Luke 11:5
And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
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(5) Which of you shall have a friend . . .?—The illustration, we can hardly call it a parable, is peculiar to St. Luke, and, as setting forth the power of prayer, is specially characteristic of him. (See Introduction.) The familiar tone, as of one appealing to each man’s natural good-will, and the dramatic vividness of the dialogue, make it almost unique in our Lord’s teaching. “Midnight” is chosen as being the time at which, above all others, men expect to be left to their repose. The unexpected visitor asks for “three loaves,” one for himself, one for the guest, one as a reserve; and he so far trusts his friend as to hope that he will recognise the claims of his friendship for another. So, the implied lesson is, should the man who prays think that God will care for those for whom he pleads, and will give them also their “daily bread” in both the higher and the lower senses of the word.

Luke 11:5-8. And he said, &c. — “Having, by a short form, taught his disciples that they were not in prayer to use a multiplicity of words, with vain repetitions; he proceeded to caution them, on the other hand, against coldness, indifference, and slackness in their supplications. The evil of this, and the necessity of asking affectionately, with importunity and perseverance, he taught them by a parable; in which he showed them, that importunity, that is, earnestness and frequency in asking, are the proper, natural expressions of strong desires, and, by consequence, that God very properly requires these things in men, before he bestows on them such favours as they stand in need of, just as he requires them to be earnestly desirous of these favours before he blesses them therewith.” — Macknight. Which of you shall have a friend, &c. — As if he had said, Who is there of you that has not observed the efficacy of importunate requests? If, for instance, he shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight — The most unseasonable time imaginable for asking a favour; and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves — Do me this favour on account of our mutual friendship; for a friend of mine — One to whom I am particularly indebted; in his journey is come to me — Having travelled so late and long, my friend is both weary and hungry; and I have nothing to set before him — A case certainly very urgent. And he from within — Being of a churlish disposition; shall answer and say, Trouble me not — Do not disturb me thus at so late an hour; what you ask will put me to a great deal of trouble: the door is now shut — And must have its locks and bolts opened, and my children are with me in bed — Or as τα παιδια μου μετεμου εις την κοιτην εισιν, may be rendered, my servants, together with me, are in bed. My servants are in bed as well as myself, and probably they are fast asleep, so that there is nobody at hand to give you what you want. I cannot rise and give thee — You cannot expect that I will rise and give you the loaves. I say unto you, Though he will not rise, &c. — This man, though he would not yield to the calls and influence of friendship, yet will he be prevailed upon by the force of importunity; because it shows both the greatness of the supplicant’s distress, and the earnestness of his desire.

11:5-13 Christ encourages fervency and constancy in prayer. We must come for what we need, as a man does to his neighbour or friend, who is kind to him. We must come for bread; for that which is needful. If God does not answer our prayers speedily, yet he will in due time, if we continue to pray. Observe what to pray for; we must ask for the Holy Spirit, not only as necessary in order to our praying well, but as all spiritual blessings are included in that one. For by the influences of the Holy Spirit we are brought to know God and ourselves, to repent, believe in, and love Christ, and so are made comfortable in this world, and meet for happiness in the next. All these blessings our heavenly Father is more ready to bestow on every one that asks for them, than an indulgent parent is to give food to a hungry child. And this is the advantage of the prayer of faith, that it quiets and establishes the heart in God.And he said unto them ... - Jesus proceeds to show that, in order to obtain the blessing, it was necessary to "persevere" in asking for it. For this purpose he introduces the case of a friend's asking bread of another for one who had come to him unexpectedly. His design is solely to show the necessity of being "importunate" or persevering in prayer to God.

At midnight - A time when it would be most inconvenient for his friend to help him; an hour when he would naturally be in bed and his house shut.

Three loaves - There is nothing particularly denoted by the number "three" in this place. Jesus often threw in such particulars merely to fill up the story, or to preserve the consistency of it.

My children are with me in bed - This does not necessarily mean that they were in the "same bed" with him, but that they were "all" in bed, the house was still, the door was shut, and it was troublesome for him to rise at that time of night to accommodate him. It should be observed, however, that the customs of Orientals differ in this respect from our own. Among them it is not uncommon indeed it is the common practice for a whole family - parents, children, and servants - to sleep in the same room. See "The Land and the Book," vol. i. p. 180. This is "not" to be applied to God, as if it were troublesome to him to be sought unto, or as if "he" would ever reply to a sinner in that manner. All that is to be applied to God in this parable is simply that it is proper to "persevere" in prayer. As a "man" often gives because the request is "repeated," and as one is not discouraged because the favor that he asks of his neighbor is "delayed," so God often answers us after long and importunate requests.

5-8. at midnight … for a friend is come—The heat in warm countries makes evening preferable to-day for travelling; but "midnight" is everywhere a most unseasonable hour of call, and for that very reason it is here selected.Ver. 5-9. The plain meaning of our Saviour in this parable, is to teach us that we ought not only to pray, but to be importunate with God in prayer; to continue in prayer, as the apostle phrases it, Colossians 4:2, and to watch thereunto with all perseverance, Ephesians 6:18. This in the Greek is called anaideian, impudence, which though in our language it is generally taken in an ill sense, yet here signifieth no more than a holy boldness, or pursuing our petitions notwithstanding delays or denials. For those words, Luke 11:9, See Poole on "Matthew 7:7", where the same words are found.

And he said unto them, which of you shall have a friend,.... A neighbour, or acquaintance:

and shall go unto him at midnight; which may seem a very unseasonable time, and which nothing but real distress, not knowing what otherwise to do, would put a man upon:

and say unto him, friend, lend me three loaves: it was usual of the Jews to borrow bread of one another, and certain rules are laid down, when, and on what condition, this is to be done; as for instance, on a sabbath day (k),

"a man may ask of his friend vessels of wine, and vessels of oil, only he must not say, lend me: and so a woman, , "bread of her friend".''

Again (l),

"so said Hillell, let not a woman lend "bread to her friend", till she has fixed the price; lest wheat should be dearer, and they should be found coming into the practice of usury.''

For what was lent, could not be demanded again under thirty days (m).

(k) Misn. Sabbat, c. 23. sect. 1.((l) Misn. Bava Metzia. c. 5. sect. 9. (m) T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 3. 2. Jarchi in T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 148. 1. Bartenona in Misn. Sabbat, c. 23. sect. 1.

{2} And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

(2) We must pray with faith.

Luke 11:5-8. After He had taught them to pray, He gives them the certainty that the prayer will be heard. The construction is interrogative down to παραθήσω αὐτῷ, Luke 11:6; at κἀκεῖνος, Luke 11:7, the interrogative construction is abandoned, and the sentence proceeds as if it were a conditional one (ἐάν), in accordance with which also the apodosis beginning at Luke 11:8 (λέγω ὑμῖν κ.τ.λ.) is turned. Comp. on Matthew 7:9. This anacoluthon is occasioned by the long dialogue in the oratio directa: φίλε κ.τ.λ., after which it is not observed that the first εἴπῃ (Luke 11:5) had no ἐάν to govern it, but was independent.[144]

ΤΊς ἘΞ ὙΜῶΝ ἝΞΕΙ Κ.Τ.Λ.] The sentence has become unmanageable; but its drift, as originally conceived, though not carried out, was probably: Which of you shall be so circumstanced as to have a friend, and to go to him, etc., and would not receive from him the answer, etc.? Nevertheless I say unto you, etc.

καὶ εἴπῃ αὐτῷ] The sentence passes over into the deliberative form. The converse case is found in Antiph. Or. i. 4 : πρὸς τίνας οὖν ἔλθῃ τις βοηθούς, ἢ ποῖ τὴν καταφυγὴν ποιήσεται …; See thereon, Maetzner, p. 130.

Luke 11:7. ΤᾺ ΠΑΙΔΊΑ ΜΟΥ] the father does not wish to disturb his little children in their sleep.

εἰς τ. κοίτην] they are into bed. See on Mark 2:1.

Luke 11:8. διά γε κ.τ.λ.] at least on account of his impudence. On the structure of the sentence, comp. Luke 18:4 f. On the position of γέ before the idea to which it gives emphasis, see Nägelsbach, Anm. z. Ilias, ed. 3, p. 118.

[144] Hence the less difficult reading of Lachmann, ἐρεῖ, ver. 5, following A D, etc., is a correct indication of the construction, namely, that not with εἴπῃ, ver. 5 (Bleek, Ewald), but, first of all, with κἀκεῖνος, ver. 7, does the sentence proceed as if what went before were conditionally stated. If, with Lachmann and Tischendorf, a point is placed before λέγω ὑμῖν, ver. 8, a complete break in the sentence needlessly arises.

Luke 11:5-8. The selfish neighbour. This parable and that of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8) form a couplet teaching the same lesson with reference to distinct spheres of life or experience: that men ought always to pray, and not grow faint-hearted when the answer to prayer is long delayed. They imply that we have to wait for the fulfilment of spiritual desires, and they teach that it is worth our while to wait: fulfilments will come, God is good to them that wait upon Him.

5. shall go unto him at midnight] Orientals often travel at night to avoid the heat. Although idle repetitions in prayer are forbidden, persistency and importunity in prayer—wrestling with God, and not letting Him go until He has blessed us—are here distinctly taught (see Luke 18:1-8), as they also were in the acted parable of our Lord’s apparent repulse of the Syro-Phoenician woman, Matthew 15:27-28.

Luke 11:5. Καὶ εἶπε, and He said) The Scripture exhorts us abundantly to prayer. In what lies the whole principle and right mode of prayer? In importuning, and that, in good earnest.—μεσονυκτίου, at midnight) at a time least of all convenient. In the case of God, no time is unseasonable with respect to hearing and giving.—φίλε, friend) A familiar and courteous appellation, employed instead of a proper name: it is not repeated at Luke 11:7.—τρεῖς, three) one for my guest: one for myself: one supernumerary by way of compliment. The language in this passage is wonderfully familiar, and adapted to the popular understanding.

Verses 5-13. - Prayer continued. The wisdom of perseverance in prayer is pressed. The Lord introduces his argument by the short parable of the selfish neighbor. Verse 5. - And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves. This whole passage follows naturally the Lord's own formula of prayer. The teaching contained in vers. 1-13 may be well summarized as the Master's lesson on prayer. The disciples, when they heard Jesus pray, asked him to instruct them in the holy art. The Lord then suggested to them a series of short subjects for constant prayer, and further gave them words in which they could embody these subjects, and then proceeded to press upon them that this constant seeking help from God should never be interrupted; no discouragements were ever to prevent their praying. "See," said the Master, "this" (telling them the little parable) "is what God appears to be when prayer receives no answer." Of course, he is not what he appears to be (see ver. 9). The truth concerning God does not really come out before the words of ver. 9; but the parable, grotesque and quaint, and picturing a common scene of everyday life, arrested the attention then as it has done in many a million cases since, and told men out of heart and despairing of receiving any answer to their prayers, to think. Well, here is a case in point; but is God like this? The Lord replies shortly to this mute heart-query. At midnight. The whole picture is drawn from a poor man's house - children and parents sleeping in one room. "With me in bed" probably suggests what is common in an Eastern house, where a divan or raised platform (rendered here "bed") often filled well-nigh half the room. The hour midnight has nothing strained in it - it was frequently the practice in the East to travel by night, and so to escape the great heat of the day. Luke 11:5Set before

See on Luke 9:16.

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