Luke 18
Vincent's Word Studies
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
To the end that men ought (πρὸς τὸ δεῖν)

Lit., with reference to its being necessary always to pray, etc.

Faint (ἐγκακεῖν)

To turn coward or lose heart.

Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
Regarded (ἐντρεπόμενος)

See on Matthew 21:37.

And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
Avenge (ἐκδικησον)

The word is too strong. It means do me justice. See on Romans 12:19.

And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
Lest by her continual coming she weary me (ἵνα μὴ εἰς τέλος ἐρχομένη ὑπωπιάζῃ με)

Εἰς τέλος, lit., unto the end, may mean continually; but weary or wear out for ὑπωπιάζῃ is more than doubtful. That word is from ὑπώπιον, the part of the face under the eyes, and means to strike under the eye; to give one a black eye. It is used only once again, by Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:27, and in its literal sense: "I buffet my body;" treat it as the boxer does his adversary. The more literal sense of this word, and of εἰς τέλος, in the end, or finally, give a sound and much livelier meaning here. "Lest at last she come and assault me." So Goebel and Meyer, and so Wyc., "Lest at the last she, coming, strangle me;" and Tynd., "Lest at the last she come and rail on me." The judge fears lest importunity may culminate in personal violence. Perhaps, also, as Goebel suggests, he intentionally exaggerates his fear.

And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
The unjust judge

Lit., the judge of injustice. See on Luke 16:8.

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
And shall not God

The emphasis is on God. In the Greek order, "and God, shall he not," etc.

Though he bear long with them

A very difficult passage, and interpretations vary greatly.

(1.) The verb μακροθυμέω means to be long-suffering, or to endure patiently. Such is its usual rendering in the New Testament.

(2.) Them (αὐτοῖς) refers not to the persecutors of God's elect, but to the elect themselves. The Rev. cuts the knot by the most literal of renderings: "and he is long-suffering over (ἐπι) them."

(3.) The secondary meaning of restraining or delaying may fairly be deduced from the verb, and explained either (a) of delaying punishment, or (b) of delaying sympathy or help.

The Am. Rev. adopts the former, and throws the sentence into the form of a question: "And is he slow to punish on their behalf" ( ἐπ' αὐτοῖς) ? I venture to suggest the following: Καὶ not infrequently has the sense of yet, or and yet. So Euripides' "Thou art Jove-born, and yet (καὶ) thy utterance is unjust "("Helena," 1147). Aristophanes: "O crown, depart, and joy go with thee: yet (καὶ) I part from thee unwillingly" ("Knights," 1249). So John 9:30 : "Ye know not from whence he is, and yet (καὶ) he hath opened my eyes." John 16:32 : "Ye shall leave me alone, and yet (καὶ) I am not alone," etc. Render, then, "Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry unto him day and night; yet he delayeth help on their behalf," even as the unjust judge delayed to avenge the widow? Surely he will, and that ere long. This rendering, instead of contrasting God with the judge, carries out the parallel. The judge delays through indifference. God delays also, or seems to delay, in order to try his children's faith, or because his purpose is not ripe; but he, too, will do justice to the suppliant. Tynd., Yea, though he defer them.

"He hides himself so wondrously,

As though there were no God;

He is least seen when all the powers

Of ill are most abroad.

O there is less to try our faith,

In our mysterious creed,

Than in the godless look of earth

In these our hours of need.

It is not so, but so it looks;

And we lose courage then;

And doubts will come if God hath kept

His promises to men."


I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Notwithstanding God is certain to vindicate, will the Son of man find on earth a persistence in faith answering to the widow's

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Despised (ἐξουθενοῦντας)

Lit., made nothing of. Rev., set at nought.

Others (τοὺς λοιποὺς)

The expression is stronger. Lit., the rest. They threw all others beside themselves into one class. Rev., correctly, all others.

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The other (ἕτερος)

With an implication of his being a different man. See on Matthew 6:24.


See on Luke 3:12.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Stood (σταθεὶς)

Lit., having been placed. Took his stand. It implies taking up his position ostentatiously; striking an attitude. But not necessarily in a bad sense. See on Luke 19:8; and compare Acts 5:20. Standing was the ordinary posture of the Jews in prayer. Compare Matthew 6:5; Mark 11:25.

Prayed (προσηύχετο)

Imperfect: began to pray, or proceeded to pray.

Other men (οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων)

Lit., the rest of men. See on Luke 18:9. A Jewish saying is quoted that s true Rabbin ought to thank God every day of his life; 1, that he was not created a Gentile; 2, that he was not a plebeian; 3, that he was not born a woman.


As the publicans.

This publican

Lit., this (one), the publican. This publican here. "He lets us see, even in the general enumeration, that he is thinking of the publican, so, afterward, he does not omit directly to mention him" (Goebel).

I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Twice in the week

The law required only one fast in the year, that on the great day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29; Numbers 29:7); though public memorial fasts were added, during the Captivity, on the anniversaries of national calamities. The Pharisees fasted every Monday and Thursday during the weeks between the Passover and Pentecost, and again between the Feast of Tabernacles and that of the Dedication of the Temple.

I give tithes (ἀποδεκατῶ)

See on Matthew 23:23.

Possess (κτῶμαι)

Wrong. The Israelite did not pay tithes of his possessions, but only of his gains - his annual increase. See Genesis 28:22; Deuteronomy 14:22. Besides, the verb, in the present tense, does not mean to possess, but to acquire; the meaning possess being confined to the perfect and pluperfect. Rev., get. Compare Matthew 10:9 (Rev.); Acts 22:28; Luke 21:19 (on which see note); 1 Thessalonians 4:4 (Rev.).

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Standing (ἑστὼς)

In a timid attitude: merely standing not posturing as the Pharisee. See on Luke 18:11.

Afar off.

Some explain, from the sanctuary; others, from the Pharisee.

Lift up his eyes

As worshippers ordinarily.

Be merciful (ἱλάσθητι)

Lit., be propitiated.

A sinner (τῷ ἁμαρτωλῷ)

With the definite article, "the sinner." "He thinks about no other man" (Bengel).

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
Infants (τὰ βρέφη)

See on 1 Peter 2:2.


So Mark. Matthew has lay his hands on them and pray.

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

See on Matthew 19:14. Only Mark notes the taking in his arms.

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Peculiar to Luke.

And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
Why callest thou me good?

See on Matthew 19:17.

Do not commit adultery, etc

Compare the different arrangement of the commandments by the three synoptists.

And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
Yet lackest thou one thing (ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει)

Lit., still one thing is lacking to thee. Mark alone adds that Jesus, looking upon him, loved him.

Come (δεῦρο)

Lit., hither.

And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
He was very sorrowful

Rev., more correctly renders ἐγενήθη, he became. See on Mark 10:22.

Very rich.

The Greek order forms a climax: "rich exceedingly"

And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

See on Matthew 19:24.

To go through the eye of a needle (διὰ τρήματος βελόνης εἰσελθεῖν)

Rev., more literally, to enter in through a needle's eye. Both Matthew and Mark use another word for needle (ῥαφίς); see on Mark 10:25. Luke alone has βελόνη, which, besides being an older term, is the peculiar word for the surgical needle. The other word is condemned by the Greek grammarians as barbarous.

And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
All (πάντα).

The best texts read τὰ ἴδια, our own. So Rev.

And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake,
Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.
By the prophets (διά)

Lit., through; the preposition expressing secondary agency.

For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:
And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.
Saying (ῥῆμα)

See on Luke 1:37.

Were said (λεγόμενα)

Or, more correctly, which were being said to them at the moment.

And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
Cried (ἔκραζεν)

A stronger word than ἐβόησεν, cried, in the previous verse, which is merely to cry or shout, while this is to cry clamorously; to scream or shriek. Compare Matthew 15:23; Mark 5:5; Acts 19:28-34.

To be brought unto (ἀχθῆναι πρὸς)

Used by Luke alone in the sense of bringing the sick to Christ. He also uses the compound verb προσάγω, which was a common medical term for bringing the sick to a physician, both in that and in other senses. See Luke 9:41; Acts 16:20; Acts 27:27.

And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.
Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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