Luke 13:34
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
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(34, 35) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets.—See Notes on Matthew 23:37-39. Here, as in other like cases, we have to choose between the alternatives of the words having been spoken on two different though similar occasions, or of one of the Evangelists misplacing the words which were actually spoken but once. As with most other passages thus re-appearing in a different context, I hold the former to be by far the most probable. In each report, it may be noted, they fit into the context with a perfectly natural coherence.

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.See the notes at Matthew 23:37-39.

From the message which Jesus sent to Herod we may learn:

1. That our lives are safe in the hands of God, and that wicked people can do no more to injure us than he shall permit. Compare John 19:11.

2. That we "should" go on fearlessly in doing our duty, and especially if we are doing good. We should not regard the threats of people. God is to be obeyed; and even if obedience should involve us in difficulty and trials, still we should not hesitate to commit our cause to God and go forward.

3. We should be on our guard against crafty and unprincipled people. They often "profess" to seek our good when they are only plotting our ruin. Even those professedly coming from our enemies to caution us are often also our enemies, and are secretly plotting our ruin or endeavoring to prevent our doing good.

4. We see here the nature of religion. It shrinks at nothing which is duty. It goes forward trusting in God. It comes out boldly and faces the world. And,

5. How beautiful and consistent is the example of Christ! How "wise" was he to detect the arts of his foes! how "fearless" in going forward, in spite of all their machinations, to do what God had appointed for him to do!

34, 35. O Jerusalem, &c.—(See on [1665]Mt 23:37; [1666]Mt 23:39).

Ver. 34-35.
See Poole on "Matthew 23:37". See Poole on "Matthew 23:38". See Poole on "Matthew 23:39". These five last verses afford us much for our instruction.

1. We may from them learn the craft of the enemies of the gospel, as well as their malice; they are lions, and will, like lions, tear rand rend when they see an opportunity; but when they see it convenient, then they put on the fox’s skin, doing the same thing by subtlety, which they durst not attempt to effect by cruelty.

2. Their malice is as much perspicuous; who but the children of the devil could have found in their hearts to have desired Christ to go out of their country, who did nothing there but innocently and diligently preach the gospel, deliver people from grievous diseases, and the power of Satan, who miserably possessed and tormented them?

3. When the most malicious enemies of God’s people have done what they can, they shall finish their course, and work the time God hath set them.

4. When they have perfected their work, they shall be perfected. Death is but the perfecting of the saints, as it was the perfecting of Christ.

5. Men shall die, as at the time, so at the place, which God hath set.

6. God sending of his ministers faithfully to reveal his will to people, is a declaration of his willingness to gather them under the wings of his special favour and protection.

7. The perverse wills of men are those things which hinder men and women from being gathered.

8. Temporal judgments, and that of the severest nature, will first or last follow men’s contempt of the offers of grace and salvation.

9. Those that do contemn the means of grace shalt not see them long. —Ye shall not see me.

10. The proudest scorners and contemners of Christ and his grace shall one day wash that one would or might come unto them in the name of the Lord, and do but now contemn what hereafter they would be glad they might enjoy.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets,.... These words, with what follow, as they stand in Matthew 23:37 were delivered by Christ, when he was in the temple at Jerusalem; but here they were spoken by him when in Galilee, in Herod's jurisdiction; so that it appears, that the same words were spoken by Christ at different times, in different places, and to different persons: unless it can be thought, that Luke transcribed them from Matthew, and inserts them here, on occasion of Christ's having mentioned the perishing of a prophet in Jerusalem; where many had been killed and put to death, in one way or another, and particularly in the following:

and stonest them that are sent unto thee; as Zechariah, 2 Chronicles 24:20

how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not? and therefore ought not to have been condemned as a false prophet by their sanhedrim, as he suggests he should be, and as he afterwards was; See Gill on Matthew 23:37.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her {l} brood under her wings, and ye would not!

(l) Literally, the nest: now the brood of chickens is the nest.

Luke 13:34-35. See on Matthew 23:37 ff. The original place of this exclamation is in Matthew (in opposition to Olshausen, Wieseler, Holtzmann, and others), although the connection in which Luke gives it from his source of the journey is not to be called inappropriate (in opposition to Schleiermacher, de Wette, Bleek). The painful reminder and announcement appears on the part of Jesus natural enough after Luke 13:33, and in the face of the theocratic hypocrites, Luke 13:35 is a striking dismissal.

τὴν ἑαυτῆς νοσσιάν] her own nest, namely, with the chickens therein, her own brood. Comp. Plat. Pol. viii. p. 548 A; Herod. iii. 111, often in the LXX. As to the testimony of the passage before us to an already frequent ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem, see on Matthew 23:38 f., Remark. Comp. Weizsäcker, p. 310. But Schenkel, in opposition to all the evangelical notices, conjectures that during His supposed single sojourn in Judea (where He now is) He was oftener in Jerusalem. According to Keim (D. geschichtl. Chr. p. 34), Luke must at least have understood all the Jews as the children of Jerusalem, which, however, according to the context (Luke 13:33; Luke 13:35), is not correct. In Luke the apostrophe refers to the remote inhabitants of the central seat of the theocracy.

Luke 13:35. Continued apostrophe to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν κ.τ.λ.] cannot refer to the festal procession that was close at hand (Erasmus, Er. Schmid, Stein; Paulus, according to whom the meaning must be, “before the festival caravans I shall not come!”[171]), which would yield the most nugatory and inappropriate thought in a pompous form, as the conclusion of a solemn denunciation of threatening. It refers to the Parousia (see already Theophylact), and the train of thought is: “The divine protection departs from your city (ἀφίεται ὑμῖν ὁ οἶκ. ὑμ., see on Matthew 23:38), and in this abandonment I shall not appear to you as a helper,—ye shall not see me until I come to the establishment of my kingdom, and shall receive your (then no further to be withheld) homage as the Messiah.” The meaning is somewhat different from what it is in Matthew. Observe, namely—(1) that Luke has not the ἈΠΆΡΤΙ of Matthew (and, moreover, could not have it, since he has the saying before the festal entry); (2) that, therefore, in Luke the time of the οὐ μή με ἴδητε must be the duration of the previously declared abandonment; (3) that instead of ΛΈΓΩ ΓΆΡ (Matt.) Luke places ΛΈΓΩ ΔΈ, which ΔΈ is not to be taken as explanatory, in the sense of γάρ (because it is not followed by ἈΠΆΡΤΙ as in Matthew), but as in continuation, autem, as an advance towards a new point in the announcement: “Ye shall be abandoned, but how long? abandoned even till my Parousia.” Comp. the expression ζητήσετέ με κ. οὐχ εὑρήσετε in John 7:34 : the restoration of Israel, so that by ἕως κ.τ.λ. would be meant the conversion of the people (Hofmann, Schriftb. II. 2, p. 90 ff.), is neither here nor elsewhere taught in the New Testament.

ἕως ἥξει (see the critical remarks) ὍΤΕ ΕἼΠΗΤΕ] till it (the point of time) shall be, when ye shall have said. The subjunctive after ὅτε without ἌΝ: “si res non ad cogitationem refertur et eventus tantummodo spectatur,” Klotz, ad Devar. p. 688. See on this specially Homeric use, even Thiersch in the Act. Monac. I. p. 13 ff.; Bernhardy, p. 397 f., 400. In this place to consider the subjunctive as occasioned by ἕως (Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 199 [E. T. 231 f.]) is arbitrary.

[171] Comp. Wieseler, Synapse, p. 322, whom this erroneous reference drives to explain the passage in Matthew as a spurious addition. See on Matthew. Even Holtzmann sees here nothing but the dismissal “until the next Passover festival.”

Luke 13:34-35. Apostrophe to Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-38), suitably introduced here as in sympathy with the preceding utterance, though not likely to have been spoken at this time and place, as indeed it is not alleged to have been. It is given nearly as in Mt.—τὴν νοσσιὰν (for τὰ νοσσία in Mt.) = a nest (nidum suum, Vulgate), hence the young in the nest. Vide remarks on Mt., ad loc.

34. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem] The words were perhaps spoken again in the Great Denunciation of the Tuesday in Passion Week, Matthew 23:37.

which killest the prophets] “It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers” (Isaiah 1:21). See Luke 11:47, Luke 20:14; Matthew 23:34; 2Es 1:32, “I sent unto you my servants the prophets whom ye have taken and slain, and torn their bodies in pieces, whose blood I will require of your hands, saith the Lord.”

how often] This, like other passages in the Synoptists, implies more frequent visits to Jerusalem than they actually record.

as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings] A metaphor still more tender and appealing than that of the eagle which “stirrethup her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings” of Deuteronomy 32:11-12.

ye would not] In contrast with the “would I” of Luke 13:34; it indicates “the sad privilege which man possesses of resisting the most serious influences of grace.”

Luke 13:34. Ἰερουσαλὴμ, Jerusalem) It is not without cause that His discourse is turned to this city; the Pharisees had an intimate tie of connection with it: see Luke 13:31 : and it was in the same city that Herod was about to assail Jesus [ch. Luke 23:11].—πόσακις, how often) Luke 13:7. He had come thither thrice since His baptism: [John 2:23; John 5:1; John 7:10.—Harm., l. c.]—νοσσίαν, her young brood) A collective noun.

Verse 34. - O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee! This exquisite and moving apostrophe was uttered in similar language in the Passion-week, just as Jesus was leaving the temple for the last time. It was spoken here with rare appropriateness in the first instance after the promise of sad irony that the holy city should not be deprived of the spectacle of the Teacher-Prophet's death. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!" It was a farewell to the holy city. It was the sorrowful summing-up of the tenderest love of centuries. Never had earthly city been loved like this. There the anointed of the Eternal were to fix their home. There the stately shrine for the service of the invisible King of Israel was to keep watch and ward over the favoured capital of the chosen race. There the visible presence of the Lord God Almighty, the Glory and the Pride of the people, was ever and anon to rest. And in this solemn last farewell, the Master looked back through the vista of the past ages of Jerusalem's history, It was a dark and gloomy contemplation. It had been all along the wicked chief city of a wicked people, of a people who had thrown away the fairest chances ever offered to men - the city of a people whose annals were memorable for deeds of blood, for the most striking ingratitude, for incapacity, for folly shading into crime. Not once nor twice in that dark story of Israel chosen messengers of the invisible King had visited the city he loved so well. These were invested with the high credentials which belong to envoys from the King of kings, with a voice sweeter and more persuasive, with a power grander and more far-reaching than were the common heritage of men; and these envoys, his prophets, they had maltreated, persecuted, murdered. How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings! God's great love to Israel had been imaged in the far back days of the people, when Moses judged them, under a similar metaphor. Then it was the eagle fluttering over her young and bearing them on her wings; now it is slightly altered to one if possible more tender and loving, certainly more homely. How often in bygone days would the almighty wings, indeed, had Israel only wished it, have been spread out over them a sure shelter! Now the time of grace was over, and the almighty wings were folded. And ye would not! Sad privilege, specially mentioned here by the Divine Teacher, this freedom of man's will to resist the grace of God. "Ye would not," says the Master, thus joining the generation who heard his voice to the stiffnecked Israel of the days of the wicked kings. Luke 13:34Would I have gathered (ἠθέλησα ἐπισυνάξαι)

Lit., "I desired to gather." See on will kill, Luke 13:31.


See on Matthew 23:37.

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