Luke 13:33
Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
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(33) Nevertheless I must walk.—Better, I must journey, or, I must go onward, the word being that used in Luke 9:51; Luke 9:53. The words indicate the intensity of conviction and of purpose as that expressed before. I cannot bring myself to accept the words that follow—“to-day and to-morrow . . .”—as meaning that there were but three days to pass before He should enter Jerusalem. It would not have been true in fact. It would have seemed obvious, had we not too abundant proof of men’s want of power to enter into the poetic forms of Eastern speech when they differ from our own, that the literal meaning here is altogether out of place, and that the same formula is used as in the preceding verse, with the same meaning—i.e., as conveying the thought of a short, undefined interval.

It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.—The word used here for “it cannot be,” occurs in this passage only of the New Testament, and has a peculiar half-ironical force—“It is not meet, it would be at variance with the fitness of things, it is morally impossible.” Jerusalem had made the slaughter of the prophets a special prerogative, a monopoly, as has been said, of which none might rob her.

Luke 13:33-35. Nevertheless, I must walk to-day, &c. — Notwithstanding all that he can do, I shall, for the short time I have left, do the works of Him that sent me, without being afraid of any man; because my life cannot be taken from me till the time come, which is appointed of God. When that period is arrived, I shall be offered up, yet not here, but in the bloody city. For it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem — That unhappy city, which claims prescription for murdering the messengers of God. Such cruelty and malice cannot be found elsewhere. If a true prophet was put to death, he was prosecuted as a false prophet. Now the supreme court, whose prerogative it was to judge prophets, had its seat at Jerusalem. Inferior courts did not take cognizance of such causes; and therefore, if a prophet was put to death, it must be at Jerusalem. So Dr. Lightfoot here. Our Lord, “in saying a prophet could not perish out of that city, insinuated, that he knew the intentions of the Pharisees too well to pay any regard to their advice respecting departing from Galilee for fear of Herod. Or, in making this observation, his design may have been to display the wickedness of that city, the inhabitants of which had been, in every age, the chief enemies of the messengers of God: and to this agrees what our Lord says of Jerusalem in the pathetic lamentation which he now utters concerning it, on account of its crimes, its obstinacy, and its punishment.”

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem — Thou guilty and miserable city, which, though thou hast been distinguished by divine favours beyond any place on earth, yet, with the utmost ingratitude and cruelty, killest the prophets, and stonest, as the vilest malefactors, them that are sent unto thee — As the ambassadors of God. How often would I have gathered thy children — Unto myself, with all the tenderness of paternal love; as a hen her brood under her wings — To cherish and defend them. Three solemn visits he had made to Jerusalem, since his baptism, for this very purpose. And ye would not — You were still regardless of the offers of my grace, and would not be persuaded to hearken to my call, and to accept my favour. And now, behold, with awful dread, and mark the prediction and event: your house is left unto you desolate — Is now irrevocably consigned to desolation and destruction. For verily I say unto you — I will quickly cease my labours among you, and withdraw from you in such righteous displeasure, that ye shall not see me until the time come when, taught by your calamities, ye shall be ready and disposed to say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord — Wishing in vain for the succour of him whom you now despise. See on Matthew 23:37-39. This does not imply that they should then or ever see Jesus at all; but only that they would earnestly wish for the Messiah, and, in the extremity of their distress, be ready to entertain any one who might offer himself under that character. Compare Luke 17:22-23. 13:31-35 Christ, in calling Herod a fox, gave him his true character. The greatest of men were accountable to God, therefore it became him to call this proud king by his own name; but it is not an example for us. I know, said our Lord, that I must die very shortly; when I die, I shall be perfected, I shall have completed my undertaking. It is good for us to look upon the time we have before us as but little, that we may thereby be quickened to do the work of the day in its day. The wickedness of persons and places which more than others profess religion and relation to God, especially displeases and grieves the Lord Jesus. The judgment of the great day will convince unbelievers; but let us learn thankfully to welcome, and to profit by all who come in the name of the Lord, to call us to partake of his great salvation.I must walk ... - I must remain here this short time. These three days I must do cures here, and then I shall depart, though not for fear of Herod. It will be because my time will have come, and I shall go up to Jerusalem to die.

For it cannot be that a prophet should perish out of Jerusalem - I have no fear that Herod will put me to death in Galilee. I shall not depart on that account. "Jerusalem" is the place where the prophets die, and where "I" am to die. I am not at all alarmed, therefore, at any threats of "Herod," for my life is safe until I arrive at Jerusalem. Go and tell him, therefore, that I fear him not. I shall work here as long as it is proper, and shall then go up to Jerusalem to die. The reason why he said that a prophet could not perish elsewhere than in Jerusalem might be:

1. That he knew that he would be tried on a charge of blasphemy, and no other court could have cognizance of that crime but the great council or Sanhedrin, and so he was not afraid of any threats of Herod.,

2. It "had been" the fact that the prophets had been chiefly slain there. The meaning is, "It cannot easily be done elsewhere; it is not usually done. Prophets have generally perished there, and there I am to die. I am safe, therefore, from the fear of Herod, and shall not take the advice given and leave his territory."

33. it cannot be that a prophet, &c.—"It would never do that," &c.—awful severity of satire this upon "the bloody city!" "He seeks to kill me, does he? Ah! I must be out of Herod's jurisdiction for that. Go tell him I neither fly from him nor fear him, but Jerusalem is the prophets' slaughter-house." See Poole on "Luke 13:32" Nevertheless, I must walk,.... The Syriac version reads, "I must work", and so the Arabic: as going about doing good, casting out devils, and healing diseases:

today and tomorrow, and the day following: a few days more in Galilee, and towards Jerusalem: all the Oriental versions read, "the day following I shall depart"; either out of this world; or out of Galilee, and go to Jerusalem, and there suffer and die:

for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem; because the great sanhedrim only sat at Jerusalem, to whom it belonged to try and judge a prophet; and if found false, to condemn him, and put him to death; the rule is this (e);

"they do not judge, neither a tribe, nor a false prophet, nor an high priest, but by the sanhedrim of seventy and one.''

Not but that prophets sometimes perished elsewhere, as John the Baptist in Galilee; but not according to a judicial process, in which way Christ the prophet was to be cut off, nor was it common; instances of this kind were rare, and always in a violent way; and even such as were sentenced to death by the lesser sanhedrim, were brought to Jerusalem, and publicly executed there, whose crimes were of another sort; for so runs the canon (f);

"they do not put any one to death by the sanhedrim, which is in his city, nor by the sanhedrim in Jabneh; but they bring him to the great, sanhedrim in Jerusalem, and keep him till the feast, and put him to death on a feast day, as it is said Deuteronomy 17:13 "and all the people shall hear and fear."''

And since Jerusalem was the place where the prophets were usually put to death, it follows,

(e) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 5. & T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 18. 2.((f) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 10. sect. 4.

{10} Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.

(10) Nowhere else are there more cruel enemies of the godly than within the sanctuary and Church itself: but God sees it and will in his time have an account for it from them.

Luke 13:33. Nevertheless (although I am not, through your advice, disconcerted in that three days’ ministry) the necessity still lies before me, to-day and to-morrow and the next day, to obey your πορεύου ἐντεῦθεν, since it is not allowable that a prophet, etc. Jesus means to say, “Nevertheless it cannot at all be otherwise than that I should conjoin with this work, which is still to be done to-day and to-morrow and the next day, the departure from Galilee, since I shall not perish in Galilee, as Herod threatens, but in order to perish must proceed to Jerusalem, which after all has the monopoly, that a prophet must not be slain out of it.” In the answer, which as looking approaching death in the face at once boldly contemns the threatening of the timid prince, are accordingly involved the three positions—(1) I have undertaken to labour three days more in Galilee, and in that undertaking I will not be disconcerted; (2) nevertheless, I must in these three days contrive my departure from Galilee;[169] and wherefore this? in order to escape the death with which Herod threatens me? No; (3) I must do this because I must not in Galilee—not outside of Jerusalem, but just in that place of the murder of prophets—die; and therefore must make for Jerusalem.[170]

ΠΟΡΕΎΕΣΘΑΙ] depart, Luke 13:31. It is not in contradiction with Luke 13:22, for while travelling Jesus was accustomed to cast out demons, and to perform cures. If He wished to do the latter, He could at the same time do the former. Most of the commentators (even Grotius, Kuinoel, Olshausen) are grammatically and contextually wrong (see Luke 13:31) in the explanation: travel about undisturbed in my occupations. When others, following Syr., limit πορεύεσθαι merely to Τῇ ἘΧΟΜΈΝῌ, interpreting it either as to depart (Theophylact, Casaubon) or to die (Euthymius Zigabenus, Elsner), they supply (comp. also Neander) after αὔριον a thought such as ἘΡΓΆΖΕΣΘΑΙ or ἘΝΕΡΓῆΣΑΙ Ἃ ΕἾΠΟΝ. This is indeed to make the impossible possible!

ΟὐΚ ἘΝΔΈΧΕΤΑΙ] it cannot be done, it is not possible (2Ma 11:18, and see Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. vi. p. 501 C), with ironically excited emotion makes the frequent and usual hyperbolically to appear as necessary (for all the prophets were not actually slain in Jerusalem, as is shown even in the instance of the Baptist) for the purpose of showing how empty the threatening of Herod appears to Jesus, since He must rather go to Jerusalem to die. The opinion (Grotius, Drusius, Knatchbull, Lightfoot, Wolf, and others) that He refers to the right belonging exclusively to the Sanhedrim of judging prophets and condemning them to death (Sanhedr. f. 2. 1, f. 89. 1, and elsewhere) is mistaken, since the matter here in question is of the actual ἀπολέσθαι, and since Jesus could not place Himself on a level with those who were condemned as false prophets. Comp. Winer in Zimmerman’s Monatsschr. II. 3, p. 206.

[169] The inference is not here to be drawn (so Wieseler, Synopse, p. 321) that Jesus was still distant three days’ journey from the end of His expedition (Jerusalem, not Bethany, as Wieseler will have it, see ver. 22, and on Luke 9:51 ff.). The occupation of these three days is rather, according to ver. 32, principally the casting out of demons and healings; but the journey must have been bound up therewith, so that Jesus intends on the third day to reach the limit to which in Luke 17:11 He has already come.

[170] Schleiermacher is wrong in assuming (Schr. d. Luk. p. 195) that Jesus means to say that He must still abide two days in the place, and then for two days more journey quietly, etc. In ver. 33 they are indeed the same days as in ver. 32. De Wette considers the saying as unimportant,—that it is probably incorrectly reported; and Holtzmann finds the section so obscure that on that account Matthew omitted it. According to Baur, Jesus marks out the πορεύεσθαι, the progress on His journey never to be interrupted as His proper task, which would be in harmony with the Pauline character of the Gospel. With this conflicts the statement giving the reason ὅτι οὐκ ἐνδέχεται κ.τ.λ. Bleek conjectures that σήμ. κ. αὔρ. καί was introduced from ver. 32 by a transcriber’s error at an early period.Luke 13:33. πλὴν, for the rest, or, on the other hand, introducing the other side of the case = I must work still for a little space, yet I must keep moving on southwards, as the proper place for a prophet to die is Jerusalem, not Galilee. The second note of time (σήμερον) coincides with the first: work and moving southwards go hand in hand.—οὐκ ἐνδέχεται, it is not fitting (here only in N.T., cf. Luke 17:1). John was murdered in Machaerus, but that was an offence against the fitness of things. The reply of Jesus is full of dignity and pathos. In effect He says: I am not to be driven out of Galilee by threats. I will work till the hour comes. Nevertheless keep your minds easy, princes and Pharisees! I must soon endure a prophet’s fate, and not here. I go to meet it in the proper place, though not in fear of you.33. I must .walk] Rather, I must journey; the same word as in Luke 13:31, “depart.” It seems to imply, ‘I will not leave Herod’s dominion, but I shall journey on at my own leisure through them.’

it cannot be] i.e. there is a moral unfitness in the murder of a Prophet anywhere but in Jerusalem. The words are those of terrible irony; and yet, even amid the irony, the voice of the Speaker seemed to break with tears as He uttered the tender appeal of the next verse.Luke 13:33. Τῇ ἐχομένῃ, on the following day) This expression has a wider meaning than τῇ τρίτῃ, on the third day (the day after to-morrow), which is included in τῇ ἐχομένῃ. The journey to the city of Jerusalem was not a journey of only two days: see Luke 13:22, ch. Luke 17:11. Whence it appears that the third day was not merely a day of consummation, πλὴν [beginning of this ver.], but also, before this, of farther journeying and progress.[135] [“If I were to proceed straight-way,” saith He, “to the place where I am about to be slain, there would be need of at least a three days’ journey.”—Harm., l. c.]—πορεύεσθαι, to walk, depart) They had said, πορεύου, depart, Luke 13:31. He replies, This very thing which you so suddenly enjoin upon Me (viz. to depart), is not a thing to be done in one day.—οὐκ ἐνδέχεται, it is not usual[136]) This phrase admits of exceptions: for instance, John the Baptist was “a prophet” who “perished out of Jerusalem.”—ἀπολέσθαι, perish) by a public judicial procedure.

[135] πορεύεσθαι, to walk, implying His furthering the advancement of His kingdom during His journey.—ED. and TRANSL.

[136] Lit. “It is not admissible. The phrase occurs here only in New Testament.—ED. and TRANSL.Verse 33. - Nevertheless I must walk to. day, and to-morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. He reflects, "Yes, I must go on with my journey for the little space yet left to me;" and then turning to the false Pharisee friends, with the saddest irony bids them not be afraid. Priest and Sanhedrin, the unholy alliance against him of Sadducee and Pharisee, would not be balked of the Victim whose blood they were all thirsting after. Their loved city had ever had one melancholy prerogative. It had ever been the place of death for the prophets of the Lord. That sad privilege would not be taken from it in his case. It cannot be (οὐκ ἐνδέχεται)

The verb means to accept or admit; so that the sense is, "it is not admissible that." The expression is ironical and hyperbolical, with reference to Jerusalem as having a monopoly of such martyrdoms. "It would be contrary to use and wont, and, in a manner, to theocratic decorum, if such a prophet as I should perish elsewhere than in Jerusalem" (Godet).

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