Luke 10
Meyer's NT Commentary

Luke 10:1. ἑβδομήκοντα] B D M, 42, Syr.cur. Perss. Arm. Vulg. Cant. Verc. Colb. For. Rd. Sax. and many Fathers add δύο here, and most of them likewise at Luke 10:17; Lachmann has adopted the latter in brackets. Supposed to be a more exact fixing of the number in accordance with the relation (12 times 6).

Luke 10:2. Instead of the first οὖν, Lachm. Tisch. have δέ; see on Luke 6:9.

Luke 10:3. ἐγώ] is wanting in A B א, min. Arm. Vulg. ms. codd. of It. Lachm. Tisch. It is from Matthew 10:16.

Luke 10:5. εἰσέρχησθε] Here and at Luke 10:10 εἰσέλθητε must be read, on preponderating evidence. Approved by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. If it were not original, but an alteration, εἰσέρχησθε at Luke 10:8 would not have been acquiesced in.

Luke 10:6 f. Lachm. and Tisch. have rightly deleted μέν after ἐάν, the article before υἱός, and ἐστί, Luke 10:7.

Luke 10:8. δʼ ἄν] Lachm. Tisch. have ἄν, according to evidence not preponderating; and how easily the δʼ, that might be dispensed with, would drop away, since already the connecting particle was found in καί!

Luke 10:11. After ὑμῶν Griesb. has added εἰς τοὺς πόδας ἡμῶν, in accordance with decisive authorities, among which, however, B D R א, min. Sax. It want ἡμῶν, which therefore Lachm. and Tisch. have not adopted with the rest. But it was just this word ἡμῶν that occasioned the omission of the words in question, because the transcriber passed on immediately from ὑμῶν to ἡμῶν. Hence the reading of Griesbach is to be maintained in its integrity.

After ἤγγικεν, Elz. Scholz have ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς, in opposition to authorities so important that it can only appear as a repetition from Luke 10:9.

Luke 10:12. After λέγω Elz. [Tisch. 8 also] has δέ (Lachm. in brackets), opposed to very important evidence. A connective addition.

Luke 10:13. ἐγένοντο] B D L א, min. have ἐγενήθησαν. So Lachm. and Tisch. The Recepta is from Matthew 11:21.

καθήμεναι] Lachm. and Tisch. have καθήμενοι, in accordance with decisive evidence. The Recepta is a grammatical alteration.

Luke 10:15. ἡ ἕως τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθεῖσα] Lachm. Tisch. have μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ, in accordance with B D L Ξ א, Syr.cur. Aeth. Copt. It. To be rejected as at Matthew 11:24.

Luke 10:19. δίδωμι] Tisch. Has δέδωκα, following B C* L X א, vss. Or. Caes. Bas. Cyr. Epiph. Chrys. Rightly; the present tense more readily occurred to the transcribers.

ἀδικήσῃ] Lachm. and Tisch. have ἀδικήσει, on authority so important that ἀδικήσῃ must be regarded as a grammatical alteration.

Luke 10:20. After χαίρ. δέ Elz. has μᾶλλον, in opposition to largely preponderating evidence. An addition for toning down the expression.

Instead of ἐγράφη Tisch. has ἐγγέγραπται, following B L X א, 1, 33, Eus. Bas. Cyr. [Tisch. 8 has ἐνγέγραπται, following א B], But the compound, as well as the perfect tense, looks like a more precise definition of the original ἐγράφη.

Luke 10:21. After πνεύματι B C D K L X Ξ Π א, min. vss. (even Vulg. It.) have τῷ ἁγίῳ. Adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. A pious addition; the transcribers would hardly have omitted the adjective, especially as in Luke 10:20 τὰ πνεύματα had just gone before in an entirely different sense.

Luke 10:22 is introduced in Elz. Scholz, Lachm. [Tisch. 8] by καὶ στραφείς πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς εἶπε. The words are to be retained, in opposition to Griesb. and Tisch. [Tisch. 8 has the words]; they are wanting in B D L M Ξ א, min. vss. (even Vulg. codd. of It.) Ir., but they were omitted partly in accordance with Matthew, partly because, on account of Luke 10:23, they seemed inappropriate in this place. If they had been adopted out of Luke 10:23, κατʼ ἰδίαν also, which in Luke 10:23 is omitted only by D, vss., would have been taken up with them, and the words would be wanting in Luke 10:23 in one set of the authorities.

Luke 10:27. Lachm. and Tisch. have, indeed, ἐξ ὅλης τ. καρδίας σ., but then ἐν ὅλῃ τ. ψυχῇ σ. κ. ἐν ὅλῃ τ. ἰσχύϊ σ. κ. ἐν ὅλῃ τ. διανοίᾳ σ., on evidence so important that the Recepta, which throughout reads ἐκ, must be traced to the LXX. D, min. It. have throughout ἐν, from Matthew 22:37.

Luke 10:29. δικαιοῦν] Lachm. Tisch. have δικαιῶσαι, on decisive evidence.

Luke 10:30. τυγχάνοντα] deleted by Lachm. and Tisch., in accordance with B D L Ξ א, min. Copt. Arm. Vulg. It. It was altogether superfluous, and was therefore passed over; there was no motive for adding it.

For a similar reason γενόμενος, Luke 10:32, is to be maintained, in opposito Tisch. [Tisch.synops. indeed omits it, but Tisch. 8 has restored it].

Luke 10:33. αὐτόν] is wanting in B C L Ξ א, 1, 33, 254, Verc. Vind. Colb. Rd. Bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch. Rightly. It is from Luke 10:31.

Luke 10:35. ἐξελθών] is wanting in B D L X Ξ א, min. Syr. Arr. Perss. Aeth. Copt. Vulg. It. Chrys. Condemned by Griesb. and Schulz (by the latter as “vox molestissima”), deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. To be maintained. The similar ἐκβαλών which follows occasioned the omission of the word, which, besides, appeared cumbrous.

Luke 10:36. οὖν] bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch., in accordance with B L Ξ א, min. vss. A connective addition. The arrangement πλησίον δοκεῖ σοι (Elz. Lachm. have δοκ. σ. πλησ.) is decisively attested.

Instead of παρακαθίσασα, read, with Tisch. in Luke 10:39, παρακαθεσθεῖσα, in accordance with A B C* L Ξ א. The Recepta is the easier reading.

Luke 10:41. τυρβάζῃ] Lachm. [Tisch. 8 also] has θορυβάζῃ, in accordance with B C D L א 1, 33, Bas. Evagr. An interpretation in accordance with the frequently occurring θόρυβος.

The reading ὀλίγων δέ ἐστιν χρεία ἢ ἑνός (B C** L א, 1, 33, Copt. Aeth. Arm. Arr. Fathers) and similar readings have originated from the explanation which takes the passage as meaning one dish.

After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
Luke 10:1. The appointment and mission of the Seventy are transferred by Luke to this last journey of Christ, and are narrated as if they were supposed by the author to have some reference to Luke 9:52 (ἀπέστειλεναὐτοῦ). Hence: καὶ ἑτέρους, which does not refer to the Twelve (Bleek and others), but to the intimation, which is nearer to it, both in place and meaning, in Luke 9:52; and μετὰ ταῦτα, which points back to Luke 9:57-62, although de Wette regards the reference as obscure and inappropriate. With arbitrary erroneousness Olshausen says that in this communication there is adopted a fragment from an earlier period, and that μετὰ ταῦτα is not chronological (after this, see Luke 5:27, Luke 18:4), but besides (following Schleiermacher, p. 169).

ἀνέδειξεν] renuntiavit, He announced them as nominated, Acts 1:24; 2Ma 9:25; 2Ma 10:11; 2Ma 14:26; 2 Maccabees 3 Esdr. Luke 1:37, Luke 2:3; occurs often in the classical writers; comp. ἀνάδειξις, Luke 1:80.

ἑβδομήκοντα] In accordance with the apostolic number of twelve, so far as this had reference to the tribes of the people, it is probable that Jesus had in view the ancient Hebrew analogue of the seventy (originally seventy-two) elders of the people (see Ewald, Alterth. p. 284 f.; Saalschütz, Mos. R. p. 39). It is unlikely that there is any reference to the Gentile nations numbering seventy, according to Genesis 10. (Eisenmenger, Entdeckt. Judenthum, II. p. 3, 736 f.; Gieseler, Versuch, p. 128), since there is no mention at all of any destination for the Gentiles (a subject on which Luke, least of all, would have been silent; in opposition to Olshausen, de Wette, Bleek, Gieseler, and others, especially Baur and his school, Köstlin also); nay, according to Luke 9:53-56, and according to the particulars of the journey, Samaria should not at all be regarded (in opposition to Wieseler, p. 326 f., Baur, and others) as the theatre of their ministry. Moreover, no reference is to be assumed (as with Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Valla, and others) to the seventy palm-trees of Exodus 15:27.

οὗ] see Winer, p. 419 [E. T. 592]. Lange, II. p. 1057 f., is wrong in explaining: into the places which He had Himself previously designed to visit; that Jesus, namely, sent the Seventy through Samaria; that He Himself did not make this circuit, but that, nevertheless, He was not willing to give up the Samaritan people (as representatives of the seventy Gentile nations), and therefore determined to convey the gospel to them by means of the Seventy. Against this invention of a “generous revenge,” πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ and the imperfect ἤμελλεν are decisive. In general it is a mistake to assume that the mission of the Seventy went beyond the bounds of Judaism—on which assumption Baur and his school base the supposed Pauline tendency of the narrative. The region of the Samaritans is scarcely trodden before it is again forsaken, Luke 9:56, prior to the appointment of the Seventy. Weiss in the Stud. u. Krit. 1861, p. 711, is right in saying: “Of any appointment of the seventy disciples for Samaria, or for the heathen world at all, there is not a single word said.” Comp. Holtzmann, p. 393.


The narrative of the Seventy has been relegated into the unhistorical domain by Strauss, de Wette, Gfrörer (Jahr. d. Heils, II. p. 371), Theile (z. Biogr. J. p. 51 f.), von Ammon (L. J. II. p. 355 ff.), Baur (Evang. p. 498 ff.), Schwegler, Bruno Bauer, Köstlin, Zeller, Ritschl, and others. But (1) as they accept the position that this was only a temporary and special appointment for the present journey, and not a permanent function, Luke 10:1, the silence of the rest of the evangelists, who indeed have not in general the detailed thread of this journey, as well as the silence of the subsequent history about their doings, is very easy to understand.—(2) That Jesus in general had around Him a larger circle of constant disciples, besides the Twelve, from whom He could appoint seventy for a special commission, is in itself, and from the evidence of such passages as Acts 1:15; Acts 1:21, 1 Corinthians 15:6, as well as John 6:60, not to be doubted.—(3) The tradition would hardly have restrained itself within these narrow limits, but would have gone further than simply to allow the Seventy to be appointed and sent forth, and then to return and vanish; and would especially have passed over into the apostolic history.—(4) That Jesus gave them a commission similar to that which He gave the Twelve, arose from the similar character of their temporary relation, in respect whereof, moreover, it is to be conceded that the tradition involuntarily mingles elements out of the two commissions.[126] (5) If the narrative had been, as has been supposed (see especially Baur, Evang. p. 435 ff., 498 ff.), an invention of the author, intended typically to keep the apostolic call of Paul in incessant contrast with that of the Twelve, it would have been just as necessary as it was easy to the inventor to relate what they did, or at least to inweave into the commission characteristic references to the ministry of Paul, yet these are entirely wanting (comp. rather Luke 24:47 f.; Acts 1:8); moreover, the Acts of the Apostles would not have been perfectly silent about the Seventy. In like manner as Baur, Köstlin also, p. 267 f., judges, deriving the narrative, as an account typically prefiguring the mission to the heathen,[127] from the supposed Gospel of Peter, without, however, acquiescing in the opposition to the Twelve asserted by Baur. Ewald (Evang. p. 285, Gesch. Chr. p. 349), with whom in substance Holtzmann, p. 392 f., agrees, refers the narrative to a later period, in which the gradual disappearance of the Twelve gave to the Lord’s remaining companions so much more importance, that what was at first true only of the Twelve was involuntarily transferred to a wider circle; comp. also Weizsäcker, p. 161 f., 409 f. But against this also the reasons specified under 1–4 hold good. Ewald, in his Gesch. d. Apost. Zeitalt. p. 158, supposes that they belonged to the hundred and twenty persons mentioned in Acts 1:15.

The purpose of the mission was not in any way to further the personal faith of those who were sent (Hase, p. 200; Krabbe, p. 306), but, as is evident from the commission itself (see especially Luke 10:9), to prepare, by miraculous cures and by preaching, for the imminent advent of the Messiah. This entire journey of Jesus was intended to afford the people an opportunity for a final decision before the Lord’s departure from what had up to this time been His field of action, and to be in every quarter that Messianic entry which culminated in the final entry into Jerusalem. This function of forerunners, which, according to Luke 10:1, was held in that respect by the Seventy, is at variance neither with Luke 10:7, which assumes no relatively long sojourn, but only forbids the change of quarters, nor with the return at Luke 10:17, which was necessary for pointing out the route of the journey.

The source from which Luke derived the section is none other than that of the entire narrative of the journey (see on Luke 9:51). That he gave to a fragment of the Logia “an expansion of the original title, from a mere calculation of what was probable,” is too hastily concluded by Holtzmann, p. 146.

[126] According to Baur, elements of the commission given to the Twelve are transferred tendentially by the evangelist to the discourse to the Seventy, in order to give the preference to the latter, as being the true and genuine disciples. Comp. also Baur, Das Christenthum der drei ersten Jahrh. p. 76 f.; Hilgenfeld, Evang. p. 183 ff. See, in general, against such supposed tendencies of Luke in regard to the primitive apostles, Holtzmann, p. 394 f.; Weiss, p. 709 ff. Weizsäcker, p. 163, rightly emphasizes the fact that it is just these sayings which, in an eminent measure, must have been the common property of tradition.

[127] Comp. Weizsäcker, p. 409.

Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
Luke 10:2. Comp. Matthew 9:37 f. First of all, Christ makes them apprehend the greatness of their task, and (Luke 10:3) their risk, and then gives them (Luke 10:4 ff.) rules of conduct.[128]

ὀλίγοι] notwithstanding your numbers, ye are still far from sufficient[129] ΠΡῸς ΤῸ ΠΛῆΘΟς ΤῶΝ ΜΕΛΛΌΝΤΩΝ ΠΙΣΤΕΎΕΙΝ (Euthymius Zigabenus)!

ἘΚΒΆΛῌ] In this is contained the importance, the urgency of the mission: should drive forth (comp. on Mark 1:12; 1Ma 12:27).

[128] But the prohibition against going to the heathens and the Samaritans, Matthew 5:5, He does not give to the Seventy, and that for the simple reason that they had precisely to make the journey only as it was definitely marked out to them in ver. 1 (through Galilee). For this that prohibition would not have been at all appropriate.

[129] According to Weiss, Jesus, in respect of ὀλίγοι, must have thought originally of Himself, while Luke thought of the Twelve. The former view contradicts the words of the passage, the latter the context. But that the discourse was originally addressed to the Twelve does not follow from Luke 22:35, for the passage there alluded to is to be sought in Luke 9:3 (although with certain coincidences from Luke 10:4).

Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
Luke 10:3. See on Matthew 10:16, where πρόβατα appears. A different form of the tradition, not to be explained as though Jesus called the Twelve πρόβατα as being τελειοτέρους (Euthymius Zigabenus). Comp. John 21:15-17.

Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
Luke 10:4. Comp. Luke 9:3; Matthew 10:9.

βαλλάντιον] a purse; found only in Luke in the New Testament, frequently in the Greek writers. The spelling with λλ is decisively attested in the New Testament, although in itself the spelling with one λ would be more correct. See Stallbaum, ad Plat. Leg. I. p. 348 D.

μηδέναἀσπάσησθε] not a prohibition of the desire of good-will (Olshausen, B.-Crusius), or of making a bustle (as Lange conjectures), which would have to be found in the context, but which has opposed to it κατὰ τὴν ὁδόν; but a command to make haste, so as to avoid every delay upon the road that might not be necessary for the performance of their task. In this respect there is no need of any reference to the circumstantial modes of greeting (embraces, benedictions, kisses, and the like). Comp. 2 Kings 4:29. Jesus impresses on them the properare ad rem! in accordance with the object of the mission, Luke 10:1; Luke 10:9, and in a concrete form, which should not be pressed to a literal meaning. Theophylact well says: διὰ τὸ μὴ ἀποσχολεῖσθαι περὶ ἀνθρωπίνους ἀσπασμοὺς καὶ φιλοφρονήσεις, καὶ ἐκ τούτου πρὸς τὸ κήρυγμα ἐμποδίζεσθαι.

And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
Luke 10:5-6. See on Matthew 10:12 f.

The construction εἰς ἣν κ.τ.λ. is the same as in Luke 10:8. Comp. on Matthew 10:14.

υἱὸς εἰρήνης] a son of salvation, i.e. one who is fit to receive salvation, not different in substance from the ἄξιος in Matthew. Its opposite is υἱὸς ὀργῆς (Ephesians 2:3), τῆς ἀπωλείας (John 17:12), τῆς ἀπειθείας (Ephesians 5:6), γεέννης (Matthew 23:15). Comp. in general on Matthew 8:12.

And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
Luke 10:7. Comp. Luke 9:4; Matthew 10:11.

ἐν αὐτῇ δὲ τῇ οἰκίᾳ] not: in eadem autem domo (Vulgate, Luther, Bleek), but as it does not run ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ οἰκίᾳ: but in the house (in question) itself, which has inhabitants so worthy.

μένετε] the more specific explanation μὴ μεταβαίνετε κ.τ.λ. follows.

As to ἔσθοντες, as it is also to be read here, see on Luke 7:33.

τὰ παρʼ αὐτῶν] that which is theirs (comp. Mark 5:26). See Bernhardy, p. 255. Not different from this is τὰ παρατιθέμενα ὑμῖν, Luke 10:8. The messengers were to partake without hesitation of the provisions of the people, for, etc. This statement of the reason, however, should have prevented Baur from explaining it of the unhesitating partaking of heathen meats (according to 1 Corinthians 9:7 f., Luke 10:27), even apart from the fact that no mention is made of heathen houses at all. This is also in opposition to Köstlin, p. 234; Hilgenfeld, Evang. p. 183, and Weizsäcker, p. 163.

And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
Luke 10:8-9. Πόλιν] It is seen from this that in the direction previously given, Luke 10:5 ff., Jesus had contemplated villages and single dwelling-houses. Thus Luke 10:5 ff. corresponds to the καὶ τόπον, and Luke 10:8 ff. to the πόλιν, Luke 10:1.

καὶ δέχ. ὑμ.] a transition into the demonstrative expression instead of the continuance of the relative form; comp. Bremi, ad Dem. Ol. p. 177; Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 328 [E. T. 383].

ἐσθίετε] as though καὶ ἐὰν κ.τ.λ. had been previously said. An emphatic anacoluthon. See Bornemann, Schol. p. 65 f.

αὐτοῖς] the inhabitants. Comp. δέχωνται.

ἤγγικεν] a promise of participation in the kingdom of Messiah near at hand. On ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς, comp. Matthew 12:28; Psalm 27:2; 1Ma 5:40; 1Ma 5:42.

And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,
Luke 10:10-11. Comp. Luke 9:5; Matthew 10:14. The refusal to receive them is represented as following immediately upon their entrance; hence the present εἰσέρχ. The representation of Luke 10:8 was different: εἰσέλθητε (see the critical remarks).

ἐξελθόντες] out of the house into which ye have entered.

ὑμῖν] so that ye should have it again; a symbol of the most contemptuous renunciation, as in Matthew.

ἤγγικεν κ.τ.λ.] a threatening reference to their penal exclusion from the salvation of the kingdom. See Luke 10:12 ff. Observe that ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς is wanting this time; see the critical remarks.

Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.
Luke 10:12. Comp. Matthew 10:15.

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
Luke 10:13-15. See on Matthew 11:21-24. Luke has not here any mistaken reminiscence (de Wette), but the disaster of these Galilaean cities lay sufficiently close to the heart of Jesus to force from Him the denunciation of woe more than once, and here, indeed, in very appropriate connection, since this woe brings into the light and confirms what has just been said at Luke 10:12 by the example of the cities which had rejected Jesus Himself.

καθήμενοι (see the critical remarks): the inhabitants, namely. See Buttmann, Neut. Gram. p. 114 [E. T. 130].

But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.
He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
Luke 10:16. Comp. Matthew 10:40; John 13:20; John 12:48. A confirmation in principle of the fact that He placed on equal grounds the cities that reject them with those that reject Himself. In the second part the saying rises to a climax (ἀθετ. τ. ἀποστ. με). A deepening of the emotion; a solemn conclusion.

And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
Luke 10:17-20. The fact that the account of the return of the Seventy follows immediately cannot prove that in the history of this journey (from Luke 9:51 onward) Luke is not holding the chronological thread (Olshausen). In accordance with the purpose of the mission (Luke 10:1), some must have returned very soon, others later, so that Jesus might anticipate the return of one portion of them before the return of those who had gone farther, and Luke might equally exclude the summary narration of the return without passing over anything of importance that intervened.

καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια κ.τ.λ.] over which He had not given to them, as He had to the Twelve (Luke 9:1), an express authority: “Plura in effectu experti sunt, quam Jesus expresserat,” Bengel. This is necessarily implied in καί; but it is not to be inferred, as Köstlin assumes, that Luke regarded the casting out of demons as the highest χάρισμα.

ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. σ.] by means of Thy name, by the fact of our utterance of it. Comp. on Luke 9:49; Matthew 7:22. Otherwise in Mark 16:17.

Luke 10:18. This I saw happen in this wise when I sent you forth (ἐθεώρουν, imperf.)! This your victorious agency against Satan (whose servants the demons are) was not hidden from me. I beheld at that time (in the spirit, in idea) Satan fallen like a lightning flash from heaven, i.e. I then[130] perceived the swift overthrow of Satan from his lofty power, in so lively a manner that it presented itself to me in my inward perception, as if he were like a flash of lightning (so swift, so momentary!) hurled out of heaven (ΠΕΣΌΝΤΑ, not the present). The whole reply of Jesus (comp. Luke 10:19-20) is rich in imagination, full of vivid imagery, confirming the triumphant assertion of the disciples in equally joyous excitement.[131] Comp. Revelation 12:9; and on the fact itself, John 12:31, where no more than here is intended any allusion to the downfall of the hierarchical party (Schenkel). He does not mean to speak of a vision (von Ammon, L. J. II. p. 359), since such a thing nowhere occurs in His experience, inasmuch as in consideration of His direct perception He had no need of such intermediate helps; but He means an intuition of His knowledge, and speaks of it under a vivid, lifelike form, which the imagination is able to grasp. The relative tense ἐθεώρουν might also be referred to the time of the disciples’ ministry (de Wette, Bleek, Schegg; comp. Bengel, tentatively, “quum egistis”); yet this is the less appropriate to the assertion of the instantaneous πεσόντα, and to the comparison with the lightning’s flash, that the ministry of the Seventy lasted for a time.

The representation ἘΚ ΤΟῦ ΟὐΡΑΝΟῦ ΠΕΣΌΝΤΑ[132] does not in any way presuppose Satan’s abode in heaven (as to Paul’s representation of the abode of the demons in the atmosphere, see on Ephesians 2:2), but corresponds to the thought of highly exalted power, as above, Luke 10:15, and Isaiah 14:12; the representation, however, of its swiftness and suddenness by comparison with a flash of lightning was by reason of the τοῦ οὐρανοῦ as natural and appropriate as is the comparison of the lightning in Matthew 24:27.

Luke 10:19. According to the reading ΔΈΔΩΚΑ (see the critical remarks), Jesus gives them not a mere supplementary explanation (objection by de Wette), but He explains to them what a much greater power still they had received from Him and possessed (perfect) than that which they had experienced in the subjection of the demons. This investiture with power occurred before the sending of them forth, although it is not expressly mentioned in the commission, Luke 10:2 ff.; but it was left to become clear to their consciousness through experience, and they had already partially begun to be conscious of it in the subjection of the demons to their power.

τοῦ πατεῖν ἐπάνω ὄφεων κ. σκορπ.] a figurative description (in accordance with Psalm 91:13, and see the Rabbinical passages in Wetstein) of the dangerous Satanic powers, which the Seventy were to tread under their feet, as warriors do their conquered foes (Romans 16:20).

καί] and generally.

The emphasis of the discourse as it advances lies on πᾶσαν and ΟὐΔΈΝ.

] of the enemy, of whom our Lord is speaking, and that is none other than Satan. Comp. Test. XII. Patr. p. 657: προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς ἀπὸ τοῦ ΣατανᾶΚατέναντι τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ ἐχθροῦ στήσεται. Matthew 13:25; 1 Peter 5:8.

ΟὐΔΈΝ] is the accusative neuter: and in nothing will it (the δύναμις τοῦ ἐχθροῦ) harm you; comp. Acts 25:10; Galatians 4:12; Philemon 1:18; Wolf, ad Dem. Lept. p. 343.

ἀδικήσει (see the critical remarks): as to the future after οὐ μή, see on Matthew 26:35; Mark 14:31.

Luke 10:20. Nevertheless your rejoicing should have for its object a higher good than that authority over spirits. Theophylact well says: ΠΑΙΔΕΎΩΝ ΔῈ ΑὐΤΟῪς ΜῊ ὙΨΗΛΟΦΡΟΝΕῖΝ, ΦΗΣΊ· ΠΛῊΝ ἘΝ ΤΟΎΤῼ Κ.Τ.Λ. In accordance with his presuppositions, Baur, Evang. p. 439, thinks that the evangelist had Revelation 21:14 in view, and that he in a partisan spirit referred[133] to the Seventy the absolute significance in respect of the kingdom of God which the apocalyptic writer attributes to the Twelve.

μὴ χαίρετε κ.τ.λ.] rejoice not … out rejoice. Not a relative (non tam … quam, see Kuinoel, de Wette, and many others), but an absolute negation with rhetorical emphasis (Winer, p. 439 [E. T. 620, 621]), although “gaudium non vetatur, sed in ordinem redigitur,” Bengel.

ὅτι τὰ ὀνόμ. κ.τ.λ.] an embodiment of the thought: that ye are destined by God to be in the future participators in the eternal Messianic life, in accordance with the poetic representation of the Book of Life kept by God (Exodus 32:32 f.; Psalm 69:29; Isaiah 4:3; Php 4:3; Revelation 3:5; comp. on Matthew 5:12) in which their names had been written (ἐγράφη). The predestination thereby set forth is that which occurred before the beginning of time in Christ (Ephesians 1:4). See on Php 4:3.

[130] Without any ground in the context, ἐθεώρουν has been dated farther back in various ways. Lange, L. J. II. 2, p. 1070 f. (comp. also Philippi, Glaubenslehre, III. p. 308), refers it to the temptation in the desert, and conceives that with the rebuke of Christ, Get thee hence from me! Satan was “cast forth from the heavenly circle of Christ and His people.” Gregory Nazianzen and other Fathers, Euthymius Zigabenus, Maldonatus, and others, refer it to the time of Christ’s incarnation, by which Satan was cast down, a result which Christ here describes as a “dux belli suas narrans victorias” (Maldonatus). Other Fathers, including Origen and Theophylact, Erasmus and others, refer it to the fall of the devil by sin, whereby he lost his place in heaven. Thus also Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 443, who indeed would have “the fall from heaven” to signify only the loss of the fellowship of the supramundane life of God (p. 458). According to this, the imperfect must have its reference to a fact of which Christ was a witness when He was still the λόγος ἄσαρκος. But against the explanation of Satan’s fall by sin, it is decisive that with this overthrow of Satan his power on earth was not broken, but it then first began. The explanation is therefore quite opposed to the connection in which our passage stands, since Jesus is not at all desirous of warning against arrogance (the view of many Fathers), but must certainly be speaking of the destruction of the devil’s power, of the overthrow of the devilish strength. Hence also Hilgenfeld is quite mistaken, Evang. p. 184, in making it refer to Revelation 12:9, saying that Jesus saw how the devil “even now is working with special energy upon the earth,” that with the near approach of the passion of Jesus (not for the first time shortly before the last day) came therefore the point of time when the devil, who had been driven out of the field, should develope his power anew. Moreover, Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. p. 342, rightly referring ἐθεώρουν to the time of sending out the Seventy, finds the meaning to be: I beheld Satan descend from heaven with the rapidity of lightning to hinder your work; but fear ye not, behold I give you power, etc. In accordance with the context, πεσόντα must mean the knocking down of the devil, not his descent from heaven; but the connection which Hahn makes with ver. 19 is neither intimated (in any wise by ἀλλ ̓ ἰδοὺ κ.τ.λ.), nor does it suit the correct reading δέδωκα.

[131] Against this view Hofmann objects that it is foreign to the connection (wherefore?), and that it gives to the mission an importance that does not belong to it. But was it then something of little importance to send forth seventy new combatants against Satan’s power? Could not the commander of this new warrior band behold, in the spirit, when He sent them forth, the devil’s overthrow?

[132] ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ is not to be taken with ἀστραπήν, as Schleiermacher would have it, who, moreover, takes pains in his Vorles. üb. d. L. J. p. 333 ff., with subtlety at variance with true exegesis, to exclude the doctrine of the devil from the teaching of Jesus. He says that Jesus speaks of the devil according to a current representation,—just as people speak of ghosts, without believing in their reality, and as we say that the sun rises, though everybody knows that the sun does not in reality rise.

[133] Which, however, by a glance at Revelation 3:5; Revelation 17:8, is shown to be erroneous. Moreover, according to Weizsäcker, vv. 18–20 are said to be of the “latest origin.”

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
Luke 10:21-22. See on Matthew 11:25-27.[134] Luke places this thanksgiving prayer in immediate chronological connection (in the same hour) with the return of the Seventy. Theophylact says: ὥσπερ πατὴρ ἀγαθὸς παῖδας ἰδὼν κατορθώσαντάς τι, οὕτω καὶ ὁ σωτὴρ ἀγάλλεται, ὅτι τοιούτων ἀγαθῶν ἠξιώθησαν οἱ ἀπόστολοι. Still this chronological position is hardly the historical one. See on Matth.

Τῷ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΙ] not the Holy Spirit (see the critical remarks). Comp. Luke 1:47. It is His own πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, Romans 1:4. The opposite of this, ἨΓΑΛΛ. Τ. ΠΝ., occurs in John 11:33.

ΤΑῦΤΑ] finds in Luke its reference in ὍΤΙ ΤᾺ ὈΝΌΜΑΤΑ ὙΜῶΝ Κ.Τ.Λ., Luke 10:20, and is hence to be understood[135] of the knowledge of the life eternal in the kingdom of Messiah (comp. Luke 8:10 : γνῶναι τὰ μυστήρια τῆς βασιλείας).

Luke 10:22. καὶ στραφεὶς κ.τ.λ.] (see the critical remarks). From the prayer to God He turns in the following words to the disciples (the Seventy and the Twelve).

πρὸς τοὺς μαθ.] belongs to στραφείς. Comp. Luke 7:44, Luke 14:25. As to the idea of the πάντα μοι παρεδ., which is not, as with Baur, Schenkel, and others, to be referred merely to the spiritual and moral region, see on Matthew 28:18.

γινώσκει] That the Marcionite reading ἔγνω is the original one, and not a gnostic alteration, is rendered probable by the very ancient date at which it is found (Justin, the Clementines, the Marcosites). Comp. on Matthew 11:27. The gnostic interpretation of ἔγνω, which is contested by the Clementines (Luke 18:13 f.), very easily brought about the change into the present tense. See (after Baur, Hilgenfeld, Semisch, Köstlin, Volkmar) Zeller, Apostelg. p. 13f.

τίς] in respect of His nature, counsel, will, thought, etc. In what way, however, τίς ἐστιν ὁ πατήρ is said to be gnostic rather than biblical (Köstlin, p. 161) it is not easy to see. The Father who has sent the Son has His perfect revelation for the first time in Him. Comp. John 14:9.

ᾧ ἐὰν βούλ.] Comp. concerning the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:11. This will of the Son, however, in virtue of His essential and moral unity with the Father, is no other than the Father’s will, which the Son has to fulfil. Comp. Gess, Pers. Chr. p. 18 f. Observe, again, that the negation, which is not to be relatively explained away, οὐδεὶςεἰ μή, establishes a relation of a unique kind, namely, that of the metaphysical fellowship.

[134] Keim, Geschichtl. Christus, p. 51, sees here the climax reached of the consciousness of the divine Sonship, and that hence there now appears, instead of the “your Father,” as hitherto, the designation “my Father.” But on the one hand “your Father” is still said at the same time and later (Luke 12:30; Luke 12:32; Matthew 10:20; Matthew 18:14; Matthew 23:9), and on the other Jesus, not to mention Luke 2:49, says “my Father” even as early as in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:21). Baur, indeed (Neutest. Theol. p. 86), knows no other way of getting rid of the offence which this expression of Matthew 7:21 gives him than by attributing the words to a later period of the ministry of Jesus. It is easy in this way to set aside what will not fit into our notions.

[135] Not, of the power over the demons, as Wittichen, d. Idee Gottes als des Vaters, 1865, p. 30, wishes to hare it. To that also belongs πάντα, ver. 22.

All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:
Luke 10:23-24. See on Matthew 13:16 f., where the historical connection is quite different. But the significant beatitude may have been spoken on different occasions, especially with a different reference of meaning (as here in particular βλέπειν has a different sense from what it has in Matthew).

καὶ στραφεὶς κ.τ.λ.] Here we have a further step in the narrative (comp. Luke 10:22), which is marked by κατʼ ἰδίαν, to be taken along with στραφείς. This turning, which excluded the others who were present (see Luke 10:25), is to be regarded as perceptible by the movement and gesture of the speaker. “Lucas accurate notare solet pausas et flexus sermonum Domini,” Bengel. Consequently the reproach of inappropriateness, occasioned by the omission of δεῦτε πρός με πάντες (in Matthew), does not touch Luke (Holtzmann, p. 147; Weiss).

καὶ βασιλεῖς] peculiar to Luke. Think of David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and others.

ἰδεῖνἀκούετε] The point of the contrast varies: to see what ye see … and to hear what ye (actually) hear. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 11:29.

For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Luke 10:25 ff. This transaction is different from the later narrative of Matthew 22:35 ff. (comp. Mark 12:28 ff.). The fact that the same passages of the law are quoted cannot outweigh the difference of time and place, of the point of the question, of the person quoting the passages, and of the further course of the conference. Comp. Strauss, I. p. 650 f., who, however, also holds Matthew and Mark as distinct, and thus maintains three variations of the tradition upon the one subject, viz. that Jesus laid stress on the two commandments as the foremost of the law; while Köstlin, p. 275, supposes that Luke arbitrarily took the question, Luke 10:25, out of its original place in Matthew and Mark, and himself made it the entire introduction to the parable (Luke 10:30 ff.). Comp. Holtzmann: “two independent sections brought by Luke within one frame.”

ἐκπειράζων αὐτόν] προσεδόκησεν παγιδεῦσαι τὸν Χριστὸν εἰς τὸ πάντως ἐπιτάξαι τι ἐναντίον τῷ νόμῳ, Euthymius Zigabenus. As to ἐκπειράζ., to try thoroughly, see on 1 Corinthians 10:9.

He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
Luke 10:26-27. Πῶς ἀναγινώσκεις] מאי קראת, a customary Rabbinical formula to give occasion to a scriptural citation, Lightfoot, p. 794.

πῶς] how, that is, with what words, not instead of τί (Kypke and others). Comp. πῶς φῆς, πῶς λέγεις, πῶς δοκεῖς, and the like. Observe that ἐν τῷ νόμῳ is placed first for the sake of emphasis, and that the doubled expression of the question indicates the urgency of the questioner. Lechler in the Stud. u. Krit. 1854, p. 802, is wrong in explaining the passage as if it were πῶς σὺ ἀναγ.

Luke 10:27. The lawyer quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 along with Leviticus 19:18. The Jews had to repeat daily morning and evening the former passage, together with Deuteronomy 11:13 ff. (Berac. f. 3. 3; comp. on Mark 12:29); it appeared also on the phylacteries (see on Matthew 23:5), but not Leviticus 19:18; hence the opinion of Kuinoel: “Jesum digito monstrasse thecam illam, qua se ornaverat legis peritus,” must be rejected. The reason why the lawyer answered entirely in the meaning of Jesus, and especially adds the passage from Leviticus, is found in the fact that his attention was directed not to what had immediately preceded, but to the problem τίς ἐστί μου πλησίον; and that he used the question τί ποιήσας κ.τ.λ., Luke 10:25, only as an introduction thereto. To this question, familiar as he was with the principles of Jesus, he must have expected an answer in which the duty of the love of one’s neighbour was not wanting, and thereto he would then attach the special question meant to tempt him, viz. τίς ἐστί μου πλησίον; But since the dialogue takes such a turn that he himself becomes the respondent, he gives the answer which he had expected from Jesus; and now for his own self-justification—to show, to wit, that notwithstanding that correct answer, he did not ask his question without reason, but still needs more detailed instruction, he adds the problem under cover of which the temptation was to be brought in. The questioner, unexpectedly made to play the part of the respondent, thus keeps his object in view with presence of mind and craftiness, and it can neither be asserted that by his reply, in keeping with the meaning of Jesus, he at once gave himself up as a captive (de Wette), nor that this reply was not suggested till the question of Jesus was interposed (Bleek).

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
Luke 10:28-29. Τοῦτο ποίει] τοῦτο has the emphasis corresponding to the τί of Luke 10:25.

ζήσῃ] ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσεις, Luke 10:25. It is thus that Jesus declared the fundamental law of the divine retribution, as Paul, Romans 2:13. But as to the manner in which this moral, fundamental law leads to the necessity of the righteousness of faith (see on Romans, loc. cit.), there was no occasion for Him to explain further in the presence of the legal tempter.

Luke 10:29. δικαιῶσαι ἑαυτόν] namely, in reference to his question, to prove that he had put it with reason and justice; see on Luke 10:26 f. Comp. also Maldonatus, de Wette, Bleek, Schegg. The view that he wished to represent himself as being honestly disposed, Luke 16:15 (so usually), has against it[136] the purpose with which the scribe had presented himself, ἐκπειράζων αὐτόν, in spite of which he himself has still answered rightly, Luke 10:27.

ΚΑῚ ΤΊς Κ.Τ.Λ.] See on the ΚΑΊ occurring thus abruptly and taking up the other’s discourse, Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 146 f.; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 879 f.; “Mire ad ἦθος facit,” Bengel.

ΠΛΗΣΊΟΝ] without an article, hence: who is neighbour to me? Comp. Luke 10:36. See Bornemann, Schol. p. 69; Winer, p. 118 f. [E. T. 163]. The element of temptation consisted in this, that from the mouth of Jesus was expected some sort of heterodox reply which should deviate from the Rabbinical definition that the Jew’s nearest neighbour is his fellow-Jew.

[136] Lange, L. J. II. p. 1076, conjectures that the scribe wished, as the disciples had just returned from Samaria, to call Jesus to account in respect of this fellowship with the Samaritans—which could not be the way to life. But the Seventy had not been to Samaria at all. Comp. on ver. 1 and Luke 9:56.

But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
Luke 10:30-31. Ὑπολαμβάνειν, in the sense of “taking up the discourse of another by way of reply,” occurs only here in the New Testament, and hence is probably taken by Luke from the source used by him. It is frequent in the LXX. (עָנָה) and in the classical writers. Comp. Herod. vii. 101: ὁ δὲ ὑπολαβὼν ἔφη; Dem. 594. 21, 600. 20; Polyb. iv. 85. 4, xv. 8. 1.

ἄνθρωπός τις] without any more definite limitation, which, however, is not to be regarded as intentional (Paulus thinks that it is meant to intimate that the Samaritan asked no questions about his nationality, comp. also Schenkel), but leaves it to be understood of itself, by means of the context, that a Jew is meant (not a heathen, as Olshausen takes it), in virtue of the contrast between Jew and Samaritan.

Ἱεριχώ] See on Matthew 20:29. It was separated from Jerusalem by a desert region (Joseph. Bell. iv. 8. 3), which was unsafe because of robbers (Jerome on Jeremiah 3:2). It was not a priestly city.

περιέπεσεν] he met with robbers, fell among them, as περιπίπτειν τινί, incidere in aliquem, is very often used in the classical writers (Herod. vi. 105, viii. 94, vi. 41; Dem. 1264. 26; Xen. Anab. vii. 3. 38; Polyb. iii. 53. 6). There is no question here about chancing upon unfortunate circumstances, for this would have required the dative of an abstract noun (such as συμφορή, τύχη κ.τ.λ.).

οἳ καὶ κ.τ.λ.] This and the subsequent καί correspond to one another; et … et. They took his clothes off him in order to rob him of them, and while doing so they beat him (because he resisted). The two participles therefore stand in the correct sequence of what actually occurred (in opposition to de Wette).

τυγχάνοντα] not equivalent to ὄντα, but: they left him when he was just half dead[137] (this was the condition to which he was reduced). Comp. Plat. Prot. p. 313 E, and elsewhere. See Ast, Lex. Plat. III. p. 420. ὄντα might have been added besides, Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 277.

ἀντιπαρῆλθεν] ex adverso praeteriit (Winer, de verb. compos. III. p. 18), he passed by on the opposite side. This ἀντι gives a clear idea of the cold behaviour of the hard-hearted passer-by. The word occurs elsewhere only in Strat. vii. 2 (Jacobs, Anthol. III. p. 70) and Wis 16:10 (in which place, however, it means ex adverso advenire; see Grimm). Comp. ἀντιπαριέναι, Xen. Anab. iv. 3. 17; Hell. v. 4. 38.

[137] The expression makes us feel the unconcernedness of the robbers about the unfortunate man whom they left to his fate just as he was.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
Luke 10:32. Observe the climax in the description—having reached the place (in question), he went, when he had come (approached) and seen (the state of the case), by on the other side. On γενόμ. κατά, comp. Herod. iii. 86: ὡς κατὰ τοῦτο τὸ χωρίον ἐγένοντο; Xen. Cyrop. vii. 1. 14, and elsewhere. Comp. Luke 10:33.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
Luke 10:34. Ἐπιχέων κ.τ.λ.] while he, as he was binding them up, poured on them oil and wine, the ordinary remedy in the case of wounds (see the passages in Wetstein and Paulus), which he carried with him for any casual need.

ἐπὶ τὸ ἴδιον κτῆνος] on his own beast (his ass), so that thus he himself gave up its use.

πανδοχεῖον] instead of the Attic πανδοκεῖον, Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 307. The word has also passed over into the Rabbinical vocabulary: פונדק, see Lightfoot, p. 799. We must picture to ourselves a caravanserai, over which presided an ordinary landlord.

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Luke 10:35-36. Ἐπί] as in Mark 15:1; Acts 3:1 : towards the morrow, when it was about to dawn.

ἐξελθών] out of the inn. He gave the money to the landlord outside (past participle). The small amount, however, that he gave him presupposes the thought of a very early return.

ἐκβαλών] a vivid picture; out of his purse. Comp. Matthew 13:52.

προσδαπαν.] thou shalt have expended in addition thereto, besides; Lucian, Ep. Sat. xxxix.; Corp. inscr. 108, 8.

ἐγώ] with emphasis; the unfortunate man was not to have the claim made on him.

ἐπανέρχεσθαι] signifies “reditum in eum ipsum locum,” Tittmann, Synon. p. 232. Very frequently in use in the classical writers.

γεγονέναι] to have become by what he had done. On γίνεσθαι, in the sense of se praestare, see Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 7. 4. Flacius, Clav. II. p. 330, well says: “omnes quidem tres erant jure, sed unicus facto aut officio.”

τοῦ ἐμπεσ. εἰς τ. λ.] who fell among the thieves. See Sturz, Lex. Xen. II. p. 153 Bernhardy, p. 329.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Luke 10:37. Ὁ ποιήσας κ.τ.λ.] Bengel: “Non invitus abstinet legisperitus appellatione propria Samaritae.” On the expression, comp. Luke 1:72.

τὸ ἔλεος] the compassion related; καὶ σύ: thou also; not to be joined to πορεύου (Lachmann), but to ποίει. Comp. Luke 6:31.


Instead of giving to the theoretical question of the scribe, Luke 10:29, a direct and theoretical decision as to whom he was to regard as his neighbour, Jesus, by the feigned (according to Grotius and others, the circumstance actually occurred) history of the compassionate Samaritan, with all the force of the contrast that puts to shame the cold Jewish arrogance, gives a practical lesson on the question: how one actually becomes the neighbour of ANOTHER, namely, by the exercise of helpful love, independently of the nationality and religion of the persons concerned. And the questioner, in being dismissed with the direction, καὶ σὺ ποίει ὁμοίως, has therein indirectly the answer to his question, τίς ἐστί μου πλησίον; namely: Every one, without distinction of people and faith, to whom the circumstances analogous to the instance of the Samaritan direct thee to exercise helpful love in order thereby to become his neighbour, thou hast to regard as thy neighbour. This turn on the part of Jesus, like every feature of the improvised narrative, bears the stamp of originality in the pregnancy of its meaning, in the insight which suggested it, and in the quiet and yet perfectly frank way in which the questioner, by a direct personal appeal, was put to the blush.[138]

[138] The Fathers, as Origen, Ambrose, Augustine, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, have been able to impart mystical meanings to the individual points of the history. Thus the ἄνθρωπός τις signifies Adam; Jerusalem, paradise; Jericho, the world; the thieves, the demons; the priest, the law; the Levite, the prophets; the Samaritan, Christ; the beast, Christ’s body; the inn, the church; the landlord, the bishop; the Denarii, the Old and New Testaments; the return, the Parousia. See especially Origen, Hom. 34 in Luc., and Theophylact, sub loc. Luther also similarly allegorises in his sermons. Calvin wisely says: “Scripturae major habenda est reverentia, quam ut germanum ejus sensum hac licentia transfigurare liceat.”

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
Luke 10:38. Ἐν τῷ πορεύεσθαι] to be understood of the continuation of the journey to Jerusalem. See Luke 9:51; Luke 9:57, Luke 10:1. But Jesus cannot yet be in Bethany (see Luke 13:22, Luke 17:11), where Martha and Mary dwelt (John 11:1; John 12:1 f.), and hence it is to be supposed that Luke, because he was unacquainted with the more detailed circumstances of the persons concerned, transposed this incident, which must have occurred in Bethany, and that on an earlier festal journey, not merely to the last journey, but also to some other village, and that a village of Galilee. The tradition, or the written source, which he followed had preserved the fact and the names of the persons, but not the time and place of the incident. If we regard Luke as unacquainted with those particulars, the absence of all mention of Lazarus is the less surprising, seeing that the substance of the history concerns the sisters only (in opposition to Strauss, I. p. 751).

καὶ αὐτός] καί is the usual and after ἐγένετο, and αὐτός brings Jesus Himself into prominence above the company of travellers (αὐτούς). He, on His part, without the disciples, went into the village and abode at the house of Martha.

The notion that Martha was the wife (Bleek, Hengstenberg) or widow (Paulus) of Simon the leper, is based upon mistaken harmonistics. See on Luke 7:36 ff. and Matthew 26:6 f. Whether she was a widow at all (Grotius) does not appear. She was the housekeeper and manager of the household, and probably the elder sister.

And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
Luke 10:39-40. Τῇδε] This word usually refers to what follows, but here in a vividly realizing manner it points to what has gone before, as sometimes also occurs in the classical writers. See Bernhardy, p. 278; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 2. 3, iii. 3. 12.

ἣ καί] καί is not: even (Bornemann), which would have no reference to explain it in the context; but: moreover, bringing into prominence the fact that Mary, besides whatever else she did in her mind after the coming of Jesus, moreover seated herself at His feet, etc. See Klotz, ad Devar. p. 636.

The form παρακαθεσθεῖσα] (see the critical remarks), from παρακαθέζομαι, to sit down near to, belongs to later Greek. Joseph. Antt. vi. 11. 9.

Mary sits there as a learner (Acts 22:3), not as a companion at table (at the right of Jesus, where His outstretched feet were), as Paulus and Kuinoel will have it (women sat at table; see Wetstein in loc). For the text as yet says nothing of the meal, but only of the hospitable reception in general (Luke 10:38), and, moreover, Luke 10:40 alludes generally to the attendance on and entertainment of the honoured and beloved Guest, wherein Martha was exhausting her hospitality. There is no trace of any reclining at table; the context in κ. ἤκουε τ. λόγ. αὐτ. points only to the idea of the female disciple.

περισπᾶσθαι, in the sense of the being withdrawn from attention and solicitude by reason of occupations, belongs to later Greek. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 415. Comp. Plut. Mor. p. 517 C: περισπασμὸς κ. μεθολκὴ τῆς πολυπραγμοσύνης. The expression περί τι, about something, connected with verbs of being busied, of taking trouble, and the like, is also very frequent in Greek writers.

κατέλιπε] reliquit; she had therefore gone away from what she was doing, and had placed herself at the feet of Jesus.

ἵνα] therefore speak to her in order that. Comp. on Matthew 4:3.

As to συναντιλαμβάνεσθαί τινι, to give a hand with anybody, i.e. to help anybody, comp. on Romans 8:26.

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
Luke 10:41-42. Περὶ πολλά] Thou art anxious, and weariest thyself (art in the confusion of business) about many things, see Luke 10:40. On τυρβάζεσθαι περί τι, comp. Aristoph. Ran. 1007.

ἑνὸς δέ ἐστι χρεία] A contrast with πολλά: but of one thing there is need; one thing is necessary, that is to say, as an object of care and trouble. By these words Jesus, in accordance with the context, can mean nothing else than that from which Martha had withdrawn, while Mary was bestowing pains upon it—the undivided devotion to His word for the sake of salvation, although in tenderness He abstains from mentioning it by name, but leaves the reference of the expression, in itself only general, to be first discovered from the words which follow. In respect of the neuter ἑνός nothing is to be supplemented any more than there is in respect of πολλά. Following Gregory, Bede, Theophylact, Zeger, Michaelis, and others (comp. Erasmus in the Annotations), Paulus understands: one dish, “we need not many kinds,” and τὴν ἀγαθὴν μερίδα is then taken as meaning the really good portion,[139] which figuratively represents the participation in communion with Jesus. The former, especially after the impressive Μάρθα, Μάρθα, would have been just as trivial and out of harmony with the serious manner of Jesus as the latter would have been discourteous to the well-intentioned hostess. Nachtigall also mistakes (in Henke’s Magaz. VI. p. 355), and Stolz agrees with him in interpreting: one person is enough (in the kitchen), in opposition to which the contrast of πολλά is decisive, seeing that according to it ἑνός must be neuter.

τὴν ἀγαθὴν μερίδα] the good part. That, namely, about which care and pains are taken, consists, according to the various kinds of these objects, of several parts. Mary has selected for herself among these, for her care and pains, the good part; and this is, in accordance with the subject, nothing else than precisely that ἕν which is necessary—that portion of the objects of solicitude and labour which is the good one, the good portion, which only one can be. More vaguely Grotius, Elsner, Kypke, Kuinoel, and others put it: the good occupation; and de Wette, generalizing this: the good destination of life. Comp. also Euthymius Zigabenus: δύο μερίδες πολιτείας ἐπαινεταὶ, ἡ μὲν πρακτική, ἡ δὲ θεωρητική.

τὴν ἀγαθήν] neither means optimam (Kuinoel and others), nor does it imply that the care of Martha, in which assuredly love also was expressed, was mala (Fritzsche, Conject. I. p. 19); but it designates the portion as the good one κατʼ ἐξοχήν.

ἥτις οὐκ ἀφαιρ. ἀπʼ αὐτ.] refers certainly, first of all, to Martha’s appeal, Luke 10:40. Hence it means: which shall not be taken away from her; she shall keep it, Mark 4:25, whereby, however, Jesus at the same time, in thoughtful reference to further issues, points, in His characteristically significant manner, to the everlasting possession of this μερίς. By ἥτις, which is not equivalent to , what follows is described as belonging to the essence of the ἀγαθὴ μερίς: quippe quae. “Transit amor multitudinis et remanet caritas unitatis,” Augustine.

Those who have found in Mary’s devotion the representation of the Pauline πίστις, and in the nature of Martha that of zeal for the law, so that the evangelist is made to describe the party relations of his own day (Baur, Zeller, Schwegler, Hilgenfeld), have, by a coup quite as unjustifiable as it was clumsy, transferred this relic of the home life of Jesus into the foreign region of allegory, where it would only inaptly idealize the party relations of the later period.

[139] Comp. the form of speech, πρὸς μερίδας δειπνεῖν, to dine in portions, and sea examples in Wetstein.

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's NT Commentary

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