Luke 14:18
And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray you have me excused.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) They all with one consent . . .—The Greek phrase, as the italics show, is elliptical; but the English idiom expresses its meaning whether we take the omitted noun to be “voice,” or “consent” or “mind.”

To make excuse.—To beg off would, perhaps, be too colloquial, but it exactly expresses the force of the Greek verb.

I have bought a piece of ground.—The Greek noun implies a little more than the English—better, perhaps, a farm (see Notes on Mark 6:36); and the tense in each case is strictly one in which a man naturally speaks of the immediate past—“I bought but now.”

Luke

EXCUSES NOT REASONS

Luke 14:18
.

Jesus Christ was at a feast in a Pharisee’s house. It was a strange place for Him-and His words at the table were also strange. For He first rebuked the guests, and then the host; telling the former to take the lower rooms, and bidding the latter widen his hospitality to those that could not recompense him. It was a sharp saying; and one of the other guests turned the edge of it by laying hold of our Lord’s final words: ‘Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just,’ and saying, no doubt in a pious tone and with a devout shake of the head, ‘Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God.’ It was a very proper thing to say, but there was a ring of conventional, commonplace piety about it, which struck unpleasantly on Christ’s ear. He answers the speaker with that strange story of the great feast that nobody would come to, as if He had said, ‘You pretend to think that it is a blessed thing to eat bread in the Kingdom of God, Why! You will not eat bread when it is offered to you.’

I dare say you all know enough of the parable to make it unnecessary for me to go over it. A great feast is prepared; invitations, more or less general, are sent out at first, everything is ready; and, behold, there is a table, and nobody to sit at it. A strange experience for a hospitable man! And so he sends his servants to beat up the unwilling guests, and, one after another, with more or less politeness, refuses to come.

I need not follow the story further. In the latter part of the parable our Lord shadows the transference of the blessings of the Kingdom to the Gentiles, outcasts as the Jews thought them, skulking in the hedges and tramping on the highways. In the first part He foreshadows the failure of His own preaching amongst His own people. But Jews and Englishmen are very much alike. The way in which these invited guests treated the invitation to this feast is being repeated, day by day, by thousands of men round us; and by some of ourselves. ‘They all, with one consent, began to make excuse.’

I. The first thing that I would desire you to notice is the strangely unanimous refusal.

The guests’ conduct in the story is such as life and reality would afford no example of. No set of people, asked to a great banquet, would behave as these people in the parable do. Then, is the introduction of such an unnatural trait as this a fault in the construction of narrative? No! Rather it is a beauty, for the very point of the story is the utter unnaturalness of the conduct described, and the contrast that is presented between the way in which men regard the lower blessings from which these people are represented as turning, and in which they regard the loftier blessings that are offered. Nobody would turn his hack upon such a banquet if he had the chance of going to it. What, then, shall we say of those who, by platoons and regiments, turn their backs upon this higher offer? The very preposterous unnaturalness of the conduct, if the parable were a true story, points to the deep meaning that lies behind it: that in that higher region the unnatural is the universal, or all but universal.

And, indeed, it is so. One would almost venture to say that there is a kind of law according to which the more valuable a thing is the less men care to have it; or, if you like to put it into more scientific language, the attraction of an object is in the inverse ratio to its worth. Small things, transitory things, material things, everybody grasps at; and the number of graspers steadily decreases as you go up the scale in preciousness, until, when you reach the highest of all, there are the fewest that want them. Is there anything lower than good that merely gratifies the body? Is there anything that the most of men want more? Are there many things lower in the scale than money? Are there many things that pull more strongly? Is not truth better than wealth? Are there more pursuers of it than there are of the former? For one man who is eager to know, and counts his life well spent, in following knowledge

‘Like a sinking star,

Beyond the furthest bounds of human thought,’


there are a hundred who think it rightly expended in the pursuit after the wealth that perishes. Is not goodness higher than truth, and are not the men that are content to devote themselves to becoming wise more numerous than those that are content to devote themselves to becoming pure? And, topmost of all, is there anything to be compared with the gifts that are held out to us in that great Saviour and in His message? And is there anything that the mass of men pass by with more unanimous refusal than the offered feast which the great King of humanity has provided for His subjects? What is offered for each of us, pressed upon us, in the gift of Jesus Christ? Help, guidance, companionship, restfulness of heart, power of obedience, victory over self, control of passions, supremacy over circumstances, tranquillity deep and genuine, death abolished, Heaven opened, measureless hopes following upon perfect fruition, here and hereafter. These things are all gathered into, and their various sparkles absorbed in, the one steady light of that one great encyclopaediacal word-Salvation. These gifts are going begging, lying at our doors, offered to every one of us, pressed upon all on the simple condition of taking Christ for Saviour and King. And what do we do with them? ‘They all, with one consent, began to make excuse.’

One hears of barbarous people that have no use for the gold that abounds in their country, and do not think it half as valuable as glass beads. That is how men estimate the true and the trumpery treasures which Christ and the world offer. I declare it seems to me that, calmly looking at men’s nature, and their duration, and then thinking of the aims of the most of them, we should not be very far wrong if we said an epidemic of insanity sits upon the world. For surely to turn away from the gold and to hug the glass beads is very little short of madness. ‘This their way is their folly, and their posterity approve their sayings.’

And now notice that this refusal may be, and often in fact is, accompanied with lip recognition of the preciousness of the neglected things. That Pharisee who put up the pillow of his pious sentiment-a piece of cant, because he did not feel what he was saying-to deaden the cannon-ball of Christ’s word, is only a pattern of a good many of us who think that to say, ‘Blessed is he that eateth bread in the Kingdom of God,’ with the proper unctuous roll of the voice, is pretty nearly as good as to take the bread that is offered to us. There are no more difficult people to get at than the people, of whom I am sure I have some specimens before me now, who bow their heads in assent to the word of the Gospel, and by bowing them escape its impact, and let it whistle harmlessly over. You that believe every word that I or my brethren preach, and never dream of letting it affect your conduct-if there be degrees in that lunatic asylum of the world, surely you are candidates for the highest place.

II. Now, secondly, notice the flimsy excuses.

‘They all, with one consent, began.’ I do not suppose that they had laid their heads together, or that our Lord intends us to suppose that there was a conspiracy and concert of refusal, but only that without any previous consultation, all had the same sentiments, and offered substantially the same answer. All the reasons that are given come to one and the same thing-viz. occupation with present interests, duties, possessions, or affections. There are differences in the excuses which are not only helps to the vividness of the narrative, but also express differences in the speakers. One man is a shade politer than the others. He puts his refusal on the ground of necessity. He ‘must,’ and so he courteously prays that he may be held excused. The second one is not quite so polite; but still there is a touch of courtesy about him too. He does not pretend necessity as his friend had done, but he simply says, ‘I am going’; and that is not quite so courteous as the former answer, but still he begs to be excused. The last man thinks that he has such an undeniable reason that he may be as brusque as he likes, and so he says, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come’ and I do not make any apologies. So with varying degrees of apparent recognition of the claims of host and feast, the ground of refusal is set forth as possessions in two cases, and as affections in the third; and these so fill the men’s hearts and minds that they have no time to attend to the call that summons them to the feast.

Now it is obvious to note that the alleged necessity in one of these excuses was no necessity at all. Who made the ‘must’? The man himself. The field would not run away though he waited till to-morrow. The bargain was finished, for he had bought it. There was no necessity for his going, and the next day would have done quite as well as to-day; so the ‘must’ was entirely in his own mind. That is to say, a great many of us mask inclinations under the garb of imperative duties and say, ‘We are so pressed by necessary obligations and engagements that we really have not got any time to attend to these higher questions which you are trying to press upon us.’ You remember the old story. ‘I must live,’ said the thief. ‘I do not see the necessity,’ said the judge. A man says, ‘I must be at business to-morrow morning at half-past eight. How can I think about religion?’ Well, if you really must, you can think about it. But if you are only juggling and deceiving yourself with inclinations that pose as necessities, the sooner the veil is off the better, and you understand whereabouts you are, and what is your true position in reference to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But then let me, only in a word, remind you that the other side of the excuse is a very operative one. ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ There are some of us around whom the strong grasp of earthly affections is flung so embracingly and sweetly that we cannot, as we think, turn our loves upward and fix them upon God. Fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, parents and children, remember Christ’s deep words, ‘A man’s foes shall be they of his own household’; and be sure that the prediction is fulfilled many a time by the hindrances of their love even more than by the opposition of their hatred.

All these excuses refer to legitimate things. It is perfectly right that the man should go and see after his field, perfectly right that the ten bullocks should be harnessed and tried, perfectly right that the sweetness of wedded love should be tasted and drunk, perfectly wrong that any of them should be put as a reason for not accepting Christ’s offer. Let us take the lesson that legitimate business and lawful and pure affections may ruin a soul, and may constitute the hindrance that blocks its road to God.

Brethren, I said that these were flimsy excuses. I shall have to explain what I mean by that in a moment. As excuses they are flimsy; but as reasons which actually operate with hundreds of people, preventing them from being Christians, they are not flimsy; they are most solid and real. Our Lord does not mean them as exhaustive. There are a great many other grounds upon which different types of character turn away from the offered blessings of the Gospel, which do not come within view of the parable. But although not exhaustive they are widely operative. I wonder how many men and women there are listening to me now of whom it is true that they are so busy with their daily occupations that they have not time to be religious, and of how many men, and perhaps more especially women, among us at this moment it is true that their hearts are so ensnared with loves that belong to earth-beautiful and potentially sacred and elevating as these are-that they have not time to turn themselves to the one eternal Lover of their souls. Let me beseech you, dear friends-and you especially who are strangers to this place and to my voice-to do what I cannot, and would not if I could, lay these thoughts on your own hearts, and ask yourselves, ‘Is it I?’

And then before I pass from this point of my discourse, remember that the contrariety between these duties and the acceptance of the offered feast existed only in the imagination of the men that made them. There is no reason why you should not go to the feast and see after your field. There is no reason why you should not love your wife and go to the feast. God’s summons comes into collision with many wishes, but with no duties or legitimate occupations. The more a man accepts and lives upon the good that Jesus Christ spreads before him, the more fit will he be for all his work, and for all his enjoyments. The field will be better tilled, the bullocks will be better driven, the wife will be more wisely, tenderly, and sacredly loved if in your hearts Christ is enthroned, and whatsoever you do you do as for Him. It is only the excessive and abusive possession of His gifts and absorption in our duties and relations that turns them into impediments in the path of our Christian life. And the flimsiness of the excuse is manifest by the fact that the contrarity is self-created.

III. Lastly, note the real reason.

I have said that as pretexts the three explanations were unsatisfactory. When a man pleads a previous engagement as a reason for not accepting an invitation, nine times out of ten it is a polite way of saying, ‘I do not want to go.’ It was so in this case. How all these absolute impossibilities, which made it perfectly out of the question that the three recreants should sit down at the table, would have melted into thin air if, by any chance, there had come into their minds a wish to be there! They would have found means to look after the field and the cattle and the home, and to be in their places notwithstanding, if they had wanted. The real reason that underlies men’s turning away from Christ’s offer is, as I said in the beginning of my remarks, that they do not care to have it. They have no inclinations and no tastes for the higher and purer blessings.

Brother, do not let us lose ourselves in generalities. I am talking about you, and about the set of your inclinations and tastes. And I want you to ask yourself whether it is not a fact that some of you like oxen better than God; whether it is not a fact that if the two were there before you, you would rather have a good big field made over to you than have the food that is spread upon that table.

Well then what is the cause of the perverted inclination? Why is it that when Christ says, ‘Child, come to Me, and I will give thee pardon, peace, purity, power, hope, Heaven, Myself,’ there is no responsive desire kindled in the heart? Why do I not want God? Why do I not care for Jesus Christ? Why do the blessings about which preachers are perpetually talking seem to me so shadowy, so remote from anything that I need, so ill-fitting to anything that I desire? There must be something very deeply wrong. This is what is wrong, your heart has shaken itself loose from dependence upon God; and you have no love as you ought to have for Him. You prefer to stand alone. The prodigal son, having gone away into the far country, likes the swine’s husks better than the bread in his father’s house, and it is only when the supply of the latter coarse dainty gives out that the purer taste becomes strong. Strange, is it not? but yet it is true.

Now there are one or two things that I want to say about this indifference, resulting from preoccupation and from alienation, and which hides its ugliness behind all manner of flimsy excuses. One is that the reason itself is utterly unreasonable. I have said the true reason is indifference. Can anybody put into words which do not betray the absurdity of the position, the conduct of the man who says, ‘I do not want God; give me five yoke of oxen. That is the real good, and I will stick by that.’ There is one mystery in the world, and if it were solved everything would be solved; and that mystery is that men turn away from God and cleave to earth. No account can be given of sin. No account can be given of man’s preference for the lesser and the lower; and neglect of the greater and the higher, except to say it is utterly inexplicable and unreasonable.

I need not say such indifference is shameful ingratitude to the yearning love which provides, and the infinite sacrifice by which was provided, this great feast to which we are asked. It cost Christ pains, and tears, and blood, to prepare that feast, and He looks to us, and says to us, ‘Come and drink of the wine which I have mingled, and eat of the bread which I have provided at such a cost.’ There are monsters of ingratitude, but there are none more miraculously monstrous than the men who look, as some of us are doing, untouched on Christ’s sacrifice, and listen unmoved to Christ’s pleadings.

The excuses will disappear one day. We can trick our consciences; we can put off the messengers; we cannot deceive the Host. All the thin curtains that we weave to veil the naked ugliness of our unwillingness to accept Christ will be burnt up one day. And I pray you to ask yourselves, ‘What shall I say when He comes and asks me, “Why was thy place empty at My table”?’ ‘And he was speechless.’ Do not, dear brethren, refuse that gift, lest you bring upon yourselves the terrible and righteous wrath of the Host whose invitation you are slighting, and at whose table you are refusing to sit.Luke 14:18-20. And they all with one consent Απο μιας is all that is in the original. It seems most natural to supply the ellipsis by the word γνωμης, consent, as our translators have done, an interpretation maintained by Beza and Wolfius. Began to make excuse — As if by mutual agreement they had all contrived to put a slight upon the entertainment, and to affront him that had kindly provided it, and invited them to partake of it. The first said, I have bought a piece of ground, &c., and another, I have bought five yoke of oxen — “It is a beautiful circumstance that our Lord here represents both these bargains as already made; so that going to see the farm and to prove the oxen that evening, rather than the next morning, was merely the effect of rudeness on the one hand, and of a foolish, impatient humour on the other; and could never have been urged, had they esteemed the inviter, or his entertainment. Accordingly, it is commonly found in fact, that men neglect the blessings and demands of the gospel, not for the most important affairs in life, with which they seldom interfere; but to indulge the caprice and folly of their own tempers, and to gratify the impulse of present passions, sometimes excited on very low occasions.” — Doddridge. Another said, I have married a wife, &c., I cannot come — “As the process of the parable represents a wise and good man offended with this excuse among the rest, we must suppose something either in the circumstance of receiving the message, or of appointing the time for entertaining company on his marriage, which implied a rude contempt of the inviter, and made the reply indecent. It was not necessary to descend to such particulars.” “If the first of the persons here invited had had so important an affair to transact as the purchasing of a farm, or the second the buying of five yoke of oxen, or the third the marrying of a wife, and if these affairs had come upon them unexpectedly, the very evening they had promised to spend at their rich neighbour’s house; but especially if these affairs could not have been delayed without missing the opportunity of doing them, their excuses would have been reasonable. But none of all these was the case. The farm and the oxen were already purchased, and the wife was married; so that the seeing of the farm, and the proving of the oxen, were pieces of unreasonable curiosity, which might easily have been deferred till next morning. And with respect to the new-married man’s pretending that he could not leave his wife for a few hours, it was such an excess of fondness as was perfectly ridiculous; not to mention that he ought to have thought of this, when the invitation was sent him the preceding day. Wherefore, their refusing so late to come to their rich friend’s supper, on such trifling pretences, was the height of rudeness, inasmuch as it implied the greatest disrespect to their friend, and contempt of his entertainment. No wonder, therefore, that he was very angry when his servant returned and brought him their answer.” — Macknight. We may observe, further, respecting these excuses, that the things which were the matter of them were not only little things, and of small concern, comparatively speaking, and things which might have been easily done at another time, which would not have interfered with this important invitation; but they, were lawful things. Each of the actions here alleged, in behalf of the refusal of these persons to attend the feast, was wholly lawful: there was nothing criminal in any of them. They were such as might well be, and are constantly done, in perfect consistency with embracing the gospel and its blessings. But these men rendered the things which were otherwise lawful and innocent, criminal and destructive by their abuse. And, while they were kept by means of them from the royal feast, they became the cause of their utter ruin. It was a wise saying of Judge Hale’s (see his Life) that “we are ruined by things allowed.” People’s trades and families, and the necessary avocations of life, by the too great anxiety wherewith they are pursued and regarded, become as powerful obstacles to the experience and practice of true religion, and as much prevent men’s eternal salvation, as grosser sins. We have proof of this every day: while men, engaged in pursuits otherwise laudable, by their too close attachment to them, withdraw their minds totally from God, and from heaven, and neglect that which to regard duly would forward and advantage even their temporal concerns. To provide for a family, to prosecute industriously and honestly the business of a man’s calling, to be faithful to his wife, and to take care of his children, are certainly high and commendable duties, enjoined by God, and amiable in the sight of men. But when these, or any of them, are loved and pursued with such attachment and intenseness as to prevent our complying with the gracious invitations of God; to alienate our minds from Christ and the gospel; to keep us from the due and regular discharge of our duly to our God and Redeemer; — then, how laudable soever our pursuits may be, how honest and upright soever our employments, truth it is, they will as certainly exclude us from the joys of our Lord, and his eternal feast; will as certainly draw down his wrath upon us, as if our neglect of him proceeded from any cause more criminal.14:15-24 In this parable observe the free grace and mercy of God shining in the gospel of Christ, which will be food and a feast for the soul of a man that knows its own wants and miseries. All found some pretence to put off their attendance. This reproves the Jewish nation for their neglect of the offers of Christ's grace. It shows also the backwardness there is to close with the gospel call. The want of gratitude in those who slight gospel offers, and the contempt put upon the God of heaven thereby, justly provoke him. The apostles were to turn to the Gentiles, when the Jews refused the offer; and with them the church was filled. The provision made for precious souls in the gospel of Christ, has not been made in vain; for if some reject, others will thankfully accept the offer. The very poor and low in the world, shall be as welcome to Christ as the rich and great; and many times the gospel has the greatest success among those that labour under worldly disadvantages and bodily infirmities. Christ's house shall at last be filled; it will be so when the number of the elect is completed.I have bought a piece of ground - Perhaps he had purchased it on condition that he found it as good as it had been represented to him.

I must needs go - I have necessity, or am obliged to go and see it; possibly pleading a contract or an agreement that he would go soon and examine it. However, we may learn from this that sinners sometimes plead that they are under a "necessity" to neglect the affairs of religion. The affairs of the world, they pretend, are so pressing that they cannot find time to attend to their souls. They have no time to pray, or read the Scriptures, or keep up the worship of God. In this way many lose their souls. God cannot regard such an excuse for neglecting religion with approbation. He commands us to seek "first" the kingdom of God and his righteousness, nor can he approve any excuse that people may make for not doing it.

18. all began to make excuse—(Compare Mt 22:5). Three excuses, given as specimens of the rest, answer to "the care of this world" (Lu 14:18), "the deceitfulness of riches" (Lu 14:19), and "the pleasures of this life" (Lu 14:20), which "choke the word" (Mt 13:22 and Lu 8:14). Each differs from the other, and each has its own plausibility, but all come to the same result: "We have other things to attend to, more pressing just now." Nobody is represented as saying, I will not come; nay, all the answers imply that but for certain things they would come, and when these are out of the way they will come. So it certainly is in the case intended, for the last words clearly imply that the refusers will one day become petitioners. See Poole on "Luke 14:16 And they all with one consent began to make excuse,.... Or, "they all together", as the Vulgate Latin version, "in one", or "at once": in Jeremiah 10:8 rendered "altogether"; and so the Ethiopic version, which adds, "with one voice": but their words and language were not the same: their excuses are differently expressed. Some render , "from one hour": or the selfsame hour; immediately, directly, as soon as ever they were bidden, they began to frame excuses; they at once agreed, as by common consent, to excuse themselves from coming.

The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, or a field, and I must needs go and see it: he ought to have seen it before he bought it; and however, it was a very improper time, at evening, at supper time, as this was, to go and see a piece of ground; and at least it might have been put off till next morning; so that it was a mere excuse indeed.

I pray thee have me excused: coming to the supper: these were the principal men among the Jews, the Pharisees and rulers among the people; who were rich and covetous, worldly men; seeking their own worldly advantage more than their spiritual and eternal welfare, or the interest of God and religion.

{4} And they all with {b} one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.

(4) For the most part even those to whom God has revealed himself are so mad, that any help which they have received of God they willingly turn into obstructions and hindrances.

(b) On purpose, and a thing agreed upon before: for though they give different reasons why they cannot come, yet all of them agree in this, that they have their excuses so that they may not come to supper.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 14:18-20. Ἤρξαντο] brings into prominence the beginning as a striking contrast to what has gone before. Comp. Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 541.

ἀπὸ μιᾶς] “Utut enim diversas causas adferant, in eo tamen conveniunt, quod sua praetexant negotia,” Calovius. On the adverbial use of ἀπὸ μιᾶς, comp. ἀπὸ τῆς ἴσης (Thuc. i. 15. 3), ἀπʼ εὐθείας (Plut. Symp. i. 4. 8), ἐξ ὀρθῆς (Polyb. xv. 27), διὰ πάσης (Thucyd. i. 14. 3), and many others. It may be explained on the principle that the prepositions which originally express concrete local relations, come in time to denote the more abstract relations of mode; see especially, Lobeck, Paralip. p. 363.

παραιτεῖσθαι] to deprecate; praying to excuse, 2Ma 2:31; Acts 25:11, and elsewhere; and see Wetstein and Held, ad Plut. Timoleon, p. 496.

καὶ ἔχω ἀνάγκην κ.τ.λ.] not as though he had bought the estate without seeing it (Wetstein, de Wette, and others), which is unnatural, even if a recommendation of it on the part of others, and the like, is supposed; but because even after a completed purchase there is the natural necessity to make a proper inspection of one’s new possession in order to become acquainted with it, to make further arrangements, and the like. The excuses are therefore not in themselves absurd, which, according to Lange, L. J. II. 1, p. 376, must be the intention in order to represent the vehement confusedness.

ἔχε με παρῃτ.] have me as one who is begged off; not a Latinism (Kuinoel, Bleek, and many older commentators), nor to be interpreted: regard me as one, etc. (Kypke), but ἔχειν τινα, with an added accusative of a substantive, participle, or adjective, expresses the relation of possession according to a special quality. Comp. Xen. Cyrop. iii. 1. 35: οὐ θαῤῥοῦντά με ἕξεις; Ages. vi. 5 : τούς γε μὴν πολεμίους εἶχε ψέγειν μὲν οἰ δυναμένους, κ.τ.λ.; 2Ma 15:36; 3Ma 7:21. See also on Matthew 14:5. Hence: Place thyself in such wise to me that I am an excused person; let me be to thee an excused person, i.e. according to the meaning: accept my apology.

Luke 14:19. πορεύομαι] Already in idea he is just going forth.

Luke 14:20. “Hic excusator, quo speciosiorem et honestiorem videtur habere causam, eo est ceteris importunior,” Bengel. On the excuse itself, comp. Deuteronomy 24:5; Hom. Il. ii. 231; Herod. i. 36, where Croesus declines for his son the Mysian proposal for a hunting expedition: νεόγαμός τε γάρ ἐστι καὶ ταῦτά οἱ νῦν μέλει. 1 Corinthians 7:33 is to the point.Luke 14:18. ἀπὸ μιᾶς (supply γνώμης, ψυχῆς, ὥρας, or some such word implying with one mind, or at one time, or in the same manner, here only in Greek literature), with one Consent.—παραιτεῖσθαι: not to refuse, but in courteous terms to excuse themselves.—ὁ πρῶτος, the first; of three, simply samples, by no means exhausting the list of possible excuses.—ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα: a respectable excuse, by no means justifying absence, but excellently exemplifying preoccupation, the state of mind common to all. A man who has purchased a farm is for a while very much taken up with it and makes himself very busy about it; everything else for the moment secondary.—ἔχω ἀνάγκην: no fewer than three Latinisms have been found in this sentence; this, the use of ἐρωτῶ in the sense of rogo, and ἔχε με παρῃτημένον (Grotius). But parallels can be found in Greek authors for the first. Kypke cites an instance of the second from Josephus. The third, if not a Latinism (Meyer and J. Weiss say no, Schanz and Hahn yes), is at least exactly = excusatum me habeto.18. with one consent] i.e. apo mias gnomes; or ‘with one voice,’ if we understand phones.

to make excuse] The Greek word is the exact equivalent of our ‘to beg off.’ The same fact is indicated in John 1:11; John 5:40, and in the “ye would not” of Luke 13:34; and the reason is the antipathy of the natural or carnal man (ὁ ψυχικὸς) to God, John 15:24.

have me excused] The original is consider me as having been excused. The very form of the expression involves the consciousness that his excuse of necessity (ἀνάγκην ἔχω) was merely an excuse. There is, too,

an emphasis on the me—“excusatum me habeas”—it may be the duty of others to go; I am an exception.Luke 14:18. Ἤρξαντο, they began) Previously they had professed for their part to be in a state of expectation [waiting for the call to be given].—ἀπὸ μιᾶς) ‘Elliptical,’ says Camerarius, who adds, “ἀπὸ μιᾶς, viz. γνώμης, with one consent or mind (with unanimity); or ἀπὸ μιᾶς παραιτήσεως (with one declining), i.e. they all alike began to decline the invitation. So almost similarly in Iliad βʼ, εἴγε ποτʼ ἔσγε μιάν βουλεύσομεν, namely, supplying βουλὴν, if ever we shall deliberate with unity of counsel among us: and so elsewhere, οὐχ ὁσιή, κταμένοισιν ἐτʼ ἀνδράσιν εὐχετάασθαι, namely, εὐχή, the vaunting is not pious wherewith one vaunts over the dead. And in Psalms 26, μιὰν ᾐτησάμην παρὰ τοῦ Κυρίου, namely, αἴτησιν; and in Psalms 57, εὐθείας κρίνετε υἱοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, namely, κρίσεις.” [—παραιτεῖσθαι, to make excuse) “To buy a piece of ground,” etc., are things not bad in themselves; but it is bad to be entangled and encumbered by such things, and to make as our pretext necessity in the case of earthly things combined with (alleged) impossibility (Luke 14:26, οὐ δύναμαι ἐλθεῖν, I cannot come) in the case of spiritual things.—V. g.—αὐτῷ, to Him) who had prepared the banquet.—V. g.]—ἄγρον, a field [piece of ground]) In this verse there is implied a farm, in the following verse, trafficking, merchandise. Comp. Matthew 22:5 [They went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise]. The verb, ἠγόρασα, I have bought, repeated in both cases, Luke 14:18-19, implies eagerness to make gain, as is the usual feeling whilst the transaction is still recent. To a worldly man when he is made sensible of the Divine call, all vain things are new and sweet.—[ἠγόρασα, I have bought) It is profitable to allege on the opposite side as a ground for denying the world, another and very different purchase of a field (the Gospel-field containing the pearl of great price), Matthew 13:44, another kind of plowing (the Gospel-plow), Luke 9:62, in fine, another espousal (viz. to Christ), 2 Corinthians 11:2.—V. g.]—ἔχω ἀνάγκην, I must needs, I feel it necessary) Often there meet together the most acceptable seasons of grace, and the most urgent calls of worldly business. This man makes as his pretext a feigned necessity: The second, a mere inclination after other things, Luke 14:19, πορευόμαι, I go; The third, Luke 14:20, a perverse allegation of impossibility, I cannot come. This last one declares expressly that he cannot; the two former declare that they will not, but use a courteous formula of apology. The holy hatred (μισεῖ τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ) spoken of in Luke 14:26 [if they had felt it] could have healed them all of their excuses. However the variety in their modes of rejecting the invitation lay not so much in their state of mind [which was the same in all three] as in the objects on which their rejection of it rested, “the piece of land,” “the oxen,” “the wife.” Comp. Matt. l. c.—ἐρωτῶ, I beg, I pray, thee) A most unworthy and wretched prayer (request) whereby the kingdom of God is refused.Make excuse (παραιτεῖσθαι)

Also rendered in New Testament refuse, Hebrews 12:19, Hebrews 12:25, where both meanings occur. See also 2 Timothy 2:23, Rev. Our phrase, beg off, expresses the idea here.

I must needs (ἔχω ἀνάγκην)

Lit., I have necessity: a strong expression.

Go (ἐξελθεῖν)

Go out (ἐξ) from the city.

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