Luke 12
Vincent's Word Studies
In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
An innumerable multitude (τῶν μυριάδων τοῦ ὄχλου)

The word μυρίας strictly means a number of ten thousand. It is our word myriad. Hence, generally, of any countless number.

First of all

Many connect this with what follows: "first of all beware," etc.


See on Matthew 13:33.

Which (ἥτις)

Classifying the leaven: which belongs to the category of hypocrisy.


See on hypocrites, Matthew 23:13.

For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
Covered up (συγκεκαλυμμένον)

Only here in New Testament: implying close concealment.

Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
Closets (ταμείοις)

The word has the same root as: τέμνω, to cut or divide, and means an apartment where supplies are divided and apportioned: a treasury, magazine, and therefore a secret and well-guarded place. There the steward (ταμίας), the distributor, has his seat.


See on Matthew 24:17.

And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
Unto you, my friends (ὑμῖν τοῖς φίλοις μου)

See on Pharisees and lawyers, Luke 11:43, Luke 11:46. Not an address, "O my friends," but, "unto you, the friends of me."

Be not afraid of (μὴ φοβηθῆτε ἀπὸ)

Lit., "fear not from;" i.e., from the hands of.

But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
I will forewarn (ὑποδείξω)

Rev., warn. See on warned, Luke 3:7.


See on Matthew 5:22.

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?

See on Matthew 10:29.


See on Matthew 10:29.

But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Confess me

Lit., "confess in me." See on Matthew 10:32.

Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
A word (λόγον)

Distinguished from blaspheme, which follows. A word against the poor and humble Son of Man might, as Godet observes, have proceeded from a sincerely pious Jew, under the influence of his early education, which taught him to regard Jesus as an enthusiast or even as an impostor. The sin of the Jews was in rejecting and resisting the power of the Spirit of Pentecost. Pardon was offered them there for the sin of crucifying the Lord (see Acts 2:38-40, and compare Acts 3:17-19).

And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
Answer (ἀπολογήσησθε)

See on 1 Peter 3:15.

For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.
And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
Made (κατέστησεν)

Appointed or constituted.

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Beware of (φυλάσσεσθε ἀπὸ)

Lit., guard yourselves from.

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
Bestow (συνάξω)

Lit., gather together.

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
Fruits (γενήματα)

Some texts, however, read τὸν σῖτον, my corn. So Rev.

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
Soul (ψυχή)

See on Mark 12:30.

Take thine ease

See on Matthew 11:28.

But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
Fool (ἄφρων)

Senseless. In Xenophon's "Memorabilia," Socrates, addressing Aristodemus, says, "Which do you take to be the more worthy of admiration, those who make images without sense (ἀφρονά) or motion, or those who make intelligent and active creations?" (1, iv., 4). Sometimes, also, in the sense of crazed, frantic, but never in New Testament.

Is required (ἀπαιτοῦσιν)

Lit., they require; i.e., the messengers of God. The indefiniteness is impressive.

Whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?

The Greek order puts that first which was uppermost in the rich man's thought - his accumulations: "and the things which thou hast provided (Rev., prepared), whose shall they be?" God does not say, "the things which thou hast or possessest." The whole question of the tenure of his property is opened for the rich man. He had said my fruits and my goods. Now his proprietorship is ignored. They are not his. Whose shall they be? He is to be dispossessed at once. Plato relates how Pluto complained to Zeus that the souls of the dead found their way to the wrong places, because the judged have their clothes on, and evil souls are clothed in fair bodies, so that the judges, who also have their clothes on and their souls veiled by their mortal part, are deceived. Zeus replies: "In the first place, I will deprive men of the foreknowledge of death which they now have. In the second place, they shall be entirely stripped before they are judged, for they shall be judged when they are dead; and the judge, too, shall be naked; that is to say, dead. He, with his naked soul, shall pierce into the other naked soul, and they shall die suddenly and be deprived of all their kindred, and leave their brave attire strewn upon the earth" ("Gorgias," 523).

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
Take no thought

See on Matthew 6:25.

The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

See on Matthew 7:3.

Storehouse (ταμεῖον)

See on Luke 12:3.

And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
Stature (ἡλικίαν)

The original meaning of the word is time of life, age. So, commonly, in classical Greek. See, also, John 9:21, John 9:23; Hebrews 11:11. The other meaning, stature, also occurs. Herodotus speaks of one who was of the same height (ἡλικιήν) with another (3:16). But both the usage and the connection are in favor of the meaning age. A measure of time is sometimes represented by a measure of length, as in Psalm 39:5; but, most of all, the addition of a cubit (a foot and a half) to one's stature would not be a small one, as the text implies (that which is least), but a very large one. Moreover, Christ is speaking of food and clothing, the object of which is to foster and prolong life. Rev., age, in margin.

If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
How they grow

Some texts omit they grow, and read how they toil not, etc.

Toil - spin (κοπιᾷ - νήθει)

Some read, instead of toil, ὑφαίνει weave.

If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Which is to-day in the field

Construe in the field with the grass; and render is absolutely: exists, lives. So Rev., the grass in the field which to-day is.

Oven (κλίβανον)

Strictly, a covered earthen vessel, wider at bottom than at top, in which bread was baked by putting hot embers round it. The regular oven or furnace is ἰπνός. Herodotus, speaking of the papyrus-plant (byblus), the lower portion of which is used for food, says, "Such as wish to enjoy the by-blue in full perfection, bake it first in a closed vessel (ἐν κλιβάνῳ), heated to a glow" (ii., 92).

And seek not what ye, etc

Ye is emphatic: "and ye, seek not what," etc.

And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
Be ye of doubtful mind (μετεωρίζεσθε)

Only here in New Testament. The verb primarily means to raise to a height; buoy up, as with false hopes; and so to unsettle, or excite, or keep in fluctuation. Thus Thucydides says of the war between Athens and Sparta: "All Hellas was excited (μετέωρος) by the coming conflict between the two chief cities" (ii., 8).

For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
Bags (βαλλάντια)

From βάλλω, to throw. Something into which money and other things are cast. Rev., purses. See on Luke 10:4 :. Wyc., satchels.


Compare James 5:2.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
Shall return (ἀναλύσῃ)

The verb means, originally, to unloose: so of vessels, to unloose their moorings and go to sea. Of departing generally. This is its sense in the only other passage where it occurs, Philippians 1:23, "having a desire to depart, or break up; the metaphor being drawn from breaking up an encampment." Compare departure (ἀναλύσεως), 2 Timothy 4:6. The rendering return is a kind of inference from this: when he shall leave the wedding and return.

Wedding (τῶν γάμων)

Properly, the marriage-feast. See on Matthew 22:2.

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

See on Mark 13:35.

Gird himself

As a servant girding up his loose garments to wait on the table.


See on minister, Matthew 20:26.

And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
Second watch

See on Mark 13:35.

And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
What hour (ποίᾳ ὥρᾳ)

See on Matthew 24:42.

Would come

Lit., cometh. See on Matthew 24:43.

Broken through

See on Matthew 6:19.

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
That faithful and wise steward

Lit., that faithful steward, the wise man.

Household (θεραπείας)

From its original meaning of waiting on, attendance (Luke 9:11), it comes to mean the retinue of attendants; the body of household servants.

Portion of meat (σιτομέτριον)

Lit., measure of food.

In due season

At the appointed time for distributing rations. See on Matthew 24:45.

Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

The emphatic word, since the thought of the lord's delay and of the postponement of the reckoning is uppermost in the servant's thought.

The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
Unbelievers (ἀπίστων)

Much better as Rev., the unfaithful; for it is of fidelity, not of faith, that Christ is speaking. Wyc., unfaithful men.

And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

See on Luke 10:30.


See on set before, Luke 9:16.

I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

A spiritual impulse which shall result in the divisions described in the following verses.

But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
Am Istraitened

See on Luke 4:38, and compare 2 Corinthians 5:14; Philippians 1:23. Wyc., constrained.

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
The father shall be divided, etc

But the verb is in the plural. Rightly, as Rev., "They shall be divided, the father against the son," etc.


See on Matthew 10:35.

And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
A cloud

With the definite article, the cloud, which you so often see.

There cometh a shower

Or, a shower is coming. See on James 5:7.

It is (γίνεται)

Better, as Rev., it cometh to pass.

And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
Heat (καύσων)

See on James 1:11; and Matthew 20:12.

Discern (δοκιμάζειν)

See on trial and tried, 1 Peter 1:7. It means here test or prove. You can test and prove the weather by your signs; but you cannot apply the proof which lies in the signs of the times. Rev., interpret, gives the idea. Wyc., prove.

Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
Of yourselves

In the exercise of your ordinary habits of observation which you apply to the heavens.

When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.
When thou goest (ὡς γὰρ ὑπάγεις)

The A. V. does not translate γὰρ, for. Rev., correctly, for as thou art going. Their own judgment should show them the necessity of repentance toward God; and this duty is urged under the figure of a debtor who meets his creditor in the way, and whose best policy it is to make terms on the spot.

As thou art in the way

Emphatic, standing first in the Greek order: "On the way give diligence."

Hale (κατασύρῃ)

Drag. Compare haul. Only here in New Testament.

Officer (κράκτορι)

From πράσσω, to effect or accomplish ; to bring things to an issue, and hence to exact. The name praktor was given at Athens to an officer charged with the collection of taxes; hence an exactor, as Rev., in margin. Only here in New Testament.

Mite (λεπτὸν)

See on Mark 12:42.

I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.
Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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