Luke 13:2
And Jesus answering said to them, Suppose you that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
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(2) Suppose ye that these Galilæans . . .?—The tale had probably been told with a conviction, expressed or implied, that the massacre had been a special judgment for some special and exceptional guilt. Our Lord at once, here as in John 9:7, sweeps away all their rash interpretations of the divine government, and declares that all, unless they repented, were under the sentence of a like destruction. The “likewise,” however, is hardly to be taken, as some have taken it, in a literal sense. Some, it may be of those who heard the words, perished by the sword of Titus, as the Galileans had done by the sword of Pilate, but hardly all who were impenitent. Still less could this be said of the form of death referred to in the verse that follows.

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.Suppose ye ... - From this answer it would appear that they supposed that the fact that these men had been slain in this manner proved that they were very great sinners.

I tell you, Nay - Jesus assured them that it was not right to draw such a conclusion respecting these men. The fact that men come to a sudden and violent death is not proof that they are especially wicked.

Except ye repent - Except you forsake your sins and turn to God. Jesus took occasion, contrary to their expectation, to make a practical use of that fact, and to warn them of their own danger. He never suffered a suitable occasion to pass without warning the wicked, and entreating them to forsake their evil ways. The subject of religion was always present to his mind. He introduced it easily, freely, fully. In this he showed his love for the souls of people, and in this he set us an example that we should walk in his steps.

Ye shall all likewise perish - You shall all be destroyed in a similar manner. Here he had reference, no doubt, to the calamities that were coming upon them, when thousands of the people perished. Perhaps there was never any reproof more delicate and yet more severe than this. They came to him believing that these men who had perished were especially wicked. He did not tell them that "they" were as bad as the Galileans, but left them to "infer" it, for if they did not repent, they must soon likewise be destroyed. This was remarkably fulfilled. Many of the Jews were slain in the temple; many while offering sacrifice; thousands perished in a way very similar to the Galileans. Compare the notes at Matthew 24. From this account of the Galileans we may learn:

(1) That people are very prone to infer, when any great calamity happens to others, that they are especially guilty. See the Book of Job, and the reasonings of his three "friends."

(2) that that conclusion, in the way in which it is usually drawn, is erroneous. If we see a man bloated, and haggard, and poor, who is in the habit of intoxication, we may infer properly that he is guilty, and that God hates his sin and punishes it. So we may infer of the effects of licentiousness. But we should not thus infer when a man's house is burned down, or when his children die, or when he is visited with a loss of health; nor should we infer it of the nations that are afflicted with famine, or the plague, or with the ravages of war; nor should we infer it when a man is killed by lightning, or when he perishes by the blowing up of a steamboat. Those who thus perish may be far more virtuous than many that live.

(3) this is not a world of retribution. Good and evil are mingled; the good and the bad suffer, and all are exposed here to calamity.

(4) there is another world a future state - a world where the good will be happy and the wicked punished. There all that is irregular on earth will be regulated; all that appears unequal will be made equal; all that is chaotic will be reduced to order.

(5) when people are disposed to speak about the great guilt of others, and the calamities that come upon them, they should inquire about "themselves." What is "their" character? What is "their" condition? It "may" be that they are in quite as much danger of perishing as those are whom they regard as so wicked.

(6) We must repent. We must all repent or we shall perish. No matter what befalls others, "we" are sinners; "we" are to die; "we" shall be lost unless we repent. Let us, then, think of "ourselves" rather than of "others;" and when we hear of any signal calamity happening to others, let us remember that there is calamity in another world as well as here; and that while our fellow-sinners are exposed to trials "here," we may be exposed to more awful woes "there." Woe "there" is eternal; here, a calamity like that produced by a falling tower is soon over.


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.

See Poole on "Luke 13:1" And Jesus answering, said unto them,.... Neither approving, nor condemning Pilate's action; and though he allowed the Galileans to be sinners, which could not be denied, he does not bear hard upon them, but improves the instance for the conviction of his hearers, and in order to show them the necessity of repentance, and to bring them to it:

suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? such a supposition they seem to have made, by their speaking to Christ concerning this matter; and concluded from their violent and untimely deaths, that they had been notorious and uncommon sinners, and guilty of the most enormous crimes, which had brought upon them the just judgments of God: whereas this is not a rule of judging; oftentimes the best of men suffer exceedingly in this life; God's judgments are a great deep, and not to be fathomed by us, nor is it to be easily known, when any thing befalls persons in a way of judgment; there is nothing comes by chance, but every thing by the wise disposal of divine providence, to answer some end or another; nor are persons that are punished, either immediately by the hand of God, or by the civil magistrate, to be insulted, but rather to be pitied; besides, love and hatred, the characters and states of men, are not to be known by these effects in providence.

And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
Luke 13:2-3. Jesus makes use of this news by way of warning, and to stir them up to repentance. He points to the slaughter of those people as an example of the divine punishment, which teaches not that the persons concerned are the most deserving of punishment, but that punishment, if carried into effect against individuals, must fall upon all (to wit, the whole class, so that in the application the Messianic punishment of eternal ἀπώλεια is intended[160]) if they should not have repented.

παρά] more than; see Bernhardy, p. 259; Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 292 [E. T. 339].

ἐγένοντο] not were (ἦσαν), but became (see generally, C. F. A. Fritzsche in Fritzschior. Opusc. p. 284 f.)—to wit, declaratory: that they became known as sinners by the fact, namely, that they suffered such things (πεπόνθ.), perf., see Winer, p. 242 [E. T. 338].

[160] Not the destruction of Jerusalem, as Grotius and many will have it.Luke 13:2. ἀποκριθεὶς: Jesus answered to an implied question. Those who told the story expected Him to make some remarks on it; not such doubtless as He did make.—δοκεῖτε, think ye; probably that was just what they did think. The fate of the Galileans awakened superstitious horror prone to impute to the victims special criminality.—παρὰ πάντας τ. Γ., in comparison with all Galileans. To make the point more vivid the victims are compared with men of their own province, disposition, and temptations.—ἐγένοντο, became, were shown to be.—πεπόνθασι, have suffered, an irrevocable fact.2. were sinners above all the Galileans] The ‘were’ is literally, ‘became,’ i.e. ‘stamped themselves as,’ ‘proved themselves to be.’ We trace a similar mistaken ‘supposition’ in the question of the disciples about the blind man (John 9:2). It was indeed deeply engrained in the Jewish mind, although the Book of Job had been expressly levelled at the uncharitable error of assuming that individual misfortune could only be the consequence of individual crime. Such is sometimes the case (Genesis 42:21; Jdg 1:7), but although all human sorrow has its ultimate cause in human sin, it is wrong to assume in individual cases the connexion of calamity with crime.

suffered such things] Rather, have suffered these things.

Luke 13:2. Δοκεῖτε) A Metonymy for, Think ye that you are innocent, and will escape without punishment? We ought to have regard, not so much to what has happened to others, or why it has so happened, as to what may happen to ourselves, and what ought to be done by us. [This is the principal use to be made of the news which we hear.—V. g.—ὅτι, seeing that, because that) It is rather unsafe to draw a conclusion from individual calamities to individual sins (to think great calamities of individuals must be the result of their great sins, as Job’s friends thought of him).—V. g.]Verses 2, 3. - And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things! I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. "Yes," answered the Master," these, you are right, are among the dread signs of the times I spoke of; but do not dream that the doom fell on those poor victims because they were special sinners. What happened to them will soon be the doom of the whole nation, unless a great change in the life of Israel takes place."
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