Luke 8
Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
Chap. 8:1-3.] Jesus makes a circuit teaching and healing, with His twelve disciples, and ministering women. Peculiar to Luke. A general notice of our Lord’s travelling and teaching in Galilee, and of the women, introduced again in ch. 23:55; 24:10, who ministered to Him.

2. δαιμόν. ἑπτά] See ver. 30.

3.] Prof. Blunt has observed in his Coincidences, that we find a reason here why Herod should say to his servants (Matthew 14:2), ‘This is John the Baptist,’ &c., viz.—because his steward’s wife was a disciple of Jesus, and so there would be frequent mention of Him among the servants in Herod’s court.

This is Herod Antipas.

Johanna is mentioned again ch. 24:10, and again in company with Mary Magdalene and others. Susanna is not again mentioned.

διηκ., providing food, and giving other necessary attentions.

4-15.] Parable of the Sower. Matthew 13:1-8, Matthew 13:18-23.Mark 4:1-20Mar_4:1-20. For the parable and its explanation, see notes on Matt., where I have also noticed the varieties of expression here and in Mark. On the relation of the three accounts to one another, see notes on Mark. Our Lord had retired to Capernaum,—and thither this multitude were flocking together to Him.

συνιόντος is the present participle, which the E. V. overlooks.

τῶν κατὰ πόλιν—‘ex quavis urbe erat cohors aliqua,’ Bengel.

ἐπιπορ., coming up one after another. It was the desire of those who had been impressed by His discourses and miracles to be further taught, that brought them together to Him now. He spoke this parable sitting in a boat, and the multitude on the shore.

14.] ὑπό must not be taken (Meyer) as belonging to πορευόμενοι (ὑπὸ μερ. ἀντὶ τοῦ μετὰ μερ., ), for no such usage of the preposition is found in the N.T., and the sense would be tame and frigid in the extreme; but ὑπό belongs to συνπνίγονται, and πορευόμενοι (which Meyer contends would have no meaning in this case) is in its ordinary sense of going their way, namely, after having heard the word: see for this usage of πορεύομαι Matthew 2:8; 9:13; 11:4 . (but not Mark, except 16:10 ff., where see note), and Luke 7:22; Luke 9:13 al. freq. It is surprising that such a critic as Meyer should have upheld so absurd an interpretation as that impugned above.

τοῦ βίου belongs to all three substantives.

15.] It has been said, on Matt. ver. 23, that all receptivity of the seed is from God—and all men have receptivity enough to make it matter of condemnation to them that they receive it not in earnest, and bring not forth fruit:—but there is in this very receptivity a wide difference between men; some being false-hearted, hating the truth, deceiving themselves,—others being earnest and simple-minded, willing to be taught, and humble enough to receive with meekness the engrafted word. It is of these that our Lord here speaks; of this kind was Nathanael, the Israelite indeed in whom was no guile, John 1:48: see also John 18:37, “Every one that is of the truth, heareth My voice,” and Trench on the Parables, in loc.

καλὸς καὶ ἀγαθός has here nothing to do with its classical sense of εὐγενής, but is purely ethical,—and to be rendered as in E. V., honest and good.

ἐν ὑπομ.] in patienceconsistently, through the course of a life spent in duties, and amidst discouragements—ὁ ὑπομείνας εἰς τέλος, οὗτος σωθήσεται, Matthew 24:13.

16-18.] Mark 4:21-25, where see notes. The sayings occur in several parts of Matt. (5:15; 10:26; 13:12), but in other connexions. Euthym. remarks well, εἰκὸς δὲ κατὰ διαφόρους καιροὺς τὰ τοιαῦτα τὸν χριστὸν εἰπεῖν. On the meaning of the separate sayings, see notes on the passages in Matt. Observe that ver. 18, πῶς ἀκούετε = τί ἀκούετε Mark, and δοκεῖ ἔχειν = ἔχει Mark.

19-21.] The mother and brethren of Jesus seek to see Him. Matthew 12:46-50. Mark 3:31-35. The incident is introduced here without any precise note of sequence; not so in Matt., who says, after the discourse in ch. 12, ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος τοῖς ὄχλοις … and Mark καὶ ἔρχονται … having before stated, ver. 21, that His relations went out to lay hold of Him,—for they said, “He is beside Himself.” We must conclude therefore that they have it in the exact place, and that Luke only inserts it among the events of this series of discourses, as indeed it was, but without fixing its place. His account is abridged, and without marks of an eyewitness, which the others have.

20.] If we read λεγόντων, it may be observed that we have the same elliptic gen. absol. in Hom. Il. ε. 665 ff., οὔτις ἐπεφράσατʼ οὐδʼ ἐνόησε, μηροῦ ἐξερύσαι δόρυ μείλινον, ὄφρʼ ἐπιβαίη, σπευδόντων:—Herod. i. 3, οὐδὲ ἐκδόντες ἀπαιτεόντων: see also οὐ προσδεχομένων, Thuc. iii. 34; ἐόντων, Pind. Nem. i. 46, and other examples in Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 481. In ref. Josh. we have λέγοντες similarly placed.

22-25.] Jesus, crossing the lake, stills the storm. Matthew 8:18, Matthew 8:23-27. Mark 4:35-41. The chronology of this occurrence would be wholly uncertain, were it not for the precision of Mark, who has introduced it by ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ὀψίας οὔσης,—i.e. on the same day in which the preceding parables were delivered. How it has come to be misplaced in Matthew, must ever be matter of obscurity. The fact that it is so, is no less unquestionable than the proof that it furnishes of the independence of the two other Evangelists.

22. ἐν μιᾷ τ. ἡμ.] This serves to shew that Luke had no data by which he could fix the following events. If he had seen the Gospel of Mark, could this have been so?

23.] ἀφύπ. belongs to the later Greek, and even there more commonly signifies ‘to awaken.’

κατέβη—from the sky—or perhaps from the mountain valleys around: see Matthew 7:27, and note on Acts 27:14.

συνεπλ.] they (= their ship) were filling.

24.] See notes on Matt.

25.] In Matt. this reproof comes before the stilling of the storm. But our account, and that in Mark, are here evidently exact.

26-39.] Healing of a dæmoniac in the land of the Gerasenes. Matthew 8:28-34.Mark 5:1-20Mar_5:1-20, in both of which places see notes.

26.] ἀντ. τ. Γ., a more precise description than τὸ πέραν Matt., or τὸ π. τῆς θαλ. Mark.

27.] ἐκ τῆς πόλ. belongs, not to ὑπήντ. (Meyer and E. V.), but to ἀνήρ τις—a certain man of the city. The man did not come from the city, but from the tombs.

I put to any reader the question, whether it were possible for either Mark or Luke to have drawn up their account from Matt., or with Matt. before them, seeing that he mentions two possessed throughout? Would no notice be taken of this? Then indeed would the Evangelists be but poor witnesses to the truth, if they could consciously allow such a discrepancy to go forth. Of the discrepancy itself, no solution has been proposed which can satisfy any really critical mind. That one should have been prominent, and the spokesman is of course possible, but such a hypothesis does not help us one whit. Where two healings take place, narrators do not commonly, being fully aware of this, relate in the singular: and this is the phænomenon to be accounted for. It is at least reasonable to assign accuracy in such a case to the more detailed and chronologically inserted accounts of Mark and Luke.

ἱμάτ. οὐκ ἐν. is to be taken literally. The propensity to go entirely naked is a well-known symptom in certain kinds of raving madness: see Trench, Miracles, p. 167, note†.

29.] παρήγγελλεν, He was ordering, imperf.: in the midst of this ordering, and as a consequence of it, the possessed man cried out, as in last verse. On πολ. χρόνοις see reff. Plutarch, Thes. 6, uses χρόνοις πολλοῖς ὕστερον:—not ‘for many years,’ still less, ‘oftentimes,’ E. V., Grot.;—but during a long time.

συνηρπ., it had seized him and carried him: see reff.

ἐδεσμ.] Notice the imperfect, giving the sense, it was attempted to bind him.

διαρ. τ. δ.] The unnatural increase of muscular strength is also observed in cases of raving madness (as indeed also in those of any strong concentration of the will): see Trench as above.

30.] Lightfoot (on Mark 5:9) quotes instances of the use of ל̇גיון, for a great number, in the Rabbinical writings. The fact of many dœmons having entered into this wretched man, sets before us terribly the utter break-up of his personal and rational being. The words will not bear any figurative rendering, but must be taken literally (see ver. 2 of this chap., and ch. 11:24 ff.); viz. that in the same sense in which other poor creatures were possessed by one evil spirit (see note on Matt.), this man, and Mary Magdalene, were possessed by many.

31. τ. ἄβυσσον] This word is sometimes used for Hades in general (Romans 10:7), but more usually in Scripture for the abode of damned spirits: see reff. This last is certainly meant here—for the request is co-ordinate with the fear of torment expressed above (see Greswell on the Parables, v. (pt. 2) 365, and note on ch. 16:23). But, as Bp. Wordsw. remarks, we must distinguish between ἄβυσσος, the ad interim place of torment, and the lake of fire into which the devil will be cast by Christ at the end: see Revelation 20:3, Revelation 20:10.

35.] ἐξῆλθ., viz. the people in the town and country = πᾶσα ἡ πόλις Matt.; here understood in ἀπήγ. εἰς τ. πόλ. κ. εἰς τ. ἀγ.

παρὰ τ. π. τ. Ἰη.] This particularity denotes an eyewitness. The phrases common to Mark and Luke, e.g. ἱματ. καὶ σωφ., οἱ ἰδόντες, denote a common origin of the two narratives, which have however become considerably deflected, as comparison will shew.

38, 39.] See notes on Mark.

40-56.] Raising of Jaeirus’s daughter, and healing of a woman with an issue of blood. Matthew 9:1, Matthew 9:18-26. Mark 5:21-43. Our account is that one of the three which brings out the most important points, and I have therefore selected it for full comment.

40.] ἐν τῷ ὑπ., when Jesus had returned.

ἀπεδέξ., welcomed Him: see reff.

ἦσαν γ.] Here we have an eye-witness again.

41.] ἄρχωνa ruler, = εἷς τῶν ἀρχισυναγώγων Mark;—in Matt. only ἄρχων.

42.] μονογ., peculiar to Luke, but perhaps implied in τὸ θυγάτριον of Mark.

ἀπέθν., was dying. In Matt. she is represented as already dead. He is not aware of the subsequent message to Jaeirus, and narrates concisely and generally.

The crowd seems to have followed to see what would happen at Jaeirus’s house: see ver. 54.

43.] προσαναλ., ‘having, besides all her suffering, spent,’ &c. But,—see notes on μὴ προσεῶντος τοῦ ἀνέμου, Acts 27:7, and on συμμαρτυρεῖν, Romans 2:15; Romans 8:16; Romans 9:1,—προς- may denote the direction or tendency of her spending. Mark adds, that she grew nothing better, but rather worse. The omission of this clause, ἰατρ. προσαν. ὅλ. τ. β., in some of the best mss., is curious. I have not ventured to exclude it, on account of the characteristic ἅπαξ λεγόμενον προσαναλώσασα, which seems to betray St. Luke’s hand. The ἀπʼ instead of ὑπʼ, which latter may have come from the ὑπὸ πολλῶν ἰατρῶν of St. Mark, conveys a slightly differing sense. ὑπό is more of direct agency, ἀπό of ultimate derivation. She could get no relief from any system of treatment adopted by any.

44.] Her inner thoughts are given in Mark, ver. 28.

There was doubtless a weakness and error in this woman’s view;—she imagined that healing power flowed as it were magically out of the Lord’s person; and she touched the fringe of his garment as the most sacred, as well as the most accessible part: see Matthew 23:5: Numbers 15:37-40. But she obtained what she desired. She sought it, though in error, yet in faith. And she obtained it, because this faith was known and recognized by the Lord. It is most true objectively, that there did go forth healing virtue from Him, and from his Apostles (see Mark 6:56: Luke 6:19: Acts 5:15; Acts 19:12), but it is also true that, in ordinary cases, only those were receptive of this whose faith embraced the truth of its existence, and ability to heal them. The error of her view was overborne, and her weakness of apprehension of truth covered, by the strength of her faith. And this is a most encouraging miracle for us to recollect, when we are disposed to think despondingly of the ignorance or superstition of much of the Christian world: that He who accepted this woman for her faith even in error and weakness, may also accept them.

45.] We are not to imagine that our Lord was ignorant of the woman, or any of the circumstances. The question is asked to draw out what followed.

See, on the part of Jesus Himself, an undeniable instance of this, in ch. 24:19—and note there. The healing took place by His will, and owing to His recognition of her faith: see similar questions, Genesis 3:9, and 2Kings 5:25.

ὁ Πέτ. κ. οἱ σ. αὐ.] A detail contained only here.

On the latter part of this verse many instructive remarks have been made in sermons—see Trench, Mir. p. 192, note (edn. 2)—to the effect that many press round Christ, but few touch Him, only the faithful. Thus Augustine, ‘Sic etiam nunc est corpus ejus, id est, Ecclesia ejus. Tangit eam fides paucorum, premit turba multorum’ (Serm. lxii. 3 (5), vol. v.). And Chrysostom, ὁ πιστεύων εἰς τὸν σωτῆρα ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ· ὁ δὲ ἀπιστῶν θλίβει αὐτὸν καὶ λυπεῖ. It is difficult to imagine how the miracle should be, as Bp. Wordsw., “a solemn warning to all who crowd on Christ:” or how such a forbidding to come to Him should be reconciled with δεῦτε πρός με πάντες.… Rather should we say, seeing it was one of those that thus crowded on Him who obtained grace from Him, that it is a blessed encouragement to us not only to crowd on Him, but even to touch Him: so to crowd on Him as never to be content till we have grasped if it be but His garment for ourselves: not to despise or discourage any of the least of those who “make familiar addresses to Him in (so called) religious hymns,” seeing that thus some of them may touch Him to the healing of their souls. I much fear that if my excellent friend had been keeping order among the multitude on the way to the house of Jaeirus, this poor woman would never have been allowed to get near to Jesus. But I hope and trust that he and I shall rejoice together one day in His presence amidst a greater crowd, whom no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.

47.] It is not necessary (though perhaps probable), from the ἀρν. δὲ πάντων ver. 45, that the woman should also have denied with them. She may have hidden herself among the crowd. Our Lord (Mark ver. 32) looked around to see τὴν τοῦτο ποιήσασαν—a wonderful precision of expression, by which His absolute knowledge of the whole matter is set before us.

τρέμ. + εἰδυῖα ὃ γέγονεν αὐτῇ Mark; which is implied here. All this is omitted in Matt.; and if we had only his account, we should certainly derive the wrong lesson from the miracle; for there we miss altogether the reproof, and the shame to which the woman is put; and the words of our Lord look like an encomium on her act itself. Her confession ἐνώπ. παν. τ. λ., is very striking here, as shewing us that Christ will have Himself openly confessed, and not only secretly sought: that our Christian life is not, as it is sometimes called, merely ‘a thing between ourselves and God;’ but a good confession, to be witnessed ἐνώπιον παν. τ. λ.

48.] How lovingly does our Lord re-assure the trembling woman; her faith saved her—not merely in the act of touching, but as now completed by the act of confession;—it saved her mediately, as the connecting link between herself and Christ: but the δύναμις ἐξεληλυθυῖα ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ, working through that faith, saved her energetically, and as the working cause;—τῇ χάριτι, διὰ [τῆς] πίστεως, Ephesians 2:8.

εἰς εἰρ.] See ch. 7:50 and note.

Mark’s addition, ἴσθι ὑγ. ἀπὸ τ. μάστιγός σου, is important, as conveying to her an assurance that the effect which she felt in her body should be permanent; that the healing about which she might otherwise almost have doubted, as being surreptitiously obtained, was now openly ratified by the Lord’s own word.

49.] Little marks of accuracy come out in each of the two fuller accounts. Here we have ἔρχεταί τις, which was doubtless the exact fact:—in Mark ἔρχονται,—generally expressed. In Mark again we learn not only that Jesus heard,—but παρακούσας τὸν λόγον λαλούμενον, i.e. it was not reported to Him, but He overheard it being said, which is a minute detail not given here. Nothing could more satisfactorily mark the independent authority of the two narratives.

50.] καὶ σωθ. is only here.

51.] Our Lord had entered the house, where He found θόρυβον, τοὺς αὐλητὰς καὶ τὸν ὄχλον (Matt., Mark), who were all following Him into the chamber of death. On this He declared who were to follow Him (οὐκ ἀφῆκεν, κ.τ.λ.), and uttered the words ἀναχωρεῖτε· οὐ γὰρ κ.τ.λ. Then He entered with His three Apostles and the parents. I say this, not for the sake of harmonizing, but to bring out the sequence in our narrative here, which unless we get the right meaning for ἀφῆκεν, seems disturbed.

53.] The maiden was actually dead, as plainly appears from the εἰδότες ὅτι ἀπέθ. The words οὐκ ἀπ. ἀλ. κ. are no ground for surmising the contrary: see note on Matt. ver. 24.

54.] Mark gives the actual Aramaic words uttered by the Lord, ταλιθὰ κοῦμ.

55.] her spirit returned: see reff., in the former of which death had not taken place, but in the latter it had; so that no inference adverse to her actual death can be derived from the use of the word. The command to give her to eat, shews that she was restored to actual life with its wants and weaknesses; and in that incipient state of convalescence, which would require nourishment.

The testimony of Mark here precludes all idea of a recovery from a mere paroxysm—καὶ περιεπάτει. One who ἐσχάτως εἶχεν at the time of the father’s coming, and then died, so that it could be said of the minstrels and others who had time to assemble, εἰδότες ὅτι ἀπέθανεν,—could not, supposing that they were mistaken and she was only in a trance, have risen up and walked, and been in a situation to take meat, in so short a time after. Every part of the narrative combines to declare that the death was real, and the miracle a raising from the dead, in the strictest sense.

56.] The injunction, however, was not observed; for we read in Matt., ἐξῆλθεν ἡ φήμη αὕτη εἰς ὅλην τὴν γῆν ἐκείνην.

Henry Alford - Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

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