Luke 18:13
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

King James Bible
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.

Darby Bible Translation
And the tax-gatherer, standing afar off, would not lift up even his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, O God, have compassion on me, the sinner.

World English Bible
But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn't even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'

Young's Literal Translation
'And the tax-gatherer, having stood afar off, would not even the eyes lift up to the heaven, but was smiting on his breast, saying, God be propitious to me -- the sinner!

Luke 18:13 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

The publican, standing afar off - Not because he was a heathen, and dared not approach the holy place; (for it is likely he was a Jew); but because he was a true penitent, and felt himself utterly unworthy to appear before God.

Would not lift up - his eyes - Holding down the head, with the eyes fixed upon the earth, was,

1. A sign of deep distress.

2. Of a consciousness and confession of guilt. And,

3. It was the very posture that the Jewish rabbins required in those who prayed to God.

See Ezra 9:6; and Mishna, in Berachoth, chap. v.; and Kypke's note here. So the Pharisee appears to have forgotten one of his own precepts.

But smote upon his breast - Smiting the breast was a token of excessive grief, commonly practised in all nations. It seems to intimate a desire, in the penitent, to punish that heart through the evil propensities of which the sin deplored had been committed. It is still used among the Roman Catholics in their general confessions.

God be merciful to me - Ἱλασθητι μοι - Be propitious toward me through sacrifice - or, let an atonement be made for me. I am a sinner, and cannot be saved but in this way. The Greek word ἱλασκω, or ἱλασκομαι, often signifies to make expiation for sin; and is used by the Septuagint, Psalm 65:4; Psalm 78:38; Psalm 79:9, for כפר kipper, he made an atonement. So ἱλασμος a propitiation, is used by the same, for חטאה chataah, a sacrifice for sin, Ezekiel 44:27; and ἱλαστηριον, the mercy seat, is, in the above version, the translation of כפרת kapporeth, the lid of the ark of the covenant, on and before which the blood of the expiatory victim was sprinkled, on the great day of atonement. The verb is used in exactly the same sense by the best Greek writers. The following from Herodotus, lib. i. p. 19, edit. Gale, is full in point. Θυσιῃσι μεγαλῃσι τον εν Δελφοισι θεον ἹΛΑΣΚΕΤΟ, Croesus appeased, or made an atonement to, the Delphic god by immense sacrifices. We see then, at once, the reason why our blessed Lord said that the tax-gatherer went down to his house justified rather than the other: - he sought for mercy through an atonement for sin, which was the only way in which God had from the beginning purposed to save sinners. As the Pharisee depended on his doing no harm, and observing the ordinances of religion for his acceptance with God, according to the economy of grace and justice, he must be rejected: for as all had sinned and come short of the glory of God, and no man could make an atonement for his sins, so he who did not take refuge in that which God's mercy had provided must be excluded from the kingdom of heaven. This was no new doctrine: it was the doctrine publicly and solemnly preached by every sacrifice offered under the Jewish law. Without shedding of blood there is no remission, was the loud and constant cry of the whole Mosaic economy. From this we may see what it is to have a righteousness superior to that of the scribes and Pharisees. We must humble ourselves before God, which they did not: we must take refuge in the blood of the cross, which they would not; and be meek and humble of heart, which they were not.

Many suppose that the Pharisees thought they could acquire righteousness of themselves, independently of God, and that they did not depend on him for grace or power: but let us not make them worse than they were - for this is disclaimed by the Pharisee in the text, who attributes all the good he had to God: O God, I thank thee, that I am not as others - it is thou who hast made me to differ. But this was not sufficient: restraining grace must not be put in the place of the great atonement. Guilt he had contracted - and this guilt must be blotted out; and that there was no way of doing this, but through an atonement, the whole Jewish law declared. See the note on Matthew 5:20.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

Luke 7:6,7 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, Lord...

Luke 17:12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

Ezra 9:6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to you, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head...

Job 42:6 Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Psalm 40:12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: my iniquities have taken hold on me, so that I am not able to look up...

Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the middle of a people of unclean lips...

Ezekiel 16:63 That you may remember, and be confounded, and never open your mouth any more because of your shame...

Daniel 9:7-9 O LORD, righteousness belongs to you, but to us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah...

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers...


Luke 23:48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

Jeremiah 31:18,19 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; You have chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke...

2 Corinthians 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that you sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it worked in you, yes...


Psalm 25:7,11 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to your mercy remember you me for your goodness' sake, O LORD...

Psalm 41:4 I said, LORD, be merciful to me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against you.

Psalm 51:1-3 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving kindness...

Psalm 86:15,16 But you, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth...

Psalm 119:41 Let your mercies come also to me, O LORD, even your salvation, according to your word.

Psalm 130:3,4,7 If you, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand...

Daniel 9:5,9-11 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled...

Daniel 9:18,19 O my God, incline your ear, and hear; open your eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by your name...

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

a sinner.

Luke 15:18-21 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you...

Luke 23:40-43 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Do not you fear God, seeing you are in the same condemnation...

2 Chronicles 33:12,13,19,23 And when he was in affliction, he sought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers...

Psalm 106:6 We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow...

Isaiah 64:5,6 You meet him that rejoices and works righteousness, those that remember you in your ways: behold, you are wroth; for we have sinned...

Matthew 9:13 But go you and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous...

Romans 5:8,20,21 But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us...

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us...

June 7 Morning
Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.--LUKE 18:1. Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

July 14. "Men Ought Always to Pray" (Luke xviii. 1).
"Men ought always to pray" (Luke xviii. 1). Let this be a day of prayer. Let us see that our highest ministry and power is to deal with God for men. Let us be obedient to all the Holy Spirit's voices of prayer in us. Let us count every pressure a call to prayer. Let us cherish the spirit of unceasing prayer and abiding communion. Let us learn the meaning of the ministry of prayer. Let us reach persons this day we cannot reach in person; let us expect results that we have never dared to claim before;
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Charity of God
(Quinquagesima Sunday.) LUKE xviii. 31, 32, 33. All things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 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. This is a solemn text, a solemn Gospel; but it is not its solemnity which I wish to speak of this morning, but this--What has it to do with the Epistle, and with
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

Tit. 2:06 Thoughts for Young Men
WHEN St. Paul wrote his Epistle to Titus about his duty as a minister, he mentioned young men as a class requiring peculiar attention. After speaking of aged men and aged women, and young women, he adds this pithy advice, "Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded" (Tit. 2:6). I am going to follow the Apostle's advice. I propose to offer a few words of friendly exhortation to young men. I am growing old myself, but there are few things I remember so well as the days of my youth. I have a most
John Charles Ryle—The Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times

Cross References
2 Samuel 12:13
Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.

Ezra 9:6
and prayed: "I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.

Isaiah 66:2
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.

Jeremiah 31:19
After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'

Matthew 6:5
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Matthew 10:3
Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

Mark 11:25
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

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