Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.Chap. 6:1-5.] The disciples pluck ears of corn on the Sabbath. Matthew 12:1-8. Mark 2:23-28. Between the discourse just related here and in Mark, and this incident, Matthew interposes the raising of Jaeirus’s daughter, the healing of the two blind and one dumb, the mission of the twelve, and the message of John. I need not insist on these obvious proofs of independence in the construction of our Gospels.
On the question of the arrangements, see on Matt.
1. δευτεροπρώτῳ] This word presents much difficulty. None of the interpretations have any certainty, as the word is found no where else, and can be only judged of by analogy. (1) It is not altogether clear that the word ought to be here at all:—see var. readd. Schulz supposes it to have arisen from putting together two separate glosses, in the margin of some mss., one δευτέρῳ, the other πρώτῳ:—originally inserted,—the first, to distinguish this sabbath from that in ch. 4:31,—the latter, from that in ver. 6. (2) Chrysostom, Hom. xxxix. on Matt., vol. vii. p. 431, says, ὁ δὲ Λουκᾶς φησιν Ἐν σαββάτῳ δευτεροπρώτῳ. τί δέ ἐστιν, ἐν δευτεροπρώτῳ; ὅταν διπλῆ ἡ ἀργία ᾖ, καὶ τοῦ σαββάτου τοῦ κυρίου, καὶ ἑτέρας ἑορτῆς διαδεχομένης. Paulus and Olsh. also take this interpretation.
(3) Theophylact understands,—a sabbath, the day before which (παρασκευή) had been a Feast-day.
(4) Isidore of Pelusium, , and others, think that the first day of unleavened bread is meant, and is called δευτερόπ., because it is δευτέρα τοῦ πάσχα, which had been slain on the evening before.
(5) Scaliger and Petavius interpret it to mean the sabbath following the second day of the Passover, from which the seven weeks to Pentecost were reckoned. This has been commonly followed; but is liable to the objection that the assumption, σάββ. δευτερόπρ. = σάββ. τῆς ἑβδομάδος δευτεροπρώτου = σάββ. τῆς ἑβδ. πρώτης μετὰ τὴν δευτέραν τῶν ἀζύμων, is an unjustifiable one.
(6) To omit many other conjectures, I may mention that Wieseler (Chron. Synop. Deu_4 Evv., p. 231 ff.) suggests that it may mean the first sabbath in the second of the cycle of seven years, which completed the sabbatical period. He shews, by a passage from the κήρυγμα Πέτρου (Alex., Strom. vi. 5, p. 760 .), that the Jews did call the first sabbath of the year πρῶτον—and that the years were reckoned as the first, second, &c., of the septennial cycle (see a decree of Jul. Cæsar in Jos. Antt. xiv. 10. 6). Thus the first sabbath of the first year would be πρωτόπρωτον or πρῶτον, that of the second δευτερόπρωτον, &c. And according to his chronology, which fixes this in a.u.c. 782, this year was the second of the sabbatical cycle. If we follow this conjecture, this day was the first sabbath in the month Nisan.
The point so much insisted on, that this must have been after the presentation of the first-fruits which took place on the 16th of Nisan,—on account of the prohibition in Leviticus 23:14,—is of no weight, as it is very uncertain whether the action mentioned here is included in the prohibition.
As regards the analogy of the word, δευτεροδεκάτη, sometimes cited from Jerome on Eze_45, is not to the point: for that word represents the fact that “rursus ex ipsis decimis Levitæ, hoc est inferior ministrorum gradus, decimas dabant sacerdotibus:” so that it was not “the second-tenth,” as Wordsw., but a tenth of a tenth,—a second tithing of a tithe.
ψώχ. τ. χ. is a detail peculiar to Luke: rubbing them and blowing away the chaff. 2.
2.] In Matt. and Mark, the Pharisees address our Lord, ‘Why do Thy disciples,’ &c.
3. οὐδὲ …] Have ye not read so much as this? E. V.: i.e. ‘Are ye so utterly ignorant of the spirit of Scripture?’ see Mark 12:10, where the same expression occurs.
The remarkable substitution in for ver. 5 seems to be an interpolation, but hardly an invention of a later time. Its form and contents speak for its originality and, I am disposed to believe, its authenticity.
6.] The circumstances related in ch. 14:1-6 are very similar to these; and there Luke has inserted the question of Matt. vv. 11, 12. I should be disposed to think that Mark and Luke have preserved the exact narrative here. Matthew, as we see, describes the watching of the Pharisees (τοὺς διαλογισμοὺς αὐτῶν, Luke, ver. 8) as words actually spoken, and relates that they asked the question: which certainly arises from an imperfect report of what took place, the question itself being verbatim that which our Lord asked on that other occasion, Luke 14:3, and followed by a similar appeal about an animal. There can hardly be a doubt that in Matthew’s narrative the two occurrences are blended: and this may have taken place from the very circumstance of the question about an animal having been asked on both occasions; Luke omitting it here, because he reports it there—Matthew joining to it the question asked there, because he was not aware of another similar incident.
ἡ δεξ. is a mark of accuracy, and from an eye-witness.
9.] The words in the . text, ἐπ. ὑμᾶς τί ἔξεστιν, admit of two constructions according as they are punctuated: ‘I will ask you what is allowable on the sabbath,—to do good, or to do evil?’ (ἐπ. ὑμ. τί ἔξ. κ.τ.λ.); or, ‘I will ask you a certain thing: Is it,’ &c. (ἐπ. ὑμ. τι· ἔξ. κ.τ.λ.) This latter is preferable, both on account of the future ἐπερ., and of its similarity to ἐρωτήσω ὑμᾶς κἀγὼ λόγον, ch. 20:3. But the reading in the text is much preferable to either. After the question, Mark adds οἱ δὲ ἐσιώπων—as they did after the question just referred to in ch. 20, because they were in a dilemma, and either answer would have convicted them.
10.] Mark adds μετʼ ὀργῆς συλλυπούμενος ἐπὶ τῇ πωρώσει τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν—one of the most striking and graphic descriptions in the Gospels.
It was thus that He bare (see Matthew 8:17), even while on earth, our sins and infirmities. Their hearts were hardened,—but He grieved for it.
11. ἀνοίας] It does not appear that this word can ever mean, as in some former editions, ‘madness,’ rage of a senseless kind: certainly it does not in reff., nor in Herod. vi. 69 or Thuc. iii. 48, there carelessly referred to. The proper meaning, ‘senselessness,’ ‘wicked folly,’ must be kept to. See Ellicott’s note on 2Timothy 3:9, to which I owe this correction.
διελάλ., viz. the Pharisees and Herodians: Mark ver. 6, where see note.
12-19.] Calling and names of the twelve Apostles. Peculiar (in this form) to Luke: see Matthew 12:15-21: Mark 3:13-19. We may observe that Matt. does not relate the choosing of the Apostles, but only takes occasion to give a list of them on their being sent out, ch. 10:1 ff.; and that Mark and Luke agree in the time of their being chosen, placing it immediately after the healing on the sabbath,—but with no very definite note of time.
12.] ἐν τ. ἡμ. τ. is vague in date, and may belong to any part of the period of our Lord’s ministry now before us. I believe it to be a form of acknowledgment on the part of the Evangelist, that he did not determine exactly into what part of this period to bring the incident so introduced. Indeed the whole of this paragraph is of a supplementary and indefinite character, serving more as a preface to the discourse which follows, than as an integral part of the narration in its present sequence. This of course in no way affects the accuracy of the circumstances therein related, which nearly coincide in this and the cognate, though independent, account of Mark.
ἐξελθεῖν—viz. from Capernaum.
τὸ ὄρος] See on Matthew 5:1.
προσεύξ.] See note on ch. 5:16.
κ. ἦν διαν.…] and spent the night in prayer to God, see E. V. The whole context, and the frequency of the objective genitive (see Winer, § 30. 1, edn. 6), should have prevented the Commentators (Hammond, Olearius, &c.) from making the blunder of imagining προσευχή here to be a proseucha or house of prayer: see note on Acts 16:13.
13. προσεφ. τ. μ. αὐτ.] Expressed in Mark, προσκαλεῖται οὓς ἤθελεν αὐτός—i.e. He summoned to Him a certain larger number, out of whom He selected Twelve. We are not to suppose that this selection was now first made out of a miscellaneous number—but now first formally announced; the Apostles, or most of them, had had each their special individual calling to be, in a peculiar manner, followers of the Lord, before this.
ὠνόμασεν—not at a previous, or subsequent period, as Schleiermacher suggests (Trans. p. 89); but at this time. Mark (3:14) gives the substance, without the form, of the word ἀπόστολος—ἐποίησεν δώδεκα ἵνα … ἀποστέλλῃ αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν …
14.] On the catalogue, see notes on Matthew 10:1 ff.
16.] Ἰούδαν Ἰακώβου—usually, and I believe rightly, rendered Jude the brother of James: see Prolegg. to Jude. On the question who this James was, see on Matthew 10:3, and 13:55.
17.] Having descended from the mountain, He stood on a level place—i.e. possibly, as has been suggested by some, on a flat ledge or shelf on the side of the mountain; but more naturally below the mountain: see on Matthew 5:1. Whether Luke could thus have written with the Gospel of Matthew before him, I leave the reader to judge: premising, that is, the identity of the two discourses.
19.] Luke uses the same expression, of power going forth from our Lord, in ch. 8:46.
20-49.] Sermon on the Mount (?). Peculiar (in this form) to Luke, answering to Matt. 5-7. On the whole question of the identity or diversity of the two discourses, see on Matthew 5:1. In Matthew I cannot doubt that we have the whole discourse much as it was spoken; the connexion is intimate throughout; the arrangement wonderfully consistent and admirable. Here, on the other hand, the discourse is only reported in fragments—there is a wide gap between vv. 26 and 27, and many omissions in other parts; besides which, sayings of our Lord, belonging apparently to other occasions, are inserted: see vv. 39, 40, 45. At the same time we must remember, that such gnomic sayings would probably be frequently uttered by Him, and might very likely form part of this discourse originally. His teaching was not studious of novelty like that of men, but speaking with authority, as He did, He would doubtless utter again and again the same weighty sentences when occasion occurred. Hence may have arisen much of the difference of arrangement observable in the reports—because sayings known to have been uttered together at one time, might be thrown together with sayings spoken at another, with some one common link perhaps connecting the two groups.
20. εἰς τοὺς μ.] The discourse was spoken to the disciples generally,—to the Twelve particularly,—to the people prospectively; and its subject, both here and in Matt., is, the state and duties of a disciple of Christ.
πτωχοί] To suppose that Luke’s report of this discourse refers only to this world’s poverty, &c.—and the blessings to anticipated outward prosperity in the Messiah’s Kingdom (De Wette, Meyer), is surely quite a misapprehension. Comparing these expressions with other passages in Luke himself, we must have concluded, even without Matthew’s report, that they bore a spiritual sense: see ch. 16:11, where he speaks of ‘the true riches,’ and ch. 12:21, where we have εἰς θεὸν πλουτῶν. And who would apply such an interpretation to our ver. 21?
See on each of these beatitudes the corresponding notes in Matt.
ἡ βασ. τ. θ. = ἡ βασ. τ. οὐρανῶν Matt., but it does not thence follow that αὐρανοί = θεός, but the two are different ways of designating the same kingdom—the one by its situation—in heaven, where its πολιτεία is (ἡ ἄνω Ἰερουσαλήμ, Galatians 4:26), the other by Him, whose it is.
22.] ἀφορίσωσιν and ἐκβάλ, must not be understood of Jewish excommunication only, but of all kinds of expulsion from society.
τὸ ὄν. ὑμ., literal: your name:—either your collective name as Christians,—to which Peter seems to refer, 1Peter 4:14-16;—or, your individual name.
23.] ἐν ἐκ. τ. ἡμ., not in the most solemn sense of the words (see Matthew 7:22), but in the day when men shall do thus to you. 24.
24.] Of course (see Prolegg. ch. 1.) I cannot assent to any such view as that taken by Meyer and others, that these ‘woes’ are inserted from later tradition (gehdren zur Formation der spatern Mberlieferung); in other words, were never spoken by our Lord at all:—either we must suppose that they ought to follow Matthew 5:12, which is from the context most improbable,—or that they, and perhaps the four preceding beatitudes with them, were on some occasion spoken by our Lord in this exact form, and so have been here placed in that form.
26.] Not said to the rich, but to the disciples. The very warning conveyed in ψευδοπροφ. shews this, and should have prevented Meyer from making the blunder. The mention of προφ. and ψευδοπροφ. has reference to the disciples’ office as the salt of the earth. The address in ver. 27 is not (Meyer) a turning of the discourse to His own disciples, but ὑμῖν λέγω τοῖς ἀκούουσιν = ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, which introduces the same command Matthew 5:44,—and τοῖς ἀκούουσιν serves the purpose of the ἐγώ—to you who now hear Me. The discourse being mutilated, the strong antithesis could not be brought out.
29.] See Matthew 5:39 ff.
31.] Matthew 7:12; but here it seems somewhat out of connexion, for the sense of vv. 29, 30, has been resist not evil, whereas this precept refers to the duty of man to man, injury being out of the question.
32.] This verse again belongs to ver. 28, not to ver. 31: see Matthew 5:46 ff.
33 ff.] χάρις corresponds to μισθός, Matt. (see note on Matthew 5:12).
35. ἀπελπίζοντες] Three renderings have been given—(1) the ordinary one, μηδὲν ἀπʼ αὐτῶν ἐλπίζοντες, Euthym.;—but this meaning of the word is unexampled, though agreeing with the context. (2) ‘causing no one to despair,’ i.e. refusing no one (reading μηδένʼ: cf.  in various readings);—so the . renders it. (3) ‘not despairing,’ i.e. ‘without anxiety about the result.’ This last sense of the word is best supported by examples, both from Polybius (e.g. ἀπελπ. τὰ πράγματα, i. 19. 12,—τὴν σωτηρίαν, ii. 54. 7, . freq., see Index), and the Apocrypha,—see reff. But as it is an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον in the N.T., perhaps the force of the context should prevail, and the ordinary interpretation be adopted, as there is nothing in analogy (ἀπαιτῶ, ἀπολαμβάνω, …) to forbid the meaning; and so Passow gives it in Lexic.
υἱοὶ ὑψίστου] Meyer maintains that this must mean ‘sons of God’ in the sense of partakers of the glory of the Messiah’s Kingdom, but without reference to the state of believers in this life, which last he says is according to the usage of Paul, not of the three first Evangelists. But surely this is sufficiently answered by ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν in the next verse, where the actual present sonship to our heavenly Father is a reason why we should imitate Him.
36.] οἰκτίρμ. = τέλειοι Matthew 5:48, which last is the larger description, comprehending in it charity and mercy: see note there.
Vv. 37 f. = Matthew 7:1, Matthew 7:2. The saying is much enriched and expanded here; perhaps it was so uttered by our Lord on some other occasion; for the connexion is very strict in Matt., and would hardly bear this expansion of what is not in that place the leading idea.
38.] The similitude is taken from a very full measure of some dry thing such as corn. That no liquid is intended by ὑπερεκχ., as Bengel supposes, is evident—for the three present participles all apply to the same μέτ. καλ. and form a climax.
δώσουσιν] The subject of this verb answers to the unexpressed agents of ἀντιμετρηθήσεται; such agents being indefinite, and the meaning thereby rendered solemn and emphatic: see on ch. 12:20. If we are to find a nom., it should be the Angels, who are in this matter the ministers of the divine purposes (so Meyer).
This saying is found with a totally different import Mark 4:24; one of the many instances how the Lord turned about, so to speak, the Light of Truth contained in His declarations, so as to shine upon different departments of life and thought.
39.] From this verse to the end is in the closest connexion, and it is impossible that it should consist of sayings thrown together and uttered at different times.
The connexion with what went before is not so evident, indeed the εἶπεν δὲ π. αὐτ. seems to shew a break. The parabolic saying, implying the unfitness of an uncharitable and unjustly condemning leader (the Lord was speaking primarily to His Apostles) to perform his office, leads to the assertion (ver. 40) that no Christian ought to assume in this respect an office of judging which his Master never assumed; but rather will every well-instructed Christian strive to be humble as his Master was. Then follows the reproof of vv. 41-43; and vv. 44, 45 and 46-49 shew us, expanded in different images, what the beam in the eye is, to which our first efforts must be directed.
τυφλ. τ. ὁδ.] See this in quite another connexion, Matthew 15:14, where Peter answers, φράσον ἡμῖν τὴν παραβολὴν [ταύτην]—meaning apparently the last uttered words, which the Lord however explains not specifically, but by entering into the whole matter. I believe this παραβολή to have been one of the usual and familiar sayings of our Lord.
40.] See above. κατηρτισμένος (see reff.)—fully instructed—perfect, in the sense of ‘well-conditioned,’ knowing what is his duty, and consistently endeavouring to do it. De Wette, Kuinoel, &c., have given a strange rendering of this clause, making κατηρτ. ὡς ὁ δ. αὐτ. the predicate—‘every disciple will be instructed as his Master.’ But if I mistake not, the position of κατηρτ. as first in the sentence forbids this rendering.
41.] De Wette imagines a break in the sense here, and a return to Matthew 7:3 f.;—but the whole is in the strictest connexion: see above.
43.] The καρπὸς σαπρός = the δοκὸς ἐν τῷ ὀφθ. If thy life is evil, it is in vain to pretend to teach others.
45.] Again the closest connexion of sense and argument; nor is this verse (De Wette) put here because of the similarity of the preceding verses to Matthew 12:33 reminding the compiler of ver. 35 there. Do these expositors suppose that our Lord only once spoke each of these central sayings, and with only one reference?
46-48.] The connexion goes on here also—and our Lord descends into the closest personal searching of the life and heart, and gives His judicial declaration of the end of the hypocrite, whether teacher or private Christian: see notes on Matt.
48.] ἔσκαψεν κ. ἐβάθυνεν—not a mere hendiadys for “dug deep,” but, as Bengel observes, “crescit oratio:” he dug, and deepened as he dug: was not content with one digging, but kept going deeper.
49. συνέπεσεν] So we have συμπίπτει στέγη, Eur. Herc. Fur. 905: πόλιν … ὑπὸ σεισμοῦ … ξυμπεπτωκυῖαν, Thuc. viii. 41.