Luke 11:8
I say to you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
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(8) Because of his importunity.—Literally, because of his shamelessness. The word is not used elsewhere in the New Testament, and exactly expresses the pertinacity that knows no restraint.

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.I tell you - The Latin Vulgate here adds, "if he shall continue knocking." Though this is not in the Greek, yet it is indispensable that it should be understood in order to the sense. Knocking "once" would not denote "importunity," but it was because he "continued" knocking.

His importunity - His troublesome perseverance; his continuing to disturb the man, and refusing to take any denial. The word "importunity" denotes perseverance in an object, without any regard to time, place, or circumstances - an improper perseverance. By this the man was influenced. Rather than be disturbed he would rise and give what was asked. This is to be applied to God in no other sense than that he often hears prayers and grants blessings even "long after" they appear to be unanswered or withheld. He does not promise to give blessings "at once." He promises only that he will do it, or "will answer" prayer. But he often causes his people long to wait. He tries their faith. He leaves them to persevere for months or years, until they "feel" entirely their dependence on him, until they see that they can obtain the blessing in no other way, and until they are "prepared" to receive it. Often they are not prepared to receive it when they ask it at first. They may be proud, or have no just sense of their dependence, or they would not value the blessing, or it may "at that time" not be best for them to obtain it. But let no one despair. If the thing is for "our" good, and if it is proper that it "should" be granted, God will give it. Let us first ask aright; let us see that our minds are in a proper state; let us feel our need of the blessing; let us inquire whether God has "promised such" a blessing, and "then" let us persevere until God gives it. Again: people, when they ask anything of God, often give over seeking. They go "once," and if it is not granted they are discouraged. It is not so when we ask anything of people. "Then" we persevere; we take no denial; we go again, and "press" the matter until we obtain it. So we should of God. We should go again and again, until the prayer is heard, and God grants what we ask of him.

8. importunity—The word is a strong one—"shamelessness"; persisting in the face of all that seemed reasonable, and refusing to take a denial.

as many, &c.—His reluctance once overcome, all the claims of friendship and necessity are felt to the full. The sense is obvious: If the churlish and self-indulgent—deaf both to friendship and necessity—can after a positive refusal, be won over, by sheer persistency, to do all that is needed, how much more may the same determined perseverance in prayer be expected to prevail with Him whose very nature is "rich unto all that call upon Him" (Ro 10:12).

See Poole on "Luke 11:5" I say unto you,.... This is the accommodation of the parable; to these words are premised, in the Vulgate Latin version, the following, "if he continue knocking":

though he will not rise and give him, because he is a friend; though mere friendship will not influence and engage him to rise from his bed, at such an unseasonable time, and fulfil the request of his friend;

yet because of his importunity, he will rise and give him as many as he needeth: as he asks for, or more, if necessary: the design of this parable, is the same with that of the widow and the unjust judge, in Luke 18:1 which is to show the force of importunity, where friendship, as here, and the fear of God, and regard of men, which were wanting there, have no influence; and so to encourage to constancy and perseverance in prayer, with earnestness; taking no denial at the hand of God, but still continuing to make pressing instances.

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his {b} importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

(b) Literally, impudence: but that impudency which is spoken of here is not to be found fault with, but is very commendable before God, for he is well pleased by such importunity.

Luke 11:8. λέγω ὑμῖν: introducing a confident assertion.—διά γε τ. ἀν., yet at least on account of, etc. He may give or not give for friendship’s sake, but he must give for his own sake.—ἀναίδειαν (here only in N.T.), the total disregard of domestic privacy and comfort shown by persistent knocking; very indecent from the point of view of the man in bed (ἀναίδειαν = τὴν ἐπιμονὴν τῆς αἰτήσεως, Euthym.).8. yet because of his importunity] Literally, ‘shamelessness’ (Vulg. improbitas), ‘impudence,’ i.e. unblushing persistence, which is not however selfish, but that he may do his duty towards another. Isaiah 62:6, “Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, &c.” Abraham furnishes a grand example of this fearless persistence (Genesis 18:23-33). Archbishop Trench quotes the beautiful passage in Dante’s Paradiso:

“Regnum caelorum violenzia pate

Da caldo amore e da viva speranza, &c.”

he will rise] not merely half raise himself, or get out of bed, as in Luke 11:7 (anastas), but ‘thoroughly aroused and getting up’ (egertheis).

as many as he needeth] More than the three which he had asked for the bare supply of his wants.Luke 11:8. Λέγω, I say) Almost all the codices of the Latin Vulg. omit the clause, “Et si ille perseveraverit pulsans,” or “et ille si perseveraverit pulsans.[105] See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. It might seem to be a gloss from Acts 12:16, “Petrus autem perseverabat pulsans.” But Bede, Augustine, Ambrose, and especially Tertullian, set aside this conjecture. See lib. de Or. cap. 6, where Tertullian says, “Sed et nocturnus ille PULSATOR panem PULSABAT.” Add his lib. de Præscript. c. 11 and 12, and his lib. iv. c. Marcion, ch. 26. The more recent Armenian translators, and the old English Versions, follow the Latin; [however the Germ. Vers. of Bengel himself does not follow it.—E. B.]—διὰ τὸ, because that he is) God hears on account of His own love, and is not affected by sense of trouble.—τὴν ἀναίδειαν, shameless importunity) unabashed boldness, shown in coming by night. [In prayer, we must not proceed with timidity, but ask, seek, knock: ch. Luke 18:1; Luke 18:5; Luke 18:7; Psalm 55:18.—V. g.] In the case of such an importunate petitioner, it would cost one less trouble to grant his request than to refuse it. Comp. ch. Luke 18:5. The order of the words is well-considered,—δώσει ἀναστάςἐγερθεὶς δώσει: though he will not give rising up—yet being aroused he will give. Friendship might have impelled him to give [but it did not]: shameless importunity, persevering in knocking, does impel him to the labour of rising [therefore the giving is made prominent by being first in the former clause; the rising in the latter].—ὃσων, as many as) even if the loaves asked for be more than what urgent necessity requires. It is no greater inconvenience now to give many, than to give three, or even one loaf.

[105] c has it, and some old MSS. of Vulg.—ED. and TRANSL.Verse 8. - Because of his importunity, he will rise. The one idea left upon the minds of the hearers of this little quaint homely parable is - importunity is completely successful. The borrower had only need to keep on knocking to get all he wanted. Importunity (ἀναίδειαν)

Only here in New Testament. A very striking word to describe persistence. Lit., shamelessness. As related to prayer, it is illustrated in the case of Abraham's intercession for Sodom (Genesis 18:23-33); and of the Syro-Phoenician woman (Matthew 15:22-28).

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