Luke 10:19
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
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(19) Behold, I give unto you . . .—The better MSS. have, “I have given,” as of something already bestowed in its completeness. In the power to “tread on serpents and scorpions,” we have a manifest reference to the words of Psalm 91:13. Those words stand in closest sequence with the promise which had been wrested from its true meaning by the Tempter in the great struggle in the wilderness; and it is not over-bold to think that they were connected with our Lord’s memories of that time, and especially of the fact indicated by St. Mark’s statement (Mark 1:13) that He “was with the wild beasts.” Now, through resistance to the Temptation, there had come the victory which if He had then yielded, never would have been won. Of a literal fulfilment of the words, St. Paul’s escape from the viper at Melita (Acts 28:3) is the only recorded instance; but the parallelism between this promise and that of Psalm 91:13 shows that the literal meaning falls into the background, that the serpent and the scorpion are symbols of spiritual powers of evil. A merely literal interpretation lands us in two serious difficulties: (1) that it represents the treading on serpents as a greater work than casting out demons; and (2) that it implies that serpents and scorpions, as such, are not part of God’s creation, but belong to the power of the Evil One. So far as we think of a literal fulfilment at all, it can only be as the symbol and earnest of the spiritual. The real kernel of the promise lies in the last words, “Nothing shall by any means hurt you,” and these find their interpretation in the thought that “nothing shall separate us from the love of God,” and that “all things work together for good to those that love Him” (Romans 8:39; Romans 8:28).

10:17-24 All our victories over Satan, are obtained by power derived from Jesus Christ, and he must have all the praise. But let us beware of spiritual pride, which has been the destruction of many. Our Lord rejoiced at the prospect of the salvation of many souls. It was fit that particular notice should be taken of that hour of joy; there were few such, for He was a man of sorrows: in that hour in which he saw Satan fall, and heard of the good success of his ministers, in that hour he rejoiced. He has ever resisted the proud, and given grace to the humble. The more simply dependent we are on the teaching, help, and blessing of the Son of God, the more we shall know both of the Father and of the Son; the more blessed we shall be in seeing the glory, and hearing the words of the Divine Saviour; and the more useful we shall be made in promoting his cause.To tread on serpents - Preservation from danger. If you tread on a poisonous reptile that would otherwise injure you, I will keep you from danger. If you go among bitter and malignant enemies that would seek your life, I will preserve you. See the notes at Mark 16:18.

Scorpions - The scorpion is an animal with eight feet, eight eyes and a long jointed tail, ending in a pointed weapon or sting. It is found in tropical climates, and seldom exceeds 4 inches in length. Its sting is extremely poisonous, and it is sometimes fatal to life. It is in Scripture the emblem of malicious and crafty men. When rolled up it has some resemblance to an egg, Luke 11:12; Ezekiel 2:6. The annexed cut will give an idea of its usual form and appearance.

The enemy - Satan. The meaning of this verse is, that Jesus would preserve them from the power of Satan and all his emissaries - from all wicked and crafty men; and this shows that he had divine power. He that can control Satan and his hosts that can be present to guard from all their machinations, see all their plans, and destroy all their designs, must be clothed with no less than almighty power.

19. Behold, I give you, &c.—not for any renewal of their mission, though probably many of them afterwards became ministers of Christ; but simply as disciples.

serpents and scorpions—the latter more venomous than the former: literally, in the first instance (Mr 16:17, 18; Ac 28:5); but the next words, "and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you," show that the glorious power of faith to "overcome the world" and "quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one," by the communication and maintenance of which to His people He makes them innocuous, is what is meant (1Jo 5:4; Eph 6:16).

Christ doth here:

1. Confirm the power before given to these seventy for working miracles, that they might not think that it ceased upon the determination of their first mission.

2. He confirmeth his promise to them for his presence with them, and protection of them.

Interpreters think here is a manifest allusion to Psalm 91:13, Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under thy feet: which must be understood figuratively, the sense being, that nothing should hurt them. This promise was more specially verified for some years in God’s protection of time first ministers of the gospel, until they had done their work; and shall be fulfilled in a sense to the end of the world, according to the promise in Psalm 91:13. Nothing shall hurt their souls, as to the favour of God and their eternal happiness, nor their bodies, so far forth as, or so long as, God in his wisdom shall judge fit. They have a further power also given them more common to all the ministers of the gospel sent by Christ, yea, and to all Christians. They have a power over all the power of the enemy; God will not be wanting to them in a power to resist the devil, and they have a promise that, being resisted, he shall flee from them.

Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions,.... Which may be literally understood, as in Mark 16:18, or figuratively of the devil, and his principalities and powers, and all his emissaries, who, for their craft and cunning, and for their poisonous and hurtful nature and influence, may be compared to serpents and scorpions:

and over all the power of the enemy; of mankind in general, and of the seed of the woman, Christ and his people in particular, Christ has a power over all his power, his whole posse of devils, even the power of the air, of which he is prince; and he communicated this power to his disciples, even to the seventy: adding,

and nothing shall by any means, hurt you; not the most hurtful and poisonous animals, nor the most malicious persecutors on earth, nor all the devils in hell: as the former venomous creatures, when took up in their hands, should not hurt, their bodies; so the other, whatever they might be permitted to do with respect to their lives, and outward estate, should never hurt their souls, and the eternal welfare of them; nor even hinder the work of God prospering in their hands.

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means {g} hurt you.

(g) Will do you wrong.

Luke 10:19 reminds one of Mark 16:18.—τοῦ ἐχθροῦ, the enemy, Satan.—οὐδὲν, may be either nominative or accusative = either, “nothing shall in any wise hurt you,” R. V[101], or “in no respect shall he (the enemy) hurt you”.

[101] Revised Version.

19. I give] Read, I have given, with א, B, C, L, &c.

power] Rather, the authority.

to tread on serpents and scorpions] Compare Mark 16:17-18. So far as the promise was literal, the only fact of the kind referred to in the

N. T. is Acts 28:3-5. In legend we have the story of St John saved from poison, which is represented in Christian art as a viper escaping from the cup (Jameson, Sacred and Legendary Art, I. 159). But it may be doubted whether the meaning was not predominantly spiritual as in Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20; Psalm 91:13; Isaiah 11:8.

nothing shall by any means hurt you] Romans 8:28; Romans 8:39.

Luke 10:19. Δίδωμι) As I have given, so in continuation I give.—ὄφεων, serpents) Mark 16:18. An appellation appropriate to an earthly enemy: He no longer alludes to the enemy descending “from heaven,” as in the image, as lightning. The passage, Acts 28:3, et seqq., is parallel to Mark 16:18; but between Mark and Luke (the Gospel) there is a verbal parallelism, yet one not of the things themselves, but of the names.[97] Believers were secured against serpents, called so both in the literal and metaphorical sense.—σκορπίων, scorpions) which are more subtle (keen, or else more minute) than serpents.—δὐναμιν) power, or, צבא, forces. Serpents and scorpions are the species: All the power is the genus.—τοῦ ἐχθροῦ, of the enemy) The singular number, applying to the chief enemy [Matthew 13:39; Psalm 8:3].—Οὐ ΜῊ ἈΔΙΚΉΣῌ, shall not hurt) Greater danger was lying hidden beneath, than the inexperienced had been sensible of.

[97] ‘Homonymicus,” i.e. where the same name or term is applied to different things.—ED. and TRANSL.

Verse 19. - Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. The older authorities read here, "I have given." The only recorded instance of a literal fulfilment of this promise was in the case of Paul at Melita, after the shipwreck (Acts 24:3-5). A similar promise was made during the "forty days" (Mark 16:17, 18). It seems however, best, in the case of this peculiar promise, to interpret the Lord's words as referring to spiritual powers of evil, taking the serpent and scorpion as symbols of these. It should be remembered that the subject of conversation between the Master and his servants was the conflict with and victory ever these awful powers restlessly hostile to the human race (see Psalm 91:13). Luke 10:19
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