And he turned to the woman, and said to Simon, See you this woman? I entered into your house, you gave me no water for my feet: but she has washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou gavest me no water for my feet.—There had, then, been no real respect or reverence in the Pharisee’s invitation. It was hardly more than an act of ostentatious patronage. It was honour enough for the carpenter’s son to be admitted into the house. The acts of courtesy which were due to well-nigh every guest (comp. Notes on Matthew 3:11; John 13:5; 1Timothy 5:10), and which a Rabbi might expect as a thing of course, were, in his judgment, superfluous. Possibly the fact which afterwards drew down the censure of the Pharisees (Mark 7:8) had already become known, and may have influenced Simon. If the new Teacher cared so little about ablutions, why take the trouble to provide them for Him?Luke 7:44-48. And he turned to the woman — That had been a scandalous, notorious sinner, and was the greater, the five hundred pence debtor. The Pharisee, however, though the less, the fifty pence debtor, yet was a debtor too; which was more than he thought himself to be, judging rather that God was his debtor, Luke 18:10-11. Seest thou this woman — Afflicted and distressed as she is? and canst thou avoid taking notice of the extraordinary tenderness and affectionate regard to me that she has now manifested? I entered into thy house — As a guest, on thine own express invitation; thou gavest me no water for my feet — Though that be so customary and necessary a refreshment on these occasions. But she hath washed my feet with her tears — Tears of affection for me, tears of affliction for sin; and wiped them with the hairs of her head — In token of her great love to me. Thou gavest me no kiss — When I first came under thy roof. So little was thy love to me. It was customary with the Jews to show respect and kindness to their welcome guests, by saluting them with a kiss, by washing their feet, and anointing their heads with oil, or some fine ointment. It is possible Simon might omit some of these civilities, lest his brethren, who sat at the table with him, should think he paid Jesus too much respect; and, if there was any such slight intended, it might be an additional reason for our Lord’s taking such particular notice of the neglect. But this woman, since the time I came in — Or rather, as many copies read it, εισηλθεν, she came in, hath not ceased to kiss even my feet — With the greatest humility and affection. My head with oil thou didst not anoint — Though few entertainments fail of being attended with that circumstance, (see Deuteronomy 28:40; Micah 6:15; Psalm 2:5; and Psalm 104:15; and Psalm 141:5;) but she, as thou seest, hath anointed my feet with precious and fragrant ointment; wherefore I say unto thee — I declare it openly, both for her vindication and for thy admonition; her sins, which are many — And exceedingly heinous, as I well know; are forgiven — Freely and graciously; for — Rather, therefore, as οτι undoubtedly ought here to be translated, she loved much — As I have been the means of bringing her to repentance, and to enjoy pardon and peace, she has thus testified the great love and high regard she has for me, as being persuaded that she never can sufficiently express her sense of the obligation. But to whom little is forgiven — Or who thinks his debt was but small; the same loveth little — Is not much affected with the kindness of the creditor that forgives him: and feels but little gratitude and love to him on that account. The substance, therefore, of our Lord’s answer to the Pharisee is, “It is true, this woman has been a great sinner; but she is a pardoned sinner, which supposes her to be a penitent sinner: what she has done to me, is an expression of her great love to me, her Saviour, by whom her sins are forgiven: and as she is pardoned, who was so great a sinner, it may reasonably be expected that she will love her Saviour more than others, and give greater proofs of it; and if this be the fruit of her love, flowing from a sense of the pardon of her sins, it becomes me to accept of it, and ill becomes any to be offended at it.” It must be carefully observed here, that her love is mentioned as the effect and evidence, not the cause of her pardon. She knew that much had been forgiven her, and therefore she loved much. It is true, Jesus had not yet given her any express intimation in word of the pardon of her sins; yet, having, by his sermons and his grace attending her hearing them, brought her to true repentance, without doubt she was assured of her pardon by the general doctrine of the gospel, which she had heard; by the promise of rest, which Jesus had lately made to all weary and heavy-laden sinners; and especially by the Spirit of adoption, which he had sent into her heart, sealing forgiveness upon her conscience, begetting her again to immortal hopes, and filling her with joy and peace, through believing that God was pacified toward her after all she had done.
As a further proof of the justness of this interpretation, it may not be improper to produce here the following testimony of Dr. Whitby: “Christ saith not her sins are forgiven because she loved much, but this ought to be a token, that her sins, which rendered her unworthy to touch me, have been forgiven; this great love to me being an indication of her deep sense of God’s mercy to her in pardoning her many sins; and this do I, the prophet and the Song of Solomon of God, declare unto her. To this sense lead both the parable of the great debtor, to whom his lord frankly had forgiven all, for he loved much because much had been forgiven, and the conclusion of it, in these words, he that hath little forgiven, loveth little. Whence it appears, that οτι here cannot be causal, or intimate that she was forgiven much because she loved much; the cause assigned of her forgiveness being, not her love, but faith, Luke 7:50; but only consequential, denoting the effect, or indication of the forgiveness of her many sins. So, Hosea 9:15, all their iniquity was in Gilgal, οτι, therefore there I hated them; for they did not sin in Gilgal because he hated them there; but he hated them there because there they offended.” Thus also Dr. Campbell, who translates the words, Therefore her love is great, observing, “The whole context shows that the particle οτι is illative, and not causal, in this place. The parable of the debtors clearly represents the gratuitous forgiveness as the cause of the love, not the love as the cause of the forgiveness. And this, on the other hand, is, Luke 7:50 th, ascribed to her faith.” Observe, reader, 1st, The Pharisee doubted whether Jesus was a prophet or not, nay, he, in effect, denied it; but Christ here shows that he was more than a prophet, that he was one who had power on earth to forgive sins, and to whom the affections and thankful acknowledgments of penitent sinners were due; in other words, that he was the Messiah, the Son of God, whose sole prerogative and right it was, in conjunction with the Father, to forgive men’s sins. 2d, In testifying that this pardoned sinner loved much, because she had had much forgiven, and in signifying that to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little; he intimated to the Pharisee, that his love to Christ was so little, that he had reason to question whether he loved him at all in sincerity; and consequently, whether indeed his sins, though comparatively little, were forgiven him. From this we learn that, instead of grudging great sinners the mercy they find with Christ upon their repentance, we ought to be excited by their example to examine ourselves, whether we be indeed forgiven, and do at all love Christ. “Our Lord did not make the application of this parable more directly, but left Simon to do it, because he could not but see that if love invites love, and merits a return, Jesus would have been ungenerous had he treated this woman with rudeness and contempt. Having expressed greater love to him, she deserved higher returns of gratitude from him than even Simon himself; for which reason he was not to blame when he allowed her to wash his feet with her tears, wipe them with the hairs of her head, kiss them, and anoint them with fragrant ointment.” And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven — Having vindicated her, he spake kindly to her, and assured her, in express terms, that her sins, of which he knew she had truly repented, were actually forgiven.
I entered into thine house - I came at your invitation, where I might expect all the usual rites of hospitality.
Thou gavest me no water for my feet - Among Eastern people it was customary, before eating, to wash the feet; and to do this, or to bring water for it, was one of the rites of hospitality. See Genesis 18:4; Judges 19:21. The reasons for this were, that they wore "sandals," which covered only the bottom of the feet, and that when they ate they reclined on couches or sofas. It became therefore necessary that the feet should be often washed.See Poole on "Luke 7:40"
and said to Simon, seest thou this woman? and what she has done? pointing to her, and comparing him, and her, and their actions together, whereby he might judge of the preceding parable, and how fitly it might be applied to the present case:
I entered into thine house; not of his own accord, but by the invitation of Simon, and therefore might have expected the usual civilities:
thou gavest me no water for my feet: to wash them with, no, not so much as water; a civility very common in those hot countries, where walking without stockings, and only with sandals, they needed often washing; and which was very refreshing, and was not only used to travellers and strangers, but to guests, and was usually done by the servants of the house; See Gill on Luke 7:38.
but she hath washed my feet with tears. The Persic version reads, "with the tears of her eyes"; which made a bath for his feet;
and wiped them with the hairs of her head. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read only, "with her hair", which she used instead of a towel, when Simon neither gave him water to wash with, nor a towel to wipe with.And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 7:44-46. Jesus places the affectionate services rendered by the woman in contrast with the cold respectable demeanour of the Pharisee, who had not observed towards Him at all the customs of courtesy (foot-washing, kissing) and of deference (anointing of the head).
σου εἰς τ. οἰκ] I came into thy house. The σου being placed first sharpens the rebuke.
That, moreover, even the foot-washing before meals was not absolutely a rule (it was observed especially in the case of guests coming off a journey, Genesis 18:4; Jdg 19:21; 1 Samuel 25:41; 1 Timothy 5:10) is plain from John 13, and hence the neglect on the part of the heartless Pharisee is the more easily explained.
ἔβρεξέ μου τ. πόδ.] moistened my feet. Comp. on John 11:32; Matthew 8:3.
Observe the contrasts of the less and the greater:—(1) ὕδωρ and τοῖς δάκρυσιν; (2) φίλημα, which is plainly understood as a kiss upon the mouth, and οὐ διέλ. καταφ. μ. τοὺς πόδας; (3) ἐλαίῳ τὴν κεφαλ. and μύρῳ ἤλ. μ. τοὺς πόδας (μύρον is an aromatic anointing oil, and more precious than ἔλαιον, see Xen. Conv. ii. 3).
ἀφʼ ἧς εἰσῆλθον] loosely hyperbolical in affectionate consideration,—suggested by the mention of the kiss which was appropriate at the entering.Luke 7:44-46. στραφεὶς: Jesus looks at the woman now for the first time, and asks His host to look at her, the despised one, that he may learn a lesson from her, by a contrast to be drawn between her behaviour and his own in application of the parable. A sharply marked antithesis runs through the description.—ὕδωρ—δάκρυσιν; φίλημα—καταφιλοῦσα; ἐλαίῳ (common oil), μύρῳ (precious ointment); κεφαλήν—πόδας. There is a kind of poetic rhythm in the words, as is apt to be the case when men speak under deep emotion.44. Seest thou this woman] Rather, Dost thou mark? Hitherto the Pharisee, in accordance with his customs and traditions, had hardly deigned to throw upon her one disdainful glance. Now Jesus bids him look full upon her to shew him that she had really done the honours of his house. Her love had more than atoned for his coldness.
We notice in the language here that rhythmic parallelism, which is often traceable in the words of our Lord, at periods of special emotion.
Into thine house I entered:
Water upon my feet thou gavest not,
But she with her tears bedewed my feet,
And with her tresses wiped them.
A kiss thou gavedst me not:
But she, since I entered, ceased not earnestly kissing my feet.
My head with oil thou anointedst not,
But she anointed my feet with perfume.
Wherefore I say to thee, Her sins, her many sins, have been forgiven, because she loved much.
But he to whom little is being forgiven loveth little.
“As oft as I think over this event,” says Gregory the Great, “I am more disposed to weep over it than to preach upon it.”
thou gavest me no water for my feet] Thus Simon had treated his guest with such careless indifference as to have neglected the commonest courtesies and comforts. To sandalled travellers on those burning, rocky, dusty paths, water for the feet was a necessity; John 13:4-5. “Wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree” Genesis 18:4. “Tarry all night, and wash your feet,” Genesis 19:2. “He brought them into his house, and they washed their feet,” Jdg 19:21. “If she have washed the saints’ feet,” 1 Timothy 5:10.
hath washed] Rather, bedewed or wetted.
with tears] “The most priceless of waters.” Bengel. “She poured forth tears, the blood of the heart.” S. Aug.Luke 7:44. Ταύτην, this) The woman, by her very attitude and appearance at the time, was refuting Simon, and moving the emotions of all present [save Simon].—σοῦ, thy) Therefore in this instance Simon’s obligation [as being in his own house, and the host] was greater than that of the woman.—οὐκ ἔδωκας, thou hast not given) Simon treated Jesus in the way that a guest who is not honoured is treated.—τοῖς δάκρυσιν, with tears) The Lord observed and notices all the circumstantial details of her pious action: Psalm 56:9 (8). Tears are the most precious of waters.
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