Luke 18:13
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

New Living Translation
"But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, 'O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.'

English Standard Version
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

New American Standard Bible
"But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'

King James Bible
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, God, turn Your wrath from me --a sinner!'

International Standard Version
"But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even look up to heaven. Instead, he continued to beat his chest and said, 'O God, be merciful to me, the sinner that I am!'

NET Bible
The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am!'

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“But that Tax Collector was standing from a distance and he would not even lift his eyes up to Heaven, but he was smiting on his chest and he said, 'God, have pity on me, a sinner.' “

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"But the tax collector was standing at a distance. He wouldn't even look up to heaven. Instead, he became very upset, and he said, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'

Jubilee Bible 2000
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God, reconcile me, a sinner.

King James 2000 Bible
And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

American King James Version
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

American Standard Version
But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O god, be merciful to me a sinner.

Darby Bible Translation
And the tax-gatherer, standing afar off, would not lift up even his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, O God, have compassion on me, the sinner.

English Revised Version
But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner.

Webster's Bible Translation
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Weymouth New Testament
"But the tax-gatherer, standing far back, would not so much as lift his eyes to Heaven, but kept beating his breast and saying, "'O God, be reconciled to me, sinner that I am.'

World English Bible
But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn't even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'

Young's Literal Translation
'And the tax-gatherer, having stood afar off, would not even the eyes lift up to the heaven, but was smiting on his breast, saying, God be propitious to me -- the sinner!
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

18:9-14 This parable was to convince some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. God sees with what disposition and design we come to him in holy ordinances. What the Pharisee said, shows that he trusted to himself that he was righteous. We may suppose he was free from gross and scandalous sins. All this was very well and commendable. Miserable is the condition of those who come short of the righteousness of this Pharisee, yet he was not accepted; and why not? He went up to the temple to pray, but was full of himself and his own goodness; the favour and grace of God he did not think worth asking. Let us beware of presenting proud devotions to the Lord, and of despising others. The publican's address to God was full of humility, and of repentance for sin, and desire toward God. His prayer was short, but to the purpose; God be merciful to me a sinner. Blessed be God, that we have this short prayer upon record, as an answered prayer; and that we are sure that he who prayed it, went to his house justified; for so shall we be, if we pray it, as he did, through Jesus Christ. He owned himself a sinner by nature, by practice, guilty before God. He had no dependence but upon the mercy of God; upon that alone he relied. And God's glory is to resist the proud, and give grace to the humble. Justification is of God in Christ; therefore the self-condemned, and not the self-righteous, are justified before God.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 13. - And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner! Utterly sad and heart-broken, the publican neither recounts nor thinks of good kind deeds done, or special sins committed; no thoughts came into that poor heart, such as, "I have done some fair deeds; I am not altogether vile and sinful." He felt that with him evil so far overbalanced good that he could make no plea for himself, and yet he, too, longed for salvation, so he threw himself wholly upon God's mercy and love in his sad prayer, "God be merciful to me the sinner!" for so the words should be rendered. Different to the Pharisee, who thought himself better than his neighbours, this man, in his sad humility, evidently thought other men better than himself, but still he so trusted in God that he felt even for him, the sinner, there might be mercy.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And the publican standing afar off,.... Not at the outermost porch, or at the door: for

"a man might not fix his place at the door of the synagogue, but, "he must go afar off", the space of two doors, and then pray (r);''

it may be in the court of the Gentiles, when the Pharisee was in the court of the Israelites; at least he was afar off from him: and indeed, those who came to humble themselves before the Lord, and confess their sins, were obliged to stand at the distance of four cubits one from another, that one might not hear the prayers and confessions of the other (s): and it might be, that this poor man might stand at a greater distance than was required, that he might not displease the Pharisee, who, he knew, would resent it, should he stand near him; or rather this was done, to testify the sense he had of his state and condition, and of his unworthiness; as that he was afar off from God, and unworthy to draw nigh unto him, and deserved to be kept at a distance from him for ever. So it is said (t) of the Israelites, that they trembled at Mount Sinai, and "stood afar off", , "to show their humility": and under a work of the law, and under such a like dispensation was this publican; and therefore

would not so much as lift up his eyes unto heaven: and which, as it was an humble posture he stood in, agrees with the rules the Jews give (u);

"the order (or posture) of the body, how is it? when a man stands in prayer he ought to set his feet one by the side of the other, and fix his eyes, "below", as if he looked to the earth; and his heart must be open above, as if he stood in the heavens; and lay his hands upon his heart, putting the right hand over the left; and must stand as a servant before his master, with trembling, and fear, and dread, and may not put his hands upon his loins.''

And agreeably to this, it is elsewhere (w) said,

"he that prays, ought to fix his eyes below, and his heart above.''

And the Jews used to look downward, or shut their eyes, for the sake of attention in prayer; and it was even forbidden them to open their eyes to look upon the wall (x). This showed in the publican, that the guilt of his sins lay heavy on him; that he could not look up; that shame filled him with blushing; that sorrow caused his countenance to fall; and that fear of divine wrath, and displeasure, possessed him; and that he looked upon himself as unworthy of the smiles of heaven,

but smote upon his breast: pointing at the fountain of his sin; expressing by this action, his sorrow, and repentance for it; and an aversion and abhorrence of himself on account of it, joined with indignation and revenge; and he did this to arouse and stir up all the powers and faculties of his soul, to call upon God. The Persic version renders it, "he fell on his knees, and beat the earth with his head"; taking a sort of revenge on himself for sin:

saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. This is his prayer; a short, but a very full one, and greatly different from that of the Pharisee: in which is a confession that he was a sinner; a sinner in Adam, who had derived a sinful nature from him, being conceived and born in sin; and a sinner by practice, having committed many actual transgressions, attended with aggravating circumstances; a guilty and filthy sinner, a notorious one, deserving of the wrath of God, and the lowest hell: he speaks of himself, as if he was the only sinner in the world; at least, as if there was none like him: and there is in this prayer also a petition; and the object it is put up to, is "God", against whom he had sinned; with whom there is mercy and forgiveness; and who only can forgive sin; and who has promised that he will: and has proclaimed his name, a God, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin; and has given instances of his forgiving grace and mercy; and therefore the publican was right in addressing him by confession: the petition he makes to him is, to be "merciful", or "propitious" to him; that is, to show mercy to him, through the propitiary sacrifice of the Messiah, which was typified by the sacrifices under the law: the first thing a sensible sinner wants, is an application of pardoning grace and mercy; and forgiveness springs from mercy; and because the mercy of God is free and abundant, therefore pardon is so: but this is not to be expected from an absolute God, or God out of Christ. God is only propitious in Christ: hence it may be observed, that God pardons none but those to whom he is propitious in his Son; and that he forgives sin upon the foot of a reconciliation, and satisfaction made to his law, and justice, and so pardon is an act of justice, as well as of mercy; and that there is no pardoning mercy but through Christ. The Arabic version renders it, "spare me, because I am a sinner"; see Psalm 25:11.

(r) Piske Harosh Beracot, c. 1. art. 7. Vid. T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 9. 1.((s) Jarchi & Bartenora in Pirke Abot. c. 5. sect. 5. (t) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 80. 1.((u) Maimon. Hilch. Tephilla, c. 5. sect. 4. & Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. affirm. 19. (w) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 105. 2.((x) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 25. 3.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

13. standing afar off—as unworthy to draw near; but that was the way to get near (Ps 34:18; Isa 57:15).

would not lift up—blushing and ashamed to do so (Ezr 9:6).

smote, &c.—kept smiting; for anguish (Lu 23:48), and self-reproach (Jer 31:19).

be merciful—"be propitiated," a very unusual word in such a sense, only once else used in the New Testament, in the sense of "making reconciliation" by sacrifice (Heb 2:17). There may therefore, be some allusion to this here, though not likely.

a sinner—literally, "the sinner"; that is, "If ever there was one, I am he."

Luke 18:13 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Pharisee and Tax Collector
12'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' 13"But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' 14"I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Cross References
2 Samuel 12:13
Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.

Ezra 9:6
and prayed: "I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.

Isaiah 66:2
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.

Jeremiah 31:19
After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'

Matthew 6:5
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Matthew 10:3
Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

Mark 11:25
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

Luke 22:41
He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,

Luke 23:48
When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.
Treasury of Scripture

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

standing.

Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart …

Luke 7:6,7 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, …

Luke 17:12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that …

Ezra 9:6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to …

Job 42:6 Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Psalm 40:12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: my iniquities have …

Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean …

Ezekiel 16:63 That you may remember, and be confounded, and never open your mouth …

Daniel 9:7-9 O LORD, righteousness belongs to you, but to us confusion of faces, …

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said …

but.

Luke 23:48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the …

Jeremiah 31:18,19 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; You have chastised …

2 Corinthians 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that you sorrowed after a godly sort, …

God.

Psalm 25:7,11 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according …

Psalm 41:4 I said, LORD, be merciful to me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against you.

Psalm 51:1-3 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving kindness…

Psalm 86:15,16 But you, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, long …

Psalm 119:41 Let your mercies come also to me, O LORD, even your salvation, according …

Psalm 130:3,4,7 If you, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand…

Daniel 9:5,9-11 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, …

Daniel 9:18,19 O my God, incline your ear, and hear; open your eyes, and behold …

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may …

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and …

a sinner.

Luke 15:18-21 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I …

Luke 23:40-43 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Do not you fear God, …

2 Chronicles 33:12,13,19,23 And when he was in affliction, he sought the LORD his God, and humbled …

Psalm 106:6 We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have …

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though your …

Isaiah 64:5,6 You meet him that rejoices and works righteousness, those that remember …

Matthew 9:13 But go you and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not …

Romans 5:8,20,21 But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, …

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ …

1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth …

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