Luke 11:39
And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.
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(39) Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup.—See Note on Matthew 23:25. The verses that follow stand in the relation to the great discourse against the Pharisees in that chapter, as the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6) does to the Sermon on the Mount. Here, too, we recognise another instance, not of a narrative misplaced, but of words actually repeated. All past experiences, all faults previously noted, were gathered at last into one great and terrible invective. We note, as an instance of independence, St. Luke’s use of a different Greek word for “platter,” viz., that which is elsewhere (Matthew 14:8; Matthew 14:11) better translated charger, the large central dish, as distinguished from the smaller “platter” or side-dish. For the “excess” of St. Matthew, St. Luke has the more generic “wickedness.” From one point of view the words are more startling here than in their context in St. Matthew. There they are spoken as in open conflict with a class, here they are addressed to an individual member of the class, and by One whom he had invited as a guest. It must be remembered, however, that there was a touch of supercilious scorn in all these invitations, still more, perhaps, in the looks and whispers in which the wonder in this instance showed itself; and the words point to secret sins which the Searcher of hearts knew, and which it was necessary to reprove.

11:37-54 We should all look to our hearts, that they may be cleansed and new-created; and while we attend to the great things of the law and of the gospel, we must not neglect the smallest matter God has appointed. When any wait to catch something out of our mouths, that they may insnare us, O Lord, give us thy prudence and thy patience, and disappoint their evil purposes. Furnish us with such meekness and patience that we may glory in reproaches, for Christ's sake, and that thy Holy Spirit may rest upon us.See Matthew 23:25. "Ravening." Robbery, plunder. Here the sense is that the cup and platter were filled with what had been unjustly taken from others. That is, they lived by their wickedness; their food was procured by dishonesty and extortion. This was a most terrible charge; and as it was applied, among others, to the man who had invited the Saviour to dine with him, it shows that nothing would prevent his dealing faithfully with the souls of people. Even in the Pharisee's own house, and when expressly invited to partake of his hospitality, he loved his soul so much that he faithfully warned him of his crimes. 39-41. cup and platter—remarkable example of our Lord's way of drawing the most striking illustrations of great truths from the most familiar objects and incidents of life.


Ver. 39,40. We have much the same, though delivered in another form, with a denunciation of a woe, See Poole on "Matthew 23:25". We must not imagine that our Saviour here reflects upon the cleansing of vessels in which we put our meat and drink, for undoubtedly, as to them, the Pharisees washed both the inside and the outside. And the conceit of them is amiss who think that by the inward part, Luke 11:39, he means the meat in their dishes, which was gotten indeed by ravening, and wickedness, extortion, &c.; for it is a hard interpretation of the inward part of the platter, to say, by it is meant the meat in the platter; but neither doth our Saviour say, the inward part of the dish, but your inward part, by which he plainly means the soul. Our Saviour doth therefore certainly compare the Pharisees to dishes or platters washed or scoured only on the outside, and blames their hypocrisy in this, that they were mighty solicitous about an outside purity and cleanness, but for the inward purity of the heart and soul, they took no care at all about that; they were very scrupulous about undefiled hands, but nothing at all about having their souls and inward powers and affections undefiled. This he telleth them was most egregious folly, for God, that made the body, made the soul also, and therefore would exact a purity in the inward as well as the outward man, especially considering that he loveth truth in the inward parts.

And the Lord said unto him,.... Jesus, as the Syriac and Persic versions read; the Lord Jesus, as the Ethiopic.

Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup, and the platter; being very tenacious of the traditions of the elders, concerning the washing of cups and pots, which had been of late years brought in among them, and therefore the word "now" is used; See Gill on Matthew 23:25 and See Gill on Mark 7:4,

but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness: meaning either their souls, which were full of all manner of sin, the cleansing and purity of which they had no concern about, whilst they were very strict and curious in washing their bodies, their cups and platters; or rather the vessels which were filled with meat and drink got by extortion, rapine, and oppression; see Matthew 23:25.

And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.
Luke 11:39. ὁ Κύριος, once more this title in narrative.—νῦν: variously taken as = igitur or = ecce, or as a strictly temporal particle = now “a silent contrast with a better πάλαι” (Meyer). Hahn affirms that νῦν at the beginning of a sentence can mean nothing else than “now”. But Raphel, in support of the second of the above senses (“admirationem quandam declarat”), quotes from Arrian νῦν δύναταί τις ὠφελῆσαι καὶ ἄλλους, μὴ αὐτὸς ὠφελημένος (Epict., lib. iii., cap. 23, 1). Bengel cites 2 Kings 7:6, Sept[109], where νῦν in the first position is the equivalent for הִנֵּה (vide Sweet’s edition). Lo! ecce! seems best to suit the situation, which demands a lively emotional word. Godet happily renders: “Vous voilà bien! Je vous prends sur le fait.”—πίνακος for Mt.’s παροψίδος (Luke 23:25).—τὸ ἔσωθεν ὑμῶν, your inside, instead of the inside of the dishes in Mt. The idea is that the food they take into their bodies is the product of plunder and wickedness (πονηρίας = ἀκρασίας, Mt.).

[109] Septuagint.

39. Now do ye Pharisees] Doubtless other circumstances besides the mere supercilious astonishment of the Pharisee led to the vehement rebuke. The eightfold woe in Matthew 23 is fuller than here. Jesus denounces their frivolous scrupulosity (39), combined with gross insincerity (42), their pride (43), and their corruption (44).

make clean the outside of the cup and the platter] Mark 7:4, “washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables.” On one occasion the Sadducees seeing them busied in washing the great Golden Candelabrum sneeringly observed that they would wash the Sun itself if they could get the opportunity.

your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness] i.e. of greed, and of the depravity which causes it. A slightly different turn of expression is given in Matthew 23:25-26. See Excursus VI. on Sects of the Jews; and compare these denunciations with those delivered in the Temple on the last day (Tuesday in Passion Week) of the Lord’s public ministry, Matthew 23:25-28. The early Christian heretics reflected the character of these Pharisees in their mixture of elaborate profession with real godlessness, Titus 1:15-16.

Luke 11:39. [Εἶπε δὲ ὁ Κύριος, but the Lord said) Jesus spake these things which here follow in Galilee first, subsequently at Jerusalem (Matthew 23:1-39). In Galilee He said, in this passage [Luke 11:49], “I will send [Future] Prophets and Apostles among them.” Then also at Jerusalem [Matthew 23:34], He said, “Behold, I send” [Present]: To wit, in the intervening time He was come nearer to the actual sending of them.—Harm., p. 398.]—νῦν, now) The particle has the force of demonstrating a thing present: on this account the LXX. employ it for הנה, Behold, 2 Kings 7:6; and in this passage it at the same time involves an antithesis between external purity and impurity; in the same way as nunc among the Latins has often the force of atqui.—τὸ ἔξωθεν) that which is exterior (the outside): for instance, the exterior of a very clean cup.—τὸ ἔσωθεν ὑμῶν) your interior (inner man), viz. your manner of life.—γέμει, is full) like a cup or dish. First, ἔξωθεν and ἔσωθεν are adverbs; then in Matthew, ch. Luke 23:25-26, it is the cup and the dish that are said to be full, γέμειν: in Luke it is “the inward part” itself of the Pharisees. The exterior of vessels is not only convex, but also concave [what is commonly, though not correctly, called the inside]: the interior is both the heart and the manner of life.[111] It makes no difference whether ἁρπαγὴ, rapine, be taken, in the material sense, for the thing carried off, or, in the formal sense, for rapaciousness. However, it is taken in the formal sense, inasmuch as in Matthew ἀκρασία or ἀδικία, intemperance or injustice, and in Luke πονηρία, malignity, wickedness, are added. It may be thus paraphrased: Ye Pharisees keep clean the part in the vessel which is exterior; but your interior is full of rapaciousness and malignity. Ye fools, did not He, who made the exterior thing, to wit, the vessel, at the same time also make the interior thing, namely, the heart? But as concerns those things which are in the vessel [which is but the exterior thing], give alms, and behold all things, your whole manner of life, are clean to you, whatever be the case as regards the vessel, whether it be more or less clean.

[111] Not what is commonly called the inside of a cup: τὸ ἔσωθεν, according to Beng., applies here only to the heart, and not to the cup figuratively.—ED. and TRANSL.

Verses 39, 40. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? Many of the words spoken on this occasion had been uttered by the Master previously. The variations in them, slight though they be, necessitate often quite a different interpretation. This helps us to come to the conclusion that in these cases the Lord must have spoken such sayings on different occasions. In this place, for instance, in the report of a similar accusation levelled against the Pharisees reported by St. Matthew (Matthew 23:25), the second clause of the verse, which treats of the outside of the cup and the platter, reads thus: "but within they are full of extortion and excess." The meaning of this is - while every care had been taken to purify the cup and the dish, no pains whatever had been paid to the source whence came the contents of these. They were too often the proceeds of extortion, they were too frequently consumed with self-indulgence. But here, in St. Luke, the second clause reads, "your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness." The meaning of these words is, "In spite of your extreme care for the vessels of your table, your whole moral life is unclean and defiled. Are you not," argues the Master, "fools to lay down such strict rules to avoid outward defilement, while within, in the soul, you allow all manner of wickedness? Surely God, who created the things we see and touch, created the soul also!" Luke 11:39Platter (πίνακος)

The word rendered charger in Matthew 14:8, on which see note. Compare, also, παροψίς, platter, Matthew 23:25.

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