And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)This is an evil generation: they seek a sign.—See Notes on Matthew 12:38-42. The words here spoken are clearly an answer to the demand for a sign in Luke 11:16. In St. Matthew the demand and the answer appear in close sequence.
The variations in St. Luke are (1) the omission of the explanation of the manner in which the sign of the prophet Jonah was to be fulfilled by the three days and three nights in the heart of the earth; (2) the position of the reference to the queen of the south, as coming between the sign of Jonah and the rising of the men of Nineveh. In other respects the agreement is more than usually complete.Luke 11:29-32. When the people were gathered thick together. — It seems, on this occasion, the multitude gathered round him in a great crowd, and pressed upon him, in expectation that he was going to show them the sign from heaven which some of them had required from him. But he repulsed them, by telling them that they were an evil race of men, who discovered a very perverse disposition, in seeking signs after so many miracles had been wrought by him; for which reason no greater sign should be given them than those they were daily beholding, except the sign of the Prophet Jonas. See notes on Matthew 12:38-42. They repented at the preaching of Jonas — But it was only for a season. Afterward they relapsed into wickedness, till (after about forty years) they were destroyed. It is remarkable, that in this also the comparison held. God reprieved the Jews for about forty years: but they still advanced in wickedness, till, having filled up their measure, they were destroyed with an utter destruction.Matthew 12:38-42. See Poole on "Matthew 12:38", and following verses to Matthew 12:42. Matthew saith, they were the Pharisees that came to him, desiring to see a sign from heaven: they did the same again, Matthew 16:1. Christ was very ready to work miracles to encourage and confirm his hearers’ faith, but not to satisfy unbelievers’ curiosity. Instead therefore of showing them signs from heaven, he denounces the just judgment of God against them, for their not believing in him. See further the notes upon the aforementioned parallel texts. Luke 11:16
he began to say, this is an evil generation. The Alexandrian copy, two copies of Beza's, and the Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions read, "this generation is an evil generation"; and also it was an "adulterous one", as is added in Matthew 12:39
they seek a sign; for they had asked one of him, Luke 11:16
and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet; one like unto it: See Gill on Matthew 12:39And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 11:29-32. See on Matthew 12:39-42. Jesus now, down to Luke 11:36, turns His attention to the dismissal of those ἕτεροι who had craved from Him a σημεῖον ἐξ οὐρανοῦ (Luke 11:16).
ἤρξατο] He first began this portion of His address when the crowds were still assembling thither, i.e. were assembling in still greater numbers (ἐπαθροιζ.), comp. Plut. Anton. 44. But it is arbitrary to regard this introductory notice of the assembling of the people as deduced by Luke himself from the condemnation of the entire generation (Weizsäcker).
Luke 11:30. Comp. Matthew 16:4. Jonah was for the Ninevites a sign (divinely sent) by means of his personal destiny, ὅτι ὑ̔περφυῶς ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας τοῦ κήτους ἐῤῥύσθη τριήμερος. Jesus became for that generation a sign (divinely sent, and that as Messiah) likewise by His personal destiny, ὅτι ὑ̔περφυῶς ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας τῆς γῆς ἀνέστη τριήμερος, Euthymius Zigabenus. In opposition to those who interpret the sign of Jonah only of Christ’s word (as even Schenkel and Weizsäcker, p. 431), see on Matthew 12:40, Remark. The sign of Jonah belongs entirely to the future (δοθήσεται … ἔσται).
Luke 11:31 f. does not stand in a wrong order (de Wette), although the order in Matthew is probably the original, while that in Luke is arranged chronologically and by way of climax.
μετὰ τῶν ἀνδρῶν κ.τ.λ.] she will appear with the men, etc., brings into greater prominence the woman’s condemning example.
ἄνδρες Νινευῖται] without an article: Men of Nineveh.Luke 11:29-32. The sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:38-42).—Τ. ὄ. ἐπαθροιζομένων, the crowds thronging to Him. The heading for the following discourse has been anticipated in Luke 11:16; ἕτεροι πειράζοντες, instead of Mt.’s scribes and Pharisees, asking a sign. In Lk.’s narrative Jesus answers their question in presence of a gathering crowd supposed to be referred to in the expression ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη. ἐπαθροίζω occurs here only in N.T.—ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη, etc., this generation is an evil generation; said in reference to the crowd supposed to sympathise with and share the religious characteristics of their leaders. The epithet μοιχαλὶς (Matthew 12:39) is omitted as liable to be misunderstood by non-Hebrew readers.29. were gathered] Rather, were densely gathering.
Luke 11:29. Τῶν δὲ ὄχλων, but when crowds [the multitudes]) This took place at the same time. Comp. Luke 11:37, at the beginning.—[ἐπαθροιζομένων, were rushing in upon Him [“were gathered thick together,” Engl. Vers.]) to see whether a sign was about to follow from heaven. See Luke 11:16.—V. g.]Verses 29, 30. - And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. Jesus now proceeds - the crowd was, we read, become denser - to reply to the unbelieving suggestion that he should show by a sign from heaven that it was not by the help of Satan and the powers of hell that he was enabled to exercise so mighty a power over the spirits of evil. No sign of the startling nature demanded would be given to the Jews of his day. Evidence in support of his high claims and lofty assertions was then in process of being supplied. What were their eyes beholding day by day, and their ears hearing? Evidence still more complete would vet be given them, but it would avail nothing! Lo, the solemn sign of the Prophet Jonas, who preached to wicked Nineveh after his strange resurrection - that would be given them. It is clear that St. Luke's account of our Lord's words is abbreviated. To make the symbolism of the resurrection-sign complete, we must compare St. Matthew's report (Matthew 12:39, 40), where in plain terms the Lord's death, and the resting in the tomb, and subsequent resurrection is foretold, and compared to the well-known story of the entombment of Jonah at sea for three days. This simile of the Master's was no doubt one repeated on several occasions. It is likely enough that it was so well-known a comparison when St. Luke wrote his memoir of the life that the evangelist felt it was not needful to go into all the details of the comparison; to mention the simile was enough; no Christian individual, household, or congregation but could at once fill up the details originally spoken by the Lord here. In the catacombs the Jonah-story is, owing to its use by our Lord, an oft-repeated and very favourite representation on those long galleries of tombs of Christian men and women of the first three centuries.
The present participle; and therefore, as Rev., were gathering together unto him, or upon him (ἐπιί). Only here in New Testament.
See on adulterous. Matthew 12:39.
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