Luke 19
Benson Commentary
And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
Luke 19:1-2. Jesus entered and passed through Jericho — Namely, after performing the miracle recorded at the close of the preceding chapter. He was now on his way from the other side Jordan to Bethany, near Jerusalem, to which place he hastened, with a view to be there eight or ten days before the passover, intending to preach and work miracles in the most public manner, under the eye of all the people, and of the grandees, of whose resentment he was no longer afraid, because his ministry had continued the appointed time, and he was determined to die at this passover. There was a certain man named Zaccheus, chief among the publicans — One of the principal tax-gatherers, or head-collector, or perhaps what we would term the commissioner of the customs. And he was rich — Having heaped up abundance of wealth by his gainful employment.

And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
Luke 19:3-4. And he sought to see Jesus — The great things which he had heard of Jesus made such a powerful impression on his mind, that when he was informed he was coming that way, he diligently sought an opportunity to see what sort of a person he was; and could not for the press — Could not compass his design, Jesus being now surrounded by a prodigious multitude of people, and Zaccheus himself being little of stature. The passover being near at hand, the roads to Jerusalem were full of people, many of whom, happening to meet with Jesus, chose to travel in his company, that they might behold his miracles. And he ran before — With great earnestness; and climbed up, &c. — Notwithstanding his quality; desire conquering honour and shame. Zaccheus, it seems, was in Jericho when Jesus passed through, though his house was farther on the road to Jerusalem. This accounts for his running before the multitude on this occasion. His desire to see Jesus was, no doubt, increased by the account which he had received in Jericho, of the miracle performed on the blind beggars; for the news of so extraordinary a transaction would be quickly spread abroad.

And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
Luke 19:5-8. And when Jesus came to the place he looked up, into the tree, and saw him — Zaccheus came to look upon Christ, and resolved to take particular notice of him, but little thought of being noticed by Christ. That was an honour too great, and too far above his merit, for him to have any thought of. Observe, reader, how Christ prevented him with the blessings of his goodness, and outdid his expectations; and see how he encourages very weak beginnings, and helps them forward. He that desires to know Christ shall be known of him: he that only desires to see him, shall be admitted to converse with him. And said, Zaccheus, make haste and come down, for to-day, &c. — Jesus had never seen him before, yet he called him by his name, and by what he said intimated that he knew his house was farther on the road. What a strange mixture of passions must Zaccheus have now felt, hearing one speak as knowing both his name and his heart. Zaccheus might ask, as Nathaniel did, (John 1:48,) Whence knowest thou me? But before he climbed the sycamore-tree, Christ saw him and knew him. And he made haste, &c., and received him joyfully — Overjoyed to have such an honour put upon him and his family. And his receiving him into his house was an indication of his receiving him into his heart. And when they saw it — When the multitude saw him enter the house of Zaccheus; they all murmured — Were very much offended at the particular regard that Jesus showed him; saying, he was gone to be a guest, παρα αμαρτωλω ανδρι, with a sinful man — And were not they themselves sinful men? and was it not Christ’s errand into the world to seek and save sinful men? But they seem to have thought that Zaccheus was a sinner above all men that dwelt in Jericho; such a sinner as was not fit to be conversed with. He, however, soon gave proof, that though he had been a sinner, he was now a penitent, and a true convert. Zaccheus stood, and said to the Lord — He makes his declaration standing, not only that he might be seen and heard by those who murmured at Christ for coming to his house; but that he might show by his posture his deliberate purpose and ready mind; and express himself with solemnity, as making a vow to God. Behold, Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor — He does not say, I will give it by my will when I die; but I give it now. Though hitherto I have been uncharitable to the poor, now I will relieve them, and give so much the more for having neglected the duty so long. He does not expect to be justified by his works, as the Pharisee did, who boasted of what he had done, but by his good works he purposed, through the grace of God, to evidence the sincerity of his faith and repentance, and he here signifies that this was his purpose. He addresses himself to Christ, in making this declaration, and not to the people, who were not to be his judges: and he stands, as it were, at Christ’s bar. The good that we do, we must do as unto him: we must appeal to him, and approve ourselves to him in our integrity, in all our good purposes and resolutions. If I have taken any thing by false accusation — Or by any kind of injurious charges, or oppressive claims, as the word εσυκοφαντησα, according to Heinsius, may very properly signify. He seems to have meant, by any unjust exaction of the taxes. I restore him four-fold — “This was the utmost that the Jewish law required, even in cases of fraudulent concealment and conviction; (unless where an ox had been killed or sold, and so its labour lost to the owner, and the discovery rendered more difficult: Exodus 22:1;) for the phrase of restoring seven-fold, (Proverbs 6:31,) seems only proverbial, to express making abundant satisfaction. But if a man, not legally convicted or accused, voluntarily discovered a fraud he had committed, besides his trespass-offering, he was to add to the principal only a fifth part, Leviticus 6:5. Zaccheus therefore shows the sincerity of his repentance by such an offer. Some commentators have remarked, that oppressive publicans were by the Roman law required to restore four- fold; but this was only after judgment obtained, where they had been guilty of extorting by force; whereas, before conviction, it was enough to make restitution of what had been taken; and even after it, in common cases, all that the law required was restoring twice as much.” — Doddridge.

And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
Luke 19:9-10. Jesus said unto him — Or, concerning him, as Dr. Campbell translates the words, observing, “The thing said shows clearly that our Lord spake not to Zaccheus, but to the people concerning him: he being mentioned in the third person in the next clause.” For so much as he also is a son of Abraham — Notwithstanding all the sins he has committed, it is now manifest that even this man also is a true son of Abraham, and that, not only in respect of his lineal descent from him, but of his faith and holiness. For the Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost — “Alluding to the parables of the lost sheep, lost money, and lost son, which he had lately delivered, to prove how agreeable it was to reason, to the duties of his mission, and to the will of God, that he should keep company with the worst of sinners, in order to recover them unto God their rightful owner. And therefore, though Zaccheus had been really as bad a man as the multitude took him, and his vocation bespake him to be, Jesus was in the exercise of his duty when he went to lodge with him.”

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
Luke 19:11. And as they heard these things — Namely, that salvation was come to Zaccheus’s family; he added, and spake a parable — From this we gather, that he spake the parable in Zaccheus’s house; because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and they thought, &c. — Because his followers were accompanying him to the royal city, in expectation that the kingdom of God would immediately appear, and with a resolution to assist him in erecting it, he spake this parable, wherein he showed them their duty, described the true nature of the kingdom of God, and taught them that it was not immediately to appear. “The parable,” says Dr. Doddridge, “considered in this view, as suited to the circumstance of time, and to the case of those to whom it was delivered, will appear a most wise and seasonable admonition; and by neglecting the instruction it was designed to give them, the Jews deservedly brought ruin on themselves.”

He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
Luke 19:12. A certain nobleman — Or, a certain king’s son; went into a far country to receive a kingdom, &c. — In order to be confirmed in his father’s kingdom, he went into a distant country to do homage unto a more powerful potentate, of whom he held it as a vassal. There is supposed to be an allusion here to a custom which prevailed greatly in our Lord’s time among the princes of the East; who, before they ventured to ascend the throne, went to Rome, and solicited the emperor’s permission, who disposed of all the tributary kingdoms as he saw fit. Dr. Campbell, instead of, to receive a kingdom, reads, to procure for himself royalty, observing, “To me it is manifest, that βασιλεια, here, signifies royalty, that is, royal power and dignity. For that it was not a different kingdom from that wherein he lived, as the common version implies, is evident from Luke 19:14. It is equally so, that there is in this circumstance an allusion to what was well known to Christ’s hearers, the way in which Archelaus, and even Herod himself, had obtained their rank and authority in Judea, by favour of the Romans. When this reference to the history of the times is kept in view, and βασιλεια understood to denote royal power and dignity, there is not the shadow of a difficulty in the story. In any other explanation, the expounder, in order to remove inconsistencies, is obliged to suppose so many circumstances not related, or even hinted at by the evangelist, that the latter is, to say the least, made to appear a very inaccurate narrator.” Whichever interpretation be adopted, the meaning of this part of the parable evidently is, that before Jesus entered upon his mediatorial kingdom, and sat down at the right hand of God in majesty and glory, it was necessary he should die and ascend to heaven; see Php 2:8-9; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 1:8-9; from whence he was afterward to return, as it were, that is, to come forth in his justice and power, to punish, first, the unbelieving and obstinate Jews, and afterward, in future ages, the opposers of his gospel, the persecutors of his people, all antichristian powers, and, at the day of final judgment, all the impenitent and unbelieving.

And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
Luke 19:13. And he called his ten servants — This translation implies, he had neither more nor fewer than ten servants, and that they were all called: but Dr. Campbell thinks the original expression, καλεσας δε δεκα δουλους εαυτου, should rather be rendered, having called ten of his servants, and that if the sense had been as given in our translation, the expression must have been, καλεσας δε τους δεκα δουλους εαυτου. And delivered them ten pounds — Before he departed he gave each of these servants a sum of money, to be employed in trade, until he should return. The word μνα, or mina, as it is commonly called, here rendered pound, contained sixty shekels, (Ezekiel 45:12,) and therefore, according to the common calculation of the worth of a shekel, placing it at two shillings sixpence of our money, it was seven pounds ten shillings; but according to Dr. Prideaux, who sets the shekel at three shillings, the mina was nine pounds sterling. Our Lord probably chose to mention this small sum, to illustrate the munificence of the master, in bestowing on the faithful servant so great and noble a reward. The impropriety of rendering the word pound, must strike every intelligent reader. The original word should have been retained, as it is in the parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14, &c., to which parable this is very similar; and the notes on which the reader is desired to consult, for the more perfect elucidation of this. By the ten servants, (a certain number being put for an uncertain,) we are to understand; 1st, The apostles and first preachers of the gospel, to whom Jesus gave endowments fitting them for their work, and from whom he expected a due improvement of those endowments in the propagation of the gospel. 2d, Those whom he should call and qualify for the work of the ministry in future ages: and, 3d, All who did or should hereafter profess to receive his gospel, and to be his disciples and servants; conferring upon them the means of grace, encouragements and advantages for improvement in holiness, and gifts and abilities for usefulness to mankind. And said unto them, Occupy till I come — Till I return to take an account of the use you have made of what has been intrusted to your management. The spiritual sense is, Use your endowments, gifts, and graces, with all your privileges and advantages, for the good of your fellow-creatures, and the glory of God, till I come to visit the nation; to destroy Jerusalem; to execute judgment on my enemies, and on those of my people in successive ages; to require your souls of you by death, and to judge mankind in the day of final accounts.

But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
Luke 19:14-15. But his citizens hated him — The natural subjects of this king’s son, (see on Luke 19:12,) “hated him without a cause, as appears from the message which they sent to this potentate, from whom he sought what in latter times has been called investiture. For in that message they alleged no crime against him. But only expressed their ill-will toward him, by declaring that they would not have him to reign over them. This is a fit representation of the causeless opposition which the Jewish great men made to Jesus. The message which these citizens sent after their prince had no effect; he received the kingdom, and returned with full authority, which he exercised in calling his servants to account, and in punishing his rebellious subjects. So the opposition which the Jews made to our Lord’s being made king proved ineffectual. Having, therefore, all power in heaven and in earth given unto him, he will return to reckon with his apostles and ministers, and other servants, and especially his rebellious subjects.” Nay, he has returned already in more respects than one, and has both punished the Jews and other persecutors of his people, and opposers of his gospel, with most exemplary punishment. Then he commanded these servants to be called, that he might know how much every man had gained, &c. — So Jesus, both at the day of men’s death, and at the general judgment, will make a strict inquiry into the use and improvement which all his servants, but especially the ministers of his gospel, have made of the talents and opportunities committed to them. See Macknight, and notes on Matthew 25:19, &c.

And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
Luke 19:16-21. Then came the first — The modesty of these servants is remarkable. They do not say that they themselves had gained the ten or the five pounds; but that the pound which their lord had intrusted to their management had gained them, attributing their success, not to themselves, but to the gifts of his grace. And he said, Well done, thou good servant — The first servant, having been very diligent and successful, was greatly applauded by his Lord, who rewarded him by raising him to a considerable dignity in the kingdom which he had lately received, signified by setting him over ten cities. Thus the faithful apostles, evangelists, and ministers of Christ shall be rewarded with great honour and authority in his kingdom. And the second came, saying, Thy pound hath gained five pounds

Having also been both diligent and successful, though in an inferior degree. And he said to him, Be thou ruler over five cities — He, also was approved, and rewarded accordingly. Thus the least of Christ’s faithful ministers and servants shall be rewarded with a proportionable share of honour and felicity in his kingdom. “It is observable, that in Matthew 25:20-23, where the servants are represented as doubling the different sums intrusted to each, the reward of each is spoken of as the same; but here the sums intrusted being the same, and the improvement described as different, there is a proportionable difference in the reward: which, as it is a beautiful circumstance, was no doubt intended for our instruction.” — Doddridge. And another came — Who had been negligent and slothful, saying, Lord, here is thy pound — Which was put into my hands; and which I have kept laid up in a napkin — Very carefully, so that it is not at all diminished. For I feared thee, &c. — I was apprehensive I might incur thy severity, if any accident should befall this money in trade, therefore I was determined not to venture it out of my hands, and now return it just as I received it. See on Matthew 25:24-25. Because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, &c. — This is a proverbial description of an unjust, rigorous character. The slothful servant, by impudently applying it to his lord, and assigning it as the true reason why he had not increased his talent as the others had done theirs, aggravated his crime not a little. Thus slothful ministers of religion, and pretended servants of Christ, will be ever ready to throw the blame of their unfaithfulness on God himself.

And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
Luke 19:22-23. And he saith, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, &c. — When his lord heard him offer such a vile and groundless charge against him as an excuse for his own negligence, he was filled with indignation, and determined to punish him severely. Thou knewest that I was an austere man — This is not an acknowledgment of the vile and detestable charge of “God’s demanding of men,” as Dr. Guise observes, “more difficult services than he has furnished them for, and would assist them in,” which would be a most unrighteous thought of God; but the servant’s lord only argues with him on his own base principles, and shows, that even on them he would be justly condemned for his negligence. Wherefore then gavest thou not my money — If thou didst really believe me to be the rigorous person thou sayest I am, why didst thou not lend out my money on proper security, that I might have received mine own, συν τοκω, with interest; a method of improvement of thy talent which would have occasioned thee no trouble at all. Thy excuse, therefore, is a mere pretence. In like manner, all the excuses which wicked ministers, or slothful professors of Christianity, offer in their own behalf, shall, at the bar of God, stand them in no stead, whether they be drawn from the character which they affixed to God, or from his supposed decrees, or from their own inability, or from the difficulty of his service, or from any other consideration whatever. Negligent and useless ministers especially, may, in the fate of this slothful servant, see a picture of their own: for Christ, above all things, disapproves of a wicked, or even an indolent or unprofitable minister of his gospel. “This negligent and slothful servant,” says Quesnel, “ought to make all pastors and clergymen tremble, who imagine that they lead an innocent life if they do but avoid the grosser sins, and only lead an easy and quiet life in idleness and indolence. In a priest it is a great evil not to do any good. Not to use the gifts of God, is to abuse them. He loses them, who does not make them serviceable to the good of the church. Rest is a crime in one who is called to a laborious life; and we cannot live to ourselves alone, when we belong to the church.” “Let us reflect,” says Gregory, in his seventeenth homily on the gospel, “who were ever converted by our preaching; who, moved by our rebukes, have repented of their evil ways; who, through our teaching, have forsaken luxury, covetousness, pride. Let us reflect what gain we have made for God, who have been sent by him to labour, with the talents intrusted to us. For he saith, Occupy till I come. Behold, now he cometh, now he requires the profit of our labour. What gain of souls shall we be able to show him from our toils? What sheaves of souls shall we be able to present to him from the harvest of our preaching? Let us place before our eyes that day of so great strictness, in which the Judge will come and take an account of these servants, to whom he hath committed his talents! Lo, he will be seen in terrible majesty, amid the company of angels and archangels! Good and bad must be examined before him, and the works of each made manifest. There all the leaders of the Lord’s flock will appear with their gain of souls, won to the Lord by their preaching. And when so many pastors shall appear with their flocks before the eyes of their eternal Pastor — wretched men, what shall we say, who return empty to our Lord; who have borne the name of shepherds, and yet have no sheep to show! called pastors here, but without any flock there!”

Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
Luke 19:24-26. And he said to them that stood by — To the officers of justice that waited on the king; Take from him the pound — Take what was intrusted with him from that idle, suspicious, unfaithful servant, who might otherwise have had that, and much more, allotted him for his own property; and give it him that has ten pounds — As an additional reward for his fidelity and diligence. And they said, Lord, he hath ten pounds — They speak this in surprise at his assigning it to one who had received so ample a reward, thinking there was no occasion to give an additional pound to one who had so many already. Perhaps they thought it more proper to give it to him who had only five pounds. Nevertheless, the prince stood by his former award, and bestowed the other pound likewise upon him; because it was agreeable to the rules of all wise administrations to bestow the most and greatest trusts on them who, by their fidelity in offices already enjoyed by them, had shown that they best deserved them. For unto every one which hath — That uses properly and improves what he hath; shall be given — Still more, and he shall have greater abundance; and from him that hath not — That acts as if he had not a talent to use for the good of mankind and the glory of God; even that he hath shall be taken away from him — The opportunities and advantages which he enjoys shall be taken from him, and given to such as improve those already bestowed on them.

(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
Luke 19:27. But those mine enemies, &c. — Having thus inquired into the conduct of his servants, and treated them according to the different use they made of what had been intrusted with them, he then proceeded to pass sentence on his rebellious citizens, who had refused to have him for their king; and with a just resentment of their base ingratitude, he commanded them to be brought thither immediately, and slain in his presence, that others might learn a more dutiful submission by the execution of these rebels. The word κατασφαξατε, here rendered slay them, properly signifies, slay them with the sword, and seems first to refer to the dreadful slaughter of the impenitent Jews, by the sword of each other and of the Romans. But that does not seem to be the chief design of the passage; it more especially relates to the far more terrible execution which shall be done on all impenitent sinners in the great day, when the faithful servants of Christ shall be rewarded. Now all this was as if our Lord had said, Thus shall I at length appear, not as a temporal sovereign, but as the great eternal Judge and victorious Ruler over all; when, having received power and dominion from my Father, I shall bring all to their final account, and with infinite ease triumph over those who reject and affront my authority: take heed, therefore, that you be not found in their wretched number, as many will be who pretend most eagerly to desire the Messiah’s appearance.

And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
Luke 19:28-40. When he had thus spoken — When he had finished the preceding parable in Zaccheus’s house; he went before — Continued his journey, and led the way as foremost of the company, thus showing his readiness to suffer; ascending up to Jerusalem — Being determined to appear there at the approaching passover, though he well knew that he was to encounter persecution and death there. And when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany — Both these villages being situated at the foot of the mount of Olives, and Jesus being between them, on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, he might very properly be said to have been nigh to both, and nigh to Jerusalem, which was at the distance of two miles only: he sent two of his disciples, &c. — See this paragraph explained, Matthew 21:1-16; Mark 11:1-10. The whole multitude began to praise God — Speaking at once, as it seems, from a divine impulse words which most of them did not understand. Peace in heaven — God being reconciled to man. Rebuke thy disciples — Paying thee this immoderate honour. If these should hold their peace, the stones which lie before you would immediately cry out — That is, God would raise up some still more unlikely instruments to declare his praise. Or, that he would, by a miracle, raise up others to glorify his name, rather than silence should be kept on this occasion. But though Jesus did not refuse the honours that were now paid him, he was far from assuming the dignity of an earthly prince, or any state pageantry whatsoever. On the contrary, he humbled himself exceedingly; his riding on an ass being an instance of great meekness, according to what was prophesied of him, Zechariah 9:9.

And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.
And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.
And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.
And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?
And they said, The Lord hath need of him.
And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
Luke 19:41-44. He beheld the city and wept over it — As he drew nigh he looked on the city, and, notwithstanding he had already met with much ill usage from its inhabitants, and was at this very juncture to be put to death by them, yet, with a divine generosity and benevolence, which nothing can equal, he wept over it, in the view of the surrounding multitude, lifting up his voice and lamenting aloud the calamities which he foresaw were coming upon it. If thou hadst known, at least in this thy day — After thou hast neglected so many; thy day — The day wherein God still offers thee his blessings; the things which belong unto thy peace — And on which thy final happiness depends! but now they are hid from thine eyes — God will leave thee in his righteous judgment to this thy chosen ignorance and obstinate perverseness, till it end in thine utter ruin. For the days shall come — The time hastens on and will soon arrive; that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee — And thou shalt suffer all the hardships of the closest siege. The original phrase is, περιβαλουσιν χαρακα σοι, which Dr. Campbell renders, will surround thee with a rampart, observing, the word “χαραξ does not occur in any other place in the New Testament, but in some places wherein it occurs in the Septuagint, it has evidently the sense here given it. Indeed, a rampart or mound of earth was always accompanied with a trench or ditch, out of which was dug the earth necessary for raising the rampart. Some expositors have clearly shown that this is a common meaning of the word in Greek authors. Its perfect conformity to the account of that transaction given by the Jewish historian, is an additional argument in its favour.” And keep thee in on every side — So that, with all thy numerous inhabitants, thou neither shalt be able to resist nor to escape them. To the prophecy here uttered by Jesus, foretelling the principal circumstances of the siege of Jerusalem, the event corresponded most exactly. “For, when Titus attacked the city, the Jews defended themselves so obstinately, that he found there was no way to gain his purpose but to compass the city round with a trench and mound. By this means, he kept the besieged in on every side, cut off from them all hope of safety by flight, and consumed them by famine. The work which he undertook was indeed a matter of extreme difficulty, for the wall measured thirty-nine furlongs, or almost five miles, and the towers were thirteen in number, every one of them ten furlongs in compass. Nevertheless, the whole was finished in three days; for, to use the expression of Josephus, the soldiers in performing this work were animated by a divine impetus. Bell., Luke 6:13.” And shall lay thee even with the ground — Of this circumstance, see the notes on Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2. The description which Josephus has given of the taking of Jerusalem by Titus, may be considered as a comment upon these prophecies. Bell., Luke 7:18. “Thus was Jerusalem taken, in the second year of Vespasian’s reign, on the 8th day of September; and having been already five times surprised, it was again finally destroyed. Such was the end of the besieging of Jerusalem, when there was none left to kill, nor any thing remaining for the soldiers to get. Cesar commanded them to destroy the city and temple, only leaving certain towers standing, that were more beautiful than the rest, namely, Phaselus, Hippicos, and Mariamne, and the wall that was on the west side, meaning there to keep a garrison, and that they should be a monument of the prowess of the Romans, who had taken a city so well fortified, as by them it appeared to have been. All the rest of the city they so levelled,” answering to our Lord’s phrase, lay thee even with the ground, “that they who had not seen it before, would not believe that ever it had been inhabited.” And in the preceding chapter he says, “They destroyed the wall, and burned the outward part of the city.” Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation — “Our Lord here assigns the cause of the destruction of Jerusalem and her children. It was because that, when God visited them by his Son, the seed of Abraham and David, the Messiah, they did not know it, but rejected and crucified him. The destruction of the city and of her inhabitants, clearly foreseen by our Lord in all the circumstances thereof, was a scene so affecting, that it moved his tender soul, and made him weep. It seems the miseries of bitterest enemies had more influence to afflict and melt his soul, than the admiration, the acclamations, and hosannas of his friends to elate him with joy. His weeping was a wonderful instance of his humanity, and is so far from lessening the dignity of his character, that it exalts it infinitely. Were it worthwhile, the reader might be put in mind that the historians of Greece and Rome, to aggrandize their heroes, have been at pains to relate occurrences at which they shed tears; but this would be to fall egregiously below the greatness of the subject. Is it possible to have the least relish for goodness, and not be ravished with the man who has such a quick feeling of the miseries of others, as to weep for their misfortunes in the height of his own prosperity, especially if the objects moving his compassion are enemies, and his courage is such as to enable him to look without perturbation on the greatest disasters ready to fall on himself? See Matthew 20:18-19. Let wondering mortals, then, behold in this an example of compassion and generosity, infinitely superior to any thing that the heathen world can furnish! an example highly worthy of their admiration and imitation.” — Macknight.

Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
Luke 19:45-48. And he went into the temple — See notes on Matthew 21:12-14; Mark 11:11; Mark 11:18. And he taught daily in the temple — Jesus, being now to remain but a short time upon earth, employed himself without intermission in teaching as many people as possible, and in the most public places.

Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.
Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
Luke 18
Top of Page
Top of Page