and city where he had been:

into a mountain to pray; for the sake of solitude, and which lay near the sea of Tiberias; See Gill on Matthew 14:23.

and continued all night in prayer to God; or "with" God, as the Ethiopic version renders it; or "in the prayer of God" as the phrase may be literally rendered; not in a prayer of God's making; though the Jews (m) sometimes speak of the prayer of God, and give us a form of it: but either this respects the object of his prayer; it was made to God, as our translation suggests; or the nature, matter, and manner of it: it was a divine prayer, it regarded divine things, and was put up in a very fervent manner, and with great vehemence; so the coals of love or jealousy are said to be "coals of fire, which hath , the flame of Jehovah"; that is as we render it, "a most vehement flame", Sol 8:6 In like manner, "prayer of God" is a most vehement prayer; strong cries sent up to God with great eagerness and importunity, fervency, and devotion; and such was Christ's prayer, and in which he continued all night: unless by the prayer of God should be meant, as is thought by many, an house of prayer to God, in which Christ lodged all night, and spent it in prayer to God in it. Certain it is, the Jews had their "proseuchre", or prayer houses. Philo the Jew (n) often speaks of them, and so does Josephus (o); and there seems to be mention made of them in the Talmudic writings: when R. Jochanan ben Zaccai came to Vespasian, in his camp before Jerusalem, Vespasian asked him, what he should give him? he replied (p),

"I desire nothing of thee but this "Jabneh", (a famous university,) that I may teach in it the disciples, and fix in it "an oratory", or "prayer house", and do in it, all the commandments said in the law.''

And in another place (q),

"R. Judah says, that Samuel said it is free for a man to make water within four cubits, , which I should choose to render, "of the proseucha", or "prayer house":''

though the Gemarists afterwards, and so the gloss seem to explain it of the time after prayer, in which a man should wait before he evacuates, even as long as he might go the length of four cubits. Juvenal (r) has reference to one of these oratories, when he says, "in qua te qucero proseucha?" and in one of these, it is very likely, Christ was in prayer all night long; for by the sea side, and by the side of rivers, these oratories were used to be; Acts 16:13.

(m) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 7. 1. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 56, fol. 50. 2.((n) De Vita Mosis, l. 3. p. 685. in Flaccum, p. 971, 972, 982. leg. ad Caium. p. 1011, 1012, 1013, 1014, 1016, 1040, 1043. (o) In Vita. (p) Abot R. Nathan, c. 4. fol. 2. 4. (q) T. Bab. Megilia, fol. 27. 2.((r) Satyr. 3. l. 295.

{3} And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

(3) In using earnest and long prayer in choosing twelve of his own company to the office of the apostleship, Christ shows how religiously we ought to behave ourselves in the choice of ecclesiastical persons.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 6:12-13. Comp. Mark 3:13-15.

τὸ ὄρος] as Matthew 5:1.

προσεύξασθαι κ.τ.λ.] comp. on Luke 5:16.

ἐν τῇ προσεὐχῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ] in prayer to God. Genitive of the object (see Winer, p. 167 [E. T. 231 f.]).

τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ] in the wider sense. Comp. Luke 6:17.

καὶ ἐκλεξάμ, κ.τ.λ.] The connection is: “And after He had chosen for Himself from them twelve … and (Luke 6:17) had come down with them, He took up His position on a plain, and (scil. ἔστη, there stood there) a crowd of His disciples, and a great multitude of people … who had come to hear Him and to be healed; and they that were tormented were healed of unclean spirits: and all the people sought,” etc. The discovery of Schleiermacher, that ἐκλεξάμ. denotes not the actual choice, but only a bringing them together, was a mistaken idea which the word itself ought to have guarded against. Comp. Acts 1:2.

οὓς καὶ ἀπ. ὠνόμ.] An action concurring towards the choice, and therefore, according to Luke, contemporaneous (in opposition to Schleiermacher). Comp. Mark 3:14, which is the source of this certainly anticipatory statement.

Luke 6:12-49. Luke inserts at this point the choice of the Twelve, and then a shorter and less original (see also Weiss in the Jahrb. f. d. Th. 1864, p. 52 ff.) edition of the Sermon on the Mount.[101] According to Matthew, the choice of the Twelve had not yet occurred before the Sermon on the Mount; nevertheless it is implied in Matthew, not, indeed, sooner than at Luke 10:1, but after the call of Matthew himself. Luke in substance follows Mark in what concerns the choice of the apostles. But he here assigns to the Sermon on the Mount—which Mark has not got at all—a position different from that in Matthew, following a tradition which attached itself to the locality of the choice of the apostles (τὸ ὄρος) as readily as to the description and the contents of the sermon. See, moreover, Commentary on Matthew. According to Baur, indeed, Luke purposely took from the discourse its place of distinction, and sought in the Pauline interest to weaken it as much as possible.

[101] That Matthew and Luke gave two distinct discourses, delivered in immediate succession (which Augustine supposed), that were related to one another as esoteric (given to the disciples exclusively) and exoteric (in the ears of the people), is neither to be established exegetically, nor is it reconcilable with the creative power of discourse manifested by Jesus at other times, in accordance with which He was certainly capable, at least, of extracting from the original discourse what would be suitable for the people (in opposition to Lange, L. J. II. 2, p. 566 ff.). And how much does the discourse in Matthew contain which there was no reason for Jesus keeping back from the people in Luke’s supposed exoteric discourse! Comp. also Matthew 7:28, from which passage it is clear that Matthew neither regarded the discourse as esoteric, nor knew anything of two discourses.Luke 6:12-19. On the hill (Matthew 4:24-25; Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:7-19).12-19. The Selection of the Twelve Apostles.

12
. in those days] wearied with their incessant espionage and opposition. Probably these two last incidents belong to a later period in the ministry, following the Sermon on the Mount (as in St Matthew) and the bright acceptable Galilaean year of our Lord’s work. In any case we have here, from Luke 6:12—viii. 56, a splendid cycle of Messianic work in Galilee in the gladdest epoch of Christ’s ministry.

into a mountain] Rather, “into the mountain,” with special reference to the Kurn Hattin, or Horns of Hattin, the traditional and almost certainly the actual scene of the Sermon on the Mount.

in prayer to God] The expression used is peculiar. It is literally “in the prayer of God.” Hence some have supposed that it should be rendered “in the Prayer-House of God.” The word proseuche meant in Greek not only ‘prayer,’ but also ‘prayer-house,’ as in the question to a poor person in Juvenal, “In what proseucha am I to look for you?” ■*- The proseuchae were merely walled spaces without roof, set apart for purposes of worship where there was no synagogue, as at Philippi (Acts 16:13). There is however here an insuperable difficulty in thus understanding the words; for proseuchae were generally, if not in-variably, in close vicinity to running water (Jos. Antt. xiv. 10, § 23), for purposes of ritual ablution, nor do we ever hear of their being built ^ on hills. On the other hand, if τὸ ὄρος mean only ‘the mountainous district,’ this objection is not fatal. For another instance of a night spent on a mountain in prayer, see Matthew 14:23.

12-19. The Selection of the Twelve Apostles.

And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to to do good, or to do evil] He was intending to work a miracle for good; they were secretly plotting to do harm,—their object being, if possible, to put Him to death. They received this question in stolid silence. Mark 3:4.

to save life] Rather, a life.Luke 6:12. Προσευχῇ, prayer) It is even because of these His prayers that the Twelve disciples are said to have been given to Jesus Christ: John 17:6 [comp. Luke 6:13 here in Luke 6]. A great business was transacted on this night between God and the Mediator! [Even elsewhere also Luke frequently mentions the prayers of Jesus: for instance, after His baptism, ch. Luke 3:21; before the questioning of His disciples to test them, recorded ch. Luke 9:18; before the transfiguration, ch. Luke 9:29; and when He taught His disciples to pray, ch. Luke 11:1. Comp. Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; Matthew 14:23. No evangelist however but John, excepting in the instance of the history of His passion, has detailed the very words of Jesus when praying.—Harm., p. 239.]—τοῦ Θεου, of God) Comp. Mark 11:22, note.Verses 12-19. - The choice of the twelve. Verse 12. And it came to pass in those days. That is to say, in the course of his ministry in Galilee, especially in the thickly populated district lying round the Lake of Genessaret, and after the events related in ch. 5. and the first eleven verses of ch. 6, Jesus proceeded to choose, out of the company of those who had especially attached themselves to him, twelve who should henceforth be always with him. These he purposed to train up as the authorized exponents of his doctrine, and as the future leaders of his Church. Things had assumed a new aspect during the last few months. Jerusalem and the hierarchy, supported by the great teachers of that form of Judaism which for so long a period had swayed the hearts of the people, had, although not yet openly, declared against the views and teaching of Jesus. His acts - but far more his words - had gathered round him, especially in Galilee, in the north and central districts of Palestine, a large and rapidly increasing following. It was necessary that some steps should be taken at once to introduce among the people who had received his words gladly, some kind of organization; hence the formal choice of the twelve, who from henceforth stood nearest to him. We possess the following four lists of these twelve men: - Matthew 10:2-4....

Simon

Andrew

James

John

Philip

Bartholomew

Thomas

Matthew

James of Alphaeus

Lebbaeus

Simon the Kananite

Judas Iscariot

Mark 3:16-19....

Simon

James

John

Andrew

Philip

Bartholomew

Matthew

Thomas

James of Alphaeus

Thaddaeus

Simon the Kananite

Judas Iscariot

Luke 6:14-16....

Simon

Andrew

James

John

Philip

Bartholomew

Matthew

Thomas

James of Alphaeus

Simon Zelotes

Judas of James

Judas Iscariot

Acts 1:13....

Peter

James

John

Andrew

Philip

Thomas

Bartholomew

Matthew

James of Alphaeus

Simon Zelotes

Judas of James He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. A mountain (τὸ ὄρος)

The article denotes a familiar place. Rev., rightly, the mountain.

Continued all night (ἦν διανυκτερεύων)

Only here in New Testament. Used in medical language. The all-night prayer is peculiar to Luke's narrative.

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