Luke 11:41
But rather give alms of such things as you have; and, behold, all things are clean to you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(41) But rather give alms of such things as ye have.—This, too, is peculiar to St. Luke. In the underlying principle of its teaching it sweeps away the whole fabric of the law of ceremonial purity, as the words of St. Matthew 15:10-20 had, on different grounds, done before. The distinction between the two phases of the truth is that here greater stress is laid on the active purifying power of the love of which alms, if not given for the sake of man’s praise, is the natural expression. That which defiles is selfishness; that which purifies is the unselfishness of love.

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.Alms - Charity. Benefactions to the poor.

Such things as ye have - Your property; though it has been gained unjustly: though you have lived by rapine, and have amassed wealth in an improper manner, yet, since "you have it," it is your duty to make the best of it and do good. By giving to the poor, you may show your repentance for your crimes in amassing money in this manner. You may show that you disapprove of your former course of life, and are disposed henceforward to live honestly. If this be the meaning of this passage, then it shows what is the duty of those who have by unjust gains become wealthy, and who are "then" converted to God. It may not be possible for them in every case to make exact restitution to those whom they have injured; thousands of instances of wrong they may have forgotten; many persons whom they have injured may have died; but still they may show, by giving to others, that they do not think their gains acquired honestly, and that they truly repent. They may devote their property to God; distribute it to the poor; or give it to send the gospel to the heathen world. Thus may they show that they disapprove of their former conduct; and thus may be seen one great principle of God's government - "that good finally comes out of evil."

And behold ... - Doing this will show that you are a true penitent, and the remainder of your property you will enjoy with a feeling that you have done your duty, and no longer be smitten with the consciousness of hoarding unjust gains. The object of the Saviour here seems to have been to bring the Pharisee to repentance. Repentance consists in sorrow for sin, and in forsaking it. This he endeavored to produce by showing him:

1. The "evil" and hypocrisy of his conduct; and,

2. By "exhorting" him to ""forsake" his sins, and to "show" this by doing good.

Thus doing, he would evince that the "mind" was clean as well the "body;" the "inside" as well as the "outside."

41. give alms … and … all … clean—a principle of immense value. As the greed of these hypocrites was one of the most prominent features of their character (Lu 16:14; Mt 23:14), our Lord bids them exemplify the opposite character, and then their outside, ruled by this, would be beautiful in the eye of God, and their meals would be eaten with clean hands, though never so fouled with the business of this worky world. (See Ec 9:7). plhn ta enonta dote elehmosunhn. The word enonta being a word not ordinarily used in a sense which will fit this place, hath made a great abounding in their own senses amongst interpreters; some translating it, Give such things as are within for alms; others, such things as you have; others, such things as are necessary; others, such things as ye are able, as if kata were to be understood before ta enonta, according to what you have. Others, what things remain, after the serving your own necessities, and a just restitution to those whom you have wronged. Others think it is but a connexion of our Saviour’s speech, and the sense is, Moreover there is but one thing to be done, Give alms, &c., as if it were to enon I do not see but our own translation is as good as any, and kata seems to be understood in the Greek. According to what you have, which is truly and justly your own, not theirs whom you have wronged, nor your creditors’, nor your families’, for their necessities; give alms of all that.

And, behold, all things are clean unto you. Not, your souls are clean; though that must first be, yet our Saviour is not here directing that, or the means and methods for it; but all things are clean to you, you may lawfully and without guilt use them: Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure, Titus 1:15. Our Saviour’s words are a plain exhortation to repentance, that lieth in the change of our minds; and that inward change of our minds must be evidenced by the change of our actions, and particularly by a restitution in case of wrong done to any. The Pharisees were a covetous, rapacious generation, full of extortion, devouring widows’ houses, &c. Their repentance was to be evidenced by contrary works; those were works of justice and mercy. God calleth to the Israelites for the first, Isaiah 1:16,17. Christ calls to the Pharisees for the latter. Such works of mercy as might evidence their hearts to be truly changed: and then, saith our Saviour, all things will be clean to you, which otherwise will not be with all your traditional superstitious washings. And needs it must be so, for no soul can repent truly without the influence and assistance of Divine grace, which God giveth not, but to those souls which are washed with the blood of Christ. So that before a soul can produce the fruits of true repentance, it must be justified by faith, and sanctified by the Spirit of holiness. Or if we understand it only of that repentance which an unjustified soul may have, yet even that may so far profit, as to have our outward things so blessed to us, that we may use them without any pollution or guilt, and have them outwardly blest to us. But rather give alms of such things as ye have,.... The phrase , is variously rendered, and so furnishes out various senses: the Syriac version renders it, "give that which is", which is yours; or "which is given to you", as the Persic version, and agrees with ours, "such things as ye have"; and which carries in it but a very odd sense; for none can give of that which they have not. The Vulgate Latin version reads, "that which is over and above"; superfluous substance, and which may be easily spared without hurting a man, or his family: others, "as much as you can": according to a man's ability, and as God has prospered him in the world. The Ethiopic version renders it, "that which is necessary"; which the necessities of the poor call for, and is right and proper to give them: and the Arabic version, very foreign from the sense of the phrase, reads, "before every thing"; above all things give alms. But the true sense of it is contained in the literal version of it, "things that are within"; that is, that are within the cup and the platter; give meat and drink to the poor, your platters and cups are full of, gotten by injustice and oppression. Some read it not imperatively, "give", but indicatively, "ye do give": you oppress and defraud men, devour widows' houses, and fill your own with the spoils of others; and then give out of your cups and platters drink to the thirsty, and meat to the hungry, to make atonement for your avarice and extortion:

and behold all things are clean unto you; that is, according to their own opinion, who fancied that alms deeds justified them in the sight of God, cleansed them from their sins, delivered them from hell, and gave them a title to eternal life; See Gill on Matthew 6:1 for it can never be thought to be our Lord's meaning in earnest, that either their persons, or what they had, should be pure and clean unto them, by giving a part of their ill-gotten goods to the poor; but he speaks their sense, in an ironic way. From this opinion of theirs it is, that the Hebrew word, which signifies "to be clean", is used by them for giving alms: so it is said (y), that

"R. Jonathan and Resh Lekish went down to bathe themselves in the baths of Tiberias; and a certain poor man met them, and said unto them, , "give me alms"; they said unto him, when we come back we will , "give thee alms":''

and so the Mahometans call alms by the same name, because they imagine that they cleanse their other substance from pollution, and their souls from avarice.

(y) Vajikra Rabba, Sect. 34. fol. 174. 2. Vid. fol. 173. 3, 4. & 174. 4.

But rather give alms {f} of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.

(f) That is, according to your ability: as one would say, instead of your extortion which hindered you so that you could not eat cleanly, use charity, and in accordance with your ability be good to the poor, and in this way will that which is within the platter be sanctified even though the platter is unwashed.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 11:41. A prescription how they are to effect the true purification. Πλήν is verumtamen (see on Luke 6:24): Still, in order to set aside this foolish incongruity, give that which is therein (the contents of your cups and platters) as alms, and behold everything is pure unto you … this loving activity will then make your entire ceremonial purifications superfluous for you. All that you now believe you are compelled to subordinate to your customs of washings (the context gives this as the reference of the πάντα) will stand to you (to your consciousness) in the relation of purity. On the idea, comp. Hosea 6:6 (Matthew 9:13; Matthew 12:7). τὰ ἐνόντα has the emphasis: yet what is in them, etc. Moreover, it is of itself obvious, according to the meaning of Jesus, that He sets this value not on the external work of love in itself, but on the disposition evinced thereby. Comp. Luke 16:9. The more unnecessary was the view which regarded the passage as ironical (Erasmus, Lightfoot, and others, including Kuinoel, Schleiermacher, Neander, Bornemann), and according to which Jesus repeats the peculiar maxim of the Pharisees for attaining righteousness by works: “Attamen date modo stipem pauperibus, tunc ex vestra opinione parum solliciti esse potestis de victu injuste comparato, tunc vobis omnia pura sunt,” Kuinoel. Irony would come in only if in the text were expressed, not date, but datis. Moreover, the Pharisees would not have said τὰ ἐνόντα, but ἐκ τῶν ἐνόντων. Besides, notwithstanding the Old Testament praise of this virtue (Proverbs 16:6; Daniel 4:24; Eccles. 3:30, 29:12; Tob 4:10; Tob 12:9, and elsewhere), and notwithstanding the Rabbinical “Eleemosyna aequipollet omnibus virtutibus” (Bava bathra, f. 9. 1), charitableness (apart from ostentatious almsgiving, Matthew 6:2) was so far from being the strong side of the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-14; Mark 7:11) that Jesus had sufficient reason to inculcate on them that virtue instead of their worthless washings.

τὰ ἐνόντα] that which is therein. It might also mean, not: quod superest, i.e. τὸ λοιπόν (Vulgate), but perhaps: that which is at hand, that which ye have (Theophylact: τὰ ὑπάρχοντα ὑμῖν; Euthymius Zigabenus: τὰ ἐναποκείμενα; Luther: Of that which is there), or which is possible (Grotius, Morus), to justify which δοῦναι would have to be understood; but the connection requires the reference to the cups and platters.Luke 11:41. πλὴν, rather (instead of devoting such attention to the outside).—τὰ ἐνόντα, etc., give, as alms, the things within the dishes. Others render as if the phrase were κατὰ τ. ἐν.: according to your ability (Pricaeus, Grotius, etc.).41. give alms] See Luke 12:33, Luke 16:14; Matthew 6:3. Almsgiving is only mentioned as one typical form of Charity, which was in that state of society preeminently necessary. Indeed ‘alms’ is the same word as eleemosune, which involves the idea of Mercy. The general lesson— that God does not care for ceremonies, in themselves, and only cares for them at all when they are accompanied by sincere goodness—is again and again taught in Scripture. 1 Samuel 15:22 j Isaiah 58:6-8; Micah 6:8; Daniel 4:27; James 4:8.

of such things as you have] Perhaps, “as for that which is within you, give alms.” But the entire meaning of the clause is much disputed. Some explain it, Give as alms ‘the contents’ of cup and platter, and then they will be all clean without washing. ‘It is Love which purifies, not lustrations.’Luke 11:41. Πλὴν) Although the exterior thing has been made by Him by whom the interior has been made: nevertheless in the case of man, who has contracted uncleanness, the footing on which the exterior stands, which does not in itself defile, is different from that on which the interior stands, which is in the greatest degree in need of purification.—τὰ ἐνόντα) An anonymous writer in Suidas (V. ἐνόν) says: θυσίαν ἐκ τῶν ἐνόντων καὶ παρόντων προσαχθεῖσαν, a sacrifice brought of the animals which were there, and which he had; as is observed by Pricæus, whom see on this passage. Therefore τὰ ἐνόντα are not τὸ ἔσωθεν, but articles of food and drink which are in the vessels. Supply κατά.—δότε, give) The more usual expression is ποιεῖν, to do alms: but in this place give, used (as in ch. Luke 12:33) in antithesis to rapaciousness [ravening: Give is antithetic to rapaciously snatch, implied in ἁρπαγῆς], Luke 11:39.—καὶ ἰδοῦ, and behold) He does not say, and then, but and behold; and presently after, not shall be [in consequence], but are. Therefore He does not say, that it is by giving alms in particular that cleanness or purity is to be gained for one’s food and drink; but that purity exists in the creature of God in itself (that is, in the food and drink regarded per se in itself): that all that is effected by the alms when given, not by the washing of hands, is that the stain is wiped away, which the Pharisees had contracted by their rapacity.[112]—πάντα καθαρὰ) all things, which are in the cup and the dish, are clean unto you. For God hath made all these things: Luke 11:40. None of these things defileth a man: Matthew 15:11.

[112] i.e. Having been guilty of rapacity, and having found pardon through repentance and faith, the only outward amends which one can make to his neighbour, as a fruit of faith and a pledge of sanctification, is, besides restoration of what has been wrongfully taken, almsgiving.—ED. and TRANSL.Verse 41. - But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. The translation here should run, but rather give the things that are in them as alms, etc. The thought of the contents of these cups and dishes - a thought which came out, as we have seen, so prominently in St. Matthew - here is evidently in the Lord's mind. "Ah!" he seems to say, "what you Pharisees and your schools of formalism indeed want is the knowledge of that great law of love" (the law Jesus was ever teaching in such parables, for instance, as that of the good Samaritan). "I will tell you how really to purify, in the eyes of God, these cups and dishes of yours. Share their contents with your poorer neighbors." "Let them do one single loving, unselfish act, not for the sake of the action itself, not for any merit inherent in it; but out of pure good will towards others, and their whole inward condition would be different" (Bishop Basil Jones, in the 'Speaker's Commentary'). Such things as ye have (τὰ ἐνόντα)

Only here in New Testament. Commentators differ as to the meaning, but generally reject that of the A. V. Rev., those things which are within. The meaning is, give alms of the contents of the cups and platters. Jesus is insisting upon inward righteousness as against pharisaic externalism, and says: "Your virtue consists in washing the outside, and making a respectable appearance. Cultivate rather the loving, brotherly spirit of inward righteousness, which will prompt you to give of the food which the vessels contain (that which is within) to your suffering brother." "Do you think it is enough to wash your hands before eating? There is a surer means. Let some poor man partake of your meats and wines" (Godet). So Bengel, Meyer, Alford. Compare Matthew 9:13; Hosea 6:6. Wyc., That thing that is over (i.e., remaining in the dishes) give ye alms.

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