Luke 6:35
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
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(35) Love ye your enemies.—The tense of the Greek verb may be noted as implying a perpetual abiding rule of action.

Hoping for nothing again.—Better, in nothing losing hope. It is possible that the Greek verb may have the sense given in the text, but its uniform signification in the LXX. (as in Ecclesiasticus 22:21-24; Ecclesiasticus 27:21), which must be allowed great weight in interpreting a writer like St. Luke, is that of “giving up hope,” despairing. And this gives, it is obvious, a meaning not less admirable than that of the received version, “Give and lend according to the law of Christ, and do not let the absence of immediate profit make you lose heart and hope.” There is a “great reward.” The last words at least remind us of the promise made to Abraham, and may be interpreted by it. God Himself is our “exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). One or two MSS. give a masculine instead of a neuter pronoun after the verb, and in that case the verb must be taken as transitive. We have accordingly to choose between in nothing despairing, or driving no man to despair. On the whole, the former seems preferable. So taken, we may compare it with St. Paul’s description of “charity” or “love,” as “hoping all things” (1Corinthians 13:7), and his counsel, “Be not weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9).

The children of the Highest.—Better, for the sake of uniformity with the other passages where the word occurs, sons of the Most High. The passage is noticeable as the only instance in which our Lord Himself applies this name to the Father.

He is kind.—The generalised word takes the place of the more specific reference to the rain and sunshine as God’s gifts to all, in Matthew 5:45. The word rendered “kind” is applied to God in the Greek version of Psalm 34:8, quoted in 1Peter 2:3, and is there rendered “gracious.”

6:27-36 These are hard lessons to flesh and blood. But if we are thoroughly grounded in the faith of Christ's love, this will make his commands easy to us. Every one that comes to him for washing in his blood, and knows the greatness of the mercy and the love there is in him, can say, in truth and sincerity, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Let us then aim to be merciful, even according to the mercy of our heavenly Father to us.See Matthew 5:46-48.27-36. (See on [1585]Mt 5:44-48; [1586]Mt 7:12; and [1587]Mt 14:12-14.)Ver. 35,36. I know not how to agree, what I find many interpreters judging, that this text is a prohibition of usury. I should rather interpret it more largely, as a command for acts of mercy, with respect to the circumstances of persons, obliging us not to withhold a charitable hand, from our fear that if we lend we shall lose what we lend, and obliging us, that if we find the circumstances of any that desireth us to lend him for his necessity such a quantity of money or goods as we can spare, and we can well enough bear the loss of, if the providence of God should render the person unable to repay us, we should not be awed by such a fear from acts of charity, but give with a resolution to lose it, if God please to disable the person to whom we lend, so as he cannot repay us. For the question about usury, as to which some conceive this text a prohibition, this is not a place to handle it in the latitude. I do not think it was ever absolutely forbidden to the Jews, they might take it of strangers, and that not only of the Canaanites, whom some say they might kill, (which I doubt after their agreement to a quiet cohabitation), but of other strangers also who came not under the denomination of Canaanites. That argued the taking of usury to be not malum per se, in itself evil, but only malum prohibitum, an evil as forbidden; and not absolutely and universally forbidden, but respectively, only with reference to their brethren of the same church and nation; so rather to be reckoned amongst the municipal laws of the Jews, than the common laws of God for all mankind. Besides that amongst the Jews there was less need of it, partly in respect of their years of jubilee, and partly in regard their employments were chiefly in husbandry, and about cattle, which called not for such sums of money as merchandising doth. Nor is it to be referred to any of the ten commandments, unless the eighth, Thou shalt not steal; which forbidding sins against charity, and such sins against charity being there forbidden as are the taking away the goods of another against his will, and without a just cause, I cannot see how the lending of money for a moderate use, when it is helpful and relieving to our neighbour, should be any kind of stealing, when his good will appeareth in the contract; nor can there be any injustice in it, where there is a quid pro quo, but a proportion for what I am endamaged by the loan; unless any will say it is unjust because against the law of God, which is to beg the question, this argument being brought to prove it is not contrary to the law of God. The exacting of all undue proportion for usury, or a moderate proportion, when we plainly see our brother is fallen into poverty, and cannot pay it, may be forbidden, as a sin against charity, and that love that we ought to show to our neighbours, and the mercifulness here required, Luke 6:36. Yet, admitting the law of God, Deu 23:19,20, to be interpreted of all usury, (which yet seemeth hard, for then the Jews might not sell for any thing more at twelve months’ time, than if they were paid presently, for the words are usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing lent upon usury), it concerned the Jews only between themselves, not in their dealings with any strangers, which is plain, Luke 6:20; so also Exodus 22:25, where the term poor is also put in, as it is Leviticus 25:35-37; by which texts the psalmist must be expounded, Psalm 15:5. It may possibly from the equity of that law oblige us to be more kind to those that are of the same nation and church with us, than unto others, especially such as are no Christians; and amongst those that are Christians, to those that are poor, than to those who have better estates. But, as I said in the beginning, I had rather interpret the precept of the text more largely, as a general precept of mercy, from the example of our heavenly Father.

But love ye your enemies,.... As before urged in Luke 6:27

and do good and lend; not to your friends only, but to your enemies;

hoping for nothing again; either principal or interest, despairing of seeing either; lending to such persons, from whom, in all appearance, it is never to be expected again. The Persic version renders it, "that ye may not cause any to despair": and the Syriac version, "that ye may not cut off", or "cause to cease the hope of men"; and the Arabic version, "that ye do not deceive the hope of any" that is, by sending such away, without lending to them, who come big with expectations of succeeding:

and your reward shall be great: God will bless you in your worldly substance here, and will not forget your beneficence hereafter:

and ye shall be the children of the Highest: that is of God; one of whose names is "the Most High"; Psalm 82:6 the meaning is, that such who from principles of grace, and with right views do such acts of kindness and beneficence to their fellow creatures and Christians, shall be, made manifest, and declared to be the children of God; since they will appear to be born of him, and made partakers of the divine nature, and bear a resemblance to him, by their imitating him:

for he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil; by causing his sun to rise, and his rain to fall on them, as on the righteous and the good; for as Jews (w) observe,

"there is no difference with him, whether on the right hand or the left; for he is gracious, and does good, even to the ungodly.''

And elsewhere they say (x), that

"he does good, and feeds the righteous and the ungodly.''

(w) R. Abraham ben Dior in Sepher Jetzira, p. 19. (x) Zohar in Exod. fol. 69. 2, 3.

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, {h} hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

(h) When you will lend, do it only to benefit and please with it, and not with the hope of receiving the principal again.

Luke 6:35. Πλήν] but, verumtamen, as at Luke 6:24.

μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες] The usual view, “nihil inde sperantes” (Vulgate; so also Euthymius Zigabenus, Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Calvin, Castalio, Salmasius, Casaubon, Grotius, Wolf, Bengel, Krebs, Valckenaer, Rosenmüller, Kuinoel, de Wette, Ewald, Bleek, and others), is in keeping with the context, Luke 6:34, but is ungrammatical, and therefore decidedly to be given up. The meaning of ὀπελπίζειν is desperare; it belongs to later Greek, and frequently occurs in Diodorus and Polybius, which latter, moreover (xxxi. 8. 11), has ἀπελπισμός, desperatio. Comp. Wetstein. An erroneous use of the word, however, is the less to be attributed to Luke, that it was also familiar to him from the LXX. (Isaiah 29:19) and the Apocrypha (2Ma 9:18, where also the accusative stands with it, Sir 22:21; Sir 27:21; Jdt 9:11). Hence the true meaning is “nihil desperantes” (codd. of It.; so also Homberg, Elsner, Wetstein, Bretschneider, Schegg). It qualifies ἀγαθοποιεῖτε κ. δανείζετε, and μηδέν is the accusative of the object: inasmuch as ye consider nothing (nothing which ye give up by the ἀγαθοποιεῖν and δανείζειν) as lost (comp. ἀπελπίζειν τὸ ζῆν, Diod. xvii. 106), bring no offering hopelessly (namely, with respect to the recompense, which ye have not to expect from men),—and how will this hope be fulfilled! Your reward will be great, etc. Thus in μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες is involved the παρʼ ἐλπίδα ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι πιστεύειν (Romans 4:18) in reference to a higher reward, where the temporal recompense is not to be hoped for, the “qui nil potest sperare, desperet nihil” (Seneca, Med. 163), in reference to the everlasting recompense.

καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ ὑψ.] namely, in the Messiah’s kingdom. See Luke 20:36, and on Matthew 5:9; Matthew 5:45. In general, the designation of believers as sons of God in the temporal life is Pauline (in John: τέκνα Θεοῦ), but not often found in the synoptic Gospels. See Kaeuffer in the Sächs. Stud. 1843, p. 197 ff.

ὅτι αὐτὸς κ.τ.λ.] Since He, on His part, etc. The reason here given rests on the ethical presupposition that the divine Sonship in the Messiah’s kingdom is destined for those whose dealings with their fellow-men are similar to the dealings of the Father.

Luke 6:35. πλὴν, but, in opposition to all these hypothetical cases.—μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες, “hoping for nothing again,” A. V[67], is the meaning the context requires, and accepted by most interpreters, though the verb in later Greek means to despair, hence the rendering “never despairing” in R. V[68] The reading μηδένα ἀπ. would mean: causing no one to despair by refusing aid.—υἱοὶ Ὑψίστου, sons of the Highest, a much inferior name to that in Mt. In Lk. to be sons of the Highest is the reward of noble, generous action; in Mt. to be like the Father in heaven is set before disciples as an object of ambition.—χρηστός, kind; by generalising Lk. misses the pathos of Mt.’s concrete statement (Luke 6:45), which is doubtless nearer the original.

[67] Authorised Version.

[68] Revised Version.

35. hoping for nothing again] See Psalm 15:5, with the Rabbinic comment that God counts it as universal obedience if any one lends without interest. The words may also mean despairing in nothing, or (if μηδέν be read) driving no one to despair.

he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil] See the exquisite addition in Matthew 5:45.

Luke 6:35. Πλὴν, but however [though others do differently]) These three words, love, do good, lend, refer to the 32d, 33d, and 34th verses, from which reference the appropriateness of the verb δανείζετε is apparent.—ἀγαθοποιεῖτε, do good) Understand, to them who hold you in hatred.—δανείζετε, lend) To give a loan with the hope of receiving it back, is an office of kindness becoming a man; to do so without such hope, is one becoming a Christian: The latter is enjoined, the former is not forbidden, Luke 6:34, even as it [is not forbidden, but] is perfectly lawful to love friends.[63] [Moreover many anxieties besides are brought upon the mind when one gives a loan, with the hope of receiving it back, to many men, who either cannot or will not repay. Thence there springs up a crop of thorns.—V. g.]—μηδὲν) This means nothing, not μηδένʼ, i.e. no person, for ἀπελπίζω nowhere has an Accusative of the person.—ἈΠΕΛΠΊΖΟΝΤΕς) ἈΠΟΛΑΒΕῖΝ ἘΛΠΊΖΟΝΤΕς, expecting to receive as much again: Luke 6:34. We might render it in Latin, resperantes. It is the same form of verb as ἀπογεύσασθαι, ἀπεσθίειν, i.e. ἀπό τινος γεύσασθαι, ἀπό τινος ἐσθίειν, as Casaubon observes, from Athenæus.[64]—ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀχαρίστους καὶ πονηροὺς, to the unthankful and the evil) the vilest of mortals: the evil, πονηροὺς, even though they have not as yet made themselves out to be unthankful.

[63] Whilst we are enjoined to love enemies, this not being natural to us, whereas the former is.—ED.

[64] xiv. c. 17; and ἀπαιτεῖν, i.e. αἰτεῖν ἀπό τινος, Theophrast. Charact. ix. (xii.). But Wahl, Clavis, takes it, by no means despairing, viz. of being rewarded by God. So Diod. Sic. ii. 25; Pol. iii. 63, 13.—ED.

Verse 35. - And your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest. It has been objected by the enemies of Christianity that, after all, Jesus offered his followers a reward by way of payment to them for their self-sacrificing lives on earth. What, however, is this reward? Is it not a share in that Divine and glorious life of God, who is all love; a hope of participation in that eternal work of his which will go from blessing to blessing, from glory to glory; a certain expectation of dying only to wake up in his likeness, satisfied? The Eternal had already made a similar promise to his faithful servant Abraham. when he bade him fear not, because here on earth God was his Shield, and after death would be his exceeding great Reward. Luke 6:35Hoping for nothing again (μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες)

A later Greek word, only here in New Testament, and meaning originally to give up in despair, a sense which is adopted by some high authorities, and by Rev., never despairing. Luke was familiar with this sense in the Septuagint. Thus Isaiah 29:19, "The poor among men (οἱ ἀπηλπισμένοι τῶν ἀνθρώπων) shall rejoice." So in Apocrypha, 2 Maccabees 9:18, "despairing of his health;" Judith 9:11, "A saviour of them that are without hope (ἀπηλπισμένων). According to this, the sense here is, "do good as those who consider nothing as lost." The verb and its kindred adjective are used by medical writers to describe desperate cases of disease.

Children of the Highest (υἱοὶ ὑψίστου)

Rev., rightly, sons. Compare Matthew 5:45, Matthew 5:48.

Kind (χρηστός)

See on Matthew 11:30.

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