Luke 11:24
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.
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(24-26) When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man.—See Notes on Matthew 12:43-45. Here the only variations are (1) the omission of the house being “empty,” and (2) of the application of the parable to “this wicked generation.”

Luke 11:24-26. When the unclean spirit — See notes on Matthew 12:43-45.

11:14-26 Christ's thus casting out the devils, was really the destroying of their power. The heart of every unconverted sinner is the devil's palace, where he dwells, and where he rules. There is a kind of peace in the heart of an unconverted soul, while the devil, as a strong man armed, keeps it. The sinner is secure, has no doubt concerning the goodness of his state, nor any dread of the judgment to come. But observe the wonderful change made in conversion. The conversion of a soul to God, is Christ's victory over the devil and his power in that soul, restoring the soul to its liberty, and recovering his own interest in it and power over it. All the endowments of mind of body are now employed for Christ. Here is the condition of a hypocrite. The house is swept from common sins, by a forced confession, as Pharaoh's; by a feigned contrition, as Ahab's; or by a partial reformation, as Herod's. The house is swept, but it is not washed; the heart is not made holy. Sweeping takes off only the loose dirt, while the sin that besets the sinner, the beloved sin, is untouched. The house is garnished with common gifts and graces. It is not furnished with any true grace; it is all paint and varnish, not real nor lasting. It was never given up to Christ, nor dwelt in by the Spirit. Let us take heed of resting in that which a man may have, and yet come short of heaven. The wicked spirits enter in without any difficulty; they are welcomed, and they dwell there; there they work, there they rule. From such an awful state let all earnestly pray to be delivered.See the notes at Matthew 12:43-45. 23. gathereth … scattereth—referring probably to gleaners. The meaning seems to be, Whatever in religion is disconnected from Christ comes to nothing.Ver. 24-26. See Poole on "Matthew 12:43", See Poole on "Matthew 12:44" and See Poole on "Matthew 12:45". From these verses we may observe,

1. That the devil may in some sort and degree be cast out of persons and places, while yet in other respects they may be his house, and he may dwell in and amongst them. Their bodies, their country, may be in great measure delivered from his power, and he may yet keep possession of their souls. This ordinarily happeneth in places where the gospel is faithfully preached; though there remain abundance of men whose lives evidence that the devil hath a too great possession of their souls, yet those places, and persons inhabiting in them, are more freed from witchcraft, and the power which the devil exercises (by God’s permission) upon men’s and women’s bodies, and cattle, &c., than other more paganish and ignorant places. He may also in a sense be said to be cast out of persons that are reclaimed from vicious and debauched lives, yet are not brought home to God, only are more enlightened, and more under the power of restraining grace; yet their souls may be his house.

2. The devil, cast out in any degree, is unquiet till (if possible) he hath recovered as full a power over and possession of men and women as he ever had.

3. If he ever recovers it, their latter end is worse than their beginning, Hebrews 6:4 10:26 2 Peter 2:20.

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man,.... That is, the devil, who is in, and works in the children of disobedience, whether under a profession of religion or not; whose hearts are unclean like himself, wherefore there he delights to dwell; and so the Ethiopic version renders it, "the evil demon": who may be said to go out of a man in appearance, when he outwardly reforms and takes up a profession of religion.

He walketh through dry places; or "a desert", as the Ethiopic version; to which the Gentile world is sometimes compared in the Old Testament Isaiah 35:1 whither Satan might go, being disturbed in Judea, through the many dispossessions by Christ; or rather leaving for a while the Scribes and Pharisees, who outwardly appeared righteous before men, he went to the Gentiles;

seeking rest, and finding none; being also made uneasy among them, through the preaching of the Gospel, which was sent unto them after Christ's resurrection; and not being able to keep his place in the hearts of men, nor do the mischief he was desirous of.

He saith, I will return unto my house, whence I came out; to the Jews again, who were blinded and filled with rage and enmity to the Gospel by him, and whom he instigated to persecute the apostles of Christ, and preachers of the word, wherever they came; See Gill on Matthew 12:43 and See Gill on Matthew 12:44.

{6} When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.

(6) He that does not continue, but is in a worse case, than he that never began.

Luke 11:24-26, a figurative discourse, in which He sets forth their incorrigibility. See on Matthew 12:43-45. Luke, indeed, gives the saying concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost (Mark 3:28 f.; Matthew 12:31 f.), but not until Luke 12:10; and therefore it is wrong to say that he omitted it in the interest of the Pauline doctrine of the forgiveness of sins (Baur).

Luke 11:24-26. The parable of the unclean spirit cast out and returning: given by Mt. in connection with the demand for a sign (Luke 12:43 ff.). Lk.’s version differs from Mt.’s chiefly in minute literary variations. Two omissions are noticeable: (1) the epithet σχολάζοντα in the description of the deserted house (a probable omission, the word bracketed in W. and H[104]), (2) the closing phrase of Mt.’s version: οὕτως ἔσται καὶ τῇ γενεᾷ τ. τ. πονηρᾷ. On the import of the parable vide on Mt., ad loc.

Westcott and Hort.

24. he walketh through dry places] The unclean spirits were thought to frequent ruins (Berachoth, f. 3a) and the waterless desert, Tob 8:3; see on Luke 4:1.

seeking rest] Not to be in possession of some human soul, is (for them) to be in torment.

Verses 24, 25. - When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. The devil, expelled for a season, watches his opportunity and quickly returns; the exorcist-physician was powerless without the aid of Christ to accomplish anything more than a half-cure; the relapse, as we shall see, was worse than the original malady. The imagery of the "dry place" through which the devil walked (luring his temporary absence from the afflicted soul, was derived from the popular tradition that spirits of evil frequented ruins and desert places (see the Talmud, 'Treatise Berachoth,' fol. 3, a; and Tobit 8:3). Luke 11:24Dry places (ἀνύδρων τόπων)

Rev., more literally, waterless. The haunts of evil spirits (Isaiah 13:21, Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:14). By satyrs in these two passages are meant goblins shaped like goats, which were sacrificed to by some of the Israelites (Leviticus 17:7; 2 Chronicles 11:15); a remnant of the Egyptian worship of Mendes or Pan, who, under the figure of a goat, was worshipped by the Egyptians as the fertilizing principle in nature. In Isaiah 34:14, it is said "the screech-owl shall rest there." This is rendered in margin of A. V. and in the Rev., Old Testament, the night-monster (Hebrew, Lilith); and by Cheyne (Isaiah) night-fairy. The reference is to a popular superstition that Lilith, Adam's first wife, forsook him and became a demon which murdered young children and haunted desert places.


See on Matthew 11:28.

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