And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He sought.—Better, was seeking. The verb expresses vividly the oft-repeated attempts of the man, little of stature, to get a glimpse of the Prophet as He passed.
For the press.—The word is the same as that elsewhere rendered “multitude” or “crowd.” The motive is left to be inferred. It was not mere curiosity, for that would not have met with the Lord’s warm approval. Had he heard that there was a publican like himself among the chosen disciples of the Teacher whom the people were receiving as the Son of David? Had some one told him of the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican? Had the fame of the miracle wrought on the entrance into Jericho made him eager to see the Worker?
He was little of stature.—The individualising feature may be accepted, in connection with what follows, either as a touch of consummate art, or a note of artless truthfulness.Luke 19:3-4. And he sought to see Jesus — The great things which he had heard of Jesus made such a powerful impression on his mind, that when he was informed he was coming that way, he diligently sought an opportunity to see what sort of a person he was; and could not for the press — Could not compass his design, Jesus being now surrounded by a prodigious multitude of people, and Zaccheus himself being little of stature. The passover being near at hand, the roads to Jerusalem were full of people, many of whom, happening to meet with Jesus, chose to travel in his company, that they might behold his miracles. And he ran before — With great earnestness; and climbed up, &c. — Notwithstanding his quality; desire conquering honour and shame. Zaccheus, it seems, was in Jericho when Jesus passed through, though his house was farther on the road to Jerusalem. This accounts for his running before the multitude on this occasion. His desire to see Jesus was, no doubt, increased by the account which he had received in Jericho, of the miracle performed on the blind beggars; for the news of so extraordinary a transaction would be quickly spread abroad.1 Corinthians 14:23-25. God makes use of every principle - of curiosity, or sympathy, or affection, or hope, or fear - to lead people in the way of salvation, and to impress truth on the minds of sinners.
The press - The crowd; the multitude that surrounded Jesus. Earthly princes are often borne in splendid equipages, or even carried, as in Eastern nations, in palanquins on the shoulders of people. Jesus mingled with the multitude, not seeking distinctions of that sort, and perhaps, "in appearance," not distinguished from thousands that followed him.Matthew 13:16 but rather like that of Herod, Luke 23:8
and could not for the press; the multitude of people that were flocking to meet Jesus, or who came before him, or were about him; for one part of the multitude went before him, and the other followed after him; so that he was in the crowd, and therefore could not easily be seen;
because he was little of stature. The Syriac and Persic versions read, "because Zacchaeus was little of stature", lest it should be thought that this is said of Jesus; for the reason why Zacchaeus could not see him for the crowd, was not because Christ was little of stature, and was hid among them, but because Zacchaeus was little of stature, and could not see over their heads.And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 19:3-4. Τίς ἐστι] i.e. which among those who were passing by is Jesus. “Fama notum vultu noscere cupiebat,” Grotius.
προδραμὼν ἔμπροσθεν] Comp. Tob 11:2; Plat. Gorg. p. 497 A; Xen. Cyrop. iv. 2. 23.
συκομορέαν] The form μορέα occurs in Nicander as quoted by Athen. I. p. 51, and συκομορέα, Geop. x. 3. 7; more frequently συκόμορος (Dioscor. i. 184; Aq. Amos 7:14; Suidas). The authorities, however, are very much divided between συκομορέαν (so now Tischendorf also, following B L D א) and συκομωρέαν (Lachmann); Galen also has μωρέα, de comp. med. 5 (in Wetstein on Luke 17:6). As, nevertheless, the reading συκομοραίαν also adds to the support of συκομόρ., although it is plainly a transcriber’s error, the Recepta is to be maintained. The word itself is = συκάμινος (see Dioscor. i 184): Egyptian fig tree, Luke 17:6.
ἐκείνης] see on Luke 5:9.
διέρχεσθαι] to pass through, through the city, Luke 19:1.Luke 19:3. ἐζήτει: imperfect, implying continuous effort, for a while unsuccessful, because of (ἀπὸ) the crowd, too dense to penetrate, and not to be seen over by him, being short of stature (ἡλικίᾳ as in Matthew 6:27).—ἰδεῖν τὸν Ἰ. τίς ἐστι = ἰδεῖν τίς ἐστιν ὁ Ἰησοῦς, to see who Jesus is = de facie cognoscere (Kuinoel); “fama notum vultu noscere cupiebat” (Grotius).3. he sought to see Jesus] Doubtless his riches increased the odium of his position, and being accustomed to contempt and hatred, he wished to see One who was not only a great prophet, but also kind to tax- gatherers and sinners.Luke 19:3. Εζήτει, he was seeking) Therefore he had known Jesus before by face.Verse 3. - He was little of stature. Such a curious detail comes, of course, from some memoir written just at the time.
Imperfect. He was busy seeking as Jesus passed.
Who he was
Lit., is. Not to see what kind of a person, but which one of the crowd he was.
See on Luke 12:25.
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