Luke 6:39
And he spoke a parable to them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(39) And he spake a parable unto them.—The verse is noticeable (1) as causing a break in the discourse which has no parallel in the Sermon on the Mount; (2) as giving an example of the wider sense of the word “parable,” as applicable to any proverbial saying that involved a similitude. On the proverb itself, quoted in a very different context, see Note on Matthew 15:14. Here its application is clear enough. The man who judges and condemns another is as the blind leader of the blind. Assuming St. Paul to have known the Sermon on the Plain, we may trace an echo of the words in the “guide of the blind” of Romans 2:19.

Luke 6:39-40. And he spake a parable, &c. — Our Lord sometimes used parables, when he know plain and open declarations would too much inflame the passions of his hearers. It is for this reason that he uses this parable. Can the blind lead the blind — Can the scribes teach this way, which they know not themselves? Will not they and their scholars perish together? The disciple is not above his master — Can they make their disciples any better than themselves? If the master be ignorant, foolish, and wicked, will not the scholar, or disciple, be so likewise? But every one that is perfect — Or, perfected, as κατηρτισμενος means: that is, perfectly instructed by Christ’s doctrine, and perfectly renewed by his grace: whose mind is fully enlightened, and his heart entirely changed: made wise unto salvation by God’s word, and endued with all the graces of his Spirit; shall be as his Master — Shall come to the measure of the stature of his Master’s fulness, shall be conformed to the image of God’s Son, and as he was, shall be in this world, 1 John 4:17.6:37-49 All these sayings Christ often used; it was easy to apply them. We ought to be very careful when we blame others; for we need allowance ourselves. If we are of a giving and a forgiving spirit, we shall ourselves reap the benefit. Though full and exact returns are made in another world, not in this world, yet Providence does what should encourage us in doing good. Those who follow the multitude to do evil, follow in the broad way that leads to destruction. The tree is known by its fruits; may the word of Christ be so grafted in our hearts, that we may be fruitful in every good word and work. And what the mouth commonly speaks, generally agrees with what is most in the heart. Those only make sure work for their souls and eternity, and take the course that will profit in a trying time, who think, speak, and act according to the words of Christ. Those who take pains in religion, found their hope upon Christ, who is the Rock of Ages, and other foundation can no man lay. In death and judgment they are safe, being kept by the power of Christ through faith unto salvation, and they shall never perish.A parable - A proverb or similitude.

Can the blind lead the blind? - See the notes at Matthew 15:14.

39. Can the blind, &c.—not in the Sermon on the Mount, but recorded by Matthew in another and very striking connection (Mt 15:14). By a parable here is to be understood a proverbial saying, which hath some darkness in it, as being brought to express or signify more than the words naturally do express. Proverbial speeches are applicable to more things, and in more cases, than one. Nor is it to be expected, that in all that the evangelists give us an account of, as to the sayings of Christ, we should be able to find out an evident connexion. They, questionless, wrote much at least from their memories, and set down many sayings without respect to the time when our Saviour spake them, or the matter of his discourse immediately preceding them. We need not therefore be careful to make out the connexion of these words of his with what was before set down. In the parallel text, Matthew 15:14, our Saviour plainly applies these words with reference to the scribes and Pharisees, the Jewish leaders, their doctors and teachers at that time, who themselves being ignorant of the true sense of the Divine law, were not like very well to guide others, but with them to

fall into the ditch, that is, into ruin and destruction: from whence a very probable connexion of them here with what went before may be observed; for, as appears from Matthew 5:1-48, he had in the preceding verses given an interpretation of that law of God, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, much different from what the Pharisees had given of it, who had expounded it, Matthew 5:43, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy; making a great many branches of love to men more than they made. Now, (saith he), this is the will, this is the law, of my heavenly Father. The scribes and Pharisees, your present doctors and teachers, go much below this; but listen not to them, if you mind to please God; themselves are blind, and know not the will of God, and if you follow them what can you expect more than such an event as where one blind man leads another? And he spake a parable unto them,.... The Vulgate Latin reads, "he spake also a parable unto them"; besides what he said; and the Arabic version renders it, "another similitude", parable, or proverb, distinct from the comparisons, allusions, and proverbial expressions in the preceding verses. Though it should be observed, that these words were not spoken at the same time, nor on the mount, as the foregoing were; but this, and what follow, are a collection of various expressions of Christ at different times, some delivered on the mount, and others elsewhere; unless it should be rather thought, that these proverbs and sentences were repeated at different places and times, which is not improbable:

can the blind lead the blind? they may do so, as the blind Scribes and Pharisees led the blind people of the Jews, which is what our Lord intends; but if they do, as they did,

shall they not both fall into the ditch? yes, verily, what else can be expected? See Gill on Matthew 15:14.

{7} And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?

(7) Unskillful reprehenders hurt both themselves and others: for as the teacher is, so is the student.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 6:39 has no connection with what precedes; but, as; Luke himself indicates by εἶπε κ.τ.λ., begins a new, independent portion of the discourse.

The meaning of the parable: He to whom on his part the knowledge of the divine truth is wanting cannot lead others who have it not to the Messianic salvation; they will both fall into the Gehenna of moral error and confusion on the way. Comp. Matthew 15:14, where is the original place of the saying.Luke 6:39-45. Proverbial lore.39-45. Sincerity. Four Comparisons.

39
. Can the blind lead the blind?] Matthew 15:14. Proverbs 19:27, “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err.” St Paul taunts the Jew with professing to be “a guide of the blind,” Romans 2:19. St Luke calls this “a parable” in the broader sense (see on Luke 4:23); and in this Gospel the Sermon thus ends with four vivid ‘parables’ or similes taken from the sights of daily life—blind leaders of blind; the mote and the beam; good and bad fruit; the two houses.Luke 6:39. Αὐτοῖς, to them) viz. to the disciples, Luke 6:20. For that which we have in Luke 6:27 [“to you which hear”], where see the note, is not given in Matthew: nor is it the language of the Evangelist’s narrative, but that of Jesus. Therefore it is with good reason thought that the discourse is constructed in the manner of a division into two parts, so as that the first part is addressed partly to the disciples, in the hearing of the rest, Luke 6:20, partly to the crowd of hearers, Luke 6:27; whereas the latter part is addressed, from Luke 6:39, to the disciples. The material or subject-matter which the discourse rests upon, is itself in accordance with this view.—τυφλὸς, blind) Suffering under the pressure of “his own beam,” Luke 6:42; viz. destitute of compassion and love, 1 John 2:9, etc.; 2 Peter 1:9; Philemon 1:9.—τυφλὸν ὁδηγεῖν, to lead the blind) An act which is a benefit if it be done by one possessing sight and experience. The benefits which are mentioned, Luke 6:39; Luke 6:41, are more specious ones than those which are mentioned, Luke 6:37 : and so blind hypocrisy more readily hides itself under the former; but in real fact the latter in a greater degree depress self-love.Verse 39. - And he spake a parable unto them. St. Luke closes his report of the great sermon with four little parables taken from everyday life. With these pictures drawn from common life, the Master purposed to bring home to the hearts of the men and women listening to him the solemn warnings he had just been enunciating. They - if they would be his followers - must indeed refrain from ever setting up themselves as judges of others. "See," he went on to say, "I will show you what ruin this wicked, ungenerous practice will result in: listen to me." Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? It is not improbable that some of the links in the Master's argument here have been omitted by St. Luke; still, the connection of this saying and what follows, with the preceding grave warning against the bitter censorious spirit which had exercised so fatal an influence on religious teaching in Israel, is clear. The figure of the blind man setting himself up as a guide was evidently in the Lord's mind as a fair representation of the present thought-leaders of the people (the Pharisees). This is evident from the imagery of the beam and mote which follows (vers. 41, 42). Can these blind guides lead others more ignorant and blind too? What is the natural result? he asks; will not destruction naturally overtake the blind leader and the blind led? Both will, of course, end by falling into the ditch. Can the blind (μήτι δυναται τυφλὸς)?

The interrogative particle expects a negative reply. Surely the blind cannot, etc.

Lead (ὁδηγεῖν)

Better, guide, as Rev., since the word combines the ideas of leading and instructing.

Shall they not (οὐχὶ)?

Another interrogative particle, this time expecting an affirmative answer.

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