Luke 13:1
There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
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(1) The Galileeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.—The incident is not related by Josephus or any other historian, but it was quite in harmony with Pilate’s character. (See Note on Matthew 27:2.) We may fairly infer it to have originated in some outburst of zealous fanaticism, such as still characterised the followers of Judas of Galilee (Acts 5:37), while the pilgrims from that province were offering their sacrifices in the courts of the Temple, and to have been repressed with the same ruthless severity as he had shown in other tumults. It was probably one, at least, of the causes of the enmity between Herod and Pilate of which we read in Luke 23:12.

Luke 13:1-3. There were present at that season — When Christ spake the foregoing words; some that told him of the Galileans — The followers of Judas Gaulonites, whose story Josephus has given us at large, Antiq., Luke 18:1. It appears he was the head of a sect who asserted God to be their only sovereign, and were so utterly averse to a submission to the Roman power, that they accounted it unlawful to pay tribute unto Cesar, and would rather endure the greatest torments than give any man the title of lord. Perhaps this story of the Galileans might now be mentioned to Christ with a design of leading him into a snare, whether he should justify or condemn the persons that were slain. Be this as it may, the scope and connection of the passage, as well as Christ’s answer, show, that the persons who mentioned the case of these Galileans thought God had permitted them to be massacred at their devotions for some extraordinary wickedness; thus insinuating a very wrong idea of divine providence. And Jesus said, Suppose ye, &c. — Christ “not only condemned the notion now mentioned, but told them expressly that these Galileans were not to be reckoned greater sinners than others, because they had been overtaken by so severe a calamity, and exhorted them, instead of forming harsh judgments of others from such examples of sufferings, to improve them as inducements unto themselves to repent, assuring them that if they did not they should all likewise perish;” or, perish in a similar manner, as the word ωσαυτως implies. And, as a general and national repentance did not take place, Christ’s threatening was most awfully verified. For there was a remarkable resemblance between the fate of these Galileans, and that of the main body of the Jewish nation; the flower of which was slain at Jerusalem by the Roman sword, or by the falling of walls and towers, while they were assembled at one of their great festivals: and many thousands of them perished in the temple itself, and, as their own historian relates, were literally buried under its ruins. Many, who came from far to attend the passover, fell before their sacrifices; and when Titus took the city a multitude of dead bodies lay round the altar.13:1-5 Mention was made to Christ of the death of some Galileans. This tragical story is briefly related here, and is not met with in any historians. In Christ's reply he spoke of another event, which, like it, gave an instance of people taken away by sudden death. Towers, that are built for safety, often prove to be men's destruction. He cautioned his hearers not to blame great sufferers, as if they were therefore to be accounted great sinners. As no place or employment can secure from the stroke of death, we should consider the sudden removals of others as warnings to ourselves. On these accounts Christ founded a call to repentance. The same Jesus that bids us repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, bids us repent, for otherwise we shall perish.There were present - That is, some persons who were present, and who had heard his discourse recorded in the previous chapter. There was probably a pause in his discourse, when they mentioned what had been done by Pilate to the Galileans.

At that season - At that time - that is the time mentioned in the last chapter. At what period of our Lord's ministry this was, it is not easy to determine.

Some that told him - This was doubtless an event of recent occurrence. Jesus, it is probable, had not before heard of it. Why they told him of it can only be a matter of conjecture. It might be from the desire to get him to express an opinion respecting the conduct of Pilate, and thus to involve him in difficulty with the reigning powers of Judea. It might be as a mere matter of news. But, from the answer of Jesus, it would appear that "they" supposed that the Galileans "deserved" it, and that they meant to pass a judgment on the character of those people, a thing of which they were exceedingly fond. The answer of Jesus is a reproof of their habit of hastily judging the character of others.

Galileans - People who lived in Galilee. See the notes at Matthew 2:22. They were not under the jurisdiction of Pilate, but of Herod. The Galileans, in the time of Christ, were very wicked.

Whose blood Pilate had mingled ... - That is, while they were sacrificing at Jerusalem, Pilate came suddenly upon them and killed them, and "their" blood was mingled with the blood of the animals that they were slaying for sacrifice. It does not mean that Pilate "offered" their blood in sacrifice, but only that as they were sacrificing he killed them. The fact is not mentioned by Josephus, and nothing more is known of it than what is here recorded. We learn, however, from Josephus that the Galileans were very wicked, and that they were much disposed to broils and seditions. It appears, also, that Pilate and Herod had a quarrel with each other Luke 23:12, and it is not improbable that Pilate might feel a particular enmity to the subjects of Herod. It is likely that the Galileans excited a tumult in the temple, and that Pilate took occasion to come suddenly upon them, and show his opposition to them and Herod by slaying them. "Pilate." The Roman governor of Judea. See the notes at Matthew 27:2.


Lu 13:1-9. The Lesson, "REPENT OR Perish," Suggested by Two Recent Incidents, and Illustrated by the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree.

1-3. Galileans—possibly the followers of Judas of Galilee, who, some twenty years before this, taught that Jews should not pay tribute to the Romans, and of whom we learn, from Ac 5:37, that he drew after him a multitude of followers, who on his being slain were all dispersed. About this time that party would be at its height, and if Pilate caused this detachment of them to be waylaid and put to death as they were offering their sacrifices at one of the festivals, that would be "mingling their blood with their sacrifices" [Grotius, Webster and Wilkinson, but doubted by De Wette, Meyer, Alford, &c.]. News of this being brought to our Lord, to draw out His views of such, and whether it was not a judgment of Heaven, He simply points them to the practical view of the matter: "These men are not signal examples of divine vengeance, as ye suppose; but every impenitent sinner—ye yourselves, except ye repent—shall be like monuments of the judgment of Heaven, and in a more awful sense." The reference here to the impending destruction of Jerusalem is far from exhausting our Lord's weighty words; they manifestly point to a "perdition" of a more awful kind—future, personal, remediless.Luke 13:1-5 Christ showeth that temporal calamities are no sure

signs of sinfulness, but that others should take

warning by them, and repent.

Luke 13:6-9 The parable of the fig tree that was ordered to be

cut down for being fruitless.

Luke 13:10-17 Christ healeth a woman that had been long bowed

together, and putteth the hypocritical ruler of the

synagogue to silence.

Luke 13:18,19 He likens the progress of the gospel to a grain of

mustard seed,

Luke 13:20-22 and to leaven.

Luke 13:23-30 Being asked of the number of the saved, he exhorteth

to strive to enter in at the strait gate,

Luke 13:31-35 He will not be diverted from his course through fear

of Herod; and laments over the approaching

desolation of Jerusalem.

Ver. 1-5. The Holy Scriptures giving us no account of these two stories to which our Saviour doth here refer, and those who have wrote the history of the Jews having given us no account of them, interpreters are at a great loss to determine any thing about them. We read of one Judas of Galilee, who drew away much people after him, and perished, Acts 5:37. It is said that he seduced people from their obedience to the Roman emperor, persuading them not to acknowledge him as their governor, nor to pay tribute to the Romans. It is guessed by interpreters, that some of this faction coming up to the passover, (for they were Jews), Pilate fell upon them, and slew them while they were sacrificing. Others think that these were some remnant of Judas’s faction, but Samaritans, and slain while they were sacrificing at their temple in Mount Gerizim, and that (though Samaritans) they were called Galilaeans, because Judas, the head of their faction, was such. The reader is at liberty to choose which of these he thinks most probable, for I find no other account given by any. The latter is prejudiced by our Saviour’s calling them Galilaeans, and advantaged by the desperate hatred which the Jews had to the Samaritans, which might make them more prone to censure any passages of Divine providence severe towards them. But what the certain crime or provocation was we cannot say; we are sure that de facto the thing was true, Pilate did mingle the blood of some Galilaeans with their sacrifices, of which a report was brought to Christ. We are at the same loss for those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell. Siloe, or Siloa, was the name of a small fountain at the foot of Mount Zion, which, as we are told, did not constantly, but at certain times, send out waters, which running through hollow places of the earth, and mines and quarries of stone, made a great noise. Isaiah mentions it, Isaiah 8:6. There was also a pool in Jerusalem which had that name, and had a wall built by it, Nehemiah 3:15. Christ sent the blind man to go and wash there, John 9:7. Turrets are (as we know) very usual upon walls. It seems one of these towers fell, and slew eighteen persons, come thither either to wash themselves, or by reason of some healing virtue in those waters, upon what occasion we cannot determine; but there they perished. This story seems to have been something older than the other. Our Saviour either had heard what some people had said, or at least knew what they would say upon those accidents, for we are mightily prone to pass uncharitable judgments upon persons perishing suddenly, especially if they die by a violent death. As he therefore took all occasions to press upon them repentance, so he doth not think fit to omit one so fair; and though he doth not, by what he saith, forbid us to observe such extraordinary providences, and to whom they happen, but willeth us to hear and fear; yet he tells them, there were many Galilaeans as bad as they, who unless they repented, that is, being sensible of, heartily turned from, the wickedness of their ways, would perish also: thereby teaching us,

1. That punishments come upon people for their sins, and more signal punishments for more signal sinnings.

2. That although God sometimes by his providence signally punishes some for notorious sinnings, yet he spareth more such sinners than he so signally punishes.

3. That therefore none can conclude from such signal punishments, that such persons punished were greater sinners than they.

4. That the best use we can make of such reports, and spectacles of notorious sinners, more than ordinarily punished, is to examine ourselves, and to repent, lest we also perish.

There were present at that season,.... Among the innumerable multitude of people, Luke 12:1 that were then hearing the above discourses and sayings of Christ:

some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. These Galileans were very likely some of the followers of Judas Gaulonitis, or Judas of Galilee; see Acts 5:37 who endeavoured to draw off the Jews from the Roman government, and affirmed it was not lawful to give tribute to Caesar; at which Pilate being enraged, sent a band of soldiers, and slew these his followers; who were come up to the feast of the passover, as they were offering their sacrifices in the temple, and so mixed their blood with the blood of the passover lambs: this being lately done, some of the company spoke of it to Christ; very likely some of the Scribes and Pharisees, whom he had just now taxed as hypocrites; either to know his sense of Pilate's conduct, that should he condemn it as brutish and barbarous, they might accuse him to him; or should he approve of it, might traduce him, and bring him into contempt among the people; or to know his sentiments concerning the persons slain, whether or no they were not very wicked persons; and whether this was not a judgment upon them, to be put to death in such a manner, and at such a time and place, and which sense seems to be confirmed by Christ's answer. Josephus (z) relating a slaughter of the Samaritans by Pilate, which bears some likeness to this, has led some, though without any just reason, to conclude, that these were Samaritans, who are here called Galileans. This history is neither related nor hinted at, by any other writer but Luke. The phrase of mingling blood with blood, is Jewish; it is said of one Trogianus the wicked (perhaps the Emperor Trajan), that he slaughtered the Jews, , "and mingled their blood with their blood"; and their blood ran into the sea, unto Cyprus (a). The Jews (b) have a notion, that

"in the age in which the son of David comes, Galilee shall be destroyed.''

Here was a great slaughter of the Galileans now, see Acts 5:37 but there was a greater afterwards by the Romans: it may be that the Pharisees made mention of this case to Christ, to reproach him and his followers, who were called Galileans, as his disciples chiefly were.

(z) Antiqu. l. 18. c. 5. (a) T. Hieros. Succa, fol. 55. 2. Vid. Lightfoot Hor. in loc. (b) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 97. 1.

There {1} were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood {a} Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

(1) We must not rejoice at the just punishment of others, but rather we should be instructed by it to repent.

(a) Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea almost ten years, and about the fourth year of his government, which might be about the fifteenth year of Tiberius' reign, Christ finished the work of our redemption by his death.

Luke 13:1-9. Peculiar to Luke;[159] from the source of his account of the journey. At the same moment (when Jesus had spoken the foregoing discourse) there were some there with the news (παρῆσάν τινες ἀπαγγέλλοντες, Diod. Sic. xvii. 8) of the Galileans (τῶν Γαλιλ. indicates by the article that their fate was known) whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. This expression is a tragically vivid representation of the thought: “whom Pilate caused to be put to death while engaged in their sacrifices.” See similar passages in Wetstein. That the communication was made with evil intention to represent the murdered people as special sinners (Lange), is a hasty inference from the answer of Jesus.

μετὰ τῶν θυσιῶν αὐτ.] not instead of μετὰ τοῦ αἵματος τῶν θυσ. αὐτ., which abbreviation, although in itself allowable, would here be arbitrarily assumed; but we may regard the people as actually engaged in the slaughter or cutting up, or in otherwise working with their sacrifice at the altar (in the outer court) (Saalschütz, M. R. p. 318), in which they were struck down or stabbed, so that their blood streamed forth on their offering.

The incident itself, which the τινές who had arrived mention as a novelty, is not otherwise known to us. Josephus, Antt. xviii. 5, is speaking of the Samaritans, and what he says belongs to a later date (in opposition to Beza). To think of followers of Judas the Gaulonite (Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Grotius, and others) is arbitrary; but the conjecture that they were enthusiastic devotees of Jesus (Lange) is preposterous, because it does not agree with the subsequent explanation of the Lord. Probably they had made themselves suspected or guilty of (secret) sedition, to which the Galileans were extremely prone (Joseph. Antt. xvii. 9. 3; Wetstein on the passage; see especially Rettig in the Stud. und Kritik. 1838, p. 980 f.). It is possible also that in the tumult that arose on account of the aqueduct built by Pilate (Joseph. Antt. xviii. 3. 2) they also had been drawn in (Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 40), with which building, moreover, might be connected the falling of the tower, Luke 13:4.

[159] The narrative, vv. 1–5 (also vv. 6–9), was not found, according to Epiphanius and Tertullian, in the text of Marcion. This omission is certainly not to be regarded as intentional, or proceeding from dogmatic motives, but yet it is not to be explained by the supposition that the fragment did not originally appear in Luke (Baur, Markusevang. p. 195 f.). It bears in itself so clearly the stamp of primitive originality that Ewald, p. 292, is able to ascribe it to the oldest evangelical source, Köstlin, p. 231, to a Jewish local source. In opposition to Volkmar’s attempt (p. 102 f.) to prove the omission in Marcion as having been dogmatically occasioned (comp. also Zeller, Apostelg. p. 21), see Hilgenfeld in the Theol. Jahrb. 1853, p. 224 ff. Yet even Köstlin, p. 304, seeks dogmatically to account for the omission by Marcion, on assumptions, indeed, in accordance with which Marcion would have been obliged to strike out no one can tell how much more.Luke 13:1-5. The Galilean tragedy, peculiar to Lk., as is the greater part of what follows, on to Luke 18:14.Luke 13:1-9. Accidents and Judgments. The Barren Fig-Tree.

. There were present at that season] Rather, There arrived at that very season. The curious phrase seems to imply that they had come on purpose to announce this catastrophe. Hence some have supposed that they wished to kindle in the mind of Jesus as a Galilaean (Luke 23:5) a spirit of Messianic retribution (Jos. Antt. Luke 17:9, § 3). But Christ’s answer rather proves that they were connecting the sad death of these Galilaeans with their imaginary crimes. They were not calling His attention to them as martyrs, but as supposed victims of divine anger. Their report indicates a sort of pleasure in recounting the misfortunes of others (ἐπιχαιρεκακία).

of the Galileans] who regularly attended the Jewish feasts at Jerusalem, John 4:45.

whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices] Probably at some Passover outbreak, on which the Roman soldiers had hurried down from Fort Antonia. This incident, which was peculiarly horrible to Jewish imaginations, often occurred during the turbulent administration of Pilate and the Romans; see on Luke 23:1; Acts 21:34. At one Passover, “during the sacrifices,” 3000 Jews had been massacred “like victims,” and “the Temple courts filled with dead bodies” (Jos. Antt. xvii. 9, § 3); and at another Passover, no less than 20000 (id. xx. 5, § 3; see also B. J. 11. 5, v. 1). Early in his administration Pilate had sent disguised soldiers with daggers among the crowd (id. Luke 18:3, § 1; B. J. 11. 9, § 4). The special incidents here alluded to were far too common to be specially recorded by Josephus; but in the fact that the victims in this instance were Galilaeans, we may perhaps see a reason for the “enmity” between Pilate and Herod Antipas (Luke 23:12).Luke 13:1. Τῷ καιρῷ, at that same season) Opportunely they were present; comp. ch. Luke 12:57.—ἀπαγγέλλοντες, announcing the tidings) as of a recent event.—Πιλάτος, Pilate) This act of Pilate is in consonance with the ‘enmity’ which he had entertained towards Herod; ch. Luke 23:12. Each of the two had a different cause [for the enmity].—ἔμιξε, mingled) An Euphemism. [See Append.]Verses 1-9. - Signs of the times. The Lord continues his solemn warnings. Israel pictured in the parable of the barren fig tree. Verse 1. - There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices; better rendered, now there were present at that particular time; namely, when the Master was discoursing of the threatening signs of the times, and urging men to repent and to turn and make their peace with God while there was yet time, for a terrible crisis was impending on that doomed land. Some of those then present, probably Jerusalem Jews, specially told off to watch the great Teacher, struck with his grave foreboding tone, when he spoke of the present aspect of affairs, quoted to him a recent bloody fray which had taken place in the temple courts. "Yes, Master," these seemed to say, "we see there is a fierce hatred which is ever growing more intense between Jew and Roman. You know, for instance, what has just taken place in the city, only the victims in this case were Galilaeans, not scrupulous, righteous Jews. Is it not possible that these bloody deeds are simply punishments of men who are great sinners, as these doubtless were?" Such-like incidents were often now occurring under the Roman rule. This, likely enough, had taken place at some crowded Passover gathering, when a detachment of soldiers came down from the Castle of Antonia and had dealt a red-handed "justice" among the turbulent mob. Josephus relates several of the more formidable of such collisions between the Romans and the Jews. At one Passover he relates how three thousand Jews were butchered, and the temple courts were filled with dead corpses; at another of these feasts two thousand perished in like manner (see ' Ant.,' 17:9. 3; 20:5.3; and ' Bell. Jud.,' 2:5; 5:1). On another occasion disguised legionaries were sent by Pilate the governor with daggers among the Passover crowds (see 'Ant.,' 18:31). These wild and terrible collisions were of frequent occurrence in these sad days.
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