Luke 17:4
And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
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(4) If he trespass against thee.—Better, if he sin. The better MSS. omit the words, “against thee,” and so make the command more general, and the verb is the same as that in Matthew 18:21, the teaching of which is here manifestly reproduced. The outward form seems at first to present a somewhat lower standard of forgiveness, “seven times,” instead of “seventy times seven.” Here, however, it should be remembered that we have “seven times a day,” and the meaning is obviously the same in both passages. No accumulation of offences, however often repeated, is to be allowed to bring us to the hardness which refuses to forgive when the offender says that he repents and asks forgiveness.

17:1-10 It is no abatement of their guilt by whom an offence comes, nor will it lessen their punishment that offences will come. Faith in God's pardoning mercy, will enable us to get over the greatest difficulties in the way of forgiving our brethren. As with God nothing is impossible, so all things are possible to him that can believe. Our Lord showed his disciples their need of deep humility. The Lord has such a property in every creature, as no man can have in another; he cannot be in debt to them for their services, nor do they deserve any return from him.See the notes at Matthew 18:15, Matthew 18:21-22. "Trespass against thee." Sin against thee, or does anything that gives you an offence or does you an injury.

Rebuke - Reprove. Go and tell him his fault, and seek an explanation. Acquaint him with what has been the effect of his conduct, and the state of your feelings, that he may acknowledge his error and repent.

4. seven times—not a lower measure of the forgiving spirit than the "seventy times seven" enjoined on Peter, which was occasioned by his asking if he was to stop at seven times. "No," is the virtual answer, "though it come to seventy times that number, if only he ask forgiveness in sincerity." See Poole on "Luke 17:3"

And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day,.... For good men are frequently apt to fall into sin, and offend both God and man; see Proverbs 24:16 "and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent"; as often as he sins, and appears to be truly sensible of it, and humble for it, and makes acknowledgments of it; and not only barely in words professes his concern for it, but there is reason to believe that he is heartily grieved for it, and to hope that he will behave better for the future:

thou shalt forgive him; this seems to be occasioned by Peter's putting such a question to Christ, how often a brother might sin against him, and he forgive him; see Matthew 18:21. The Jews plead for great tenderness and readiness to forgive penitents, when they ask for forgiveness; which they insist upon should be done: they say (q),

"it is forbidden an injured person to be cruel, and not forgive; this is not the way of the seed of Israel: but when he that has done the injury asks of him, and prays him once and again, and he knows that he has returned from his sin, and hath repented of his evil, he ought to forgive him; and whoever makes haste to forgive, is praiseworthy.''

But then, they say (r),

"if he brings all the rams of Nebaioth that are in the world, he is not to have pardon, unless he asks it of him.''

And they seem also to have set times for it, as well as restrain the frequent repetition of it: they observe (s);

"if a man returns by repentance, in the intermediate time, (i.e. as the gloss explains it, between the beginning of the year, or New Year's Day, and the day of atonement,) they pardon him; but if he does not return in the intermediate time, though he brings all the rams of Nebaioth in the world, they do not pardon him.''

A man that was always forgiving, was reckoned by them an extraordinary man: it is said (t) of Mar Zutra bar Nachman, that he was , "forgiving every day"; but yet they do not seem to care to carry it to so great a length, and to repeat it so often as our Lord directs; they allow a man to forgive three times, but not a fourth; See Gill on Matthew 18:22.

(q) Maimon. Hilchot Chobel Umezik, c. 5. sect. 10. (r) T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 92. 1.((s) T. Bab. Rosh Hashama, fol. 17. 2.((t) Juchasin, fol. 90. 2.

And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Luke 17:4. ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας, seven times a day. The number recalls Peter’s question (Matthew 18:21), and the phrase seven times a day states the duty of forgiving as broadly as Mt.’s seventy times seven, but not in so animated a style: more in the form of a didactic rule than of a vehement emotional utterance; obviously secondary as compared with Mt.

4. seven times in a day] A purely general expression, which as little involves the quantitative limitation of forgiveness upon repentance as the “seventy times seven” of Matthew 18:22. Some of the Rabbis had limited the duty of forgiveness to a thrice-repeated offence; but

“Who with repentance is not satisfied,

Is not of heaven or earth.”

Luke 17:4. Τῆς ἡμέρας, in the day) This passage many misapply, by erroneously connecting the idea with that in Proverbs 24:16 [A just man falleth seven times and riseth up again”] as if the just man fell seven times a day, and that, too, into sins.—ἐπιστρέψῇ, turn himself again) In antithesis to ἁμαρτήσῃ, if he shall have trespassed.—μετανοῶ, I repent) To say so openly and ingenuously, is not only not disgraceful, but is even salutary [tends towards one’s salvation]: the mind of the offender and that of the offended party are thereby admirably healed. [In a similar way, also, it is expedient that we entreat pardon before God, not merely in general terms, but in respect to the particular lapses into sin of which we are conscious.—V. g.]

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