Skip to main content

Full text of "Notes on the Gospel of Luke, explanatory and practical. A popular commentary upon a critical basis, especially designed for pastors and Sunday- schools"

See other formats

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of Toronto 

ill the 




Scale of Miles. 




m Acie 


lazvv ' ( 


CtLViaj I 


^ ^.^^ '^ ?^ Nazal eflv 


-- --i:'^ 1-^ _ _ V. , ^ 

itabftrtri /< 





Ai imatliL I i 


4 Ci 




Imjt\aas ^. 


JL Jl 


F E 

. '■ho} on. !^j^-^ 



iTclta— <' 


3 ^ Ulhanv 

^^ ^ ' -it"+ 1 

^\ Bcthlchenv ^ 

»^ *]TeTn 01V- <i 
5^ " " « Carmel^ f§{ 

Jilnsaatt (f 




[ 5 ^»*^ 


Hir Morth 




4^ ♦ I hvasct 

I rUettd 












*'A N«w Haxkokt of thk Gospels," "Notes on Matthew," "Notes on Mask," En. 







Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1876, by the 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at "Washington. 

Westcott k Thohsoit, 
Stereotypers and Ekctroiypers, Philada. 


The importance of the study of Luke's Gospel is seen in the fact that it ia 
eminently historic, universal, and individual. In many particulars it is the 
most complete in details of any of the Gospels. And even where it runs par- 
allel with the other narratives, the writer betrays his own individuality ; so 
that a commentary on the other Gospels, however exhaustive, cannot suffice for 
one on Luke. An attempt is therefore made in this volume to give notes on 
this Gospel complete in themselves and independent of notes on Matthew 
and Mark. At the same time, the chronology and harmony of the Gospels 
are kept in view, and thus, too, the independence of Luke is the more clearly 
seen while catching glimpses of the four sides of the sacred narrative. 

The aim has been to give a popular commentary on a critical basis adapted 
to Sunday-schools, teachers and scholars, Bible classes and families, and 
many pastors and preachers. Difficult passages have received attention, and 
no point on which a commonly intelligent Sunday-school teacher might wish 
light has been intentionally passed over. The latest results of exegetical and 
textual criticism and of recent discovery have been sought and incorporated 
in the notes. 

The execution of this plan for aiding students of the English Scriptures in 
studying the life of Christ as presented by Luke has necessitated similarity 
of comment where thought and expression are similar to those in the other 
Gospels, yet variety has been sought and an independence maintained. This 
is believed to be a less evil than the troublesome practice of referring to other 
volumes for what would be after all but an imperfect exposition of the sacred 

Attention is called to the suggestions at the end of each chapter, which are 
confirmed by references from other portions of Scripture. Almost every verse 
is thus remarked upon, the whole forming by itself a brief practical and doc- 



trinal commentary on the Gospel. This is designed to aid the teachers in en- 
forcing Sunday-school lessons, and pastors in expository preaching and week- 
day evening lectures. 

The division of chapters into verses, first introduced into the English Bible 
by tRe German version (A. D. 1560), often interferes with the connection of 
thought and impedes a quick and intelligent view of many passages. The 
paragraph form is therefore adopted, and to aid the eye and facilitate study 
subjects have been placed at the head of principal paragraphs or divisions. 

Many teachers and advanced scholars prefer to explain Scripture by Scrip- 
ture. Carefully-selected references have therefore been placed in the margin 
of the text. These, in connection with those given in the notes and 'remarks, 
are believed to constitute this the most complete reference-Luke published. 

In preparing this work the author has called to his aid all the helps within 
his. reach, the earlier and later critical and popular commentaries, harmonies 
of the Gospels, books of travels, histories of the Church and of doctrines, trea- 
tises on the life of Christ, and grammatical authorities on the New Testa- 
ment. His thanks are specially due to Professor George R. Bliss, D. D., Pro- 
fessor H. Harvey, D.D., Rev. J. F. Brown, D.D., Rev. H. F. Smith, D.D., 
and Rev. Geo. W. Anderson, D. D., for assistance gratefully acknowledged 
without which the work could have scarcely been completed, from the tem- 
porary failure of the author's health. The Introduction was kindly furnished 
by Professor T. J. Conant, D. D. 

The favorable reception given to his previous works has encouraged the 
author to persevere in this, and also to comp^ ete the series by similar notei 
on John. 

SOMEBVILLE, N. J., June, 1876. 


For general observations on all the four Gospels, the reader is referred to 
the author's Introduction to his commentary on the Gospel by Matthew, pp. 
v.-viii., and his harmony of the Gospels, pp. 232-3. On the order of the 
four Gospels and on the place of Luke's Gospel in the series, see the intro- 
ductory remarks to the author's commentary on the Gospel by Mark, p. v. 


It is the uniform testimony of antiquity that the third Gospel was written 
by Luke, the companion of Paul's travels and his fellow-laborer in the min- 
istry. This testimony dates from a period less remote than the limit of 
human life from the age of those who were conversant with the apostles. 
Irenaeus (born early in the second quarter of the second century) was the 
pupil of Polycarp, who learned the teachings of our Lord from the apostle 
John and others, his hearers and eye-witnesses of his miracles. He ascribes 
this Gospel to Luke, the companion of Paul {Adv. Hceres. iii. 1). It is certi- 
fied also by Tertullian (born A. D. 160), who distinguishes John and Matthew 
as apostles and Luke and Mark as apostolic (Adv. Marcion, iv. 2). The Mu- 
ratorian canon (about A. D. 170), in the part still extant, names Luke, the phy- 
sician and associate of Paul, as the writer of the third Gospel. To these may 
be added later witnesses, Origen (born A. D. 185), Eusebius (born about A. D. 
270), Jerome (born A. D. 331). No counter-testimony or expression of doubt 
has come down to us, and all attempts of the modern destructive school of 
criticism to discredit this testimony from internal and other grounds have 
signally failed. 


What is certainly known of the personal history of the writer of the third 
Gospel is found in the Acts of the Apostles and in Paul's Epistles. He first 
appears in history as a companion of Paul, whom he joined at Troas (Acts 16 : 
10, 11), on his second missionary tour, recorded in Acts 15 : 36-18 : 22. From 
that city he accompanied Paul in his voyage to Philippi (vs. 11, 12), and there 
remained with him (vs. 12, 13, and 15-17) till he departed thence, but did not 
proceed with him on his journey. In these passages the writer (whom we 
here assume to be Luke) speaks in the first person, as being himself one of the 



company. But in ch. 17 : 1, where he resumes the narrative of Paul's jour* 
ney, he again speaks in the third person, as not being in the-party, as he had 
previously done in ch. 16 : 4 and 6-8 before his connection with it. The 
change of person in the narrative can be accounted for on no other reasonable 

He again appears in history as the companion of Paul's voyage from Phil- 
ippi (Acts 20 : 6) on his return to Asia, and of his travels from place to place 
(ch. 20 : 13-15 ; 21 : 1-18), spending a week among the disciples at Tyre, and 
a longer time ("many days") with those at Csesarea as guests of Philip the 
evangelist, and thence to Jerusalem, accompanied by disciples of Csesarea, to 
which place Paul was sent back after a few days (seven at most), and remained 
there a prisoner two years. After the two years Luke was again the compan- 
ion of Paul in his voyage to Rome, Acts 27 : 1, etc. ; 28 : 2, 11-16. 

In these narratives Luke says nothing of himself except as the companion 
of Paul's missionary journeys and of his voyage to Rome, a prisoner awaiting 
trial. But as the chosen companion of the apostle's travels in the preaching 
of the gospel, and his "fellow-laborer" in it during his imprisonment at Rome 
(Phil. 24), Luke has left us an unobtrusive testimony to his own zealous devo- 
tion to the work of evangelization. It may fairly be inferred that during the 
intervals, in which he disappears from the record of Paul's labors, he was ac- 
tively engaged as a preacher or a writer in work pertaining to the immediate 
or the prospective spread of gospel truth. 

From these historical data, and allusions in Paul's Epistles — " Luke the be- 
loved physician" (Col. 4 : 14), "only Luke is with me" (2 Tim. 4 : 11), and 
Phil. 24, where Lucas (properly Luke) is named among his "fellow-laborers" — 
a partial outline of his life has been traced conjecturally, but with every ap- 
pearance of probability. From Col. 4 : 14, compared with v. 11, it has been 
inferred that he was not "of the circumcision." That he was a Gentile and a 
freedman has been inferred from his name Lucas, an abbreviation of Lucanus, 
characteristic of a servile condition, and from his profession, mostly confined 
to that social state among the Romans. But the former is of little weight, 
and the latter does not accord with his probable nationality if, as is most 
likely, he was a citizen of Syria (of Antioch, according to Eusebius) or of 
Asia Minor, where that profession was held in high repute. As physicians 
of those times were distinguished for their scientific attainments, his profes- 
sion accounts for the evidences of high mental culture everywhere observable 
in his writings. Of his conversion we have no record. It is supposed that 
before he joined Paul on his second missionary tour at Troas (Acts 16 : 10), 
he was already a convert to the Christian faith and a laborer in its propaga- 
tion. This is naturally inferred from the absence of any intimation that he 
was then first taught the knowledge of Christ, and from the significant expres- 
eion, "had called us to preach the gospel unto them," since he there takes hia 
place among the apostle's followers and fellow-laborers without explanation, 


as a matter of course, and identifies himself with them and their work. A3 
he journeyed with the apostle to Philippi and was with him there (vs. 12, 13, 
and 15-17), but did not accompany him when departing thence (17 : 1), and 
joined him again at Philippi (20 : 6) when returning into Asia, it is supposed 
that the intervening seven years may have been spent in unrecorded mission- 
ary labors (for Luke narrates those of Paul and not his own) in Philippi and 
the neighboring region, or in gathering materials for the two great labors of 
his life, the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. The latest authentic infor- 
mation is from the apostle's own hand, "only Luke is with me" (2 Tim, 4 : 
11); and this our last impression of him is of one faithful among the faithless, 
when to be faithful to the truth and its defender was to face with him the 
martyr's doom. 

After this authentic and satisfactory record of a life so full of activity in 
the cause of Christian truth, it is needless, as it would be useless, to attempt 
to trace it further in the scanty and eonfiised statements of tradition. But it 
may properly be added, that if the statement in the subscription to 2 Corinthi- 
ans is correct (" was written from Philippi of Macedonia by Titus and Lucas*'), 
then the words of the Epistle (8 : 18, 19) add an important testimony to the 
zeal and activity of Luke in the work of evangelization. The statement is 
not improbable in itself; but this part of the subscription is found only in 
late manuscripts, and is of no authority except as a very ancient tradition. 


That the Gospel was written before the Acts of the Apostles is evident from 
Acts 1 : 1 compared with ch. 1 : 3 of the Gospel. The narrative in the Acts 
must have been completed at the end of the second year of Paul's imprison- 
ment at Rome (Acts 28 : 30, 31), about A. D. 63. That it could not have been 
earlier is plain from the closing statement of Paul's manner of life during the 
**two whole years" of his imprisonment ; nor could it have been much later, 
as the writer had nothing further to record. A considerable time must have 
intervened between the publication of the Gospel and the writing of the Acts, 
as has been clearly shown by Alford, Prolegomena to Luke's Gospel, section iv. 
Xo more definite intimation is given of the time and place of writing. But 
we have seen that on Paul's last journey to Jerusalem, ''many days" were 
spent by him and his companions among the disciples at Caesarea as guests 
of Philip the evangelist, and that some of the disciples accompanied him to 
Jerusalem, whence in a few days he was sent back a prisoner to their home 
in Caesarea. It is probable that Luke returned thither with them and con- 
tinued in communication with Paul, whom he there joined at the close of his 
imprisonment on his voyage to Rome. How the intervening time ('A. D. 
58-60} was spent is not shown. But the time and place were most favorable 
to his purpose of '' accurately tracing all things from the very first ;"' and these 
facts of history show that Luke enjoyed ample opportunities, where alone they 


were accessible, for the composition of his Gospel in advance of the Acts. 
According to this view, the Gospel was written about A. D. 58-60, and prob- 
ably at Caesarea. 


These are summarily stated by the writer himself in the introductory verses, 
1-4. Briefly expressed their meaning is, that his narrative was the result of 
personal inquiry and investigation, and was drawn from all available sources. 
They yfere not only the declarations of those "who from the beginning" — 
namely, of our Lord's official ministry — "were eye-witnesses and ministers 
of the word," to whom former narrators were indebted. He justifies himself 
for now doing what many had already done imperfectly, on the ground of 
" having accurately traced " (as properly translated) "all things from the very 
first" (prior to our Lord's official ministry), and of his purpose "to write 
them in order" — that is, consecutively — in the order of occurrence or of 
mutual relation. 

By " eye-witnesses and ministers of the word " are meant those who saw 
and heard the things which they attest (1 John 1 : 1-3), and as ministers 
of the word had been counted worthy to speak as divinely-authorized wit- 
nesses for the truth. That Luke obtained their testimony directly from them- 
selves, and not from previous narratives, is necessarily the meaning of his 
language. If he had taken aught at second-hand, the result of other men's 
inquiries, he could not claim for himself that he had "accurately traced all 
things from the very first." But he availed himself of still other sources of 
information. Hence we have, for example, in the opening chapters of Luke's 
Gospel, an account of transactions not personally observed by those "who 
from the beginning" (of our Lord's official ministry) " were eye-witnesses," etc. 
That these additional sources of information were trustworthy, and that they 
were used with strict fidelity to the truth, has been shown in every way by 
which historical credibility can be tested; and we are no more justified in 
doubting the historical truth of the occurrences narrated in the first two 
chapters, than in questioning the credibility of any other part of the gospel 
history. That Luke had access to the apostles and accredited ministers of 
the word, and to the testimony of living witnesses accredited by them, cannot 
be doubted ; and no facts of ancient history are better authenticated than those 
recorded by Luke. 


This must be learned from its contents. The dedication to Theophilus, 
a Gentile convert (Smith's Bible Dictionary, p. 1697), shows a desire 
to be understood by those least familiar with what was peculiar to the 
Holy Land, and to meet their wants. Its most prominent and sigrificant 
characteristic is its universality. It was written for no particular class of 
readers to the exclusion of any other, and with no single and exclusive aim. 


Hence it differs from that of Matthew, written specially for Jews {Notes on 
Matthew, p. X.), and from that of Mark, designed particularly for Gentiles 
{Notes on Mark, p. xiv.), and also from that of John, specially intended for 
Christian readers, to establish them in the fundamental truths of the gospel, 
and to set forth Jesus as the Christ, the eternal Son of God, in all his offices 
and relations to the believer. 

On the contrary, Luke's Gospel was written for all, without distinction of 
race or reference to national affinities or doctrinal tendencies, exhibiting in the 
facts of gospel history the induction of a new dispensation of religion to " be 
preached among all nations," ch. 24 : 47. It is significant to us, whatever 
may have been the writer's conscious purpose, that he was led to trace back 
the lineage of its founder to the father of the race, and to record his enrolment 
as a citizen of the world, as well as his reception of the national badge of 
Israel. The idea of universality is interwoven with many incidents peculiar 
to his narrative. In the angelic proclamation of " peace on earth, good-will 
to men," is foreshadowed the gospel of universal humanity, and no less 
in the prophetic welcome to the infant Saviour as "a light to lighten the 


That Luke wrote the third Gospel independently of the first and second 
is made evident by a careful comparison of the three. A large portion of 
the matter it contains is peculiar to it. The contents of the first two chapters 
belong to it exclusively ; and these lay the foundation for all the subsequent 
history, in the circumstances of the parentage and birth of its two principal 
personages, and especially of the God-man, the central figure of all. With- 
out these two chapters, his manifestation in the flesh is wrapped in impene- 
trable obscurity ; and such declarations as "the Word became flesh," "born of 
a woman," " born of the seed of David," are an unsolved mystery, as is also 
the partial and undefined statement in Matt. 1 : 18, 20. In Luke's account 
the mystery is fully disclosed of his miraculous conception and birth of a 
virgin in fulfilment of prophecy ; and his subsequent growth, through infancy, 
childhood, and youth, in subjection to parental authority, prepares the mind 
of the reader for occasional references to domestic and social relations other- 
wise unmeaning. 

Not less significant are the omissions of remarkable incidents which a 
copyist would not have failed to appropriate. Such are Matthew's account 
of the visit of the magi and their adoration of the infant Jesus, of the flight 
into Egypt and the slaughter of the infants in Bethlehem — occurrences far 
too interesting and important to be passed over by one who used his narrative. 
On the other hand, Luke alone records the Saviour's first public announcement 
of his official character and mission, foretold in prophecy, and his consequent 
rejection by his unbelieving fellow-townsmen, explaining his withdrawal to 
another permanent place of residence an<? the fulfilment of the prophecy 



quoted by Matthew, 4: 14-16. Such remarkable difference?, occurring contin- 
ually through the whole progress of the narrative from beginning to end, 
show that there was no dependence of one upon the other. If Luke borrowed 
anything, he would have borrowed more, and he would not have passed by 
things more essential to his purpose than many which he has recorded. 

On the other hand, the coincidences of matter and verbal expression in 
the so-called synoptic Gospels {Harmony of the Gospels, p. 232), especially 
in the reports of the Saviour's discourses, are readily accounted for. The 
incidents in the life of Christ, and his discourses, were treasured in the 
memories of his attendants and hearers, and the rehearsal of these in their 
public ministrations was the chief element in the preaching of the gospel by 
apostles and evangelists. These oral narratives, identical in substance and 
similar in form, have been permanently embodied, with marked and signifi- 
cant variations in selection and verbal expression, in the accounts of the four 
evangelists. Their substantial agreement in the main facts recorded shows 
that they were competent and well-informed witnesses. Their noteworthy 
diversities in verbal expression, and in the minute details of the same transac- 
tion or discourse, show that they were also independent witnesses, and that the 
substantial agreement in so much incidental diversity can be accounted for 
only on the admission of the essential truth of their statements. The English 
reader should be apprised that our common English version was made from 
very late copies of the Greek text, in which the four Gospels have been 
assimilated, by adding in one what was wanting in another ; and also that in 
our translation different words and phrases of the Greek are sometimes ren- 
dered by the same words and phrases in English, so far effacing the evidence 
of their value as independent witnesses. But enough appears in our version 
of the Gospels to convince the intelligent and candid reader that there waa 
no collusion and no dependence of one writer upon another. 


That Luke wrote his Gospel in Greek, his native tongue, has never been 
questioned. His diction is such as might be expected in a man of culture 
writing in his own dialect, and aiming to reproduce in their native form and 
coloring narratives and discourses learned in a foreign idiom, already made 
familiar by long and intimate association with those to whom it was vernac- 
ular. Of his native tongue a pure specimen is found in the four introductory 
verses of his Gospel, where his style was unaffected by any external influence. 
But when he records what he learned from others who were of Hebrew origin 
and culture, and especially the discourses of our Lord delivered by him and 
by them repeated in their own idiom, he naturally falls into the Hebraistic 
forms of expression, of which less appears in the Acts. But though Hebra- 
isms for this reason are frequent, his native idiom is predominant, and Greek 
compounds and classical phraseology foreign to the other Gospels abound in 


his. His style is further distinguished from that of Matthew and Mark by 
the use of Hebraisms not found in either, and by the occurrence of words and 
phrases familiar to readers of classic Greek in place of others employed by 
them. From a comparison of the number of words peculiar to the several 
evangelists, it is estimated that those in Luke's Gospel exceed all that are 
found in the other three. He differs from Matthew and Mark in the more 
elaborate structure of his sentences, and in general in a more finished style 
of composition. 

Of Luke's accuracy in dates and in circumstantial details, unnoticed by the 
other evangelists, many examples have been quoted. In ch. 2 : 1-3 the time 
of the Saviour's birth is identified with that of known facts of history. In ch. 
3 : 12, the time of John's first appearance as a preacher is very circumstantially 
shown. Travellers have remarked in ch. 8 : 23 the accuracy of the expression, 
"there came down" (through the mountain gorges) "a storm of wind on the 
lake." This descriptive feature of the storm, peculiar to the locality, is unno- 
ticed in the more general account of Matthew and Mark. Such incidental and 
unconscious coincidence of narrative with a local or related fact is characteristic 
of Luke. An instance of the former has been cited from ch. 19 : 41 : "Ami 
when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it" (more exactly, 
and as he drew near, seeing the city, he wept over it). The narrative ia 
strikingly in accordance with the topography of the place, as observed by 
modern travellers. In Luke's account, the exulting shouts of the multitude 
began when they came to the descent of the Mount of Olives, where the Holy 
City is first seen in the distance. But after being hidden by intervening in- 
equalities of ground, it again comes in sight in a nearer view, and Jesus, "see- 
ing the city, wept over it." Of the latter an instance of peculiar delicacy has 
been cited from ch. 21 : 1, " and he looked up and saw" (properly, and look- 
ing up, he saw) " the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury." The 
phrase " looking up " is an unconscious coincidence with a related fact, for 
nothing in the connection explains or accounts for it. But from Mark 12 : 
41 we learn that Jesus was then sitting over against the treasury, and the in- 
cidental "looking up" to see what was passing is the minute observation of 
an eye-witness, or of one who pictured the scene from the words of an eye- 
witness. Of his use of medical terms an instance is found in ch. 4 : 38, where 
he employs the phrase "great fever" in its technical use among ancient 


According to all trustworthy testimony, we have the Gospel of Luke as it 
came from his hand. Irenseus, in his summary of the many things peculiar 
to this Gospel [Adv. Sceres., iii. 14, 3), shows that the book has come down 
to us as it was known to him in the first half of the second contury. The at- 
tempts of modern criticism to throw doubt on the genuineness and authenti- 


city of some portions, especially of the first two chapters, are based partly on 
the assumed origin of Marcion's Gospel, notoriously a mutilation of Luke's, 
and partly on the arbitrary denial of the possibility of our Lord's miraculous 
conception. The arguments based on the former ground, a false hypothesis, 
have failed to satisfy the judgment of the learned, and have been triumph- 
antly refuted. Of the latter ground it is sufficient to say, that " those who 
would make the miraculous traits in the history of the infant Jesus a criterion 
of spuriousness, may well consider to what measureless caprice such a canon 
of criticism leads." — Herzog's Heal JEncyclopcedie, art. Lukas. 


The narrative falls naturally into four great divisions : 
I. The period preceding our Lord's public ministry, i.-iv. 13. 
II. Our Lord's public ministry chiefly in Galilee, iv. 14r-ix. 50. 

III. His public ministry from his leaving Galilee to his final journey to 
Jerusalem, ix. 51-xix, 28. 

IV. From his entry into Jerusalem to his ascension, xix. 29-xxiv. 
The chief minor divisions are : 

1. Preface, i. 1-4. 

2. Nativity, ministry, and imprisonment of John the Baptist j our Lord's 
nativity, genealogy, baptism, and temptation, i. 6-iv. 13. 

3. Beginning of his ministry in Galilee; rejected at Nazareth; makes his 
abode in Capernaum; teaching and miracles of healing; calling of Peter, 
James, and John, and of Matthew ; the twelve apostles chosen ; sermon on 
the plain ; the centurion's faith ; raising of the widow's son ; parable of the 
sower ; stilling of the tempest ; legion of demons cast out ; raising of Jairus' 
daughter ; five thousand fed ; transfiguration ; rivalry among the disciples ; 
he goes to the feast of tabernacles, iv. 14-ix. 

4. Various discourses, parables, miracles, etc., mostly peculiar to Luke's 
Gospel; the seventy disciples sent out; parable of the good Samaritan; at 
the house of Martha and Mary ; the Lord's Prayer ; healing on the Sabbath ; 
parable of the rich man, of the prodigal son, of the unjust steward, of the 
unjust judge, of the rich man and Lazarus ; prayer of the Pharisee and pub- 
lican ; foretells his death and resurrection ; healing of ten lepers, of the blind 
beggar ; is the guest of Zacchseus ; goes up to Jerusalem, x.-xix. 28. 

5. The last passover week; public entry into Jerusalem; traders driven 
from the temple ; parable of the vineyard ; of giving tribute to Caesar ; the 
poor widow's offering ; fate of Jerusalem foretold ; Judas bribed to betray 
him ; observance of the passover ; institution of the Lord's Supper ; agony in 
the garden ; seized and brought before the high priest ; accused before Pilate 
and before Herod ; condemned, and crucified, and laid in a tomb ; his resur- 
rection; walk to Emmaus; last interview with his disciples; ascension to 
heaven, xix. 29-xxiv. 


The chronology of the Gospels is in many respects undetermined. The dura- 
tion of Christ's ministry is much disputed.' It continued at least two and one 
half years ; for John in his Gospel mentions three Passovers, John 2 : 13; 6:4; 
13 : i. If the feast (or "a feast of the Jews") mentioned in John 5 : 1 be also re- 

farded as a Passover, then his pubUc ministry continued about three years and a 
alf. But if the feast was that of Purim (Esther 9 : 26), as many suppose, occur- 
ring a month before the Passover of John 6 : 4, then must we assign the shorter 
term to his pubhc ministry. Although certainty may not be attained, yet the 
amount of labor that Jesus performed,"and the time required for his three preach- 
ing tours throughout Galilee, before the Passover mentioned in John 6 : 4, incUne 
us to regard the feast of John 5 : 1 as also a Passover. In accordance with this 
view the following table is arranged, and the probable chronological order and 
harmony given ; but where either is quite doubtful, or beset with special diflGl- 
culty, tlie references are printed in heavy type. The reasons for the arrangement 
are given by the author in his Harmony of the Gosfels. 

1. Events connected with the Birth and Childhood of Jesus. 
A period of about thirteen and a half years, from B.C. 6 to aj). 8. 


1. Luke's Preface 




1: 1-4 

3:' 23^ 

1 :26-38 







2 : 41-52 


2. John's Introduction 

1 : 1-14 

3. The Genealogies 

1 : 1-17 

4. Annunciation of John's Birth 

5. Annunciation of the Birth of Jesus . . . 

6. Marv visits Elizabeth 

7. The Birth of John the Baptist 

8. An Ansel appears to Joseph 


9. Birth o1f Jesus 

10. The Vidt of the Shepherds 

11. The Circumcision 

12. Presentation in the Temple 

1:3. Temporary Return to Nazareth 

il. Again at Bethlehem ; Visit of the Magi. 
15. Flight into Egvpt 

2 : 13-15 

2 : 16-18 
2 : 19-23 

16. Herod's Massacre of the Children 

17. Return and Residence at Nazareth 

18 Childhood of Jesus 


An^nouncement and Introduction of Christ's Public Ministry. 
About one year, from the spring of a.d. 26 to that of ad. 27. 

19. The Ministry of John the Baptist 3 : 1-12 

20. The Baptism of Jesus 3 : 13-17 

21. The Temptation 4:1-11 

22 Testimony of John to Jesus 

12. 13 

3 : 1-18 
3 : 21-23 
4 : 1-13 

1 : 15-34 




23. Jesus gains Disciples ; returns to Gali- 


24. The Marriage at Cana 

25. Visits Capernaum 


2 : 1-11 
2: 12 

in. From the First Passover of Christ's Public Ministry until thb 

One year, from April, a.d. 27, to April, a.d. 28. 







At the Passover ; the Traders expelled. 

Visit of Nicodemus 

d esus remains in Judea 

Further Testimony ot'Johu the Baptist. 

John Imprisoned 

Jesus departs for Galilee 

Discourses with the Woman of Sychar. 

Teaches publicly in Galilee 

Heals a Nobleman's Sou 

Rejected at Nazareth. 

Makes Capernaum his Residence 

Four called as Constant Attendants. . . 
A Demoniac healed in the SjTiagogue. . 

Heals Peter's Wile's Mother 

Fii-st Preaching Tour throughout Gali- 

The Miraculous Draught of Fishes 

Sermon on the Mount 

A Leper healed 

Heals a Paralytic 

The Call of Matthew 

Matthew's Feast 

Discourse on Fasting ... 

Jairus's Daughter ; the Bloody Issue. . 
Healing of the Blind and Dumb 

4: 13 
4 : 13-16 
4: 18-22 



5:' 1-7: 29 
8: 1^ 
9: 2-8 
9: 9 

9 : 10-13 
9: 14-17 
9 : 18-26 
9 : 27-34 

IV. From the Second Passover until the Third. 
From April, a.d. 28, to April, a.d. 29. 

At the Passover ; Heals the Impotent 

Plucking the Ears of Grain 

Healing'the Withered Hand 

Withdraws to the Sea of Galilee 

The Twelve Apostles chosen 

The Sermon in the Plain 

Healing of the Centurion's Servant. .. 

Raises a Widow's Son at Nain 

John's Message to Jesus 

Upbraiding the Cities of Galilee 

Anointed by a Penitent W^oman 

Second Circuit of Galilee 

A Blind and Dumb Demoniac healed. . 

A Sign demanded of Jesus 

Christ's Mother and Brethren 

Parable of the Sower 

Other Parables spoken to the Multitude 

Wheat and Tares explained ; and 
other Parables to the Disciples 

The Tempest stilled 

The Two Demoniacs of Gadara 

Second Rejection at Nazareth 

Third Circuit of Galilee , . 

The Twelve endowed and sent forth . . 

They ^o forth ; Third Tour continued . 

Herod's Opinion of Jesus ; John's Be- 

12: 1-8 
12 : 9-14 
12 : 15-21 


11 : 2-19 

12 : 22-37 
12 : 38-15 

12 : 46-50 

13 : 1-23 

13 : 36-53 
? : 18. 2:3-27 
8 : 28-9 : 1 
13: 54-58 
10: 1-42 
11: 1 

14 : 1-12 


3: 19-30 

3 :' '31-^'5 

4 : 1-25 


5 : 1-21 

6 :' 7-11 ' 
6 : 12, 13 

6: 14-29 

6: 1-5 






7: 36-50 
8: 1-3 

8 : 19-21 

8: 22-25 

9 : 1-5 
















14, 15 


14, 15 

















13. 14 






















75. Return of the Twelve 

76. Feediiij? the Five Thousand 

77. Jesus walks on the bea 

78. Discourse at Capernaum 

V. FiiOM THE TuiKD Passover until the ensuing Feast of TABEiiNACLES. 



6 : 30, 31 
6: 82-44 


9: 10 

9 : 10-17 


6 : 1-14 
6 : 15-21 
6 : 22-71 

Six months, from April to October, a.d. 29. 







Jesus continues in Galilee 

Traditions of the Elders 

The Canaanitish Woman 

Deaf and Dumb Man, etc., healed 

Feeds the Four Thousand 

A Siijn again demanded 

The Leaven of the Pharisees 

Bliud Man healed 

Visit to the rejjion of Cj«sareaPhilippi. 

Jesus foretells his Death 

The Transtij'uration 

Healing the Dumb Demoniac 

Jesus again foretells his Death 

The Sacred Tribute 

Contention amono^ the Disciples 

Dealing with an Otiended Brother, etc 

On Forgiveness 

Still continues in Galilee 

Goes to tl>e Feast of Tabernacles 

Concerning following Jesus 

15 : 1-20 
15 : 21-28 
15 : 29-31 

15 : 32-39 

16 : 4-12 

l'6 :' 13-20 

16 : 21-28 

17 : 1-13 
17 : 14-21 

17 : 22, 23 

18 : 1-14 
18 : 15-20 
18 : 21-35 

8 : 19-22 

; 1-23 
: 24-30 
: 31-37 
; 1-9 
: 10-12 
: 13-21 
: 22-26 
: 27-30 
31-9 : 1 
: 2-13 
: 14-29 
: 30-32 
: 33-50 

9 : 18-21 
9 : 22-27 
9 : 37^i 
9 : 4;i-15 


9 : 51-56 
9: 57-62 

7: 1 

7: 10 

VI. From the Feast of Tabernacles till Christ's Arrival at Bethany, 
Six Days before the Fourth Passon'er. 

Six months, less six days. 



Jesus at the Feast ; teaches publicly. . 

The Woman taken in Adultery 

Further Public Teaching 

Seventy instructed and sent forth 

Return of the Seventy 

Reply to a Lawyer ; Good Samaritan. . . 
Jesus at the House of Martha and Mary. 

How to pray 

Heals a Dumb Demoniac 

Jesus Dines with a Pharisee 

On Hypocrisy, Worldliness, etc 

Slaughter of Certain Galileans 

A Bhnd Man healed on the Sabbath. . 

The Good Shepherd 

Jesus at the Feast of Dedication 

Retires beyond Jordan 

Heals an Infirm Woman on the Sabbath 
Journeying and Teaching; warned 

against Herod 

Jesus hears of Lazarus' Sickness 

Dines with a Chief Pharisee 

Requirements of Discipleship 

Lost Sheep, Lost Silver. Prodigal Son. . 

Parable of the Unjust Judge 

The Rich Man and Lazarus 

Teaches Forbearance. Faith, etc 

Goes to Bethany and Raises Lazarus. . . 

Retires to Ephraim 

Passes through Samaria and Galilee . . , 
On the Coming of the Kingdom of God. 

The Importunate Widow, etc 

Finally leaves Galilee ; on Divorce 

Blesses Little Children 

The Rich Young Ruler. 

19 : 1-12 
19 : 13-15 
19 : lfr-30 

10 : 1-12 
10 : 13-16 
10 : 17-31 






11 : 





13 : 10-21 

8 : 2-11 
8 : 12-59 








17 : 11-19 
18 : 1-14 

18 : I5-V7 
18 : 18-30 

9: 1-41 
10 : 1-21 
10 : 22-89 

11: 1-6 

11 : 47-54 




132. Laborers in the Vineyard 

133. Third Time lorctells liis Death 

134. Tlie Ambitious Itequest of James and 


135. Healing Two Blind Men near Jericho. . 

136. Zaccheus ; the Ten Pounds 

137. Jesus sought at Jerusalem 

138. Arrives at Bethany Six Days before the 


20 : 1-16 
20 : 17-19 

20 : 2y-34 

10 : 32-34 

10: 3&-45 
10 : 46-52 

18 : 31-a4 

18: 35-43 
19 : 1-28 




VIL The Last Passover Week. 
Seven days, April 2nd to April 8th, a.d. 30. 

Mrst Day of the Week. Public Entry 

into Jerusalem 

Certain Greeks desire to see Jesus 

Second Day of the Week. The Barren 










172. Jesus before Annas 

The Temple Cleansed 

Third Day of the Week. Withered Fig- 

In the Temple ; the Two Sons 

The Wicked Husbandmen 

Marriage of the King's Son 

Tribute to Caesar 

Concerning the Resurrection 

The Great Commandment 

Christ the Son of David 

Last Discourse to the Jews 

The Widow's Mite 

Reflections on the Unbelief of the Jews 

Discourse on the Mount of Olives 

The Ten Virgins ; the Talents 

Graphic Scene of the Judgment 

Fourth Day of tlie Week. The Rulers 

The Supper and Anointing at Bethany 

Fifth Day of the Week. Preparation 
for the Passover 

Sixth Day of the Week. The Passover ; | 
Contention of the Twelve ) 

Washing the Disciples' Feet 

The Traitor pointed out ; Judas with- 

Jesus foretells the Fall of Peter 

Institutes the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 
11 : 23-26) 

Valedictory Discourse 

*' " Continued 

" " Concluded 

Christ's Intercessory Prayer 

Again foretells the Fall of Peter 

The Agony in Gethsemane 

Betrayal and Apprehension 

173. Peter thrice denies Christ 

174 Jesus before Caiaphas 

175. The final Formal Examination 

176. Jesus led to Pilate 

177. Remorse and Suicide of Judas CActs 

1 : 18, 19) 

178. Jesus before Pilate 

179. Jesus before Herod 

180. Again before Pilate ; Barabbas 




21 ; 






























11 : 1-11 

11 : 12-14 
11 : 15-19 

11 : 20-26 

11 : 27-3;^ 
12 : 1-12 

l'2 : 'l.i-17 

12 : 18-27 
12: 28-34 
12 : 35-37 

12 : 41-44 

13 : 1-^7 

14 : 1, 2 
14 : 3-11 

14 : 12-16 

14 : 18-21 
14 : 22-25 

14 : 26-31 
14 : 32-42 
14 : 43-52 



20: l-« 


21: 1-4 

21 : 5^3i6 


22 : 7-13 
\ 24-30 

22 : 21-23 
22 : 31-^ 

22 : 19, 20 

22 : 47-53 

26 : 58,69-75 14: 54,66-72 22 : 54-62 

26 : 57,59-68 







27 : 15-26 

14:53,55-65 22: 


15 : 6-15 

: 66-71 






12 : 12-19 

12 : 37-50 


13 : 1-20 

13 : 21-30 
13 : 31-88 

14 : 1-31 

15 : 1-27 

16 : 1-33 
17 : 1-26 


18 : 2-11 
( 18 : 12-14 
I 19-23 
j 18:15-18. 
\ 25-27 
18: 24 


18 : 28-38 
18: 39, 40 




181. Scourired and delivcrod to be crucified. 

182. Led a\vav to be crucified 

mi. The Cruciflxion 

184. Pheuomena attending his Death 

185. The Burial 

18(5. 2'/ie Seventh Day of the Week. Sepulchre 

sealed and guarded 


27 : 26-30 


27 : 62-66 


15: 16-19 
15 : 20-23 
15 : 24-32 
15 : 3;i-il 
15: 42-47 


23 : 26-33 
2.} : '^i-^i 
aj : 44-49 








The First Day of the Week. The Resur 

Women visit the Sepulchre 

Vision of An};^iils 

Peter and John at the Sepulchre 

Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene 

Meets the Other Women 

Report of the ^yomen. 

Report of the Watch 

Appears to Two Disciples and to Peter 
(1 Cor. 15 : 5) 

Evening at (he Close of the First Day of 
the Week. Appears to Ten Apostles 
(1 Cor. 15 : 5) 

Eveninq at, the Close of the First Day of 
the Xext Week. Appears to Eleven 

Appears to Seven Apostles 

Appears to above Five Hundred (1 Cor. 
15 : 6) 

He is seen of James ; then of all the 
Apostles. 1 Cor. 15 : 7 ; Acts 1:3-8... 

The Ascension (Acts 1 : 9-12) 

John's Conclusion of his Gospel 




28 : 9, 10 
28*; 1 1-15 



16 : '9 " * 

16: lb", 11 

16 : 12, 13 


16 : 15-18 



24 : 36-49 



19 : 1-lf) 
19 : 16, 17 
19 : 18-27 
19 : 28-;30 
19 : 31-42 

VIII. Fkom Christ's Resurrection till his Ascension. 
Forty days, April to May, a.d. 30. 


20" : 3-1 d 
20 : 11-17 

20:18 ■ 

20 : 19-25 

21 : 1-23 




Alford, Dr. Henry. Critical Commentary. 

Bengel, Dr. J. A. Gnomon of New Testament. A New Translation by Profeaaoi 

C. P. Lewis and M. R. Vincent. 
Campbell, Dr. George. The Four Gospels. 
CoLEMAX, Dr. L. Ancient Christianity Exemplified. 
CoNANT, Dr. T. J. The Meaning and Use of Baptizein, Philologically and Histor* 

ically Investigated. 
Ellicott, Dr. C. J. Historical Lectures on the Life of Christ. 
Farrar, Dr. F. W. Life of Christ. 
Fish, Dr. H. C. Bible Lands Illustrated. 
Gill, Dr. John. Commentaries. 
Hackett, Dr. H. B. Illustrations of Scripture. 
Hanna, Dr. William. Life of Christ. 

Hovey, Dr. a. Miracles ; Scriptural Law of Divorce ; God with us. 
KiTTO, Dr. J. Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature. Third Edition. Edited by Dr. 

W. L. Alexander. 
Lange, Dr. J. P. Commentary on the Gospel according to Luke. Translated from 

the German. 
Lynch, Lieut. "Wm. F. United States Expedition to the Jordan and the Dead Sea. 
Meyer, Dr. H. A. "VV. Critical and Exegetical Commentary. Translated from the 

Nevin, Dr. a. Popular Commentary on Luke. 
Newman, Dr. J. P. From Dan to Beersheba. 
Olshaosen, Dr. H. Commentary, Dr. A. C. Kendrick's Revision. 
Owen, Dr. J. J. Commentary on Luke. 
Robinson, Dr. E. Biblical Researches in Palestine, etc. 
Smith, Dr. W. Dictionary of the Bible. American Edition; revised and edited 

by Professor H. B. Hackett, D. D. 
Stanley, Dean. Sinai and Palestine. 

Stier, Dr. R. Words of the Lord Jesus. Revised American Edition. 
Thomson, Dr. W. M. The Land and The Book. 
Trench, Dr. R. C. Notes on Parables ; on Miracles. 
Van Doren, Rev. W. H. Suggestive Commentary on Luke. 
Westcott, B. F., M. a. Introduction to the Study of the Gospels. 
Wilson, Capt. C. W. Recovery of Jerusalem. 
Wordsworth, Dr. C. The New Testament, with Notes. 



1 FORASMUCH as many have taken in hand to set 

The Title is not claimed as a part 
of the inspired text. In the two oldest 
Greek manuscripts it is simply, Accord- 
ing to, or by Luke. But many ancient 
manuscripts have, The Gospel accord- 
ing to Luke — that is, as written and de- 
livered by him. The four Gospels pre- 
sent only one divine record, but from 
four points of view. That of Luke is 
about to be given. The word saint, so 
often applied to Luke and other writers 
in the New Testament, is an addition 
of late date, and inconsistent with the 
style and simplicity of God's word. 
Gospel means good news, and is applied 
to the four inspired narratives of the 
life and teachings of Christ. They 
contain the good news of a Saviour 
and his salvation. This word, which is 
found several times in Matthew and 
Mark, does not occur in Luke. But 
the verb " to preach the gospel," or 
publish the good news, is frequently 
found, ch. 1 : 19 ; 2 : 10 ; 3:18: 4:18; 
7 : 22, etc. In regard to Luke, see In- 
troductory Remarks. 


After stating his reasons for writing 
(vers. 1-4), Luke relates the angel's an- 
nouncement to Zacharias of the birth 
of John the Baptist (5-25), and to Mary 
of the birth of Jesus (26-38) ; Mary's 
visit to Elisabeth, and Mary's song 
(39-56) ; the birth of John, and Zacha- 
rias' prophetic hymn (57-80). 

1-4. Luke's Preface to his Gos- 
Luke alone begins with a preface, 
which partakes also of the nature of a 
dedication. In point of style it is the 

most elegant and classical passage to 
be found in the New Testament, and 
shows its author to have been a man 
of some culture. It throws light upon 
the sources, arrangement, and design, 
of his Gospel. The beginning of John's 
Gospel, which is sometimes called a 
preface, partakes of the nature of a 
doctrinal introduction. 

1. This verse and the next state a 
prominent reason which induced Luke 
to write his Gospel. Many, Honest 
believers who had written down the 
oral narrations of eye-witnesses of the 
acts and sayings of Jesus. There would 
be naturally many such at a time when 
the facts of the Gospel history were 
chiefly communicated by oral instruc- 
tion. Luke could not have referred to 
the authors of the apocryphal Gospels, 
for they were of a later age, and their 
narratives were not such as were " most 
surely believed," nor were they " de- 
livered" by "eye-witnesses and minis- 
ters of the word," ver. 2. Matthew 
could not be included, for he was an 
eye-witness; nor John, for he was not 
only an eye-witness, but wrote later 
than Luke. Neither is it probable that 
Mark was included among the many, 
for he seems to have drawn his mate- 
rials from Peter, and probably wrote 
under his direction. Besides, there are 
strong reasons for believing that Luke 
had never seen Mark's Gospel. It ap- 
pears, therefore, that these narratives 
to which reference is here made have 
not come down to us, being superseded 
by the inspired records of the four 

Have taken in hand ; under- 
taken, attempted. The word thus trans- 
lated, not of itself, but in connection 




B.C. G. 

forth in order a declaration of those things which are »Johni5.27;Heb. 

2 most surely believed among us, *even as they de- 2p'et^ T*^^i6'-\' 
livered them unto us, which ^from the beginning John i. 1-3. ' 

3 were eye-witnesses, *and ministers of the word; *it ^'^^^- i- i; Ac. 4. 
seemed good to me also, having had perfect under- ac.'26^ 16^' 
standing of all things from the very first, to write * Ac. 15. 19, 25, 28. 

with ver. 3, implies the incompleteness 
of preceding attempts. To set forth 
in order. To draw up, to arrange, to 
compose. The verb implies an arrange- 
ment of facts, gathered, as the connec- 
tion shows, from those who had been 
with Jesus. A declaration. Rather, 
a narration, a history. That these nar- 
rations were disjointed and fragmentary 
seems to be a fair inference from the 
fact that Luke contrasts them with his 
own full and orderly narrative. His 
was more worthy to be styled a history. 
The term which he applied to them 
shows what he really designed his own 
narrative to be. Those things which 
are most surely believed. Some 
would translate, the things fulfilled or 
accomplished. While this is allowable, 
yet no sufficient reason appears for de- 
parting from the usual rendering^ite- 
rally, the things fully assured, fully 
established, fully believed. Thus the 
Syriac Peshito version : " Those events 
of which we have full assurance." This 
view is confirmed by the use of the 
kindred noun, meaning full assurance, 
firm conviction, Col. 2 : 2 ; 1 Thess. 1 : 
5 ; Heb. 6 : 11 ; 10 : 22. The things re- 
ferred to were facts in the life of Christ, 
and it is implied that they were sup- 
ported by unimpeachable testimony 
and such other evidences as were pro- 
ductive of undoubted belief. We need 
not extend the reference to the things 
related in the Acts of the Apostles, 
which is an independent narration, 
Acts 1 : 1. The miracles and wonder- 
ful events of the Gospel history de- 
manded the fullest evidence, and this 
the early Christians had. Their in- 
telligent and assured belief should be- 
get our confidence. Luke's affirmation 
would tend to confirm the faith of 
Theophilus and prepare him to receive 
his narrative with unwavering con- 
fidence. Among us. Among Chris- 

2. Even as they. Simply, As they, 
referring specially, though not ex- 

clusively, to the apostles. See below. 
This verse shows the ground of the con* 
fidence in the things fully believed by 
Luke and his brethren. Delivereil 
them. Transmitted orally in their 
teaching, and possibly sometimes in 
brief written accounts. The reference 
is to the original sources, in distinction 
from the narrations of the "many" of 
the preceding verse, which were of 
secondary importance. These original 
sources were, without doubt, mostly 
oral. The apostles were preachers 
rather than writers, especially at first ; 
yet they very likely wrote some things 
for their own and others' use. Which. 
JVho, referring not to us, but to they. 

From the beginning; oi'the things, 
ver. 1. Some would limit this to the 
official beginning of Christ's ministry. 
This is not necessary, for " the things 
surely believed among them" would 
naturally include something concern- 
ing John the Baptist and the birth of 
Jesus. Eye-Avitnesses. The apostles 
were chosen as eye-witnesses, Acts 1 : 
22. The seventy were eye-witnesses of 
many things, en. 10 : 1, 17. The five 
hundred saw Jesus after he had risen, 
1 Cor. 15 : 6. The women from Galilee 
who ministered unto him also saw and 
heard many things, ch. 8 : 1-3 ; 23 : 55. 
Mary the mother of Jesus was a wit- 
ness of his birth, and of some things 
regarding John the Baptist and his 
parents. Ministers ; apostles and 
teachers. These were eye-witnesses 
and more. Of the word ; of God, of 
the gospel. Luke frequently uses word 
in ch. 5 : 1 ; Acts 13 : 26 ; 15 : 7 ; 17 : 11 ; 
20 : 32 ; also the phrases " ministers of 
the word," ''ministry" or "service of 
the word," in Acts 6 : 4. There can be 
no reference here to the eternal Word, 
or Logos, for that use of the term is 
confined to John. 

3. This verse and the next state the 
conclusion at which Luke arrived in 
view of the many narrations concern- 
ing Jesus. We have also in this verse 

B. C. G. 



4 unto thee "in order, 'most excellent Theophilus, «that 
thou mightest know the certainty of those things, 
wherein thou hast been instructed. 

•Ac. 11. 4. 
'Ac. 1. 1. 
cjohn 20. 31; 
Pet. 1. 15, 16. 

his qualification for writing his Gospel, 
and his method. It seemed good to 
me also, etc. Luke thus in a certain 
sense places himself with the "many" 
(ver. 1), but it is implied that in con- 
trast to them his qualifications and 
methoils were superior to theirs. 

Having had perfect under- 
standins^, etc. Rather, Having accu- 
rately traced down all things from the very 
Jirst. The original implies research, 
diligence, and exactness in tracing 
down all things, so as to be fully ac- 
quainted with the subject. It denotes 
a mental process in tracing along the 
whole train of events in question, with 
a thorough examination and testing of 
the sources of information. All things, 
which were fully believed among them, 
ver. 1. All those things which appeared 
to Luke to be essential in preparing his 

From the very first. From the 
dawn of the Christian dispensation; 
from the angelic announcement of the 
birth of John the Baptist, as his Gospel 
itself shows. The expression seems to 
take us even farther back than " from 
the beginning" of ver. 2. Luke de- 
signed to bring out to view the very 
germs of the new dispensation. The 
same word is used by Saul in Acts 
26 : 5 to denote the beginning of his 
life among the Jews. From the state- 
ment here made, we may infer that 
Luke, under the direction of the Spirit, 
incorporated into his narrative the oral 
or written accounts of others. The 
record in this first chapter may have 
been derived from the mother of Jesus. 
Inspiration did not make it unnecessary 
for him to use all available sources of 
information. It however guided him 
into the truth and preserved him from 
error. A comparison of this preface, 
written in pure Greek, with the narra- 
tive that follows, abounding in He- 
braisms, points to more ancient oral 
and written accounts. Some have even 
thought that they had found conclud- 
ing sentences which originally stood at 
the endings of the shorter narratives, 

as ch. 1:8; 2 : 20, 40, 52 ; 4 : 13, 44, 

What Luke had just stated shows his 
qualifications for writing — why, hu- 
manly speaking, he ought to write, and 
did write. In a single word he now 
indicates his method : To write unto 
thee in order, in succession, con- 
secutively. The language seems to im- 
ply a narration of events in their nat- 
ural chronological order ; and thus the 
word is used in Acts 11 : 4. Indeed, 
there appears to be some reference to 
time wherever this word is found in 
the New Testament (Luke 8:1; Acts 

3 : 24), except in Acts 18 : 23, where it 
refers to locality, the successive order of 
the churches as they were locally situ- 
ated. The fact that Luke's writing in 
order was a result of his careful re- 
search points to the same conclusion. 
The existence of a formal preface leads 
us to expect a somewhat regular narra- 
tive, and the plan and contents of the 
work point unmistakably to a history 
having at least a general reference to 
the chronological order of events. 

Most excellent, or most noble. 
A title of honor, like our word honor- 
able, used in addressing persons of rank 
or authoritv. Compare its use in Acts 
23 : 26 ; 24': 3 ; 26 : 25. This title shows 
that Theophilus (the meaning of the 
name is friend of God) was a real per- 
son, not a fictitious one — a personifi- 
cation of Christian love, as some have 
supposed. In the less formal and the 
more familiar opening of the Acts (1:1) 
the title is omitted. He was apparently 
a person of high rank, and probably a 
Christian. We may well suppose his 
character, as well as his rank, to be 
worthy of the title by which Luke 
addressed him. From the fact that 
Luke evidently wrote his Gospel for 
Gentile readers, and supplies them with 
such information respecting places and 
customs as they would need (ch. 1 : 26; 

4 : 31 ; 8 : 26 ; 23 : 51 ; 24 : 12, etc.), we 
may conclude that Theophilus was of 
that class, being neither a Jew nor an 
inhabitant of Palestine. Nothing more 



B. C. G. 

Gabriel announces the birth of John the Baptist. 

THERE was ''in the days of Herod, the king of 
Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, *of the 
course of Abia, and his wife was of the daughters of 

t Matt. 2. I. 
ilChr. 24. 10, 19; 
and Ne. 12. 4, 17. 

is certainly known of him. Various 
suppositions have been held regarding 
his residence at Antioch or Alexan- 
dria, in Macedonia or Italy. The last 
is the more probable, but the ordinary 
Arguments for it are not entirely con- 

4. Luke here states a particular ob- 
ject in writing his Gospel — that Theo- 
philus might have more thorough know- 
ledge of the historic facts and princi- 
ples which form the basis of Christi- 
anity. It is implied that this Gospel 
has a similar design for all who may 
read it. Compare a like design in John 
20 : 31. That thou mightest know. 
Emphatic, That thou mightest hnoiv 
fully, have full knowledge of. It is 
implied that this thorough knowledge 
could not be obtained from the many 
narrations referred to in verse 1. 
The certainty. The certain truth. 
" Where nothing spurious is added 
nothing essential is wanting, and all is 
attested by adequate proofs." — Ben- 
gel. Of those things. Concerning 
those words, or accounts of Christ and 
the gospel. "The living words and 
doctrines of Christ are meant, which 
rest upon the great facts of the gospel 
history, and derive from them their 
' certainty.' " — P. Schaff. 

Instructed, by word of mouth. 
The verb thus translated has primary 
reference to oral instruction, and from 
it is derived our words catechize, cate- 
chist, catechism. Some see in this ex- 
pression the earliest historical trace of 
Christian catechetical instruction, and 
suppose that Theophilus had been in- 
structed as a catechumen. This, how- 
ever, must not be too confidently assert- 
ed, for the Greek word is the usual 
one for attending religious instruction. 
Compare Acts 18 : 25 ; Rom. 2 : 18 ; 1 
Cor. 14 : 19 ; Gal. 6 : 6. Oral communt- 
cation was the principal means of 
instruction when written books were 
both few and expensive. This was 
especially the case among Christian 
teachers before the life of Jesus assumed 

the inspired and authorized form of our 

5-25. The Birth of John an- 
nounced BY Gabriel to Zechariah. 
Found only in Luke. The style is now 
altered, becomes more simple and He- 
braistic, showing the characteristics of 
oral and perhaps of written accounts in 
the colloquial language of the early 
disciples. The individuality of Luke 
and the peculiarities of his style, how- 
ever, are observed here and throughout 
his Gospel, showing that he did not 
slavishly copy written documents, but 
related what he had carefully searched 
out, selected, and arranged. From this 
section it appears that Luke carries his 
"from the very first" (ver. 3) as far 
back as the announcement of John's 

5. In the days of Herod. The 
time of events is often indicated by the 
life of some prominent man. Compare 
ch. 4 : 25, 27 ; Matt. 2 : 1. This was 
Herod the Great, the son of Antipater. 
an Idumean or Edomite, who was bore 
at Ascalon, Judea, 71 B. C. Various 
accounts are given of his ancestry, 
some holding that he was of the stock 
of the principal Jews who came out 
of Babylon into Judea, and others that 
he was a half Jew and of a proselyte 
family. He was declared king of 
Judea by a decree of the Roman 
senate about 41 B. C, and for thirty- 
seven years reigned under the suprem- 
acy of Rome. On account of his dis- 
tinguished exploits in war, his marked 
ability in governing and defending the 
country, and his works of public im- 
provements, he is called Herod the 
Great. He strove to ingratiate himself 
into the favor of the Jews by acts of 
munificence and generosity, and thus 
he rebuilt the temple at Jerusalem, 
adorning it with splendor, while at the 
same time he courted the favor of Rome 
by concessions to heathenism and 
building an amphitheatre without the 
walls of Jerusalem, in which the Ro- 
man combats with wild beasts and 

\. C. 6. 



6 Aaron, and her name «^a5 Elisabeth. And they were ^^^^1% V-^2'kV 
both ''righteous before God, wallcinfi: in all the com- • • . - 
mandments and ordinances ol" the Lord 'blameless. 

7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was 
barren, and they both were 7iow well stricken in 

20.3,4; Job 1.1 ; 
Ac. 23. 1 ; 24. 16 ; 
Phil. 3. C. 
1 Phil. 2. 15; 2 Pet. 

ladiators were exhibited. He, not- 
itlistanding, tailed to gain the aftec- 
011 of his subjects, who were preju- 
iced against him as a foreigner, and 
ated him for his concessions to heathen 
istoms and for his numerous cruelties, 
osephus represents him as " a man of 
reat barbarity and a slave to his pas- 
ons." The murder of the infants at 
ethh'hem was but one of his many 
;ts of like nature. His reign, how- 
rer, was very successful. For thirty 
sars Judea was undisturbed by war. 
he world, too, was at peace, under 
ugustus, the Eoman emperor. It 
as a fitting time for the coming of the 
rince of peace. The last forty days 
r Herod's life were spent at Jericho 
ad the baths of Callirhoe. The visit of 
le wise men must have therefore been 
sfore this, for they found him at Jeru- 

Judea. Here in its wide sense of 
alestine, a country about one hundred 
ad eighty miles long and sixty-five 
liles broad. After the Babylonish 
iptivity, as most of the exiles who re- 
irned were of the kingdom of Judah, 
le name of Judea was given to the 
hole land west of the Jordan. Com- 
are the language in ch. 23 : 5. Herod's 
ingdom also extended over a strip 
f country lying east, of the Jordan 
nd Dead Sea. The country on tlie 
est of the Jordan was divided into 
iree part«, Galilee on the north, Judea 
n the limited and more proper sense 
f the word) on the south, and Samaria 
Btween the two. On the east of the 
ordan was Perea. " The physical 
eography of Palestine is more dis- 
nctly marked than that of any other 
)untry in the world. Along the shore 
F the Mediterranean runs the low 
5untry and maritime plain, broken 
Qly by the bold spur of Mount Car- 
lei ; parallel to this is a long range of 
ills, for the most part rounded and 
;atureless in their character; these, 
Q the eastern side, plunge into the 

deep declivity of the Jordan vallev; 
and beyond the Jordan valley runs the 
straight, unbroken purple line of the 
mountains of Moab and Gilead. The 
character of the country from north to 
south may be represented by four par- 
allel bands — the sea-board, the hill 
country, the Jordan valley, and the 
trans- jordanic range." — Dii. Fakrar. 
{Life of Christ, vol. i., p. 52.) Compare 
on ch. 3 : 1. 

A certain priest, an ordinary 
priest, not a high priest, since he be- 
longed to one of the ordinary courses of 
priests doing service in the temple. 
Priests were of the tribe of Levi and 
of the family of Aaron. See on ver. 
10. Zacharias, the Hebrew name 
Zachariah, meaning whom Jehovah re- 
members. So Elisabeth, the same as 
Elisheba, Aaron's wife (Ex. 6 : 23), 
means God's oath. Their names were 
significant when considered in relation 
to Christ and his times. A priest might 
marry into any of the tribes (2 Chron. 
22 : 11), but Zachariah and his wife 
were of the house of Aaron, which 
would, among the Jews, make their 
oftspring the more illustrious. Josephus 
{Life 1) remarks that to be of priestly 
rank was an indication of the splendor 
of a family. 

Of the course, or of the cla^s. Da- 
vid divided the descendants of Eleazar 
and Itharaar, the sons of Aaron, into 
twenty-four classes for the daily temple 
service, 1 Chron. 24 : 4-18. Each course 
served a week, or eight days, from Sab' 
bath to Sabbath ; thus two courses on 
the Sabbath oificiated. {Joseph us' A ntiq., 
vii. 14, 7.) The course of Abia, rather 
Abijah, was the eighth in the order of 
the twenty-four classes, 1 Chron. 24 : 10. 
Only four of these classes returned 
from the Babylonish captivity, but 
from these were constituted the full 
number of classes, with their original 
names, Ezra 2 : 36-39; Xeh. 7 : 39-42; 
12 : 1. The Jewish rabbinical writings 
give the following account : " The Rab- 



B.C. 6 

8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the „j ^^^^ „^ .„. . 
priest's office before God ""in the order of his course, cbr, 8. U; 31,' 2 

9 according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot 

bins teach that four courses came up 
from the captivity, Jedaiah, Ilarim, 
Pashur, and Immar ; the prophets that 
were among them stood up and divided 
them, and appointed four and twenty 
lots, and put them into a box. Jedaiah 
came and took his lot and the lot of 
his companions, six ; Harim came and 
took his lot and the lot of his com- 
panions, six ; and so did Pashur and 
Immar." — John Gill. Thus, though 
none of the line of Abijah returned 
from the captivity, yet his order and 
name were retained. The heads of 
these twenty-four courses were chief 
priests and members of the Sanhedrim. 

Chronological. Many attempts 
have been made to ascertain the exact 
time of this service of Zachariah in the 
temple. These, however, cannot be 
depended on, for it is impossible to 
fix definitely upon the starting-point. 
Neither is it certain that the several 
classes continued, without exception, to 
perform their services each in its exact 
order. Meyer suggests that the reckon- 
ing must be made backward from the 
destruction of the temple which took 
place on the tenth of Ab — that is, July 
15th, A. D. 70 — when the first course, 
that of Jehoiarib, was in waiting. Thus 
reckoning on the supposition that the 
several classes had during all that time 
performed their service regularly and 
in succession, we arrive at the latter 
part of March, B. C. 6 of the common 
era, as the time of Zachariah's service. 
But too much reliance must not be put 
upon such calculations. 

6. The personal character of John's 
parents. Righteous, upright, not, like 
the Pharisees, merely outwardly before 
men, but before God, Gen. 17 : 1. 
They were sincerely and eminently 
pious. The reference is specially to 
righteousness in observing the law, as 
the explanatory clause, walking, etc., 
shows. Both were united, not only in 
affection, but also in eminent piety. 
They "were habitually fulfilling the 
command in Mai. 4 : 4, and were there- 
fore prepared to receive the fulfillment 
of ihf promise in Mai. 3 : 1." 

Commandments and ordi- 

nances. Moral requirements anc 
ceremonial rites and ordinances. Thej 
observed not a part, but all, the coni 
mandments, etc. Blameless, not sin 
less, for they were not, as ver. 20 shows 
but exemplary observers of God's com^ 
mands and ordinances. They were of 
irreproachable character, not wilfullj 
indulging in known sin, and had con 
sciences void of offence, Acts 24 : 16 . 

7. They had no child. Regarded 
among the Jews as an affliction and re- 
proach, Gen. 30 : 23 ; 1 Sam. 1 : 10, 11 
Children are a blessing from God, Ps, 
127 : 3, 5. The desire to be represented 
in our posterity is natural to all. Well 
stricken in years. Rather, /ar ad- 
vanced in years. Compare a similar ex- 
pression in Gen. 18 : 11. Some suppose 
that they were near fifty years of age, 
beyond which the Levites did not per- 
form the actual duties of their calling, 
Num. 8 : 25. But it does not appeal 
that priests were thus limited in theii 
duties by age. Zachariah was probably 
older than that, and Elisabeth near his 
age (see on ver. 17) ; and from the 
Oriental custom of marrying early, we 
may suppose that they had been long 
married, and had long given up the 
hope of building up their family. 

8. Luke now proceeds to relate the 
events connected with John's birth, 
Executed the priest's office, per- 
formed the duties of^ his office in the 
temple service at Jerusalem. Before 
God, in the temple, where were the 
symbols of his presence. In the ordei 
of his course. Each course taking 
its turn in rotation, and his course was 
the eighth, ver. 5. 

9. According to the custom of 
the priest's office. Not an original 
law of God, but a usage which had 
been adopted for the sake of order and 
to avoid disputes. The Jewish rabbins 
relate that it originated from a dispute. 
This clause belongs to what follows, 
thus : It fell to him by lot, according to 
the custom of the priesVs office. It was 
determined by lot who should perform 
each part of sacred service, and espe- 
cially who should burn incense, which 
was regarded as the most honorable 

B. C. G. 



was "to burn incense when he went into the temple 
10 of the Lord. •> And the whole multitude of the people 
were praying without at the time of incense. 

■Ex. 30. 7, 8; 1 
Sam. 2. 28; 1 
Chr. 23. 13. 

•Le. 16. 17; Rev. 

service of a priest and as havin? a pe- 
culiar blessing attached to it. The lot 
was obtained in somewhat the follow- 
intj manner. The chief priest assem- 
bles his class, and takes off a mitre 
from the head of one of them. They 
fi.x upon a certain number, say eighty 
or a hundred. He then asks them U) 
extend their fingers, which they do, one 
finger or more, as each one pleases. He 
then begins to count, commencing with 
him whose mitre he had taken otf, and 
going around the circle of priests, 
allowiniy to each the number of ex- 
tended fingers. Thus one finger counts 
one ; two fingers, two, etc. The priest 
who thus completes the number agreed 
upon goes forth by lot to the service. 
The lot for burning incense was cast 
among those priests who had never per- 
formed that service, if any such re- 
mained. And so great was the num- 
ber of priests that there is a tradition 
that no one performed the service 
twice. It is therefore possible that the 
lot had never fallen on Zachariah be- 
fore. It was thus a great privilege to 
be chosen for this important service. 

To burn incense. Incense was 
compounded of a vegetable resin called 
frankincense and sweet spices. See 
Ex. 30 : 34. Josephus mentions thirteen 
sweet-smelling spices. 
{Jeicish War, v. 5, 5.) 
The times of offering in- 
cense were in the morn- 
ing before the sacrifice, 
when the lamps were 
trimmed in the holy 
place and the watchman 
announced the break of 
day, and "between the 
evenings," when the 
lamps were lighted, after 
the evening sacrifice, 
and before the drink 
offerings were offered, 
Ex. 30 : 7, 8. Whether 
it was at the morning 
or evening offering that 
Zacharias saw the vision 
cannot be certainly de- 
termined. The incense was burned 
upon the small golden altar (ver. 11) in 

the holy place, near the veil which hid 
the holy of holies, so that the smoke 
of it penetrated the dark inner sanctu- 
ary where of old God had dwelt. The 
cloud of fragrant incense which daily 
rose, morning and evening, was a sym- 
bol of the intercessions of him who 
"ever liveth to make intercession for 
us." See Rev. 8 : 3, 4. It points also to 
morning and evening as most becoming 
times for offering our prayers in the 
name of Jesus, Ps. 55 : 17 ; 141 : 2 ; Rev. 
5 : 8. 

Into the temple. Into the holy 
place, Ex. 30 : 6, 7 ; Heb. 9 : 1-6. 
The word temple in this chapter and 
in ch. 23 : 45 is the translation of the 
Greek word which denotes the temple 
proper. In ch. 2 : 37 and other places 
in this Gospel, the word translated tem- 
ple denotes sacred, a sacred, consecrated 
place, and is applied to the whole sacred 
enclosure of courts and buildings, in- 
cluding the temple in its strict and pop- 
ular sense. 

The temple proper consisted of two 
parts, the holy of holies, containing the 
ark, the lid of which was the mercy-seat, 
and the holy place, a veil separating it 
from the holy of holies, where were the 
golden candlestick, the table of shew- 
bread, and the altar of incense. Before 


the door of the temple stood the great 
brazen altar of burnt offerings, and 



B. C. 6. 

11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord 

around the temple was a court, or enclo- 
sure, into which none but priests misi^lit 
enter. Descending twelve steps was 
another court, enclosing the former, 

("tlloil tlio court of Isr;u'l, into which 

i'LAN OF Temple in Time of Cina:iT, 

A. Holy of Holies. B. Holy Place. C. Altar of Burnt 
Offerings. D. Brazen Laver. E. Court of the Priests. F. 
Court of Israel. G. Gate Nicanor. H. Court of the Women. 
I. Gate Beautiful. J. Court of the (Tcntiies. K. Eastern, or 
Shushan Gate. L. Solomon's Porch. M. Royal Porch. N. 
Outer Wall. O. Apartments for various uses. 

none but male Jews might enter, and in 
front the court of women. Around these, 
and lower still, was the large outer court, 
enclosing the whole, paved with varie- 
gated stone, and called by some the 
Court of the Gentiles, where Jews and 
Gentiles might resort, and where were 
exposed for sale animals and things ne- 
cessary for the sacrifices and worship 
of the temple. On the south side of 
this outer court was a synagogue, where 
religious services were performed. Here 
the Jewish doctors might be questioned, 
and their decisions were heard (ch. 2 : 
46) ; here Jesus taught, and his disciples 
daily attended with one accord. Acts 2 : 
46. Thus each inner enclosure rose as in 

terraces above the outer, and the temple 
proi)er was situated on the highest point, 
toward the north-western corner of tho 
square, and could be seen from the city 
above the surrounding enclosures. 

Of the general ap- 
pearance of the build- 
ing /Smith's Bible JJic- 
tionary says: " It may 
safely be asserted that 
the triple temple of 
Jerusalem — the lower 
court, standing on ita 
magnificent terraces, 
the inner court, raised 
on its ])]atfbrm in the 
centre of this, and the 
temple itself, rising out 
of this group and crown- 
ing the whole — must 
have formed, when com- 
bined with the beauty 
of its situation, one of 
the most splendid archi- 
tectural combinations 
of the ancient world." 

The temple stood on 
a rocky eminence, the 
hill Moriah, on the 
eastern part of the city, 
north-east of Zion, from 
which it was separated 
by a valley. Here it 
seems that Abraham 
was about to offer up 
Isaac (Gen. 21 : 1, 2), 
and David interceded 
for his people at the 
threshing-floor of 
Araunah, 2 Sam. 24 : 16-25; 2 Chron. 
3:1. On three sides of this hill walls of 
huge stones were built up from the bot- 
tom, and filled in with cells or earth, so 
as to form a large area on which to erwt 
the temple. These walls remain to this 
day, and in some places, toward the 
south, are still sixty feet in height. 
The first temple was built by Solomon, 
commenced 13. C. 1011, and finished B. C. 
1004, and was burned down B. C. 588. 
The second temple was commenced 
under Zerubbabel B. C. 534, and com- 
pleted under Ezra B. C. 516. The tem- 
ple of Herod, which might indeed be 
styled the third temple, since it was the 
rebuilding and enlarging of the second, 

B. a 6. 



standing on the right side of ^the altar of incense. pEx. 30.1-6. 

was commenced about fifteen years be- 
fore the birth of Jcsiis — about B. C. 20 
of our common era — and in a year and 
a half tlie temple proper was finished 
by priests and Levites. The ontbuild- 
inijs and courts required eight years. 
But some building oi)erations contin- 
ued long after in progress, and to 
these the Jews had reference when 
they said, " Forty-and-six years was 
this temple in building," John 2 : 20. 
According to Josephus, the whole sa- 
cred enclosure was a stadium square, or 
a half mile in circumference. 

The front of the temple was on the 
eastern side, where was its principal en- 
trance, facing the Mount of Olives. It 
was built of white marble and stones 
of stupendous size, some of them twenty- 
five cubits long, eight cubits high, and 
twelve cubits thick. 

10. The Avhole multitude. Per- 
haps the Sabbath, when the ordinary 
temple service was more numer- 
ously attended than on other days. 
Thus many were to witness this mir- 
acle. Were praying Avithout, in 
the courts of the temple, particularly 
tliose of the Israelites and of the 
women. They stood (ch. IS : 11) wait- 
ing in silent prayer while the incense 
was ofl'ered. Compare Rev. 8 : 1-4. 
Hence prayer is likened to incense, Ps. 
142 : 2. While we pray without, Christ 
offers the incense within the veil, Heb. 
6 : 19; Rev. 5 : 8. The fire was taken 
from the large altar of burnt-offering, 
and a signal indicated the precise time 
when the incense was cast upon the 
altar. At the time of incense. At 
the hour, etc. See on ver. 9, second par- 
agraph. The multitude gathered for 
prayer rather indicates the offering of 
the evening incense. Comjiare Acts 3 : 
1. It was a time of rare solemnity to 
Zachariah, and of earnest supplication 
for himself and his people. 

Chronological. " It is so plain 
that this was only an office of daily 
ministration, and that Zachariah was 
one of the ordinary priests, that one 
cannot but be surprised that any should 
ever conclude from this circumstance 
of the story that Zachariah was sagan, 
or assistant to the high priest, and was 
now performing his grand office on the 

day of the atonement, and so on this 
foundation should calculate the birth 
of John the and Christ, and all 
the other feasts which depend on them ; 
yet this is done in the calendars, both 
of the Roman and Greek Church." — 
Doddridge. Zachariah is simply styl- 
ed " a certain priest," ver. 5. 

11. There appeared unto him. 
It was an actual appearance, not a 
vision. It was no result of nervous 
excitement, as some would have us 
believe, for he must have related the 
facts himself. The narrative gives no 
evidence of an excited state. It was 
probably near the close of the burning 
of incense, for the people waited for 
Zachariah and wondered why he tar- 
ried so long, ver. 21. 

An ang^el, Gabriel, ver. 19. Angel 
means messenger, Luke 9 : 52. It is 
applied to prophets (Isa. 42 : 19), to 
priests (Mai. 2:7), and even to inan- 
imate objects, Ps. 104 : 4. But generally 
in the Bible the word is applied to a race 
of intelligent beings of a higher order 
than man, who surround the Deity and 
are messengers or agents in adminis- 
tering the affairs of the world, and are 
sent forth to minister to those who shall 
be heirs of salvation, Dan. 10 : 20, 21 ; 
Acts 7 : 30 ; Heb. 1 : 14. The existence 
of angels accords with reason as well as 
with revelation. As we behold in crea- 
tion a descending order of beings below 
man, so it is natural to suppose that 
there is an ascending order above man 
toward the infinite God. Josephus 
{Antiq. xiii. 10, 3) relates that John 
Hyrcanus had a vision in the temple at 
the time of burning incense. But 
divine revelation had closed four hun- 
dred years before with Malachi, and 
angelic appearances had long been with- 
held. But now, as the Lord of angels 
was about to come, it was natural that 
they should openly do him service, ver. 
26 ;■ 2 : 9, 13 ; 22 : 43 ; Matt. 1 : 20 ; 4 : 
11, etc. 

On the right side, which was re- 
garded as favorable by the Greeks and 
other ancient nations. Compare 1 Kings 
2 : 19; Mark 16 : 5; Matt. 25 : 33. The 
angel stood on the north side, between 
the altar and the table of show-bread. 
On the south or left side stood the 



B. C. 6. 

12 And when Zacharias saw him, 'he was troubled, and "'"^er, 29; ch. 2. 9; 

13 fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, 22 -^^ban ^16 8*- 
Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and *-' '" "■ "— ' 
thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and 'thou 

14 shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy 
and gladness; and * many shall rejoice at his birth. 

15 For 'he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and 

Ac. 10. 4; Rev. 
1. 17. 
» vers. 60, 63. 

» ver. 58. 

tch. 7. 28; Mt. 11. 
7-11 ; John 5. 35. 

golden candlestick. The altar of 
incense. It was made of Shittim or 
acacia wood, about eighteen inches 
square and about three feet high, and 
overlaid with pure gold. It stood in 
the holy place, near the veil, which sep- 
arated it from the holy of holies. See 
Ex. 37 : 25-28 ; 30 : 1-10 ; 40 : 5. 

12. He was troubled, agitated, 
disturbed, discomposed. Fear fell 
upon him. Such has been the gen- 
eral effect of celestial appearances. 
Thus it was with Moses at the bush, 
Ex. 3:6; Gideon, Jud. 6 : 22 ; Mauo- 
ah, Judg. 13 : 22 ; Daniel, Dan. 8 : 16, 
17 ; 10 : 7, 8 ; John, Rev. 1 : 17. The 
presence of the glory of holiness, re- 
vealing a sense of personal sinfulness 
and suggesting the majesty and awful 
purity of God, the infrequency and 
suddenness of such manifestation, all 
united to produce awe, ch. 5:8; Isa. 
Q\o', 1 John 4 : 18. 

13. Fear not. Common form of 
angelic address, ch. 2:10; Dan. 10 : 12, 
19 ; Matt. 28 : 5. This is the first ad- 
dress from heaven immediately con- 
nected with the new dispensation. 
Contrast it with the last prophetic 
revelation, four hundred years before, 
" Lest I come and smite the earth with 
a curse," Mai. 4 : 6. 

Thy prayer is heard. Rather, was 
heard. His prayer for a son was heard 
at the time when it was offered, but the 
answer was deferred to such time as 
God in his wisdom and mercy saw to 
be best. Compare Dan. 9 : 23. Had 
God answered it before, Zachariah 
would not have been the father of 
Christ's forerunner, for the time had 
not come. He doubtless had long be- 
fore ceased to pray for this blessing in 
cheerful submission to the divine will ; 
for he would not continue to pray for 
that which he regarded impossible on 
account of the great age of himself and 
wife, vers, 7, 18-20. Some suppose that 
it liuiits the prayer too much to confine 

it to oflfspring ; but this was among the 
Jews an object of intense desire. To 
die childless and to have their name 
perish was most gloomy indeed. See 
on ver. 7. Doubtless, Zachariah had 
prayed for righteous offspring. And 
as the Messiah was expected and earn- 
estly prayed for, it is possible that, 
having a clear understanding of the 
prophetic word, and under the guidance 
of the Spirit, he had prayed that he 
himself might be the father of him 
who should prepare the way of the 
Lord, Isa. 40 : 3 ; Mai. 3:1. 

John. This name in Hebrew means 
one whom God has graciously given — an 
appropriate name for the child given in 
answer to prayer, and who was to be 
the forerunner of Christ. A gracious 
gift not only to his parents, but also to 
the Jewish people and to the world. 

14. Hence, John would be a source of 
joy both to his parents and to many 
others. Gladness, exultation, trans- 
port, a stronger and more expressive 
term than joy. This joy would be 
shared by many pious at his birth. 
The reasons for this joy are given in 
the three following verses. " The pa- 
pists abuse this passage to authorize a 
procession of dancing and leaping in an 
annual celebration of John's birthday." 
— Jacobus. 

15. For introduces the reason for the 
general rejoicing at John's birth. Great 
in the sight of the Lord. Truly and 
spiritually great. Without worldly title, 
wealth, office, and power, he would be 
great as Christ's forerunner in piety, in 
labors, and in the tokens of God's favor 
and blessings. A burning and shining 
light, John 5 : 35. A prophet, and more 
than a prophet, ch. 7 : 26-28. It is si- 
lently implied that John's greatness 
would not consist in worldly honor. 
Man looks only upon the outward ap- 
pearance, but God upon the heart, 1 
Sam. 16 : 7. " That which is highly 
esteemed among men is an abomination 

B. C. 6. 



■shall drink neither wine nor strong drink ; and ho "^j''.^;'^;'',^"'^-*'- 
shall be -^iilled with the Jloly Spirit, ^even from his x ac. 2. 4" n. 21. 

IG niotlier's womb. "And many of the chihh-en of Israel " " 

17 shall he turn to the Lord tlieir God. "And he sliall 
go before him ^in the spirit and power of Elias, to 
turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and 
the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make 
ready a people prepared for the Lord. 

y.lor.l.r); dill. 1.15. 
» v(*r. 7() ; Mai. 4. 

5,6; Mt. 3. 5, G ; 

21. :i2. 
'Joliii 1. 7,23-30; 

3. 28. 
»>Mt. 11. U; Mk. 

9. 12, 13. 

before God," ch. 16 : 15. Shall drink 
neither wine. Like Samson (Judg. 
13 : 2-5), he was to be a Na/arite from 
his birth — that is, " one separated to the 
service of God." Samuel also is regard- 
ed as a Nazarite for life, 1 Sam. 1:11. 
Priests were forbidden wine and strong 
drink when they attended on the ser- 
vice of God, Lev. 10 : 9. The prohibi- 
tions upon Nazarites were more strin- 
gent, Num. 6 : 1-21. They were to 
abstain from wine, grapes, and every 
production of the vine, and from all 
intoxicating drinks, which were a " sym- 
bol of all that stupefies and benumbs 
the powers of a divine life, or disposes 
the heart to carnal pleasures or excite- 
ment." Their hair was to be unshorn — 
a token of complete subjection to God 
(as the long hair of woman is a token 
of her subjection to man, 1 Cor. 11 : 3- 
10). They were to avoid all defilement 
from the touch of the dead, even of 
their own relatives — a .symbol of entire 
withdrawal from all fellowship with 
sin and its consequences. Some took a 
Nazarite vow for a limited time ; others 
for life. Thus, John was to be a true 
priest and Nazarite. This brings to 
view the type of his piety. Strong 
drink. Any intoxicating drink made 
from grain, fruit honey, dates, or the 

He shall be filled. The positive 
side of his piety and endowments, gifts 
and graces. He should be extraordi- 
narily endowed with the Holy Spirit, 
the third person of the Godhead. 
From his mother's womb. From 
his birth. There is no necessity, with 
some eminent commentators, to infer 
from vers. 41-44 that John was a sub- 
ject of divine grace before his birth. 
The language here limits it from, etc., 
and plainly implies that John was re- 
generated from his birth. Thus in this 
verse we have the character of John 

16. This verse foretells John's work. 

Many of the children {or sons) of 
Israel. Not all, but great numbers, 
cli. 3 : 3-7 ; ^latt. 3 : 5, 6 ; Mark 1 : 5, 
Shall he turn. From formalism and 
sin to the Lord, Jehovah, who was in 
a peculiar sense their God, Lev. 
20:20; li,om. 9:4, 5. John was a 
preacher of repentance, ch.3 : 3, 8. His 
work was to be confined to Israel. " Not 
that other nations were to be excluded 
from the favor of God, but because 
what was wrought among the central 
people of mankind was for the benefit 
of all. There a hearth had first to be 
prepared for the holy fire, and for that 
reason the influence of God's messen- 
gers was concentrated on that spot." — 
Olshausen. The Jewish people had 
been cured of idolatry by the Baby- 
lonish captivity, but they had at length 
sunk into formalism, a zealous observ- 
ance of rites and ceremonies, instead 
of cultivating real piety and holiness 
of heart and life. John was to be a 
great reformer, like Elijah (next verse; 
Mai. 4 : 5, 6), fighting against the cor- 
ruptions of the Jewish religion, shaking 
and arousing the nation to thought, 
awaking many to see their sins and 
their need, inducing many to turn to 
the Lord, and thus preparing the peo- 
ple for a penitent and believing re- 
ception of Christ. 

17. This verse not only brings before 
us more fully what John should do, but 
also his peculiar mission or office and 
his relations to Christ. Before him, 
"the Lord their God" (ver. 16), refer- 
ring to Jesus Christ, who was Imnian- 
uel, God with us (Matt. 1 : 21), in whom 
"dwelt the fulness of the Godhead 
bodily," Col. 2 : 9. This going before 
him denotes preparation, ch. 3 : 4. He 
was to be Christ's forerunner, the jire- 
parer of his way. In the spirit and 
power of Elias. Elias is the Greek 
mode of writing the Hebrew name 
Elijah. The reference is plainly to 
Mai. 4 : 5, and shows how that prophecy 



B.C. 6 

18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, ''Whereby shall 'Gen. 17. 17. 
I know this ? for I am an old man, and my wife well 

19 stricken in years. And the angel answering said 


is to be understood. John was not 
Elijah raised from the dead, but like 
him in spirit and power. He was 
Elijah's antitype. He showed the same 
zealous and bold spirit, and the same 
spiritual and prophetic power, though 
not miraculous power, for " John did 
no miracle," John 10 : 41. Both John 
and Elijah were bold reformers and 
preachers of repentance. Both re- 
: proved sin in high places, and both 
were persecuted, Elijah by Ahab and 
Jezebel, John by Herod and Herodias. 
Both lived much in the wilderness, and 
both wore a dress of camel's hair and 
a leathern girdle. See 1 Kings 18 : 17- 
40 ; 19:10; 21 : 17-26 ; 2 Kings 1 : 8. 

To turn the hearts of the fathers 
to the children, to reconcile fathers 
to their children, to restore natural and 
parental affection. Paul, describing the 
character of the heathen, says, among 
other things, " without natural affec- 
tion." In its best sense this may be 
said to a certain degree of all the irre- 
ligious. Family dissensions were the 
natural result of the Jewish custom of 
frequent divorces. Moral corruptions 
had chilled in the heart of many pa- 
rental affection. Keconciliations, mu- 
tual affection, parental love, faithful- 
ness, and religious training uniformly 
accompany true religion, and are here 
specified among the fruits of that ref- 
ormation which should result from the 
preaching of John. 

The disobedient to, etc. The pre- 
ceding clause corresponds very closely 
to the prediction of Malachi ; but this is 
quite different from the corresponding 
phrase, "the hearts of the children to 
their fathers," Mai. 4:6. " But by re- 
garding disobedient as put for children, 
and just for fathers, a substitution both 
natural and admissible, the corre- 
spondence between the quotation and 
the original will be quite fully preserved. 
Folly and disobedience are natural to 
children (Prov. 22 : 15), while age has 
ever been regarded as the depository of 
wisdom." — i)R. J. J. Owen. In the 
midst of Jewish formalism and moral 
corruptions the disobedience of chil- 
dren had naturally increased, not only 

toward parents, but also toward God. 
Besides, /a^/tgrs should always be among 
the just, but that was not the case of 
many in that age. The angel therefore 
gives more clearly the meaning of the 
prediction than if he had quoted the 
exact language. Thus, John was to 
reform fathers from parental unfaith- 
fulness and children to filial affection 
and to the obligations and duties of 
true religion. And in thus doing he \ 
would make ready a people pre- ] 
pared for the Lord — that is, for the 
Messiah — to receive him when he came. 
Compare Isa, 43 : 21, to which there 
may be an allusion ; also Luke 3 : 7-18 ; 
16 : 16 ; John 1 : 29-36. 

A frivolous objection has been raised 
against this passage from the fact that 
the angel quotes Scripture. But why 
not just as well as Satan in Christ's 
temptation? ch. 4 : 10, It is surely 
more natural and rather to be expected. 
If the Holy Spirit has spoken through 
inspired men, why may not God have 
commissioned an angel to quote some- 
thing which had been thus spoken? 
No good reason can be assigned why he 
should not. 

18, Zachariah manifests a doubting 
spirit. Whereby shall I know this ? 
By what sign ? etc, A similar request 
had been made by Abraham (Gen. 
15 : 6-8), but in strong faith, Rom. 
4:19; Heb, 11 : 12. So also by Gideon 
(Judg. 6 : 17) and by Hezekiah, 2 Kings 
20 : 8, Mary's question (verse 34) was 
not in unbelief, but in faith seeking 
explanation. The request of Zachariah 
was proper, but the spirit in which he 
asked it was wrong. Hence, while it 
was granted, it was in such a way as to 
be both a sign and a punishment. An 
old man. Sixty years of age was re- 
garded as an old man among the Jews. 
Some supposed him much older. Well 
stricken, /ar advanced. See on verse 7. 

19, The angel gives his name, rank, 
and authority, Gabriel, a Hebrew 
name, meaning man of God — an appro- 
priate title of the angel who had so 
much to do with announcing the incar- 
nation of the Son of God, verse 26; 
Dan. 9 : 21-27. His services seem to 

B. C. 6. 





unto him, I am •'Gabriel, that stand in the presence 
of God ; and am sent to speak unto tlieo, and to show 
thee these ghid tidings. And, behold, *thou sludt be 
dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these 
things shall be pertbrmed, because thou believest 
not my words, 'which shall be fultilled in their season. 
And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled 

dDan. 8. IG; 9.21 ; 

Mt. 18. 10; Hob. 

1. 14, 
•E.x. 4. 11; Eze, 3. 


'Is. 55:11; 2 Tim. 
2. 13-. Tit. 1. 2. 

have been Messianic, and for adminis- 
tering: comfort and symj)athy. The 
mention of his name would tend to 
streni^then the faith of Zachariah, who 
was doubtless familiar with his appear- 
ance to Daniel, whose work seems to 
be tlie defence and leading of God's 
people against the power of Satan, 
ban. 12 : 1 : Rev. 12 : 7. 

Gabriel is never styled an archangel 
in the Bible, Michael alone bearing 
that title. Thus, God has revealed to 
us the name of only one angel and of 
one archangel. Why he has only given 
us these, and why their names do not 
occur before the book of Daniel, can 
only be surmised. Their names cer- 
tainly indicate an advance in the reve- 
lation of the angelic world. They tend 
to sharpen our conception of angels, 
and to impress us the more deeply with 
their actual existence. The special 
relations of these two with the Jewish 
people, the incarnation, and the Chris- 
tian church may also be a reason for 
revealing their names, Dan. 10 : 21 ; 
12 : 1 ; Jude 9 ; Rev. 12 : 7-12. 

That stand in the presence of 
God, one of his chief ministers or 
attendants. Seven angels are mention- 
ed as standing before God in Rev. 8 : 2. 
God is the universal sovereign, the King 
over all. Standing was the posture of 
a servant or attendant. The presence 
of a king was a place of great honor, 
Esth. 1 : 10-14. The great eminence 
of the angel shows the importance of 
his message. Am sent. He came not 
of himself, but was commissioned of 
God with a special message to Zacha- 
riah. Compare verse 26 ; Heb. 1 : 14 ; 
see also note on "angel" in verse 11. 
" This is the meaning of the words 
apostle and missionary, sent. The min- 
isterial office derives its authority from 
the divine commission. The ministers 
of Christ are as truly sent to preach the 
gospel as was this angel with this 
message." — jACOBrs. To show thee 
these glad tidings, of the birth of 

Christ's forerunner. Gospel means glad 
tidings; and the verb in the original is 
the one used in the New Testament of 
preaching the gospel. See note on the 
title of this book at the beginning of 
this chapter. This first and introduc- 
tory message of the gospel dispensation, 
what might be styled its first glimmer 
of light, was indeed glad tidings, Mark 
1 : 1. 

20. Behold, a word frequently used 
to introduce something wonderful and 
unexpected. In this case it introduces 
a very unexpected sign as well as pun- 
ishment. Be dumb. More literally, 
Thou shalt be silent, referring specially 
to the condition in which he should be, 
of being silent. This is made the more 
emphatic and further explained by the 
additional clause, and not able to 
speak. He seems to have been deaf 
as well as dumb, vers. 22, 62. Until 
the day, etc. It was to be temporary. 
These things were not fully per- 
formed until the naming of the child 
on the day of his circumcision, vers. 
59-64. Because introduces the reason 
of giving such a sign and inflicting 
such a punishment. Thou believest 
not my words. Rather, DidU not 
believe, etc., referring to his unbelief 
connected with asking a sign, ver. 18. 
Shall be fulfilled in their season, 
each event in its order and time. It is 
not only implied above that the punish- 
ment should be temporary, but here a 
promise is given. Judgment and mercy 
are mingled together. He was not 
entirely wanting in his faith, nor entirely 
given up to his unbelief. By this afflict- 
ive sign his faith was strengthened and 
put to further test ; it taught him fur- 
ther humility, increased dependence on 
God, and greater reverence and confi- 
dence in his word. Compare the lame- 
ness of Jacob (Gen. 32 : 25, 31) and 
the blindness of Saul of Tarsus, Acts 
9 : 8, 9. 

21. And the people, who stood 
without (ver. 10), waited, were wetting 



B. C. 6. 

22 that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he 
came out, he could not speak unto them : and they 
perceived that he had seen a vision in the « temple: 
for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. 

23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as ^ the days of 
his ministration were accomplished, he departed to 
his own house. 

24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, 

25 and hid herself five months, saying. Thus hath the 
Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on 
me, to Hake away my reproach among men. 

t Num. 12. 6-8 : Ac 

»»2 Ki. 11. 
Chr. 9. 25. 

5; 1 

1 Ge. 30. 23 ; 54. 1, 4. 

for Zachariah to come forth from the 
holy place, that he might pronounce his 
blessing upon them (Num. 6:23-27; 
Lev. 9 : 22, 23), after which the trum- 
pets sounded and the Levites shouted 
their psalms of praise. Compare Rev. 
8 : 5. And marvelled, and tvere won- 
dering greatly, ready to ask the reason 
why he tarried so long, etc. The 
priest did not tarry long in the holy place 
lest the people should fear that, having 
offered unworthily, some divine judg- 
ment might have fallen upon him, and 
through him as their representative 
upon them. Gabriel very probably 
appeared near the close of the service. 
The interview was probably of short 
duration, but Zachariah may have re- 
mained for a little time in amazement, 
musing on what had occurred, in men- 
tal prayer, confession, and thanksgiv- 
ing. Temple, the same word as in 
ver. 9. 

22. He could not speak unto 
them, either in pronouncing the bene- 
diction or in answering their inquiries. 
They perceived that he had seen 
a vision. His whole appearance and 
excited manner upon coming forth from 
the holy place, in connection with his 
speechlessness, would suggest that he 
had seen some supernatural appearance 
or received some divine communication. 
This was confirmed by his gestures. 
For he beckoned unto them. 
Rather, and he was beckoning ; he con- 
tinued making signs by nodding the 
bead and by motions of his eyes and 
bands. Speechless. The word thus 
translated was used of those who were 
deaf (ch. 7 : 22) as well as dumb, ch. 
11 : 14. That Zachariah was both deaf 
and dumb is confirmed by ver. 62. 
" When the voice of the preacher is 
announced (Isa. 40) the priesthood of 

the Old Testament becomes silent."-^ 

23. Days of his ministration 
were accomplished. The week of 
his service was completed. See on ver. 
5. Deafness and dumbness disqualified 
Levites, for a part of their work was to 
sing, but they did not disqualify a priest, 
since he could perform various duties, 
such as cleansing the altar, trimming 
the lamps, tending to many things con- 
nected with the altar and sacrifices, etc. 
" The priest was not permitted to leave 
the precincts of the temple till the 
week's term was finished." — Jacobus. 
Departed to his own house, in a 
city of Judah in the hill country, prob- 
ably not far from Hebron, ver, 39. 

24. After those days. An indefi- 
nite note of time, yet probably soon 
after the days of his ministration in the 
temple. Hid herself. Literally, hid 
herself wholly, or carefully, showing that 
she withdrew into complete retirement. 
Several reasons would lead her to this 
seclusion, chief among which would be 
to avoid all legal defilement to herself 
and son (Judg. 13 : 4), and to devote 
herself to meditation and prayer, ver. 
25. Five months, not necessarily 
limiting the time of her seclusion, but 
used in reference to the sixth month 
(ver. 26), when Gabriel appeared to 
Mary, after which he came to her. 

25. Thus hath the Lord dealt 
with me, by his miraculous interposi- 
tion. Some would translate, Because 
the Lord hath thus done for me, giving 
the reason for her retirement. The 
usual translation is preferable, which 
also suggests a reason for devoting her- 
self to thanksgiving, meditation, and 
prayer. He looked on me, with 
favor. To take away my reproach. 
It was a reproach among the Jews to 

B. C. 6. 



The birth of Jems foretold. 

26 AND in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent 
from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 

be childless, Gen. 15 : 2 ; 30 : 23 ; 1 Sam. 
1:11; Isa. 4 : 1 ; 54 : 1, 4. See on ver. 
7. It was also a peculiar calamity to a 
branch of Aaron's family, and might be 
looked upon as a judgment, 1 Sam. 2 : 
31, 36. God had promised to increase 
the families of the righteous, Lev. 26 : 
9; Deut. 7 : 13. 

26-38. The Bikth of Jesus an- 
nounced TO Mary. Found only in 
Luke, and sheds light upon Matthew's 
account of Christ's birth and residence. 

26. In the sixth month. Spoken 
in reference to the five months in ver. 
24. After Elisabeth had hid herself 
five months, in the sixth month, etc., 
ver. 36. This specification of time is 
important in showing that John was 
six months older than Jesus. Angel. 
See on ver. 11. Gabriel. See on ver. 
19. Sent from God. See on ver. 19. 

Galilee. Galilee was a Hebrew 
name, meaning a ring or circle, and 
was probably first given to a small 
"circuit" among the mountains of 
Naphtali (Josh. 20 : 7), where were sit- 
uated the twenty towns given by Sol- 
omon to Hiram, king of Tyre, 1 Kings 
9 : 11. The name may contain an allu- 
sion to one or more of the circular 
plains of those mountains. It came 
afterward to be applied to the whole 
northern province of the land of Israel 
between Phoenicia and Samaria, the 
Jordan and the Mediterranean. It was 
divided into two parts, upper or nor- 
thern, lower or southern. The northern 
portion was designated "Galilee of the 
Gentiles," because it bordered on ter- 
ritories inhabited by Gentiles, and es- 
pecially because it was itself inhabited 
by a mixed population. According to 
the testimony of Strabo and others, it 
was inhabited by Egyptians, Arabians, 
and PlKienicians. It was near to Tyre 
and Sidon. According to Josephus, who 
knew the country well, Galilee contain- 
ed two hundred and four cities and vil- 
lages, the smallest of which numbered 
above fifteen thousand inhabitants, 
which would raise the population to 
upward of three millions, or about fif- 
teen hundred to the square mile. "Af- 
ter the careful review now closed, we 

feel justified in saying that Galilee at 
the time of Christ was one of the finest 
and most fertile portions of the earth. 
. . . Abounding in springs, rivers, and 
lakes; . . . possessing a rare and de- 
lightful climate, and scenery of great 
variety and beauty ; its surface never 
dull or monotonous, but infinitely va- 
ried by plains and valleys, gentle slopes 
and terraced hills, deep ravines and bold 
peaks, naturally fortified eminences and 
giant mountains ; its soil naturally fer- 
tile, but forced by skilful husbandry to 
the highest state of productiveness, 
until this province was noted for the 
perfection and abundance of its fruits, — 
Galilee thus possessed features of rich- 
ness and beauty rarely if ever combined 
in so small a country. ... Its agricul- 
ture and fisheries, wine and oil trade, and 
other industries were in the most flour- 
ishing condition. ... Its synagogues 
and other public buildings were built 
often in splendid style and at great ex- 
pense. . . . "We find the Galileans to 
have been a moral, intelligent, indus- 
trious, and enterprising people, pos- 
sessed of vigorous minds and healthy 
bodies, . . . familiar with their own 
law and history, and not wanting in the 
finest poetical spirit ; with the disposi- 
tion and ability to appreciate in the 
main the teachings of Christ ; a people 
among whom were found the most de- 
voted men, * Israelites indeed ;' both 
country and people, one may say with 
truth, fitly chosen of God as the training- 
place of those men — Master and disci- 
ples — who were to move the world ; the 
proper soil in which first to plant the 
seeds of that truth which was destined, 
ere long, to be spoken by eloquent lips 
in the pulpits of Caesarea, Antioch, Con- 
stantinople, and Rome." — BibUotheca 
iSaera, April, 1874, pp. 263, 264. South 
of Galilee lay Samaria, and south of 
Samaria, Judea. 

Xazareth, according to some, means 
a branch — a fit name of the place where 
the Branch (Isa. 11 : 1 ; Zech. 3:8; 6 : 
12) should live and grow up. I have, 
however, been led to think that it sig- 
nifies the one guarding or guarded, from 
the hill on whose sides it was built (ch. 




B. C. 6. 

27 To a virgin ''espoused to a man whose name was Jo- 
seph, of the houee of David; and the virgin's name 
was Mary. 

kch. 2. 4, 5; Mt. 1. 

4 : 29), which, risincf to the height of 
four hundred or five hundred feet, over- 
looked a vast region, land and sea, and 
thus guarded it. New Testament writers 
always speak of it as a city and never 
as a village, and hence it was a place of 
8ome size and im})ortance. It was finely- 
located in Lower Galilee, about seventy 
miles north of Jerusalem, and nearly 
halfway from the Jordan to the Medi- 
terranean. According to Josephus (re- 
ferred to above on Galilee), its population 
reached fifteen, perhaps twenty, thou- 
sand. It is not named, however, in the 
Old Testament, nor by Josephus. But 
Josephus names but fcAV of the cities 
of Galilee. It seems not to have been 
held in very good repute, more, per- 
haps, on account of the rude and re- 
fractory temper of its inhabitants than 
for any gross immorality, ch. 4 : 16, 29; 
John 1 : 46. Modern Nazareth belongs 
to the better class of Eastern villages, 
and has a population of nearly three 
thousand. Its location makes it very 
secluded, being situated on the edge of 
a beautiful little valley, which is itself 
enclosed by an amphitheatre of hills 
that rise around it into fourteen distinct 
peaks. From one of these can be ob- 
tained one of the finest views in Pales- 
tine. It is altogether probable, as 01s- 
hausen suggests, that Mary or Joseph 
had propertv here ; Nazareth is called 
" their own city," ch. 2 : 39. 

27. Espoused, betrothed. Jewish 
parents were wont to arrange in regard 
to the marriage of their children, some- 
times according to the previous choice 
of the son, and wuth some regard to the 
consent of the daughter, Gen. 24 : 4, 39, 
58 ; Judg. 14 : 2, 3. A dowry was given 
by the suitor to the parents and brethren 
of the bride. The interval between be- 
trothal and the celebration of marriage 
was generally ten or twelve months, 
Deut. 20 : 7 ; Judg. 14 : 8. During this 
time the bride remained at her father's 
liouse, but was considered the wife of 
the bridegroom, Matt. 1 : 19, 20. It was 
divinely arranged that Mary should be 
betrothed to Joseph that she might be 
saved from reproach, that Jesus might 
be in the royal line, and that his real 

Father might be unknown till he should 
reveal hira. 

Joseph resided at Nazareth, as also 
did Mary (ch. 2 : 4), and followed the oc- 
cupation of a carpenter, to which Jesus 
was also trained, Mark 6 : 3. But little 
is said of hira in the gospels, the last 
reference being that of his return from 
the passover when Jesus was twelve 
years of age. What was his age when 
he married and when he died are alike 
unknown. That he died before the cru- 
cifixion is quite certain from what is 
related in John 19 : 27, and from the 
absence of his name in those passages 
in the gospels where allusion is made 
to Mary and the brethren of Jesus. 

Of the house of David. This is 
here said of Joseph. That Mary was 
also a descendent of David is implied 
by vers. 32-35, and confirmed by the 
genealogy in ch. 3: 23-28, and by such 
passages as Acts 2 : 30; Rom. 1:3; Heb. 
7 : 14 ; Ps. 132 : 11. It was only through 
Mary that Jesus could be of the seed of 
David according to the flesh. 

Mary. In Hebrew, Miriam, Ex. 
15 : 20. Matthew in his account gives 
prominence to Joseph, but Luke to 
Mary. Little is said of her after the 
birth of Jesus. ^Matthew records the 
flight into Egypt, and Luke relates how 
his parents took Jesus to the passover 
when he w^as twelve years of age. 

No intimation is given of her sinless- 
ness from birth, -which was first sug- 
gested by J. Duns Scotus about the 
beginning of the fourteenth century, 
and since December 8, 1854, has been a 
doctrine of the Romish church. The 
Scrijitures teach positively that all the 
race have fallen in Adam, with the ex- 
ception of Christ, and that they can be 
saved onlv through him. Acts 4:12; 
Rom. 3 : 10, 23 ; Gal. 3 : 22 ; 1 John 1 : 
8. The entire silence of the New Tes- 
tament after the first chapter of the 
Acts in regard to her, and the language 
of Jesus recorded in ch. 12 : 46-50, 
Luke 2 : 49, 50, and John 2 : 4, are alike 
against this doctrine and that of mak- 
ing her an object of worship. In ver, 
47, Mary confesses her own need of 
a SavioW. She appears at the cross 

B. C. 6. 



28 And the <an2:el came in unto her, and said, 'Hail I ^i^an. 9 23; lo. 19. 
tfwn that art '"hij2;hly favored, "the Lord is with thee : n juli^'. g! 12; Jer. 

29 ** blessed art thou ainonjj; women 1 And when she saw i- h>; Ac. i8. 10. 

hhHj Pshe was troubled at his saying, and cast in her p veJ?'^';-?' '^'*" 

(John 19 : 2o, 20), but is not mentioned 
in connection with the resurrection. 
]Ier name :ii>])ears lor the last time in 
tlie New Testament in Acts 1 : 14. JIow 
lonj; slie lived after this, and where she 
died, are unknown. Tradition is very 
conilicting on these points. One is, that 
she went to Ephesus with the apostle 
John, and died tliere in the year 03. 

The origin of the unscriptural views 
regarding Mary as sinless and an object 
of worship may be found in the legends 
of the apocryphal gospels, and in part 
resulting from the Nestorian controver- 
sies of the fifth century. They find 
no support in the Fathers of the first 
five centuries. The general sentiment 
anu>ng Christians of the fourth century 
seems to be thus expressed by Epipha- 
nius: " The whole tiling is foolish and 
strange, and is a device and deceit of 
the devil. Let Mary be in honor. Let 
the Lord be worshipped. Let no one 
worship Mary." Tertullian in the sec- 
ond century speaks of her unbelief. So 
does Origin of the third and Basil of the 
fourth. Chrysostom of the fifth century 
speaks in yet severer terms. Such facts 
show that long after apostolic days 
Mary was regarded as having imperfec- 
tions, infirmities, and committing actual 
sins, similar to others. 

28. The angel came in nnto her, 
into the room where she was. Very 
likely she was engaged in her private 
devotions. At what time of day is not 
told. It was not the vision of an angel 
in a dream, as to Joseph, but an actual 
visit to her when awake and alone. 
Hail. A common term of salittation, 
meaning, Jo_y to thee. Thou that art, 
etc. The original is concise, thou higldy 
favored. The angel bestows more honor 
in this salutation than in that to Zach- 
ariah, vers. 13. Never before had angel 
paid so great honor to mortal. Yet she 
was highly favored, not, as the Romanist 
would have it, as an original source of 
blessing, nor with reference to external 
beauty, but as God's choice, upon whom 
the free grace of God had been bestowed. 
The same word occurs besides here only 

once in the New Testament, namely, 
Eph. 1 : 6, where it is used of believers 
generally, " Wherein he hath made us 
accepted in the beloved," or rather 
" which he freely bestowed on us in the 
beloved." Compare similar language 
used of David, Acts 7 : 40 ; of iS'oah, 
Gen. 0:8; of Joseph, Gen. 39 : 4 ; and 
of Daniel, Dan. 9 : 23. " Idolatrous 
Rome clianges a salutation into idola- 
try."— W. li. Van Doran. The Lord 
is with thee, showing how she was 
thus highly favored ; so tlie angel to 
Gideon, Judg. : 12. Some would trans- 
late, " The Jjord be with thee," making 
it conform to the common Jewish salu- 
tation, Ruth 2 : 4. The usual transla- 
tion is, upon the whole, to be preferred. 
Blessed art thou among women, 
according to Hebrew usage, means, 
most blessed of worrien, referring to the 
special blessing with which she was 
highly favored, namely, to be the 
mother of the Messiah, which was the 
highest ambition of a Hebrew woman. 
So pronounced also by Elizabeth (vers. 
42), and by another woman, ch. 11 : 27. 
Some of the oldest manuscripts omit 
this clause, and hence it is regarded by 
some of the highest critical authorities 
as inserted here by a later hand from 
vers. 42. It would seem, however, that 
this was what formed the strangeness of 
the salutation, at which Mary wondered, 
vers. 29. 

29. And when she saw him. This 
should be omitted according to the best 
manuscripts and highest critical author- 
ities. She was troubled, etc. Ac- 
cording to the most approved reading, 
And she was troubled at the saying. She 
was disturbed, agitated ; yet, unlike 
Zachariah, she utters no word. Indeed, 
she was doubtless amazed and per- 
plexed, and knew not what to say ; but 
not in unbelief. Cast in her mind 
Rather, was considering, pondering 
upon. The sudden appearance and the 
wonderful salutation do not destroy her 
presence of mind or her thoughtful 

What manner of salutation this 



B. C. 6. 

30 mind what manner of salutation this should be. And 
the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou 

31 hast found favor with God. ** And, behold, thou shalt 
conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and 

32 ■• shalt call his name JESUS. "He shall be great, 
*and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and 
"the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his 

1 1s. 7. 14. 
'ch.2.21;Mt. 1.21. 
• Phil. 2. 9-11. 
' ver. 35 ; Mk. 5. 7; 

John 6. 69 ; Ro. 

1. 4; Heb. 1.2-6, 
« 2 Sam. 7. 13 ; Pa. 

132. 11; Is. 9. 6. 

7 ; Jer. 23. 6 ; 

Rev. 3. 7. 

should (might) be. It was not cus- 
tomary among the Jews for a man to 
use any salutation to a woman. The 
salutation also was so extraordinary. 
She did not conceive herself worthy of 
such applause, nor dream of such high 
blessedness as to be the mother of the 
Messiah. She could not see how it 
should be applied to herself. She re- 
flected therefore on the salutation, so 
wonderful and strange, what might be 
its purport, and what message would 

30. Perceiving her amazement, per- 
plexity, and thoughtful anxiety, the 
angel said to her. Fear not. He also 
called her by name, as one well known 
to him. And so are God's children to 
angels. The reason is given. For thou 
hast found favor, etc. More cor- 
rectly. For thou didst find favor with 
God, probably referring to some past 
season of earnest supplication and con- 
secration. Perhaps she had made the 
time of her betrothal a season of special 
prayer — that God would bless the fruit 
of the union which in due time would 
be consummated. Possibly she had 
prayed that she might become the 
mother of the Messiah, without form- 
ing any definite expectation that it 
would be so. However that may be, 
she hdidi found favor, ox grace, with God. 
The expression refers, not to any inward 
goodness or holiness of her own, but to 
the undeserved favor, or grace, of God, 
which he bestows upon those who earn- 
estly seek him through faith in the 
Redeemer. Special reference is had 
here to the great blessing announced in 
the following verses. Dr. Owen re- 
marks that in the expression with 
God the preposition has the force of 
laid up with, that Mary had obtained a 
favor long reserved with God, and was 
about to enjoy it. 

31. Behold introduces something 
wonderful and extraordinary, ver. 20. 
This address, says Bengel, contains the 

sum of the gospel, repeated in verses 
50-55, 68-75; 2 : 10, 11, etc. Thou 
shalt, etc., a prediction of Christ's 
miraculous birth. The prophecy of Isa. 
7 : 14 was about to be accomplished. 
Compare note on Matt. 1 : 22, 23. A 
son, points to his humanity. Shalt 
call, not merely a prediction, but par- 
takes of the nature of a command, 
showing what she should do by divine 
appointment. Jesus was the personal 
name of our Lord, being the Greek 
form of Joshua, or rather of Jeshua, as 
the name was written after the Baby- 
lonish captivity, and means Saviour, or 
more strictly, Jehovah his help or salva- 
tion. Joshua is referred to under the 
name of Jesus twice in the New Testa- 
ment, Acts 7 : 45 ; Heb. 4:8. It is the 
name commonly applied to our Lord in 
the Gospels. We shall therefore gen- 
erally use this name to designate him 
in these notes. The writers of the 
Epistles usually call him " the Lord," 
" the Lord Jesus," or " the Lord Jesus 
Christ," thus indicating him as their 
risen Lord, their anointed and spiritual 
King,and their divinely appointed Ruler 
and Saviour. This command was after- 
ward repeated to Joseph, with the 
reason why he should be thus named, 
" For he shall save his people from 
their sins," Matt. 1 : 21. 

32. He shall he great. John 
should be great, vers. 15-17 ; but Jesus 
should be infinitely greater, as the words 
of the angel immediately indicate. John 
was to be the forerunner and servant of 
him who was to be his King and the Son 
of the Highest. The greatness here 
spoken of is especially that of media- 
torial kingship, Ps. 2 : 6. There seems 
to be a reference in this and the follow- 
ing verse to such passages as Isa. 9 : 7- 
9 ; Dan. 7 : 14. 

Shall he called. The meaning of 
the original is. He shall actually be, and 
shall also be recognized and acknow- 
ledged asj Son of the Highest, or 

B. C. 6. 



33 father David. ^And he shall reign over the house of ^^»n. 2. 44; 7. 14, 
Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be jolm i'^34;neb. 
no end. 

34 Thou said INIary unto the angel, How shall this be, 
So seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered 

and said unto her, *The Holy Spirit shall come upon 
thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow 

1. 8 ; llev, 11. 15. 

»Mt, 1.20. 

3Tost High. In ver, 76 John is repre- 
sented as propliet of the Highest; Jesus 
here as Son. The Most High recognized 
him as his Son at his baptism (eh. 3 : 
22) and at his transfiguration (ch. 9 : 
35) ; he is thus acce]>ted by his follow- 
ers (Matt. 16 : 16; John 3 : 36), and 
shall be universally acknowledged as 
such at last, Phil. 2 : 9-11. So)i of the 
Most High is an appellation of Jesus as 
the Messiah, pointing to his divinity, 
and further explained in ver. 35. Com- 

?are this title, "Son of the Blessed," in 
lark 14 : 61. It is not probable that 
Mary fully understood this language; 
for how then could she have brought up 
the child ? Yet this is nothing against 
its deep meaning, for the truth was re- 
vealed gradually. By degrees his disci- 
ples came to understand his divinity. 

The throne. The kingdom, do- 
minion. The promise of dominion was 
made to Sblomon, and, through him as 
a type, to Christ, 2 Sam. 7 : 12, 13 ; Ps. 
72 : 17 ; 89 : 4. As applied to the former 
it was literal, to the latter spiritual. 
His father David, Christ was to 
descend from David, Isa. 11 : 1, 10; Jer. 
33 : 15. Jesus was of " the seed of David 
according to the flesh," Horn. 1 : 3. 
Hence, Mary must have been descended 
from David, as she was his only human 
parent. This is also confirmed by 
ver. 34, where she expresses no trouble 
about family descent, but only about 
not being actually married. 

33. He shall reign. Exercise 
spiritual dominion. House of Jacob. 
Tlie Israelitish nation, which under the 
Messianic reign Avould embrace all of 
spiritual Israel, the partakers of Abra- 
ham's faith, whether Jews or Gentiles, 
Rom. 4 : 16 ; Gal. 3 : 7-9, 29. For ever. 
Perpetually. What is declared posi- i 
tively in tliis clause is declared nega- ' 
tively in the next, and of his king- 
dom there shall be no end. The ; 
perpetuity of this reign shows that it is ' 
Bpiritual in its nature. "A dominion I 

which extends beyond all time cannot, 
at the same time, be conceived as limited 
by political boundaries." — Olshausex. 
He shall reign in the hearts of his peo- 
ple and as tlieir King, ch. 17 : 21 ; Dan. 
2 : 44; 7 : 14 ; Kev. 7 : 10-12; 11 : 15. 
This is entirely consistent with 1 Cor. 
15 : 24, where we are taught that Christ 
will deliver up his mediatorial kingdom 
when all the redeemed shall be gathered 
in, and all his enemies subdued. But 
his headship and sovereignty over his 
people shall continue for ever. 

34. This inquiry, unlike that of Zach- 
ariah, was not prompted by unbelief. 
It was perfectly natural and reasonable. 
The language of the angel implied an 
immediate accomplishment. The con- 
nection implies that Mary asked with a 
believing heart, but wishing light on 
what was mysterious. She wished to 
know how the promise could be fulfilled, 
as she was yet unmarried. Her ques- 
tion shows that she, like other Jews, 
expected the Messiah to be born by 
natural generation, and afterward to be 
brought into peculiar association with 
God." ^ 

35. The angel solves her diflBculty. 
Her question, asked in a believing and 
childlike spirit, was not displeasing to 
the angel. He saw that it was such as 
God could approve. The Holy Spirit. 
" As Christ was the Son of the Father, 
and begotten by him (John 1 : 14), this 
must be interpreted of the divine influ- 
ence or energy exerted through the 
agency of the Holy Spirit. As the 
Holy Spirit did not create the world, 
but only moved upon the chaotic mass, 
bringing order out of confusion, so 
Christ was not begotten of the Holy 
Spirit, although the energy and influ- 
ence of the Spirit was instrumentally 
employed in the conception of Mary. 
That this is the true sense of this mys- 
terious passage appears evident from 
the next clause, the power of the 
Highest, where in the original the 



B. C. 6. 

thee: therefore also ^that holy thing which shall 
be born of thee shall be called *the Son of God. 
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also con- 
ceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth 

J Job 14. 4 ; Is.53.9. 

»Ps.2.7;Mk. 1.1 ; 
John 1. '6\\ 20, 
31 ; Ac. 8. 37; Ko. 

omission of the article refers it to the 
divine power in general, and not spe- 
cifically to that of the Holy Spirit." — 
Dr. J. J. Owen. There seems to be an 
aihision to Gen. 1:2; the agency of the 
Holy Spirit was connected with the new 
creation in Christ as with the old. Nor 
should we lose siglit of the Holy Spirit 
as a sanctifier who separated and sanc- 
tified Christ's human nature from tlie 
first moment of its conception, and pre- 
served it from all taint of sin. Until 
the Saviour's birtli we may conceive 
;Mary to have been under the wonderful 
power of the Spirit. The expressions 
Holy Spirit and power of the Highest 
are parallel and explanatory of each 
other. The power of the Godhead 
came in connection with that of the 
Holy Spirit. So also are the connected 
expressions, come upon thee and over- 
shadow thee. 

Shall overshadow thee and rest 
upon thee. As a cloud casts its shadow 
and surrounds the mountain-top, so the 
energy of the divine Spirit should be 
exerted and rest upon Mary to produce 
a result unknown since the creation of 
man. The angel thus states a myste- 
rious fact, and leaves it there. Nothing 
is said to satisfy an idle or vain curiosity. 

Therefore also that holy thing, 
holy offspring or Holy One, as begotten, 
in his human nature, not of a human 
parent, but of God. Compare ch. 3 : 38. 
It was necessary that Christ should be 
born of a woman to be actually man 
(Gal. 4 : 4), and it was equally necessary 
that he should be holy that his life 
might not be forfeited to the law, but 
voluntarily surrendered as a ransom for 
us, and that he might reunite us to God. 
Of thee should be omitted, according 
to the highest critical authorities. Shall 
be called, shall not only be, but shall 
be recognized as, the Son of God. 
Compare on ver. 32. The angel gives 
a physical reason why Jesus should be 
thus called, recognized, and acknow- 
ledged — namely, having no human 
father ; God, his Father, and that too 
of his humanity. This, however, is not 
the only reason. Notice here the force 

of also, pointing toward divine Son- 
ship, and hence, though obscurely, it 
may be, to the union of humanity and 
divinity. Luke, however, in his Gospel, 
specially presents the human side of 
Chi-ist. The title Son of God had been 
given to the Messiah, and intimated his 
divinity, Ps. 2:7; 45 : 6, 7 ; Isa. 9:6; 
Jer. 23 : 5, 6 ; Mic. 5:2. In the New 
Testament it most commonly denotes, 
includes, or implies the eternal exist- 
ence which Christ has with the Father, 
Matt. 16 : 16; Mark 1:1; John 1 : 34; 
Acts 9 : 20 ; Rom. 1 : 4, etc. The Jews 
appear to have applied this title to 
the Messiah in a subordinate sense; 
they ought to have understood their 
own Scriptures, but in their wilful 
blindness they did not, and they cru- 
cified Jesus for applying the title in its 
fulness to himself. Compare John 7 : 
26, 27, 31 ; 10 : 30-36 ; 19 : 7 ; Luke 22 : 
69-71. As in ver. 32, so here, we are 
not to suppose that Mary entered into 
its full meaning; she may now have 
caught a deeper view. The life, teach- 
ings, miracles, and, above all, the resur- 
rection, of Jesus prove his Sonship, 
Rom. 1:4; Acts 13 : 33. In the tri- 
umphs of his kingdom it will be further 
publicly demonstrated and manifested, 
Phil. 2 : 11. 

36. The angel in kindness announces 
to her the wonderful fact regarding 
Elisabeth, which thus far seems to have 
been known only in the family of Zach- 
ariah, ver. 24. It was graciously given 
to a believing heart, and would serve 
as a sign or token to confirm her faith. 
Thy cousin. Rather, Thy kinsiooman. 
The original merely states that she was 
a relative. We have no means of know- 
ing her exact relationship. Elisabeth 
was of the tribe of Levi and of the fam- 
ily of Aaron, ver. 5. Intermarriages 
with other tribes were common, and 
were prohibited only when it might 
remove inheritances. Num. 36 : 6, 7. 
Aaron himself married into the tribe 
of Judah, Ex. 6 : 23. Compare 2 Chr. 
22 : 11. No argument can therefore be 
drawn from this against the belief that 
Mary was of the house of David. Her 

B. C. 6. 



•ch. 18. 27; Num. 
11. 2.t; Jer. 32. 
17 ; Ro. 4, 21. 

87 month with lier who was called barren. For *with 
God nothing shall be impossible. 

38 And Mary said, Behohl the handmaid of the Lord ; 
be it unto me *> according to thy word. And the ''Ps. 119.38 
angel departed from her. 

Mari/s visit to Elisabeth, and her song of praise. 

39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the 

mother or grandmother may have been 
from the house of Aaron, or the mother 
of Elisabeth may have been from the 
house of David. This matters not, so 
louii^ as Mary's father was a descendant 
of l3avid. The sixth month, indicat- 
in.i; the difference between the ages of 
John and Jesus. Called barren, im- 
plying a certain popular reproach. See 
on ver. 25. 

37. The angel again reminds her of 
the promise and power of God, which 
were better grounds of assurance than 
any sign could be. Nothing, no tvord 
at all, very nearly equivalent to nothing 
at all. By a Hebraistic usage word is 
sometimes used in the sense of thing, so 
far as it may refer to a thing spoken of 
or expressed in words, ch. 1 : 65 ; 2 : 15. 
Here the special reference is to the 
promise. Hence, no Avord of promise. 
Shall be impossible. The future 
has special reference to the prediction 
which the angel had made. It how- 
ever expresses a general truth, shall be 
and is impossible. There is a similarity 
of expression, and some see an allusion 
to Gen. 18 : 14: "Is anything too hard 
for Jehovah ?" 

38. Behold the handmaid, the 
maidservant, of the Lord, the lan- 
guage of humility, faith, and entire 
submission. She humbly recognizes 
herself as servant, but makes no pro- 
testations of unworthiness. Without 
further inquiry, and not yielding to 
doubt, she resigns herself wholly to 
God, assured of his protection and de- 
liverance, though much danger and re- 
proach were before her. See on Matt. 
1 : 19. Be it unto me, etc. She 
accepts prayerfully, thankfully, and in 
expectation. Compare David's assent 
in 2 Sam. 7 : 25. Contrast Mary's faith 
with Eve's unbelief, also with the 
unbelief of Zachariah. He, an aged 
priest, with long experience, yet doubts ; 
she, with youthful inexperience, yet 
believes a greater mystery. Her con- 

ception may very properly be dated 
from this entire yielding up of herself 
to God and to the accomplishment of 
his purj^oses. The Holy Spirit had 
already come upon her. By her faith 
also the prediction was to be accom- 
plished. Compare Heb. ch. 11. Alford 
says truly, "She was no unconscious 
vessel of the divine will, but (ver. 45) in 
humility and faith a fellow-worker 
with the purpose of the Father, and 
therefore her own unity with that pur- 
pose was required, and is here re- 

39-56. Mary's Visit TO Elisabeth. 
Elisabeth's welcome and blessing. 
Mary's song. Some suppose that the 
events in Matt. 1 : 18-25 must have 
occurred before this visit. But this is 
altogether improbable. Mary's remain- 
ing with Elisabeth about three months 
(ver. bQ), and the birth of John after 
her departure (ver. 57), show that Mary 
must have gone to Elisabeth soon after 
the visit of the angel. There was 
therefore not sufficient time previous to 
this for the occurrence of those events. 

39. In those days. Luke had just 
given a definite note of time, vers. 26, 
36. Mary probably went as soon as 
she could get ready. Her going with 
haste indicates this. See preceding 
paragraph. Her journey and eager 
haste reveal something of her heart — • 
her implicit faith in the angel's mes- 
sage regarding Elisabeth and herself, 
her joy, and her longing desire to com- 
mune with Elisabeth and learn every 
particular concerning these wonderful 
events. Days of trial were before her. 
She could not, according to Eastern 
custom, communicate with Joseph ex- 
cept through others. In humble reli- 
ance she waits her vindication from 
God. But no human being could so 
enter into her case and give her sym- 
pathy and counsel as Elisabeth. She 
therefore hastens to her through a long 
and perilous journey. 



B. C. 6. 

40 hill country with haste, "into a city of Juda; and • Job. 21. 9-li. 
entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elis- 

41 abeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth 
heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her 
womb. And Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit : 

Into the hill-country (of Judea, 
ver. Go), running through the centre of 
Judah from north to south, extending 
a few miles below Hebron, where it 
reaches its highest level. Compare Dr. 
Farrar on Palestine, quoted on ver. 5. 
Joshua enumerates thirty-eight cities 
as belonging to the mountains of 
Judah, Josh. 15 : 48-60. The ruins 
which now are seen on almost every 
hill-top show that at a later period 
there must have been many more than 
these. A city of Jiida. Relaud 
and Robinson suppose that Juda is a 
softened form for Juta — that is, Juttah in 
Joshua 21 : 16, a city of priests south 
of Hebron. A modern town named 
Jutta is found in that neighborhood. 
But this supposition lacks positive evi- 
dence. No trace of such a reading as 
Juta occurs in any ancient manuscript. 
Besides, Juda could hardly have been 
put for Juttah, for the names have 
little or no etymological relation to each 
other in the original Hebrew. Many 
others have supposed Hebron to have 
been the city, which was a city of the 
priests, Josh. 21 : 11. But there were 
other cities of the priests in the hill- 
country of Judah. Besides, Luke would 
most likely have named so important a 
2)lace as Hebron. Luke's indefinite 
manner indicates either a less important 
place or more probably that he was 
not himself acquainted with its name. 
Luke tells us all we can know about it ; 
its name and place must remain un- 
certain. The distance from Nazareth 
must have been from eighty to a hun- 
dred miles — a tiresome and even danger- 
ous journey of four or five days. This 
journey was certainly not in company 
with Joseph, but very likely with his 
consent; and as it was considered im- 
proper for a single or betrothed female 
to travel alone, she doubtless went 
with friends. Some may have been 
going up to Jerusalem to the feast of 
dedication, which occurred in Decem- 
ber, who could have sent her from 
thence in company of others. See 
chronological note, ver. 5. But all 

difficulties connected with her jour- 
ney gave way before her ardent and 
earnest longing to see Elisabeth. " Ex- 
traordinary circumstances justiiy ex- 
traordinary measures." — Van Ooster- 


40. Saluted Elisabeth. There 
were various forms of salutation among 
the ancient Hebrews, such as — " God be 
gracious to thee," Gen. 43 : 29 ; " Jehovah 
be with you," "Jehovah bless thee," 
Ruth 2:4; "Blessed be thou of Jeho- 
vah," Ruth 3 : 10. At a later period 
such salutations became common, as — ■ 
" Peace be to thee," Dan. 10 : 19 ; Luke 
24 : 36 ; " Peace be to this house," 
ch. 10:5. The salutation "hail," or 
" all hail," was common, ver. 28 ; Matt. 
28 : 9. The salutation of Mary would 
be becoming the circumstances, with 
such reverence as youth should give to 
age and superior station, and with such 
language as would indicate her know- 
ledge of God's blessing upon Elisabeth. 
The reply of Elisabeth really suggests 
this. Salutations were accompanied 
with gestures and movements of the 
body expressive of reverence and hu- 
miliation, varying according to the dig- 
nity of the person saluted, and some- 
times with a kiss. 

41. When Elisabeth heard, etc. 
Rather, As Elisabeth heard the saluta- 
tion. This really precludes the idea 
that Mary rehearsed what the angel 
had said to her, as some have supposed. 
The salutation and the wonderful phe- 
nomena attending Elisabeth were almost 
simultaneous. The narrative implies 
that there had been no communication 
between them about recent events. 
Mary appears to have known nothing 
of Elisabeth beyond what the angel 
had informed her, and Elisabeth was 
ignorant of Mary's condition. Both 
were taught by the Spirit. Filled 
with the Holy Spirit. Not with 
his ordinary graces, but by his extraor- 
dinary influence and presence, revealing 
to her Mary's offspring as her " Lord," 
and inspiring her to utter projihetio 

B. C. 6. 



42 and slic spake out with a loud voice, and said, ^ Blessed * Y/.' fs 2 "i2^' ^* 
nr^ thou anion.ij: -women, «and blessed u the fruit of .ps. 45. 2; 72.17-19. 
48 thy womb. And wlienee is this to me, that the mother 

44 of niy Lord should eome to me ? For, lo, as soon as tiie 
voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe 

45 leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that 
believed: for there shall be a performance of those 
things which were told her from the Lord. 

46 And Mary said, 'My soul doth magnify the Lord, 

'Ps. 35. 9. 

42. With a loud voice, in sacred 
transport, so that she could be heard 
thronghont the house. Blessed art 
thou, etc. Mary is welcomed by the 
same salutation as that addressed to her 
by the angel, ver. 28. Compare a sim- 
ilar blessing upon Joel, Judg. 5 : 24. 
The special reason why Mary was 
blessed was because her child was 
blessed. The pronouncing of this bless- 
ing implies no other superiority than 
that of age, Heb. 7:7. It was meet 
that the aged Elisabeth, under the guid- 
ance of the Holy Spirit, should bless her 
young friend. So John afterward bap- 
tized Jesus. 

43. Elisabeth humbly expresses her 
conscious inferiority to Mary. Whence 
is this to me ? How has this happened 
to me ? How comes it to pass that so 
unexpected an honor is conferred upon 
me? Mother. No longer spoken of as 
virgin. Of my Lord. Elisabeth would 
only have thus spoken with reference to 
his divinity, and under the enlighten- 
ment of the Spirit. She uses the title 
that David uses (Ps. 110 : 1), and which 
has become of common use among 
Christians. Compare the reference of 
the word " Lord " to Christ in ver. 17. 

44. Elisabeth states the reason why 
she knew Mary to be the mother of the 
Messiah. She well knew that her own 
offspring would be the forerunner, and 
that the Messiah Avould soon follow 
lifter, ver, 17. The Spirit led her to un- 
derstand the wonderful token given her. 

45. Elisabeth's language passes into 
the third person, and in the spirit of 
prophecy she pronounces Mary happv 
and extols her faith. Blessed. A dif- 
ferent word from tiiat translated blessed 
in vers. 28, 42. This word means happy 
— happy in her present relations and in 
her destiny. She was already in this 
happy state and in the way to future 
blessedness. Is she that helieved. 

Her chief happiness, ch. 11 : 28. How 
unhappy was Zachariah, who did not 
immediately believe God's word, and 
who thus incurred the divine displea- 
sure, and was constantly reminded of 
it by his deafness and dumbness ! Elis- 
abeth must have been deeply impressed 
with Mary's faith in contrast. The great- 
ness of that faith seems to fill her soul 
with admiration. It was only by the 
Holy Spirit that she knew of that faith. 
Such language revealed to Mary that 
Elisabeth knew her circumstances, and 
that she need not tell her story. For 
there shall be, etc. If the original 
be thus rendered, then we have here the 
reason why Mary is thus pronounced 
happy. But " if Elisabeth meant to 
point out the superior felicity of Mary 
on account of her faith, she would never 
have specified a circumstance which 
happened equally to her who believed 
and to him (Zachariah) who did not 
believe, for to both there was a per- 
formance of those things which had 
been told them from the Lord." — Dr. 
George Campbell. With the larger 
number of the learned, I prefer to trans- 
late, Happi/ is she that believed that there 
shall be a perfonnance, or fulfilment, etc. 
The fulfilment of the word of the Lord 
by the angel (vers, 31-35) had already 
commenced, Mary was already happy 
both in her unshaken faith, and also iu 
the beginning of its realization. This 
inspired language of Elisabeth, and es- 
pecially this recognition of the inner 
experience of Mary's soul, not only 
confirmed Mary's faith, but also pro- 
duced such an exaltation of feeling that 
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit 
she broke forth into a hymn of praise. 
46. In holy ecstacy Mary utters a 
song of joy, some expressions of which 
are borrowed from Hannah's song in 
1 Sam. 2 : 1-10. Compare the humble 
expressions of David iu 2 Sam. 7 : 18- 



B. C. 6, 

47 And my spirit hath rejoiced ^in God my Saviour. 

48 For ''he hath regarded the low estate of his hand- 

For, behold, from henceforth 'all generations shall 
call me blessed. 

49 For ^ he that is mighty 4iath done to me great things ; 

and ""holy is his name. 

n> Ex. 15. 11 : 1 Sam. 2. 2 ; Ps. Ill, 9. 

els. 12.2; U&b. 3 

»» 1 Sam. 1. 11 ; Is 

57. 15; Mic. 4 

> Mai. 3. 12. 
kPs.24.8; Is.63. 1 
I Ps. 71. 19 ; 126. 3. 

21. Mary was doubtless familiar with 
many of the lyrics of the Old Testa- 
ment. Having her soul imbued with 
their spirit, her thoughts clothe them- 
selves in their words. Filled with the 
Spirit, her expressions are not mere 
quotations, but the inspired utterances 
of joyful gratitude and of prophetic 
faith. Her hymn was not of the old 
but of the new dispensation ; some ex- 
pressions from the former were made 
radiant with the glorious light of the 
latter. It appears to have the rhyth- 
mical structure and parallelism of He- 
brew poetry. It has been variously 
divided into three or four stanzas. I 
suggest — first stanza, containing three 
parallels or verses, vers. 46-50 ; second 
stanza, with three verses, vers. 51-53 ; 
third stanza of a single verse, vers. 
54, 55. 

My soul. I, myself; her inner 
being. Doth magnify. Praise, extol. 
Compare Ps. 31 : 7 ; 69 : 30. The Latin 
translation of this word has given the 
name Magnificat to this song of Mary. 
The Lord. God, Jehovah. 

47. My spirit, corresponds to "my 
soul" in the preceding verse, both 
words meaning my whole inner being. 
Some find here, as well as in 1 Thess. 
9 : 23, a recognition of a threefold 
nature, body, soul, and spirit ; soul re- 
ferring to the lower animal nature, the 
sentiments, passions, and vital bodily 
powers ; the spirit to the higher moral 
and rational powers of man. I am not 
disposed to press this distinction very 
closely here. Mary uses the popular 
and emotional language of Hebrew 
poetry, without particular reference to 
philosophical distinctions. The words 
seem to largely overlap each other in 
their meaning, and together denote the 
whole internal man. Hath rejoiced. 
A strong expression ; My spirit exulted, 
leaped lor joy, referring to recent past 
experience, of which she is now par- 
taker. In God my Saviour. Mary 

confesses herself a sinner, her need of 
a Saviour, proclaiming her personal 
interest and rejoicing in him. In the 
Bible, God is never called the Saviour of 
angels or of holy beings. She exults 
in God as her Saviour not merely from 
a state of earthly obscurity, but as 
bringing to her spiritual salvation 
through the promised Messiah. How 
opposed is this to the late papal dogma 
of immaculate conception ! 

48. For, or Because. This verse 
and the next give the reason of Mary's 
praising God. Hath regarded, or 
looked xcpon, the low estate, the 
humble condition. The reference is to 
her humble station. The family of 
David was at this time in an obscure 
condition, and she and Joseph living in 
despised Nazareth, John 1 : 46 ; Isa. 
11 : 1 ; Amos 9 : 11. The application of 
the words, however, does not necessarily 
stop with her external station. Speak- 
ing, as she did, under the inspiration 
of the Holy Spirit, and catching views 
of the spiritual blessings and exaltation 
of the Messiah, her words imply a low- 
liness of heart and a conscious un worthi- 
ness of so great happiness as God had 
bestowed upon her. She says nothing 
of her own deservings, but ascribes all 
to the unmerited mercy of God, ver. 49. 

For, behold. The interjection calls 
attention to a most striking reason for 
the preceding declaration. All gener- 
ations, Jews and Gentiles, to the end 
of time. Similar was the promise to 
Abraham : " All the nations of the earth 
shall be blessed in him," Gen. 18 : 18. 
Blessed. Happy, as in ver. 45. Ro- 
manists quote this text in support of 
their worship of Mary, but without 
reason. Nothing is here said or im- 
plied of worship. There is no allusion 
to the title " Blessed Virgin" given her 
by Romanists. There is no more rea- 
son to worship her than to worship 

49. For, or Because, introduces 

r>. c. G. 



60 And "his mercy w on tliem that fear him from gene- 

ration to generation. 

*Ge. 17.7; Ex.20. 
6; Ps. 103. 17, 18. 

•Ex. 15. G; Ps. 98. 

1 ; Is. 51. 9. 
PDan.4. 37; 1 Pet. 

5. 5. 

61 "lie hath sliowed strength with his arm ; 
PHe hath scattered the proud in the imagination of 

their hearts. 

62 *>He hath put down the mighty from /Aa> seats, and 'J^Jl ^^ jj ; ^s, 

exalted them of h)w degree. 

63 'He hath filled the hungry with good things; 

107. 40, 41. 

»1 Sam. 2. 5; P.s. 
107. 9; John 6,35. 

another reason for her exultation in 
vers. 46, 47. He that is inig^lity, 

the mighty One, Isa. 1 : 24 ; 30 : 29. 
Hath done, etc. Rather, Did great or 
wonderful thitigs for me. The word 
translated great includes here the addi- 
tional idea of wonderful, Acts 2 : 11 ; 
Ps. 71 : 19. "With awe Mary speaks of 
the mighty God whose presence and 
sovereign power had been manifested 
to her, and who had wrought a miracle 
equal to that of the first creation. 
Aud holy is his name. She loses 
sight of herself and bursts forth into 
a general ascription of praise. God 
is her only object of worship. Name 
represents God's being, as he has re- 
vealed himself to men — holy in his 
nature, in his perfections, in his de- 
signs, manifestations, and works, and 
especially in that great and wonderful 
work by which she would become the 
mother of the Messiah. 

50. Coni>ected with his holiness is 
his mercy, his kindness, pity, com- 
passion to the needy. The proper 
order of the words is, And his mercy is 
from generation to generation — that is, 
for all time. On them. Rather, to 
them that fear him, the godly, the 
righteous. Mary rejoices not only in 
God's mercy to herself, but to others 
of all nations and all time. Notice the 
causes of Mary's rejoicing in this and 
in the last verse — God's great and 
wonderful work, his holiness, and his 
mercy, all connected with the coming 
aud blessing of the Messiah. 

51. In this and the following verses 
Mary further recognizes God's sovereign 
power and grace. He hath showed 
strength. This should not be trans- 
lated, " He is wont to show strength," 
but, He wrought strength, or might, 
mighty deeds. Mary not only glances 
at the wondex's which God had wrought 
of old, but prophetically catches a view 
of the triumphs of Christ's kingdom, 

and in the spirit of prophecy celebrates 
them as already accomplished. This 
best explains the use of the indefinite 
past tense in this and the three follow- 
ing verses. Compare Isa. 59 : 16. He 
hath scattered. He scattered, lie 
discomfits the haughty, defeating their 
plans and bringing to naught the 
devices of their hearts. Thus he did to 
Pharaoh, Sennacherib, Haman, Julian, 
and thousands since their day. Im- 
agination, thoughts, devices. Com- 
pare Isa. 44 : 25. 

52. He hath put down, etc. 
Rather, He cast down princes from, 
thrones. Thus it was with Nebuchad- 
nezzar and Belshazzar, Dan. 4 : 25 ; 5 : 
30 ; the Herod dynasty ; the Roman 
power. In prophetic vision she sees all 
anti-Messianic powers overthrown, and 
with such certainty that she speaks of 
it as already accomplished. 

And exalted them, etc., those of 
obscure and humble condition. The 
social position of two classes seems to be 
specially referred to in this verse ; but 
we must not entirely discard the implied 
idea of haughtiness in the one and 
humility in the other. Judgment and 
mercy go together. He that casts down 
the great and haughty raises up the 
obscure and humble. The cases of Saul 
and David were good illustrations in 
the past, 2 Sam. 7:8; Ps. 78 : 70. In 
the coming of the Messiah Israel's op- 
pressors are to be humbled, and evil 
throughout the earth is to be ultimately 
overthrown, Ezek. 21 : 27 ; Dan. 2 : 44. 

53. The same general idea as in the 
preceding verse, but different imagery. 
The hungry . . . the rich. Outward 
condition here implies the character 
often connected with it. Compare 1 
Cor. 1 : 26-28; Luke 6 : 21 ; 16 : 24; 
Rev. 3 : 17. The first clause of this 
verse is similar to Ps. 107 : 9. God in 
the exercise of his sovereign power and 
grace is uo respecter of persons. The 



B. C. 6. 

And 'the rich he hath sent empty away. 'ch. 6.24;i8.ii-i4 

54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, 4n remembrance *^;,^^- ]~^'\;,.-^^l 

of his mercy, 

55 " (As he spake to our fathers,) to Abraham, and to 

his seed for ever. 

56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and 

returned to her own house. 

31.3,20; Mic. 7. 
»Ge. 12. 3; Ps. 105. 
6-10; 132. 11-17; 
Eo. 11. 28; Gal. 

Birth of John the Baptist; and his father's prophetic hymn. 

57 NOW Elisabeth's full time came that she should 

58 be delivered ; and she brought forth a son. And her 
neighbors and her cousins heard how the Lord had 
showed great mercy upon her; and *they rejoiced 
with her. 

59 And it came to pass, that 'on the eighth day they 'Ge. ^17. 12; Le. 
came to circumcise the child ; and they called him 

*ver. 14. 



phrase, sent empty away, denotes 
peremptory dismissal, empty-handed. 
The parable of the Pharisee and publi- 
can affords a good illustration, ch. 18 : 

54. Hath holpen. Rather, He 
helped. Mary as a prophetess sees the 
Messiah already come and the promise 
fulfilled. His servant Israel, Israel, 
his servant or child, representing spirit- 
ual Israel, whether Jews or Gentiles, 
Gal. 3 : 7. Israel Avas in a low condi- 
tion, both temporally and spiritually. 
In remembrance, etc. Literally, To 
remember mercy ; that he might remem- 
ber mercy, which he had promised, to 
Abraham and his seed for ever. This 
presents the reason of these great de- 
liverances and blessings which Mary 
had been celebrating, namely, God's 
gracious designs of mercy, which he 
had promised to the fathers. 

55. As he spake to our fathers. 
A parenthetical clause, referring to the 
patriarchs and to David, from whom 
the Messiah was to descend, Matt. 1 : 
1; Gen. 22 : 16-18; Ps. 110 : 1. Com- 
pare verses 70-73. To Abraham and 
his seed for ever — that is, to all gen- 
erations. Compare the similar lans^uage 
in Ps. 98 : 3 and Mic. 7 : 20. The bless- 
ings were designed for Abraham and his 
spiritual descendants for ever. Some 
would join for ever with to remember 
mercy, making prominent the faithful- 
ness, the unchanging and everlasting 
mercy, of God. But it is more natural 
to join it with seed, as above, intimating 
that the blessing of the Messiah was to 

be extended to the whole world and 
through all time. The faithfulness of 
God is, of course, distinctly implied. 

56. Returned to her own house. 
At Nazareth, ver. 26 ; ch. 2 : 39. Soon 
after this the events related in Matt. 1 : 
18-24 probably occurred. Luke now 
leaves Mary until her journey with 
Joseph to Bethlehem, ch. 2:1. 

57-80. Birth of John the Baptist. 
The Prophetic Song oe Zachariah. 
John's private history before his min- 

57. The birth of John occurred soon 
after Mary's departure, probably in the 
spring of A. D. 5. Compare chrono- 
logical note on ver. 5. The ancient 
church at Alexandria celebrated John's 
birthdav on April 23d. 

58. Cousins. Relatives, kindred, as 
in ver. 36, on which see note. Had 
showed great mercy upon her. 
Very expressive in the original, liter- 
ally. Had magnified his mercy toward 
her. Rejoiced with her, at her good 
fortune and on the happy occasion. 
Thus early began to be fulfilled the 
prediction of the angel, ver. 14. Cora- 
pare the joy at the birth of Obed, Ruth 
4 : 14-17. 

59. The eighth day, from his birth, 
that being the day, according to the 
patriarchal and Mosaic law, for circum- 
cision. Gen. 17 : 12 ; Lev. 12 : 3. If it 
came on the Sabbath, the rite was not 
postponed, John 7 : 22, 23. They 
came. Relatives and friends. Ac- 
cording to the Jewish traditional law, 
ten persons were required to be present 

B. C. 6. 



60 Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his 
mother answered and said, *Xot so ; but he shall be • ver. 13. 

61 called John. And they said unto her, There is none 

62 of thy kindred that is called by this name. And 
they made signs to his father, how he would have him 

63 called. And he asked for a writing-table, and wrote, 
saying, 'His name is John. And they marvelled all. '^er. 13. 

as witnesses of circumcision. To cir- 
comcise. Circumcision was enjoined 
upon Abraham as a token or covenant 
siu'n, and was to be performed upon all 
his male descendants and upon every 
male that was admitted within the pale 
of the nation, Gen. 17 : 9-14. It was an 
essential condition of Jewish nation- 
ality. Paul speaks of it also as " a seal 
of the righteousness of the faith which 
he (Abraham) had while in uncircum- 
cision," Rom. 4 : 11. It was thus an 
attestation of Abraham's justification 
by faith. It was typical, not of baptism, 
but of resreneration. " Circumcision is 
of the heart," Rom. 2 : 29. " They that 
are of faith, the same are the children 
of Abraham," Gal. 3:7. " We are the 
circumcision which worship God in the 
spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus," Phil. 
3: 3. 

And they called him. Literally, 
And they were calling him. They were 
on the point of naming him, and really 
had designated Zachariah as his name. 
It was customary to formally give the 
child his name at circumcision, because 
Abram's name was changed at the in- 
stitution of the rite (Gen. 17 : 5, 15), 
and the circumcision and naming of 
Isaac are mentioned together. It was 
not usual to call a child after the 
name of his father without a par- 
ticular reason for it. Xames common 
in the family were, however, generally 
preferred, ver. 61. Why therelatives 
should call the child Zachariah can 
only be surmised. The following 
reasons suggest themselves: 1. The 
meaning of the name, whom Jehovah 
remembers (ver. 5 1, was appropriate for 
one so signally born. 2. The name may 
have seemed fitting to a child of their 
old age, and only child. 3. The name 
was famous in Israel for a prophet and 
priest. They wished to continue it in 
the family, '4. The sad condition of 
Zachariah, deaf and dumb, appealed to 
their sympathies, and they would show 

their love and respect for him by 
naminsr his son after him. 

6U. Not so, Xay. A positive nega- 
tive. Elisabeth had doubtless been 
informed by Zachariah what his name 
should be, ver. 13. Although it is 
possible, yet we need not suppose that 
she had received it by a direct revela- 
tion from God. John. See on ver. 13. 

61. The custom of naming children 
after some connection of the family is 
urged as a valid objection against the 
name John. It was fitting, however, 
that the harbinger of the new dispensa- 
jtion should have a name not found 
jamong his natural connections. So 
>Jesus is not found among our Lord's 

•. 62. In surprise they appeal to Zach- 
ariah. This does not prove that he had 
never informed his wife what thie name 
of the child should be, but it merely 
shows that the increduhty of their 
friends could be overcome only by the 
positive confirmation of Zachariah him- 
self. They made si?ns, with the 
head or hands, or both. This shows 
that Z*achariah was deaf as well as 
dumb. How he would have, etc. 
Hoic he rn<iy perhaps wish him called. 
They assume that he had a wish in the 
ease. It is fair to suppose that Elisa- 
beth had stated the fact. The original 
also implies that the question was so 
put as to demand a definite reply ; more 
literally, They made signs as to this, 
namely, What he, etc. 

63. He asked, by signs. A writ- 
ins:-table, a irriting tablet, which was 
probably made of light board, covered 
with wax. The instrument of writing 
was called a style, often of iron (Jer. 
17 : 1), sharp at one end for writing, 
and broad and smooth at the other for 
eSacing the letters when necessary, 
and smoothing the wax. He wrote, 
saying. A Hebrew manner of saying:, 
He wrote these words. His name is 
John, he is already named. Mar- 



B. C. 6. 





''And his moutli was opened immediately, and his 

tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. And 

fear came on all that dwelt round about them : and 

all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all 

^the hill country of Juda}a. And all they that heard 

them '^laid thc7n up in their hearts, saying,^ What 

manner of child shall this be! And ^the hand of 

the Lord Avas witli him. 

And his father Zach arias 'was filled with the Holy 

Spirit, and prophesied, saying, 

e Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, 

i>ver. 20; Ps. 51. 
16;Eze.29. 21. 

ver. 89. 
«ch. 2. 19,51. 

•Ge. 39. 2; Ps. 89. 
21; Ac. 11. 21. 

'Joel 2. 28. 
6 1 Ki. 1. 48; 

41. 13; 72. 

106. 48. 



veiled, not so much at the new name 
introduced into the family as at the 
agreement of Zachariah with Elisabeth. 
This gives adilitional evidence that 
Zachariah was deaf, for there would not 
have been such cause of astonishment 
if he had heard their previous conver- 

64. His mouth was opened im- 
mediately. What the angel had 
promised was now fully accomplished, 
vers. 13, 20. Zachariah's unbelief in 
regard to the child had included in its 
reference what the augel had foretold 
of him. The naming of the child was 
an evidence of Zachariah's restored 
faith. In apprehending the full mean- 
ing of the name John, 07ie whom God 
has graciously given, he accepted in full 
confidence all that had been foretold. 
And now the first use of his recovered 
speech was not in complaint, nor in 
conversation with his wife or friends, 
but in praising — rather blessing — God. 
See on ver. 68. He blessed God, not 
merely for himself, but for the child, 
and for what God was about to do for 
his people by the Messiah and his fore- 
runner. This is evident from the whole 
history and from the fifteen verses that 

65. Fear, religious awe on account 
of the evident display of divine power. 
" Fear has always been the first effect 
produced on man by the consciousness 
that heavenly beings are entering into 
nearer and unusual intercourse with 
him." — Van Oosterzee. See ver. 12 ; 
ch. 2:9; 5 : 26 ; 7 : 16 ; 8 : 37, etc. 

All that dwelt, all in the imme- 
diate neighborhood of the city of John's 
birth, ver. 39. All these sayings 
w^ere noised abroad. Kather, All 
these things ircre talked of everywhere, 
told abroad. The circumstances regard- 

ing John's birth became the great topic 
of conversation in all the hill-country 
of Judea, but seem not to have reached 

Qiq. Laid them up, remembered 
them and carefully thought upon them 
as full of meaning. What manner 
of child, etc. Wh<it, then, in view of 
these wondrous events, will this child 
be? The hand of the Lord, etc., 
the guidance, protection, and blessing 
of God, including the gracious influ- 
ences of the Spirit. Luke here gives a 
glimpse of John's early history, iuti- 1 
mating both the continued fulfilment 
of the angel's woi-ds (ver. 15), and also 
the realization of the expectations 
awakened among the people at his 
birth. He showed an unusual maturity 
and spirituality of character. 

67. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Zach- 
ariah, in a strain of sacred rapture, 
prophesied. He spake as the proph- 
ets did of old, 1 Pet. 1 : 21. A prophet 
is one who is used by God as a medium 
of communicating his will, even though 
he mav not predict any future events, 
Gen. 20 : 7 ; John 4 : 19. God has 
generally chosen holy men as propliets 
(ver. 70), yet sometimes he has inspired 
even wicked men. Num. 23 : 5 ; 24 : 17. 
The spirit of prophecy had ceased with 
Malachi, but now, after nearly four hun- 
dred years, it is again given. 

68. The song of Zachariah is a hymn 
of thanksgiving and a prediction of 
John's relation to Christ. It is Messi- 
anic in its character. Christ is its 
theme, and it is John's glory to be his 
forerunner, ver. 76. Its structure is in 
the form of Hebrew poetry, and abounds 
in Hebrew idioms. Zachariah probably 
committed it to writing, and copies of 
it were very likely preserved in his 
family and among his friends. Luke 

B. C. 6. 





For "he hath visited and redeemed his people; 
'And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in 

the house of his servant David, 
(^ As ho spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, 
Which have been since the world began,) 

fcch. 7. 16; Ex. 4. 

31; I's. 111.9. 
• 1 Sam. 2. 1 ; Ps, 

18. 2; 132. 17; 

Eze. 29. 21. 
k2Siuii. 23. 2; Jer. 

23. 5, G ; Dau. 9. 

24; Ac. 3.21-24; 2 Pet. 1.21. 

mar have had one of these. See on 
vor. 2. The song consists of two parts : 
1. Blessing God for the true spiritual 
salvation in fulfilment of his promises, 
vers. 68-75. 2. Presenting John as the 
proi)het and herald of the Messiah, the 
preparer of his way, vers. 76-79. 

Blessed. It seems natural to con- 
nect this immediately with ver. 64, and 
to suppose that when he first used his 
restored speech in blessing God he 
uttered this song under the inspiration 
and guidance of the Spirit. To bless 
God "is not only to acknowledge and 
proclaim his infinite and eternal bless- 
edness, but to render to him ascriptions 
of praise and thanksgiving. He blesses 
Jehovah, God of Israel, rather the 
God of Israel, being explanatory. See 
on ver. 16. The language here used 
was a form of blessing of long standing, 
Ps. 41 : 13 ; 72 : IS ; 106 : 4S. Hath 
visited and redeemed. Literally, ^e 
vhited and ^cronght redemption for his 
people. In the spirit of prophecy 
Zachariah beholds an accomplished 
salvation through the Messiah, whose 
forerunner was now born ; and so cer- 
tain and so present before him is this 
salvation that he celebrates it as if 
already completed. The redemption 
here spoken of was the design of this 
visitation, and refers specially to the 
spiritual deliverance eftected by Christ. 
The great idea in redemption under 
Jewish law was the payment of a price, 
or ransom. Thus a man was redeem- 
ed from death (Ex. 21 : 30) or from 
slavery, Lev. 25 : 51. Thus, Christ 
"gave' his life a ransom for manv," 
Matt. 20 : 28. See Gal. 3 : 13 ; 1 Pet. 
1 : 18, 19. It is probable that Zacha- 
riah, like the Jews of his day, expected 
also a temporal deliverer, but we must 
conclude that, being filled with the 
Holy Spirit, he saw the Messiah as a 
spiritual Redeemer. Doubtless, how- 
ever, he fell short of discerning the 
full meaning of his own prophetic 
words, like the old prophets in some 
3ase3, 1 Pet. 1 : 10, 11. The time had 

not yet come for these full revelations 
to the human heart. 

69. Aud hath raised up an horn. 

Literally, And raised tip, etc. As in 
the preceding verse, Zachariah foresees 
the comj)letion of the work now besrun 
in the birth of the Messiah's forerunner. 
The horn is a formidable weapon of 
beasts that are weak and de- 
fenceless, and is therefore a symbol of 
strength and defence. Ps. 132:17; 
Jer. 48 : 25 ; Mic. 4 : 13. It has no ref- 
erence to "horns of the altar," which 
served as an alylum merely, 1 Kings 
1 : 50; 2 : 28. A horn of salvation 
is a strong defender, a mighty deliverer, 
and here means a mighty Saviour, Acts 
5 : 31. Compare the similar laniruage 
of David, 2 Sam. 22 : 3. As the follow- 
ing verses show, he was to be mighty in 
saving his people and punishing his 
enemies. Zachariah also points to the 
house, the family, of David, from 
whence this mighty Deliverer should 
come, Ps. 132 : 17 ;' Matt. 1:1; Acts 
15 : 16. This shows that he was speak- 
ing of the Messiah, for John was not of 
David's line. 

70. As he spake, etc. This verse is 
parenthetical. Notice that Mary ends 
her song (ver. 55), while Zachariah al- 
most begins his, by alluding to the bur- 
den of ancient prophecy. While it is 
not strictly true to say, with Bengel, 
that Zachariah begins where Mary left 
ofl", yet his song goes beyond hers in the 
revelation of truth. Notice also that 
God spoke through his holy prophets : 
" Men spake as thev were moved bvthe 
Holy Spirit," 2 Pet. 1 : 21. See on ver. 
67. The burden of prophecy had been 
the future Messiah. " The testimony 
of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," Eev. 
19 : 10. Which have been since 
the world hegan. It is better to 
translate simply. Of old. The refer- 
ence is generally to the ancient proph- 
ets, and most naturally to all who ut- 
tered predictions regarding Christ. The 
first promise of a Redeemer was made 
by God himself in the garden. Gen. 3 : 



B. C. 6. 

71 'That we should be saved from our enemies, and from 

the hand of all that hate us ; 

72 ™To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, 
And to remember his holy covenant ; 

73 "The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 

74 That he would grant unto us, 

That we being delivered out of the hand of our ene- 
Might "serve him without fear, 

75 I* In holiness and righteousness before him, all the 

days of our life. 

iDeu. 33.29; Is. 14. 
1-3 ; Jer. 23. 6. 

«Le, 26. 42; Pa. 

105.8,9; lOG. 45-, 

Eze. 16. 60. 
"Ge. 22. 16, 17; 

neb. 6. 13, 17. 

oZeph. 3. 16;Ro. 6. 

18, 22; Hcb. 9. 14. 
Pjor. 32. 39, 40; 

Eph. 4. 24; Tit. 

2. 11-14; 1 Pet. 

1. 15 ; 2 Pet. 1. 4. 

15. This, as Owen remarks, was "the 
fountain-head of the stream of proph- 
ecy, which flowed down the ages In an 
ever widening and deepening channel." 

71. That Ave should be saved, 
etc. Literally, Salvation from our ene- 
mies. The thought in ver. 69 is now 
taken up after the parenthesis. Salva- 
tion is explanatory of and the result of 
" the horn of salvation " being raised 
up. This was a spiritual deliverance 
from spiritual enemies, since serving 
God " in holiness and righteousness all 
our days" (ver. 75) was to be the result 
of this salvation. Zachariah doubtless 
connected this with deliverance from 
the political oppression of Herod and 
the Romans, expecting national exalta- 
tion with the highest religious prosper- 
ity, like that in the days of David and 
Solomon. Yet notwithstanding his Jew- 
ish notions and the lower views of his 
times, it seems to us that he must, under 
the influence of the Holy Spirit, have 
been chiefly viewing a salvation from 
the galling bondage of individual and 
national sins. 

72. The salvation mentioned in the 
preceding verse is further unfolded, and 
the purpose of God in raising up this 
mighty Saviour. To perform the 
mercy, etc. Rather, To exercise or 
show mercy to our fathers. The word 
promised in our common version is 
unnecessary. The blessed effects of this 
salvation extended to the fathers and 
all the righteous of the past. Their 
salvation was all of grace, John 8 : 56 ; 
Rom. 3 : 25 ; Heb. 9 : 15. To remem- 
ber his holy covenant, his promises 
and agreement respecting the Messiah 
and his salvation. He remembered 
these for the sake of performing them. 
It was a holy covenant because origi- 
nated in holiness and productive of 

holiness in the saved, and especially 
because it was in itself holy, freed from 
all injustice and unrighteousness and 
from every imperfection, Rom. 3 : 26. 

73. The oath, dependent on " to 
remember" and explanatory of "cov- 
enant." God remembers his oath for 
the purpose of performing it or grant- 
ing its fulfilment. The oath which he 
swore to Abraham is found in Gen. 
22 : 16, 18. Its highest reference was to 
Christ (Gal. 3 : 16), and all of it is ful- 
filled in Christ, Heb. 6 : 13-20. 

74. That he would grant unto 
us. Literally, To grant to us — that is, 
in exercising mercy, remembering his 
holy covenant, and performing his oath 
to grant to us such a deliverance that 
we, without fear, may serve him in ho- 
liness, etc. The order of the words in 
the original is worthy of notice : To 
grant to ws, that without fear, being de- 
livered from the hands of our enemies^ 
tve should serve him in holiness, etc. It 
was of the greatest importance in the 
mind of Zachariah that they should 
serve God without fear, and hence he 
makes it prominent. Doubtless some 
reference is made to the fear of political 
enemies, since they had often interfered 
Avith God's service. " How many times 
had the Macedonians, and especially 
Antiochus Epiphanes and the Romans, 
hindered the Jews in the exei'cise of 
their worship !" — De Wette. It is a 
great blessing to be permitted, as in our 
own country, to serve God according to 
the dictates of our own conscience. But 
Zachariah, filled with the Spirit, looked 
beyond mere temporal deliverances • he 
saw a salvation from spiritual foes, an 
entering into a state, not of " bondage 
again to fear," but of spiritual Sonship 
(Rom. 8 : 15) and of spiritual liberty 
(Gal. 5:1), in which there would be 

B. C. 6. 



76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the 

Highest ; 
For 1 thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to pre- 
pare his ways, 

77 'To give knowledge of salvation unto his people 'by 

the remission of their sins ; 

q Is. 40. 3 ; Mai. 3. 

1; 4. 5; Mt. 11. 

»ch. 3. 3; John 1. 

»Mk. 1. 4; Ac. 2. 

38; 3. 19; 10.43; 

Eph. 1. 7. 

the privilege of serving: Goil with a love 
that casts out fear, 1 John 4 : 18. 

75. In holiness and righteous- 
ness. These words show the quality 
and extent of the service, holiness re- 
ferring more especially to man's rela- 
tions and duties to God, and righfeous- 
7jft?5 to his relations and duties to his 
fellow-men. They comprehend all duty. 
The two words, however, overlap each 
other in their meaning, and are used to 
give fulness of expression. They are 
used in Eph. 4 : 24, just as here, of the 
new man created after God. The lan- 
guage shows that Zachariah spoke of 
the Messiah as a spiritual Saviour, and 
that the deliverance in the preceding 
verse was from sin. Before him, 
before God, which can be attained only 
by grace. Compare the phrase " right- 
eous before God" in ver. 6. All the 
days of our life. According to the 
oldest manuscripts, All our days. In 
this service they should continue to 
the end of life, " kept by the power 
of God through faith unto salvation," 
1 Pet. 1:5. It is God's power and faith- 
fulness, not ours, that secure our per- 

76. Here commences the second part 
of Zachariah's song. After giving vent 
to his gratitude for the coming and 
olessing of the Messiah he now first 
mentions his son, whom he addresses in 
language of great beauty, yet he speaks 
of him only as the prophet and forerun- 
ner of him whose glorious mission and 
salvation he was celebrating. And 

j thou. According to the most ancient 
I manuscripts, A?id thou also. Thou also 
' art to have a high and important office 
I and work. Shalt be called. The 
I meaning, as in ver. 32, is not only 
shalt be, but shalt be recognized as, the 
Prophet of the Highest, the mes- 
senger of God, Mai. ch. 3. That he 
was so recognized, see ch. 20 : 6. John 
was a prophet not only as a preacher 
of truth, but also as the foreteller of 
Christ's coming and of the vengeance 
that should befall the Jewish nation for 

their impenitence and unbelief. Notice 
the pre-eminence of Jesus, who is styled 
" Son of the Highest" in ver. 32 ; John 
1 : 8. The reason is given why he should 
be thus called. For thou shalt go be- 
fore the face, etc. Like one going 
before an Oriental monarch, so John 
should immediately precede and pre- 
pare the way for the Son of the High- 
est. Christ first, John secondary. There 
seems to be a reference to the prophecy 
in Isa. 40 : 3 and Mai. 3 : 1. The divine 
nature of the Messiah is brought to 
view by the application of the name 
Lord to him — a word used in translat- 
ing Jehovah in the Old Testament. To 
prepare his way, by awakening a 
sense of sin and leading the people to 
long, not for a temporal prince, but for 
a spiritual Saviour. 

77. To give knowledge of sal- 
vation. This expresses the object of 
John's going before the Lord to pre- 
pare his ways, and may be translated, 
III order to give knowledge, etc. John 
awakened in the people a perception of 
their need of a spiritual emancipation 
and of the necessity of repentance and 
reformation of life, and pointed to Jesus 
as the Lamb of God that takes away 
the sin of the world, ch. 3:3; John 1 : 
29. He thus taught and heralded the 
salvation which Christ was to bring, 
and put the people in preparation for it. 
There should be no comma after peo- 
ple. By the remission. Rather, 
In the remission, forgiveness, of sins. 
This is to be taken with what precedes, 
especially with knowledge. John was 
to give a knowledge of a salvation con- 
sisting in a forgiveness of sins. This 
was a grand excellence of the gospel 
(Eph. 1:7; Col. 1 : 14), and was beyond 
the reach of the old dispensation, Heb. 
10 : 1-4, 11-18 ; Rom. 3 : 25, 26. Before 
Christ came there seems to have been 
no clear understanding of the method 
by which God could grant the full for- 
giveness of sins, and hence the know- 
ledge of this was the great need of the 
Jews and of the world. 



B. C. 6. 

78 * Through the tender mercy of our God, 

Whereby the "dayspring from on high hath visited us, 

79 'To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the 

shadow of death, 
To guide our feet into the way of peace. 

80 And ythe child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, 
and 'was in the deserts till the day of *his showing 
unto Israel. 

* Is. 63. 7 ; Ep. 2. 4, 

» Is. 9. 2 ; Mai. 4. 2. 
«ch. 2. 32; la. 49. 

6, 9; Mt. 4. 16; 

John 1. 9; 8.12; 

Ac. 26. 18; Eph. 

5. 8. 
Tch. 2. 40. 
«Mt. 3.1; 11. 7. 
•John 1. 31. 

78. Through the tender mercy. 

Eather, mercies. The original is of 
strong import, meaning tender or yearn- 
ing compassion, which is exercised to- 
ward the miserable. The knowledge 
and the remission of sins, as well as 
the salvation, are through God's tender 
mercies. All are of grace. Whereby — 
that is, by the mercy of our God and 
as its result. Dayspring. Literally, 
The rising, as of the sun, the daicn of 
a heavenly day. There is a reference 
to prophetic terms : " But unto you that 
fear my name shall the Sun of right- 
eousness arise with healing in his 
wings," Mai. 4 . 2. Compare Isa. 9 : 
2 ; 49 : 6 ; 60 : 1-3. Both from this 
verse and the next it is evident that 
the reference is to the Messiah. From 
on high, from heaven or from God. 
Compare ch. 24 : 49 ; Eph. 4 : 8. Com- 
ing, not like the heavenly bodies, from 
beneath the horizon, but as it were from 
the very zenith. The reference, how- 
ever, is rather to the place whence than 
to the manner of its coming. Hath 
visited us. Literally, Visited its. 
With prophetic vision, he sees the 
dawn already commenced and the Mes- 
siah already coming. Compare ver. 68. 

79. The design of Christ's coming is 
given. To give light to them, to 
enlighten or illumine them that sit in 
darkness, of sin and ignorance, and 
in the shadow of death, the dark 
and terrible death-shade, that dismal 
darkness which reigns in the region of 
the dead, here the moral darkness of 
spiritual death, Matt. 4 : 16. Similar 
language is found in Isa. 9 : 1, 2 ; 60 : 
1, 2. To guide our feet. The re- 
sult of this enlightenment. In the 
way. Into the way of peace, that 
course of life which is attended with 
peace of conscience and leads to eternal 
peace. The gospel shows us the only 
way of peace with God. Thus Christ's 
coming is like the day-dawn that comes 

to the benighted traveller in the dark- 
ness of the most dismal night, and 
enables him to pursue his journey in 
paths of peace and safety. How grandly 
closes this hymn " with a boundless 
prospect into the still partly hidden 
future " ! 

80, Luke now gives us a glimpse of 
John's private life, his development of 
both body and mind, his preparation 
for his peculiar work. The conclusion 
is similar to that in ch. 2 : 40 ; compare 
ch. 2 : 52. It may mark the end of one 
of those documents which Luke used 
under the direction of the Spirit, ver. 3. 
And the child grew and Avaxed 
strong in spirit. His physical 
growth and mental and spiritual attain- 
ments. Thus was he gradually fitted 
for the arduous work of preaching re- 
pentance to a wicked nation. And 
was in the deserts, in the thinly- 
inhabited districts of Southern Pales- 
tine. The word desert, or wilderness, 
in the New Testament, denotes merely 
an unenclosed, untilled, and thinly-in- 
habited district. It was applied to 
mountainous regions, to districts fitted 
only for pasture, and to tracts of country 
remote from towns and sparsely settled. 
Thus, away from the vices of the city, 
amid the wild scenes of nature, and in 
the seclusion of wilderness districts, 
John lived as a JSTazarite (ver. 15), de- 
voted to self-discipline and communion 
with God. He was in the wilderness 
when called to his work, ch. 3 : 2. 
There is no evidence that he came in 
contact with the Essenes, who dwelt in 
the neighborhood of the Dead Sea. 
Till the day of his showing unte 
Israel, the time of his public mani- 
festation, the entrance upon his publio 
ministry at about thirty years of age, 
ch. 3:2. His parents probably died 
when he was young ; he was not taught 
in the Jewish schools ; he did not ap- 
pear in the service of the temple at an 

B. C. 6. 



age when he could have done so (com- 
pare Num. 8 : 24 ; 1 Chron. 23 : 27); 
out remained in retirement under the 
teachings of the Spirit till called to his 
appointed work. 

Remarks or Suggestions. 

1. Christianity is based on facts. 
These facts are handed down, not by 
oral tradition, but by inspired written 
documents. Thus oral tradition was 
deemed insufficient. Christianity is 
the onlvreally historical religion, vers. 

1, 2; John 3:11; 20 : 30, 31 ; 1 Cor. 

15 : 8 ; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 1 : 1-3. 

2. There are certain truths which 
are believed by all true Christians. 
But each should seek to be guided into 
all truth, ver. 1 ; John 3:15; 6 : 40, 47 ; 

16 : 13 ; 1 John 4 : 1-3. 

3. Inspiration did not preclude the 
careful use of all available sources of 
information. Neither do the blessings 
of the Spirit render unnecessary re- 
search and all the means at our com- 
mand in the study of God's word, vers. 

2, 3 ; John 5 : 39 ; Acts 17:11; 1 Tim. 
4: 13. 

4. If we would lead others into an 
assured faith, we must have an assured 
faith ourselves. The Scriptures are in- 
tended for this purpose, vers. 1, 4; 
Prov. 4 : 4, 5 ; Isa. 33 : 6 ; Acts 26 : 26- 
29 ; Rom. 10 : 17 ; 2 Tim. 3 : 16, 17. 

5. Knowledge and faith mutually 
help each other. Faith leads to fuller 
knowledge, and true Christian know- 
ledge increases and confirms faith, vers. 
1, 4 ; Prov. 2 : 4, 5 ; Eph. 4 : 13 ; 2 Tim. 
3 : 15; Heb. 11 : 1. 

6. Pious parents are among the great- 
est blessings, ver. 5 ; 2 Tim. 1:5; 1 
Kings 11 : 12, 13. 

7. Religion consists not only in faith 
but also in practice, and pertains to 
both the heart and life, to both public 
and private duties, vers. 6, 7 ; Acts 
24 : 16 ; 2 Cor. 5 : 21 ; Phil. 2 : 15, 16 ; 
James 2 : 14-18. 

8. Many blessings are only deferred, 
not denied. They are thus the more 
prized, and received with greater thank- 
fulness, vers. 7 ; Mark 7 : 27-30 ; Heb. 

11 : 13, 14. 

9. The way of blessing is in the path 
of duty, vers. 8, 9 ; Prov. 3:12; John 

12 : 26. 

10. Through the intercession of 
Christ in the heavenly temple our 
prayers ascend as the incense of the 
morning and evening sacrifice, vers. 
8-10; Rom. 8:34; Ileb. 7:24, 25; 
Rev. 5 : 8. 

11. The ministry of angels. They 
may often be present now with God's 
worshipping people, vers. 11, 26; 2 : 9- 
13; Gal. 3 : 19 ; Heb. 1 : 11. 

12. If the righteous Zachariah was 
troubled at the sight of an angel bring- 
ing glad tidings, how will the wicked 
tremble when the Lord of angels comes 
to judgment ! Sin is productive of fear, 
but perfect love casts out fear, ver. 12 ; 
Isa. 6 : 5 ; 2 Thess. 1 : 6-10 ; 1 John 4 : 
18 ; Rev. 6 : 16. 

13. God fulfils his purposes through 
the prayers of his people. Yet he often 
delays the answer for their good and his 
own glory, ver. 13 ; Ezek. 36 : 37 ; Dan. 
9:1-4; Mark 15 : 22-28; Acts 10 : 4; 
Eph. 3 : 20. 

14. Pious children are a joy both to 
parents and to God's people, ver. 14; 
Ps. 118 : 15. 

15. True greatness is greatness in the 
sight of the Lord. It Avill be our high- 
est honor if we can have some connec- 
tion with Christ's work of saving the 
world, ver. 15 ; 1 Sam. 16 : 7 ; Luke 7 : 
28; Rom. 12 : 3; 1 Tim. 1 : 12. 

16. Very young children may be con- 
verted, ver. 15 ; Jer. 1:5; Ps. 8 : 2. 

17. Those who would lead others to 
Christ should be filled with the Spirit, 
vers. 15, 16 ; Eph. 5:18; Rom. 12 : 6-8. 

18. A work similar to that of John 
must be repeated by every one who 
would find Christ. A conviction of 
sin must precede a trust in Christ as 
our Sin-bearer, vers. 16, 17; Matt. 
3:2; Mark 1 : 15 ; Luke 24 : 47 ; Gal. 
3 : 24. 

19. Was Zachariah's unbelief unrea- 
sonable when an angel spake? How 
much more unreasonable our unbelief 
when the Son of God utters words of 
eternal life ! vers. 18, 19 ; John 16 : 9 ; 1 
John 5 : 9-11. 

20. Beware, lest through unbelief you 
may be left for a time to spiritual dumb- 
ness in your praises, joys, and hopes, 
ver. 20; Num. 20 : 12; Mark 16 : 14; 
John 20 : 24, 25 ; Heb. 3:12. 

21. If God so chastened one of his 
holiest servants on account of a single 
act of unbelief, what shall be the pun- 



B. c. a 

ishment of those who by an evil heart 
and a life of unbelief reject Christ en- 
tirely and for ever ! ver. 20 ; John 3 : 
36; kom. 1 : 18; 2 Thess. 2 : 12. 

22. Under chastisement we should 
continue so far as we may be able in 
the performance of duty, vers. 21-23 ; 
Hab. 3 : 17, 18 ; Heb. 12 : 11-13. 

23. Chastisement is not a sign that 
God has forsaken his people, but rather 
that he would remember them in mercv, 
vers. 22-25 ; Euth 1 : 20, 21 ; 4 : 14, 15 ; 
Heb. 12 : 9-11. 

24. When God greatly blesses us, we 
should avoid all ostentation, and with 
thankfulness acknowledge and improve 
his mercies, vers. 24, 25 ; Ps. 85 : 8 ; Acts 
20 : 19 ; 26 : 19, 20. 

25. How precious is God's look of 
mercy ! ver. 25 ; Ps. 25 : 18 ; 80 ; 14 ; 
Luke 22 : 61. 

26. Gabriel was the first announcer 
of the glad tidings at Jerusalem and at 
Nazareth. What an honor should we 
esteem it to be to announce a Saviour 
to our fellow-men ! vers. 13-17, 26 ; 1 
Tim. 1 : 12; 1 Pet. 1 : 12. 

27. God in his sovereignty chooses 
whom he will for the enjoyment of 
peculiar honors and blessings. He 
passes by the palaces of kings and the 
houses of the worldly wise, and selects 
the weak of the world to confound the 
mighty, vers. 27, 28; Matt. 11 : 25, 26; 
1 Cor. 1 : 27, 28 ; 2 Tim. 2 : 18. 

28. The blessings and honors upon 
Mary were all of grace, the unmerit- 
ed favors of God. She cannot, there- 
fore, be an original source of grace to 
others, vers. 28, 30, 47 ; John 1:17; Acts 

29. Faith supports the troubled heart 
and leads to thoughtful inquiry, ver. 
29 ; Dan. 7 : 15, 16 ; Acts 10 : 4. 

30. Those who have found favor with 
God need not fear the inhabitants of the 
heavenly world, ver. 30 ; Mark 16:6; 
Heb. 1 : 14. 

31. It was proper that Jesus should 
be called the Son of God, both because 
God was the immediate author of his 
human body and soul, and because in 
him were united the divine and human, 
so that " the Word " who " was in the 
beginning with God," and " was God," 
" was made flesh and dwelt among us," 
vers. 31, 32, 35 ; John 1 : 1, 14 ; 1 Tim. 

32. Christ is ? King, and his king- 

dom has no end. While the kingdoms 
of earth are rising and falling, his king- 
dom, despite all opposition, advances to 
final victory, ver. 33 ; Dan. 2 : 44 ; 7 : 
14; Rev. 11 : 15. 

33. Christ's kingdom consists of spir- 
itual Israel, ver. 33 ; ch. 17 : 21 ; John 
18 : 36 ; Rom. 2 : 29 ; 14 : 17 ; Gal. 3 : 9. 

34. It is proper to join with faith a 
solicitude as to how the will of God 
may be done, ver. 34 ; Ps. 25 : 4, 14. 

35. Jesus was the second Adam, and 
to engraft his new humanity upon the 
old and degenerate stock required power 
as great as that displayed in the first, 
creation, ver. 35 ; 1 Cor. 15 : 45-47. 

36. Jesus is the only "holy thing" 
born into the world since the fall. As 
none other has been so begotten as he, 
so no others have been free from that 
taint of a corrupt nature common to 
our race, ver. 35 ; Ps. 51:5; Rom. 3 : 

37. God aids our faith by giving us 
all needed evidence of his truth, vers. 
36, 37 ; ch. 16 : 31. 

38. God's omnipotence afibrds a com- 
plete answer to modern skepticism re- 
garding miracles, ver. 37 ; Matt. 19 : 26 ; 
22 : 29. 

39. We honor God by believing his 
promises and thankfully accepting his 
gifts with humble submission, rather 
than by pleading our unworthiness, ver. 
38; Rom. 4: 20, 21. 

40. When we have received God's 
blessing, we love to tell it to others. 
Especially do those who have recently 
found Christ. They should also seek 
the advice and encouragement of older 
Christians, vers. 39, 40; Ps. QQ> : 16; 
Mark 5 : 19. 

41. The communion of saints is a 
blessed privilege to be sought after and 
cultivated, vers. 39, 40; Mai. 3 : 16 
Phil. 1 : 3-5. 

42. When the Holy Spirit fills the 
heart, the tongue is aroused to utterance, 
vers. 41, 42, 67 ; Acts 2 : 4, 17, 18 ; 10 : 

43. Christ is the great theme of saints 
of all ages, vers. 42, 43, 69, 70 ; 1 Pet. 
1 : 10, 11 ; Rev. 19 : 10. 

44. How great the blessings of prompt 
and signal faith ! Not one of God's 
promises shall fail, vers. 44, 45 ; Josh. 
21 : 45; 23 : 14; 1 Kings 8 : 56; Luke 
7:9; John 20 : 29. 

45. Praise to God is the natural and 

B. C. G. 



spontaneous result of faith. "With our 
clearer knowledge of Christ we have 

greater reason to praise God than Mary- 
ad, ver. 46 ; Phil. 1 : 25; Heb. 13 : 15 ; 
2 Cor. 4 : 13. 

40. The believer can find his greatest 
joy in Christ. Mary's chief joy, above 
that of a mother, was in her spiritual 
rdationship to her Savioir, ver. 47 ; ch. 
8: 21; Heb. 3 : IS; Phil. 3 : 1; 4:4. 

47. It is a cause of thanksgiving and 
great joy to be made a blessing to 
others, ver. 48 ; 1 Tim. 1 : 12. 

48. Blessings should make us humble. 
Thus will they prove blessings indeed, 
ver. 48 ; Gen. 32 : 10 ; Isa. 57 : 15 ; James 
4: 6, 10; 1 Pet. 3 : 5, 6. 

49. We OA'8 our salvation to God's 
holiness as well as to his power and 
mercy, vers. 49, 50 ; Ps. 22 : 3-5 ; 89 : 

50. Believers are the objects of God's 
special mercy in all ages, ver. 50 ; 1 Tim. 
4: 10. 

51. Pride is opposed to God and must 
be renounced or punished, ver. 51 ; Dan. 
4 : 37 ; 1 Tim. 3:6; James 4 : 6 ; 1 John 
2: 16. 

52. The exaltation of the wicked will 
only make their downfall the greater, 
ver. 52; ch. 18 : 14; Prov. 16 : 18. 

63. It is not the self-satisfied but the 
spiritually hungry that shall be filled, 
ver. 53 ; Isa. 41 : 17 ; 57 : 15 ; Matt. 5 : 
6; John 4 : 14; Rev. 3 : 17, 18. 

54. God's blessings upon his people 
are in accordance with his purposes of 
mercy, ver. 54; Eph. 1 : 9 ; 3 : 11. 

55. God's promises are of certain ful- 
filment; so are his threatened judg- 
ments, ver. 55 ; 2 Cor. 1 : 20-22 ; 2 Pet. 

56. We should rejoice in the good 
that God bestows upon others, ver. 58 ; 
Ps. 107 : 42 ; Prov. 24 : 17 ; Rom. 12 : 

57. "The birth of John a sign of 
God's faithfulness and truth," ver. 57, 
58, 76-79. 

58. The only circumcision which is 
ever of any spiritual profit is that 
of the heart, ver. 59 ; Rom. 2 : 29 ; Col. 
2:11. Compare Deut. 10 : 16 ; Jer. 4 : 
4 ; 9 : 26. 

59. In Christ's kingdom we are not to 
consult the customs of the world, but 
God's word and will, vers. 59-63 ; John 
18 : 36; Gal. 1 : 10; 2 : 11 ; 1 John 2 : 

60. Believing obedience is the perfec- 
tion of faith, ver. 63; Heb. 11 : 33; 
James 2 : 22. 

61. Blessings are found in the way of 
obedience, vers. 63, 64; Acts 5 : 32; 
Heb. 5 : 9 ; 1 Pet. 1 : 22. 

62. Through faith the heart, the 
mouth, and the hands are opened, vers. 
63, 64 ; Rom. 10 : 10. 

63. The wonderful works of God 
should arouse the heart to thoughtful- 
ness, anxiety, and reverence, ver. 65 ; 
Dan. 5:6; Ps. 71 : 16, 17 ; Acts 5 : 11 ; 
11 : 19. 

64. Circumstances in infancy and 
childhood often indicate the future of 
children, ver. 66 ; Ex. 2 : 2, 6 ; 1 Sam. 
2 : 26. 

65. We are spiritually dumb until the 
Spirit opens our mouths, ver. 67 ; Isa. 
35: 5, 6; Ezek. 24 : 27 ; 29 : 21. 

66. Redemption should ever call forth 
the highest praise from God's people, 
ver. 68; Ps. 31 : 5; 71 : 23; 130 : 7 ; 
Rev. 5 : 9. 

67. The Holy Scriptures present a 
unity in regard to Christ and all truth, 
ver. 70; ch. 24 : 27. 

68. Salvation and free forgiveness are 
made known onlv in Jesus Christ, vers. 
71-73 ; Ps. 130 : 4 ; Acts 5 : 31. 

69. God never forgets his promises, 
vers. 72, 73 ; 1 Kings 8:56; Isa. 49 : 15. 

70. The service of Christ is one of 
freedom, and not of bondage, ver. 74; 
Rom. 8:15; Heb. 12 : 18-24. 

71. Salvation includes perseverance, 
and perseverance rests upon God's 
gracious purpose and promise, and is 
inseparably connected with the earnest 
eftbrt of the soul in the way of right- 
eousness, ver. 75 ; Rom. 8 : 28 ; Phil. 

1 : 6 ; 1 Pet. 1 : 5 ; 1 John 2 : 19. 

72. Our relation to Christ fixes our 
condition in the spiritual world, ver. 
76 ; ch. 2 : 34. 

73. There is no salvation without for- 
giveness of sins, and no forgiveness 
without experimental knowledge of 
Christ, ver. 77 ; John 17 : 3 ; Acts 13 : 
38 ; Eph. 1 : 7. 

74. Jesus is the Sun of righteousness 
to the darkened and the manifestation 
of divine truth to the guilty, vers. 78, 
79 ; Zech. 9 : 12 ; Mai. 4 : 2 ; 1 Cor. 1 : 
20, 21 ; 2 Pet. 1 : 19 ; Rev. 22 : 16. 

75. True peace is found onlv in Jesus, 
ver. 79 ; Isa. 48 : 22 ; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 

2 • 14. 



B.C. 5. 

The birth of Jesus at Bethlehem. 

II. And it came to pass in those days, that there went 

out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that ''all the world '"'^g ^- ^ 
2 should be taxed. ['^And this taxing was first made oac.s. 37 

17. 6; 

76. Growth in spirit the best and 
most important of all growth, ver. 80; 
Prov. 3 : 17 ; Rom. 6 : 23 ; 1 Tim. 4 : 8. 

77. An inward preparation is needed 
for outward activity. Retirement, self- 
examination, prayer, and the study of 
God's word are indispensable, ver. 80; 
ch. 6 : 12, 13 ; Gen. 32 : 24-30; Ps. 1 : 
2 ; 63 : 6 ; Col. 4 : 2. 


The last chapter closes with a brief 
reference to the growth and private life 
of John. Luke now returns to a period 
a little after John's birth, and relates 
the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem with 
attending circumstances (vers. 1-20) — 
his circumcision (21); his presentation 
in the temple, where he is welcomed by 
Simeon and the aged Anna with grate- 
ful praises and prophetic utterances 
(22-38) ; the return of Joseph and Mary 
with Jesus to Nazareth, where, under 
the favor of God, he spends his child- 
hood (39, 40) ; his visit to the temple at 
the passover when twelve years of age 
(41-50) ; his return to Nazareth, where 
in subjection to his parents he spends 
the remaining years of his private life 
(51, 52). 

1-7. The Birth of Jesus at Beth- 
lehem. Matt. 1 : 25. Matthew's ac- 
count (1 : 18-24) of the angelic appear- 
ance to Joseph in a dream comes in 
between this and the preceding chapter. 
In this paragraph Luke shows how 
Jesus came to be born at Bethlehem, 
though Mary resided at Nazareth. In 
the accomplishment of the divine pur- 
poses " the king's heart is in the hand 
of the Lord," Prov. 21 : 1. 

1. In those days. While the events 
related in the preceding chapter were 
occurring. Shortly after John's birth, 
there went out a decree. An 
edict was issued or promulgated. Cae- 
sar Augustus. The first Roman 
emperor, nephew of Julius Caesar, born 
B. C. 63, died A. D. 14, at the age of 
seventy-six, after a long and prosperous 

reign of forty-four years. The title 
Augustus — the venerable, the majestic — 
was conferred upon him by the Senate, 
and was applied to his successors, Acts 
25 : 21, 25. The title Caesar was as- 
sumed by him, and also applied to Ro- 
man emperors after him. In the New 
Testament we find it applied to Tibe- 
rius (ch. 3 : 1), to Claudius (Acts 17 : 7), 
to Nero, Acts 25 : 8; 26 : 32. All the 
world, or all the inhabited earth. The 
Roman empire, which at that time em- 
braced nearly all the civilized and 
known world, and which was very 
commonly spoken of as " all the 
world." The phrase seems to have 
been used sometimes in a restricted 
sense, meaning the land of Judea and 
adjacent countries. This may be the 
sense in Acts 11 : 28. But there is no 
necessity here of restricting the mean- 

Should be taxed. Literally, 
Should he inscribed, enrolled,, registered. 
The names and number of inhabitants, 
with their families and estates, should 
be registered for the purpose of either 
taxation or of recruiting the army. 
From Tacitus {Ann. i. 11) we learn 
that Augustus prepared a statistical 
register of the whole empire, which 
took many years to complete. Such a 
document in his own handwriting was 
read to the Senate after his death, in 
which were the revenue and expendi- 
ture of the empire and the military 
force of the citizens and allies. Herod 
the Great was an ally, but dependent on 
Augustus. "Augustus did, in fact, 
contemplate the introduction of a uni- 
form system of taxation throughout the 
whole Roman empire." — Olshausex. 
The time was most favorable for a gen- 
eral census, and most fitting for the 
birth of the Prince of peace, when the 
whole world was at peace, except some 
troubles in Dacia, and the emperor was 
in the full enjoyment of his power. 

2. And this taxing. Rather, This 
registering or census. Was first. The 
most natural and obvious rendering is, 
Was the first made, etc., from which it 

B. C. 5. 



3 when Cyrenius was g:overnor of Syria.) And all 

4 went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And 

may be inferred that there was another 
census under Cyrenius, which was in- 
deed the case about ten years later, the 
one mentioned in Acts 5 : 37. 

When Cyrenius was governor 
of Syria, at Antioch. Cyroiius is 
the Greek form of the Latin name 
Quirinus. His full name was Publius 
Sulpitius Quirinus. He died at Home, 
A. D. 21. tSyria was then a Roman 
province, whose boundaries are some- 
what uncertain. Its general boundaries 
were the Euphrates on the east, the 
Mediterranean on the west, Palestine on 
the south, Cilicia and Mount Amanus 
on the north. After the banishment of 
Archelaus, A. D. 6, Judea was added to 
the province of Syria {Joseph. Antiq., 
xviii. 1, 1), the governor of tlie former 
being responsible to that of the latter. 

According to Josephus [Antiq., xvii. 
13, 5 ; xviii. 1, 1), Cyrenius became 
governor of Syria, A. D. 6, when he 
took a census in Judea, which excited 
the opposition related by Luke in Acts 
5 : 37. It appears, therefore, that Luke 
here refers to a census about ten years 
earlier, which was commenced during 
the last days of Herod the Great, before 
Palestine became a Roman province. 
And J. Von Gumpach, in his " Gospel 
Narrative Vindicated," shows that sev- 
eral statements of ancient authors point 
to such an enrolment at this very time. 
How, then, could Luke say that this 
registering was made when Cyrenius 
was governor of Syria? This difficulty 
has been solved in various ways, among 
which the following are the best : ( 1 ) 
Cyrenius may have been at the head of 
an imperial commission of the census 
for Syria, and in this wider sense he 
might popularly be styled governor. A 
very serious objection to this is the 
special and localizing term, " of Syria." 
It is doubtful whether the Greek phrase, 
" governor of Syria," can bear such a 
meaning. If, however, he became gov- 
ernor before completing the census, the 
objection falls to the ground. (2) By 
supposing that Cyrenius was twice gov- 
ernor of Syria. The researches of A. 
W. Zumpt have rendered it highly 
probable that this was the case, and 
that his first governorship extended 
from about B. C. 4to B C. 1. The ob- 

jection to this is that the first governor- 
ship of Cyrenius began just after 
Herod's death, and thus a little late for 
the census here mentioned. To this it 
may be replied that Herod commenced 
the census, but dying it was completed 
by Cyrenius, and that thus it became 
known by his name. (3) It seems to 
me, however, that the two theories just 
mentioned may be combined. Cyrenius 
may have been specially commissioned 
by the emperor to take charge of the 
census of Syria, and while attending to 
it became for a time the actual governor. 
Herod also may have begun a census 
upon the order of Augustus. His king- 
dom, though not a Roman province, 
was dependent on Rome and practically 
amenable to its edicts. Thus we find 
this census marked with both Roman 
and Jewish characteristics, the former 
in the registering of women and chil- 
dren, the latter in obliging each one to 
be registered in the place whence the 
family sprang, rather than that of actual 
residence. But Herod dying, the census 
was completed while Cyrenius was the 
first time governor of Syria, and under 
his direction or co-operation. The first 
census under Cyrenius was that of a 
Roman ally, though dependent; the 
second was that of a Roman province, 
and hence more humiliating, and prob- 
ably with more special reference to the 
taxation of property. It is a fact worthy 
of notice that Jesus was born just when 
the power and authority of Rome began 
thus to be acknowledged by every in- 
habitant of the land. It was a precur- 
sor of departing power. Shiloh, the 
Prince of peace, comes, and the sceptre, 
with the banishment of Archelaus, de- 
parts from Judah, Gen. 49 : 10. See 
author's Harmony of the Gospels, note 
on ^9. 

3. All the people of Palestine. Into 
his own city. The city of his ances- 
tors. The census was thus taken partly 
after the Jewish method. Each Jew 
went to the headquarters of his family 
to be enrolled, where the ancestral 
records were kept. See preceding verse. 
Accordingly, Joseph went to Bethlehem 
(ver. 4), since he was of the family of 
David and Bethlehem was David's 
ancestral home. Luke's reason for 



B. C. 5. 

* Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of ° the city ""ch. i. 26, 27. 
of Nazareth, into Judeea, unto Hhe city of David, •igSarn.20.6;Mic. 
which is called Bethlehem; ^because he was of the 'i Ham. le. i, 4; 

5 house and lineage of David : to be taxed with Mary 
•'his espoused wife, being great with child. 

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the 
days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 

John 7. 42. 
Rch. 1.27; Mt. 1.16. 
«'ch.l.27;Mt. 1. 18. 

mentioning this census appears to have 
been to show how it was that Jesus was 
born at Bethlehem. Caesar prompted, 
but God's purpose directed, the census. 
"To locate an infant's birth, sixty 
millions of persons are enrolled." 

4. Joseph . . . Galilee . . . Naza- 
reth. See on ch. 1 : 26, 27. Went up. 
The usual expression in speaking of go- 
ing from Galilee to the more elevated re- 
gion of Jerusalem and Judea. With this 
physical elevation may be associated 
the idea of greater political, social, and 
spiritual privileges and standing. 

Bethlehem signifies "house of 
bread" — fitting name where "the 
Bread of life" was born — so called 
perhaps on account of its fertility. It 
was a small town about six miles south 
of Jerusalem, and about seventy-six 
south of Nazareth. The earliest no- 
tice of it is in Gen. 35 : 16-20, when 
Jacob was bereaved of his beloved Ra- 
chel. It is called the city of David 
because it was his birthplace (1 Sam. 
16 : 1) and the seat of his ancesti-al 
home. It was the scene of the touch- 
ing story of Ruth. It lies to the east 
of the main road from Jerusalem to 
Hebron, and is situated on an eminence. 
"The hill has a deep valley on the 
north and another on the south. The 
west end shelves down gradually into 
the valley, but the east end is bolder, 
and overlooks a plain of some extent. 
The slopes of the ridge are in many 
parts covered with terraced gardens 
shaded by rows of olives with figs and 
vines, the terraces sweeping around the 
contour of the hill with great regular- 
ity. On the top of the hill lies the vil- 
lage in a sort of an irregular triangle." 
• — Hackett Smith's Dictionary. Modern 
travellers speak of the fertility of the 
surrounding region, and estimate the 
popidation of the present town at about 
three or four thousand. 

Because introduces the reason for 
their going to Bethlehem. The house 
and lineage, family, of David. 

House refers more properly to the 
household, but family to a division of 
the tribe, which might include several 
households. The two words give an 
emphatic expression to Joseph's con- 
nection with and descent from David. 
The custom of being enrolled at the 
headquarters of the family was one of 
the things in that chain of circum- 
stances which resulted in the fulfilment 
of prophecy at Bethlehem. 

5. To be taxed, registered, ver. 1. 
With Mary. This may mean either 
that Joseph went up to be registered, 
accompanied by Mary, or that Mary 
went up to be registered as well as 
Joseph. The Roman poll-tax under 
the emperors was levied upon both 
males and females; the former after 
the age of fourteen, the latter after the 
age of twelve. Doubtless, according to 
Roman custom, it was not always neces- 
sary for women to be personally present 
in order to be enrolled, and Mary had 
a good excuse for remaining at home. 
Yet at a time when so many were leav- 
ing their homes, and the country was 
so unsettled, it was natural that Joseph 
should keep his wife under his own 
protection, especially as she was not in 
a condition to be left behind. Mary too 
may have been actuated by a strong 
love for the city of her ancestors, and 
with the belief that the prophecy of 
Micah (5 : 2) was about to be fulfilled. 
Matt. 2 : 6. Some suppose that Mary 
went up to be enrolled as an heir- 
ess (Num. 36 : 7), but this is uncer- 
tain. Espoused, betrothed. Wife is 
omitted in the oldest manuscripts. 
The Jews regarded betrothed persons 
as husband and wife. Matt. 1 : 19, 20. 
The expression here is consistent with 
Matt. 1 : 24, but implies that they had 
not yet entered upon the full relations 
of husband and wife. 

6. While they were there, waiting 
either for the proper ofiicer to register 
them or till their own turn came. It 
is probable that they had not waited 

B. C. 5. 

LUKE 11. 


7 And *she brought forth her first-born son, and 
wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a 
manger ; because there was no room for them in the 

«l8. 7. 14; Mt. 
25 ; Gal. 4. 4. 

lone:, a«5 they were occupying a tempo- 
rary lodi^inij-place. 

7. Her first-born son. The ques- 
tion whether Mary had other children 
is in itself a matter of little moment, 
except as the Papists have argued and 
decreed her perpetual virginity. That 
she afterward had other children seems 
to me highly probable, ch. 8 : 20; Matt. 
13 : 55; Mark 6 : 3. This passage, in- 
deed, atfords a presumption that she 
had, or at least shows that there was 
nothing repugnant in the idea. Swad- 
dling clothes, or swathing bands. 
Cloths and bands which were wrapped 
around infants at their birth. The lan- 
guage indicates that Mary did this her- 

Dr. H. C. Fish when in Bethlehem 
said, " I saw again here how habits 
cling to places ; for the babe of one of 
the women whom I met on the street 
was actually swaddled up like a 

mummy, as here pictured. The design 
is to secure a straight form, besides 
being a matter of convenience in trans- 
portation (much as our Indians wrap 
their ' pappooses ' and lash them to 
their backs). The habit is common in 
Bethlehem and elsewhere — perhaps less 
so, however, than that of confining the 
babes just as closely in a kind of 
cradle, in which I have often seen them 
carried into the fields, to lie there, 
unable to move, while the mother is at 
her work. Sometimes the swaddling 
bands cover feet and head, leaving only 
a breathing-place." — Bible Lands Illus- 
trated, p. 365. 

A manger, or crib, a hollow place 
for food, a feeding-trough in a stable, 
Isa. 1:3. " The mangers are built of 
small stones and mortar, in the shape 
of a box, or rather of a kneading- 
trough ; and when cleaned up and 
whitewashed, as they often are in sum- 

ft^~- **ii^<iafy 


mer, they do very well to lay little 
babes in. Indeed, our own children 
have slept in them in our rude sum- 
mer retreats on the mountains." — Dr. 
Thomson, The Land and the Book, 
vol. ii., 98. It is implied that Joseph 
and Mary had for their lodging-place a 
stable or outhouse where animals were 
iioused and fed. The reason is given. 
Because there was no room, etc. 
So many had come from different parts 
of the land to be registered. Besides, 
all the room at the inn was probably 
secured by those of more property and 
worldly influence. Moreover, Joseph 

had found it necessary to travel slowly 
on Mary's account. Others could easily 
pass them. Bengel quaintly remarks, 
" Even now there is seldom place for 
Christ in inns." Dr. Farrar (Life of 
Christ, p. 4) found himself late one 
night at the khan (or i7in) Hulda, 
where he was compelled to find accom- 
modations in the court-yard, amid the 
litter, the closeness, the unpleasant 
smell of the crowded animals, the un- 
welcome intrusion of dogs, and the 
necessary society of the lowest hangers- 
on. The inn, implying that there 
was but one in the small citv of Beth- 



B. C. 5. 


Angelic Announcement to the Shepherds. 

8 And there were in the same country shepherds 
abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock 

lehem, was very unlike a modern hotel. 
It was probably but little more than a 
large enclosure where the traveller 
might sleep, stable his beasts, and de- 
posit his goods, furnishing, however, his 
own bed and food. Such inns, called 
khans, are common in the East. " The 
building is commonly of stone, built 
round an open square, with sheds or 
stalls for cattle, and over these, often, 
are chambers for travellers. At these 
caravansaries we saw whole caravans 
of horses, mules, camels, and men from 
different quarters take up their lodgings 
for the night." — M. W. JACOBUS, Notes 
on Luke. Sometimes there are separate 
stalls for cattle in the rear, under a shed 
running all along behind the walls. 
Some suppose that it was in one of these 
rear stables that Joseph and Mary were 
compelled to lodge. " Undoubtedly the 
true conception of the history is that the 
holy family, excluded from the part of 
the caravanserai allotted to travellers, 
repaired to that part where the animals 
were ; and the birth taking place there, 
the new-born child was laid in one of 
the feeding-troughs within reach." — 
Dr. Hackett on " Crib," Smith's Bible 
Dictionary, Am. Ed. 

But others, regarding the stables as a 
part of the inn, suppose the town so 
crowded that Josepli and Maiy found 
no shelter except in some peasant's 
stable, which may have been so rude 
and poor that none of the strangers 
thought it good enough to occupy. But 
this supposition, though possible, is not 
necessary. It was perfectly natural, 
after finding no lodging-place within 
the inn, to have found it in one of the 
stables or outhouses. We must also 
divest ourselves to a certain extent of 
our feelings respecting stables. These 
were often arranged under the same 
roof with the house, and servants often 
lodged in the same with the cattle. 
" To this day, both in Bethlehem and 
other Syrian cities, kitchen, parlor, and 
stable are frequently under the same 
roof, and often without a partition be- 
tween them. In going from Jerusalem 
to Nablous I stopped with a Christian 
at Beeroth, near Bethel. His dwelling 

was a one-story house. Within was a 
raised platform not two feet high, on 
which was arranged the furnitnre of 
his home ; at the foot of the platform 
was a space four feet wide and extend- 
ing the whole depth of the building, 
which was the stable, and in one corner 
stood his ass. And in a neighboring 
house a woman was kneading dough on 
the platform, and a little girl was holding 
an infant, and two feet from them stood 
the ass, with his elongated head thrust 
into a stone manger excavated in the 
solid rock." — Dr. J. P. Newman, From 
Dan to Beersheba, pp. 221, 222. 

A very early tradition affirms that 
Jesus was born in a cave in or near 
Bethlehem. Such natural grottoes are 
sometimes used as stables in Palestine. 
In the year A. D. 327 the mother of 
Constantine built the present chapel 
over the cave which was then regarded 
as the probable birthplace. In a cave 
beside it the learned and eloquent 
Jerome spent thirty of his declining 
years (died A. D. 420) in study, fasting, 
and prayer. There is nothing, how- 
ever, in Scripture to make it certain 
that Jesus was born in a cave, and it 
must not be forgotten that ecclesiastical 
tradition has always been prone to fix 
the site of remarkable events in caves 
and grottoes. 

8-20. An Angel annottnces the 
Birth to certain Shepherds, who 
thereupon visit the infant Sa- 
viour. The shepherds unite with the 
heavenly hosts in celebrating the won- 
drous event. 

8. In the same country, district^ 
or neighborhood. Region near Beth- 
lehem. There David had tended sheep. 
Shepherds. Men of a hardy and 
humble calling, but of true piety, as 
we may infer from their after conduct, 
with spiritual longings for the coming 
of the Messiah. The calling and office 
of shepherd has been highly honored. 
Christ styles himself "the good Shep- 
herd " (John 10 : 11) ; and is called "the 
great Shepherd of the sheep," Heb. 
13 : 20. 

Abiding in the field. Remaining 
or living in the open fields or open, air. 


B. C. 5. 



9 by night. 

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon 

They were livinc:, after the custom of 
shepherds, under the open sky. This 
does not necessarily exchide the idea 
of tents in connection with their en- 
campment. But in that climate, during 
the months usually allotted to the 
pasturing of flocks in the open field, 
exposure by night, with proper pre- 
cautions, was neither dangerous nor 
unpleasant. The word in the original 
does not decide whether it was a plain 
or a hillside. A plain about a mile 
east of the town is the traditional scene 
of this event ; but being very rich, it 
was probably cultivated, and not left to 
lie in pasturage. This has been regard- 
ed as the site of Migdal Eder, or " tower 
of the flock," a watch-tower not far 
from Bethlehem, built for the use of 
herdsmen in watching and guarding 
their flocks, Gen. 35 : 21. The prophet 
Micah mentions this name and Bethle- 
hem with Messianic expectation, Mic. 
4 : 8 ; 5 : 2. Its site, however, is un- 
known. The shepherds do not appear 
to have been in this tower at this time. 
But it was a central place to which 
they could resort in times of danger 
and on special occasions. They were 

Erobably on one of the neighboring 
ills, where shepherds and flocks are 
seen at the present day. Keeping 
watch over their flocks, etc. Liter- 
ally, Keeping watches of the night over 
their flocks; taking their turns at the 
several night-watches. The night was 
now divided into four watches, Matt. 
14 : 25. The sheep were kept under the 
open sky by night as well as by day, it 
being thought conducive to the excel- 
lence of the wool. The watchers guard- 
ed the flocks against robbers and wild 
beasts, and prevented any of the sheep 
or lambs from straying away. By 
night. The natural inference is that 
Jesus was born in the night. 

Chronological. The exact day 
and year of the Saviour's birth cannot 
be- ascertained with certainty. Diony- 
sius the Small, a Scythian by birth, and 
an abbot at Rome in the year A. D. 
526, fixed the birth of Christ to the 
754th year of Rome. This is the era 
from which we commonly reckon. But 
it has long been admitted that Dionysius 
made an error of at least four years. 

For Jesus was born before the death of 
Ilerod the Great (Matt. 2:1, 1'.)), which 
took place about the 1st of April, in the 
year of Rome 750. This is definitelv 
fixed by an eclipse of the moon which 
is mentioned as occurring a little before 
his death. This eclipse, by astronomical 
calculation, took place on the night of 
the 12th and 13th of March, in the year 
of Rome 750, or four years before our 
common era. But Jesus was born 
somewhat earlier. For the coming and 
visit of the wise men, the stratagem of 
Herod, the murder of the infants, and 
the flight and exile in Egypt must have 
occupied several months. Matt. 2 : 16. 
This would seem to indicate that the 
common era is too late by about five 

But greater uncertainty hangs over 
the day of Christ's birth. Luke's ac- 
count does not favor the 25th of Decem- 
ber, which is not the time in Palestine 
when shepherds live with their sheep 
night and day in the open fields. The 
seasons, however, vary greatly in differ- 
ent years; and recent statements of 
travellers concerning the climate in 
Palestine show that in favorable sea- 
sons shepherds may be out with their 
flocks more or less at certain times 
between the middle of December and 
the middle of February. While, there- 
fore, I could not regard the 8th verse 
of this chapter as decisive against the 
view that Christ was born in the winter, 
yet I think it rather favors the view 
that his birth occurred either in the 
spring or autumn. But more important 
is the fact that the census (vers. 3, 4), 
which made it necessary for men and 
women to repair to the homestead of 
the family, thus occasioning long and 
innumerable journeys, would hardly be 
carried on in mid-winter. The 25th of 
December, moreover, was not celebrated 
as Christmas until the fourth century. 
" It originated in Rome, and was prob- 
ably a Christian transformation or re- 
generation of a seri es of kindred heathen 
festivals, the Saturnalia, Sigillaria, Ju- 
venalia, and Brumalia, which were 
celebrated in the month of December 
in commemoration of the golden age of 
universal freedom and equality, and in 
honor of the unconquered sun, and 



B. C. 5. 

them, and ''the glory of the Lord shone round about ^^^-i^io; 24.I6; 

10 them; 'and they were sore afraid. And the angel ich. i!i2. ' 
said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you "'is. 52. 7; 6I. 1. 
"good tidings of great joy, "which shall be to all ° ^24^^47^ Ge^Viz ^3** 

11 people. "For unto you is born this day in the city - " '- --'--' 
of David ^a Saviour, *i which is Christ the Lord. 

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the 
babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a man- 

10 ; Dan. 9. 24, 25 ; Mt. 16. 16 ; Ac. 2. 36 ; 10. 36 ; 1 Cor. 15. 47 ; Phil. 2. 11 

Is. 49. 6 ; Mt. 28. 

19 ; Ro. 15. 9, 12. 
ols. 9. 6. 
P Mt. 1. 21 ; 2 Tim. 

1. 9, 10. 
q ch. 1. 43 ; Ge. 49 

vhich were great holidays for slaves 
and children." — Dr. P. Schaff. But 
earlier in the third century there was 
no agreement in regai-d to the day, some 
putting it on the 20th of May and others 
on the 20th of April. Oriental Chris- 
tians in the third and fourth centuries 
kept the 6th of January as the day of 
our Saviour's birth and baptism. It 
seems to me more probable, in view of 
all the circumstances, that his birth took 
place in the autumn. It is, however, 
an historical fact that early Christians 
did not commemorate the birth of 
Christ. Their great day was the resur- 
rection day, the Lord's Day. If God 
had designed that Christ's birthday 
should be celebrated, he would have 
revealed it. See author's Harmony of 
the Gospels, pp. 242-245, g 9. Also 
compare author's Notes on Matthew, 
ch. 2. 

9. Lo, Behold, introduces something 
unexpected and wonderful. The an- 
gel, An angel. Who it was is neither 
said nor implied. Came upon them, 
stood by them, appeared in a visible 
form standing above them. The idea is 
that of a sudden and unexpected ap- 
pearance, ch. 24 : 4 ; Acts 23 : 11. The 
glory of the Lord. That surpassing 
lustre and brightness which in former 
ages had been the token or symbol of 
(jfod's presence, Ex. 24 : 16; Num. 14 : 
10; Matt. 17 : 5. They were overshad- 
owed and surrounded with the divine 
eflfulgence. They were sore afraid. 
Literally, They feared a great fear, they 
were greatly terrified. There was a 
glory attending the angel beyond any- 
thing that Zachariah or Mary had seen, 
ch. 1 : 11, 28. The supernatural and 
the holy naturally produce awe in mor- 
tal and sinful man, ch. 5 : 8 ; Matt. 17 : 
6 ; Ex. 20 : 19 ; 33 : 20 ; Judg. 13 : 22. 

10. Fear not. Be not affrighted. 
For he was a messenger, not of bad, but 

of good tidings. There was no need of 
slavish fear now that the Messiah had 
come. I bring you good tidings. 

The same verb as in ch. 1 : 19, and very 
often translated elsewhere " preach the 
gospel." An angel is the first to an- 
nounce to the world that the Saviour 
had actually come. Of great joy, 
which shall be a matter and occasion 
of great joy. To all people. Kather, 
To the whole people — namely, of Israel, 
to whom the message was to be first 
proclaimed, though not exclusively in- 
tended for them. According to the 
spirit of this announcement, the shep- 
herds afterward make known the mes- 
sage to others. While the message is 
limited here, the blessings of it are gen- 
eral in ver. 14. 

11. Unto you. To you and to all 
to whom the coming of Christ shall be 
an occasion of great joy. The birth of 
the Saviour satisfies a felt want in each 
individual soul. City of David. Beth- 
lehem, David's native city and Christ's 
promised birthplace, Mic. 5:2; Matt. 
2 : 5, 6. A Saviour. See on ch. 1 : 
47. He was called Jesus, which means 
Saviour, Matt. 1 : 21. He saves men 
from the power and penalty of sin. 
Christ, the official name of Jesus, 
means anointed, and corresponds with 
the Hebrew 3Iessiah. From such pas- 
sages as Ps. 2 : 2 ; Dan, 9 : 24, 25, it be- 
came common among the Jews to apply 
it to the expected deliverer, John 1 : 41 , 
4 : 25. He was the anointed Prophet, 
Priest, and King of spiritual Israel, of 
the kingdom of God. Lord. The Jews 
thought the name Jehovah too sacred 
to pronounce, and substituted for it in 
their oral reading a term which the 
Greek translators of the Old Testament 
rendered by this word Lord. When- 
ever, therefore, a Jew met this word 
Lord in the Greek translation of the 
Scriptures, he at once recognized it as 

B. C. 5. 



13 ger. 'And suddenly there was with the anfjel a mul- 
titude of the heavenly host praising (Jod, and saying. 

14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth *peace, 
"good will toward men. 

♦ch. 1. 79 ; Is. 9. 6, 7 ; Ro. 5. 1 ; 2 Cor. 5. 18-20 ; Eph. 2. 14-18 ; Col. 1. 20. 
» John 3. 16 ; Eph. 2. 4, 7 ; 2 Thes. 2. 16 ; 1 John 4 : 9, 10. 

'Go. 28. 12; 32. 1, 

2; 1 Ki. 22. 19; 

Dan. 7. 10; Heb. 

1. 14; Rov. 5. 11. 
•Is. 44. 28; John 

17. 4; Eph. 1.6; 3. 

10, 21; Rev. 5. 13. 

equivalent to Jehovah. Its application 
here, without reserve or explanation, 
indicates Christ as Jehovah, Isa. 9 : 6. 
In verse 9 Jehovah is spoken of twice 
9s Lord. Compare Acts 2 : 36 ; 10 : 36 ; 
Eph. 1 : 22 ; Col. 3 : 24 ; Kev. 19 : 16. 

We have in this verse three names of 
Jesus: /Savwur, indicating his saving 
work ; Christ, referring to his divine 
appointment and anointing; Lord, 
pointing to his supreme dignity as 
Sovereign of the, the Jehovah 
of the Old Testament. 

12. This shall be a sign. Rather, 
The sign. As in the case of Mary (ch. 
1 : 36), a sign is promised where none 
was asked, God anticipated their ne- 
cessity ; they were to be Avitnesses and 
proclaimers of the wonderful event; 
nis lowly condition was also a trial of 
their faith. Ve shall find the babe. 
Rather, A babe. There but 
one babe so poorly provided for in 
Bethlehem. The angel did not tell 
them everything, but left something 
for faith to supply. They believed, 
went, and found, ver. 16. Wrapped 
in swaddling clothes, etc., Swath- 
ing bands, etc. See on ver. 7. This was 
a most fitting token of him who was to 
be the Man of sorrows, the Friend of 
the poor, and without even a place to 
lay his head. His lowly condition was 
adapted to dispel any fears which these 
humble shepherds might have in ap- 
proaching a new-born king, counteract 
worldly views of his kingdom, and ex- 
cite their sympathy for one so great in 
nature and yet so humble in earthly 

13. Suddenly, just as the angel had 
finished speaking. There was Avith 
the angel. This heavenly host, or 
celestial army, having been caused to 
fly swiftly, were at once with him, by 
his side and about him. This is a more 
natural interpretation than to suppose 
that they had been present, but till now 
unseen by mortal eyes. A host of angels 
is represented in the Old Testament as 
forming the body-guard of Deity, 1 

Kings 2 : 29 ; Ps. 103 : 21 ; Dan. 7 : 10. 
The glory of the Lord (ver. 9) was the 
first token to the shepherds of the di- 
vine presence; now, the angelic host. 
This was an array, not for war, but for 
praise and peace. Praising God. At 
the incarnation of his Son. Compare 
Ileb. 1 : 6. Angels shouted for joy at 
creation (Job 38 : 7), ministered at the 
giving of the law (Deut. 33 : 2 ; Acts 7 : 
53 ; Gal. 3 : 19), and now, with more 
reason than ever, exult at the advent 
of the Saviour. They transfer " the 
employments of their higher existence 
to this poor earth, which so rarely ech- 
oes with the pure praise of God." — 

14. This verse is to be regarded not 
only as a doxology, an expression of 
praise and honor to God, out also as 
a proclamation and confirmation of 
glorious tiding to the shepherds, and 
through them to men. Glory to God. 
Praise, honor be to God, which is his 
due. Words of joyful acclamation, of 
gratitude, admiration, and hearty good 
will. The angels celebrate the incar- 
nation of the Messiah as an accom- 
plished fact; and with Alford we may 
very properly include the two senses of 
the expression. There is and let there be 
glory. The one sense really implies the 
other. In the highest. In the high- 
est heavens, in the immediate presence 
of God, where praise ascends in mOst 
exalted strains. That which the shep- 
herds heard was but a small part of 
the great volume of ascending praise. 
There were no creatures so exalted that 
the birth of Christ did not afford them 
a subject of joy. That God the Sou 
should take the nature of our fallen 
race, redeem it, and glorify it, was a 
new revelation of God's mercy and a 
wonder to the heavenly hosts, 1 Pet. 1 : 
12 ; 1 Tim. 3 : 16. Fallen angels had 
been left to their doom, Jude 6, but the 
race which they would have destroyed 
is made the subject of a glorious salva- 
tion. Earth is to be redeemed and 
heaven is to have an accession of an 



B. C. 5. 

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away 
from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to 
another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see 
this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath 

16 made known unto us. And they came with haste, 
and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in 

17 a manger. And when they had seen it, they made 

innumerable multitude of the highest 
created intelligences. 

Peace on earth. Peace of con- 
science, peace of the soul with God, and 
a spirit of peace toward man. The 
prevalence and practice of the gospel 
will bring peace to our world. Good 
Avill. Good will on God's part, the 
favor and benevolence of God toward 
men, or more exactly, among men. 
God's favor in the gift and blessings of 
a Saviour is thus brought down to earth 
and among men for their participation 
and enjoyment. This clause explains 
and amplifies the preceding one, show- 
ing the divine and heavenly nature of 
the peace on earth. The good will is 
not limited here to any one nation, but 
is extended to and among men gener- 

According to several of the oldest 
manuscripts the Greek, good will, is in 
a different case from the above, which 
makes the last portion of the verse read, 
And on earth peace among men of his 
good will — that is, among the chosen 
people of God, in whom he is well 
pleased, Eph. 1 : 5, 9. This reading is 
also favored by the Latin Yulgate and 
supported by the Latin Fathers gen- 
erally. The other reading, the one in 
our common version, is favored by the 
Syriac version and supported generally 
by the Greek Fathers. Between such 
conflicting testimony it is very difficult 
to decide. Both readings present pure 
and unmixed truth ; but our common 
reading is to be preferred as giving the 
more simple and natural meaning of the 
word translated good tvill, and as being 
more in harmony with the first part of 
the doxology, which is very comprehen- 
sive and universal. 

15. As the angels, etc. The idea 
is that immediately upon the departure 
of the angels the shepherds resolve to 
go to Bethlehem. Let us now go, or 
Let us go at once, Even unto Bethle- 
hem, or unto, as far as to Bethlehem, 

the place designated by the angel, ver, 
11. The expression indicates that they 
were a little distance from the city, an(i 
may imply that it was not their home, 
ver. 20. And see this thing, literally 
tvord — that is, this thing spoken of; see 
on ch. 1 : 37. Which is come to 
pass, etc. The words of the shepherds 
are not those of doubt, but of belief and 
obedience. They would at once see the 
sign (ver. 12), and in the path of duty 
have their faith confirmed. They long 
to behold the wondrous One whose 
advent had just been foretold. 

16. They came with haste, before 
the night was over, leaving their flocks 
to the care of Providence (ver. 8), show- 
ing how strong and hearty their faith. 
And found. As had been foretold, 
ver. 12. How they found the Messianic 
family is not tofd us. We need not 
suppose, with some, that the stable 
belonged to these shepherds, nor, with 
others, that the angel gave them minute 
directions regarding it. The shepherds 
doubtless knew that there were many 
strangers in Bethlehem; they at once 
seek the inn, and under a general 
divine guidance they find the child. 
Very possibly they found it necessary 
to search somewhat. God doubtless 
required of them, as of us, the exercise 
of reason and mental effort. Searching 
would make the joy in finding the 
greater. Mary and Joseph. Mary 
is mentioned first as chief in honor. 
She and her husband had doubtless 
been sorely tried by the humiliating 
circumstances of that night ; but how 
cheering to them was this unexpected 
visit of these shepherds, and the news 
that the heavenly hosts were rejoicing 
over the birth of a Saviour ! A manger. 
Rather, The manger, the one spoken of 
in vers. 7, 12. 

17. When they had seen it. Hav- 
ing viewed the wonders of this whole 
scene, satisfied with the sign, and that 
the babe was indeed the infant Saviour. 

B. C. 6. 



known abroad the sayinp: wliicli was told them con- 

18 cerning this chikl. And all they that heard it wondered 
at those things whieh were told them by the shepherds. 

19 * But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them 

20 in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying 
and praising God for all the things that they had 
heard and seen, as it was told unto them. 

Circumcision of Jesus ; his presentation in the temple ; 
prophecies of Simeon and Anna. 

21 ^AND when eight days were accomplished for the 

«vor. 51; ch. 1. 66; 
Dan. 7. 28. 

7 ch. 1.59; Gen. 17. 
12; Le. 12. 3; 
John 7. 22; Ro. 

Faith is again called into exercise, and 
rewarded, for the angel had spoken a 
little indefinitely, " a babe," ver. 12. 
The shepherds not only told Mary and 
Joseph, but they made known 
abroad, gave a full account of the 
angelic message to persons in the vicin- 
ity both before and after their depart- 
ure. The shepherds were doubtless of 
little influence, and probably only a 
small number heard them ; and only 
those who were waiting for the Consola- 
tion of Israel would be deeply impress- 
ed. It was not intended that report of 
the birth of Jesus should then be spread 
abroad, like that of John, in "all the 
hill-country of Judea," ch, 1 : Qo. 
Enough saw and heard to be witnesses 
of the fact, the place, and the time. 

18. The effect of this glorious intelli- 
gence upon those that heard, upon 
Mary, and upon the shepherds them- 
selves is given in this and the two 
following verses. All that heard it 
wondered. They were amazed, aston- 
ished at hearing so strange an account, 
for they had not looked for the Messiah 
to come in so humble a manner. 

19. But Mary kept all these 
things, which the shepherds had 
spoken of, in her memory. She laid 
them up in her mind, pondering, com- 
paring this thing with that in her heart. 
" Memory, mind, and heart were com- 
bined in the service of faith." The 
silent pondering of Mary contrasts 
strongly with the wonder of those men- 
tioned in the preceding verse. While 
they may have forgotten it either wholly 
or partially, it continued a fruitful 
theme in her thoughts and a continual 
helper of her faith. Joseph is not now 
mentioned, but he doubtless participated 
in her feelings and hopes. 

20. Returned, to their flocks and 
their calling. The wonderful revela- 

tion did not withdraw them from their 
common duties, but rather caused a 
joyful attention to them. Glorifying 
and praising God. This was the 
effect upon the shepherds. Like the 
angelic hosts, they give glory to God, 
assured that they had seen the fulfil- 
ment of the angel's prediction and that 
the child Avas indeed the Messiah. It is 
natural to suppose that Joseph and 
Mary related to them some things re- 
garding the babe, and that this also con- 
firmed the faith of the shepherds. In- 
deed, this is implied in the phrase, 
heard and seen ; heard from Joseph 
and Mary of the events related in ch. 
1 : 20-38; Matt. 1 : 18-25; seen the 
babe lying in a manger. As it was 
told, by the angel. This can be made 
also to include what they had learned 
from Mary and her husband. This 
account of our Lord's birth bears upon 
every line the evidence of simple, hon- 
est truth in striking contrast to the fan- 
ciful legends of the spurious and apoc- 
ryphal gospels. Uninspired men would 
have written differently, but God's word 
comes in the majesty of simple truth ; 
his light shineth quietly, like stars in 
the darkness. 

21. The Circumcision of Jestjs. 
Matthew (1 : 25) mentions the naming, 
but not the circumcision, of Jesus. It 
is worthy of note that Luke relates the 
circunrcision of Jesus far more briefly 
than t lat of John, ch. 1 : 59-80. The 
attending circumstances will in part 
account for this. John was at the home 
of his well-known and honored parents. 
Zachariah was dumb, and his restored 
speech came at the moment that he 
designated and decided what the name 
of the child should be, in obedience to 
the angel. But Jesus and the parents 
were among strangers. Mary had al- 
ready spoken her song of praise, ch. 1 : 



B.C. 4. 


1. 31; 

circumcising of the child, his name was called 'JE- 
SUS, whicbi was so named of the angel before he was 
conceived in the womb. 
22 And when "the days of her purification accord- ^Le. 12. 2-6 
ing to the law of Moses were accomplished, they 
brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the 

Mt. 1. 


46-56. There was no need of anything 
but the simple act of circumcision. 
Luke therefore states the fact, but gives 
it no special prominence. So was it 
wisely ordered, since there would be a 
liability among Christ's followers to 
make too much of this ancient rite. 

When eight days were accom- 
plished, when the child was eight 
days old. The eighth day was the time 
for circumcision, Gen. 17 : 12. See on 
eh. 1 : 59. While it is implied that 
Jesus was circumcised, his naming is 
the principal thing here recorded. But 
why was he circumcised ? Because he 
was of the Jewish nation and a descend- 
ant of Abraham, Gen. 17 : 13, 14; Lev. 
12 : 3. "In all things it behooved him 
to be made like unto his brethren," 
Heb. 2 : 17 ; " Yet without sin," Heb. 
4 : 15. He was " made " or born " under 
the law" (Gal. 4 : 4), and "in the like- 
ness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3); he 
became willingly a debtor to the law 
and gave it a perfect obedience, Gal. 5 : 
3. He must "fulfil all righteousness," 
Matt. 3 : 15. But circumcision also 
symbolized the cutting off and putting 
away of sin. Col. 2 : 11. His submission 
to it pointed to his putting away the 
sin of the race. As the one who was 
"made sin for us" (2 Cor. 5 : 21), he 
began even now to suflFer on account of 
the nature he had taken. 

22-38. Jesus is peesented in the 
Temple. Simeon and Anna Recog- 
nize AND Prophesy of him. The 
purification and the ofifering. The pre- 
sentation and the prophetic testimony. 

22. The days of her purifica- 
tion. According to the oldest manu- 
scripts and the highest critical authori- 
ties, this should read, The days of their 
'purification — that is, of Mary and the 
child. It seems to me far-fetched and 
unnatural to refer their to Joseph and 
Mary, as a few interpreters do. Joseph, 
as reputed father, had no need of the puri- 
fication. Although the conception was 
miraculous, yet the birth was natural ; 
and though Jesus was without impurity, 

yet he was made sin for his people. 
Thus they both came under the law of 
purification. But aside from this, as 
Jews they came under the letter of the 
law. Their purification was legal, not 
moral. It behooved Jesus to be made 
like unto his brethren (Heb. 2:17) and 
subject to the law that he might be 
fully qualified to redeem those under 
the law. According to the law, 
etc. See Lev. 12 : 1-8. Accom- 
plished, Julfilled, or completed, were 
fully past. The days of purification for 
a son would be forty days from his birth ; 
for a daughter eighty days ; immediate- 
ly upon the completion of which the 
mother was to bring her oflfering of pu- 
rification. Lev. 12 : 6. So also runs the 
Jewish canon : " She brings her ofier- 
ing on the morrow, which is the forty- 
first day for a male, and the eighty-first 
for a female." 

The twofold reason for going to Jeru- 
salem is now stated — to present Jesus, 
a first-born child, and to offer the re- 
quired sacrifice of purification. To 
present him to the Lord, as a first- 
born son, and to redeem him from the 
special serWce of the temple. See on 
next verse. 

Jerusalem, the capital and most 
noted city of Palestine ; mentioned much 
more frequently by Luke than by the 
other evangelists. Jerusalem signifies 
dwelling or foundation of peace. It was 
once called Salem, and was the abode 
of Melchizedek (Gen. 14 : 18; Ps. 76 : 
2), but afterward Jebus, Judg. 19 : 10. 
The latter name was probably applied 
specially to the hill Zion, which when 
reduced by David was also called the city 
of David, 2 Sam. 5 : 6, 9. After it came 
into the possession of the Israelites, the 
sacred writers apply Jerusalem to the 
whole city as its common name. It was 
built on four hills : Zion, on the south, 
which was the highest, and contained 
the citadel and palace ; Moriah, on the 
east, on which stood the temple; and 
Acra and Bezetha, north of Zion and 
covered with the largest portion of the 

B. C. 4. 




Lord ; (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ''Every '"^^j^^-'^- 2; 
male that opcncth the womb shall be called holy to 
the Lord) ; and to otler a sacrifice according to that 
which is said iu the law of the Lord, A pair of tur- 
tle-doves, or two young pigeons. 


city. Jerusalem is near the middle of 
Palestine, about thirty-five miles from 
uie Mediterranean, and about twenty- 
five miles from the Jordan and the Dead 
Sea. Its elevation is 2(310 feet above the 
former sea, and 3i)27 feet above the lat- 
ter. It has been ta,ken and pdlaged 
many times, so that ancient Jerusalem 
is rejdly a bux-ied city, the surface of the 
ground at present being from fifty to a 
hundred feet above what it was in the 
time of David or of Cbrist. The valleys 
have been filled by the destruction of 
buildiuiars and bridges, and by other rub- 
bish, mostly during the last eighteen 
centuries, since the destruction of the 
city by the Ilomans, A. D. 70, though 
doubtless in part by the sieges and sacks 
of the six centuries before the Christian 
era. The modern city is called by the 
Arabs El Khuds, "the holy," and con- 
tains about fifteen thousand inhabitants, 
mostiv poor and degraded. 

23. In the law of the Lord. The 

Eassage here quoted is Ex. 13 : 2. Called 
oly to the Lord, esteemed specially 
devoted to the divine service. This 
claim to the service of every first-born 
son arose from the sparing of the first- 
born of the Israelites when the destroy- 
ing angel slew the first-born of the Esryp- 
tians, Ex. 13 : 11-15. The tribe of Levi 
was soon after chosen for this special 
service (Num. 3 : 12, 13), and the mem- 
bers of the other tribes were to redeem 
their first-born by presenting them to 
the Lord, thus recognizing his claim, 
and paying five shekels as a ransom, 
Num. 18 : 15, 16. This could he done as 
early as a month old ; but in the case of 
Jesus it was deferred till the day of pu- 
rification, thus saving at least one jour- 
ney of six miles from Bethlehem to Je- 
rusalem. Compare on ver. 39. Some 
very strangely quote this passage in 
favor of infant baptism — a passage which 
refers only to the first-born under the 
• I 1 dispensation. Such support shows 
the weakness of the cause and the want 
of scriptural proof. 

24. This verse is connected with ver. 
22, the intervening one being parenthetic 

and explanatory of the last clause of ver. 
22. To olier a sacrifice. The priest 
met the mother at the eastern gate of 
the temple, received her otferings and 
sacrificed them upon the altar, and re- 
turned and sprinkled a little blood on 
her and pronounced her clean. The sac- 
rifice consisted regularly of a lamb for 
a burnt oft'ering and a dove or pigeon 
for a sin otfering, Lev. 12 : 6. But if 
the mother was not able to bring a lamb, 
then she was permitted to bring two 
doves or pigeons, one for a burnt ofier- 
ing and the other for a sin olfering. Lev. 
12 : 8, the passage here quoted. Mary 
felt herself a sinner ; she also in the tem- 
ple publicly acknowledged her poverty. 
Thus in his birth Jesus became poor, 
2 Cor. 8 : 9. The offering, however, 
does not necessarily indicate such pov- 
erty as to prevent the supposition that 
she may have j^ossessed some small plot 
of ground at Bethlehem or at Naza- 
reth. Their absence from home may 
have deepened their poverty. Turtle- 
doves. Their name appears to have 



been derived from their plaintive coo- 
ing. " Their low sad plaint may be 
heard all day long at certain seasons in 
the olive-groves, and in solitary and 
shady places among the mountains. . . . 
So subdued, so very sorrowful among 
the trees, where the air sighs softly, and 
the little rills roll their melting mur- 



B. C. 4. 

25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose 
name was Simeon ; and the same man was "just and 
devout, "^waiting for the consolation of Israel: and 

26 the Holy Spirit was upon him. And ®it was revealed 
unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not 'see 

27 death, before he had seen «the Lord's Christ. And 
he came ^'by the Spirit into the temple: and when 

•ch. 1.6. 

« ver. 38 ; Is. 25. 9 ; 

40. 1 ; Mk. 15. 43, 
• Ps. 25. 14. 
'Ps. 89.48 ;Mt. 16. 

28; John 8. 51, 

52 ; Heb. 11, 5, 
kPs. 2.2. 
»«Mt. 4. 1; Ac. 8. 

29 ; 10, 19, 

i.iurs down the flowery aisles." — Dr. 
Thomson, The Land and the Book, vol. 
i,, p. 416, They are wild and timid, 
and never have been fully domesticated. 
David in his plaintive lament likens 
himself to a turtle-dove, Ps. 74 : 19. 
Compare Isa, 59 : 11 ; Jer. 48 : 28 ; Ezek. 
7:16. Its first mention in Scripture is in 
Gen, 15 : 9, where Abram is commanded 
to offer it in sacrifice. They were very 
abundant in Palestine, and their young 
could be easily found and captured by 
those who did not possess pigeons. 
Young pigeons. Pigeons have been 
domesticated in Palestine from very 
early times, and to this day are very 
abundant in all the towns and villages, 

25. Luke now passes on to relate the 
recognition of Jesus as the promised 
Messiah by the representatives of the 
law, and their prophetic words regard- 
ing him, Simeon is supposed by some 
to be the great rabbi of that name, 
who became president of the Sanhedrim 
about A. D, 13, and was the father of 
Gamaliel, the teacher of Paul, Acts 23 : 
3. There is wanting proof of this. 
Besides, Luke would most probably 
have made some mention of this, instead 
of speaking of him indefinitely, a man. 
It is true that he speaks of Gamaliel as 
"a Pharisee" in Acts 5 : 34, yet not 
without implying his membership and 
authority in the Sanhedrim, and stating 
that he was " a teacher of the law, 
honored by all the people," Simeon 
seems to have resided at Jerusalem, and 
to have occupied a more private sphere. 
It is common to speak of him as very 
aged; he may have been, but the nar- 
rative does not necessarily make hira 
so. The proof is not so explicit as in 
the case of Zachariah (ch, 1 : 18), and 
especially of Anna, ver. 36. See on 
vers, 26, 29, 

Just and devout. Righteous in ob- 
serving the law and in the dischai-ge of 
duties, and religious or pious in his dis- 
position toward God. Waiting for, 

with earnest longing and expectation. 
He was living a life of faith ; he ex- 
pected to see in life the object of his 
faith. The consolation of Israel. 
A phrase common among the Jews, 
descriptive of the Messiah, from whom 
consolation comes, based upon such 
passages as Isa, 40 : 1 ; 49 : 13 ; 52 : 9 ; 
66 : 13 ; Lara. 1 : 16 ; Zach. 1 : 17. So 
also the phrase, *' the days of consola- 
tion," was common, signifying the days 
of the Messiah. A common mode of 
oath was, " May I never see the conso- 
lation," This conception of the Messiah 
was that of one coming to comfort the 
people of God in their afflictions. Israel 
here means spiritual Israel. There was 
a general expectation among the Jews 
of the speedy coming of the Messiah. 
Most, however, looked for a temporal 
deliverer ; a few only, like Simeon, 
waited for a spiritual Saviour. The 
Holy Spirit was upon him. The 
Holy Spirit of prophecy was upon him, 
as was also the case with Zachariah and 
Anna, Prophecy revived at the con- 
ception and birth of Christ. 

26, It was revealed unto him. 
Probably not by a dream, as in the case 
of Joseph (Matt, 1 : 20), nor by an 
angel, as to Zachariah and Mary (ch, 
1 : 11, 26), but more probably by an 
inward illumination and assurance of 
the Holy Spirit. The return of the 
spirit of prophecy, absent since the days 
of Malachi, was a sign of Christ's com- 
ing. He should not see death — 
that is, he should not die. This is> 
similar to the phrase, " Shall not taste 
of death" (Matt. 16 : 28), shall not ex- 
perience death. This does not neces- 
sarily imply that Simeon was an old 
man. The Lord's Christ. Better, 
I'he Christ of the Lord, the anointed 
One of the Lord, Ps. 2 : 2, 

27, He came by the Spirit. The 
same Spirit which had revealed to him 
that he should see Christ leads him by 
a special impulse into the temple at the 

B. C. 4. 



the parents broup:ht in the child Jesus, Ho do for him 

28 after the custom of the \a\v, then took he him up in 
his arms, and bk^ssed God, and said, 

29 Lord, ^ now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, 
^according to thy word: 

30 For mine eyes™ have seen thy salvation, 
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all 

people ; 


« vor. 22. 

k Ge. 46. 30. 

» vor. 26. 

"nch. 3. 6; Ps. lOa 

4.5; 119, 123; Is. 

52. 10. 
» Pa, 98. 2, 3. 

proper time. It was probably not at 
I've eu.stomary hour of worship. Into 
the temple, not the inner sanctuary, 
for none but priests could enter this, 
but. the outer sacred enclosure ; very 
possibly, the court of the women, Anna 
enters soon after, ver. 36. To do for 
him after the custom of the law, 
offer the sacrifice and pay the redemp- 
tion money mentioned above, 

28. Then. When the parents brought 
hi the child Jesus. Took he him up. 
He, is emphatic, as distinguished from 
the parents. It is also implied that he 
did this of his own accord. Moved by 
the divine Spirit, he at once recognized 
Jesus, and in him the fulfilment of that 
well-known prophecy that the desire 
of all nations should come into his 
temple (Hag. 2 : 7), and he took him into 
hi3 arms. 

Blessed God. Gave glory to God 
in ascriptions of adoration and praise. 
He fervently pours out his grateful 
heart to God. 

29. Lord, a different word from that 
usually translated Lord in the New Tes- 
tament, but used several times of God 
(Acts 4 : 24; Eev. 6 : 10) and twice of 
Christ, 2 Pet. 2:1; Jude, ver. 4. When 
thus applied, it denotes supreme power 
and absolute authority. Simeon ad- 
dresses God as his sovereign Lord, his 
supreme Master, calling himself his 
servant. Xow lettest thou, etc. Bet- 
ter, Now thou lettest thy servant depart, 
or Now thou dismissest thy servant in 
peace. This is not a prayer, but a pro- 
phetic declaration. Having enjoyed 
the fulfilment of God's promise in see- 
ing the Messiah, he declares his read- 
iness to be released from his earthly 
service whenever God may call him. 
Before this he knew that life was cer- 
tain until he saw the Christ; now he 
knows that death may come at any 
time, and probably very soon. The 
sight of the Messiah formed the climax 

of his hopes ; death now will be but a 
dismissal from earthly service. Yet 
this language does not necessarily 
imply that Simeon was an aged man. 
In middle life, under such circumstances 
and emotions, he could have uttered 
these words. In peace. There may 
be an allusion to the custom of saying 
when parting, " Go in peace," ch. 7 : 
50. Simeon can now die in peace — in 
that happy state of mind resulting from 
an assurance of God's favor and from 
having seen the Messiah, in whose sal- 
vation and glory he is a happy par- 
taker. He had a deep view of Christ, 
as is evident from vers. 34, 35. Ac- 
cording to thy word. According to 
God's gracious promise, ver. 26. 

30. For. In this verse and the two 
following Simeon gives the reason for 
the declaration in the preceding verse. 
Mine eyes have seen. Literally, 
3[y eyes saiv. An expressive phrase. 
Compare Job 19 : 27. " Even his hands 
held him, but Simeon adapts his words 
to those of the promise, ver. 26." — • 
Bengel. But he saw more than a 
child; he saw God's salvation, the 
Saviour of the world. Thy salvation. 
Coming from God, and Godlike. Christ 
is styled that which he accomplishes. 
This is one of the Old Testament desig- 
nations of the Messiah, Isa. 52 : 10. 
Simeon's soul was so imbued with 
ancient prophecies that his expressions 
are formed from their words. Compare 
Isa. 49 : 6 ; 60 : 1-3 ; 61 : 11. 

31. Which thou hast prepared. 
More exactly. Which thoxi preparedst in 
thy purposes, and in the types, shadows, 
and prophecies of four thousand years, 
and at length in the birth of this child 
Jesus. Before the face, in the sight 
of all people. Rather, Of all the 
peoples, all the nations. Gentiles as well 
as Jews, Isa. 11 : 10. The Sun of right- 
eousness (Mai. 4 : 2), like the natural 
sua, was to shine upon the whole earth. 



B. C. 4. 

32 «>A light to ligh'ten the Gentiles, Pand the glory of ° ^j^^; ^ ; 42. 6 ; 60. 

thy people Israel. Ac.'ia. 47 • 28. 28! 

83 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those p is. 45. 25 ; 'go. 19.' 

34 things which were spoken of him. And Simeon ^^2i^u-\io'd^l^>' 

blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Be- 33 ; 1 Cor. 1.' 23) 

hold, this child is set for the "■ fall and rising again of 24 ; 2 Cor. 2. I6 ; 

1 lr6t, Z, 7, o. 

32. Christ, who is tJu/ salvation in ver, 
30, is here a light, John 1:4; Isa. 42 : 
6. To lighten the Gentiles, Better, 
Foi^ a revelation to the Gentiles, revealing 
the way of life to them that sit in dark- 
ness and the shadow of death. The 
glory of thy people Israel. It is 
the highest honor of Israel to have 
been related to the Messiah ; his salva- 
tion, extending to the ends of the earth, 
is their highest glory. From such pas- 
sages as this we may learn that those 
who were waiting for the Consolation 
of Israel had spiritual views of Christ, 
and expected that Gentiles would be 
partakers of his spiritual blessings. 
Such, indeed, was the teaching of 
prophecy, and the pious of those days 
appear to have so understood it. Men 
like Simeon, however, under the special 
influences of the Holy Spirit, doubtless 
saw clearer and deeper. 

33. And Joseph and his mother. 
According to the highest critical au- 
thorities. And his father and mother. 
Joseph is spoken of as his father in a 
legal and popular sense. He was so 
legally as the husband of Mary and in 
the eyes of the people. Jesus, however, 
never speaks of him as his father, ver. 
49. Marvelled at those things, 
etc. They wondered, not so much at 
the things said, as at the unexpected 
manner and time of their utterance. The 
words of Simeon and also of the shep- 
Aerds are to them very significant in con- 
nection with the miraculous birth of Je- 
sus, but more surprising was it to them 
that the spirit of prophecy was again 
revived, and that it was so suddenly 
manifested in difierent individuals. 

34. Blessed them. Joseph, Mary, 
and the child. Bengel does not include 
Jesus, and refers to Heb. 7:7. But 
Simeon speaks as a prophet, and affec- 
tionately invokes the blessing of God 
upon them. "On the principle 'the 
less is blessed of the greater' (Heb. 7 : 
7), Simeon here appears exalted above 
the Saviour, just as do John, who bap- 
tizes him, and the rabbins, whom Jesus 

questions, ver. 46. In his human de- 
velopment the Saviour takes his place 
among men according to the ordinary 
stages of human development. As a 
child, therefore, he is really a child, 
and consequently in subordination (ver. 
51) to those in the more advanced stages 
of life, yet in every period of his life, 
and in each stage of his gradual devel- 
opment, he unfolds himself sinlessly, 
and thus exhibited in each separate 
stage its pure ideal of excellence." — 

Said unto Mary his mother. He 
directs his discourse particularly to her, 
because she was his only real parent 
and would naturally feel more interest 
in the child than any other human 
being, and also because he was about to 
speak of that which personally con- 
cerned her. This child is set lor, or 
appointed for. Child is not in the 
original, but this refers emphatically 
to the child, as if he pointed to him 
still in his arms or just returned to the 
arms of his mother. " Simeon seems to 
be at a loss, as it were, what name to 
call this great and illustrious person by, 
and therefore it is left to be supplied." 
— Dr. Gill. The fall and rising 
again, etc. Rather, The fall and rising 
of many in Israel. He is appointed as 
the occasion of the fall of some by their 
rejecting him, and the means of the 
rising of others through faith in him. 
So it had been foretold of him, Isa. 8 : 
14, 18; 28 : 16. Simeon seems to have 
understood these prophecies, and may 
have had them in mind. Compare 
Hom. 9 : 33 ; 1 Pet. 2 : 6-8. The figure 
is that of a stone by which some will 
fall and others rise. Jesus develops the 
idea of falling in Matt. 21 : 44. Mary 
may have thought that the Messiah 
would be welcomed by all Israel. 
Simeon intimates that Jesus will divide 
Israel and the world, and prepares her 
for trial and personal sorrow. We have 
here the first hint in the New Testament 
of the opposition which Christ would 
receive in the world. Simeon shows 

B. C. 4. 





many in Israel ; and for 'a sign which shall be ?poken 
against; (yea, *a sword shall pierce through thy own 
soul also,) "that the thoughts of many hearts may be 

And there was one Anna, *a prophetess, the 
daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of ^ Aser : she was 

• Ps. 60. 9-12 ; Is. 8. 

18; Mt. 11. 19; 

Ac. 28. 22. 
»Ps. 42. 10; John 

19. 25. 
»John 7. 12,40-43; 

9. 16; 10. 19-21. 
»Ex. 15. 20. 
y Ge. 30. 13. 

remarkable breadth of view. Bevond 
the songs of Elisabeth, Mary, and 2ach- 
ariah, he exhibits clear views of a suf- 
fering and triumphant Saviour, and 
announces the universality of Christ's 
mission for Gentiles as well as Jews 
(vers. 31, 32), according to the fully- 
developed teaching of the apostolic age. 
And for a sign, etc. Here is an 
intimation of the opposition to Christ 
which reached its highest point at the 
crucifixion. The word translated sign 
is one of the names applied to a miracle, 

Jointing to its design as an evidence, a 
ivine token, ch. 23 : 8 ; John 4 : 48. 
Jesus in his life and death was a miracu- 
lous manifestation, bearing with him- 
self the evidences of his own divine 
mission. He was indeed a sign to all, 
believers and unbelievers. But espe- 
cially a sign by his life and doctrines, 
exciting the hostility of the wicked. 
Spoken against, refers not merely 
to words, but also to acts, and extends 
to the underlying hostile disposition. 

35. Yea. Bather, And, joining this 
clause closely to the preceding. A 
sword. The word properly refers to a 
broad, long sword used especially by the 
Thracians, and carried from the right 
shoulder. Shall pierce through thy 
own soul also. The clause of which 
these words form a part are the only 
words of Simeon addressed directly to 
Mary. It has been variously inter- 
preted. A very common explanation 
among earlier expounders, such as Ter- 
tullian, Origen, Basil, etc., refers it to 
a pang of unbelief which shot through 
her soul on seeing Jesus crucified. 
Epiphanius and Lightfoot suppose it to 
refer to her death by martyrdom. But 
we have no evidence that Mary died a 
martyr. Olshausen and Alford' refer it 
to the pangs of sorrow for sin which 
Mary must also experience in the exer- 
cise of repentance and faith in Christ 
her Saviour. But the more common 
view among modern interpreters is to 
be preferred, which refers it to the 

bitter agony of soul with which she 
should behold the sufferings of her 
divine Son, John 19 : 25. It was indeed 
a terrible trial both of her faith and of 
her maternal feelings. This is the most 
natural explanation. For Jesus as a 
sign spoken against, and Mary pierced 
through by a sword, are closely con- 
nected ; and since the one finds the 
most striking fulfilment on the cross, so 
also does the other in connection with 
that event. The sword indeed began to 
touch her when the contradiction of 
sinners against Jesus began, but it was 
not till Jesus was really delivered into 
the hands of men and crucified that it 
entered deep and pierced through her 
soul. Connected with this course of 
Christ's suffering there must have been 
religious suffering in her case, a trial of 
faith, a deep sense of the evil of sin, a 
looking away to the Saviour for salva- 
tion. But to make this experience the 
principal thing referred to by Simeon 
seems unnatural. See De. A. THOLrCK, 
Light from the Cross, pp. 93-109. 

That the thoughts of many 
hearts maybe revealed. Literally, 
In order that the thoughts out of, or from, 
many hearts may he revealed or made 
knoicn. According to some interpreters, 
this clause is simply dependent on what 
precedes ; but I prefer the common 
punctuation, putting the preceding 
clause in a parenthesis and making 
this dependent on ver. 34. The end 
and object of this treatment of Christ 
is the revealing of the secret depths of 
the heart, the bringing out of the true 
characters and thoughts of men. "What 
think ye of Christ ? is the test question. 
He that is not for him is against him. 
The inmost disposition of the heart is 
shown bv the wav in which Christ is 
treated, John 15 :'23; 1 Cor. 16 : 22; 1 
John 4:2, 3. From these words of 
Simeon it appears that he had a clearer 
view of Christ's sacrificial work than 
any of the disciples before the resur- 
rection of Jestis. 



B.C. 4. 

of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven 

37 years from her virginity; and she was a widow of 

about fourscore and four years, which departed not 

from the temple, but served God with fastings and 

36. Anna, meanins:? grace or prayer, 
the daughter of Phanuel, which 
means face of God, compare Gen. 32 : 
30, 31. All that we know of these 
individuals is stated here. It is some- 
what remarkable that the name of her 
father and not of her husband is given. 
The reason may be twofold. Her 
father may have been among those who 
waited for the Consolation of Israel ; he 
is also spoken of as a person of consider- 
able note, and probably much better 
known than her husband, who died 
young. Aser, Asher. Judah, Benjamin, 
and Levi are the only tribes mentioned 
as returning to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:5), 
but many of the other tribes returned 
from exile with their brethren and re- 
tained their genealogies. This is a 
proof, however, that the tribal relations 
were still held in affectionate remem- 
brance among the people. A proph- 
etess. She was one of those whom 
the Holy Spirit moved to utter God's 
truth and will. This was evidently not 
the only time when she spake under 
the movings of the Spirit. 

Of great age. Far advanced in 
years. And had lived with an hus- 
band seven years, etc. Her tender 
fidelity to the memory of the husband 
of her youth is here brought to notice. 
The Jews held in high honor persons 
of this class, 1 Tim. 5:3, 5, 9. Thus 
Josephus highly commends Antonia 
for her persistent widowhood : " For 
though she were still a young woman, 
she continued in her widowhood, and 
refused all other matches, although 
Augustus had enjoined her to be mar- 
ried to somebody else, yet she did all 
along preserve her reputation free from 
reproach." — Antiq. xviii. 6. 6. 

37. She was a widow of about 
fourscore and four years, eighty- 
four years. According to some of the 
oldest manuscripts, this should be till 
instead of of about. Some suppose 
this to have been her age at that time, 
and that the fact is mentioned to show 
that, having passed a few years in the 
married state, she afterward, as a widow, 
reached this advanced age. This I 

think is generally the first impression 
upon reading this passage. But others 
regard the eighty-four years as the 
period of her widowhood. Then, if 
she was married at thirteen, as was 
common in Palestine, and lived seven 
years in married life, she must now 
have been one hundred and four years 
old. In favor of this it may be said 
that after the reference to her virginity 
it is natural to regard the long period 
of her widowhood as opposed to the 
brief time of her married life. Again, 
would Luke have immediately stated 
her age, after having made the general 
statement, "she is of great age"? Be- 
sides, it may be added that a century is 
more accordant with such an empha- 
sized old age as was hers. 

Departed not from the temple* 
This does not necessarily mean that she 
was always in the temple, nor that she 
occupied some private apartment in the 
building, but that she was constant and 
uniform in attending all the religious 
services of the temple, notwithstanding 
her great age. Living, not in the terri- 
tory of her tribe, which was far off, in 
Galilee, but at Jerusalem, she made the 
temple her home, " continuing in sup- 
plication and prayer night and day," 
1 Tim. 5:5; Ps. 84 : 4. But served 
God, etc. Rather, Serving night and 
day with fastings and prayers. God 
was the object of all her service, though 
she may have lent her services, when 
needed, to some who came to worship. 
Night is placed first, since the Jewish 
day began with the evening. The ex- 
pression night and duy is about equiva- 
lent to our expression day and night. 
The idea is popularly expressed by cori' 
tinually. Acts 26 : 7. Alford also calls 
attention to the greater solemnity and 
emphasis of the religious exercises by 
night. Anna not only engaged in the 
ordinary prayers at nine o'clock and 
three and observed the ordinary fasts 
on Monday and Thursday, but was 
present at all the special services of the 
temple by day or night (Ps. 119 : 62; 
134 : 1), living a life of active and de- 
voted piety, and engaging also in much 

J.C. 4. 


» Ac. 26. 7 ; 1 Tim, 

• ver. 25; ch. 
21 ; Mk. 15. 
Ro. 8. 23. 

]S prayers "eight and day. And she coming in that in- 
ptant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord ; and spake 
of him to all them that "looked lor redemption in 

Return to Nazareth ; the childhood of Jesus. 
J9 And when they had performed all things *» accord- ^^'^^- 4-4,5. 
ing to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, 
to their own city Nazareth. 


sriy^te fasting and prayer. While to 
^onieu there was ai»sigued no public 
jervice, yet we read of their assembling 
it the door of the tiiberuaele, Ex. 38 ; 8. 
^ben Ezra, a Jewish commentator, 
i&js, " They came daily to the taber- 
lacle to pray and to hear the words of 
he law." 

38. And she coining in. Rather, 
And she coming up to the place where 
Simeon and the others were. She had 
probably been in a different part of the 
temple. That instant. At that very 
time, when Simeon was speaking to 
Mary. Gave thanks likewise. She 
too gave thanks, and publicly returned 
grateful praise to the Lord, as Simeon 
had done. By Lord is meant Jehovah. 
The majority of the oldest manuscripts 
have God instead of Lord. It is sup- 
posed by many that it was the hour of 
prayer, because it is added, And spake 
of him to all there, etc. But it is 
tnot necessary to suppose that she spoke 
ito all there immediately, and hence that 
[they were coming in at the hour of 
[prayer. More probably some of those 
I devotedly pious Jews were, like her- 
self, much in the temple, and she at 
once spoke to them, and afterward told 
others as they came in. She spoke of 
him as the Messiah and the Redeemer. 
She was the first to become the pub- 
Usher of the good news — not, indeed, to 
all, but to those who were prepared to 
receive the announcement. That 
looked for redemption in Jeru- 
salem. Xotwithstanding the spiritual 
degeneracy of the times, there was a 
small circle of those who were looking 
for a spiritual dehverer, a Redeemer. 
On the word redemption, see on ch. 1 : 68. 
Some of the oldest manuscripts and ver- 
sions read, redemption of Jerusalem — 
that is, of his spiritual and chosen peo- 
ple. He was to save Ms people from 
their sins, Matt. 1 : 21. The common 
reading, however, is to be preferred. In 

Simeon and Anna we have the repre- 
sentatives of the old dispensation and 
types of Old Testament piety. In the 
subsequent changes this small company 
lose sight of Jesus. 

The purification, with the incidents 
here related, must have taken place be- 
fore the visit of the wise men (Matt. 2 : 
1-12), for — (1) Joseph appears to have 
been warned immediately upon the de- 
parture of the wise men, whereupon he 
at once went with the mother and the 
child into Egypt (Matt. 2 : 13, 14) ; (2) 
such incidents as those connected with 
the purification and presentation could 
not have escaped the suspicious eye of 
Herod after his jealousy and wrath were 
aroused; (3) the purification after the 
return from Egypt is inconsistent with 
the natural meaning of ver. 22, that it 
occurred at the rearular time, and with 
the statement of Matthew (2 : 22) that 
Joseph feared to go into Judea when he 
heard that Archelaus reigned. Com- 
pare Notes on Matthew, ch. 2. 

39, 40. The return to Nazareth. 
Childhood of Jesus. 

39. And when they had per- 
formed all things . . . they re- 
turned into Galilee. The most ob- 
vious meaning of this verse is that they 
returned to Nazareth immediately after 
the presentation. Joseph had come to 
Bethlehem ymh. no expectation of re- 
maining, and probably was not fully 
prepared to remain. He very hkely 
felt, after the birth of Jesus at Bethle- 
hem and the events attending it, that he 
ought to make the latter place his resi- 
dence ; and hence after the presentation 
he most probably returned to Nazareth 
to wind up his affairs there with a view 
to a settlement at Bethlehem. This was 
soon accomplished, and a little later, 
when Jesus was from three to six months 
old, the wise men found the child with 
Mary and Joseph in " the house " (Matt. 
2 : 11) at Bethlehem where they were 



A. D. 8. 


"And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, l\i^'^^},?i\^^2 
led with wisdom : and ^ the grace of God was upon s. o, , s. 



anticipating their future home. It is no 
more strange that Luke passes over in 
silence this brief residence in Bethle- 
hem than that he leaves unnoticed the 
visit of the wise men, the massacre of 
the children, and the flight into Egypt. 
In brief narratives intervening events 
are often passed over in silence. Mat- 
thew, in writing specially for Jewish 
readers, had special reasons for relating 
these latter events, which presented 
Jesus as King of spiritual Israel and the 
Messiah foretold in the Old Testament, 
Matt. 2 : 2, 5, 11, 15, 18. But Luke had 
not these reasons in writing more gen- 
erally for the race. After relating the 
return of the Messianic family to Naza- 
reth, which became their permanent 
residence, he passes over their sojourns 
elsewhere, since they were so brief and 
temporary. Alford seems to incline to 
this view. It is also favored by Euse- 
bius, Epiphanius, Patricius, Pilking- 
ton, Jarvis, and others. 

The common view, however, is allow- 
able, which supposes this verse to refer 
to the return after the flight mto Egypt, 
and to correspond with Matt. 2 : 23. Yet 
this hardly seems necessary when the 
other view accords so well with the nat- 
ural meaning of the words and is itself 
quite free from serious objections. 

All things according to the law 
refers to the rites pertaining to the 
purification and presentation. 

40. This verse is similar to ch. 1 : 80, 
and like it seems to mark the end of 
one of tliose old family documents 
which Luke used under the direction 
of the Spirit. It describes the develop- 
ment of Jesus in body and soul during 
infancy and childhood. The child 
grew, in body. And waxed strong 
in spirit. According to the best criti- 
cal authorities, this should read, And 
became strong, being filled tvith wisdom; 
the latter phrase implying a finished 
and permanent result. He became 
strong mentally and spiritually, and 
showed such a degree of wisdom in 
each period of age as rendered it com- 
plete and gave to it the lustre of per- 
fection. Now he showed the perfection 
of childhood, as afterward he did of 

youth and of manhood. We have here 
the human development of Jesus in all 
his powers. The following remark of 
Olshausen is worthy of thought : " He 
was completely a child, completely a 
youth, completely a man, and thus 
hallowed all the stages of human de- 
velopment, but nothing incongruous 
ever appeared in him, which would 
have been the case if utterances of a 
riper age had escaped him in child- 
hood." And the grace — that is, the 
favor — of God was upon him, the 
tokens of the divine blessing, the mani- 
festations of divine love were upon him, 
marking him as a distinguished favor- 
ite of Heaven. 

The true idea of Christ's childhood 
is that he looked and acted like other 
children, yet without sin. Dr. Farrai 
{"Life of Christ, vol. i., p. 61) thus dis- 
courses on the children of Nazareth: 
" The traveller who has followed any 
of those children, as I have done, to 
their simple homes, and seen the scanty 
furniture, the plain but sweet and 
wholesome food, the uneventful, happy, 
patriarchal life, may form a vivid con 
ception of the manner in which Jesus 
lived. Nothing can be plainer than 
those houses. . . . The mats or carpets 
are laid loose along the walls; shoes 
and sandals are taken off" at the thresh- 
old ; from the centre hangs a lamp, 
which forms the only ornament of the 
room ; in some recess in the wall is 
placed the wooden chest, painted with 
bright colors, which contains the books 
or other possessions of the family ; on 
a ledge that runs round the wall, within 
easy reach, are neatly rolled up the 
gay-colored quilts which serve as beds, 
and on the same ledge are ranged the 
earthen vessels for daily use ; near the 
door stand the large common water-jars 
of red clay with a few twigs and green 
leaves, often of aromatic shrubs, thrust 
into their orifices to keep the water cool. 
At meal-time a painted wooden stool is 
placed in the centre of the apartment, 
a large tray is put upon it, and in the 
middle of the tray stands the dish of 
rice and meat, or stewed fruits, from 
which all help themselves in common. 

A. D. 8. 



Visit qf Jesus to the temple at twelve years of age; his 

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem "every year at 'Ex. 23. 14-17; 34. 

42 the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve i'^": fsani^'/.s' 
years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom 21 • 2 Chr.30.2i.' 

Both before and after the meal the 
eervant or the youngest member of the 
family pours water over the hands from 
a brazen ewer into a brazen bowl. So 

?[uiet, so simple, so humble, so unevent- 
id was the outward life of the family 
of Nazareth." 

41-52. Visit OF Jesus to the Tem- 
ple AT THE Passovek when at twelve 
years of age. 

41. We have here a glimpse of the 
piety and religious life of Joseph and 
Mary. His parents went . . . every 
year at the Passover, The Passover 
festival was celebrated eight days from 
the fifteenth of Nisan, the latter part 
of March or the first part of April (Ex. 
12 : 1-11, 14-20), and was one of the 
three great festivals (E.x, 23 : 14-17) to 
be attended yearly at Jerusalem by all 
the males of the nation, except the sick, 
the aged, the blind, the deaf, and boys 
under twelve years of age. The other 
two great festivals were Pentecost in 
the summer, and the feast of Taber- 
nacles in the autumn. But the Pass- 
over, being the greatest of these, was 
often the onl}' one attended by those 
living at a distance from Jerusalem. 

While the presence of females was 
not required, their attendance was not 
forbidden. They probably often accom- 
panied their husbands (1 Sam. 7 : 7), 
and thereby showed their piety. The 
school of Hillel seems to have made it 
binding on women to go up once every 
year to the Passover ; but this appears 
not to have been the prevalent opinion 
among the doctors of Israel. Joseph, 
and possibly Mary, may have often 
attended other feasts, of which nothing 
is here recorded. It is only stated here 
that they were constant in their attend- 
ance at the Passover. The power of 
Archelaus formed no hindrance to this. 
Matt. 2 : 22. Living under the domin- 
ion of Archelaus was quite different 
from coming up to stated feasts at Jeru- 
salem, Besides, Joseph and his family 
were not his subjects, ch. 23 : 6, 7. 
They had also retired so quietly into 

Galilee, and were so unostentatious, that 
Archelaus doubtless knew nothing of 
them. He reigned ten years, and was 
banished A. D. 6, two years before the 
visit of Jesus to the temple, presently 
to be noticed. 

42. When he was twelve years 
old, etc. According to our common 
era, this was A. D. 8. The Passover 
occurred that year on Monday, April 9. 
See on ver. 8. This is evidently the 
first time that Jesus attended the Pass- 
over. But why did he begin to attend 
the feast at the age of twelve ? It has 
been very commonly answered that 
Jewish boys at that age began to be 
instructed in the law, to be subject to 
the fasts, and to attend regularly the 
feasts, and were called " the sons of the 
law." But,* on the one hand, Jewish 
parents began to instruct their children 
and accustom them to religious exer- 
cises much before this, and on the 
other, the age of puberty, when boys 
came under the yoke of the law, was not 
considered as actually attained till the 
completion of the thirteenth year. 
Ellicott suggests (Life of Christ, p. 93) 
that Jesus attended the Passover " as a 
partaker in some preparatory rite which 
ancient custom might have associated 
with that age of commencing puberty." 
This is possible from what is known of 
Jewish customs. But it seems to me 
that special stress should be laid upon 
the fact that Jesus had a mission to 
perform at Jerusalem, and that he him- 
self desired to attend the festival, and 
that Joseph and Mary desired it also, on 
account of the manifest development 
of both his mental and spiritual life. 
Compare Ex. 12 : 25-27. 

They went to Jerusalem. Jeru- 
salem is omitted by the highest crit- 
ical authorities, and is unnecessary, 
having been mentioned in the preced- 
ing verse. Three routes lay before 
them : the first and most direct, through 
Samaria; the second, by the sea-coast, 
past Carmel and Caesarea to Joppa, and 
so across the plain to Jerusalem ; the 



A. D. 8. 

43 of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, 
as they returned, the cliild Jesus tarried behind in 
Jerusalem ; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 

third, to Tiberias, and then on the east- 
ern bank of the Jordan to the fords near 
Jericho, and thence up to Jerusalem, 
The latter was tlie more probable one. 
See on ver. 44. At this season of the 

year (April) the country would be wear- 
ing its brightest, greenest, and loveliest 
aspect. After the custom of the 
feast, wliich recpiires the celebration 
at Jerusalem. Before the building of 


the temple the people went to the place 
where the tabernacle was, 1 Sam. 1:3; 
3: 15. 

43. Had fulfilled the days. The 
day of Passover and the seven days of 
unleavened bread. The whole festival 
was sometimes called the feast of un- 
leavened bread, cli. 22 : 7 ; Mark 14 : 
12 ; Ex. 23 : 14, 15. Very probably on 
the afternoon of the eighth day Mary 
and Joseph started for their home in 
Galilee. The child Jesus, or The 
hoy Jesus. Jesus is spoken of as the 
hahe in ver. 12, as the child or little child 
in ver. 40, and as the hoy here. Tar- 
ried, or remained hehind. Jesus was 
not only charmed with the sacred en- 
tertainments of the temple and desirous 
of conversing with the learned doctors 
of the law, but he also had a mission 
there to perform in his Father's house. 
And Joseph and his mother, etc. 

According to the best critical authori- 
ties. And his parents knew it not. The 
people returned from the feasts in large 
companies. Those living near each 
other travelled together for safety and 
society. Possibly Jesus and others of 
his age, who had first attended the pass- 
over, would be assigned a separate place 
in the festal caravan. At least the chil- 
dren of the companies would naturally 
associate together. Joseph and Mary 
seem not to have been guilty of careless- 
ness. The obedience, as well as the wis- 
dom and prudence, of Jesus would lead 
them to believe that he Avas somewhere 
in the company among their kindred 
and acquaintances. He had ever been 
so constant and faithful that his parents 
found little necessity to watch him. 
Hence, on many accounts, the fact here 
stated might easily happen. " But in 
any case, among such a sea of human 

A. D. 8. 



\ But they, supposing him to have been 'in the com- 'Ps. 42.4; 122. 1- 
i > pany, went a day's journey ; and they sought him 
among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when 
they found him not, they turned back again to Jeru- 
salem, seeking him. ^ 
46 And it came to pass, that aft^r three days they 

beings, how easy it would be to lose one 
young boy ! "fhe incident constantly 
occurs to this day in the annual expe- 
dition of the pilgrims to bathe in the 
fords of the Jordan."— Dr. Farrak, 
Liff of Chr-ist, vol. i., p. 73. 

44. Supposing: him to have been. 
"Rather, i<upposiug that he was, etc. Jo- 
seph and Mary seem to have had no 
anxietv about Jesus till perhaps the car- 
avan halted for the night and each 
family gathereil to its evening meal. 

In the company, of travellers, a car- 
avan composed of those going to the 
same vicinity-. 

Went a day's journey. An ordi- 
nary day's journey wa^ twenty or twen- 
ty-five miles. But it was customary on 
such an expetlition as this to go the first 
day only six or eight miles, camping 
before it was dark by the wayside near 
a good supply of water. One object in 
halting early would be to see if the party 
was all complete. 

Tradition has fixed their evening rest- 
ing-place at Beeroth, among the hills of 
Benjamin, about ten miles north of Je- 
rusalem. At the present day tliis is the 
customary resting-place of caravans 
going northward at the end of the first 
day's journey from Jerusalem. But the 
actual route which the parents of Jesus 
took cannot certainly be known. **As 
liable to less molestation from the Sa- 
maritans, especially when the object of 
going to Jerusalem was to keep the fes- 
tivals (comp. chap. 9 : 53), it may be pre- 
sumed that the Galilean caravans would 
usually take the longer route through Pe- 
rea ; and hence in returning they would 
be most likely to make the first day's 
halt near the eastern foot of the Mount 
of Olives (about 2 miles). It is not cus- 
tomary in the East to travel more than 
one or two hours the first day ; and in 
this instance they would encamp earlier 
scill, because to go farther would have 
been to encounter the night-perils of the 
desert between Jerusalem and Jericho. 
... It is not surprising under such cir- 
cumstances that Jesus was not missed 

till the close of the first brief day." — Dr. 
Hackett, in Smith's Dictionary of the 
Bible, Am. Ed., p. 226. 

And they sought him. They 
sought diligently after him. The idea 
is not that they went a day's journey 
seekins: him, but that, halting for the 
night, they missed him and began a dili- 
gent search. 

Among their kinsfolk for /tjVv- 
rfr^(i) and acquaintance. Here they 
would most naturally exj>ect to find him. 
" It is not surjirising that in the midst 
of such a crowd Joseph and his mother 
should suppose that Jesus was in the 
'company with his kinsfolk and ac- 
quaintance,' nor is the time that elapsed 
before they became so alarmed at his 
absence as to turn back and search for 
him at all remarkable. I question 
whether there is ever a pilgrimage made 
from Jerusalem to Jordan at this day 
without the separation of parents anU 
children equally prolonged ; and in the 
case we are considering it was the ab- 
sence of a youth who, his parent? well 
knew, had never done in his whole life 
one unwise or improper act. They would 
not, therefore, be easily alarmed on his 
account." — Dr. Thomson, Land and 
Book, vol. ii., p. 452. 

45. And when they found him 
not, etc. More Qxacilx . And finding him 
not, they returned to Jerusalem. They 
were tie more anxious because of his con- 
stant f&ithfulness. Possibly they thought 
some evil had befallen* him. Were 
there any yet who would seek the child's 
life ? A sleepless night awaited them, 
and in the early morning they turn 
back toward Jerusalem, seeking him 
along the way, j>erhaps among the com- 
panies returning homeward from Jeru- 
salem. They search for him also in the 
city itself, wherever they think he might 
be found. 

46. After three days. This may 
mean either the time from their setting 
out on their journey or the time of 
their searching — that is, from the dis- 
covery that Jesus was not with them. 



A. D. 8. 

found liim in the temple, sitting in the midst of «the 
doctors, both hearing them, and asking them ques- 

47 tions. And ""all that heard him were astonished at 

48 his understanding and answers. And when they saw 
him, they were amazed : and his mother said unto 

gch. 5. 17. 

>»ch, 4. 22, 23; Ps. 
119. 99; Mt. 7. 
28; Mk. 1. 22; 
John 7. 15, 46. 

The exact meaning of the original 
rather favors the latter view. Yet both 
views may really coincide in time. For 
the discovery of Jesus' absence may 
have been made before the close (sunset) 
of the first day. This is very probable, 
since they would halt early to see if all 
connected with their party were with 
them. The phrase, After three days, 
according to Jewish reckoning is equiv- 
alent to the third day, Mark 8 : 31 and 
Matt. 16 : 21. Compare author's Notes 
on 3Iark, p. 312, note 4. The first day 
was that of their setting out and their 
fruitless search for Jesus among their 
company ; the second was spent in re- 
turning, searching along the way and 
in Jerusalem ; the third, in continued 
searching until they found him in the 

In the temple. Not the temple 
proper, which is expressed by another 
word in the original, but the sacred en- 
closure, in which Avere many halls or 
rooms. See on ch. 1 : 8. It may have 
been in one of those halls or rooms 
where the rabbis, on Sabbath days and 
at the great festivals, sat and taught. 
Lightfoot thinks that there is nothing 
absurd in supposing that Jesus had 
gotten into the Sanhedrim itself. Such 
is the opinion of Dr. Gill, who supposes 
that he was in the room Gazith, one of 
the southern rooms where the Sanhe- 
drim sat. Sitting in the midst of 
the doctors, or sitting among the 
teachers. The doctors, or teachers, in 
their instructions, occupied elevated 
seats, and their pupils sac at their feet 
upon the ground. Compare ch. 10 : 39 ; 
Acts 22 : 3. It was not a strange thing 
to find a youth of twelve or thirteen 
years occupying such a place. But the 
language in the original seems to imply 
that Jesus was sitting, not at the feet of 
these masters in Israel, but among them, 
having been raised to a position of 
dignity. Scholars were sometimes in- 
vited by the doctors to sit in the midst 
of them when their answers were worthj'^ 
of special notice. Both hearing them 
&nd asking them questions. Jesus 

did not assume to teach ; that would 
have been unbecoming his years, and 
the time of his teaching had not yet 
come. He listens attentively to their 
instructions, and indirectly teaches by 
asking his mysterious questions. Among 
these questions were doubtless those 
pertaining to the spirituality of the law, 
the meaning of prophecy and a suffer- 
ing Messiah. The instructions of the rab- 
bis consisted largely in asking questions. 

47. And all . . . were astonished, 
filled with wonder and admiration. At 
his understanding, of Scripture and 
the insight and penetration which he 
showed in the questions he asked ; and 
at the answers which he returned to 
the questions of the doctors. There was 
a rivalry among the Jewish teachers to 
secure the most promising scholars ; 
and very probably some of them had 
carefully cared for Jesus during those 
two days and nights. Had he remained 
longer, he might have attracted general 
attention. But the time had not yet come. 

48. When his parents discovered 
where he was, and saw him among 
the teachers of Israel, they likewise 
were amazed, struck with wonder, at 
finding him in such a position, and so 
absorbed in the subjects of discourse as 
to utterly forget them. No wonder that 
Mary, "when she gazed upon that august 
assemblage, when she saw, as she per- 
chance might have seen, the now aged 
Hillel the looser, and Shammai the 
binder, and the wise sons of Betirah, 
and Rabban Simeon, Killel's sou, and 
Jonathan the paraphrast, the greatest 
of his pupils, — when she saw these, and 
such as these, all hanging on the ques- 
tions of the divine Child, no wonder 
that she forgot all in the strange and 
unlooked-for circumstances in which 
she found him whom she had so sorrow- 
ingly sought for." — Ellicott, Life of 
Christ, p. 96. 

And his mother, she being his own 
and only human parent, addressel him, 
very likely in the hearing of &..3, in 
words of reproof or complaint. It was 
the first she had ever had occasion to 

A. D. S. 



him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, 

49 tliy lather and I have sought thee, sorrowing;. And 
he said unto them, How is it that ye sougiit me? 
Wist ye not that I must be about 'my Father's bus- 

50 iuess? And ''they understood not the saying which 
he spake unto them. 

« Ph. 40 8 ; John 2. 

16 ; 4. 34 ; 6. 38 ; 

9. 4. 
kch. 9. 45; 18.34. 

utter; she ovorlooke>i his higher work. 
Son, why hast thou, etc. ? Rather, 
Son, why diiht thou thus deal with 7i$f 
Words of mingled tenderness and re- 
proach, implying neglect and indiffer- 
ence on his part. Such conduct in such 
an ever-faithful child seemed utterly 
unaccountable to her. Thy father. 
Thus she could only speak of Joseph, 
lie was the reputed father and exercised 
all the care and duties of a father in 
bringing him up. It is very probable 
that Mary had never made known to 
Jesus the mysteries of his birth ; possi- 
bly she had never related to him, ex- 
cept in a most general way, any of the 
events that followed, leaving him to 
discover his nature and mission by his 
own consciousness and by revelation 
from Grod. Sought thee, sorrowing. 
A strong expression. Sought thee, hour 
after hour and from place to place, in 
great anxiety, in deep distress. The 
loss of such a child and the thoughts 
of evil which might possibly have be- 
fallen him were enough to arouse the 
keenest anguish. 

It should also be remembered that 
Judea was now reduced to a province, 
under Copouius, the first governor ; that 
the system of taxation introduced by 
him had only two years before excited 
the insurrection of Judas ) and that the 
political horizon was still disturbed. 
The hundreds of thousands who came to 
the passover contained warring ele- 
ments; popular tumults were threaten- 
ing; Roman soldiers were on the alert. 
Hence the greater danger in leaving the 
regular caravans. 

49. Jesus replies, in conscious rec- 
titude and in the simplicity of his holy 
childhood, without intending censure, 
yet in words containiuij reproof, How 
is it that ye sought me, Avith so 
much anxiety? And did not know 
where to find me? His wonder is not 
that they sought him, but tliat they 
sought him in sorrow, and knew not 
where he was. Wist ye not ? Did ye 
not hntw from my past history and from 

my love for the temple and service of 
God and from my desires and conscious 
impellings to active duty? That 1 
must be. This is the must, the needs 
be, so frequently expressed by our 
Saviour, implying what was appointed 
and necessarv in liis mission, ch. 9 : 22 ; 
i;i : 38 ; 19 : o ; 24 : 44 ; John 4 : 4, etc. 
About my Father's business ? Lit- 
erally, In my Father's or at my Father's. 
Some supply business, meaning. Did ye 
not know that I must be engage<l in my 
Father's matters, attending to his ser- 
vice and to his word ? But it is better, 
with others, to supply house, since the 
idea of place seems involved in the 
answer, and it was common in similar 
expressions to supply house or temple. 
Did ye not know that I must be in my 
Father's house f That was the most 
natural place for him to be. His ex- 
pression of surprise includes a gentle 
reproof that they should not at once 
have thought of liis being in the temple 
attending to the ser\nces and word of 
God ; that they should not recognize 
his relation to* God and something of 
his divine mission. The expression my 
Father has often been noticed in contrast 
to the words of Mary, Thy Father, ver. 
48. He intimates in this answer that 
God was his Father. This is the first 
record we have of his consciousness of 
his own divine nature. Olshausen sup- 
poses that Jesus at this time first became 
conscious of the fact. Dr. Kendrick has 
well said : " If the child's consciousrress 
precludes the element of divinity, why 
not equally man's consciousness? The 
distance of the two states from each 
other is lost in the infinite interval 
which separates both from deity. It 
may well be questioned whether, in 
fixing the moment when divine con- 
sciousness first developed itself in 
Jesus, Olshausen is not venturing be- 
yond his depth. "Who shall say that 
Jesus was ever destitute of it ?" — Ols- 
hausen, Am. Edition, p. 251. 

50. They understood not the 
saying. They did not fully under- 



A. D. 8 

51 And he went down with them, and came to Naz- 
areth, ^ind was subject unto them. But his mother 
™kept all these sayings in her heart. 

52 And Jesus "increased in wisdom and stature, and 
in favor with God and man. 

>Eph.6.1,2; IPet 

2. 21. 
™ ver. 19; Dan. 7 

» ver. 40 : 1 Sam. 2, 


stand what he meant. And they felt 
also that there was more in it than 
might at first appear. The fact here 
stated seems to imply that Jesus had 
not learned his divine origin from his 
parents, and it shows that they had not 
fully comprehended what had pre- 
viously been foretold of him, eh. 1 : 35. 
And probably during the twelve years 
of growth, in which there was nothing 
miraculous, Mary gradually thought 
less of his supernatural nature, while 
her mind was occupied with the inter- 
esting traits of his character and the 
progress of his mental and spiritual de- 
velopment. "It was really necessary 
that they should not fully understand, 
in order that the parental instincts on 
the one hand, and the filial submission 
on the other, might remain natural." 

51. He went down, into the coun- 
try, with them, Jerusalem being not 
only geographically higher, but was 
also regarded as more elevated relig- 
iously. Was subject unto them. 
His consciousness of his Messiahship 
and divine Sonship did not interfere 
with obedience to his parents. The 
occurrences in the temple, however, 
show that his subjection was voluntary ; 
it was a part of his voluntary humilia- 
tion, Phil. 2 : 7, 8. As he left heaven 
for earth, so now he leaves his Father's 
house for his humble earthly house at 
Nazareth. How difierent from many 
children, who despise their parents be- 
cause of ignorance or poverty ! Thus 
for eighteen years he retires into obscu- 
rity, till he came next to be baptized of 
John in the Jordan. Yet he was about 
his Father's business. Living a perfect 
childhood and youth, and acting his 
part as a man in the various relations 
of life, were parts of that " obedience of 
one man " by whom many were to be 
made righteous, Rom. 5 : 19. We are 
not, however, to suppose that his divine 
nature disclosed itself except in his sin- 
less purity. If he had performed mir- 
acles, doubtless they would have been 
recorded. • As we hear no more of Jo- 
seph, it is probable that he died before 

Jesus entered upon his public ministry, 
but probahly not before brothers ancl 
sisters were born into the family. Matt. 
12 : 55. From Mark 6 : 3 it may be in- 
ferred that Jesus learned the carpenter's 
trade and worked with his father, and 
possibly supported hia mother after hia 

But (And) his mother, from her 
peculiar relation to the child, and per- 
haps from her mental constitution, was 
more observing and reflecting than Jo- 
seph regarding him. Kept these 
sayings and occurrences in her 
heart, frequently pondering upon 
them, though she could not fully 
understand them. Thus for eighteen 
years she patiently waited. 

52. We have a summary account of 
the mental, spiritual, and physical de- 
velopment of Jesus in his youth, as in 
ver. 40 we have of his childhood, Je- 
sus increased in wisdom and 
stature. Both soul and body were de- 
veloped, going on to perfect manhood. 
Some translate age instead of stature as 
comprehending the latter, but increas- 
ing in age does not necessarily include 
a corresponding increase in stature. 
Besides, increasing in age is too appa- 
rent and quite tautological. For how 
could Jesus have increased in soul and 
in body without increasing in age ? but 
he might have increased in both wisdom 
and age without ever increasing in body. 
The meaning is that Jesus continued 
after this to advance in wisdom and 
stature, implying age and increasing 
maturity according to the usual order 
of growth. He grew mentally and 
physically like others, though his wis- 
dom was beyond that exhibited by ordi- 
nary men. 

It is evident that Jesus could read 
and write, from his reference to Hebrew 
letters (Matt. 5 : 18), his writing on the 
ground (John 8:6), and his reading in 
the synagogue, ch, 4 : 16. He not only 
displayed a ready acquaintance with 
Scripture by the oft-repeated question, 
"Have ye not read" (ch. 6:3; Matt. 
19 : 4; 21 : 16, etc.), but also a deep aud 

A. D. 8. 



extensive knowledge, from his numer- 
ous quotations and allusions to the law, 
prophets, and lx>ok of Ps;\lnis. And 
tliis involved a knowleilije of the He- 
brew original ; yet the Aramaic was the 
common language of the people then, 
and the Hebrew had beeome compara- 
tively a dead language. Without doulrt, 
Joseph and Marv, according to their 
ability, had taught him to read perhaps 
some simjiler portions of Scripture. 
And further we may presume that he 
receiveii some instruction from leaders 
in the synagogue at Nazareth. But all 
this fails to explain his extensive and 
profound knowledge. He had not been 
taught in the schools, John 7 : 15. It 
was not rabbinical lore, the tradition of 
the elders, which he had made liis 
study, but the book of God. 

** Whatever the boy Jesus may have 
learned as a child or boy in the house 
of his mother or in the school of the 
synagogue, we know that his best teach- 
ing was derived from immediate insight 
into his Father's will. In the depths 
of his inmost consciousness did that 
voice of God which spake to the father 
of our race as he walked in the cool 
evening vmder the palms of Paradise, 
commune more plainly by far ^sith 
him. He heard it in every sound of 
nature, in every occupation of life, in 
every interspace of solitary thought. 
His human life was an ' ephod on which 
was inscribed the one word God.' Writ- 
ten on his inmost spirit, written on his 
most trivial exj>eriences, written in sun- 
beams, wrinen in the light of stars, he 
read everywhere his Father's name." — 
Dr. Fajrrae, Life of Christ, vol. i., p. 

And in favor with God and 
men. *' His physical, mental, and 
spiritual development was so natural 
and symmetrical that God and man re- 
garded his advancing and maturing 
powers with increasing complacency." — 
Annotated Paragraph Bible. In his 
human nature he increased in every ex- 
cellence ; he so performed all his duties, 
and his obedience in every respect was 
so perfect, that the Father viewed him 
with increasing favor, ch. 3 : 22 ; John 
8 : 29. And so marked was his liie with 
piety, benevolence, and kindness as to 
gain the friendship and atFection of all 
aroimd him. But in his divinity God's 
love was essentially the same always. 


1. ^fen act freely, yet in accordance 
with God's purposes. Both the right- 
eous and wicKeii, without even knowing 
it, take such courses as fulfil the i)redic- 
tions of j)rophecy and accomplish the 
puqx)ses of God. The emj»eror at Home 
and Joseph at Nazareth uncons<.*iously 
fulfil the word of the Lord, vers. 1—4; 
Isa. 10:5-7; Jer. 51 : 20-24. 

2. God overrules evil for good. The 
long and tedious journey for Mary and 
the decree that abases Israel are the 
means for fixing the time and place for 
the advent of the King of spiritual Is- 
rael, vers. 1-5; Ps. 7b : 10; Rom. 8 : 
28; 1 Cor. 11 : 19. 

3. Christ was bom in the fulness of 
time, at the centre of the world's his- 
torv, political and religious, ver. 6 ; Gal. 
4:4; Acts 13 :23; Heb. 1 : 2. 

4. " God manifests all his attributes 
in sending his Son : his poicer in mak- 
ing Mary become a mother through the 
operation of the Holy Spirit ; his iois- 
dom in the choice of the time, place, 
and circumstances; his faithfulness in 
the fulfilment of the word of prophecy 
(Mic. 6 : 1); his holiness in hiding the 
miracle from the eyes of an unbelieving 
world ; and especially his love and grace, 
John 3 : 16." — Dr. Van Oosterzee. 
Vers. 1-7 ; John 1 : 14. 

5. How did the Son of God humble 
himself for tis ! ver. 7 ; PhU. 2 : 6, 7 ; 
1 Pet. 4 : 1, 2. 

6. How many places and how many 
hearts now have no room for Jesus I ver. 
7 ; ch. 9 : 52, 53 ; Job 21 : 14 ; Isa, 
65: 2. 

7. We should not despise the condition 
of the poor, for therein was Christ bom, 
ver. 7; Prov. 22:2; Mark 14:17; 
James 2 : 5. 

8. God honors honest toil. Many, 
while attending faithfully to the daily 
duties of Life, have been favored, like 
the shepherds, with the blessings and 
the glorv of the Lord, vers. 8, 9 ; Ex. 
3 : 1, 2;'l Sam. 16 : 11-13. 

9. They who attend to their duties to 
God and men need not fear angels nor 
anv heavenlv visitant, vers. 9, 10 ; Matt. 
2S': 5: Eev."22 : 20. 

10. God reveals himself and his truth 
to the humble, ver. 10 ; ch. 14 : 11 ; Ps. 
138 : 6 ; 1 Cor. 1 : 26-29 ; James 4 : 11. 

11. Christ is bom to you as a personal 



A. D. 8. 

Saviour, ver. 11 ; 1 Thess. 5 : 9 ; 1 John 
2:1; Ual. 1 : IG. 

12. Clirist hmnbleth himself so that 
vou might find him, ver. 12; 2 Cor. 

13. Christ's humiliation is ever joined 
with divine honor, vers. 12, 13, 27-31 ; 
ch. 22 : 43 ; 23 : 44-47. 

14. Learn from the joy of heaven 
how to regard the advent of Christ, 
vers. 13, 14 ; Matt. 2:1,2. 

15. The inhabitants of heaven have 
a deep interest in our salvation. Man 
alone is indiflferent, vers. 13, 14; ch. 15 : 
7, 10. 

16. Learn from the shepherds to seek 
the truth, to follow it, and to make it 
known to others, vers. 15-17 ; John 7:17; 
Acts 26 : 19 ; 2 Kings 7:9; Acts 4 : 40. 

17. If the cradle of Jesus had such 
an effect on the shepherds, what effect 
should his death and resurrection have 
on us ? ver. 17 ; 2 Cor. 5 : 14, 15. 

18. How many hear of Christ only to 
wonder and perish ! ver. 18 ; John 6 : 
60 ; Acts 13 : 41 ; Rom. 9 : 32. 

19. Happy are they who, like Mary, 
ponder upon divine things, and with 
special interest treasure them up in 
their hearts, ver. 19 ; Prov. 2 : 1-5 ; 3 : 
21, 22. 

20. The joy of Christian experience 
gives all the glory to God, and enters 
into all the duties and relations of life. 

21. Christ submitted to the law, in 
order that he might deliver us from 
the law, vers. 20, 21 ; Gal. 4 : 4, 5 ; Rom. 
10 : 4 ; Heb. 9 : 26. 

22. Jesus, the name of earth and 
heaven, ver. 21; Phil. 2 : 10; Eph. 
1 : 21. 

23. " Let all those who present others 
to the Lord seek to be first themselves 
pure," vers. 22-24; Jer. 14 : 10-12; 
Mai. 1 : 10, 13. 

24. Christ's whole life and every step 
of his life fulfilled prophecy, ver. 23 ; 
Acts 3 : 22-24 ; 10 : 43. 

25. They that wait on the Lord shall 
not wait in vain, vers. 25-27 ; ch. 18 : 7, 
8 ; Gen. 49 : 18 ; Ps. 37 : 5-7 ; Lam. 3 : 
25, 26. 

26. Christ is the Consoler of human 
hearts, ver. 25 ; John 14 : 1, 16-19 ; 2 
Cor. 1:5; Heb. 2 : 17. 

27. We are not prepared for death 
until we by faith have seen the Lord's 
Christ, vers. 26-30; John 3 : 18; 8 : 24; 
Phil. 3 : 9-11. 

28. We should seek the guidance of 
the Spirit into the paths of duty and 
blessing, ver. 27. 

29. We should seek Christ in his 
house, vers. 27, 49 ; Ps. 63 : 2 ; 68 : 24. 

30. How abundantly are the promises 
of God fulfilled ! Simeon not only sees 
but embraces the promised Consoler, 
ver. 28. 

31. No eye is satisfied with seeing 
until it sees Christ, ver. 30 ; Eccles. 1 : 
8 ; Ps. 17:15; John 8 : 56 ; 1 John 3 : 2. 

32. Christ is the centre and glory of 
his people and the Light of the world, 
vers. 31, 32; Isa. 11 : 10; John 8 : 12; 

33. We have reason often to wonder, 
not only at the greatness of revealed 
truth, but also at our stupidity in not 
beholding it, ver. 33 ; ch. 24 : 25 ; Mark 
8 : 21 ; John 8 : 43 ; 2 Pet. 3 : 16. 

34. Christ is the rock of salvation to 
some and the stone of stumbling to 
others. The knowledge of him leaves 
none where it found him, ver. 34; Isa. 
28 : 16 ; 1 Cor. 1 : 23 ; 2 Cor. 2:16; Ps. 
89 : 26. 

35. Christ is the great Touchstone of 
human hearts, ver. 35 ; ch. 12 : 49-53 ; 
Matt. 26 : 75 ; 27 : 4, 5. 

36. Those whose age or position in 
life permits, should devote much time 
to the active duties of pietv and charity, 
vers. 36, 37 ; ch. 8 : 2, 3 ; 1 Tim. 5 : 5-10. 

37. They who persevere in watching, 
praying, and Christian labor shall not 
go unrewarded, vers. 37, 38; Isa. 40: 
31; Mic. 7:7; Acts 10 : 4. 

38. The conversation of Christians 
should savor of Christ. How much 
might Christian women thus accom- 
plish ! ver. 38 ; Prov. 10 : 20 ; 15 : 14 ; 
Eph. 4 : 29 ; Col. 4 : 6. 

39. When public duties are accom- 
plished, we should return to private 
duties. Both are important, and be- 
tween them there is no necessary con- 
flict, ver. 39 ; 1 Tim. 5:4; Eph. 6 : 4. 

40. Children should seek from above 
those graces and gifts which will make 
them like the child Jesus, ver. 40 ; Prov. 
2:6; 8:17; James 1 : 5. 

41. Parents should not only attend 
public worship themselves, but also 
take their children with them, vers. 
41, 42; Gen. 18 : 19; Deut. 4:9; Prov. 
22 : 6. 

42. Christ has made the age of twelve 
significant. Childhood and youth should 

A. D. 8. 



The ministry of John the Baptist ; the baptism of Jesus. 

III. NOW in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius 
Caesar, (Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and 

be devoted to our Father's service, vers. 
42, 49 ; Ps. 3-t : 11 ; Prov. 20 : 11 ; Matt. 
21 : 15, 16 ; Eph. 6 : 1 ; 2 Tim. 1 : 5. 

43. How mauy, in jouraeving, lose 
sight of Jesus! ver. 43 ; Ps. 119 : 93. 

44. How many seek Jesus now among 
earthly friends 1 ver. 44; John 7 : 34; 
8 : 21-24. 

45. The places whither persons resort 
indicate their character. It is a good 
sign when the young seek places of 
worship and religious instruction, vers. 
45, 46: Prov. 20 : 11. 

46. We should expect to find Jesus 
in bis house and among his professed 
people, vers. 46-49; Matt. IS : lS-20; 
28 : 20. 

47. " Children may instruct a parent 
if thev do it respectfullv and modestly," 
ver. 49 ; 1 Sam. 19 : 4, o. 

4S. Children who cheerfully obey 
their parents in that respect resemble 
the child Jesus, and by it may show 
their love to him, ver. 50 ; Eph. 6 : 

49. As most of our Saviour's life was 
spent in private and at humble Naza- 
reth, so God calls for service mostly in 
private and in the hiunble walks of 
life, ver. 51 ; Mic. 6:6-8; Matt. 6 : 

50. That youth is the most beautiful 
which combines a corresponding phys- 
ical, mental, and spiritual growth, ver. 
52 ; Prov. 15 : 20 ; 2 Tim. 1 : 5. 

51. " Try to be little, like the Little 
One, that you may increase in stature 
with him.'" — Bonavextuka. Vers. 


Having briefly recounted the birthj 
infancy, childhood, and private life of 
Jesus, Luke now proceeds to relate the 
ministry of John the Baptist (vers. 1- \ 
18); his imprisonment (19, 20); the i 
baptism and genealogy of Jesus, 21-38. | 
This chapter and the first thirteen i 
verses of the next chapter form an in- ] 
troduction to the narrative of Christ's ' 
-^ublifijoinistry.— ' | 

1-18. The ministry of John the 
Baptist. Preaching and baptizing. \ 

The eflect of his ministry on others ; ita 
result on himself. Matt. 3 : 1-12; Mark 
1 : 1-8. Luke in some respects is the 
fullest; he alone gives the exact date 
consistent with what he had said con- 
cerning himself in ch. 1 : 3. He also 
alone quotes the prediction in vers. 5, 6, 
and alone records the exhortations of 
John to the people, the publicans, and 
the soldiers. 

1. In the fifteenth year ... of 
Tiberius Caesar. Since Luke is 
writing for the race, and Judea had 
already been reduced to a llomau 
province, he very properly designates 
the time in the reign of the Roman 
emperor. Tiberius C(esar was the 
second Roman emperor, successor to 
Augustus, who began his reign August 
29th, A. 1). 14. Augustus, however, ad- 
mitted Tiberius to a share in the empire 
from about the beginning of A. D. 12. 
He reigned till A. D. 37, and died at the 
age of seventy-eight. In early and 
middle life he distinguished himself as 
an orator, soldier, and administrator of 
civil affairs. But upon being raised to 
supreme power, he became slothful, 
self-indulgent, cruel, licentious, and 
vindictive, a scourge to the Roman 
people. If t/ie fifteenth year be taken 
from the time when he began to reign 
alone, then John commenced his public 
ministry A. D. 28, when he was over 
thiity-two years of age. It is, however, 
better and more common to compute 
from the time when Tiberius was asso- 
ciated in the government, which would 
fix the fifteenth year at A. D. 26, when 
John was somewhat over thirty years 
old. John, being six months older than 
Jesus, would probably commence his 
ministry about six months before him, 
ver. 23, The word also translated 
reign is such as may well include the 
two years of associated power. Compare 
chronological note on ch. 2 : 8. See 
author's Harmony, pp. 243, 244, 1 9, 3. 

Pontius Pilate. Herod the' Great 
left his kingdom to three sons, Arche- 
laus receiving half of it, including 
Judea, Idumea, and Samaria. After 
Arehelaus was deposed, A. D. 6, Judea 
and Samaria were annexed to the 




A.D. 8 

Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother 
Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Tra- 
chonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 
"Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests,) the 

•John 11. 49, 51; 
18. 13; Ac. 4. 6. 

Roman province of Syria, and governed 
by procurators, an office subordinate to 
a governor of a province, the sixth of 
whom was Pontius Pilate. He was ap- 
pointed A. D. 25, and held his office 
ten years during the reign of the empe- 
ror Tiberius. He was noted for his 
severity and cruelty; and by several 
massacres, to one of which Luke refers 
(eh. 13 : 1), he rendered himself odious 
to both the Jews and Samaritans. The 
latter accused him of cruelty before Vi- 
teliius, the governor of Syria, by whom 
he was ordered to Rome to answer to 
the charge before the emperor. But 
Tiberius having died before he arrived, 
Pilate is said to have been banished by 
his successor, Caligula, to Vienna, in 
Gaul, and there to have committed sui- 
cide. The trav ler who descends the 
Rhone, in the South of France, may see 
still standing the very tower from which, 
as tradition says, Pilate precipitated 
himself and died. Being governor, 
or procurator. 

Herod. This was Herod Antipas, 
the son of Herod the Great. He received 
from his father Galilee and Perea, and 
received the title of tetrarch, a Greek 
word meaning a ruler of a fourth part, 
which became a common title for those 
who governed any part of a province, 
subject only to the Roman power. He 
continued in office until A. D. 39, when 
he was banished to France, whither 
Herodias followed him ; both died in 
exile. He was cunning (ch. 13 : 32), 
unscrupulous (ch. 3 : 19), superstitious 
(ch. 9:9), sensual and weak. Matt. 14 : 
9. Compare on ver. 19 and ch. 9 : 7-9. 

Philip, Herod, a son of Herod the 
Great by Cleopatra, a woman of Jerusa- 
lem. After his father's death he became 
tetrarch of Ituraea, commonly sup- 
posed to be the same with the modern 
province of Jedur, south of Damascus, 
and embracing the eastern slopes of 
Hermou, and of the region of Tra- 
chonitis, which lay east of Itursea. 
He built a new city on the site of 
Paneas, near the source of the Jordan, 
which was called Csesarea Philippi, 
Matt. 16 : 13. He was by far the best 

of Herod's sons, and ruled well. He 
must not be confounded with his half 
brother Philip, whose wife Herodias 
Herod Antipas seduced, and who lived 
in private life, having been disinherited 
by his father. 

Lysanias, supposed to be a descend- 
ant of a prince of the same name, who 
lived sixty years before this, and was 
put to death by Antony. — Josephus, 
Antiq. xv. 4, ^ 1. It is probable that 
Josephus mentions this very Lysanias 
when he speaks of the " tetrarchy of 
Lysanias," "Abila of Lysanias," and 
" the kingdom of Lysanias,"^?i^ig'. xviii. 
6, ^ 10 ; xix. 5, § 1 ; Jew. War, ii. 12, 
^ 8. It may also be added that a coin 
has been found with the name Lysanias, 
tetrarch, upon it, and also an inscription 
was seen by Pocock^on the remains of 
a Doric temple at the ancient Abila, 
which mentions Lysanias, tetrarch of 

Abilene was the district round Abila, 
a town eighteen miles north-west of 
Damascus. How large this district 
was is unknown. It was a part of the 
dominion of Herod the Great, but upon 
his death, or soon after, was given to 

2. Annas and Caiaphas being 
the high priests. According to the 
best manuscripts, this should read, 
Annas being high priest, and Caiaphas. 
Annas was high priest for several years, 
but was deposed by Valerius Gratus, 
and after several changes in the office, 
Caiaphas, son-in-law of Annas, was ap- 
pointed about A. D. 25, and remained 
in office until A. D. 37. Since there 
could be only one high priest at a time, 
and Caiaphas was actual high priest 
during Christ's public ministry, the 
question arises. How could Annas also 
be spoken of as high priest ? The fol- 
lowing will be a sufficient answer: 
1. Having held the office once, accord- 
ing to Jewiiih custom, he retained the 
title. Thus it is common to speak oi 
" the governor," " the senator," and the 
like, though the person so named has 
gone out of office. 2. Annas was still 
the legitimate high priest according to 

A. D. 26. 



word of Grod came unto John the son of Zacharias »ch. i. so. 
3 Pin the wildernees. "i And he came into all the country 

iMk. 1. 4. 15; Jn. 1. (>-S. 

the law of Moses (the office being for 
life, Num. 20 : 28 ; 85 : 2')), and may 
have been so recrarded by the Jews, 
althou.&:h, under Roman rule, Caiajihas 
lone could actually officiate. With 
reverence fora divinely-appointed office, 
Lnke may have thus mentioned Annas 
first, while he gave Caiaphas the second 
place. 3. Annas may have held the 
office of sagaiiy or substitute of the 
high priest, who officiated occasionally 
in the room of the high priest when 
anything hindered him or rendered 
him unfit for his office. He was also a 
ruler and governor over other priests. 
This office is mentioned by the later 
Talmudists. 4, Annas exercised great 
influence, and living to old age secured 
the high priesthood to five of his sons. 
His influence both with Caiajihas and 
the people is evinced by the fact that 
Jesus when betraved was first brought 
before Annas, Jolin 18 : 12-14, 24, 

or Roman procurators ; already the 
chief influence over his degraded San- 
hedrim was in the hand of the supple 
Herodians or wily Sadducees. It 
seemed that nothing was left for his 
consolation but an increased fidelity tD 
Mosaic institutions and a deepening in- 
tensity of Messianic hopes. At an 
epoch so troubled and restless, when 
old things were rapidly passing away, 
and the new continued un revealed, . . . 
there was a general expectation of that 
'wrath to come' which was to be the 
birth-throe of the coming kingdom, the 
darkness deepest before the dawn. The 
world had groWn old, and the dotage 
of paganism was marked by hideous 
excesses. Atheism in belief was fol- 
lowed, as among nations it always has 
been, by degradation of morals. . . . Phil- 
osophy had abrogated its boasted func- 
tions except for the favored few. Crime 
was universal, and there was no known 

The word of G ofi tiamp to Tohwr-I rrmrdr for the horror and ruin which 
*ilke the proptiets of old, John was i U was causing in a thousand hearts. . . . 
specially directed to utter the divine | xhere was a callosity of heart, a petri- 
I messi" 

jssage to the peoplo^^^id to ba,piiwr,<fying of the moral sense, which even 
r^ 1 : 2- Ea<»k«-6 i~U' This marked ; those who suffered from it felt to be ab- 

the beginning of John's ministry, as 
is evident from the whole account, not 
some later appearance of John which 
was the cause of his imprisonment, as 
some have supposed. 

lu the wilderness, of Judea, the 
barren, hilly, and sparsely-settled re- 
gion between Hebron and the Dead 
Sea. The word wilderness, or desert, in 
the New Testament denotes merely an 
untilled, unenclosed, and thinly-in- 
habited country. 

This was in *' the fulness of the time " 
(Gal. 4 : 4), in an age ripe for the 
coming of Christ and his forerunner. 
" It was an age of transition, of un- 
certainty, of doubt. In the growth of 
general corruption, in the wreck of 
sacred institutions, in those dense clouds 
which were gathering more and more 
darkly on the political horizon, it must 
have seemed to many a pious Jew as if 
the fountains of the great deep were 
broken up. Already the sceptre had 
departed from his race ; already its 
high priesthood was contemptuoasly 
tampered with by Idumaeau tetrarchs 

normal and portentous. Even the 
heathen world felt that * the fulness of 
the time had come.' " — Dr. Fakkar, 
Life of Christ, vol. i., p. 105. 

3, And he came ; from his seclusion 
(ch. 1 : 80), in obedience to the divine 
command. Into all the country 
about {the) Jordan, the region lying 
between the fords opposite Jericho and 
the Dead Sea. He went through this 
region announcing the word of the 
Lord to all the inhabitants. Here, too, 
were the great routes of travel, and it 
was very probably in the spring, near 
the passover, when crowds would be 
going and returning from Jerusalem. 
The Jordan is the chief river of Pales- 
tine running from north to south. It 
is formed by the junction of three 
rivers before it enters the "waters of 
Merom," now Lake of Huleh. Issuing 
from this lake, the Jordan flows nine 
miles to the Sea of Galilee. Thence it 
pursues its crooked course to the Dead 
Sea. Lieutenant Lynch, of the United 
States Xavy, who traversed the river 
in 1848, found that although the dis- 



A. D. 20. 

4 about Jordan, preaching the baptism of *" repentance '^^^- 4- i'; lO- 7; 
'for the remission of sins ; as it is written in the book Bch?i!]'7^' 
of the words of Esaias, the prophet, saying, *The voice 'Mt. 3. 3; Mk. i. 

3 ; John 1. 23. 

tance from the Sea of Galilee to the 
Dead Sea is but sixty miles in a straight 
line, it is two hundred miles by the 
coui-se of the river. It rushes over not 
fewer than twenty-seven rapids, and 
many others less precipitous. Its cur- 
rent is usually swift and strong. Its 
width varies at different points from 
seventy-five to two hundred feet, and 
its depth from three to twelve feet. Its 
fords and its clear running waters 
were admirably adapted for the baptism 
of the multitude who came to John. 

Preaching. Proclaiming, announ- 
cing publicly. Travelling the country, 
he delivered his brief messages, first to 
individuals, families, and small compa- 
nies wherever found, and afterward to 
crowds who flocked to hear liim. 

The baptism. The word baptism 
is the Greek baptisma transferred into 
our language with its final letter 
dropped. It means literally a plunging, 
an immersion. In this all lexicogra- 
phers are agreed. Its figurative mean- 
ing is based on this ground-meaning, 
and always expresses an idea of immer- 
sion, ch. 12 : 50. But it is only with 
the literal meaning that we have here 
to do. See on ver. 7. The baptism of 
John was a new rite. It was not 
founded on the immersions of the old 
dispensation, under which persons per- 
formed the ceremony of bathing or im- 
mersing the whole body, not on others, 
but on themselves. Lev. 15:6; 16 : 4. 
The immersion of one person by another, 
as a divinely-appointed act, is peculiar 
to Christianity, and was first introduced 
in connection with it. It was practiced 
neither among Jews nor heathen. 
Some, indeed, would found it on prose- 
Iji^e baptism among the Jews, but this 
appears not to have been known till 
long after John. Indeed, the earliest 
mention of proselyte baptism is found 
in the Babylonish Talmud, a Jewish 
commentary of the sixth century. John 
himself declared that he received his 
commission to baptize directly from 
God, John 1 : 33, and Jesus intimated 
that the rite was revealed to John from 
heaven, ch. 20 : 4. As the new rite was 
a distinguishing feature of his ministry, 

he was called The Baptist (ch. 7 : 20), 
and his preaching was specially desig- 
nated as that of baptism. Baptism 
of repentance, so styled because it 
implied, enjoined, and symbolized that 
thorough change of mind denoted by 
rei^entance. It represented him receiv- 
ing it as dead and buried to sin, with its 
guilt and defilement, and rising a new 
man to a new life — a life never to end 
and devoted to God. Compare John 5 : 
24 ; Rom. 6 : 3, 4. See on ch. 13 : 2. 
For the remission of sins. Unto 
forgiveness of sins as connected with re- 
pentance. John directed the faith of the I 
penitent to ** him who should come after ' 
him" (Acts 19 : 4), through whom for- 
giveness and salvation were to be ob- 
tained, ver. 16 ; John 1 : 15-17, 29. He 
doubtless held out promises of pardon 
and salvation, ver. 6. 

4. As it is written. Closely con- 
nected with what precedes. The preach- 
ing and baptism of John were the fulfil- 
ment of certain prophetic predictions. 
Luke, in writing for the race, recognized 
the authority of the Old Testament. In 
the book, roll or scroll of linen, papy- 
rus, or parchment, the ancient form of 
a volume, written inside and unrolled 
for reading. The words, the pro- 
phetic discourses which Isaiah wrote. 
Esaias, the Greek form of the Hebrew 
name Isaiah. Saying should be omit- 
ted according to the best critical author- 
ities. Isaiah began to prophesy under 
the reign of Uzziah, about 759 B. C, and 
continued the prophetic office about 
sixty years under Jotham, Ahaz, and 
Hezekiah. The predictions here quoted 
are found in Isa. 40 : 3-5 ; 52 : 10. John 
also applies it to himself. See John 1 : 
23. The figure here used is founded on 
an Eastern custom of sending persons 
to prepare the way for the march of a 
monarch through a wild and unculti- 
vated region. 

The voice of one crying. It is 
not John, but his preaching and mission, 
which are made prominent. His whole 
public life was as a sermon. His 
preaching was indeed a voice of one cry- 
ing aloud, of short duration, but by its 
great earnestness exciting attention, and 

A. D. 26. 



of one crying in the wiUlerncss, Prepare ye the way 
5 of the Lord, make his paths strai<rht. Every valley 

shall he filled, and every mountain and hill shall be 

broui>;ht low ; and the crooked shall be made straip^ht, 
G JHid tlie rouj:;h ways shall be made smooth. And "all 

flesh shall see the salvation of God. 
7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to 

be baptized of him, ^O generation of vipers, who 

"ch. 2. 10; Ps. 98 

2 ; Isa. 32. 10. 
»Ge. 3. 1, 15; Mt. 

12. 34; 23. 33; 

John 8. 44; Rev. 


the place of his preaching was the wil- 
derness. The wilderness wjis a strik- 
in;j emblem of the spiritual desolation 
of Israel at that time. Prepare ye 
the way. Remove the obstructions 
and repair the roads. Repent of sin, 
reiKumee and forsake it. Of the 
Lord, Jehovah, as applied to the ^Xes- 
siah. See on eh. 1 : 76- Malte his 
paths^straight aud^^smoot4K There 
ms toB& a rSterence to a level as 
well as to a direct road, as appears from 

e next verse. 

HUik£— cxt o nd o h iy^otation be- 
yond either Matthew or ^iai4r.- E^ry 
_^'aH«^«htiin)e~ftned, ete. Thus^ 
smooth and even road would be formed 
through a wild, rough, and uneven couu- 
j^,try. . Diodorus, in his account of t^ 
iruirekes of Semiramis, theceiebrSfed 
queen of~Bab ylon, into M €^Ta and Per- 
sia, says : " In her march to Ecbatane 
she came to the Zarcean mountain, 
which, extending many furlongs, full 
of craggy precipices and deeji hollows, 
could not be passed without making a 
great circuit. Desirous of leaving an 
everlasting memorial of herself, as well 
as of shortening the way, she ordered 
the precipices to be digged down and 
the hollows to be filled up ; and at great 
expense she made a shorter and more 
expeditious road, which was called the 
road of Semiramis." Thus the moun- 
tains orpjide would be levelled^ thejval- 
lev>-efunbelief would be filled up, t^ei^ 
"iiful and crooked ways straisrhtened^' 
nd their rough paths of selfishness, 
sensuality, and worldliness would be 
Biai le smoot li.. v 

6. And all flesh. This quotation is 
added from Isa. 52 : 10, and is in har- 
mony with the spirit of Luke's Gospel 
— the gospel for the race. The "mid- 
dle wall " should be levelled. So re- 
markable and conspicuous would be 
the preparation and Mio march of 
Zion's King upon the straight and 

smooth hitjhway that the whole human 
race should see the salvation of 

God, the Messiah, who alone brings 
salvation. Compare notes on ch. 1 : 69 
and 2 : 30. 

7. Then. Rather, Therefore. In 
accordance with the design of John's 
ministry, as just described by prophetic 
Quotations, he addressed the multitudes 
who came to him for baptism in the 
laiiguage that follows. The multi- 
Uide, or crowd. The news would soon 
Spread throughout the whole of Pales- 
tine by means of the people who at- 
tended the feasts; and as the country 
was not large, companies of pilgrims 
could soon gather from all quarters, 
Matt. 3:5. It was also the saobatical 
year, when the people were compar- 
atively free from agricultural labors, 
Ex. 23 : 11. To be baptized. Lit- 
erally, To he immersed. This has been 
the meaning of the verb in the original 
in every stage of the Greek language, 
and it is still its meaning in the modern 
Greek. In accordance with this mean- 
ing, the Greek Church in all of its 
branches has uniformly practiced im- 
mersion from the earliest period to the 
present. Compare the author's Notes 
on 3Iatthew, ch. 3 : 6. and his Notes on, 
Mark, ch. 1:4; also see Dr. Conant's 
Baptizein, Carson On Baptism, and kin- 
dred works. 

Generation of vipers. Matthew 
(^:7) informs us that Pharisees and 
Sadducees were present, who were- tlxua.,^^^ 
particularly addressed. Luke, in writ-J^ 
ing for Gentiles, did no^need specially 
to specify these two classes. Doubtless 
"liTTrnT^lTrthe-TttttltitTnte Had come from 
idle curiosity, others were envious and 
jealous, and some| especially of the 
Sadducees, were sneering at the dan- 
gers impending in a future life. Yet 
all seemed somewhat aroused and anx- 
ious. At a glance John perceives their 
selfish and wicked motives in coming, 



A. D. 26. 

hath warned you to flee from ''the wrath to come? 

8 'Bring fortli therefore ^fruits worthy of repentance ; 
and begin not to say witliin yourselves, ''We have 
Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God 
is able of these stones *to raise up children unto 

9 Abraham. And ''now also the axe is laid unto the 
root of the trees; "every tree therefore which bring- 
eth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into 
the fire. 

10 And the people asked him saying, *^What shall 

b Mai. 3. 1-3. « ch. 13. 7, 9 ; Mt. 7. 16-19 ; John 15. 6. ^ Ac. 2. 37. 

"Ro.S.y; IThes. 1. 

10; liev. 6. IG. 17. 

»l3. 1. 10, 17; Ac. 

26. 20; 2 Cor. 7. 
10, 11. 

y(;al. 5. 22, 23: 

V\n\. 1. 11. 
» John 8. .33, 39; Ro. 

2. 28, 29 ; 4. 1, IG ; 

9. 7, 8; Gal. 4. 

•Mt. 8. 11, 12; Ac. 

1.5. 14; 1 Cor. 1. 

27, 28; Gal. 3. 

and at once indicates their character. 
JJrood of vipers, persons both doceitlul 
and malignant, hypocritical, and hold- 
ing pernicious doctrines and principles ; 
hence, injurious to others and exposed 
to coming wrath. The vij^er is a very 
poisonous serpent, Acts 28 : 3-6. Who 
hath warned you. Who did warn 
you, or Who warned you. An expres- 
sion of surprise and distrust. What 
has moved you to this when you think 
yourselves the " children of Abraham " 
and the models and teachers of the peo- 
ple ? Who showed you that you must 
tlee ? Who awakened in you a fear of 
coming judgment? Strange that such 

formalists should be thus aroused! It 

was a Jewish maxim that ng,^e}fcum-\ 
cised persQ^_ciiuld-«Ter-he-k>stj/ Wrath 

rt-o come. Impending wrath, which 
/ was to be visited upon those who re- ' 
^ jected the kingdom of heaven and neg- 
lected preparation. The Jews expected 
troublous times in connection with the 
appearance of the Messiah, Mai. 3:1;/ 
4:5; Isa. 60 : 12 ; 63 : 1. John referred 
prophetically to the wrath coming upon 
the Jewish nation at the destruction of 
Jerusalem, and upon all the wicked at 
the general judgment, 1 Thess. 1 : 10; 

J^attv-34 -: 21," ?a, 39. — " 

S. Bring forth therefore fruits, 
not merely emotional and selfish fear, 
but such works and conduct as will 
show your sincerity and shall be 
worthy of repentance, proper and 
suitable to such a change. See on ch. 
13 : 2. Begin not to say, etc. Do 
not attempt to plead hereditary priv- 
ileges. The Jews, *and especially the 
Pharisees, thought that, as children of 
Abraham, they were partakers of the 
promise made to him, and consequently 
possessed the favor of God and a right 
to share in the blessings of the Messiah, 

John 8 : 33, 39. To our Father. 

Kather, For our Father. For intro- 
duces a reason why they should not 
trust in a hereditary salvation. God 
is able of these stones. God is not 
of necessity confined to you, the natural 
descendants of Abraham ; but as lie 
created Adam out of the dust of the 
earth, so he can now form of these 
stones men who shall be spiritually and 
truly the children of Abraham. See 
Gal. 3:6, 7. John doubtless pointed 
to the stones on the banks of the Jor- 
dan. As these were the most unlikely 
material, so God could take the most 
unpromising persons and make 
suitable subj ects^af -the Messiah^ John 
condemns the erroneous view of hered- 
itary piety then prevalent, and teaches 
that not descent, but repentance, was 
necessary to the privileges of.>eiTSKTpr 

9. Aii^ ntJwalFO^th^ axe is laid. 
/Already the axe lies at the root ready 
for use, aimed not at the branches, but 
at the root. The object is not to prune, 
but to cut down. Every tree. Every 
one is to be dealt with according to his 
individual character. Which bring- 
eth not forth good fruit. Men are 
to be judged, not by their birth or their 
professions, but by their hearts and lives. 
Is cut doAvn, without delay, like bar- 
rep.^;rees for firewood. The execution 
is to be immediate. Cast into the 
fire, of impending wrath, already men- 
tioned (ver, 7), into fire unquenchable, 
ver. 17 ; Heb. 6 : 8. Thus John would 
prepare the people for the coming of 
Christ by awakening within them a 
sense of their true condition and of 
their spiritual want. Expecting a tem- 
poral deliverer, they would without 
this most certainly reject Jesus. 

10. Having awakened convictions, 
John now directs inquirers. And the 

A. D. 26. 



11 we do then? He answcreth and aaith unto them, •cii. n. 4i : is. 5S. 
•lie that hath two coats, let him impart to him that jT/.J,' 2 i5!^1(?| 
hath none ; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. i Joiin 3. ii ; 4.' 

12 Then ^came also puhlieans to be baptized, and said t^^^'-j 29. Mt 21 

13 unto him. Master, what shall we do? And he said 32. • ' • • 
unto them, « Exact no more than that which is ap- «ch. 19. 8. 
pointed you. ^ i:x. 23. 1 ; Le. 19. 

people, the multitudes, asked him. 
Kot the Pharisees and Sadducees, who 
were so provoked with such plain and 
honest treatment that they turned their 
backs upon John and his baptism (ch. 
7 : 2i>, 30 ; Matt. 21 : 25), and said, " He 
hath a demon" (Matt. 11 : IS), but the 
common people, who were alarmed, 
perplexed, and teachable. What 
shall, etc. What, then, shall we dof 
The languaa:e of awakened penitents, 
Acts 2 : 37^16 : 30. 

11. He answereth. John answers 
the inquirers by directing attention to 
the sin most common among them, and 
to the particular sins which distinguish- 
ed certain classes of his hearers. John 
had observed these, though he "had 
lived so secluded a life. He that 
hath two coats, or tunics, inner 
garments worn next to the skin, mostly 
with sleeves, reaching usually to the 
knees. Two tunics were sometimes 
worn for ornament or luxury. In such 
a case the second or upper tunic M'as 
longer than the other. Impart, give 
to, or share with. Him that hath 
none. This answer corresponds with 
what John had preached, " Bring forth 
fruits worthy of repentance," and to 
the question which this preaching 
aroused, "What, then, shall we do?" 
Avarice and unfeeling selfishness cha- 
racterized at this time the Jewish people, 
James 4 : 1-4 ; 5 : 1-6. The very oppo- 
site of these would be the fruits which 
would indicate repentance in their ca§e. 
Deeds of justice, self-denying gener- 
osity, and charity, though not in them- 
selves a ground of merit, were what 
should be expected of persons who pro- 
fessed the change of heart and life 
embraced in repentance, Isa. 58 : 6, 7 ; 
Mic. 6 : 8 ; 1 John 3:17; 4 : 20. The 
coat and meat, rather /oo<i, represent 
the physical necessities of men. These 
Bhould not be hoarded, but generously 
imparted a.s others have need. 

12. There came also publicans, tax- 

gatherers under the Roman government. 
Publicans consisted of two classes. The 
first were Roman knights, residing 
generally at Rome, who levied the 
revenues of a large district ; the second 
were subordinate collectors, each of 
whom was required to pay a certain 
sum to his superior, with the privilege 
of raising as much more as he pleased 
for his own profit. This led to extortion 
and oppression. The latter class were 
the publicans of the New Testament. 
Over this class were placed agents in 
the provinces, who superintended the 
actual business of collecting the reve- 
nues. Such a one was probably 
Zaccheus, Avho is styled a chief publi- 
can, ch. 18:2. Publicans were regard- 
ed as willing tools of oppression, and 
instruments of a Gentile or heathen 
power and a foreign despotism. Their 
very name was expressive of a depraved 
and reckless character, ch. 8:11; Matt. 
18 : 17; 21 : 31. The Jews engaged as pub- 
licans were practically excommunicated 
persons, and excluded by their occu-_ 
pation from respectable society. They 
were classed with harlots (Matt. 21 : 31) 
and with the heathen. Matt. 18 : 17. 
The Jews had a proverb, " Take not a 
wife out of a family where there is a 
publican, for they are all publicans." 
People of this class were also convicted 
of their guilt under John's preachinap^ 
and inquired,-Mast«F5-nrther, Teacher, 
what shall we do, to show the sin- 
cerity of our repentance and to escape 
the coming wrath ? The publicans alone 
here address John as teacher, implying, 
perhaps, their humble and teachable 
spirit under the sense of sin. 

13. The appropriate fruit of repent- 
ance, in persons who were noted for 
their extortions, would be strict integ- 
rity, even-handed justice; hence, John 
enjoins upon publicans. Exact no 
more than that which is appoint- 
ed you, by your superiors. He de- 
mands not that they should give up 



A. D. 26. 

14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of liim, saying, 
And what shall we do ? And he said unto them, Do 
violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely ; ''and 
be content with your wages. 

15 And as the people were in expectation, and all 
men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were 

16 the Christ, or not ; John answered, saying unto them 

»• Phil. 4. 11; 


1 Tim. 

their employment, but that they should 
be honest in the performance of their 
duties. If they truly repented, they 
would indeed exhibit other fruits, but 
this in their case was indispensable. 
AVithout it there could no true repent- 

14. And the soldiers. Rather, 
And soldiers. Probably Jewish troops ; 
for had they been Gentiles, John would 
doubtless have enjoined upon them, 
among other things, the worship of the 
true God. Such worship is here taken 
for granted. Who they were is un- 
certain ; they could have been Jewish 
soldiers of the Roman province of 
Judea, or of Herod Antipas of Galilee. 
But whoever they were, they appear 
to have been engaged in actual military 
service. The name here applied to 
them, and translated soldiers, means 
men under arms, or men on the march. 
These were also aroused by John's pun- 
gent preaching; and in concern for 
themselves, they ask What, etc.. What 
shall we do, we alsof John's answer 
was adapted to their sins and tempta- 
tions. They were prone to insolence, 
violence, malice, and insubordination. 
John does not command them to give 
up their occupation, but to carry into it 
honesty, kindness, and contentment. 
These traits would be significant fruits 
in their case, but without them their 
repentance would be hollow and value- 
less. Do violence to no man, to 
no one. The literal meaning of the 
Greek verb here employed is to shake 
violently, and hence to vex and harass, 
in order by insolent and overbearing 
treatment or by terror to extort money 
or gain some selfish end. Neither 
accuse any falsely, in order to re- 
ceive a bribe or to obtain a reward. Be 
content Avith your wages. The 
word translated wages literally means 
" something purchased to eat with 
bread." Hired soldiers were at first 
paid partly in rations of meat, grain, 
and fruit. Hence the word came to 

mean rations, wages, or stipend. Here 
it includes both food and money. Seek 
not unlawfully to increase it by mutiny 
or by sedition or by dishonest gains 
from the people. 

From the above examples, we catch 
a glimpse of John's manner of preach- 
ing. He was eminently practical, re- 
buking the particular sins of the people, 
and enforcing the duties of love, mercy, 
justice, and fidelity in daily life ; de- 
manding a breaking off from sin and 
the living of a pious life as the evidence 
of repentance. He does not condemn 
any particular avocation, but the sins 
and abuses commonly connected with 
it. Of course, if any one of his hearers 
could not follow a given employment 
without committing these sins, it would 
be his duty to change his employment. 

15. As the people were in ex- 
pectation, that John would clearly 
declare himself, who he was, John 1 : 
25. This shows how deep the impres- 
sion which John had made upon the 
people. They were waiting anxiously 
for some indication or declaration from 
himself which would set the matter at 
rest. From John 1 : 19-28 it appears 
that a deputation was sent from Jeru- 
salem to obtain from him a definite 
answer. And all men mused, etc. 
All were reasoning in their hearts con- 
cerning John. They were pondering all 
the facts in the case, and considering 
the reasons for and against. Whether 
he were the Christ or not. Rather, 
Whether he was not the Christ, an in- 
direct question, implying an affirmative 
answer. Notwithstanding their notions 
of Christ as a prince and warrior, they 
were just as ready to conclude that this 
great and bold preacher in rough gar- 
ments of camel's hair was indeed the 
Christ. A single word from him would 
have at once aroused the Jewish nation. 
Hence the necessity of his making an 
emphatic assertion that he was not the 
Christ (John 1 : 20), and of pointing to 
him as soon to come, vers. 16, 17. This 

A. D. 26. 



all, 'I indeed baptize you with water; but one ^■^^•^•^}.'-^~*f 
niiirhtier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes or. • . . 

I am not worthy to unloose: he yhall baptize you 
with the Holy Ghost and with fire : whose fan is in 

conduct of John shows his moral great- 
ness and the humility becoming so good 
a man. 

1(3. John answered, etc. John 
answered them nil, S(i}/iu(f. He publicly 
and frankly declared to all, both to the 
people who came to his baptism and 
the deputation which came from Jeru- 
salem, that he was not the Messiah who 
was soon to appear. I indeed bap- 
tize you with water^ in iratfr. So 
the versions of George Campbell Nor- 
ton, American Bible Union, translate. 
The preposition en (in) is omitted in 
the original (so also in Acts 1:5; 11 : 
16), but in the corresponding phrase 
that follows in is inserted, in the Holy 
Spirit. In the parallel passage in 
Matthew (3 : 11, 12) the preposition is 
used in both cases, and so also in Mark 
(1 : 8) according to some of the best 
manuscripts, while others read as here. 
"We often find in parallel phrases 
a preposition now inserted and now 
omitted with the same essential sense. 
Thus in 1 Pet. 4 : 1 we find a similar 
construction, " Christ hath suffered for 
us in the flesh" (without the preposi- 
tion) ; " for he that hath suffered for us 
in the flesh" (with the preposition). 
Compare Eph. 2:1, " Dead in tres- 
passes" (preposition omitted), with Col. 
2 : 18, " Dead in your sins" (preposition 
]nserte<l). Compare 1 John 3 : 18, where 
the preposition is omitted three times 
aud inserted once. 

In these examples, where the prepo- 
sition is omitted in the Greek, we have 
what scholars style the local dutive, 
defining place. Thus Jelf in liis Greek 
grammar, the best work on the subject 
(:{d edition), § 605, 1, says, "The acci- 
dent of place is put in the dative, except 
when, occasionally in poetry, the place 
is conceived of as the antecedent condi- 
tion of the action of the verb. So that 
all verbs may be followed by a dative 
when it is wished to define the place." 
Also in ^ 605, 5, he says, " Under the 
local dative, as expressing the particular 
point wherein anythinsr takes place, we 
must class such expressions as, ' I am 
in the same mind/ etc., SoPH. ; ' I am 

mostly in this mind,' TnrcYD." Com- 
pare the examples of local dative given 
m Dr. Conant's Jiaptizein, Exs. 71, 73, 
76. 78, S6, 120, 121, 125. Some regard 
the dative ip this passage and in Acts 
1 : 5; 11 : 16, as that of instrument — 
that is, the element used in the immer- 
sion — but it is far more natural to regard 
it as dative of place as above. There 
seems to be nothing in the expression 
really demanding the instrumental 
dative. That the Greek en (in) is 
always found in the expression " Bap- 
tize in the Holy Spirit " (in this verse ; 
Acts 1 : 5; 11 : 16) may be explained 
from the fact that the idea of locality 
necessarily connected with an immer- 
sion always demands the use of en in 
this phrase, since we do not so generally 
connect locality with the Spirit. 

But one mightier, etc., or 77ie 
mightier than I cometh. John (1 : 26, 
27) records the more definite language 
of the Baptist, that the coming One was 
already in the midst of them. Jesus 
was mightier in his nature, office, wis- 
dom, power, and aims, John 5 : 27 ; 10 : 
30, 41 ; Matt. 28 : IS. Yet none greater 
than John had arisen. Matt. 11 : 9-11, 
The latchet. The strap which fiis- 
tened the sandal to the foot. Shoes. 
Sandals, the coverings of the bottom of 
the feet. They were taken off and laid 
aside on entering a house. The tying 
and untying the sandals was the work 
of the most menial servant. Yet Christ 
was so mighty a personage that even 
this work John felt himself unworthy 
to perform. But John had aroused the 
whole Jewish nation. How great, then, 
the Messiah I He should arouse the 
world, and his power would be felt by 
every one of the human race. 

Baptize you with the Spirit and 
with fire. Literally, in the HiAy 
Spirit and fire, the preposition en (in) 
being used after baptize, as in Mark 1 : 
5, and flre being closely united by and 
to Holy Spirit. The form of expression 
is the same in Matt. 3 : 11. The prepo- 
tion en expresses the element in which 
the baptism takes place. Compare sec- 
ond paragraph on this verse. The bap- 



A. D. 26. 

his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and ^ ^f ic. 4. 12; Mt. is, 
J will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaflf ukli!^'. ^^'^^' 

tism in the Holy Spirit and fire must 
not be referred to water baptism in any 
sense, for Christ never baptized, but left 
that to his disciples (John 4:2); nor 
to the common influences of the Spirit 
which are peculiarly the Spirit's work 
(John 20 : 22), but to the sending of the 
Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, 
which was peculiarly Christ's work, 
John 16 : 7. Thus Jesus himself evi- 
dently teaches in Acts 1:5. So Peter 
looked back to this baptism in Acts 1 1 : 
16. As Christ's servants are to baptize 
new-born believers in water, so Christ 
baptized the new-born church in the 
Holy Spirit. This he literally did on 
the day of Pentecost, Acts 2 : 2-4. The 
words and of fire, as well as the exter- 
nal appearance of tongues as of fire, ex- 
press symbolically the fiery, the vehe- 
ment, ardent, and active power of the 
Holy Spirit, and as manifested in those 
receiving this baptism, the fiery zeal 
and fervor, connected with the gift of 
tongues and other gifts, then conferred 
upon them. Such an overwhelming 
and all-pervading descent of the Holy 
Spirit, with other manifestations of fire, 
could aptly be styled a baptism in the 
Holy Spirit and fire. They were indeed 
immersed in the divine element. Their 
souls were penetrated and encompassed 
on every side, and their bodies by the 
symbols of the Spirit, which filled the 
house. And fire is omitted in Mark 1 : 
8 and Acts 1 : 5, but it is really compre- 
hended in the concise expression ^'in 
the Spirit," as fire was symbolic of the 
power of the Spirit. 

Many commentators, however, refer 
these words to the baptism of the right- 
eous in the Holy Spirit, and of the 
wicked in the fire of judgment. Thus 
Van Oosterzee says on this passage : 
" He will, so to speak, wholly immerse 
you in the Holy Spirit and in the fire. 
The baptism of fire is appointed for the 
unconverted, as that of the Holy Spirit 
for believers. . . . Some are renovated 
by his baptism, others buried in the 
fiery baptism of final judgment." The 
passages quoted for the symbolical use 
of the word fire are Mai. 4:1; Matt. 
25 : 41 ; Jude 7 ; Rev. 20 : 14, 15 ; 21 : 
8. It is thought that this interpreta- 

tion agrees better with the next verse. 
But this is only apparent, for the next 
verse does not necessarily refer in any 
respect to the baptism in the Spirit. The 
language here refers plainly to one 
class; for "Holy Spirit" and "fire" 
are closely united by the pronoun you 
and by the conjunction and. He shall 
baptize those that he shall baptize, in 
the Holy Spirit and fire. 

Christ showed by the baptism in the 
Spirit and fire that he was the dispenser 
of the Spirit, through whose power his 
kingdom would be carried on ; that his 
church was fully commenced, and that 
the Comforter would be given to believ- 
ers of all ages. 

John, by contrasting his baptism in 
water with that in the Holy Spirit and 
fire, showed the superiority of Christ's 
ofiice, work, and power over his own. 
As spirit and fire are more powerful, 
penetrating, and subtle than water, so 
Christ's work would be higher, more 
spiritual, and profoundly searching than 
his, consuming the dross and producing 
a higher spiritual life, with all the at- 
tendant fruits and blessings. 

17. Whose fan. Whose winnowing 
shovel is in his hand, ready for use. 
Oxen threshed the grain in the East by 
treading it out (Deut. 25 : 4), or a thresh- 
ing-machine was drawn over it, Isa. 41 : 
15 ; Amos 1 : 3. The grain and chaff 
mingled were thrown up against the 
wind with the winnowing-shovel ; the 
chaflT was thus blown away, while the 
grain fell in a heap. Thus Christ is 
the great Winnower who shall separate 
the righteous from the wicked. Com- 
pare ch. 22 : 31 ; Jer. 15 : 7. Thor- 
oughly purge, cleanse his threshing- 
floor, by separating the wheat from 
the chaff. Believers are to be separated, 
even by severe measures, from both un- 
believers and also their remaining sins. 
The threshing-floor was a circular piece 
of ground in the open field, levelled 
and beaten down or paved. An ele- 
vated piece of ground was generally 
selected, for the purpose of having the 
full benefit of the wind, 1 Chron. 21 : 15, 
28, 30. 

The wheat. The righteous, true 
believers. Garner. Granary, stoi-e- 

A. D. 2G. 



18 he will burn with fire unquenchable. And many- 
other things in his exhortation preached he unto the 

19 MUit Herod the tetrarch, bciiifr reproved by hin\ ' ^J^^'j;^^^ ' ^^• 
for Herodiius, his brother Philip's wile, and for all 

20 the evils which Herod had done, added yet this above 
all, that he shut up John in prison. 

tipas, she was his brother's wife. Cora- 
pare Mark G : 17-20, 29. Not only for 
this one crime did John re])rove Herod, 
but for all the evils which Ilcrod 
had done, or did — his revellini^s, de- 
baucheries, and murders. According to 
Jewish testimony, Herod Antipas " was 
very wicked and a destroying man. 
Many of the wise men of Israel he 
slew with the sword."— Dr. Gill on 
this verse. His wickedness reached its 
climax in the imprisonment and execu- 
tion of John. 

20. Added yet above all. His 
wickedness had already reached a fear- 
ful height, but he added to all this 
also. Shut up John in prison, in 
the fortress of Macharus, on the eastern 
shore of the Dead Sea, Josephus, ^nf i^. 
xviii. 5, 2. This occurred probably 
about November, A. D. 27, and about 
a year after our Saviour's baptism. 
John's ministry continued about eight- 
een months. He was beheaded prob- 
ably in March, A. D. 29. See on ch. 9 : 
9; also author's Harmony, ?? 30, 31. 
The chronological position of this versu 
and the preceding one is after ch. 4 : 13. 
But Luke thus summarily brings to a 
close his account of the ministry of 
John, and in the next verse commences 
his narrative of Christ's ministry, be- 
ginning with his baptism. 

21, 22. The Baptism of Jesus, Matt. 
3 : 13-17 ; Mark 1 : 9-11. The accoun t 
of Matthew is the fullest^ this of Luke 
the briefesjL^ti with snTTlfi impftrtrtpt 

house. The chaff. The wicked, un- 
believers, Ps. 1 : 4. 

Fire unquenchable. Fire that 
will not be put out, that utt<?rlv con- 
sumes, Matt. 13:30; 25:34, 41, 4G; 
Isa. 66 : 24 ; Mark 9 : 43-48. 

18. And many other things, etc. 
And with many other exhortations and 
admonitions such as have just been 
given, he preached the gospel, or glad 
tidings, unto the people. Thus we 
have John's manner of preaching the 
gospel. He rebuked sin, called upon 
the people to repent, and to manifest it 
by a thorough change of heart and life, 
proclaimed the Messiah approaching 
with blessings and salvation to the 
righteous, the believing, and judgments 
and destruction to the wicked, the un- 
believing. Thus he prepared the way 
for Christ ; and some hearts were ready 
to receive him when he came, John 1 : 
37, 41, 43. 

19. The warnings and admonitions of 
John extended to every class of the 
people — to the prince as well as to 
subject. As Luke is giving a brief 
and summary account of John's min- 
istry, he, by way of anticipation, refers 
to the imprisonment of John, which 
occurred several months after Christ's 
baptism, Matt. 14 : 3 ; Mark 6 : 17. 
llerod Antipas. See on ver. 1. For 
Ilerodias, his brother Philip's 
wife. According to the best critical 
authorities, this should read, On account 
of Herodios, his brothers wife. Hero- 
dias was granddaughter of Herod the 
Great, daughter of Aristobulus, and 
niece of Herod Antipas. She married 
Philip, a son of Herod the Great, who 
lived in private life, having been dis- 
inherited by his father, Herodias, pre- 
ferring royalty, left him and married 
Herod Antipas, who, to make way for 
her, divorced his own wife, daughter 
of Aretas, king of Arabia, supposed to 
be the one mentioned by Paul in 2 Cor. 
11 : 32. Notwithstanding that Herodias 
liad left her husband and married An- 

p articu Tars,Qpjt:-m fintioned h y t|hpi n^bpra 

-Imijiiply, pll thp. ppnplp JeSUS 

praving. an d the bodily f^^ap^ fl.'' ^ ^^^ 
Jesus was baptized probably at the ford 
of the Jordan east of Jericho. 

Dr. Harvey, of Hamilton Theological 
Seminary, who visited the Jordan in 
April, 1874, writes: "The river runs 
through a deep ravine with a narrow 
fringe of green on either bank, and as 
we rode toward it only the top of the 
chasm was visible till we came to its 
brink. The water is slightly discolored, 



A. D. 26. 

21 Now when all the people were baptized, * it came ^Mt.3. i3-i7; Mk. 
to, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, 32.^"^^ ' "^ ^' 

22 the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended 

and rushes down to the Dead Sea with a 
rai)id, strong current. At the fords it 
was then about one hundred and fifty 
feet across, and very deep; the heavy 
storms which prevailed in Palestine 
through March had swollen it. It is 
rarely fordable. Until lately a ferry- 
boat has connected the banks, but it 
was swept away and destroyed by the 
violence of the stream, and has not 
been replaced. We found the water 
soft, and delightful for bathing. The 
banks are lined with the balsam, the 
tamarisk, and the oleander. It is a 
beautiful spot, and worthy of its great 
history. Here, without doubt, Israel 
crossed through the divided waters, 
passing from the plains of Moab to the 
plains of Jericho. Elijah and Elisha, 
in a later age, passed over in like man- 
ner as God divided the stream before 
them. It was to this place Elisha sent 
Naaman the Syrian when he came to 
him at Gilgal, and the leper ' went 
down and dipped himself seven times 
in Jordan, according to the saying of 
the man of God, and he was clean.' 
Above all, here Christ was baptized by 
John ; and as ' he went up straightway 
out of the water, lo ! the heavens were 
opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit 
of God descending like a dove, and 
lighting upon him ; and lo ! a voice 
from heaven saying, This is my be- 
loved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' 
As * Jerusalem and all Judea, and all 
the region round about Jordan, went 
out' to John to be baptized, this must 
certainly be the place, for the higher 
point of the river fixed on by some is 
wholly unlikely, because much too dis- 
tant and inconvenient of access to the 
multitudes from Jerusalem and Judea." 
The exact time of his baptism is uu- 
knoAvn. Tradition very generally places 
it in the winter, about January 6 or 10. 
If John commenced his ministry in 
the spring, as is probable, and Jesus 
was baptized about six months after, 
then it occurred in the autumn. It 
may have occurred late in the autumn 
A. D. 26. 

21. When all the people were 
baptized, or had been baptized, A 

brief expression, in which all is pop- 
ularly used for great numbers. When 
the multitudes from all parts of the 
land connected with that great uprising 
of the people had been baptized in the 
Jordan, confessing their sins. Matt. 3 : 
6. That the expression must be taken in 
this restricted and popular sense is evi- 
dent from the fact that John continued 
to preach and baptize till his imprison- 
ment. 'T^J^hfliPtism of Jftsni, hnir»v»r; 
formed ffieTcUma^ of Joha'iOttiiaJiStc* ; 
it was tlie .^rreut act,, forne 


great crowning 
baptizing in, water 

came Daptizing in, water tliat 
might be manifested to Israel, John 1 
31-34. From that time he -began to d.(i- 
erease, but Jesus to increase. All the 
people were no longer gathering to 
John. The disciples of Jesus were 
baptizing more than he, John 4 : 1, 2. 
Jesus also being baptized, or hav- 
ing also been baptized. Jesus was bap- 
tized at the time or period when the 
people were baptized, probably at the 
close of the greatest baptismal season 
of John's ministry, but whether pub- 
licly or not is not stated. Luke. :g_^ 
makes prominent the human slde",9? 
Jesus, speaks of his baptism as^^^con- 
nected with that of the people, and 
also gives the additional i^articular that 
Jesus was praying. It is one peculiax.T, 
ity of his Gospel that Luke often spg.^s 
of Jesus as praying, eh. 6 : 12; y : 18, 
29 ; 22 : 32, 41 ; 23 : 34, 46. It was im- 
mediately upon his emerging from the 
water that he prayed, and it was while 
praying that the heaven was open- 
ed, cleft, parted, as by a flash of light- 
ning (Acts 7 : 56), and the Spirit de- 
scended upon him. There was a sud- 
den and visible parting asunder in a 
portion of the sky. Jesii§.sas:it^^ark 
1 : 10; J ohn a lso_jiEitoessed- it -,- J o hn 
lY32. " " 

" O happy river ! conscious in each drop, 
From thy clear bottom to thy smiling top; 
Deep calling unto deep, as rapids swift 
To foaming cataracts their voice uplift, 
In eager proclamation, far to near 
Aud near to far, loud shouting, God Is 

Thou, ever reverent, o'er many a steep, 
With kneelings many und prostrations 


A. D. 26. 



in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice 
came from heaven, which said. Thou art my beloved 
Son ; in thee I am well pleiused. 

FallinR and falling, low and lower fall, 
And kis8 his feet who is the Lord of all ! 

« * * * * 

Breast high in thee, not snow is half so 

Nor lialf so spotless is th' unsulliod light ; 
Caressing eddies round and round him 

In circling dance, the Wonder of the world. 
He stoops to thee in all his heavenly 

charms ; 
I sec him sinking in thy jeweled arms, 
L<xst one amazing moment to the sight. 
Then rising radiant, dripping gems of 


Abrauam Coles, M. D., LL.D., 
The Evangd, pp. Iu3-138. 

22. In a bodily shape or form, 
visible at least to Jesiis iMflJi.^^;A6) 
^^4^ ^^J^X^'- ^-- Like a do ve, or 

Jis a ctm^e, referring ^>robably to the 
fi/ujDf invrhich the Sjiirjt descended; for 
as T.uVe (Te?iYilhTy"suyy that the Spirit 
dfiisec'.uli i] 111 ail ur^'tmized corpyreul 
f^jCiii, it I^_iiio;.t natural to refer the 
words ZiX-e or as a dove to that 
form. Some^hO-Wever,. jeler it to the 
m<in7ier in which the Spirit descended, 
gently and swiftly, like the downward 
fliglit of a dove. But this leaves the 
bodily shape entirely unexplained, and 
makes the comparison to be simply be- 
tween the descent of the Spirit and a 
dave, and not^as it plainly seems to be, 
between the Spirit and the dove. The 
comparison most naturally implies the 
visible appearance of the Spirit in the 
shape of a dove. There was of course 
nothing material, since it was " the 
Holy Spirit." Thi s v?3 s_ a fit emblem 
of the pure, genlTej and peaceful cha- 
racter of Jesus and his work, Isa. 61 : 1- 
3; Matt. 10:16; 11:29; 12:19-21. 
The descent of the Spirit was also a 
token of the Messiah to John, John 1 : 
33. Thus Jesus received the heavenly 
anointing, and here the active and offi- 
cial ministry of Jesus begins^ Ps. 45 : 7 ; 
Isa. 11 : 2; 42 : 1. 

A voice came. from heaven, from 
the FaLhaCy. att^aiiug .iha. ^Mfes-siuhsh i p 
of Jesus to Jolin, and through him to 
the peaple,.John 1 : 32-.i4. Thou, fn. 
answer to Jesus praying^ ver. I'l. Be- 
loved Son. Xot'joftly j/ii/ .^o?i (Ps, 
2 : 7, 12), but emphatically the Beloved, 

Isa. 42 : 1. Son not only expresses hia 
Messiahship, but also the close, eixdear- 
ing, anil lUvine relation he i>u.staiueil.tu 
the Father, the dignity buih of hjs 
office and his divine nature, Jyhn 1 : 54^ 
In thcc I am well pleased. In 
all respects as a Son and a ^lediator. 
Compare the repetition of this heavenly 
testimony, ch. 9:35; Matt. 17:5; 2 
Pet. 1 : 17. Thus the three Persons of 

th^ ffllP <^^od wprp. manitPsri^fl at, ^yr 

Loj^ia. -b ap tLja n . The ordiiiance..3i;a^ 
honor^ by- hia. ioiDlidl o b^Lenee, the 
desceadiiig -Spiriy aiuL.tha^accroying 
v^irejof thp Fathflf 

If the question be asked, Why was 
-TesHiS hQp^^^^? it may be answered, 
Thus J esus was to fulfil all ri_^lu<'ous- 
n,es§^_Ji|a44i,,..2Xi5. It was aii act of 
holy obQilifeacfit: iuc.un^btuL uu every 
pious individual. Jeaus was ,thus_ 
brought into a. personal relation to Tns 
own kingdom, into'ancT poslhve 
connection with his own vLsHjU' ( liiireh. 
As its Head he submitted to that which 
was obligatory upon all of its members. 
It pointed specially to the vicarious 
nature of his great work. It was only 
as he was connected with a sinful race, 
he himself being without sin , that he 

could n.ppri:ipriniidy..<iihinit in hqj^tis^Ti 

It j)refigured not merely his death, 
burial, and resurrection, Luke 1^ :'50, 
but also his death to sin — tliat is, to. the 
sins of the people, that were -laid on. 
him — and his life to ri^hteousnessT-that 
is, the new life of all his spiritual peo- 
ple. It prefigure<l sin, as it were, re- 
ceiving its death and tmrial with himy 
and "holiness Its resurrection and life. 
Col. 2 : 12, 13; Eph. 2 : 5; Kom. 6 : 3, 
4, 8 ; Ps. 40 : 12. 

Another question is often a.«;ked. 
What is the relation of John's baptism 
to apostolic baptism ? They were 
essentially one. The baptism of_John, 
commencing at the clawn oT~fIie~new 
dispensation, was perfonneil in view r i 
an api)roaehin_ '•' the 

people that til L . lim 

who should c'jiiiL iiUcr him'" (Acts 
19:4), "Repent, f..r the kingdom of 
heaven is at hand," Matt. 3 :^2. This 
was the first step in the development 



A. D. 26. 

Genealogy/ of Jesus. 

23 AND Jesus himself began to be " about thirty years m Num. 4 3 35 39 
of age, being (as was supposed) "the son of Joseph, 4:^,47. 

"Mt. 13.55: John 6. 42. 

o f the ordinance. As John's preaching 
'(VU's the beginning of gospel preaching 
(Matt. 3 : 2 and Mark 1:7, 15; Luke 
3 : 18), so his baptism was the beginning 
of gospel baptism. Not only was Jesus 
baptized by John, but also the apostles, 
so far as we know, ch. 7 : 21) ; John 
1 : 35-40. Christ's disciples baptizing 
in the name of Jesus as the Messiah 
formed the second step, John 4 : 2. And 
the last commission to baptize in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Spirit, the final step 
which made the ordinance complete as 
an institution of the churches of Christ, 
Matt. 28 : 19. 

If it be objected that the twelve dis- 
ciples of John at Ephesus were re- 
baptized by Paul (Acts 19 : 5), it may 
be replied that Paul appears to inti- 
mate that they never properly received 
John's baptism, for they had never 
heard of the Holy Spirit of which John 
sjioke. Besides, they resided at Ephe- 
sus, many hundreds of miles from Pales- 
tine, and it was about twenty-five years 
after John's death. Hence they were 
probably baptized by John's disciples 
after his death, and such baptism was 
not valid, for the authority to baptize 
was entrusted to John, and he had no 
right to transmit it to others. And 
besides, if the Holy Spirit was not re- 
cognized after Jesus had given his last 
commission, such bai3tism could not 
then be regarded as fully-developed 
gospel baptism, 

23-38. The Genealogy of Jesus. 
Compare Matt. 1 : 1-17. This geneal- 
ogy diifers from that in Matthew by 
tracing the lineage of Jesus through the 
line of Nathan, the son of David, down 
to Adam ; whereas Matthew gives the 
line of the kings of Judah to David, 
and extends the descent only to Abra- 
ham. Matthew says, " Jacob begat Jo- 
seph, the husband of Mary," while 
Luke puts it, " Joseph, the son of Heli." 
See below. 

23. And Jesus himself began to 
be, etc. This translation is ungram- 
matical. It is better to translate, Jesus 
himself was above thirty years of age 

token he began his ministry. Com- 
pare Acts 1:1, 22, " began both to do 
and to teach." When he began, or bi 
ginning, is explanatory, and in some 
manuscripts is placed immediately after 
Jesus ; in others at the end of the clause. 
In either j)lace it is most natural to re- 
fer it to his ministry, for Luke had just 
narrated our Saviour's baptism, which 
stands at the commencement of Christ's 
public work. It is also in harmonv 
with Luke's manner, for he had speci- 
fied the date of the beginning of John's 
ministry, besides giving the time of the 
annunciation to Zachariah, of that to 
Mary, of the circumcision, presentation, 
and the first visit of Jesus to the temple. 

About thirty years of age. It is 
very common for Luke to use the word 
about with a specification of time, ch. 1 : 
bQ; 9 : 28 ; 22 : 59 ; 23 : 44 ; Acts 10:3; 
compare Acts 2 : 41 ; 4:4; 5 : 36 ; 19 : 
7. About thirty is not here a round or 
general number, referring to any year 
within two or three years of thirty, but 
a specific designation of time, meaning 
a few months beloAv or rather above 
thirty. The meaning appears to be 
that Jesus began his ministry when he 
was more than thirty and less than 
thirty-one. This accords with what wo 
know of the time of our Lord's birth 
and baptism. Thirty was also the age 
when Levites entered upon their public 
services (Num. 4:3, 47; 1 Chron. 23 : 
3), and when scribes were accustomed 
to enter upon their ofiice as teachers. 
Perhaps, as Van Oosterzee remarks, the 
people would not have been disposed to 
recognize the authority of a teacher who 
had not attained that age. However 
that may be, it was the design of God 
that the Messiah should not enter upon 
his public duties until he had arrived at 
the age of thirty. 

Too much stress has sometimes been 
laid upon the Levitical age of thirty for 
the sake of showing that Christ was in- 
stalled into his priesthood by his bap- 
tism. The facts are that even the Le- 
vitical age difiered (Num. 8 : 24; 1 
Chron. 23 : 24), that there was no par- 
ticular age specified for entering upon 

u D. 2G. 



A which was the son of Ilcli, which was the son of Matthat, 
which wjis the son of Levi, which was the son of Mclchi, 

15 which was the son of Jaiiiia, which was the son of Jo- 
seph, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the 
son of Amos, which was the son of Xauni, which Wits 

IQ t/ie son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge, which was 
the son of ^laath, which wjis the son of Mattathias, 
which w;is the son of Seinci, which was the son of Jo- 

27 scph, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of 
Joanna, which was the son of llhesa, which Wiis the son 

he priesthood, and that baptism had 
lo spoeial reference to Christ's priest- 
hood, J^ut to his pubhc ministry. With 
Imost as mneh plausibility it mii^ht be 
relied that Christ's bai>tism liad refer- 
nee to his kinirship because David was 
lirty years old when he began to reign, 
2 Sam. 5 : 4. 

Beiiisr (as was supposed) the 
son of Joseph. Being the reputed 
son of Joseph. Which was should be 
omitteil in this verse and throughout 
the genealogy. The son of Ileli. 
The aon should not be in itahes, as it is 
implied in the Greek. The expression. 
Being as was supposed, seems to inth- 
cate that Luke had an eye to the real 
parentage of Jesus, and that he here 
gives the genealogy of Mary. He was 
the reputed son of Joseph, but really 
the son of HeU. This will appear 
})lainer still if, with some, we extend 
the parenthesis, and read, "Being (as 
was supposed the son of Joseph) the son 
of Heli." The grandfather's name is 
given because, having no human father, 
Ileli was the nearest male progenitor. 
Mar\-'s name is omitted because it was 
not common to insert the names of fe- 
males in genealogical tables, and she 
was really represented legally by Jo- 
seph her husband. Son also is fre- 
quently used in the wider sense of de- 
scendant. But if the above interpreta- 
tion should be unsatisfactory to any, it 
may be said that Joseph might be the 
son of Heli in the sense of son-in-law ; 
and better still, if Mary was an only 
child, and we do not know that she had 
any brothers, then Joseph by marriage 
became the legal son of her father and 
the representative of his familv. Num. 
27 : 4; 36 : 5-8. This would "at 
solve the question, which so troubled 
the ancients, how Joseph could have 
had two fathers. In further support 

of the view that Luke gives the geneal- 
ogy of Mary it may be added : 

i. Luke, in the first portions of his 
Gos])el, gives greater prominence to 
Mar}% while Matthew gives greater 
prominence to Josei>h. It is most natu- 
ral, therefore, to su})j)ose Josejdi's gene- 
alogy to be given by Matthew, and 
Mary's by Luke. 

2. It seems e\'ident that Matthew 
gives Joseph's genealogy by natural 
lineage, for so he uses the word " be- 
gat " in his table until after the exile, 
and then the same mode of expression 
is continued until Joseph. But when 
it comes to Jesus, it is no longer "be- 
gat," but " Joseph the husband of Mary, 
of whom was born Jesus." As Matthew 
wrote for Jews, he would most likely 
give the legal genealogy of Jesus 
through the royal line of David, show- 
ing that he was the legal heir to his 
throne. But Luke, writing for the race, 
would most likely give his natural de- 
scent to Adam, showing that he was of 
the " seed of the woman," and the Sa- 
viour of the world. If Matthew has 
given the official descent of Christ, then 
the most plausible supposition is that 
Luke has given the natural, for why 
have another table except it was to 
show the actual descent of Jesus ? 

3. The Messiah was to be the son or 
descendant of David (Acts 2 : 30; Rom, 
1 : 3), but this could not have been the 
case unless Mary was descended from 
David. The language of the angel, in 
ch. 1 : 32, implies that Mary was of the 
lineage of David ; and the fact that 
Joseph was " registered with Mary his 
espoused wife" (ch. 2 : 5) at Bethlehem 
seems to indicate that Mary represented 
a family of David. L'nless, therefore, 
Luke's table presents the natural lineage 
of Mary, the descent of Jesus according 
to the flesh is not given in the New 



A. D. 26. 

of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which 
28 was the son of Ncri, which was the son of Melchi, 
wliich was the son of Addi, wliich was the son of Cosam, 
which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of 
Er, which was the son of Jose, which was the son of 
Eliezer, wliich w^as the son of Jorim, which was the son 
of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the 
son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was 
the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jon an, which 
31 was the son of Eliakim, which was the son of Melea, 
which was the son of Menan, which was the son of 
Mattatha, which was the son of "Nathan, p which was "Zee. 12. 12. 


5. 14; 1 

P2 Sara. 

Chr. 3. 5. 
<lRiith.4. 18-22; 1 

Chr. 2. 10, etc. 

32 tlie son of David, i which was the son of Jesse, which 
was the son of Obcd, which was the son of Booz, which 
was the son of Sahnon, whicli was the son of Naasson, 

33 wdiich was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of 
Aram, which was the son of Esron, which was the son 

34 of Phares, which was the son of Juda, which was the 
son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was 

the son of Abraham, which was the son of '"Thara, 'Ge. ii. 24, 26. 

35 which was the son of Nachor, which was the son of 
Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the 
son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was 

36 the son of Sala, « which was the son of Cainan, which '^e. ii. 12. 

was the son of Arphaxad, *which was the son of Sem, *Ge. 5. 6, etc.; 11, 
which was the son of Noe, which was the son of ' ^*^* 

37 Lamech, which was the son of Mathusala, which was 
the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which 

Testament — a conclusion which we can- 
not accept ; for it was equally as im- 
portant, in order to prove his souship to 
David, that his natural as well as his 
legal descent should be traced to him. 

The names Zorobabel and Sala- 
thiel (ver. 27) are not to be regarded 
as the persons of the same names given 
by Matthew (1 : 12) and mentioned in 
Ezra 3 : 2; Neh. 12 : 1. Their position 
in the two tables points to persons bear- 
ing the same names, but living at differ- 
ent times. The mere identity of names 
i^ no proof that they were the same 
persons, any more than that Enoch, 
Methusa'^l, and Lamech, descendants 
of Cain (Gen. 4 : 17, 18), were the same 
as Enoch, Methuselah, and Lamech, the 
descendants of Seth, Gen. 5 : 21, 25, 
Contemporaries of the same name were 
common ; thus, Joram and Joash, kings 
of Israel, and Jorara, or Jehoram, and 
Joash, kings of Judah, 2 Kings 8 : 16, 
23, 24 ; 13 : 9, 10. Compare author's 
Harmony, note on ^ 3. 

We must suppose that both Matthew 
and Luke took their genealogies from 
the family records, and that they fol- 
lowed them in their minutest particu- 
lars. Had they departed in the least 
from the originals, it would have been 
detected by the contemporary Jews, and 
the authenticity of their narrative 
would have been weakened just so 
much in their estimation. Difficulties 
of difference between the two genealo- 
gies, even though they could not be 
solved, are chargeable, not upon the 
evangelists, but upon the obscurity of 
the original records, upon which the 
Jews were accustomed to depend. The 
accuracy of Christ's descent was virtu- 
ally acknowledged by them, since the 
ancient Jews never disputed the actual 
descent of Jesus from David, The 
carrying back of the genealogy by Luke 
to Adam corresponds with the univer- 
sality of his gospel, 

36, Cainan. Not found in the orig- 
inal Hebrew in Gen. 11 : 12, 13, but 

A. D. 2G. 



was the son of ^laleleel, which was the son of Cainan, 
38 which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Scth, 

which was the son of Adam, "which was the son of "^^-e. l. 2fi. 27;6. l, 
God. ^•'^^•«^«- 

found in the Septuagint version of the 
Old Testament. There are, however, 
strong reasons for snsnectincr that the 
name was interpolatea by accident or 
otherwise in Luke, and possibly after- 
ward into the Septuagint to give it 

38. Adam, the son of God, by 
creation. Thus Jesus was shown to be 
the Son of God, not only by miraculous 
conception, in which divinity was united 
to humanity, but also in his human 
descent through Adam to God. Similar 
to Adam, he had a body prepared by 
God himself. We have here an addi- 
tional evidence that Luke has given the 
natural lineap^e of Jesus through Mary. 


1. The gospel comes to ns as historic 
truth, ver. 1 ; ch. 1 : 3, 4 ; Tit. 1 : 13, 
14 ; 2 Pet. 1 : 16. 

2. Ministers are called of God. Ee- 
tirement in early life often gives a fit- 
ting opportunity for preparing for great 
future usefulness, ver. 2 ; 2 Cor. 5 : 20 ; 
1 John 4 : 6; 2 Sam. 7:8; Amos 
7: 15. 

3. The proper preaching of baptism 
implies the preaching of repentance. 
The former naturally follows and pre- 
figures the latter, ver. 3 ; Acts 2 : 38 ; 
Rom. 6 : 4. 

4. Christ is a King. As his kingdom 
is spiritual, a spiritual preparation is 
necessary, ver. 4 ; ch. 24 : 47 ; Rom. 14 : 
14, 17. 

5. The gospel is the great leveller, and 
at the same time the great elevator, of 
liuman character, ver. 5; ch. 18 : 14; 
Isa. 2 : 17 ; 2 Cor. 10 : 5. 

6. The gospel is for all ; and all shall 
see Christ, either as a personal or as a 
neglected Saviour, ver. 6 ; Phil. 2 : 9- 
11 ; Rev. 1 : 7. 

7. The most wicked have their com- 
punctions of conscience; these, if un- 
heeded, will make their condemnation 
the greater, ver. 7 ; Matt. 27 : 3 ; Acts 
« : 24. 

8. Outward conditions, such as birth. 

Christian friends, transient sorrow, a 
profession of religion, will not save one, 
ver. 8 ; ch. 13 : 3, 5. 

9. Every sinner has at least one 
warning. The axe is first laid at the 
root. No fruitless soul, however ex- 
alted, will be spared, ver. 9 ; Prov. 1 : 
24-26; John 3 : 18, 19; 2 Cor. 5 : 10. 

10. The renunciation of darling sins, 
and the forsaking of cherished wicked 
practices, are among the best fruits of 
repentance, vers. 10-14 ; Jer. 36 : 7 ; 
Ezek. IS : 27. 

11. If persons fall into the abuses of a 
lawful calling, they fail of presenting 
an important fruit of repentance, vers. 
10-14; Dan. 4: 27. 

12. True repentance includes a sense 
of personal pollution and guilt, vers. 7- 
14 ; Ps. 51 : 2-4 ; Isa. 64 : 6 ; Dan. 9 : 
20 ; Acts 2 : 37 ; 1 Tim. 1 : 13. 

13. True repentance is connected 
with a view of God's mercy in Christ, 
vers. 7-16 ; ch. 1 : 76-78 ; Isa. 53 : 4-6 ; 
1 Tim. 1 : 15. 

14. Christ is the dispenser of the 
Spirit and of spiritual gifts, ver. 16; 
John 16 :J. 

15. Christ is the great "VVinnower, 
separating the righteous from the wick- 
ed. The work is already commenced. 
It will be thoroughly completed at the 
judgment, ver. 17 ; Matt. 10 : 34-36 ; 
25 : 31-46 ; John 5 : 22. 

16. Gospel preaching includes threat- 
enings as well as promises. John, in 
preaching the gospel, enforced whatever 
truth prepared the way for Christ, ver. 
18 ; Col. 1 : 28. " The preacher who 
leads men truly to repent must faith- 
fully rebuke their distinctive and indi- 
vidual sins." 

17. The preacher, and indeed every 
Christian, should strive to please God, 
though they displease men, ver. 19 ; 
Lev. 19 : 17"; Gal. 1 : 10. 

18. All who do not repent are adding 
sin to sin, ver. 20 ; 2 Tim. 3 : 13. 

19. As Christ indicated his connection 
with the race, and especially with his 
followers, by his baptism, so by baptism 
should we indicate our connection with 
him, ver. 21 ; 3 : 15 ; Gal. 3 : 27 ; Col. 2 : 12. 



A. D. 27. 

The temptation of Jesus. 

IV. AND ^ Jesus, being full of the Holy Spirit, returned tMt. 4. i; Mk. 
from Jordan, and * was led by the Spirit into the wil- i- 12, 13. 

» ver. 11 ; ch. 2. 27 ; 1 Ki. 18. 12 ; Eze. 11. 1, 24 ; 40. 2 ; 43. 5. 

20. Like Jesus, his followers should 
receive baptism with a heart in commu- 
uion with God, ver. 21 ; Acts 10 : 47. 

21. Christians should possess the 
dove-like spirit of Christ, gentleness, 
harmlessness, love, and purity, ver. 22 ; 
Matt. 10 : 16 ; Gal. 9 : 22. 

22. How many wonders attest that 
Jesus was truly the Wonderful ! — The 
angels and the star at his birth, the de- 
scending Spirit and the witnessing 
Father at his baptism, ver. 22. 

23. Heaven is opened to us by the 
Son, vers. 21, 22 ; John 1 : 51 ; 14 : 6. 

24. Let us accept of Christ as our 
Mediator, and love him who is accepted 
and loved by the Father, ver. 22 ; John 
5 : 23 ; 1 Tim. 2 : 5. 

25. Jesus made the age of thirty sig- 
nificant as the beginning of his public 
ministry. A minister at that age should 
be fully equipped for his work, ver. 23. 

26. Christ is the centre of history. 
Toward him all things converged before 
his coming, and since then his influence 
has gone forth upon all things, vers. 

27. How fleeting is human life ! How 
earthly memories depart! How few 
names are handed down to posterity ! 
Let us see to it that our names are writ- 
ten in heaven, vers. 23-38 ; ch. 10 : 20 ; 
Phil. 4 : 3. 

28. The Bible reveals the origin and 
unity of the race, vers. 23-38. 

29. We should see to it that we can 
trace our genealogy spiritually up 
through Christ to God, ver. 38; Eom. 
8 : 15-18. 


Luke now proceeds to relate the con- 
flict of Jesus with Satan and his triumph 
over him, vers. 1-13 ; the beginning of 
his public ministry in Galilee, 14, 15; 
his first rejection at Nazareth, 16-30; 
his teaching and healing at Capernaum, 
31-41 ; and his first missionary tour 
throughout Galilee. 

1-13. The Temptation of Jesus, 
Matt. 4 : 1-11 ; Mark 1 : 12, 13. Mark 
only makes a brief but vivid reference ; 

Matthew and Luke are about equally I 
full, but distinct. The third temptation ' 
with Matthew is the second with Luke, 
and the reverse. The order of Matthew 
is to be preferred, as it more carefully 
indicates the order of time and ob- 
serves a more natural climax. Mat- 
thew (4:1) and Luke (4:1) state gener- 
ally that Jesus was led by the Spirit into 
the wilderness. Mark (1 : 12) vividly 
brings to view the impelling power of 
the Spirit : driveth him, urged him on. 
Matthew (4 : 3) has stone and bread in 
the plural ; Luke (4 : 3) has them in 
the singular. The evangelists may be 
giving the sense and not the exact Avords 
of Satan, or we may suppose Satan to 
have first said, Command these stones to 
he made (literally) loaves of bread, and 
then, pointing to a particular stone, to 
have said, '* Command this stone that it 
be made bread." The quotation from 
Deut. 8 : 3 is given more fully by Mat- 
thew (4 : 4) than by Luke (4:4); but 
that from Ps. 91 : 11, 12, is fuller in 
Luke (4 : 10, 11) than in Matthew (4 : 
6). The meaning in both is the same. 
So also Luke (4:6,7) gives the language 
of Satan more at length than Matthew 
(4 : 9). The evangelists may have been 
aiming to give the sense rather than the 
precise words in their exact order. Such 
variations show that they did not copy 
from one another. Since they present 
no discrepancy, they are evidences to 
the independence and truthfulness of 
their narratives. Other differences will 
be noted below. 

1. Jesus, being full of the Holy 
Spirit, just received at his baptism, 
was fully prepared for his public minis- 
try and for the temptation which it was 
necessary to undergo before entering 
upon it. Compare 1 Cor. 10 : 13. This 
important fact is only mentioned by 
Luke. Returned from Jordan. 
Rather,/rom the Jordan. See on ch. 3 : 
3. According to Mark (1 : 12), this was 
" immediately " after his baptism. Led 
by the Spirit. Literally, in the Spirit ; 
in the fulness and under the power of the 
Holy Spirit he was led into the wil- 
derness. Some suppose it to have been 

A. D. 27. 



2 derness, being forty days * tempted of the devil. And '9n-.Vfr' ^^ 
^in those days he did eat nothinir; and wlicn they jEx.'ai. 28; 

Ileb. 2. 

were ended he afterward Miunfxered. 

• lleb. 2. 14. 

And the devil 9. 9; i Ki, 

19. 8. 

enst of the Jordan, but since it is styled 
" the wilderness," without further speei- 
tication, it was probably the wilderness 
of Jordan west of Jericho, ch. 3 : 2. This 
is still one of the most dreary and deso- 
late rec^ions of the Avhole country. The 
wildness of certain parts of it is strik- 
iui^ly indicated by Mark, " He was with 
the wild beasts." The mountain Qua- 
rantania, in this wilderness, so called 
from the forty days of fasting, which 
tradition has marked as the site of the 
temptation, is described by I'obinson as 
" an almost perpendicular wall of rock 
twelve to fifteen hundred feet above the 
plain." " The side facing the plain is 
as perpendicular, and apparently as 
high, as the rock of Gibraltar." — Dk. 
Thomson, Land and Book, vol. ii., p. 
450. " Trench reminds us that Adam 
was tempted in a garden, and by his fall 
turned the world into a wilderness. 
Christ takes up the battle where Adam 
left it, in a wilderness, and by his victory 
converts the world into a garden." — Dk. 
F. Johnson. 

2. Being forty days tempted, etc. 
It is better to connect this verse more 
closely with the preceding, placing a 
comma after "forty days" instead of 
after "wilderness," thus: led in the 
Spirit into the wilderness forty days, 
tempted by the devil. The most natural 
meaning of this passage, as well as of 
Mark 1 : 13, is that Jesus was tempted 
during the forty days. The language 
in Matt. 4 : 3 does not necessarily indi- 
cate the first assault of Satan. Those 
recorded by Matthew and Luke were 
doubtless the most signal assaults of 
the tempter. Forty is a significant 
number in its scriptural usage with 
reference to sin, Gen. 7:4; Num. 14 : 
34; Deut. 9:18; 25:3; Ezek. 4:6; 
29 : 11. To tempt here means to entice 
or solicit to sin. 

The devil. The name means a tra- 
ducer, a false accuser, and answers to 
Satan of the Old Testament, which 
means adversary. Job 1:6; Zech. 3 : 1. 
There is but one devil. In all passages in 
the common version where "devils" or 
a "devil " occurs the meaning is demons 
or a demon — that is, inferior evil spirits 

under the direction and control of the 
devil. Both Satan and the demons were 
probably once angels of light, 2 Pet. 2 : 
4; Jude 6. The Scriptures frequently 
speak of him as a personal agent, 
ascribing attributes and acts to him, 
John 8 : 44; 14 : 30; 2 Cor. 11 : 3, 14, 
15; Eph. 6 : 11, 12; 1 Pet. 5 : 8, 9; 1 
John 3:8; Rev. 2 : 10; 3:9; 20 : 10. 
Whether he appeared in visible form is 
not stated, though fairly implied. The 
acts ascribed to him render it probable 
that the devil appeared in a bodily 
form, and possibly as an angel of light, 
2 Cor. 11 : 14. 

In those days, the forty, he ate 
nothing. Luke alone makes this defi- 
nite statement, showing that Jesus ob- 
served a total abstinence from all food. 
Compare similar fasting of Moses and 
Elijah, Deut. 9 : 18 ; 1 Kings 19 : 8. And 
when they u^ere ended he after- 
ward hungered. Afterward is not 
necessary, and should be omitted ac- 
cording to the highest critical author- 
ities. A high state of spiritual enjoy- 
ment will render a person for a time 
independent of the common necessities 
of life. Jesus, with his perfect bodily 
organism and his holy nature full of 
the Holy Spirit, appears to have been 
in such a state as to be quite insensible 
to the demands of appetite until the 
forty days Avere ended. Then, accord- 
ing to the design of the Spirit, he hun- 
gered, doubtless with all the intensity 
that such long fasting would naturally 
produce. Thus, it became him as a 
man, the second Adam, to be tempted 
and to overcome. As a man there was 
a possibility of falling; as God-man 
there was no possibility. The human 
soul of Jesus was free from all tendency 
to evil ; he could, therefore, be tempted 
only from without. Yet he " was in all 
points tempted like as we are, yet with- 
out sin," Heb. 4 : 15. But since he could 
not be tempted through evil desires, he 
was tempted through the senses ; and 
that Satan might bring his temptations 
the more thoroughly to bear, Jesus hun- 
gered, he felt the strong cravings of ap- 
petite necessarily resulting from long 
fasting. He was worn and weak for 



A. D. 27. 

said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command 
4 this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered 

him saying, *It is written, That man shall not live by 'Ex. 23. 25; Deu. 

bread alone, but by every word of God. ^" ^" 

6 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, 

want of food, thus presenting a rare 
opportunity for Satan to bring upon 
him his strongest and most artful temp- 

3. Jesus is now exposed to the three 
forms of temptation, the lust of the 
flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride 
of life, 1 John 2 : 16. They run par- 
allel with the temptation of our first 
parents in the garden, Gen. 3:6. In 
the first, Jesus is tempted to unbelief 
and selfishness ; in the second, to am- 
bition and idolatry ; and in the third, to 
presumption and vanity. 

If thou be the Son of God. The 
original is worthy of careful study. Son 
is emphatic, but has not the article be- 
fore it, as in the title The Son of God, 
so often applied to the Messiah. The 
tempter thus lays emphasis, not on his 
Messiahship, but on his Sonship. The 
expression is equivalent to If thou he 
God's Son, hence possessed of extraor- 
dinary and supernatural powers, etc. 
It may have some reference to the dec- 
laration at his baptism, " Thou art my 
beloved Son." The devil may have 
been himself in doubt about the Mes- 
siahship of Jesus, though not about his 
Sonship. If thou. He would have 
him doubt the reality of his Sonship, 
and also distrust his Father. As if he 
had said, " Use the means at your dis- 
posal to supply your wants, instead of 
depending on God, whom you call your 
Father, but who appears to have for- 
gotten you; comm.and that this stone — 
pointing to some particular stone — he 
made bread, and thus you will satisfy 
your hunger and at the same time give 
evidence of your Sonship." Thus the 
tempter would lead him both to dis- 
trust God and exercise a selfish princi- 
ple. The temptation addressed to Jesus 
was mucli stronger than that addressed 
to our first parents, since they had all 
the fruit of the garden, except of one 
tree, at their disposal. 

4. It is written. It is remarkable 
that all the quotations with which Je- 
sus rebuffs Satan are from Deuteronomy, 
and within the compass of a few verses. 

Jfonod sees in Jesus the true Israel of 
which the nation was a type. As Jesus 
is tempted as a man, so does he meet 
every temptation exactly as any one 
else might meet it, by the simple and 
appropriate use of God's word. To have 
performed a miracle would have been 
contrary to his uniform principle of 
action. With him. miracles were for 
the honor of his Father, for the good 
of others, and for confirming his mis- 
sion and doctrine ; he never performed 
one to defend or relieve himself. Matt. 
20 : 28 ; 26 : 53, 54. As a prophet he 
had been led by the Spirit to fasting, 
and it became him to wait, and not to 
relieve himself by a miracle unless di- 
vinely directed. 

Man shall not live, etc. In the 
passage here cited (Deut. 8 : 3) Moses 
tells the people that God, by giving them 
manna, had taught them that life could 
be sustained, not only by bread, but by 
anything he might appoint for that pur- 
pose. And Jesus, in quoting it, shows 
his reliance on his heavenly Father's 
care, and his determination to seek no 
means to sustain life but such as God 
should appoint. 

By every word of God. Abbrevi- 
ated quotation according to the sense. 
Some of the oldest manuscripts omit 
these words, but they are found in 
some of the best manuscripts and in 
almost all the old versions, and are to 
be regarded as genuine. The idea is, 
man shall live on whatever God may 
appoint, and by whatever means he 
pleases, John 4 : 32, 34. Jesus makes 
no reference to his divine Sonship. He 
was not called upon to prove that to 
Satan, much less to perform a miracle 
at his suggestion. Yet throughout these 
temptations he acts as the Son of God, 
but speaks with all the humility and 
with all the holy and unselfish principle 
becoming to the Son of man, As Satan 
tempted Jesus through the bodily appe- 
tite, so he approaches men everywhere ; 
and thus drunkards, gluttons, and de- 
bauchees become his prey. 

5. This second temptation is the third 

A. D. 27. 



showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a 

6 moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All 
this power will I give thee, and the glory of them : 
for ''that is delivered unto me ; and to whomsoever I 

7 will [ give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all 
iJ shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto 

him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, 
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only 
shalt thou serve. 

bjohn 12. 31; 14. 
30; Eph. 2. '2; 
Rev. 13. 2, 7, 10- 
20 ; Deu. 6. 13. 

and last in Matthew, which is doubtless 
the correct order, since Matthew gives 
the notes of succession and time ; and 
this is the severest temptation, and the 
most open display of satanic craft and 
power. Luke follows the order and 
position of places, the desert, the 
mountain, the temple. " Perhaps this 
order is intended to suggest that tempta- 
tion will tind a man in solitude, amid 
the sublimest scenes of nature, and even 
in the house of God." Taketh him 
up. Rather, Leadefhhivi up. A high 
mountain. This is onntted by some 
of the oldest manuscripts, but is found 
in others and in ancient versions. What 
mountain cannot be determined. Some 
suggest Nebo, from one of whose sum- 
mits — namely, Pisgah— Moses had a view 
of the promised land, Deut. 34 : 1-4. 
Others suggest the Mount of Olives or 
one of the high summits north of Jeri- 
cho. Tradition, with some probability, 
says Mount Quarantania, on the north- 
ern boundary of the plain of Jericho. 

All the kingdoms of the world, 
of the habitable tvorld, applied to the 
Roman empire (ch. 2 : 1) and to the 
world as known to the ancients, Rom. 
10 : 18. Not merely Palestine, but also 
the heathen world, over which Satan 
exercised spiritual dominion. From 
the lofty elevation the kingdoms or 
tetrarchies of Palestine and adjacent 
regions could be seen, and the more 
distant empires of the world might be 
suggested by the tempter. The force 
of the words, showed him all, etc., 
rather demands that these kingdoms 
should have come up before his vision. 
That there was something supernatural 
in this agrees with the words in a 
moment of time, which fact is re- 
corded by Luke alone. The suddenness 
of the view added much to the jiower 
of the temptation. 

6. All this power, thrones, domin- 

ions, empires. The glory of them, 

crowns, palaces, gardens, armies, riches. 
For that is delivered unto me. 

Rather, For it has been delivered to me. 
Luke alone records this. Satan now 
appears in his character as " the prince 
of this world," John 12 : 31 ; 14 : 30; 
16 : 11 ; 2 Cor. 4:4. He showed him- 
self also the father of lies (John 8 : 44), 
for he had nothing but usurped power ; 
the kingdoms of the world were not his 
by right, but Christ's (Ps. 2 : 8), and 
therefore he could not give them. Yet 
there was enough truth in the falsehood 
to make it insidious. 

7. If thou therefore wilt wor- 
ship me, do me homage, acknowledg- 
ing my authority and my right to give 
thee the kingdoms of the world. This 
would be renouncing God and transfer- 
ring allegiance to Satan. The meaning 
is well expressed by worship me. Jesus 
is thus tempted to secular power and 
ambition, to become a temporal, worldly, 
and a false Messiah, and also to devil- 
worship and idolatry. So the tempta- 
tion to worldliness, to pomp and show, 
comes to us as individuals, and to 
churches. Never perhaps stronger than 
now, and in America. 

8. Jesus instantly repels the thought 
and Satan, the author of it. Get thee 
behind me, Satan. This should be 
omitted according to the best manu- 
scripts and the highest critical authori- 
ties. It is found in Matt. 4 : 10, from 
which it seems to have been transferred 
into Luke by a later hand. Satan, 
after this repulse, can no longer doubt, 
if he did before, the Messiahship of 
Jesus ; after this, demons always knew 
him. Jesus again answers as a man, 
and appeals to-Scripture, citing Deut. 
6 : 13: Thou shalt worship the 
Lord thy God, etc., quoted from the 
Septuagint version, with tne allowable 
variation of toorship for fear, to corre- 



A. D. 27. 

9 ''And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on °'^^^- 
a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him. If thou ' 

be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence : for 

10 it is Avritten, He shall give his angels charge over 

11 thee, to keep thee : and in their hands, they shall bear 
thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a 

12 stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is 
said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 

4. 5; Ps. 91. 
Deu, 6. 16. 

Bpond with the words of Satan, Only 
is not expressed in the original Hebrew, 
but is fairly implied, 

9, The second temptation, according 
to Matthew, He brought him to 
Jerusalem, Perhaps the devil bore 
away Jesus, as the Spirit of the Lord 
caught away Philip, Acts 8 : 39. Jesus 
permitted Satan to exercise great power 
over him. While the language both 
here and in Matthew seems to require 
more than an inward revelation or 
vision, an actual going from place to 
place, it does not necessarily determine 
whether the devil did or did not trans- 
port him thi'ough the air. He brought 
him into Jerusalem. See on ch. 2 : 22, 

A {the) pinnacle of the temple, 
some high point of the temple buildings 
well known by that name. The Greek 
word translated pinnacle means liter- 
ally a ivinglet, and is applied to a wing- 
shaped or pointed structure, a gable or 
pointed roof. It was probably either 
Solomon's porch, on the east side, which 
overlooked the valley of Jehoshaphat 
or Kidron, or the elevation of the middle 
portion of the southern portico, looking 
down at a fearful height of about six 
hundred feet into the valley of Hinnom. 
The latter, which Josephus describes as 
a dizzy height, is the most probable. 
For further on the temple, see on ch. 1 : 
9. The word translated temple, both 
here and in Matthew, means the whole 
sacred enclosure or temple buildings. 

If thou be the Son of God. See 
onver. 3. Cast thyself down. Satan 
would now tempt Jesus on the side of 
that confidence in his Father which he 
had expressed (ver. 4), inducing him to 
presume upon it, and thence lead him 
into vain display and vanity. The 
temptation was to presumption and 
spiritual pride. Having been repulsed 
by the word of God, Satan essays to use 
the same weapon in overcoming Jesus. 
•' If thou be the Son of God, cast thy- 

self down from this dizzy height : it can- 
not hurt thee, for thou art under thy 
Father's care, and it is in accordance 
with his will; for itis written, etc. It 
will be also a miracle worthy of thee, 
and a striking proof of thy Sonship, 
and becoming known will attract the 
people after thee." 

10, 11. He shall give his angels 
charge. This passage (Ps. 91 : 11, 12) 
expresses the care of God over the 
righteous. And the inference was that 
if such a promise had been granted to 
all righteous persons, it would certainly 
apply more forcibly to the Son of God. 
But the devil both misquotes it and 
misapplies it. He omits an important 
part, '* Keep thee in all thy ways " — 
that is, the ways along which God's 
providence leads the believer. To 
do an act of rashness, vanity, and os- 
tentation on such a promise would in- 
deed be " to tempt the Lord thy God," 
ver. 12, Origen aptly remarks that 
Satan is careful not to quote the next 
verse, which foretells his defeat: " Thou 
shalt tread upon the lion and adder : the 
young lion and the dragon shalt thou 
trample under feet." 

12. It is said, in Scripture. Jesus 
still as a man combats the devil by the 
right use of Scripture. It is worthy of 
notice that he does not correct the 
devil's false quotation and misapplica- 
tion of Scripture, but simply shows his 
false position by quoting another pas- 
sage. What you advise cannot be right ; 
for it is contrary to another portion 
of God's word, and his truth cannot be 

Thou shalt not tempt the Lord 
thy God, Deut. 6 : 16. The word tempt 
here means to put on trial, put to the 
pi'ooff to test. Thus in Gen. 22 : 1, God 
is said to have tempted Abraham ; in 
other words, he put his faith and obe- 
dience on trial, he tested them. So the 
Israelites tempted God at Massah by 

1 A. D. 27. 



13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, ^<^^- 22. .•)3; joim 
he departed from him ** for a season. jg .^4' Y^}'' "" ^^' 

Jesus teaches //i Galilee ; visits Nazareth, and is rejected. 

14 "AND Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit 43 ; Acts 10. 37. ' 

asking water to drink, and askinc: in 
BUch a spirit that they wonhl judire, 
from the reception given to their re- 
quest, " whether the Lord was among 
them or not," Ex. 17 : 2-7. In the ap- 
plication of this passage, our Saviour 
intimates that he must not put God on 
trial by exercising a })resumptuous 
contidence or by needlessly testing his 
veracity. The latter would savor of 
unbelief, while display or ostentation 
would be opposed to humility. To test 
prayer in any such spirit would be 
profanely to put God to the proof. In 
every trial connected with the path of 
duty he could trust God ; but he would 
not put himself needlessly into dan- 
gerous circumstances, and thus trifle 
with his promises. 

13. All the temptation, rather, 
every temptation, every available kind. 
He was "tempted in all points" as we 
are, but " without sin," Heb. 4 : 15. 
Thus Satan exerted his utmost power, 
used every art, and left no means un- 
tried, but he found no place in the 
Saviour's breast, and met a decided 
resistance at every point. Departed 
from him for a season, until a 
time, an opportune season, secretly 
intending some future assault, or till a 
new opportunity occurred. Luke states 
a historical fact ; for though we know 
not how often Satan may have assault- 
ed Jesus afterward, either secretly or 
through others, he certainly renewed 
his attacks near the close of our Saviour's 
ministiy, when he entered into Judas 
and aroused all the powers of darkness 
into deadly conflict, ch. 22 : 3, 53 ; John 
H : 30. " The positive temptations of 
Jesus were not confined to that par- 
ticular point of time when they assailed 
him with concentrated force. . . . But 
still more frequently in after life was 
he called to endure temptation of the 
other kind — the temptation of suffering; 
and this culminated on two occasions, 
namely, in the conflict of Gethsemane, 
and in that moment of agony on the 
cross when he cried, ' My God, my God, 

why hast thou forsaken me?'" — Ull- 
MANN, Sinlessness 0/ Jesus, Eng. trans., 
p. UO. 

It is probable that on the last day of 
the temptation the deputation from the 
priests and Levites came to John (John 
1 : 19) ; and on the day following Jesus 
returned from the wilderness, and was 
saluted by John as the Lamb of God, 
John 1 : 29. 

Christ's temptation holds an im- 
portant place in his life and work. It 
was an assurance of a life of obedience, 
and a pledge of victory over all sub- 
sequent assaults. As he bore a relation 
to the race similar to that which Adam 
bore (Rom. 5 : 12-19), the temptation 
has an important position in the plan 
of redemption. He was also thus pre- 
jDared to sympathize with the tempted, 
and to rescue them, Heb. 2 : 18 ; 4 : 15. 

14-30. Jesus returns to Galilee 
and exercises his ministry there. 
Rejected at Nazareth. Matt. 4 : 
12, 13, 17; Mark 1 : 14, 15; John 4 : 
1-4, 43-54. Between this and the pre- 
ceding paragraph an interval of several 
months is passed over, during which 
time Jesus exercised his ministry in 
Judea. John (1 : 15 to 3 : 36) alone 
gives an account of this ministry. The 
first three Evangelists, who give special 
attention to Christ's Galilean ministry, 
pass it over in silence. On the rejec- 
tion at Nazareth see on ver. 16. 

14. And Jesus returned, etc. After 
leaving Galilee to be baptized, ch. 3 : 
21. This may be a general statement, 
including the two returns of Jesus, that 
before the marriage at Cana (John 1 : 
43 ; 2:1) and that after John was cast 
into prison, Matt. 4:12; John 4 : 1-3. 
It seems, however, somewhat preferable 
to refer it only to the latter, as Luke 
here begins to relate Christ's active min- 
istry in Galilee after John's imj^rison- 
ment, Luke 3 : 19, 20. In the power 
of the Spirit. Under the full influ- 
ence of the Holy Spirit, which descended 
upon him at his baptism, attended him 
in the wilderness, and continued with 



A. D. 27, 28. 

into Galilee : and there went out a fame of him through 
15 all the region round about. 'And he taught in their '^'^^.^j^^s^', 
synagogues, being glorified of all. 'i8.'20.' 

Mt. 9. 

him in his ministry. The evidence of 
this was manifested in his preaching. 

The traditional description of our 
Lord's appearance is of no vahie, being 
the result of rather late tradition, min- 
gled with the imagination of some in 
the Middle Ages. Yet the following 
description of his costume by Dr. Farrar 
must be quite near to life : " He is not 
clothed in soft raiment of byssus or pur- 
ple, like Herod's courtiers or the luxu- 
rious friends of the procurator Pilate. 
He does not wear the white ephod of the 
Levite or the sweeping robes of ihe 
Bcribes. There is not on his arm or 
forehead the phylacteries (those little 
text-boxes) which the Pharisees make 
so broad ; and though there is at each 
corner of his dress the fringe or blue 
ribbon which the law enjoins, it is not 
worn of the ostentatious size affected by 
those who wished to parade the scruj^u- 
lousness of their obedience. He is in 
the ordinary dress of his time and coun- 
try. He is not bare-headed, as painters 
usually represent him — for to move 
about bareheaded in the Syrian sunlight 
is impossible — but a white turban, such 
as is worn to this day, covers his hair, 
fastened by a fillet round the top of the 
head, and falling back over the neck 
and shoulders. A large blue outer robe, 
pure and clean, but of the simplest ma- 
terials, covers his entire person, and 
only shows occasional glimpses of the 
seamless woollen tunic of the ordinary 
striped textures so common in the East, 
which is confined by a girdle round the 
waist, and which clothes him from the 
neck almost down to the sandalled feet." 
— Life of Christ, vol. i., p. 311. 

A i^Lxne J report, of him, of his teach- 
ing and his doctrine ; of the things he 
did at the feast (John 4 : 45) ; of his 
miracle at Cana of Galilee on a previous 
visit, John 2 : 1-12. The healing of the 
nobleman's son (John 4 : 46-54) proba- 
bly occurred a little after this. As he 
returned to Galilee a report, not only 
of what he then taught, but also of 
what he had said and done, went 
through all the region round 
about, through the whole surrounding 
country of Galilee. 

15. He taught. He himself taught. 
Not only was he known by reports of 
his words and acts, but in his own per- 
son, by his teaching. Being glorined 

of all, being praised, honored by all. 
While teaching he was the object of uni- 
versal applause. 

Here we get a glimpse of the style of 
our Lord's ministrj'. He taught, en- 
tered the synagogues, and, like a Jew- 
ish teacher or rabbi, expounded the 
Scriptures and instructed the people. 
Synagogue means assembly, congrega- 
tion, and is applied both to a religious 
gathering having certain judicial pow- 
ers (ch. 8 : 41 ; 12 : 11 ; 21 : 12 ; Acts 9 : 
2), and to the place where the Jews met 
for their public worship on ordinary oc- 
casions, ch. 7 : 5. Synagogues appear 
to have been first introduced during the 
Babylonish captivity, when the people, 
deprived of their usual rites of worship, 
assembled on the Sabbath to hear the 
law read and expounded. Compare 
Neh. 8 : 1-8. In the days of Jesus 
there was a synagogue in almost eveiy 
town in Palestine and wherever Jews 
resided, and in the larger towns seve- 
ral. It is said that there were not less 
than four hundred and sixty or even 
four hundred and eighty synagogues in 
Jerusalem, When the Jews were not 
able or not permitted to have a syna- 
gogue in a town, they had their place 
of prayer outside the town, usually near 
a stream or the sea-shore, for the conve- 
nience of ablution. Acts 16 : 13. 

The times of meeting at the syna- 
gogues were the Sabbath and feast days, 
and afterward on the second and fifth 
days of the week. Each synagogue had 
a communitv, with its president, or ru- 
ler (Luke 8 : 49; 13 : 14; Acts 18 : 8, 
17), and elders (Luke 7 : 3-5), who might 
chastise (ch. 10 : 17; Acts 22 : 19; 26 : 
11) or expel (John 9 : 34) an offender. 
See also Mark 5 : 22 and Acts 13 : 15, 
where the rulers and elders appear to 
be spoken of indiscriminately as rulers. 
It ought to be added that it is not a 
matter of certainty how far or how per- 
fect was the organization of the syna- 
gogue in the time of Christ, Its organi- 
zation was probably somewhat changed 

A. D. 27, 28. 



16 And he came to * Nazareth, where he had 
been hroug^ht up. And, as his custom was, ''lie 
went into the synagof^ue on the sabbath day, and 

17 stood up for to read. And there was delivered 
unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And 

»Mt. 2. 23; 13, 54; 

Mk.6. 1. 
hrs. 2-2. 2'2; 40.9,10; 

John 18. 20; Ac. 

13. 14 ; 17. 2. 

and developed after the destruction of 
Jerusalem \>y the Roiuans. 

Syuaj,'ogues were generally built on 
eminences, and in imitation of the tem- 
ple, with a centre building supported 
by pillars, with courts and porches. In 
the centre building, or chapel, were a 
pulpit, lamps, and a chest tor keeping 
the sacred books. It was filled up with 
seats, fronting the pxili>it, which stood 
on a platform toward the western end. 
Behind the pulpit were the high seats 
of honor, the " chief seats," where the 
scribes and Pharisees loved to sit facing 
the people, ch. 23 : 6. 

The officiating person stood while 
reading the Scriptures ; but when he 
and others expounded them, they did it 
sitting, ver. 20. 

16. Some, with Alford and Olshausen, 
regard this visit to Nazareth the same 
as that recorded in Matt. 13 : 54-58 and 
Mark 6 : 1-6. But, with Meyer, Stier, 
Robinson, Tischendorf, Wieseler, Ewald, 
Ellicott, Alexander, and others, I pre- 
fer to regard them as different. For 
this one occurred before Jesus made Ca- 
pernaum his place of residence (ver. 31 ; 
Matt. 4 : 13), but the other took place 
some time after, and is placed both by 
Matthew and Mark after the teaching 
by the sea-side. Indeed, Matthew really 
settles the question, for he refers to two 
visits to Nazareth, the first (Matt. 4 : 13) 
being the one just before making Ca- 
pernaum his residence, and hence par- 
allel with this. There is a sufficient di- 
versity for holding this view. In the 
first visit Jesus is alone and performs 
no miracle, ver. 23 ; in the second he is 
accompanied by his disciples and heals 
some that are sick, Mark 6:1,5. In the 
one he barely escapes with his life, and 
only through his own superhuman 
power ; in the other he leaves the peo- 
ple marvelling at their unbelief, and 
goes about the villages teaching. And 
even the questions and the proverb show 
the diversity which might be expected 
on two different occasions. Compare 
JVotes on Jlark 6 : 1-6. 

Nazareth. See on ch. 1 : 26. 
Where he had been brought up. 

Having spent there twenty-eight or 
more years. Matt. 2 : 23. A most im- 
portant time when Jesus should first 
appear as a teacher among his towns- 
men and in their synagogue. As his 
custom was, specially referring to his 
attending the synagogue on the Sabbath. 
A\'e here catch a glimpse of his habit 
of attending public worship before his 
baptism. This appears to have been 
the first Sabbath after his return to 
Nazareth. Stood up to read. In 
the synagogue the law and prophets 
were read and expounded by the ruler 
of the synagogue and others. The 
Scriptures, except Esther, which might 
be read sitting, were read standing, 
while sitting was the posture of teach- 
ing, ver. 20 ; Matt. 5 : 1. When Jesus 
stood up, he indicated his desire to read, 
and probably the audience stood while 
he read ; this was at least the custom 
while reading the law, Neh. 8 : 5. 

xVccording to a rabbinical canon seven 
were allowed to read every Sabbath, a 
priest, two Levites, and five Israelites. 
The law was first read, and then the 
prophets. " I attended the Jewish wor- 
ship at Jerusalem, and was struck with 
the accordance of the ceremonies with 
those mentioned in the New Testament. 
The sacred roll was brought from the 
chest or closet where it was kept; it 
was handed by an attendant to the 
reader ; a portion of it was rehearsed ; 
the congregation rose and stood while 
it was read, whereas the speaker, as 
well as the others present, sat during 
the delivery of the address which form- 
ed a part of the service." — Dr. Hack- 
ETT, Illustration of Scripture, p. 232. 

17. His request is readily granted by 
the heads of the synagogue, since his 
fame as a teacher had preceded his 
coming to Nazareth. The book. The 
books of the ancients were rolU of 
parchment, papyrus, linen, or other 
flexible material, which were rolled 
upon a stick, and upon rea/Iing were 




A. D. 27, 28. 

when he had opened the book, he found the place J^is-6i.i-3i;58.6. 
where it was written, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon ^J" r* 20"' 7.^'22- 
18 me, because he hath anointed me ''to preach the ~ - ' - 
gospel to the poor ; he hath sent me ' to heal the 
brokenhearted, to preach '"deliverance to the cap- 
tives, and "recovering of sight to the blind, 

6. 16-23 ; 2 Tim. 2. 25, 26. » Mt. 12. 27-30 ; John 9. 39-41 ; Ac. 26. 18. 

Is. 29. 19 ; Zeph. 

3.12; Zee. 11. 11. 
12 Chr. 34.27; Pa. 

34.18:147. 3; l8, 

57. 15; 61.1; 66. 2. 
""Zee. 9. 11, 12; Ro. 

giadually rolled around another of 
equal size. Of the prophet Esaias. 

Probably the reading of the law was 
finished and that of the prophets had 
commenced or was about to begin 
when Jesus stood up. Compare Acts 
13 : 15. The ruler of the synagogue 
may have been divinely guided in 
handing him a roll containing the 
prophecy of Isaiah ; perhaps the read- 
ing of this prophet fell upon that 
Sabbath. When he had opened, 
tmrolled the book or scroll, he found 
the place. This was no accident or 
mere chance. Jesus unrolled the vol- 
ume until he found this Messianic 
prophecy, yet with no seeming effort or 
searching for it. From this some would 
calculate at what time of the year this 
occurred. But such calculation is un- 
reliable, since it is not certain that the 
rabbinical arrangement of Sabbath 
Scripture readings was then in use. 
Besides, according to the rabbins, it 
was permitted for one either to select 
from the prophets or read the ordinary 
lesson of the day. 

18. This passage is freely quoted from 
Isa. 61 : 1, 2, and the clause, To set at 
liberty them that are bruised, seems to 
be added from the Septuagint of Isa. 
58: 6. The Jews regarded this prophecy 
as referring to the Messiah. It was 
indeed most suitable for Jesus to read 
in beginning his teachings in little, 
despised Nazareth, John 1 : 46. He appears before them, not so much 
as a miracle-worker as a teacher and 
the Messiah of prophecy. The 
Spirit of the Lord, etc. He pro- 
claims the abiding presence of the 
Spirit, and hence his qualification for 
his saving work, John 3 : 34. Hath 
anointed me. Rather, anointed me, 
referring to what had taken place once. 
The name Messiah in Hebrew, Christ in 
Greek, means anointed. Jesus was the 
anointed one. Prophets, priests, and 
kings were anointed with oil, 1 Kings 
19 : 16; Ex. 40 : 15; 1 Sam. 10 : 1. But 

Jesus received a spiritual anointing, 
John 1 : 32 ; Acts 4 : 27. He received 
spiritual power for his work. As 
persons were designated to ofiice by 
anointing, so the language here may 
specially denote his divine appoint- 
ment. To preach the gospel. To 
preach good tidings. The time had now 
come to announce that the Messiah had 
come. To the poor, the spiritually 
poor. Those who are humble and feel 
their need are meek, as the Hebrew 
has it. Persons of this class are more 
generally found in the humbler walks 
of life, 1 Cor. 1 : 26-29. The people of 
Nazareth were principally of the latter 
class, but not of the former. 

Hath sent me. His commission 
still continued. To heal the broken- 
hearted. Matt. 12 : 20. These are 
the contrite who mourn on account of 
their sins, Isa. 57 : 15. This is not found 
in the oldest manuscripts, and is omitted 
by the highest critical authority. Luke 
quotes freely, and probably from 
memory. To preach deliverance, 
etc. Oriental prisoners were commonly 
treated with great cruelty, reduced to 
slavery, or put to death. Hence liberty 
to captives was correspondingly great. 
The reference here is to a spiritual de- 
liverance from the terrible captivity to 
sin and Satan. 

Recovering of sight, to the spir- 
itually blind. The blindness is the re- 
sult of their captivity and connected 
with it. Noted prisoners often had 
their eyes put out (Judg. 16 : 21 ; 2 
Kings 25 : 7), or were imprisoned, 2 
Kings 25 : 27, 28. The Hebrew original 
is, " The opening of the^ prison to them 
that are bound." Some would translate, 
" The opening of the eyes;" and so the 
Septuagint translates. But they who 
are kept in the darkness of prison are 
as the blind, and their coming forth to 
light and liberty is as the opening of the 
eyes. The quotation may be regarded 
as a free translation according to the 
sense. Jesus opened blind eyes, but his 

\. t). 27, 28. 



1!' to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the 
-I' acceptable "year of the Lord. And he closed the 
book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat 
down. And the eyes of all them that were in the 
synagogue Avore fostened on him. 

And he began to say unto them, This day is this 
Scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him 
witness, and p wondered at the gracious words which 
proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, "^Is not 
23 this Joseph's son ? And he said unto them, Ye will 


• Le. 25. 8-10. 

P Ps. 45. 2 ; l8. no. 

4;Mt. 13. 54; Mk. 

6. 2; John 7. 46. 
qMt. 13. 65, 56; 

John 6. 42. 

ission was rather to open the eyes of 
nen to see themselves as sinners and to 
)ehold him as a Saviour, John 9 : 39. 

To set at liberty, etc., Isa. 58 : 6. 
Jesus may have turned to this passage 
as he read, or quoted it from memory. 
It seeras to have been added here to 
strengthen the idea of the two preced- 
ing clauses, "To preach deliverance," 
etc. Them that are bruised. The 
whole clause should rather be, To re- 
lease the oppressed, or, as the Bible Union 
version has it, To send the oppressed 
away free. Christ is represented as 
sending away the slaves of sin into 
glorious liberty. 

19. To preach. To publish, herald, 
or proclaim. The acceptable year 
of the Lord. The time when God was 
ready and willing to hear and save. Al- 
lusion is made to the year of jubilee, 
which was every fiftieth year, when 
liberty was proclaimed to all in the 
land, forfeited estates were restored, 
and debts were cancelled, Lev. 25 : 
8-17. Christ's coming was a spiritual 
jubilee ; he brought in eternal redemp- 
tion, proclaiming forgiveness, liberty, 
and restoration. It is strange that some 
of the Fathers, such as Clement of Al- 
exandria and Origen, supposed that this 
passage meant that Christ's public min- 
istry- continued only a year and some- 
thing over. The reference is to the 
times of the Messiah, without any in- 
dication of their length. The closing 
cf the reading at this point was remark- 
able, being much shorter than the usual 
amount. This rendered emphatic the 
proclamation of this gospel jubilee to 
the inhabitants of Nazareth. 

20. And he closed the book. 
Luke gives a graphic picture of the 
manner of Jesus in the synagogue of 
his own village. Calmly and quietly 
rolling up the manuscript (see on ver. 

17), Jesus gave it again to the min> 
ister — the attendant or the servant who 
had charge of the sacred books, carry- 
ing them to the reader and returning 
them to their place — and then sat 
doAvn, the posture of teaching. Matt. 
5 : 1. The eyes of all . . . were 
fastened on him. All looked in- 
tently and steadily upon him. There 
was something in his manner, and per- 
haps tone of voice, which riveted their 
attention and aroused their expectation 
that he was about to speak. 

21. He began to say, etc., indicat- 
ing a solemn and weighty beginning, 
and implying that the declaration that 
follows is the beginning and part of a 
somewhat extended discourse. This 
day. Now, at this very time. Ful- 
filled in your ears, in your hearing, 
by the glad tidings which Jesus an- 
nounced, and by the evidences Avhich 
he gave them that he was the Messiah. 
The Jews generally understood that 
this Scripture referred to the Mes- 
siah. There can be no doubt that they 
understood Jesus. 

22. All bare him witness, gave 
testimony favorable and honorable to 
him. They were pleased to hear that 
the privileges and blessings of the Mes- 
siah were to be enjoyed by them. At 
the same time, they wondered, they 
listened with admiration and wonder at 
the gracious words, the words of 
grace, possessing peculiar sweetness, be- 
nevolence, and persuasive power. The 
reference is to the manner and form, 
the outward charms of his discourse, 
rather than to the matter. The won- 
derful graciousness and power of Christ's 
manner is also brought to view in John 
7 : 46. Is not this Joseph's son? 
They wondered that their own towns- 
man, and one whom they had known as 
a workman among them, should thus 



A. D. 27, 2a. 

surely say unto me this proverb, 'Physician, heal thy- 'c^- 6- 42; Ro. 2, 
self: whatsoever we have heard done in * Capernaum, iMt.U 13- 11.23 
24 do also here in Hhy country. And he said, Verily, I 
say unto you, No "prophet is accepted in his own 

" Mt. 13. 57 ; Mk. 6. 4 ; John 4. 44. 

tMt. 13. 51: Mk. 
6. 1. 

speak. Joseph was a man of humble 
circumstances ; his family had occupied 
no distinguished place ; Jesus had re- 
ceived no rabbinical education. How 
could he thus speak? How could he 
be the Messiah ? There was unbelief 
mingled with their admiration. They 
wanted more evidence. They would 
witness such miracles as he had wrought 
at Capernaum (next verse), and then 
judge. At his second rejection we see 
a marked advance upon this. His towns- 
men lay greater stress upon his well- 
known relatives — mother, brothers, and 
sisters, Matt. 13 : 55 ; Mark 6 : 3. 

23. And he said unto them. Know- 
ing their thoughts and perhaps hearing 
their question. *' Jesus looked at once 
through the hearts of the men of Naza- 
reth, and saw that they could not, 
through the veil which his lowly cir- 
cumstances threw around his spiritual 
glory, penetrate into his essential na- 
ture. He held up, therefore, before 
them, as in a glass, the likeness of them- 
selves, giving them thus to see that they 
were incapable of knowing him. He 
cites to them the Old Testament exam- 
ples to show that even in the times of 
their fathers the heavenly message 
found no acceptance among the imme- 
diate companions of the prophets, and 
that, unable to unfold its power in them, 
it had taken refuge among the heathen." 
— Olshausen. 

Physician, heal thyself. A com- 
mon proverh, adage, or moral senten- 
tious saying among the Jews, and in the 
present instance means, " Pursue the 
course which you would have another 
pursue, making similar claims; give 
the evidence, perform the miracles, 
which you yourself would require of 
another." This meaning is in harmony 
with what follows, and seems to be re- 
quired by it. Alford interprets veiy 
nearly the same : " Exert thy power of 
healing in thy own country, as presently 
interpreted ; the Physician being repre- 
sented as an inhabitant of Nazareth ; and 
thyself including His own citizens in it." 
This is better than to say with Olshau- 

sen, ** Deliver yourself from poverty," 
or with Meyer, " Deliver yourself from 
your low condition." It is not the 
same as our proverb, "Charity begiiwi 
at home," though somewhat like it. The 
word proverh is the one usually trans- 
lated parable, but here has the restricted 
meaHing already given. See on ch. 

Whatsoever we have heard, or 
we heard done, in Capernaum, a city 
on the north-east coast of the Sea of Gal- 
ilee. See on ver, 31. Do also here in 
thy own country, at home, in Naza- 
reth. Jesus had healed the nobleman's 
son at Capernaum, John 4 : 46-54. Ca- 
pernaum was about sixteen miles from 
Nazareth ; the news could come in a day. 
The demand was one of mingled selfish- 
ness, curiosity, and unbelief, not of a 
candid desire to know the truth and to 
welcome the evidences of his Messiah- 
ship, Thus Jesus had performed no 
miracle this time at Nazareth, neither 
did he, on account of his sudden leaving, 
ver. 30. At his second rejection he 
healed a few sick people, Mark 6 : 5. 

24. Jesus answers this desire of his 
townsmen by a proverbial saying and 
two illustrations from the Old Testa- 
ment. Verily. Amen, truly, certain- 
ly. Jesus employed this word at the 
beginning of important utterances to 
give them force. As emphatically the 
Lawgiver of his people he could speak 
with an authority above all other teach- 
ers. Veeily, I say unto you. No 
one else could thus speak. He is also 
the Amen, the faithful and true witness. 
Rev. 3 : 14. No prophet, or religious 
teacher, ch. 1 : 76. Is accepted, is 
approved, finds favor. Jesus states a 
general fact. All other things being 
equal, one who has been familiar to us 
from early Kfe is treated with less rever- 
ence than one who has not been thus 
familiar. If they honor him less, they 
must expect less attention. Jesus gives 
one reason for not granting a desire the 
gratification of which would do them 
no good. " It is your own fault, he 
says, that the physician pays less atten- 

A. D. 27, 28. 





country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows 

were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven 

was shut up three years and six months, *when great *\^\ ^^- \' '®' '• 

famine was throughout all the land; 'but unto none 7iKi.'i7.9.* * 

of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of 

27 yidon, unto a woman that teas a widow. And many 
lepers were in Israel in the time of *Eliseus the 
prophet; and none of them was cleansed, "saving 
Naaman the Syrian. 

28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard 

•1 Ki. 19. 19. 
» 2 Ki. 5. 1-14. 

tion to you than to those more remote." 
— Bexgel. ■ 

25. Of a truth, in truth, truly, a 
stroni; expression, givinc: emphasis to 
the declaration which follows. In ad- 
dition, he shows that his condnct was in 
harmony with that of two of their great- 
est propliets, who were divinely directed 
not to act according to the j)roverb, 
** Physician, heal thyself," and whose 
miraculous ])ower was exerted on stran- 
gers. In Israel. In the land or among 
the people of Israel. £lias, Elijah. 
See on ch. 1 : 17. Three years and 
six months. So also in James 5 : 17. 
But in 1 Kings 18 : 1 it is stated that in 
the third year Elijah was commanded 
to show himself to Ahab with the prom- 
ise of rain. The discrepancy is only 
apparent, for it was the third year of 
Elijah's residence at Sarepta, the famine 
having commenced a year before, 1 
Kings 17 : 1, 9. 

26. But unto none of them, unto 
none of the widows in Israel. Thus, 
the widows of Israel were distinguished 
from the widow who was not of Israel. 
The two examples of miracultfus power 
in behalf of Gentiles accord ^vith the 
spirit of Luke's Gospel, which was for 
the race. Save unto Sarepta, etc. 
But unto Sarepta of Sidonia was he 
sent. Sarepta is the Greek form of the 
Hebrew name Zarephath, 1 Kings 17 : 
9-16. According to Josephus {AnPiq. 
viii. 13, 2), it lay between Tyre and 
Sidon, and according to Jerome, it lay 
on the sea-coast. The ancient name 
seems to be preserved in Sara fend, a 
town about ten miles south of Sidon. 
About a mile east of the modern vil- 
lage, on the shore of the Mediterranean, 
are the ruins of what is supposed to be 
the ancient town. Instead of Sidon, it 
should read, according to the best au- 
rhornies, S^'doria, +-he region Sidon. 

Sidon was a city of Phoenicia, on the 
Mediterranean Sea, twenty miles north 
of Tyre and about sixty miles north of 
Nazareth. Its modern name is Saida. 

27. Many lepers, having a most 
fearful and foul skin-disease peculiar 
to Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and some 
other portions of the East ; in its worst 
form most terrible in its effects and ab- 
solutely incurable. See on ch. 5 : 12. 
Eliseiis. The Greek method of spell- 
ing the Hebrew name Elisha. On the 
prevalence of leprosy in the time of 
Elisha, compare 2 Kings 7 : 3. Elisha 
succeeded Elijah about 905 B. C. None 
of them, in Israel, was cleansed, 
freed from the disease and its unclean- 
ness — that is, no Israelite was cleansed, 
but a person who was not of Israel. 
Saving Naaman the Syrian. More 
correctly, But Naaman the Syrian was 
cleansed. For an account of this, see 
2 Kings 5 : 1-19. Thus, God in his sov- 
ereign pleasure bestows his favors where 
he pleases. As in these two cases Israel- 
ites were passed over and God's special 
favors were bestowed upon Gentiles, so 
now Jesus intimates that he is acting on 
a like principle, and that the inhabit- 
ants of Nazareth, who thought they 
had special claims on him, would be 
passed by, while other places would 
enjoy his miraculous power. A more 
remote inference would be that the spe- 
cial favors and blessings of the gospel 
would pass over to the Gentiles. Every 
such reference to Gentiles was specially 
offensive to Jews. Stier and Alford call 
attention to a close parallelism between 
these two examples and those of the 
Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7 : 24) 
and the ruler's son at Capernaum, John 
4 :46. 

28. All they in the synagogue. 
The indignation was general. This 
does not forbid the idea that some even 



A. D. 27, 28. 

29 these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, 
^and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto 
the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that 

30 they might cast him down headlong. But he "= pass- « John 8. 59 ; lo. 39, 
ing through the midst of them went his way. 

l>John 8. 37, 59; 
Ps. 37. 14, 32. 

in Nazareth may have believed on him. 
Were filled with wrath. Because 
(1) the doctrine of God's sovereignty is 
always displeasing to the unrenewed 
heart; (2) because they were to be 
passed by as unworthy, and the favor 
bestowed on others; and (3) because 
the Gentile examples adduced sug- 
gested the possibility of Gentiles being 
preferred to Jews in the bestowment of 
the blessings of the Messiah. Compare 
Acts 22 : 22 for a similar instance of 
murderous rage. Compare also Deut. 
.32 : 21 ; Eom. 10 : 19. 

The following from Dr. Farrar's Life 
of Christ (vol. i., p. 226) is worth adding 
to the above : " What then ? "Were they 
in his estimation (and he but ' the car- 
penter!') no better than the Gentiles 
and lepers? This was the climax of 
all that was intolerable to them as com- 
ing from a fellow-townsman whom they 
wished to rank among themselves, and 
at whose words their long-suppressed 
fury burst into a flame. The speaker 
was no longer interrupted with a viur- 
viitr of disapprobation, but by a roar of 
wrath. With one of those bursts of san- 
guinary excitement which characterize 
that strange, violent, impassioned peo- 
ple — a people whose minds are swept by 
a storm as sudden as those which in one 
moment lash into fury the mirror sur- 
face of their lake — they rose in a body, 
tore him out of their city, and then 
dragged him to the brow of the hill 

29. Rose up, in wild excitement, 
without any reverence for the place, 
the day, or the occasion. Compare the 
rage against Stephen; Acts 7 : 57, 58. 
They thrust him out, cast him out 
violently from the city, as an unworthy 
inhabitant, and as deserving death out- 
side the gate. Possibly their first thought 
was to merely thrust him out of the 
city, but their rage increases as they 
hurry him along ; and determining on 
his death, they led him unto the 
brow, the cleft, precipice, of the hill, 
the range of hills, on which their city 
was built. " A worthless tradition has 

transferred this event to a hill about 
two miles to the south-east of the town. 
But there is no evidence that Nazareth 
ever occupied a different site from the 
present one ; and that a mob so exas- 
perated, whose determination was to 
put to death the object of their rage, 
should repair to so distant a place for 
that purpose, is entirely incredible. 
The present Nazareth lies along the 
hillside, but much nearer the base than 
the summit. A precipice almost per- 
pendicular, forty or fifty feet high, is 
found still just above the modern vil- 
lage, near the Maronite church, over 
which it is hardly possible that a per- 
son should fall without being killed in- 
stantly. This in all probability is the 
very precipice down which his infu- 
riated townsmen attempted to hurl Je- 
sus. The singular precision of the nar- 
rative deserves a remark or two. . . . 
In the first place, it is not said that the 
people went up or descended in order 
to reach the precipice, but simply that 
they brought the Saviour to it, wherever 
it Avas ; and in the second place, that it 
is not only said that the city was built 
' on the brow of the hill,' but equally 
that the precipice was on 'the brow,' 
without deciding whether the cliff over- 
looked the town (as is the fact) or was 
below it. It will be seen, therefore, 
how very near the terms of history 
approach a mistake and yet avoid it. 
As Paley remarks in another case, none 
but a true account could advance thus 
to the very brink of contradiction with- 
out falling into it." — Hackett's Him- 
trations of Scripture, pp. 313, 314. 

Might cast him down headlong. 
Not a usual mode of punishment among 
the Jews ; but compare 2 Chron. 25 : 12 
and 2 Kings 9 : 33. It was contrary to 
a Jewish canon to inflict punishment 
on the Sabbath. The people of Naza- 
reth had become a furious mob. 

30. Passing through the midst 
of them. Some suppose that Jesus 
effected his escape by his composure 
and self-control, in connection, perhaps, 
with some confusion among the crowd; 

A. D. 28. 



Jesus resides at Capernaum ; teaches and heals. 
31 AND [he] "^came down to Capernaum, a city of *Mk. ].2i; Mt.4, 

others, that he so awed them by a 
majestic look that they made a way for 
him to pass; and still others, that he 
exerted some miraculous influence upon 
them, such as affecting their sight, 
rendering himself invisible, or restrain- 
ing them. While it is true that Christ 
and his apostles did not work miracles 
of mere self-preservation, it seems at 
times that the divinity within Jesus 
shone forth with awe- producing power, 
John 18 : 6; 10 : 39; 8 : 59. 

It is most reasonable to suppose that 
this divine power was felt by the Naza- 
renes in this instance, for Jesus was in 
their hands. They could not take his 
life unless he freely gave it, John 10 : 
18. But his hour had not yet come. 
In the simplicity of the narrative we 
see evidences of its truthfulness. A 
spurious gospel would have sought to 
present something more startling, such 
as saving himself while being cast down 
the precipice. Went his way, depart- 
ed from Nazareth. Here ends a para- 
graph. In this account we have an ex- 
planation of Matthew's brief allusion, 

And leaving Nazareth." We see why 
he left Nazareth and made Capernaum 
his chief place of residence. 

31, 32. Jesus fixes his abode at 
CAPERNArM. Teaches in the syna- 
gogue. Matt. 4 : 13-16; Mark 1 : 21, 22. 
The favorable reception given to Jesus 
is in marked contrast to the murderous 
treatment he received at Nazareth. 

And came down to Capernaum. 
Rather, And he came, etc. This begins 
a new paragraph. Luke, however, 
brings our Lord's removal to Caper- 
naum into connection with his rejection 
at Nazareth, and is indirectly confirmed 
by Matt. 4 : 13. Jesus had been at 
Capernaum before for a short time 
(John 2 : 12), but now he made it the 
principal place of his residence. The 
expression came doivri accords with the 
fact that Nazareth was on elevated 
ground and Capernaum was about 600 
feet below the Mediterranean. Caper- 
naum was the name of a fountain (Jo- 
sephus, t/e?/;. War, iii. 10, 8), and a town 
situated on the north-west shore of the 
Sea of Galilee, on the borders of the 
tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali. It was 

a thriving commercial place on the road 
from Damascus to the Mediterranean, 
and a central position for travelling ana 
performing missionary tours into Lower 
and Upper Galilee, Perea, and Judea. 
It was thus peculiarly fitted as the 
principal residence of Jesus during the 
three years of his ministry. " It is 
called his own city," Matt. 9:1. Its 
name was appropriate for his dwelling- 
place, meaning village of Nahum, or 
consolation. It was also the residence 
of Andrew, Peter, James, and John, 
who were natives of Bethsaida (John 
1 : 44), and probably of Matthew. Its 
present complete desolation forcibly 
illustrates our Lord's denunciation in 
Matt. 11 : 23. Its name is lost and its 
exact site is still in doubt. The most 
probable spots are: (1) Dr. Robinson 
supposes it to have been at Khan 
Minyeh, on the northern borders of the 
fine plain of Gennesaret, about five 
miles from the Jordan, where there is 
the copious fountain oH Ain et-Tin, and 
ruins of some extent still remain. Se.e 
Robinson Hib. Researches, ii. 403-4, iii. 
344-358. (2) Mr. Tristram maintains 
that its site is at the Round Fountain, 
three miles farther south, near the south 
end of the plain of Gennesaret, where is 
found the catfish which Josephus states 
the fountain of Capernaum produced. 
A considerable stream also flows from 
it to the lake, which also answers to 
Josephus' description. Land of Israel, 
p. 442. (3) But Dr. Thomson and the 
majority of later travellers place the 
site near the head of the lake at Tell 
Hum, about three miles north of Khan 
3Iinyeh, and about the same distance 
from the point where the Jordan enters 
the lake. It is argued that Hum is the 
closing syllable of Capernaum, and that 
its first part, Caphar, which signifies a 
village, has given place to Tell, mean- 
ing a site or ancient ruin. Tradition 
of Jews and Arabs fixes the site of 
Capernaum here. But no fountain is 
found nearer than two miles. 

Rev. Dr. S. Graves thus defends and 
describes the latter site : " This I believe 
to be the true site of Capernaum, and 
this one ruin of fallen and broken 
columns is believed by Lieutenant W^il- 



A. D. 28. 

32 Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath-days: and '^t. 7. 28, 29; i 
they were astonished at his doctrine: «for his word ^'^5^' ^" ^' ^*'" 

33 was with power. 'And in the synagogue there was a 'Mic. 1. 23-28. 

son, as stated in his recent survey, to be 
the synagogue which the pious centu- 
rion built for the Jews, to which allu- 
sion is made in Luke 7:5: ' For he 
loveth our nation and hath built us a 
synagogue,' or, as it is in the Greek, 
'the synagogue,' the article showing 
that it was some marked and noted 

" I examined these most interesting 
remains with all the care that a burn- 
ing sun and the brief hour or two 
allotted me would allow of. I found 
eleven bases of columns in situ, and 
three others out of their original places. 
These measured at the top nearly three 
feet in diameter, and the columns that 
once stood upon them were two feet 
four inches in diameter. The orna- 
mental architrave which these pillars 
supported, and which was lying about 
in fragments, was three feet in height. 
The brownstone which composed the 
side^ was twenty inches in thickness. 
The building was in the Corinthian 
order and the workmanship very cred- 
itable, though not of the highest style ; 
the coarseness of the material would 
hardly admit of this. The exact fox*m 
of this edifice it was difficult to make 
out, but the fragments of it covered 
nearly the third of an acre, and further 
excavations, I am sure, would reveal 
something of far greater interest." — The 
Standard, Chicago, April 3, 1873. 

But on the contrary. Rev. Dr. Robert 
Patterson defends the first of the above 
sites as follows : " On the other hand. 
Khan Minyeh is exactly the distance 
from Tiberias and the Jordan which 
the ancient itineraries describe, and in 
its fountain and aqueduct meets all the 
descriptions given of the sources of Ca- 
I^ernaum's fertility, which the exuber- 
ance of its vegetation fully confirms. 
Accordingly, the six ministers of our 
party, after reading the arguments of 
half a dozen authors on all sides of the 
question, unanimously agreed that Khan 
Minyeh marks the site of Capernaum, 
that Bethsaid is Bethsaida, and Tell 
Hums is the site of the ancient Chora- 
zin. Its magnificent columns are hid- 
den by luxuriant thistles and mustard. 

'Woe unto thee, Chorazin!'"— TAe 
Sunday-school Times, Philadelphia, 
May 25, 1872. In view of all that 
has thus far been discovered and writ- 
ten, I am not yet prepared to give up 
Khan Minyeh as the most probable site 
of Capernaum. Galilee. See on eh. 
1 :26. 

Capernaum was a most fitting place 
for Jesus to carry on his ministry. Not 
only could he cross the lake in any di- 
rection, but he could go forth by roads 
to every part of Galilee. To the south 
also he could pass down the Jordan val- 
ley on the western side, or crossing a 
bridge at the south of the lake could go 
through Perea to the fords of the Jor- 
dan near Jericho, or pass over the 
mountains of Zebulon to Nazareth, and 
thence through the plain of Esdraelon 
to Samaria and Jerusalem. 

And taught them. Better, J wcZ Ae 
was teaching them. This begins a new 
sentence, and intimates what was his 
usual practice. He preached repent- 
ance and the good news of the kingdom 
of God, Matt. 4 : 17 ; Mark 1 : 14, 15. 

32. They were astonished, struck 
with wonder at his doctrine. Rather, 
at his teaching, both as to its matter and 
his manner of instruction. The reason 
of their astonishment is given : for 
his word was with power. His in- 
struction was with authority. He taught 
as the great Author and Reveal er of truth, 
expounded it in all its fulness and spir- 
itually, and enforced it by his personal 
authority. Matt. 7 : 28, 29. All God's 
teachings have a self-evidencing light 
and a self-asserting power. Conscien ^e 
yields to their force ; for as lungs were 
made for air, so was conscience for 

33-?7. Jesus Heals a Demoniac 
IN THE Synagogue, Mark 1 : 23-28. 
Luke is somewhat briefer than Mark, 
and with sufficient difference to show 
the independence of his account. Ac- 
cording to Mark 1 : 16-22, this miracle 
followed the calUng of the four disci- 

As this is the first miracle recorded 
by Luke, a few thoughts on the Miea- 
cles of Cheist will be in place. He 

A. D. 28. 



man, wbicli had a spirit of an unclean devil, and 

; I'rformed them in proof of his divine 
ission, John 2 : 2l' ; 9:3-5; 10:25, 
o7. The .lows oxj>oete(l the ^Messiah 
wouUi work mirai'les, Matt. 12:38; 
l.iike 11 : It), 17 ; .lohn 7 : 31 ; so also 
dill John the Baptist, Matt. 11:3. The 
miracles of Christ were variously desig- 
nated. When they were specially re- 
garded as evidences of his divine mis- 
sion, they were called semeia, signs, eh, 
8:11; John 2 : 11 ; when as the mani- 
festation of sii}>crnatural power, tliey 
were called dunameis, mighty works, 
corresponding more strictly to the word 
miracle in common English usage, ch. 
6:2; 9 : 39 ; when as extraordinary 
and portending phenomena, exciting as- 
tonislimeut or terror, they were called 
terata, wonders, John 4:48; Acts 2: 
22 ; compare Mark 13 : 22 ; and when 
viewed still more generally and compre- 
hensively, as something completed and 
to be reflected on — the natural acts and 
products of his being — they were called 
erga, works, John 7 : 3, 21. In our 
conmion version the first of these is 
translated signs, viiracles, xvonders ; the 
second, mighty works, mighty deeds, won- 
derful works, miracles ; the third, won- 
ders ; and the fourth, deeds. 

To get a full and correct conception 
of Christ's miracles they should be 
viewed in all these aspects. They were 
not simply the manifestations of a su- 
pernatural power, but also the product 
of that power inherent in our Lord, the 
natural fruits, the outworkings, of his 
own divine nature ; they were not mere- 
ly adapted to impress the mind deeply 
and excite astonishment or terror, but 
they were also the signs, the evidences, 
of himself and of the truth of which he 
was the embodiment. They were, in 
fine, the supernatural phenomena pro- 
duced by his own power in proof of his 
divine nature ani work. They were 
not in violation of nature nor necessar- 
ily a suspension of its laws, but rather 
above nature, so far as we know, or in 
accordance with laws and principles un- 
known to us. It is indeed in accordance 
with nature to expect miracles in connec- 
tion with a new dispensation. " All the 
great chapters of nature's history," says 
Prof. Hitchcock, " begin with them ; and 
if the Christian dispensation were desti- 
tute of them, it would be out of harmony 

with the course of things in the natural 
\vorUi."—Jiib. Sac, July, 18()3, p. 552. 

33. In the synafjoVue. See on 
ver. 15. A spirit of an unclean 
devil, or demon. A peculiar expres- 
sion. Bengel says : " iS7>iV/^ denotes its 
mode of working ; devion, its nature." 
Alford observes: ^'Spirit is the influ- 
ence, demon the personality, of the pos- 
sessing demon." While demon points 
unmistakably to a personality, it seems 
to me that spirit means more than influ- 
ence — that it rather presents the demon 
as an acting rational intelligence. The 
original Scriptures recognize but one 
devil, but manv demons, who are sub- 
ject to Satan, their prince, Matt. 9 : 34 ; 
25 : 41 ; Rev. 12:9. The one here is 
called " an unclean demon," with refer- 
ence to his moral vileness and wicked- 
ness. Mark (1 : 23) calls him "an un- 
clean spirit." Demons are also called 
evil spirits, ch. 7 : 21 ; 8:2. They were 
the authors and promoters of wickedness 
and all uncleanness. 

It is evident from this and other 
similar miracles that the sacred writers 
in their account of demoniacal posses- 
sions did not speak in mere accommoda- 
tion to the opinion of the Jews, but 
stated as matters of fact that in- 
dividuals were actually possessed with 
demons. Demons are spoken of as 
personal beings, ch. 11 : 24-26; James 
2 : 19 ; Rev. 16 : 14, etc. ; Jesus ad- 
dressed them as persons and they an- 
swered as such, ver. 35 ; Mark 5 : 8 ; 9 : 
25 ; they showed a supernatural know- 
ledge of Jesus, ch. 4 : 34 ; Matt. 8 : 29 ; 
they requested, and were permitted, to 
enter a herd of swine, ch. 8 : 32. Jesus 
also distinguished between casting out 
demons and the healing of diseases, ch. 
7 : 21; Mark 1 : 32-34; Matt. 8 : 16. 
A person might be dumb as a result of 
demoniacal possession, but not every 
dumb person was possessed with a de- 
mon, Mark 7 : 32 ; Matt. 9 : 32, 33. No- 
where is demoniacal possession made 
identical with any one disease. Yet 
various mental and bodily disorders are 
attributed to the agency of the devil or 
demons, ch. 9 : 39, 42 ; Acts 10 : 38. 
The bodies of individuals are represent- 
ed as forcibly possessed by a conscious- 
ness and will foreign to themselves, so 
that there appears to have been a 



A. D. 28. 

34 cried out with a loud voice, saying, Let us alone ; what 
have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? «^art 
thou come to destroy us ? *• I know thee who thou art ; 

f Ge. 3. 15. 
•> ver. -11. 

double will and a double conscious- 
ness, ch. 9 : 39; 11 : 14; Mark 7 : 25, 
30. From such passages it is evident 
that the Scriptures speak of Satan and 
demons as personal beings, and that 
they were permitted to take possession 
of the bodies of men and inflict on them 
various sufferings. To regard the lan- 
guage of the sacred writers as a mere 
accommodation, the devil and his 
angels as mere myths, or the principle 
of evil and the possessions as mere 
diseases, is contrary to the plainest 
statements and to the uses of language. 
In the same way all history might be 
discredited and the actual existence of 
the principal men of past ages disproved. 

We may know the fact, though un- 
able to explain how demons possessed 
men. We know too little, it may be, 
of the connection between body and 
spirit, and of the operation of spirit on 
spirit. The soul, however, gives and 
receives impressions through the nervous 
system. Soul operates on soul. One 
thus obtains complete power over an- 
other. Why may not evil spirits, under 
certain conditions, do the same ? 

To the frequent inquiry. How comes 
it that similar possessions do not occur 
at the present day ? it may be answered : 
(1) It cannot be proved that they do not 
sometimes occur even now. It cannot be 
said that in many cases ofinsanity, and in 
some cases of mental and moral disease, 
the malady may not be traced to the di- 
rect agency of demons. (2) But admitting 
that such possessions are not common, 
yet there was a reason in our Saviour's 
day for the external manifestation of 
Satan's power. The crisis of the moral 
history of the world was at hand. The 
devil was allowed to exercise unusual 
power in temptation on the souls and 
bodies of men, in order that Christ 
might meet him openly and manifest 
his power in his victory over him. 
When God was manifested in the flesh, 
then demons may have been permitted 
to manifest themselves specially among 
men. And that demoniacal possessions 
were more specially limited to that age 
is not an unfair inference from both 
sacred and profane history. For it is a 

remarkable fact that we have no cases 
of these possessions in the Old Testament 
and none in the Epistles of the New 
Testament, and that Josephus speaks 
of no real possessions except in the gen- 
eration in which Christ exercised his 

He cried out. The unclean spirit. 
He had such control of the man that he 
spoke through him, using his organs of 
speech, and that too with a loud voice. 
The personality of the demon is dis- 
tinctly recognized. Neither a disease 
nor a myth could thus cry out. 

34. Let us alone. Rather, AaA/ an 
interjection expressing surprise and dis- 
pleasure. The very presence of Jesus 
was a torment to demons. He was 
" manifested to destroy the works of the 
devil," 1 John 3 : 8. What have we 
to do with thee ? What to us and 
thee in common? Our relations and 
our business are wholly different from 
thine. Wilt thou, then, disturb us? 
This form of expression occurs several 
times in the New Testament. Jesus 
thus addressed his mother at the mar- 
riage in Cana of Galilee. It always 
implies disapprobation, though some- 
times employed iii friendly reproof. 
The demon uses the plural here with 
reference to fallen spirits as a class, of 
which he was a representative. They 
want nothing to do with him, but he 
has determined only the more to do 
with them. Thou is superfluous. 

Art thou come ? or didst thou come f 
Is this the object of thy coming? To 
destroy us, who constitute the king- 
dom of darkness, of which this one was 
a representative. The man could not 
have been included in us, for it was Ihe 
saving of the man and his own expul- 
sion that the demon feared. The de- 
structlon consisted in sending them 
down to hell. Matt. 8 : 29 ; 10 : 28. 

I know thee who thou art. 
Doubtless by fame and report, but 
more. He felt the awing influence of 
so holy a being, filling him with dread ; 
he took him at once to be the Messiah ; 
he believed and trembled, James 2 : 19. 
Compare a similar knowledge in Acts 
16 : 17. 

A. D. 28. 



S.') 'the Holy One of God. AndJesus rebuked him, saying, 'ch. 1.^5; Ps. 16. 
Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when ac. 3.*i4- i Pet! 
the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out 3.22. 

36 of him, and hurt him not. And they were all amazed, 
and spake amoni^ themselves, saying. What a word is 
this! for with authority and power he commandeth 

the unclean spirits, and they come out. And ''the *ls. 52. is. 

37 fame of him went out into every place of the country 
round about. 

38 'And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered » Mt. 8. 14 ; Mk, i. 
into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother "" 


The Holy One of God. Not 

merely morally so, but also officially. 
The Son of God, the Messiah, the one 
otfieially set apart and consecrated to 
this office and work, John 6 : 69. Cora- 
pare John 10 : 36 ; Rev. 3:7. Demons 
knew him to be the Son of God, ver. 41 ; 
Acts 19 : 15. 

35. Hold thy peace. Silencf,SLCom- 
mand with authority and restraining: 
power. The testimony was not with 
believing confidence ; demons were not 
permitted to give it, ver. 41, neither 
nad the time come for so public a pro- 

; mulgation. This Jesus reserved to him- 
j self and his followers. Come out of 
I him. Two distinct personalities are 
I here recognized. The demon is treated 
: as a person as much as the man. The 
one was just as much a disease or a 

f)rinciple as the other, no more and no 
I The personality of the demon is 
! further shown by his crying out, con- 
vulsing the man, and coming out of 
him. Such language would not be 
used of an epileptic fit, as some would 
have us believe. Had thrown him 
in the midst, of the assembly. Mark 
(1 : 26) says. Had torn him. From the 
two accounts it appears that the demon 
convulsed him, threw him into the- 
midst of the company in a spasm, and 
came out of him and hurt him not — 
that is. did him no real injury. Such 
paroxysms in connection with castiui^ 
out demons showed their malignant 
and degraded nature (ch. 9 : 30), and 
only made the miracle the more im- 

36. They were all amazed. More 
correctly. Amazement dime upon all. 
The efiectof the miracle is here vi%ndly 
presented. A general amazement took 
possession of the people, which led 

them to discussion and certain conclu- 
sions. Spoke among themselves. 

Speaking and reasoning one with an- 
other. What a word is this ! etc. 
Rather, What is this word thut with au- 
thority, etc. What meaneth this com- 
manding and this obedience? Such a 
display of superhuman authority and 
power aroused their amazement and 
set them to inquiring and reasoning, 
and made Jesus widelyknown. Au- 
thority, which no one could question. 
Power, which none can resist. The 
former word implies possession of 
power, the latter denotes its exercise. 
The word of Christ is still powerful. 
" I have often found some word of 
Scripture to me like the gate of Par- 
adise," — Luther. 

37. Further efiect of this miracle. 
The fame, etc. Rather, A rumor con- 
cerning him went out, etc. This was a 
popular rumor concerning what he did 
and taught. It became a common topic 
of conversation in every place of the 
country round about Capernaum in 
Galilee. " The district rung with his 
fame." — Webster and Wilkinson. 

This miracle in public is now followed 
by one in private. 

'38-41. Heals Peter's Wife's Mo- 
ther AND MANY OTHERS, Matt. 8 : 
14-17 ; Mark 1 : 29-34. Further evi- 
dences of his divine mission and doc- 
trine. Matthew is briefest, but alone 
refers to a fulfilment of prophecy. 
Mark is the fullest, and enters most 
into detail. Luke is nearly as full as 
Mark, and gives some interesting par- 
ticulars not recorded by the others, 

38. Immediately after leaving the 
synagogue they enter the house of Si- 
mon and Andrew, Mark 1 : 29. These 
latter had formerly resided at Bethsaida 
(John 1 : 44), but now had taken up 



A. D. 2& 

was taken with a great fever ; and they besought him 

39 for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the 
fever ; and it left her : and immediately she arose and 
ministered unto them. 

40 '"Now when the sun was setting, all they that had "Mt- 8. 16; Mk. i. 
any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him ; 

and he laid his hands on every one of them, and 

41 healed them. "And devils also came out of many, °Mk. i. 34; 3. ii. 

their residence at Capernaum. Mark 
alone mentions the fact that Jesus was 
attended by James and John; doubt- 
less also by Andrew and Peter. 

Wife's mother. Mother-in-law. 
She seems to have resided with Peter. 
Simon is contracted from Simeon, and 
means hearkening. He was called Peter 
by our Lord upon his first introduction 
to him, John 1 : 42. Peter had a wife. 
A foolish and slanderous tradition 
makes him divorce her when he be- 
came an apostle. But all the apostles 
had a right to marriage ; and as late as 
A. D. 57 Peter's wife was living and 
accompanied him on a missionary jour- 
ney, 1 Cor, 9 : 5. The Romish doctrine 
of clerical celibacy is unauthorized by 
Scripture, Heb. 13 : 4. Forbidding to 
marry is one of the marks of the apos- 
tasy, 1 Tim. 4:3. A great fever, a 
violent or raging fever. Luke, being a 
physician, alone with exactness indi- 
cates the severity of the disease. Fe- 
vers are common in Palestine, and in 
the vicinity of Capernaum are of a 
malignant type. They besought 
him. Luke alone records this. Mark 
(1 : 30) simply says, " They tell him of 
her." Jesus thus waits for this mani- 
festation of their faith. Thus, too, does 
he encourage prayer. Compare Ezek. 
36 : 37. 

39. Stood over her and rebuked 
the fever. Matthew (8 : 15) merely 
says, "And he touched her." Mark 
(1 : 31), with greater minuteness, says, 
" And he came [the standing, according 
to Luke, is implied], and took her by 
the hand and lifted her up." By com- 
bining the three accounts great fulness 
is obtained. Luke alone personifies the 
disease, the fever being addressed as if 
it were a conscious agent. Rebuked the 
fever, and obedient to his command it 
left her. The fever left her instantly ; 
and as an evidence of a full and perfect 
cure, immediately she arose and 

ministered unto them. She at once 
attended to her household duties, waited 
on the table, and served them. Instead 
of being weak and exhausted, she was 
raised to her full strength and to per- 
fect health. Recovery from fever is 
always slow; the suddenness of the 
cure showed the reality and greatness 
of the miracle. 

40. Luke proceeds from these two 
particular miracles, the one public, the 
other private, to the statement that his 
miracle-working power was very largely 
and wonderfully exercised at that time 
and place. 

When the sun was setting. It 
was the cool of the day, and therefore 
the best time for bringing the sick. The 
news of Christ's presence in the city and 
of his wonderful cure in the synagogue 
had had time to spread, and now the 
people began to bring their sick. It 
being the Sabbath also, they may have 
preferred to wait till its close. But they 
eagerly avail themseh^es of the first op- 
portunity, as the Sabbath day is closing. 
All they that had any sick, etc. 
There was a general bringing of the 
sick. He laid his hands, etc. This 
is alone stated by Luke. Mark (1 ; 34) 
graphically adds, " And all the city was 
gathered together at the door." By con- 
necting the exercise of his power with 
this external act on every one, he 
encouraged their faith individually and 
pointed toward himself as the source of 
power. Thus, while Christ healed the 
sick, we never hear that he was sick 
himself. His was a life of health. He, 
indeed, by his sympathies made the suf- 
ferings of others his own. " Himself 
took our infirmities and bore our sick- 
nesses," Matt. 8 : 17. Without perfect 
health he could not have done or en- 
dured what he did. 

41. And devils, demons, also. The 
special mention of demons is distinct 
from the "divers diseases" of the pre- 

A. D. 28. 



crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of 

God. And "he rebukiiijr them suffered them not to *Y'"|5^i*'x *\g" 

speak : fur they knew that he was Christ. I6-18. ' 



First general preaching tour throughout Galilee. 

PMk. 1.35. 

pAnd when it was day, he departed and went into 
a desert phice : and the people sought him, and came 
unto him, and 1 stayed him, that he should not depart 
from them. And he said unto them, I must preach 
the kingdom of God to other cities also : •" for there- ' ^^- ^^- 1^- 

1 John 4. 40. 

ceding verse, showing that demoniacal 
possessions were not diseases. Thou 
art Christ. This is omitted by the 
oldest and best mannscripts and tlie 
highest critical authorities. The same 
idea is expressed b)' what follows. The 
Son of God. See on eh. 1 : 35. That 
the demons knew that he was Christ 
and recognized his divinity is a conclu- 
sive evidence of their existence and of 
their actually possessing men. Re- 
buking them suffered them not 
to speak, to make known his Mes- 
siahship. Demons were not to be his 
messengers to proclaim this glorious 
fact. His own disciples were to do this, 
and the proofs on which he rested his 
claims are referred to in John 5 : 32, 
39, 46, 47 ; 20 : 30, 31. Nor had the 
time arrived to make this full announce- 
ment among the people. 

42-44. Jesus makes his First 
PREACHING Tour throughout Gal- 
ilee, Matt. 4 : 23-25 ; Mark 1 : 35-39. 
Matthew is the fullest, but omits the 
record of Christ's retirement into a des- 
ert place, which is related by the other 
two evangelists. Luke is very brief. 

42. When it was day, "following 
the cure of Peter's wife's mother. Ac- 
cording to Mark 1 : 35, it was early day- 
break. Went into a desert place, 
an uninhabited and unfrequented place 
near Capernaum. He went there for 
quiet, meditation, and prayer, Mark 1 : 
35. The people sought him. From 
Mark's accoxint it appears that Simeon 
and his party sought and found Jesus, 
and reported to him that all the people 
were seeking him. And Peter's words 
are soon confirmed, for the multitude 
searched with such diligence that they 
also found him and stayed him, held 
him back, detained him, that he 
should not depart from them. 

While Nazareth drove him away, Ca- 
pernaum invites him back. 

43. The reply of Jesus shows that he 
had other work to do, and that the peo- 
ple understood not the object of his 
mission. I must. There was a moral 
necessity, founded on his divine mis- 
sion. Preach, etc. Proclaim the good 
news of his kingdom. The kingdom 
of God is equivalent to kingdom of 
heaven in Matthew (3 : 2, etc.), the 
former expression having special refer- 
ence to its central locality, the latter to 
him %vhose it is. The same thing is ex- 
pressed by " kingdom of Christ," or 
simply "kingdom," Eph. 5:5; Heb. 
12 : 28. The prophets had represented 
the Messiah as a divine King (Ps. 2 : 
6 ; Isa. 11:1; Jer. 23 : 5 ; Zech. 14 : 9 ; 
Mic. 4 : 1-4 ; 5:2), and especially Daniel 
(Dan. 2 : 44 ; 7 : 13, 14), who had spoken 
of " a kingdom which the God of heaven 
would set up." Hence, kingdom of heav- 
en, or of God, became common among 
the Jews to denote the kingdom or reign 
of the Messiah. Their own theocracy 
was also typical of it. They, indeed, 
perverted the meaning of prophecy, and 
expected an earthly and temporal king- 
dom, the restoration of the throne of 
David at Jerusalem, and the actual 
subjugation of all nations. John the 
Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles, how- 
ever, rescued the phrase from error, 
and gave it its full and true meaning. 
This kingdom, reign, or administration 
of the Messiah is spiritual in its nature 
(John 18 : 36 ; Rom, 14 : 17), and is ex- 
ercised over, and has its seat in, the 
hearts of believers, Luke 17 : 21. It 
exists on earth (ch. 
extends to another 
(ch. 13 : 43; 26 : 29 

and will be fully consummated in a 
state of glory, 1 tor. 15 : 24 ; Matt. 8 : 

13 : 18, 19, 41,47); 
state of existence 
; Phil. 2 : 10, 11) ; 



A. D. 28. 

44 fore am I sent, 
of Galilee. 

■And lie preached in the synagogues 'Mk. i, 38, 39. 

11 ; 2 Pet. 1:11. It thus embraces the 
whole mediatorial reign or government 
of Christ on earth and in heaven, and 
includes in its subjects all the redeem- 
ed, or, as Paul expresses it (Eph. 3 : 15), 
" the whole family in heaven and 
earth." Kingdom of God and church 
are not identical, though inseparably 
and closely connected. The churches 
of (,'hrist are the external manifestations 
of this kingdom in the M'orld. To 
other cities also. Not merely at 
Capernaum, but in adjacent villages, 
towns, and cities, Mark 1 : 48. There- 
fore am I sent. Because for this was 
I sent. Not from Capernaum, but from 
his Father, John 16 : 28. His mission 
was to preach the gospel, ch. 4 : 18-21. 
This the people failed to understand. 

44. And he preached, etc. And 
he was preaching in the synagogues 
throughout Galilee, Mark 1 : 39. Mark 
also adds, "And cast out devils." This 
must be the first general preaching tour 
throughout Galilee, recorded in Matt. 
4 : 23-25, since, according to the first 
two evangelists, it occurred not long 
after the calling of the four disciples, 
Matt. 4 : 18 and Mark 1 : 16. We can- 
not suppose two such extensive tours in 
the course of a few weeks. 


1. The proper preparation for tempta- 
tion and trial is to be filled with the 
Spirit, ver. 1 ; Acts 13:9; Eph. 5 : 18. 

2. Though God often leads men into 
trials and places of temptation, yet he 
gives them means for overcoming, vers. 
1, 2 ; 1 Cor. 10 : 13 ; 2 Cor. 12 : 9 ; Dan. 
2 : 17-20 ; James 5 : 11 ; 2 Pet. 2 : 9. 

3. Seasons of great spiritual enjoy- 
ment are often followed by great tempta- 
tions. Thus it frequently is with the 
blessed experiences in baptism, vers. 1, 
2 ; Matt. 16 : 17, 22, 23 ; Acts 6 : 1 and 
8 : 1. 

4. Solitude has its special dangers 
and temptations. Man was made a 
social being, vers. 1, 2; 1 Kings 19 : 4, 

5. The Christian, and especially the 
young convert, may expect to be tempt- 

ed to doubt his own adoption and to 
distrust God, ver. 3. 

6. Intense hunger is no excuse for 
crime or for distrusting Providence. 
God has a full supply. Faith in him 
will ensure victory over the wants of 
the world, vers. 3, 4; Matt. 6 : 33; 
John 6 : 27, 32. 

7. In overcoming one temptation we 
may fall into another. Our faith may 
be turned into presumption or overcome 
by ambition, vers. 6, 9. 

8. The word of God, the sword of the 
Spirit, is our weapon in temptation, 
vers. 4, 8, 12; 1 John 2 : 14. 

9. To secularize religion, to take the 
kingdom of the world through carnal 
weapons, to depend on worldly pomp, 
vain display, fashion, wealth, fine 
churches, and the like, is a forsaking 
and renouncing of the spiritual nature, 
power, and weapons of Christ's king- 
dom, ver. 6 ; Rom. 14 : 7. 

10. We should wait God's time and 
way for receiving what he intends to 
bestow. Christ would receive nothing 
from Satan. The shortest and easiest 
way is not always the best, vers. 6-9. 

11. Neither religion nor duty should 
be compromised for riches or honor, 
ver. 8 ; Prov. 23 : 23. 

12. We have but to resist the devil 
and he will flee from us, ver. 8 ; 1 Pet. 
5 : 8, 9 ; James 4 : 7, 10. 

13. Satan uses the holiest places and 
things to tempt men, vers. 9, 11 ; Acts 

14. Wicked men who appeal to 
Scripture to support or cover up their 
own crimes, and errorists who mis- 
quote the word of God and pervert its 
meaning, are following in the foot- 
steps of the devil, vers. 9, 10 ; 2 Pet. 
3 : 16. 

15. We have no right to test God 
merely for the sake of testing him, nor 
to trifle with his promises by throwing 
ourselves into uncommanded dangers, 
ver. 12. 

16. In Christ's victory over Satan, all 
true believers have a pledge of their 
own. He shows that he is able to 
succor those that are tempted, ver. 13 ; 
1 Cor. 10 : 13 ; Heb. 2 : 17 ; 4 : 15. 

17. Jesus by his own example teaches 

A. D. 28. 



11^ to maintain the public worship of 

(io.i, vers. IG, 31; Lev. 19:30; lleb. 

h' : 25. 
1 S. The Bible is, above all others, the 
k of public worship and of the 
d's Day; it is the ground and proof 

ii truth, ver. 17 ; Acts 13 : 27 ; 15 : 21 ; 


19. As Christ was anointed with the 
Sp.rit for his work, so should his fol- 
lowers be for theirs, ver. IS; 1 John 2 : 
L'O, 27. 

20. How glorious the mission and 
work of Jesus! vers. IS, 19. 

21. Jesus brings to the sin-bound soul 
its jubilee, ver. 19 ; Ps. 89 : 15 ; Rom. 
8 : 15; Gal. 5 : 1. 

22. I>et us look to Jesus as our Teach- 
er, and joyfully accept his instructions, 
ver. 20 ; John 6 : 6S. 

23. Let us see to it that the mission 
of Jesus is fulfilled in our hearts and 
lives, ver. 21 ; John 17 : 3 ; Phil. 3 : 10 ; 
Col. 1 : 27, 2S. 

24. How many admire the eloquence 
of the preacher without beinar benefited 
by the truth ! ver. 22 ; Ezek. 33 : 31, 32. 

I 25. " Requests for divine favor are 
often refused because prompted by pride 
or selfishness." — Rev. J. P. Warren. 
Ver. 23 ; James 4 : 3. 

26. God bestows his unmerited favors 
upon men according to his infinite wis- 
dom and good pleasure, ver. 25-27 ; 
Matt. 11 : 25-27. 

27. " It is an evidence of great de- 
pravity when men complain that bless- 
ings are bestowed on others which they 
themselves reject." — Amer. Tract So- 
cietr/, X. Y. Ver. 28 ; Matt. 23 : 13. 

28. We must not make our views and 
feelings the rule by which to judge the 
principles of the gospel administration, 
vers. 25-28 ; Job 11:7; Rom. 11 : 33. 

29. How uncertain is human popular- 
itv ! vers. 22, 28, 29 ; Matt. 21 : 9 and 
27 : 20-23. 

30. In the treatment of Jesus at Naza- 
reth we see the foreshadowing of that 
which he should receive from the Jew- 
ish nation and from a wicked world, 
vers. 28, 29; John 1 : 11. 

31. Jesus was invulnerable and im- 
mortal till his work was done; so are 
his people. He is Lord of his own times 
and of theirs, ver. 30; John 10 : 18, 28; 
Luke 21 : IS. 

32. Discouragements should not stop 
faithful labor. If we cannot do good in 

one place, we should go to another, ver. 
31 ; Matt. 10 : 12. 13 ; Acts 13 : 46. 

33. Scripture nas a self-evidencing 
power, ver. 32; John 7 : 17. 

34. The Christian teacher comes with 
the authority of God and truth, ver. 32; 
2 Cor. 5 : 20. 

35. A mere intellectual knowledge of 
Christ cannot save us. The unclean 
spirit knew Jesus; devils believe and 
tremble ; thev know him as a conqueror, 
and not as a Saviour, vers. 33, 34 ; James 
2: 19. 

36. Jesus needs neither the service 
nor the testimony of demons, vers. 35, 

37. Christ's victory over devils fore- 
shadows his complete victory over the 
kingdom of darkness, vers. 35, 36; 1 
John 3 : 8. 

38. The displays of Christ's power 
often produce wonder only, without sav- 
ing faith, ver. 36 ; Matt. 9 : 33 ; 12 : 23 ; 
Acts 13 : 41. 

39. The fame of Christ should arouse 
inquiry, and result in that knowledge 
which is eternal life, ver. 36; John 
17 : 3. 

40. A single Christian may be the 
means of bringing both great temporal 
and spiritual blessings upon his family, 
vers. 38, 39 ; 2 Tim. 1 : 18. 

41. They who feel their need of Christ 
never seek him in vain, ver. 40; John 
6 : 37 ; James 5:14; 1 Pet. 5 : 7. 

42. If you would find Jesus, seek him 
in places of prayer, ver. 42 ; eh. 5 ; 16 ; 
6 : 12; 9 : 28. 

43. Like Jesus, we should strive to 
fulfil our mission. We should not neg- 
lect pressing work or present dutv, vers. 
43, 44 ; John 9:4; Matt. 5 : 14-16 ; 25 : 


This chapter begins with a relation of 
the miraculous draught of fishes (1-11), 
which probably took place near the 
close of our Lord's first general mission- 
ary tour throughout Galilee. Then fol- 
lows the account of healing a leper (12- 
16) and a paralytic (17-26), the calling 
of Matthew to be a constant attendant 
(27, 28), Matthew's feast, and the dis- 
course of Jesus on fasting, 29-39. These 
several incidents appear to be in chron- 
ological order, though they are not all 
closely connected. 



A. D. 28. 

Miraculous draught of fishes. 

V. AND *it came to pass, that as the people pressed *^it- *• 18; Mk. u 

upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the 
2 lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the 


1-11. Jesus Teaches feom the 
Lake. The Miraculous Draught 
OF Fishes. Most have regarded this 
as Luke's account of the calling of Pe- 
ter, Andrew, James, and John, and iden- 
tical with that related in Matt. 4 : 18-22 
and Mark 1 : 16-22. With Alford, Web- 
ster, and Wilkinson, and otliers, I think 
it refers to a later event, and that it was 
confirmatory and prophetic of their min- 
isterial work as the constant attendants 
of Jesus. For — 

1 . Luke places this miracle after he 
had commenced his first general mis- 
sionary tour throughout Galilee; Mat- 
thew and Mark place their account be- 
fore it, Matt. 4 : 22, 23 ; Mark 1 : 20, 39. 
They also place it before the healing of 
Peter's wife's mother. Matt. 8:14; Mark 
1 : 29. But Luke places it after that 
event ; Simon is spoken of in ver. 3 as 
one Avho had already been introduced by 
that event, ch. 4 : 28. 

2. That in Matthew and Mark oc- 
curred as the parties were preparing to 
fish, probably in the early evening, as it 
was common to fish at nisfht, John 21 : 
3 ; Matt. 4:18; Mark 1 :"l6. But this 
in Luke took place in the morning, after 
having fished all night, ver. 5. 

3. The circumstances were not only 
sufliciently different for two different 
events, but even demand them, Avhile 
the points of agreement are easily ex- 
plained. From a comparison of the 
fc ur Gospels it appears that the three or 
four were called, /r5^, as disciples, John 
1 : 35-42 ; second, as constant attend- 
ants, ministers, evangelists, Matthew 
4:19; Mark 1 : 17. then followed the 
general preaching tour throughout Gal- 
ilee, near the close of which they came 
to the Sea of Galilee, probably in the 
vicinity of Capernaum. It would ap- 
pear that they still sometimes went out 
to fish when near their homes (John 21 : 
3), as on this occasion, when Jesus im- 
proves the opportunity of confirming 
the call given a few weeks before, and 
by his miraculous power to foreshadow 
their future success as preachers of the 
gospel. Such a view seems to me noth- 

ing unreasonable, but perfectly natural 
and consistent. After this they were 
selected among the twelve apostles, ch. 
6 : 12-14. The miracle here related oc- 
curred probably not far from the latter 
part of February, A. D. 28. 

1. And it came to pass, etc. On 
a certain occasion, in connection with 
his preaching throughout Galilee, ch. 
4 : 43, 44. 

To hear. The object of pressing 
upon him was to hear the word of God. 
Not only did crowds gather at the syna- 
gogues, but multitudes sought instruc- 
tion in the open air. So it was at the 
sermon on the mount, which occurred 
about this time. Some manuscripts 
read "pressed upon him and heard," 
merely expressing circumstances, not 
the purpose; but the common reading 
is to be preferred. 

Lake of Gennesaret, from the 
beautiful and fertile plain of Gennesa- 
ret. Called by Matthew and Mark, and 
once by John (6:1), Sea of Galilee, from 
the province of Galilee, on its west side. 
John styles it elsewhere Sea of Tiberias, 
from a city on its south-western shore, 
built by Herod Antipas, and named in 
honor of the emperor Tiberias. Luke, 
whose geographical terms are always 
more distinctive, calls it a lake. The 
following quotations will give an idea 
of its present appearance : 

" The whole breadth and nearly the 
whole length of the lake was in view. 
It lay without a ripple, a mirror of 
heaven in its framework of hills. I 
was full eight hundred, perhaps a thou- 
sand, feet above it ; and though at the 
distance of two or three miles to the 
north-west, it seemed quite at my feet, 
reflecting the light, fleecy clouds that 
floated above it, and the Gadarene 
mountains beyond, whose deep gorges 
were softened by their distance and 
darkened by their depths. 

" Apart from all its associations, the 
Sea of Galilee is one of the most beauti- 
ful objects in nature. It lacks foliage 
and verdure, it is true, at this season of 
the year ; it lacks the wildness mingled 

A.D. 28. 



lake : but the fishermen were gone out of them, and 

with the softnoss and c:race of some of 
the Scoti'li and Swiss lakes. But the 
eontrast of its deep blue waters with the 
brown and ochre mountains that stand 
nrouivd it; the variety in outline of its 
shores, here rising abruptly a thousand 
feet, here sloping gently away, here roll- 
ing upward like receding waves, and 
here with a grassy reach of glen, lost in 
a ilark gorge beyond, and here again, 
with a white edge of sand and pebbles, 
swelling back into a plain, mottled 
with clumps of thorn and oleanders, 
now in bloom, where — 

' Tliro' the summer night, 
Those blossoms red and bright. 
Spread their soft breasts o'er.' 

As thus beheld, it presents a scene of 
chaste and sober beauty, of calm and 
tender repose that one hardly meets with 
elsewhere." — Dr. S. Graves, The 
Standard, April 3, 1873. 

" The surrounding hills are of a uni- 
form brown color, and would be monot- 
onous were it not for the ever-changing 
lights and the brilliant tints at sunrise 
and sunset. It is, however, under the 
pale light of a full moon that the lake is 
seen to the greatest advantage, for there is 
then a softness in the outlines, a calm 
on the water, in which the stars are so 
brightly mirrored, and a perfect quiet 
in all around which harmonize well 
with the feelings which cannot fail to 
arise on its shores. It is, perhaps, diffi- 
cult to realize that the borders of this 
lake, now so silent and desolate, were 
once enlivened by the busy hum of 
t^wns and villages, and that on its 
waters hostile navies contended for su- 
premacy. But there is one feature 
which must strike every visitor, and 
that is the harmony of the gospel narra- 
tive with the places which it describes, 
giving us, as M. Renan happily ex- 

f)ress it, a fifth Gospel, torn but still 

" The lake is pear-shaped, the broad 
end being toward the north ; the great- 
est width is six and three-quarter miles, 
from Mejdel, ' Magdala,' to Khersa, 
* Gergesa,' about one-third of the way 
down, and the extreme length is twelve 
and a quarter miles. The Jordan enters 
at the north, a swift, muddy stream, 
coloring the lake a good mile from its 
mouth, and passes out pure and bright 

at the south. On the north-western 
shore of the lake is a plain, two and a 
hall' miles long and one mile broad, 
called by the IJedawin El Ghu weir, 
but better known by its familiar Bible 
name of Gennesareth ; and on the north- 
east, near Jordan's mouth, is a swampy 
plain. El Batihah, now much frequented 
by wild boar, formerly the scene of a 
skirmish between the Jews and Romans, 
in which Josephus met with an accident 
that necessitated his removal to Caper- 
naum. On the west there is a recess in 
the hills, containing the town of Tibe- 
rias ; and on the east, at the mouths of 
Wadys Semakh and Fik, are small 
tracts of level ground. On the south, 
the fine open valley of the Jordan 
stretches away toward the Dead Sea, 
and is covered in the neighborhood of 
the lake with luxuriant grass. 

" The water of the lake is bright, clear, 
and sweet to the taste, except in the 
neighborhood of the salt springs and 
where it is defiled by the drainage of 
Tiberias. Its level, which varies con- 
siderably at different times of the year, 
is between 600 feet and 700 feet below 
thatof thelSIediterranean — a peculiarity 
to which the district owes its genial 
winter climate. In summer the heat is 
great, but never excessive, as there is 
usually a morning and evening breeze." 
—Captain C. W. Wilson, Recovery 
of Jerusalem. 

Dr. Robert Patterson {Sunday-school 
Times, May 25, 1872) speaks of seeing 
half a dozen fishing-boats near Tiberias, 
a place which he styles " simply a ruin 
and its people utterly destitute of 

2. Two ships. Fishing-boats. Ac- 
cording to some of the oldest manu- 
scripts, two small ships. Standing by 
the lake. Stationed at anchor by the 
shore of the lake. Dr. George Camp- 
bell translates, "Aground near the 
edge," which is allowable. The ships 
or boats, being small, could doubtless 
be run aground or set afloat as occasion 
required. According to Josephus, there 
were about two hundred and thirty of 
these on the lake, and four or five men 
to each. The fishermen. They are 
thus styled in a general way, as if 
strangers. Such names as are necessary 
to the narrative are afterward given. 



A. D. 28. 

were washing their nets. And he entered into one of 
the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he 
would thrust out a little from the land. ° And he sat 
down, and taught the people out of the ship. 

Now, when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, 
* Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for 
a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, 
Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken 
nothing: y nevertheless, at thy word I will let down 
the net. And when they had this done, ^they in- 
closed a great multitude of fishes : and their net brake. 

»Mt. 13. 2. 

«John21. 6; EccL 

yPs. 127. 1,2; John 

15. 14. 
•John 21. 6, 7; 1 

Cor, 15. 58 ; Gal. 


Only Simon had yet been mentioned by 
Luke, ch. 4 : 38. Were washing 
their nets. Rather, the nets. Tlie 
servants or the hired men may have 
been doing this. Compare Mark 4 : 20, 
The words imply that they had finished 
their fishing. From ver. 5 we learn 
that it was after an unsuccessful night's 

3. Entered, etc. On account of the 
pressure of the people, Simon's. See 
on ch, 4 : 38. Luke calls him Peter 
only once (ver. 8) before his call to be 
an apostle, and Simon only twice after 
that event, ch. 22 : 31 ; 24 : 34. He is 
here spoken of as one already known. 
Prayed him. Requested him. It 
would appear from this that Simon was 
still in the ship or near it. Jesus would 
naturally enter into Peter's ship both 
on account of his acquaintance with 
him and because he may have resided 
with him when at Capernaum. The 
request that he should thrust or put 
out a little from the land implies 
that the boat was standing by the shore, 
ver, 2, And he sat down. Assum- 
ing the usual posture when teaching, 
ch. 4 : 20. The boat was his pulpit. 
Compare Mark 4:1. 

4. When he had left, or ceased, 
speaking. He may have dismissed 
the people ; yet it is not necessary to 
suppose this. He may have finished 
his discourse with a proper ending and 
then have immediately said to Simon, 
Launch out into the deep, or Put 
out, etc, the same verb being used as in 
ver, 3, The verb here is in the singular, 
showing that the command was to Peter 
as the steersman of the ship. The ad- 
ditional command, Let down your 
nets, is in the plural, addressed to the 
fishermen collectively, including Peter 
personally, ver, 5. The object was for 

a draught. This was indeed a trial 
and test of Peter's faith, as appears from 
his answer. The trouble, too, in obey- 
ing the command was probably in- 
creased by having hung out the nets to 

5. Master. The word thus trans- 
lated is used in the New Testament 
only by Luke, ch. 8 : 24, 45 ; 9 : 33, 49 ; 
17 : 13. It is very properly translated 
Master, one who is set over, one who has 
the authority of a teacher among his 
disciples. It was an appropriate word 
to use now, as Peter was about to yield, 
not to his own judgment, but to the word 
of Jesus. We have toiled all the 
night, etc. As night was the usual 
time for fishing, and they had been un- 
successful, it was not likely, according 
to humau judgment, that they would 
now succeed by day. Nevertheless, 
at thy Avord, etc. In reliance upon 
thy word. Peter sacrifices his own 
practical knowledge to the authoritative 
word of Jesus. His faith was not great, 
as the sequel shows, but he had the 
spirit of obedience. He was not ex- 
pecting a miracle, and probably, at 
most, but a small haul of fish. Notice, 
Peter says, I will, as the director ; but 
in the next verse the plural is used of 
all the fishermen. They act with him 
and under him, 

6, And when, etc. And having 
done this. The obedience was prompt 
and unreserved. They enclosed a 
great multitude. The secret of the 
miracle was that he had dominion over 
" the fishes of the sea," Ps. 8 : 8 ; 1 Cor. 
15 : 27; Eph, 1 : 22. At the will of 
Jesus the fish gather in multitudes. 
Behold the reward of obedience. Their 
net brake, was breaking, or began to 
brtak, showing what a large multitude 
were eu closed therein. The expression 

A. D. 28. 



7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in 
the other ship, 'that tliey should come and hel'p them. 
And they came, and iiUed botli the ships, so that they 

8 began to sink. When Simon Peter saw iV, he fell down 
at Jesus' knees, saying, "^ Depart from me ; for"! am a 

9 sinful man, O Lord. For he was iistonished, and all 
that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which 

10 they had taken: and so was also James, and John, 
the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. 

»Gal. 6. 2. 

»> Ex. 20. 19 ; Judg. 
13. 22; 2 Sam. 6, 
9 : 1 Ki. 17. 18. 

•Job 40. 4: 18.6.5. 

is a popular one, meaning that the net 
was beginning to tear, which Avould 
result iu a serious rent without great 
care and unless help should be ob- 
tiiined. It is used very much like the 
expression " began to sink " in the next 
verse. The net was the casting-net, 
which was thrown from the boat and 
hauled up on board of the vessel. 

7. They beckoned unto their 
partners. They were near enough to 
their comrades of the other boat to 
signal them to come quickly to their 
help. Some have supposed that they 
were incapable of speaking on account 
of fear and astonishment. Perhaps 
in their amazement and haste they 
beckou to them, which would, on ac- 
count of the distance, be more easily 
understood than their call. Their 
partners appear to have been James 
and John, ver. 10. They and their 
boat were probably by the shore, ver. 2. 
They came, filled their boats until they 
began to sink, a popular expression 
meaning they were on the point of 
sinking from the weight of the fish. 

8. When Simon Peter saw it. 
The miracle was such that Peter as a 
fisherman was prepared to judge. The 
draught was so far beyond anything he 
had ever seen or heard that he is over- 
whelmed with amazement and with a 
conviction of the superhuman power of 
Jesus. Peter means stone; he was so 
named when he was first introduced to 
Jesus, John 1 : 42. It was fitting for 
Luke to style him here not only Simon, 
but also Peter, when relating this deep 
religious experience which was so es- 
sential to his usefulness and character 
as one of the foundation stones in 
Christ's spiritual kingdom. 

Fell down at Jesus' knees, in 
homage and adoration. Had Jesus 
been a mere man, he would have re- 
buked him, Acts 10 : 26 ; 14 : 15. De- 

part from me, etc. An exclamation 
of unworthiness and of personal sinful- 
ness in the conscious presence of divine 
holiness and power. This was one of 
the occasions before the crucifixon 
when Peter caught a glimpse of Christ's 
divine nature as Son of God. Compare 
similar experiences of God's people 
under a vivid percei>tion of the presence 
and power of God, Job 40 : 4, 5 ; 42 : 6 ; 
Isa. 6 : 5, and the marginal references 
above. It would seem that Peter not 
only felt unworthy to have one so great 
and holy with him in the ship (com- 
pare ch. 7 : 6, 7), but also, under his 
awe-inspiring presence, dreaded lest 
some judgment might come upon him 
on account of sins of heart or life. The 
Jews on seeing si)irits feared death, ch. 
2:9; Judg. 6 : 23 ; Dan. 10 : 17. 

9. For, introducing the reason of 
Peter's act and exclamation, as just 
related. lie was astonished. As- 
tonishment possessed him, or seized him. 
He was quite overwhelmed with awe. 
And all that were with him, under 
him iu his ship, not including James 
and John, who are mentioned in the 
next verse. The omission of the men- 
tion of Andrew is noticeable. It seems 
very probable that he was temporarily 

10. James and John. The men- 
tion of James first here and elsewhere 
leads to the conclusion that he was the 
elder brother. John had probably be- 
fore believed in Jesus as the Messiah ; 
he was doubtless the one who went with 
Andrew to the dwelling of our Lord, 
John 1 : 39. He did not then give up 
his occupation, but doubtless was much 
with Jesus, and witnessed the events 
recorded in the second, third, and 
fourth chapters of his Gospel. Jesus 
addressed Simon personally, Avho had 
shown both by act and word so great 
astonishment. Fear not. A penitent 



A. D. 28 

And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; '^from hence- ^Mt. 4. 19; Mk. i. 

11 forth thou shalt (?atch men. And when they had " ; Ac. 2. as, 4i. 
brouarht their ships to land, ®they forsook all, and fol- • ch. i8. 28 , Mt. 4. 
lowed him 20; 19. 27; Mk. 
lowcu nim. 1. 18; Phil. 3. 7, 

Healing of a leper, 8. 

12 'And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, f Mt. s. 2 ; Mk. 1. 
behold a man full of leprosy : who seeing Jesus fell ^o. 

in Peter's state of mind need not fear 
the presence of the Friend of sinners. 
Henceforth thou shalt catch men. 

Literally, take men alive, capture, catch 
them by winning them. Fishes are 
taken for death, but men in the gospel 
net for eternal life. The miracle was 
symbolic, and prophetic of his calling 
as a preacher of the gospel. 

The similarities and contrasts be- 
tween this miracle and that recorded in 
John 21 : 1-15 are striking. In this 
the net began to tear, in that it did not. 
Hence, Trench supposes this to be 
symbolical of gathering men into the 
outward kingdom of God on earth, 
from which some may be lost; but 
that of the elect in the kingdom of 
glory, of whom none are lost. In this 
it is, " Thou shalt catch men ;" in that 
" Feed my lambs ;" " feed my sheep." 

So also in the calling of the four dis- 
ciples Jesus said, " I will make you 
fishers of men," referring specially to 
their calling, in this, ** thou shalt catch 
men," referring more to the work in that 
calling. Thus there is an advance upon 
the former occasion, and a greater 
advance on this in that related by 

11. They forsook all. Peter, 
James, and John. They forsook their 
nets, the ships, the fishes, their friends, 
hired servants, and their work, and fol- 
lowed Jesus, showing their faith in 
him and their willingness to pursue 
their spiritual calling in his kingdom. 
Tliey forsake, not merely in form, but 
in heart, 2 Tim. 3:5; Ezek. 33 : 31. 

12-16. Jesus heals a Leper; re- 
tires INTO THE Wilderness, Matt. 
8 : 1-4 ; Mark 1 : 40-45. Mark enters 
most into detail ; Matthew is the brief- 
est. Luke, while substantially agreeing 
with the two others, shows the differ- 
ences of an independent narrator. Mat- 
thew (8 : 1, 2) plainly fixes the miracle 
immediately after the sermon on the 
mount. Mark and Luke have no defi- 

nite note of time. Jesus probably preach- 
ed the sermon on the mount soon after 
the miraculous draft of fishes, while 
the multitude gathered by his first mis- 
sionary tour was large. It thus formed 
a climax to that preaching tour, which 
he terminated almost immediately after. 

12. When he was in a certain 
city, or more exactly, one of the cities 
of Galilee. Some suppose this to have 
been Capernaum, but probably not, for 
Luke would hardly thus have spoken 
indefinitely of Capernaum. He had 
commenced from Capernaum, preach- 
ing throughout all Galilee (ch. 4 : 31, 
44 ; Matt. 4 : 23 ; Mark 1 : 21, 35, 39), 
and a little time after this returned to 
that city, Mark 2 : 1. 

Behold. Calling attention to a won- 
derful event. A man full of leprosy, 
an aggravated case of this disease, cov- 
ering his whole body from head to foot. 
Leprosy was a most fearful and foul 
skin-disease, and in its worst form was 
the most terrible of all diseases, and 
absolutely incurable. See Lev. chs. 13, 
14, where it is described with certain 
enactments. It probably began inter- 
nally, after which it showed itself in 
swellings, scabs, bright spots, or slight 
reddish eruptions, grouped in circles, 
covered with a shiny scale or scab. 
The disease was not contagious, though 
it often became hereditary for genera- 
tions. Its progress was not generally 
rapid. A leper from birth sometimes 
lived as many as fifty years, while 
those afterward infected, sometimes as 
many as twenty. It was sometimes 
sent as a special judgment for sin, and 
hence was called a plague or stroke. 
Num. 12 : 10 ; 2 Kings 5 : 27 ; 2 Chron. 
26 : 20. 

Whether this disease is identical with 
modern leprosy has been much disput- 
ed. The latest testimonies favor the 
belief that, under certain forms, it con- 
tinues to prevail. Dr. Thomson {The 
Land and the Book, vol. ii., p. 516-520) 

A. D. 28. 



on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou 

13 wilt, thou canst make me clean. And he ])ut forth 

hiji hand, and touched Iiim, saying, I will : be thou 

clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from 

Bpeaks of it a^i existing in the East. 
He saw a number near Jerusalem. 
" They held u}) toward me their hand- 
less arms, unearthly sounds gurgled 
through their throat-s without palates — 
in a word, I was horrilied. ... I sub- 
sequently visited their habitation, . . . 
and have made many inquiries into 
their history. . . . New-born babes of 
leprous parents are often as pretty and 
as healthy in appearance as any, but 
by and by its presence and workings 
become visible in some of the signs 
described in the 13th chapter of Levit- 
icus. The scab comes on by degrees 
in different parts of the body; the hair 
falls from the head and eyebrows ; the 
nails loosen, decay, and drop off; joint 
after joint of the fingers and toes shrink 
up and slowly fall away." Thus slowly 
the victim dies, and no power of med- 
icine is able to stay the disease or mit- 
igate its tortures. 

Leprosy is a striking emblem of sin 
and its effects. It was indeed regarded 
as a living death (Joseph. Antiq. iii, 11, 
3). The leper was unclean ; he was to 
rend his garments, let his hair hang 
dishevelled, wear garments of mourn- 
ing as for the dead, and live in exclu- 
sion outside the camp or city. Neither 
Miriam, the sister of Moses, nor King 
Uzziah was exempted from this reg- 
ulation, Num. 12 : 15 ; 2 Chron. 26 : 21. 
Not only was he to be excluded from 
society while diseased, as if in effect 
dead, but if cleansed he was to be 
cleansed by the same means as by 
uneleanness through touching or hand- 
ling the dead. Num. 19 : 13-20 ; Lev. 
14 : 4-7. Thus sin affects the soul, 
rendering it unclean^ separating it from 
God, producing spiritual death, unfit- 
ting it for ever for heaven and the 
company of the holy, and ensuring its 
eternal banishment as polluted and 
abominable. Some, as they look on 
infiincy, reject with horror the thought 
that sin exists within. But so might 
any one say who looked upon the beau- 
tiful babe in the arms of a leprous moth- 
er. But time brings forth the fearful 
malady. And so the leprosy of sin man- 

ifests itself in every human character 
as it comes forth from infancy. 

Seeing Jesus. The lej^er beheld in 
Jesus one sent from God and who could 
help him. Fell on his face and be- 
sought him. He came to Jesus with 
the most earnest and hiunble entreaty, 
and in his respect and reverence kneel- 
ing down and falling on his face, Mark 
1 : 40. Lord. This term was aj)plied 
as a title of address to God and to man, 
signifying, according to circumstances, 
sir, or master, or vwst revered one, or 
Jehovah. As the leper bows before this 
great Teacher and Worker of miracles, 
the idea of Master most appropriately 
fits his language. If thou wilt, thou 
canst. If thou art willing, thou art 
able. The leper had faith in the mirac- 
ulous power of Jesus, but had a doubt 
about his willingness to exercise it on 
such an object as he — on one so unclean. 
He determined to press his case earnest- 
ly and leave it on the will of Jesus 
alone, If thou wilt. Make me clean. 
Cleanse me, heal my leprosy, and thus 
remove my uneleanness. 

13. Jesus is moved with compassion 
(Mark 1 : 40), and to show his willing- 
ness he put forth his hand, and con- 
trary to the Jewish law touched him. 
But Christ was himself the Lawgiver 
and the Fulfiller of the law. As it was 
in harmony with the law of the Sabbath 
to do good and save life, so was it 
with the law of leprosy to remove the 
disease and the defilement. Jesus was 
also purity itself. He purified, but 
contracted no uneleanness. Before his 
power, as symbolized by stretching 
forth his hand and touching him, the 
leprosy fled and the leper was cleansed. 
And even thus he touched our sinful hu- 
man nature, yet remained without any 
taint of sin. I will ; be thou clean. 
Language beautifully and strikingly 
corresponding to that of the leper. 
Jesus grants a full and perfect answer 
to his request. 

Immediately. The cure was in- 
stantaneous. The leprosy, the cause 
of his defilement, departed from 
him, and as a consequence he was 



A. D. 28. 

14 him. 8 And he charged him to tell no man: hut go, ^^^^- 8.4; 2 Ki.5. 
and show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy ^^' ^^" 
cleansing, ^ according as Moses commanded, for a •■ T^«- 14. 4, lo, 21, 

15 testimony unto them. But so much the more went ^" 
there a fame abroad of him: *and great multitudes 
came together to hear, and to be healed by him of 
their infirmities. 

16 ''And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and 

«Mt, 4. 25; Mk. 3. 
7 : John 6. 2. 


kch. 6. 12; Mt. 14. 
23 ; Mk. 6. 46. 

cleansed. So Jesus cleanses the sinner 
by healing the seat of disease. 

14. He charged him, commanded 
him, to tell no man. Jesus frequently 
gave this prohibition, Mark 5 : 43 ; 7 : 
36. His reasons were various, according 
to circumstances. As a general principle, 
it accorded with his modest and unosten- 
tatious bearing, and with the peaceful- 
ness and spirituality of his kingdom 
(Matt. 12 : 16-20), which came not with 
observation, Luke 17 : 20. Sometimes 
he would repress rather than encourage 
the excitement of the people, who beset 
him in such crowds as greatly to trouble 
him (Mark 3 : 9, 20), and to make him 
a temporal king, John 6 : 45. At other 
times he doubtless had the good of the 
persons healed specially in view. In 
this instance the prohibition was tem- 
porary, only binding till he should go 
and show himself to the priest. He 
would have him remain silent, so as to 
promptly obey this requirement of the 
Mosaic law. He would not arouse undue 
excitement (Mark 1 : 45), nor would he 
expose himself or the healed leper to 
the charge of violating the law. Pos- 
sibly he would have him appear be- 
fore the priest before any prejudicial 
report of his cure reached him M^hich 
should prevent him acknowledging the 

Show thyself to the priest. At 
Jerusalem. Possibly the leper, finding 
himself cleansed, was disposed to re- 
main among his relatives; but Jesus 
with great earnestness and in an au- 
thoritative manner sends him at once 
to Jerusalem in obedience to the re- 
quirement of the law. OfTer for thy 
cleansing. Offer because of thy 
cleansing, which would be first recog- 
nized by the priest. There were two 
stages in the ceremonial of purification 
of the leper, Lev. 14 : 1-32. The puri- 
fying ceremonies and ofierings were 

united with confessions of sin and pol- 
lution, and with grateful acknowledg- 
ment of God's mercy. As the leprosy 
was a striking type of sin, so these 
ceremonies were typical of the forgive- 
ness of sin and justification through 
the blood of Christ, and of the anoint- 
ing of the Holy Spirit for sanctification, 
Heb. 10 : 21, 22; 1 John 2 : 20. A tes- 
timony unto them. To the people 
that he was cured, and that he might 
safely be readmitted into society. He 
had been pronounced unclean by the 
priest, who alone could pronounce him 
clean and readmit him into the congre- 

15. But, notwithstanding this pre- 
caution, so much the more went 
there a fame, went the report abroad 
concerning him. This was because of 
the thoughtless disobedience of the man 
who had been healed in heralding his 
cure, Mark 1 : 45. The consequence 
was that great multitudes gathered 
to him to hear and to be healed of 
their weaknesses and various ailments. 
Another result stated by Mark (1 : 45) 
was that he could no longer enter into 
any city, both because it had become 
known that he had touched a leper and 
the crowds and excitement might attract 
the suspicious notice of the authorities. 
He was therefore obliged for a while to 
be chiefly in desert-places. 

16. And he withdrew himself, etc. 
But he was withdrawing himself and 
praying, or better as the Bible Union 
version has it. And he was wont to retire 
into the solitary places and pray, a 
reference to his habit of secret devo- 
tion, of which Luke speaks more fre- 
quently than the other evangelists, ch. 
3 : 21 ; 6 : 12 ; 9 : 18 ; 11 : 1. ^e is em- 
phatic, and his retiring into solitary 
places is in contrast to the multitude 
coming together to hear and be healed. 
While during these days they were thus 

A. D. 28. 



Jesus heals a paralytic at Capernaum. 

17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was 
teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the 
law sitting by, which were come out of every town of 

Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and 'the power 'ch.6. ia;MMi..'». 

18 of the Lord was present to heal them. •" And, behold, " ^^^- 9- 2 ; Mk. 2. 3. 

anxiously seekinj? him he was accus- 
tomed to retire for prayer. 

17-2(5. Jescs heals a Paralytic, 
Matt. 9:2-8; Mark 2 : 1-12. Matthew 
is the briefest; Mark the most minute 
and graphic ; Luke, equally full as 
!Mark, gives evidence of an independent 
narrative. It is now about tliree months 
since he began his ministry in Galilee, 
and about fifteen months since liis bap- 
tism. It was probably March A. D. 28. 

17. On a certaiu day. Tlie indefi- 
nite note of time is consistent with the 
ftict, brought out by Mark, that several 
days had intervened since the healing 
of the leper, Mark 2 : 1. He was 
teaching, at Capernaum. He had 
returned thither from his first preach- 
ing tour tliroughout Galilee, Mark 2 : 1. 

There were Pharisees. The 
Pharisees were a religious party or sect 
which originated about one hundred 
and fifty years before Christ. Their 
name means separatists ; they were 
those who separated themselves from 
Levitical and traditional impurity. To 
become a member of the Pharisaic 
association one must agree to set apart 
all the sacred tithes and refrain from 
eating anything that had not been 
tithed, or about the tithing of which 
there was any doubt. As the tithes 
were regarded as holy, so the eating 
and enjoying them were regarded as a 
deadly sin. A Pharisee must ascertain 
whether the articles which he pur- 
chased had been duly tithed, and have 
the same certainty in regard to the 
food he ate both in his own house and 
in the houses of others. As publicans 
and sinners were not careful about this, 
Pharisees would, of course, not eat with 
them, for in so doing it was assumed 
that they partook of food which had 
not been duly tithed, ver. 30. Neither 
would they associate with them, for, as 
excommunicated persons, they regarded 
them as very heathen. Matt. 18 :"l7. It 
was also binding on them to observe 
strictly the laws of purity, according to 

the Mosaic ritual and the traditions of 
the elders, Mark 7 : 3. They held 
strictly to their oral law or traditions, 
attaching more importance to them 
than even to their written law. Matt. 
15 : 1-6. They were the formalists of 
their age and nation, and were too often 
characterized for their ostentation, self- 
righteousness, and hypocrisy. They 
were the most numerous sect among 
the Jews, and had great influence with 
the people. 

Doctors, teachers, of the law. 
These were learned men who taught 
and expounded the Jewish law. They 
were law-teachers, lawyers, scribes, ver. 
21. Sitting by. Distinguished hearers, 
Pharisees, and eminent instructors, they 
sit as becoming their dignity, while the 
people stand. Doubtless they had been 
invited to seats as distinguished persons. 
Out of every town, etc. A general 
popular expression, meaning from all 
parts of Galilee and Judea. Some had 
also come from Jerusalem, the seat 
of the theocracy and of ecclesiastical 
power. Jesus was in the height of his 
popularity, and opposition was begin- 
ning to show itself. Curiosity, jealousy, 
and a desire to watch his words and 
acts very likely united in bringing 
them to Capernaum. It may be that 
his interpretation of the law, so much 
in opposition to Pharisaic teaching, 
which appeared in his preaching, of 
M'hich the sermon on the mount a little 
before was a specimen, aroused the 
Jewish teachers to attend a public dis- 
course of Jesus, in order that they 
might know for themselves and be able 
to bring and prove charges against 

The power of the Lord, etc. 
This is somewhat obscure and difficult 
of interpretation. Literally, The Lord^s 
poiver was to heal them, or. There was 
power of the Lord to heal them. Some 
with Meyer and Alford refer the word 
Lord to God, since it is without tlie 
article in the original, and they maintain 



A. D. 28. 

men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a 
palsy : and they sought means to bring him In, and to 
19 lay him before him. And when they could not find 
by what way they might bring him in because of the 
multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him 
down through the tiling with his couch into the midst 

that it always takes the article when it 
is applied to Christ. But the majority 
of expositors apply the term here to 
Jesus, regarding the ellipsis to be sup- 
plied as harsh, " The power of the 
Lord was (with Jesus)," implying so 
that he could " heal them." To me it 
feeems that either interpretation may 
really amount to the same thing. If 
we say God's power was to heal, it was 
the divine power in the Lord Jesus, or 
if we prefer to interpret Christ's power, it 
refers to the divine power which dwelt 
in him ; and in either case it was man- 
ifested, exerted on them that were sick. 
Them cannot refer to the nearest ante- 
cedent, the unbelieving Pharisees. It 
rather refers to an implied antecedent, 
to those who stood in need of his heal- 
ing power. 

18. Behold, men brought, etc. 
Vividly stated in the original, as if 
passing before the eyes, Behold, men 
bringing on a bed. A man which 
was taken with a palsy, who 
had been paralyzed, having lost the 
power of muscular motion. He had 
very likely been some time in this con- 
dition. Mark states that he was " borne 
by four," each holding a corner of the 
bed on which he lay. To bring him 
in, the house where Jesus was, Mark 
2 : 1. To lay him before him, to 
draw the attention of Jesus to him, and 
to have him exercise his healing power 
upon him. 

19. They were unable to bring him 
in on account of the multitude, who 
filled both the house and the doorway, 
Mark 2 : 2. They went upon the 
house-top, by means of stairs or a 
ladder, or very likely, ascending the 
stairs within an adjoining house, they 
pass from its roof to that of the house 
where Jesus was. " Stairs on the out- 
side of houses are almost unknown in 
Palestine at present, and would only 
expose the inmates to violence and 
pillage." — Dr. Hackett, Wm. Smith's 
Dictionary, p. 1104, note. Roofs are 
commonly flat in the East. They re- 

moved that portion of it over Jesus. 
Let him down through the tiling, 

the burnt clay or tiling. Some suppose 
that Jesus was in an open court, around 
which an Eastern house was built, in 
which case they removed the bulwark, 
or parapet, which was a safeguard 
against accident (Deut. 22 : 8), and a 
light thin covering which projected be- 
yond the parapet over part of the 
central court. Others think that he 
was in a room adjoining the court, and 
that, as it was but a one-story house, 
the roof was uncovered. Others, re- 
garding the house as more than one- 
story, suppose an upper room, the 
largest room of the house, where the 
Jewish rabbis frequently taught, and 
the roof opened for the bed. Luke, in 
the words above, implies the removing 
of the tiles and the earth or plaster 
which composed the roof. The lan- 
guage of Mark (2 : 4), "had broken it 
up," seems to imply that it was the 
actual roof, and not the mere parapet, 
with a thin projection beyond. They 
lower the bed by still holding the four 
corners, or by means of cords or ropes, 


Acts 27 : 30 ; 2 Cor. 11 : 33. Couch. 
A mattress or pallet, which could be 
easily carried, possibly a mere blanket 

A. D. 28. 



20 before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said "is. 43.25; Ac. 3. 

21 unto him, Man, ° thy sins are forgiven thee. "And •Mt'o'a^'Mk *> 
tlie scribes and the Pharisees began to reiison, saying, 'g, 7. ' 

or quilt. " Anciently, however, as at the 
present time in tlie East, the common 

f)eoj)le slejU on a li.trht mattress or 
)lanket, with a pillow, perhaps, but 
without anv other appendage. The 
t^rm ' bed ' has this meaning in various 
j)assages. It was an article of this de- 
8eri})tion that the paralytic used whom 
the Saviour directed to ' rise, take up 
his bed, and walk,' Mark 2:9. It is 
customary now for those who use such 
pallets to roll them up in the morning, 
and lay them aside till they have occa- 
sion to spread them out again for the 
next night's repose."— Hackett, lllxis. 
of Scrip., p. 113. 

Dr. Thomson ( The Land and the Book, 
vol. ii., p. 6 tf.) illustrates from modern 
Arab houses. He supposes those of 
Capernaum to have been " like those 
of modern villages in this same region, 
low, very low, with tlat roofs, reached 
by a stairway from the yard or court. 
Jesus probably stood in the open leioan 
(or reception-room), and the crowd were 
around nim and in front of him. Those 
who carried the paralytic . . . ascended 
to the roof, removed so much of it as 
was necessary, and let down their patient 
through the aperture. The roof is only 
a few feet high, and by stooping down 
and holding the corners of the couch — 
merely a thickly-padded quilt, as at 
present in this region — they could let 
down the sick man without any ap- 
paratus of ropes or cords to assist them. 
. . . The whole atFair was the extempo- 
raneous device of plain peasants, ac- 
' customed to open their roofs and let 
' down grain, straw, and other articles, 
I as they still do in this country. . . . 
' "I iiave often seen it done, and have 
■ often done it myself to houses in Leb- 
, anon ; but there is always more dust 
I made than is agreeable. The materials 
I now employed are beams about three 
feet apart, across which short sticks are 
I arranged close together, and covered 
with the thickly-matted thorn-bush 
called hellan. Over this is spread a 
coat of stitF mortar, and then comes the 
marl or earth which makes the roof. 
Now, it is easy to remove any part of 
this without injuring the rest. No 


objection, therefore, would be made oa 
this score by the owners of the house. 
They had merely to scrai>e back tho 
earth from a portion of the roof over 
the leivan, take up the thorns and short 
sticks, and let down the couch between 
tlie beams at the very feet of Jesus. 
The end achieved, they could speedily 
restore the roof as it was before." 

20. When he saw their faith, by 
what they did. It is implied by what 
follows that the palsied man also ex- 
ercised faith ; perhaps he directed the 
men to do what they did. Man. Both 
Matthew and Mark say "son" or 
** child,*' a title of condescension and 
kindness, and in this case expressive of 
an endearing spiritual relation between 
Jesus and the sick man. Unto him is 
omitted by the best critical authorities. 

Thy sins are forgiven thee. It 
is now done. It seems that disease had 
awakened in him a sense of guilt ; possi- 
bly it had come on him on account of 
some sinful indulgence. Jesus, per- 
ceiving his penitence, and faith in him 
as the Messiah, addressed first his 
spiritual nature, and attended to the 
deeper and more dangerous disease of 
sin. Thus he gave peace to the sick 
man's soul, and taught those who heard, 
that he came not to remove the lesser 
exnls only, but sin, the root of all. It 
also encouraged him that his disease 
would in due time be healed. In our 
Saviour's miracles there was doubtless 
a close connection between bodily and 
spiritual healing. Thus the cleansed 
Samaritan "glorified God" (ch. 17 : 
15) ; the blind man near Jericho, hav- 
ing received sight, " followed Jesus, and 
glorified God," ch. 18 : 43. Compare 
John 5 : 14 ; 9 : 35-38. In James 5 : 
14, 15, a close relation is recognized be- 
tween the raising of the sick and the 
forgiving his sins. Jesus, however, did 
not adopt the Jewish notion that every 
sufiering was caused by some specific 
sin. Such a notion he elsewhere con- 
demns, John 9:3; ch. 13 : 2-5. 

21. Scribes, were learned men, who 
preserved, copied, and expounded the 
law and the traditions, Ezra 7 : IG, 12 ; 
Neh. 8:1; Matt. 15 : 1-6. They ar<? 



A. D. 28. 


Who is this which speakcth blasphemies? PWho can 

22 forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus per- 
ceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, 

23 What reason ye in your hearts ? Whether is easier, 
to say. Thy sins be forgiven thee ; or to say, Rise up 

24 and walk ? But that ye may know that the Son of 
man ihath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said 

pPs. 32. 

5; Is. 43. 


q Is. 53. 9 ; 
31 : Col. 3. 


called lawyers (ch. 12 : 28 and Matt. 22 : 
35), and doctors, or teachers, of the law, 
ch. 5 : 17, 21. Some regard the latter 
as teachers of the oral law, the scribes 
of the written law. Most of them were 
Pharisees. It is implied from the lan- 
guage of this verse that they were 
teachers as well as conservators and 
copyists of the law. They sat in Moses' 
seat, but their teaching was strikingly 
defective (Matt. 23 : 2, 13, 23), being 
narrow, dogmatic, and material ; at 
once learned and frivolous, and mostly 
occupied about things infinitely little,' 

Began to reason, to consider and 
argue "in their hearts" (Mark 2 : 6), 
"said within themselves" (Matt, 9 : 3), 
unconscious that Jesus knew their 
thoughts. The reason here ajjpears 
why Jesus had made the forgiveness of 
gins so prominent. He knew the feeling 
it would arouse in the hearts of the 
Pharisees. It was in accordance with 
the divine plan that they should com- 
mence an opposition which should cul- 
minate in his death. It gave him 
opportunity also to demonstrate to both 
bis enemies and friends his power to 
forgive sins. 

Who is this that speakcth blas- 
phemies? The wondering of the 
Pharisees, as well as the whole context, 
implies that actual forgiveness by Jesus 
himself is meant. The word translated 
blaspheme primarily signified to speak 
evil, slander, revile, and in its scriptu- 
ral application to God to speak irreve- 
rently, impiously to or of him, also to 
arrogate to one's self what is the pre- 
rogative of God. The latter is the 
meaning here ; for they add, Who can 
forgive sins but God alone ? They 
justly held that it was God's preroga- 
tive to forgive sins, but they failed to 
see the manifestations of divinity in 
Christ, in his wonderful works and 

22. But when Jesus perceived. 
JBut Jesus knowing or perceiving. The 
knowledge was intuitive; the percep- 

tion instantaneous. Their thoughts. 

" This is a branch of knowledge which 
was peculiar to the Son of God, whose 
special prerogative it was not to need 
that any should testify unto him con- 
cerning man, as of himself he knew 
what was in man," John 2 : 25. An- 
swering their secret thoughts and re-' 
flections. What reason ye in your 
hearts ? In opposition to the ques- 
tions in the preceding verse. His 
question implies censure as well as 
theirs. According to Matthew, " Where- 
fore think ye evil in your hearts?" 
The evil was in them, and not in him ; 
the evil was in attributing blasphemy 
to him whose miraculous power showed 
the justice of his claim ; or deeper still, 
in their caviling and darkened spirits, 
which apprehended neither his person 
nor doctrine, 

23, Whether is easier. Which is 
easier. Notice that Jesus does not ask 
which is easier to do, but which is easier 
to SAY, etc. To these faultfinding 
scribes it would seem easier to pro- 
noimce a man's sins forgiven than to 
pronounce a palsied man well, for they 
could see the latter, but not the former. 
And if there was imposture, it would 
therefore be easier to prove it in respect 
to that which was physical and seen 
than in respect to that which was spir- 
itual and unseen. 

24, Jesus proposes to give them evi- 
dence adapted to their physical and 
worldly conceptions. To perform a 
miracle is as really the work of God as 
to forgive sins. And Jesus proposes to 
do the former in proof of his power to 
do the latter. That ye may know. 
Here do we see the wisdom of Jesus in 
first pronouncing the man's sins for- 
given, and then giving an external 
proof of his power, thus putting an 
end to their caviling by the miracle 
that follows. 

The Son of man. A favorite name 
with Jesus, yet, with the exception of 
the expression of the martyr Stephen, 

A. D. 28. 



unto the siok of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, 
and take up thy couch, and ^o into thine house. 

25 And immediately he rose up before them, and took 
uj) that whereon he hiy, and de])arted to his own 
house, p;k)ri tying (rod. 

26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, 
'and were filled with fear, saying. We have seen 'Jer. S3. 9; Ac. 4. 
strange things to-day. 


who beheld his glorified humanity at 
the riijht hand of God (ActvS 7 : 5()), the 
nanif is never api)lied to him but by 
himself. It is never applied to any one 
but C'lirist in the New Testament. In the 
first three Cospels, where the external 
life of Jesus is narrated and his human 
nature broui^ht out prominently, he 
more frequently calls himself " the 
Son of man ;" hut in the fourth Gos- 

Eel, where his inner life and divine 
eing are s})ecially brought to view, he 
styles himself more frequently " the Son 
ol^God," or sim[)ly " the Son." Daniel 
(7 : 13), in foretelling Christ's coming 
with the clouds of heaven, implies 
that, notwithstanding his exaltation 
and glory, he would come in the form 
and likeness of men, for he says that 
he saw " one like the Son of man." 
See also Rev. 1 : 13 ; 14 : 14. It was a 
title of humiliation, though an honor 
to our race. Jesus applied it pre-emi- 
nently to himself as the Messiah, "as 
God manifested in the flesh," indicating, 
notwithstanding his divinity, his true 
humanity and his oneness with the hu- 
man race. The Jews rightly understood 
it to mean the Messiah (John 12 : 34), 
though they did not enter into the ful- 
ness of its meaning. He was the Son 
of man in the highest sense (Ps. 8 : 35 ; 
Heb. 2 : 6-9) — possessed of all the at- 
tributes and characteristics of our com- 
mon humanity, a perfect and model 
j_an, the representative of the race, the 
serond Adam from heaven, 1 Cor. 15 : 
45, 47. 

Hath power. Not delegated power 
or authority, but his own as the Mes- 
siah, the God-man. The scribes rightly 
understood Jesus as acting by his own 
authority, and thereby claiming divine 
honors for himself, ver. 21. " A mere 
declaratory absolution they could utter 
too, and no doubt often did so, but the 
very manner of our Lord must have 
evinced that in forgiving, as in teach- 

ing, he spoke with authority, and not as 
the scribes, Mark 1 :22." — Alexandkr. 
Upon earth. Not only in heaven, but 
on earth, where sins are committed and 
forgiven. Jesus has all power in heaven 
and on earth, ch. 28 : 18. 

I say unto thee, Arise, etc. Jesus 
wrought the miracle by his own divine 
power. Of his first miracle .John (2 : 
11) says he "manifested forth his 
glory," John 1 : 14. The apostles often 
wrought miracles in his name. Acts 3 : 
6 ; 19 : 13. It is never said of the mir- 
acles of Jesus, as of those of Paul, 
" God wrought special miracles by the 
hands of Paul." It was God in hira 
manifesting his glory, and hence a 
proof that he could forgive sins. 

25. All eyes Avere fixed on the par- 
alytic, anxiously awaiting the result. 
And immediately he rose, stood up. 
before them, openly, in the sight of 
all. The miracle was well attested. He 
not only stands up, but shows that he 
is fully restored by immediately taking 
up that whereon he lay, or had been 
lying, and departing to his own house, 
glorifying God. He made him glo- 
rious by grateful and adoring praise. 
Luke alone records the praising God by 
the healed man himself. 

26. The effects of the miracle on the 
people. They were all amazed, 
seized with astonishment and ecstatic 
amazement. They glorified God. 
There was a general ascription of praise 
from the multitude (Matt. 9:8), the 
scribes being confounded by the mirac- 
ulous proof of Christ's power to forgive 
sins. And were filled with fear, 
with awe and reverence at such an ex- 
hibition of divine power. We have 
seen strange things to-day, mar- 
vellous, unheard-of things. Mark has 
it, " We never saw it on this fashion," 
a similar exclamation. Both were, 
doubtless, uttered by the multitude. 
Never before had they seen such power 



A. D. 28. 

The call of Levi, and the feast at his house ; discourse con- 
cerning fasting. 

27 *And after these things he went forth, and saw a 'Mt. 9. 9; Mk. % 
publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: 

28 and he said unto him. Follow me. And he left all, 
rose up, and followed him. 



displayed — a palsied man healed and 
sins forgiven. Of the two the latter 
was indeed the most Avonderful. It was 
beyond all they had ever seen or heard. 

27, 28. The Call of Matthew, 
Matt. 9:9; Mark 2 : 13, 14. 

27. After these things which have 
been related, especially the healing of 
the paralytic. He went forth, from 
Capernaum by the sea-side, ver. 17 ; 
Mark 2 : 1, 13. Mark also states that 
Jesus taught the multitude who resorted 
to him. He saAV a publican, a tax- 
gatherer. See note on chap. 3 : 12. 

Named Levi. Called "Levi the 
eon of Alpheus " in Mark 2 : 14. But 
in Matt. 9 : 9 we have Matthew. The 
three narratives clearly relate the same 
circumstances, and point to Levi as 
identical with Matthew. He probably 
had two names, like Peter or Paul. 
Mark and Luke probably designate 
him by the name by which he wes 
commonly known before his conver- 
sion. Matthew probably speaks of him- 
self as he was familiarly known as an 
apostle ; and in ch. 10 : 8 he uses the 
odious title, the publican, which neither 
of the other evangelists applies to him. 
Alpheus, the father of Levi, is to be 
distinguished from Alpheus, the father 
of James the Less, Matt. 10 : 3. In 
the four apostolic catalogues (Matt. 10: 
2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; 
Acts 1 : 13) brothers are usually men- 
tioned in pairs, but Matthew and James 
the Less are never placed thus together. 
Alpheus was a common name among 
the Jews. 

Sitting. " The people of this coun- 
try sit at all kinds of work. The car- 
penter saws, planes, and hews with his 
hand-adze sitting on the ground or 
upon the plank he is planing. The 
washerwoman sits by the tub ; and, in 
a word, no one stands where it is pos- 
sible to sit. Shopkeepers always sit ; 
and Levi sitting at the receipt of custom 
is the exact way to state the case." — 
De. Thomson, The Land and the Book. 

vol. i., p. 191. At the receipt of 

custom. The place of receiving cus- 
tom, which may have been a regular 
custom-house or a temporary oflSce. 
As Capernaum lay at the nucleus of 
roads which diverged to Tyre, to Da- 
mascus, and to Jerusalem, it was a busy 
centre of merchandise, and must have 
been an important place for the collec- 
tion of tribute and taxes. The revenues 
which Rome derived from conquered 
countries consisted chiefly of tolls, 
tithes, harbor duties, tax on public 
pasture-lands, and duties on mines and 

Follow me. Thus he had addressed 
Philip, James and John, Peter and 
Andrew, and others, John 1 : 43 ; Matt. 
4 : 19-21 ; ch. 9 : 59. To follow Christ 
is to love, trust, obey, and imitate him. 

28. The obedience was immediate 
and entire. Luke alone says. He left 
all. We are not to understand by this 
that he left his property without ar- 
ranging it, so that his employers and 
others should receive no detriment. 
The feast which he afterward prepared 
in his own house, a kind of farewell 
meal to his business associates, shows 
that he not only arranged and settled 
up matters, but that he still held 
property of his own. Follow^ed him. 
Like Andrew and Peter (John 1 : 40^ 
42), he had probably before this heard 
Jesus and recognized him as the Mes- 
siah, Like them, he may have been 
among John's disciples, ch. 3 : 12, 13. 
Like them, he seems to be called, not 
as a mere disciple, nor as an apostle 
(for the apostles were not yet chosen, 
ch. 6 : 13), but as one of his constant 
attendants, a preacher of the good news, 
an evangelist. 

29-39. Matthew's Feast, Matt. 9 : 
10-17 ; Mark 2 : 15-22. This feast gives 
rise to two conversations, one in regard 
to eating with publicans and sinners , 
the other in regard to fasting. There 
is no sufficient reason for supposing 
that Matthew relates some other meaJ. 

A. D. 28. 



29 * And Levi made him a great fex<t in his own house: 
and there wa^ a great company of publicans and of 

30 others that sat down with them. ° But their scribes 
and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, 
Why do ye eat and drink with * publicans and sin- 

31 ners? And Jesus answering, said unto them, ^They 
that are whole need not a physician ; but they that 

♦Mt. 9. 

10; Mk.2 

» Is. 65. 

5 ; Lk. 19. 

»ch. 15 


7. 24 ; 


2; Mt. 11. 

11-13; Ro. 
RcT. 3. 17, 

^fany suppose that a considerable time 
intervened between Matthew's call and 
his feast, while others would put the 
intervening time between the discourse 
about eating with publicans and sinners 
and that about fasting. It is not prob- 
able that the feast occurred on the day 
of his call, but jwssibly soon after, and 
occasioned the discourse. It was fitting 
that he should give a feast upon settling 
up his matters and leaving his employ- 
ment. Besides, Matthew, Mark, and 
Luke agree in putting these incidents 
into consecutive order. The difficulty 
lies in the fact that Matthew (9 : l^) 
states that while he was discoursing on 
fiisting Jairus besought Jesus regarding 
his daughter, while Mark (5 : 22 j and 
Luke (8 : 41) both relate the latter in a 
different connection. For some reason 
unknown to us, Mark and Luke may 
have deferred the account of raising 
Jarius' daughter, possibly to bring 
together the wonderful miracles on 
opposite sides of the lake, placing last 
the greater miracle, raising the dead. 
Or if we adopt the order of Mark and 
Luke in placing the raising of Jairus' 
daughter at a later period, then we can 
harmonize Matthew by supposing a 
thing very probable — that Jesus dis- 
coursed on fasting upon different occa- 
sions. He would very likely be asked 
regarding it at different times, and 
would very likely give the same or 
similar answers. See authors S^ar- 
mony, ^5 46, 47. 4S. 

29. Made him a great feast. 
What is implied in Matthew and Mark 
is here positively stated — Matthew him- 
self prepared and gave this reception 
and entertainment in his own house. 
It is styled a great feast because of its 
extensive preparations and abundant 
provision for a large company. Pub- 
licans. See onver. 27. And of 
others. Sinners, ver. 16 ; Mart. 9 : 10 ; 
Mark 2 : 15. That sat do\rn, that 
reclined at table, according to the cus- 

tom of the time, on a couch, resting on 
the left arm. It is probable that Mat- 
thew gave this entertainment to his lat« 
associates and acquaintances both be- 
cause he was leaving the business and 
because he would give them a special 
opportunity of seeing and hearing Jesus. 
According to Mark (2 : 15), many of 
them " followed him," attending upon 
his teaching. 

30. But their scribes and Phar- 
isees. Rather, according to the high- 
est critical authorities, And the Pharisees 
and their scribes. Not so much the 
scribes who belonged to Capernaum as 
those wlio were connected wiih the 
Pharisaic party. See on ver. 21. Mur- 
mured against his disciples. With 
a spirit of cowardice, they come not out 
boldly to Jesus, but broach the subject 
to his disciples. We are not to suppose 
the Pharisees present at the feast; but 
being a large entertainment, their at- 
tention may have been called to the 
facts in the case either by observing 
the company through the open hall, or 
by seeing them come forth from the 
feast. Why do ye eat? etc. Matthew 
and Mark both give the question as 
aimed at Jesus " Why eateth your Mas- 
ter?" "How is it "that he' eateth?'* 
The fault with him implied fault with 
them. Indeed, it is very likely that 
both forms of questions were used. 
Sinners. Persons regarded as the 
basest and most depraved by the self- 
righteous scribes and Pharisees. That 
Jesus should call }»Iatthew, a publican, 
to be a disciple, and then should attend 
a feast with publicans, was an occasion 
of opposition from scribes and Pharisees. 
Later than this they come out more 
openly against Jesus himself: "This 
man receiveth sinners and eateth with 
them,'" Luke 15 : 2. 

31. And Jesus answering. He 
had either overheard the question, oi 
his disciples had told him, Mark 2 : 17. 
Whole. Well, in good health. Need 



A. D. 28. 


15: 1 Cor. 6. 
ITim. 1. 15. 

32 are sick. •! came not to call the righteous, but sin 
ners to repentance. 

33 And they said unto him, »Why do the disciples of '^g-^J V' ^^^ 

John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the 


34, 35. 

not a physician. His great mission 
as a physician was to heal the disease 
of sin. If any were really righteous, as 
the Pharisees imagined they were, then 
they did not need his healing power. 
The fact that these publicans and sin- 
ners were notoriously vile and wicked 
showed how sick they were, and how 
mxich they needed his attentions. 

32. I came not to call the right- 
eous, but sinners. Rather, / have 
not come to call righteous persons, hut 
sinners. The article before righteous 
should be omitted. The language refers 
not to the Pharisees, as righteous in 
their own estimation, but implies rather 
that there were no absolutely righteous 
men living. He came not to call right- 
eous men, for there were really none 
such, Rom. 3 : 23. He came not to call 
men as unfallen and holy beings, but as 
sinners, as indeed all are. His mission 
being to sinners, none should therefore 
find fault with him for associating with 
them and trying to save them. The 
worse they were, the more they needed 
his help. Repentance, an inward 
change of views and feelings, implying 
a sorrow for sin, a turning to God, and 
a change of conduct as the fruits. Acts 
3 : 19 ; 26 : 20 ; 2 Cor. 7 : 10. See on ch. 
13 : 2. Only sinners needed repentance 
and his saving power. 

33. A second ground of Pharisaic op- 
position is now presented. Closely con- 
nected with the question of eating with 
publicans and sinners was that of fast- 
ing. The question and discourse on the 
latter probably took place on the day 
of Matthew's feast. See below. Thie 
disciples of John. Had they pos- 
sessed the spirit of John and obeyed his 
precepts, they would have become the 
followers of Christ, John 1 : 29-36 ; 3 : 
27-34. But even while John was bap- 
tizing, some of them showed a spirit of 
rivalry (John 3 : 26), and much more 
now after his imprisonment. After his 
death they still maintained a separate 
party (Acts 19 : 4, 5), and probably 
practiced a sort of rigid morality, and in 
some points resembled the better class 
of the Pharisees. Luke adds, and 

make prayers, referring to their 
devotional habits connected with an 
austere life. John had taught his dis- 
ciples to pray, ch. 11 : 1. Of the 
Pharisees. See on ver. 17. Matthew 
(9 : 14) mentions only the disciples of 
John as the questioners of Jesus, and 
Luke (vers. 30, 33) only the Pharisees 
and their scribes, but Mark happily 
combines the two. Fast often. The 
language indicates what was their prac- 
tice. They were very probably fasting 
at that time. The contrast between 
their fasting and the feasting of Jesus 
and his disciples at the house of Mat- 
thew would be specially apparent, and 
naturally give occasion to the question 

The only stated fast enjoined by 
Moses was that of the great day of 
atonement. Lev. 16 : 29. Other fasts 
were added after the destruction of the 
tirst temple, Zech. 7 : 5 ; 8 : 19 ; that of 
the fourth month, commemorating the 
capture of Jerusalem bv the Chaldeans, 
Jer. 52 : 6, 7 ; that of the fifth month, 
commemorating the destruction of the 
temple, Jer. 52 : 12, 13 ; that of the 
seventh month, commemorating the 
murder of Gedaliah, 2 Kings 25 : 25 ; 
Jer. 41 : 1, 2 ; that of the tenth month, 
commemorating the beginning of the 
siege of Jerusalem bv Nebuchadnezzar, 
Jer. 52 : 4 ; that of Esther on the 13th 
of the twelfth month, commemorating 
the deliverance of the Jews on that day, 
Esther 9 : 31 ; 4 : 16, 17. The Pharisees 
also observed two weekly fasts (Luke 
18 : 12) : on Thursday, because on that 
day Moses was believed to have re- 
ascended Mount Sinai, and on Monday, 
because on that day he returned. The 
number of annual fasts has been in- 
creased in the present Jewish calendar 
to twenty-eight. The disciples of John 
doubtless observed the stated fasts of 
the Jews, and imitated their teacher in 
respect to his rigid habits of fasting ; 
for John came neither eating nor drink- 
ing. Matt. 11 : 18. His imprisonment 
would be an additional motive for fast- 
[ ing. Besides, many of John's disciples 
I may have been from the Essen es, a 

V. D. 28. 



disciples of the Pharisees ; but thine eat and drink I 
84 And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of 

the bridechamber fi\st, while the bridegroom is with 
35 them ? But the days will come, when the bridegroom 

shall be taken away from them, and then shall they 

fast in those days. 

** And he spake also a parable unto them ; No man '*^|*^'2V2''>^V Cor' 

putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if e. i6.' **' 


Bolitary community of men living on 
the borders of the Dead Sea, who at- 
tended John's preaching in the wilder- 
ness and became his disciples. Their 
former asceticism and their stern habits 
of self-denial were in strong contrast to 
the cheerful and social habits of Jesus. 
Thine eat and drink. Notice again 
their want of frankness. They now 
complain to him of his disciples. Com- 
pare on ver. 30. They thus show a 
cowardly and censorious spirit. 

34. Jesus replies by presenting three 
illustrations showing that it would be 
unbecoming for his disciples to fast at 
that time. 

The first illustration is derived from 
familiar marriage ceremonies. Can 
ye make, by your ordinances and 
rules of practice, the children of the 
bridechamber fast? The sons, the 
male attendants of the bridegroom, who 
upon the day of marriage ( Jud. 14 : 11) 
went with him to the house of the bride 
in order to bring her home. The lan- 
guage was well fitted to remind the dis- 
ciples of John that their master had 
represented Christ as the bridegroom 
(John 3 : 29), and the Pharisees that 
the prophets, in their predictions of 
Christ, had used the same figure to 
illustrate the relation between God and 
Israel, Ps. 45 ; Isa. 54 : 5 ; 62 : 5. The 
form of the question is that used when 
a negative answer is expected. Could 
it be expected that the sons of the 
bride-chamber would be constrained to 
fast on a nuptial occasion? By no 
means. While Jesus, the glorious bride- 
groom, is with his disciples, who are 
represented as his attendants, they can- 
not fast. Nothing would be more un- 
suitable. It became them rather to 
rejoice. The idea is that a mere usage 
is not a suflicient reason for fasting. 
There must be an underlying reason, 
something that calls for fasting and 
makes it becoming. The arbitrary ap- 

E ointment of fast-days, such as have 
een made in the Komish and other 
formal churches, is contrary to our 
Saviour's teaching. 

35. But the days will come. The 
time is coming when the circumstances 
will be changed, and fasting will be 
becoming and demanded. The bride- 
groom shall be taken away. Rath- 
er, will be taken away, as if by violence, 
the words being a prediction. Then 
shall they fast in those days, 
when he shall be removed from them. 
That would be a special time of mourn- 
ing, and consequently of fasting. There 
is no ground here for the doctrine of 
some Romish writers that, according to 
the declaration of Jesus, the church 
after his departure should be a fasting 
church. His exaltation should fill his 
followers with hope and joy rather 
than doom them to perpetual sorrow, 
Acts 5 : 31, 41 ; John 16 : 7, 13, 14 ; Phil. 
4 : 4. The illustration, however, implies 
that fasting would be proper on suitable 

36. The second illustration, drawn 
from the familiar practice of patching, 
in which he points out what no one 
of his hearers would think of doing. 
Luke introduces it as a parable, here 
a simile or comparison, to illustrate a 
certain truth. He is in some respects 
fuller than either Matthew or Mark. 
The latter two represent the injury as 
done solely to the old garment by in- 
serting into it a piece of unfulled or 
undressed cloth. But Luke represents 
a twofold injury to the new and to the 
old. No man "putteth a piece, etc. 
More correctly translated, No one rend- 
ing a piece from a neio garment puts it 
upon an old ; else both the new vrill make 
a rent and the piece from the new will 
not agree with the old. Such patching 
an old garment with unfulled cloth 
would be an act of unheard-of folly. 
But equally unbecoming and foolish 



A. D. 28. 

otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the 
piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with 

37 the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bot- 
tles ; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be 

38 spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine 
must be put into new bottles ; and both are preserved. 

30 No man also having drunk old wine straightway de- 
sireth new : for he saith, ''The old is better, 

• Jer. 6. 16. 

would it be to unite fasting, which is a 
sign of sorrow, with the joyous work 
of my disciples, while I, their Lord, am 
with them. You must not expect in my 
kingdom a mere patching up of the old 
dispensation, or of the system of ob- 
servances which you practice, but a 
complete renovation, and one harmo- 
nious and congruous in all its parts. 
A patching the old with the new will 
destroy both systems. 

37. The third illustration, drawn from 
the common practice and experience in 
putting up wine in skin-bottles. New 
wine, unfermented. Old bottles, 
or skins. Vessels and bottles of metal, 
earthen, or glass were in use among 
the ancients, and doubtless among the 
Jews, Jer. 19 : 1 ; compare Isa. 30 : 14. 
But bottles or bags made from the 
skins of animals are here meant, which 
were used by the Greeks, Romans, Egyp- 
tians, and other nations for preserving 
and transporting liquids, especially 
wine. They still continue to be used in 


the East. Dr. Hackett saw them wher- 
ever he travelled, both in Egypt and 
Syria. They are made chiefly of goat- 
skins, and commonly retain the figure 
of the animal, the neck of the animal 
answering for the neck of the bottle. 
Dr. Robinson {Researches, vol. ii., p. 440) 

visited a large manufactory of these 
vessels at Hebron, and thus describes 
them : " These are merely the skins of 
goats stripped off whole, except at the 
neck, the holes at the legs and tail being 
sewed up." 

Will burst the bottles — that is, 
the old skins, which have become hard 
and inelastic, and possibly cracked and 
rotten, and will not expand as the wine 
ferments. They prove unfit and burst ; 
thus the bottles are ruined and the wine 
is lost. 

38. But new wine must be put 
into new bottles, which are stronger 
and capable of expansion. Jesus inti- 
mates in this illustration, as well as in 
the others, that the doctrines and prac- 
tices of his kingdom are unsuited to the 
formalism of the Pharisees, and that the 
new dispensation was not to be mixed 
up with the old. The gospel, like the 
new wine, must have its new forms and 
means for its preservation and propaga- 

39. This verse is found only in Luke, 
and gives our Lord's concluding answer 
to the question in ver. 33. No man 
also having drunk old wine, etc. 
So these disciples of John and the 
Pharisees, having drunk of the customs 
of the old dispensation, do not desire 
those of the new, which indeed they 
have not tasted, for they say. The old 
is better, or, according to some of the 
oldest manuscripts. The old is good — 
that is, good enough. A tine illustra- 
tion of men holding on with prejudice 
or with satisfaction to old habits and 
customs. The old, though in itself less 
pleasant, is yet from custom preferred. 
Others, however, understand the verse 
to mean : Those who have tasted the 
freedom, joy, and peace of the gospel 
will not like to go back to the harsh 
and burdensome rites of the law. While 
the latter interpretation states a truth, 
yet the former seems more natural in 

A. D. 28. 



lis connection. Tlie expression seems 
' he somewhat apologist ic, and expUma- 
rv of the contlnet of Christ's opposers. 
■ It is not, however, to be expected of 
human natnre tliat those who had lonsj 
ln'cn acenstonied to one mode of think- 
in j^ on those things shonUl immediately 
receive another and difVerent mode. As 
the natnral taste becomes settled, and 
vo vian having old trine straightway 
desireth new, so it is with the mind ; it 
must be treated gently and reasonably, 
and be gradually convinced that the old 
is not always better than the new." — 
Dr. J. B. Sumner, Exposition of Luke. 
Straightway is omitted by some of 
the oldest manuscripts. Its insertion or 
omission is neither inconsistent with the 
spirit of Christ's words nor does it 
greatly vary the meaning. 


1. In every age the common people, 
above all others, have been among the 
eager listeners to the truths of the gos- 
pel, ver. 1 ; 1 Cor. 1 : 26 ; Matt. 11 : 25 ; 
John 7 : 48 ; James 2 : 5. 

2. We should do good whenever we 
have opportunity, but always in the 

Jatient, humble, and courteous spirit of 
esus, vers. 1-3; Matt. 11 : 29; 12 : 16- 
20 ; 20 : 25-28. 

3. Obedience is often the test of faith. 
Dutv is ours, results are God's, ver. 4 ; 
Gen'. 22 : 12; Ex. 20 : 20; Ecel. 8:2; 
James 2 : 18, 21, 22. 

4. Laborers in Christ's service should 
not be discouraged because success is 
temporarily withheld, but should fol- 
low Christ's directions with expectation, 
ver. 5 ; Ps. 30 : 5 ; Isa. 41 : 10 ; Jer. 10 : 
23 ; Zech. 14 : 7. 

5. No one really loses anything in the 
service of God and of his Christ, ver. 6 ; 
Mark 10 : 28-30 ; 2 Sam. 6 : 11 ; 19 : 39 ; 
1 Kings 17 : 9-16; 2 Kings 4:8; Acts 
27 : 24. 

6. The obedience of faith will not go 
unrewarded, ver. 7 ; ch. 19 : 8, 9 ; 1 Tim. 
4 : 8, 9. 

7. We most feel our sinfulness when 
we most recognize the glory of God, ver. 
8; Job 42 : 5, 6; Isa. 6 : 5. 

8. Many of the smaller providential 
events in our lives are truly wonderful, 
and prophetic of our future, ver. 9; 
Acts 2 : 37, 41. 

9. It is one of the greatest honors to 
be a fisher of men, ver. 10 ; Jer. IG : 16 ; 
1 Tim. 1 : 12. 

10. Christ's calls are in vain except 
they are heard and fully obeyed from 
the' heart, ver. 11 ; ch. 14 : 29, 33; Matt. 
6 : 21 ; 2 Tim. 3 : 5. 

11. In leprosy we have a striking 
type of sin, a most loathsome disease, 
one deeply seated, gradually showing 
itself on the surface, progressive, fear- 
fully destructive, incurable by human 
means (2 Kings 5 : 7), and cutting otF 
the person diseased from the society of 
the clean, ver. 12 ; Num. 10:12; Isa. 
64: 6. 

12. In the leper that came to Jesus 
we have a type of the sinner seeking 
Jesus and saved by him. He felt that 
he was diseased ; he despaired of human 
help; he exercised confidence in the 
power of Jesus; and submitted to the 
will of Jesus and was healed, ver. 13 ; 
ch. 15 : 18-21. 

13. Christ came, not to destroy the 
law, but to fulfil it, ver. 14 ; Matt. 5 : 
18 ; Col. 2 : 14. 

14. There is a time to be silent in 
regard to Christ, as well as a time to 
speak of him, ver. 14; Eccl. 3:7; 10 : 
10 ; Rom. 10 : 2. 

15. Christ's career was sublimely 
noiseless, supremely humble, and di- 
vinely wonderful, ver. 15 ; Matt. 12 : 
19, 20 ; 27 : 54. 

16. Secret prayer is the arm of a 
believer's strength and a means of sus- 
taining spiritual life. If Jesus needed 
it, how much more his followers! ver. 
16 ; Matt. 6 : 6. 

17. Christ is the great Physician, 
whose power is ready to be exercised 
on those who truly desire it, ver. 17 ; 
Isa. 61 : 1-3. 

18. Id the palsy we see a type of the 
helplessness of the sinner, ver. 18 ; Rom. 
8 : 7. 

19. There are no barriers but what 
may be overcome in going to Jesus. 
Nothing but our own wilfulness can 
block up the way to his heart, ver. 19 ; 
John 4 : 23; 5 : 40; 6 : 37. 

20. A sense of sin, connected with 
confession of faith in Christ, is attended 
with forgiveness, ver. 20 ; Ps. 103 : 3 ; 
Isa. 35 : 3, 4 ; 40 : 2 ; 1 John 1 : 9. 

21. A cavilling spirit can easily find 
fault with Christ, but without reason, 
ver. 21 ; John 10 : 37, 38. 



A. D. 28. 

22. It is a solemn truth that Jesus 
can perceive the thoughts of men, ver. 
22 ; Vs. 134 : 4, 5 ; Heb. 4 : 13. 

23. By his miracles Jesus manifested 
and proved his full power as the Mes- 
siah, ver. 24; John 20 : 30, 31. 

24. Jesus can forgive sins ; his mira- 
cles are a proof of this and of his di- 
vinity, ver. 23, 24; John 10:37, 38; 
Acts 5:31; Heb. 9 : 26 ; Isa. 43 : 25. 

25. The commands of Christ are all 
reasonable. He is ready to give grace 
and strength to do whatever he re- 
quires, ver. 24 ; Deut. 33 : 25 ; 2 Cor. 
12:9; Isa. 41 : 10. 

26. The best evidence that our sins 
are forgiven is the state of our heart 
and life, a Christ-like disposition, and 
a Christian Avalk, ver. 25 ; Matt. 7 : 20; 
Rom. 8 : 13, 16. 

27. Christ is the Wonderful — wonder- 
ful in his words, wonderful in his deeds, 
and wonderful in his saving power, ver. 
26 ; Isa. 9 : 6. 

28. Jesus calls men from all classes 
to discipleship. "As the loadstone 
attracts the iron, and the south wind 
softens the frozen ground, so does 
Christ's calling draw sinners out from 
the world and melt the hardest heart." 
— Ryle. ver. 27 ; Acts 13 : 2, 46 ; Rom. 
8 : 30 ; 9 : 24 ; 2 Tim. 1 : 9 ; 1 Pet. 1 : 15. 

29. Matthew is an example of a bus- 
iness-man turning to Jesus, and of 
prompt obedience. " Happy man ! 
You might have spent your life count- 
ing money and giving receipts and 
laying up property to be the fuel for 
the last fires ; but you gave yourself to 
Christ with all your heart and became 
the historian of the world's redemp- 
tion." — Nehemiah Adams, D.D. ver. 
28 ; Acts 2 : 41 ; 19 : 18, 19 ; 24 : 25. 

30. We may associate with even the 
openly wicked when we would do them 
good. We ought not to despair entirely 
of any one's salvation. He who called 
Levi often chooses those who seem the 
most unlikely to become Christians, and 
the farthest from the kingdom of God, 
vers. 27-29 ; eh. 19 : 5; Acts 17 : 16, 17. 

31. Moralists are still ofiended with 
Jesus for calling and saving those who 
are more openly wicked than them- 
selves. Cavilling indicates a depraved 
heart, ver. 30; Matt. 23 : 13. 

32. Christ is the Physician of con- 
scious sinners, not ot self-righteous 
hypocrites. Where there is a sense of 

sin there is hope, ver. 31 ; ch. 18 : 9-14; 
24 : 47. 

33. Beware of hasty judgments. Pre- 
judice misconstrues the actions of others, 
vers. 30-32 ; Prov. 29 : 20 ; Acts 23 : 3- 
5 ; 1 Cor. 4 : 3. 

34. Fasting is good when rightly ob- 
served on proper occasions. Matt. 6 : 
16-18 ; Joel 2 : 12. But when observed 
as a mere rite, it becomes a yoke of 
bondage, Rom. 14 : 1, 17; 2 Cor. 11 : 
20; Gal. 2:4; 4 : 9-11. The phar- 
isaical spirit is seen in Roman Catholic 
and formal churches, vers. 33-35. 

35. Jesus is the bridegroom of the 
soul, bringing to it joy and peace, ver. 
34; John 2 : 29; Eph. 5 : 25-27. 

36. In Christ's kingdom we must not 
mix together things essentially dif- 
ferent, as uniting church and state; 
receiving believers and unbelievers for 
baptism and into church fellowship; 
mingling false doctrines and practices 
with the true, ver. 36 ; 1 Cor. 10 : 20 ; 2 
Cor. 6 : 14-16 ; Eph. 5 : 11. 

37. They who would patch the gospel 
with the rites or ceremonies of the old 
dispensation lose sight of the spirit of 
Christianity, and tend to formalism and 
a slavish legalism, ver. 36 ; Rom. 14 : 
17 ; Gal. 3 : 2-5. 

38. Christian doctrines and precepts 
are not only true and right in them- 
selves, but in their nature are fitted to 
man, and adapted to his various cir- 
cumstances and wants, vers. 37, 38 ; 1 
Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5 : 14. 

39. Habit and prejudice keep many 
from Christ. But when men know 
Christ and his religion, they will never 
give them up for any other, ver. 39; 
John 6 : 67-69 ; Rom. 8 : 35-39. 


In this chapter Luke proceeds to re- 
late the plucking of the ears of grain 
and the healing of the withered hand on 
the Sabbath, with the remarks of Jesus 
on the purpose and use of the Sabbath, 
all resulting in increased and organized 
opposition to him, vers. 1-11. The ap- 
pointment of the twelve apostles is nar- 
rated (12-16); the attendance of great 
multitudes and the healing of many who 
were sick or possessed with devils (17- 
19) ; after which Jesus delivers the ser- 
mon on the plain, 20-49. 

A. D. 28. 



Jesus vindicates his disciples in plucking grain, and himself 
in healing on the sabbath. 

VI. AND ''it came to pass on the second sabbath after *^^^- 12. 1 
the first, that he went through the corn fields ; and 

Mk. 2. 


1-5. The Disciples Pluck the 
Ears of Grain on the Sabbath.— 
Another grouiul of j)harisaic opposition 
to Jesus is presented — supposed viola- 
tion of the law of the Sabbath. The 
Pharisees censure the disciples ; Jesus 
defends them. About a month, proba- 
bly, intervened between this and the 
last event. Matthew's feast probably 
occurred a little before, and the pluck- 
ing the ears of grain a little after, the 
second passover of our Lord's public 
ministry. Jesus and his disciples may 
have been returning to Galilee, and a 
little distance from some village where 
there was a synagogue. The passover, 
A. D. 28, commenced March 29th, Matt. 
12 : 1-8 ; Mark 2 : 23-28. Matthew's 
account is the fullest ; Luke's is briefest. 
Each evangelist gives evidence of an 
independent narrative. 

1. The second sabbath after the 
first. The second-first Sabbath. The 
Greek word translated sccondfirst is 
wanting in some ancient manuscripts, 
but, upon the whole, is to be regarded as 
a true reading. It, however, occurs no- 
where else, and hence its exact meaning 
is not easily determined. What Sabbath 
is here meant cannot be positively 
known. Its most natural meaning is 
the first Sabbath of a second series, and 
hence Wieseler supposes that the Jewish 
years were reckoned by a series of seven, 
and that this was the first Sabbath in 
the second year of the sabbatical period 
of seven years, or the first Sabbath in 
Nisan, the latter part of March. In like 
manner Rieland conjectures that the 
first Sabbath of the ecclesiastical year 
(of Nisan as above) is meant in distinc- 
tion from the first Sabbath of the civil 
year, which began about the latter part 
of September. To both of these views it 
may be objected : First, that the first 
part of Nisan was somewhat early for 
plucking the ears of grain. Secondly, 
that the Pharisees would in all proba- 
bility have censured the disciples for 
doing that which, according to the tra- 
ditions, was to be regarded as harvest i 
work, and which was unlawful before | 

the presentation of the first-fruits of the 
barley harvest on the 10th day of Ni- 
san, which was the second day of the 
passover. It seems, therefore, better to 
regard this plucking of grain as occur- 
ring on some Sabbath after the second 
day of the })assover, on which the bar- 
ley harvest began. The wheat harvest 
commenced three or four weeks later, 
continuing in some portions of Palestine 
into the early part of .Tune. 

It has, therefore, been more common 
to explain as follows : The fifteenth of 
Nisan was the first day of unleavened 
bread, or the passover, a day of rest, or 
a ceremonial Sabbath, Lev. 23 : 6, 7 ; 
on the morrow, the 16th of Nisan, the 
sheaf of first-fruits was to be presented, 
Lev. 23 : 10, 11 ; and from this day was 
to be counted seven full weeks to the 
day of Pentecost, Lev, 23 : 15, 16. Now 
the Sabbath here mentioned is supposed 
to be the first in regard to the series 
which was to introduce the Pentecost, 
but second in regard to the first day, or 
Sabbath, of unleavened bread. It is 
to be taken as the Sabbath following 
that mentioned in John 5 : 9, 10. Jesus 
may have hurried away from Jerusalem 
on account of the persecution of the 
Jews, John 5 : 16-18. 

While the latter view may be the 
best, two others may be suggested as 
having some degree of probability : 
First, that the Sabbath here intended 
was the first of the second month ; or, 
second, that the words here mean " the 
second Sabbath after the first " Sabbath 
of unleavened bread. Other views seem 
to me less deserving of notice. Com- 
pare author's Harmony, § 51. 

Went through the corn fields. 
'Literally , soum fields ; fields of grain, of 
wheat, or barley. He went along, going 
a short distance to some place, through 
the standing grain, probably by a foot- 
path which may have bounded the un 
enclosed field, the grain being within 
reach. " The practice of leaving the 
fields of different proprietoi*s unenclosed, 
or separated only by a narrow foot-path, 
explains other Scripture statements or 



A. D. 28 

his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, 
rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the 
Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that * which is 
not lawful to do on the sabbath days ? And Jesus an- 
swering them said, have ye not read so much as this, 
'what David did, when himself was an hungered, and 
they which were with him ; how he went into the 
house of God, and did take and eat the showbread, 



20. 10; 
13, 14. 


'ISam. 21. 6. 

allusions. ... In this way we may un- 
derstand the Saviour's passing with his 
disciples through the corn fields on the 
Sabbath. Instead of crossing the fields 
and trampling down the grain, they no 
doubt followed one of these paths be- 
tween the fields, where the grain stood 
within their reach. The object being to 
appease their hunger, the ' plucking of 
the ears of corn to eat ' was not, accord- 
ing to Jewish ideas, a violation of the 
rights of property, nor was it for that 
that the Pharisees complained of the 
disciples, but for breaking the Sabbath." 
— Dr. Hackett, Am. Ed. Dr. Smith's 
Dictionary of the Bible, p. 820. 

His disciples plucked ... did 
eat, rubbing them in their hands. 
Jesus appears not to have eaten. He 
was so occupied with his great work as 
to be insensible to hunger. Luke alone 
specifies the rubbing of the grain be- 
tween the hands, so as to clear it of 
chaff. This act, with the plucking, the 
Pharisees regarded as a kind of reaping 
and a violation of the Sabbath. The 
law allowed them to pluck the grain to 
appease hunger, but not to apply the 
sickle to another man's standing grain, 
Deut. 23 : 25. The custom still prevails 
in Palestine. " So also I have often seen 
my muleteers, as we passed along the 
wheat fields, pluck off ears, rub them 
in their hands, and eat the grains un- 
roasted, just as the apostles are said to 
have done." — De. Thomson, The Land 
and the Book, vol. ii., p. 510. The dis- 
ciples were his personal attendants — 
probably Andrew, Peter, James, John, 
Matthew, and others. 

2. Said to them. To them should 
be omitted, according to the best crit- 
ical authorities. According to Matthew 
and Mark, the Pharisees speak to Jesus ; 
but according to Luke, they speak more 
directly to the disciples. It is perfectly 
natural to suppose that they spoke to 
both. Why do ye, etc. Implying 

censure. It is to be observed that the 
Pharisees object not to the plucking, 
but to the time of doing it. It waa 
probably after the offering of the first- 
fruits — generally a sheaf of barley at 
the passover, as that was the first grain 
reaped. Had it been before the pass- 
over, doubtless the punctilious Phari- 
sees would have objected on that ground 

Not lawful . . . sabbath days, 
or Sabbath. Unlawful according to 
their traditions, by which they had 
loaded this day of rest with grievous 
restrictions, raising the letter over the 
spirit, and making formal acts take the 
place of spiritual observances. Accord- 
ing to the rabbins, " he that reaps on 
the Sabbath ever so little is guilty, and 
plucking ears of grain is a kind of 
reaping." Their rule also forbade rub- 
bing them, although if rubbed before, 
the chaff might be blown from the 
hand on the Sabbath and the grain 
eaten. According to Philo, the rest of 
the Sabbath extended even to plants, 
and it was not lawful to cut a plant, a 
branch, or so much as a leaf. 

3. Jesus replies first by referring 
them to Avhat David did, whom 
they regarded as an eminent servant of 
God, from which it could be inferred 
what it was lawful to do under similar 
circumstances. An hungered, etc. 
See 1 Sam. 21 : 1-6. He puts the case 
strongly and as a matter of surprise 
that they should not understand and 
act upon the principle involved. Have 
ye not read so much as this? Have 
ye not read this, or even this f 

4. A continuation of the statement 
of what David and his men did, show- 
ing that the letter of the law must give 
way to the law of necessity, and hence 
that it was lawful to do works of real 
necessity, such as appeasing hunger^ 
on the Sabbath. Into the house of 
God, the tabernacle, which was then 

A. D. 28. 



and gave also to tliem that were with him ; * which it *i^*- ^^■^^ 
is not hiwliil to eat hut for the priests ah)ne? And 
he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also 
of the sahbath. 

■* And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that ""^^f- ^2.9; Mk 
he entered into the synagogue and taught : and there 3.' jJimV 16 
was a man whose right hand was withered. And the 


located at Nob, a place a little north of 
Jerusalem, and within sight of it, Isa. 
10:32. Did take and eat the show- 
bread. Simply took and ate, there 
being no emphasis in the original de- 
manding did. The show-bi-ead, the bread 
set forth, exhibited on a table in the holy 
place ; first in the tabernacle, afterward 
in the temple. It was set before Jehovah 
(Ex. 25 : 30), and called in Hebrew 
bread of face or presence — that is, of the 
divine presence — and probably symbol- 
ized God's presence with his people as 
their sustenance, strength, and support. 
It consisted of twelve loaves, which 
were changed every Sabbath, when the 
old was eaten by the priests, Lev. 24 : 59. 
It also seems, from 1 Sam. 21 : 6, that 
the bread had just been changed, and 
hence that David and his men ate it on 
the Sabbath, which makes reference and 
argument even more pertinent. Thus, 
Jesus shows by the example of David, 
whom all regarded as an eminent ser- 
vant of God, that things which are un- 
ilawful may be done under the law of 
necessity and self-preservation. 

At this point Matthew (12 : 5-7) pre- 
sents a second and third argument, the 
one derived from the labors of the 
priests in the temple on the Sabbath, 
and the other from the prophet Hosea 
(6 : 6), who declares that God desires 
)riot mere external observances, but the 
inward outgushing of kindness and love, 
[which is the true sacrifice in spirit and 
jof the heart. 

i Passing over these, Mark (2 : 27) pre- 
teents an argument not recorded by either 
iMatthew or Luke, that the Sabbath was 
[designed for the good of man : " The 
iSabbath was made for man, and not man 
[for the Sabbath." 

I 5. The final and crowning argument, 
[growing out from the one just stated, 
land founded upon the relation of the 
Sabbath to Christ. Therefore; rather, 
so that, as a consequence of the great 
iprinciple he had just uttered. The 

Son of man. The Messiah, indicat- 
ing, notwithstanding his divinity, his 
true humanity, his oneness with the 
human race and its Head. See on ch. 
5 : 24. Lord also of the sabbath. 
Since he has come in human nature to 
redeem man, and all things pertaining 
to the human race are committed to him 
as its Head, he is emphatically the Lord 
of the Sabbath, Avhich was made for 
man's benefit. He is indeed Lord of 
things in general pertaining to his king- 
dom, but ALSO of the Sabbath. As 
Mediator, Redeemer, and Sovereign, 
he presides over it and controls it. 
Thus, Jesus asserted before these Phar- 
isees his authority over the Sabbath. 
His disciples were not to be condemned 
by their interpretation of the law and by 
their traditions, but were subject to his 
directions as the Messiah and Lord of 
the Sabbath. 

6-11. Jesus Heals a withered 
Hand on the Sabbath. By precept, 
example, and miracle Jesus gives a 
further exposition of the law of the 
Sabbath. Opposition takes an organ- 
ized, form, and more directly against 
him, Matt. 12 : 9-14; Mark 3 : 1-6. 
The three narratives are about equally 
full, each having some particulars of its 
own. Luke is circumstantial and vivid ; 
the scene seems passing before you. 

6. Luke alone gives us a note of time, 
on another sabbath, probably the 
next Sabbath after the plucking the 
ears of grain. Notwithstanding the op- 
position, he entered the syna§:ogue 
and taught. See on ch. 4 : 15. Where 
is not mentioned. Probably in Galilee 
and at Capernaum. Whose right 
hand was withered. Luke alone 
states that it was his right hand. The 
disease was the drying up or the pining 
away of the hand, with the loss of the 
power of motion. It was similar to that 
with which Jeroboam was afflicted, 1 
Kings 13 : 4-6. It may have been from 
paralysis, or from a defect in receiving 



A. D. 28. 

scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would 
heal on the sabbath day; Hh at they might find an 

8 accusation against him. But ^ he knew their thoughts, 
and said to the man which had the withered hand, 
Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose 

9 and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, I will 
ask you one thing ; is it lawful on the sabbath days 
to do good, or to do evil ? to save life, or to destroy 

10 it f And looking round about upon them all, he said 

»Jer. 20. 10. 

kPs. 44. 21; 


nourishment from the body, and was 
considered incurable. 

7. The scribes and Pharisees 
watched him closely, with bad intent. 
Compare Luke 14 : 1 and Acts 9 : 24, 
where the same Greek verb is used. 
They were watching him maliciously. 
The growth of opposition is seen in that 
they now watch intently for an occasion 
of censure. They may have thought 
that he would heal him on the Sab- 
bath, from his readiness to do good, 
and from what he had already taught 
regarding the Sabbath, vers. 1-5. 
Might find accusation against 
him, not merely to the people but to 
the local authorities, who were doubt- 
less present and identical with the 
rulers of the synagogues, ver. 11; Mark 

8. He knew their thoughts. An 
evidence of Christ's divinity, which the 
evangelists do not stop to prove, but 
take for granted. So God's existence is 
treated in the Old Testament. Rise 
up, and stand forth in the midst. 
Doubtless he was called forth to a con- 
spicuous position. Matthew (12 : 10) 
omits this, but relates that they ask 
him, " Is it lawful to heal on the Sab- 
bath?" Knowing their thoughts, he 
called the man forth, when, seeing his 
intention, they may have asked, ** Is it 
lawful," etc. Jesus makes the misery 
and the healing of the man conspicuous, 
yet he performs the cure with a word, 
ver. 10. 

9. Is it lawful to do good? etc. 
An answer not only to their thoughts, 
which he knew, but also to their ques- 
tion (Matt, 12 : 10), which may be im- 
plied in the words, I will ask you 
one thing, or what is lawful? etc. 
See note on preceding verse. Some 
take to do good or to do evil in a general 
sense ; others in a particular sense, 
meaning to benefit or to injure. The 

former, I think, is preferable. Jesus 
first asks in regard to doing good or 
evil generally on the Sabbath, and then 
descends to a particular case, to save 
life or to destroy it. It is not uu" 
likely that Jesus intended some refer- 
ence, not only to what he was doing, 
but also to the designs of the scribes 
and Pharisees against him. Is it lawful 
to do good and save life on the Sabbath, 
as I am doing, or to do evil and kill, as 
you purpose to do to me ? The question, 
however, involved a principle. Doing 
good and saving life is becoming the 
Sabbath, rather than doing evil and 
destroying life, and especially are we to 
choose the former when there is an 
alternative between the two. He who 
neglects to do good or save life when he 
can do so is justly held accountable for 
the loss sustained, Prov. 24 : 11, 12; 
Ezek. 33 : 6. Mark (3 : 4) says, " They 
held their peace;" for it was evident 
that it was " lawful to do well on th*» 
Sabbath," Matt. 12 : 12. They were 
also self-condemned; they were the 
Sabbath-breakers. Compare ch. 13 : 
14-17 ; 14 : 2-6. 

10. Both Mark and Luke omit at this 
point the parabolic reference to a sheep 
fallen into a pit, recorded in Matt. 12 : 
11, 12. Looking round about upon 
them all. About is superfluous. Luke 
alone gives the strong and expressive 
word all. Mark (3 : 5), who is here the 
fullest and most vivid, says that Jesus 
looked round upon them " with anger," 
holy indignation, " being grieved for the 
hardness of their hearts." 

Having silenced his opposers, Jesus 
proceeds at once to perform the miracle. 
The wisdom of Jesus is seen here, simi- 
lar to that in the healing of the para- 
lytic, ch. 5 : 22-26 ; see ch. 5 : 24. He 
also performs the miracle without any 
bodily effort, or any word except the 
command, Stretch forth thy hand* 

D. 28. 



unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did 
so : and his hand was restored whole as the other. 
And they were filled with madness : and communed 
one with another what they might do to Jesus. 

enu chooses the twelve apostles ; a great multitude follow 


'And it came to pass in those days, that he went out 
into a mountain to pray, ™ and continued all night in 

»Mt. 10. 1; Mk. 3. 

13; Mt. 14. 23. 
» Ge. 32. 24-26 ; Ps. 

22. 2 : Col. 4. 2. 

adversaries, therefore, could not 

large him with laboring on the Sab- 

,th. Some suppose the miracle per- 

>rmed before uttering a word, and that 

esus commanded him to stretch forth 

le hand as an evidence of its restora- 

on. It is better, however, U) suppose 

lat the healing took place immediately 

pon Jesus uttering the command and 

lie man making the effort to obey. 

he faith of the man is thus brought 

ato its natural relation to his obedience 

nd his cure. It is also in harmony 

nth the declaration which follows, anil 

lis hand \%'as restored. Whole as 

he other should be omitted, according 

the best manuscripts. The words are 

DUnd in Matthew's account. Matt. 12 : 

3. The incident affords a good illus- 

ration of faith. Christ gave the 

trength ; the man believed, and in obe- 

iience to Christ's command stretched 

brth his hand. So in regard to every 

iivine command we should believe 

ind act ; all needed help will be given. 

iTesus thus showed his power over dis- 

)'.ase, and gave a practical proof of the 

:orrectness of his teachings regarding 

he Sabbath. It was one of his greatest 


11. The scribes and Pharisees, baffled 
ivith argument and deprived of legal 
ground of objection, since the miracle 
w^as performed without outer action, are 
filled with madness, with such a 
senseless rage as almost made them be- 
side themselves — a fact stated only by 
Luke, but at least partly implied by 
Matthew and Mark. 

Communed one with another, 
Mid even with the Herodians, their 
political opponents, Mark 3 : 6. What 
they might do to Jesus. They were 
uncertain and wavering regarding what 
they might do, but the great point was 
" how they might destroy him," Mark 
I :6. 

12-19. Jesus Retires to a Moun- 
tain AND selects Twelve Apostles. 
Descends and Heals many, Mark 
3 : 13-19. We must distinguish be- 
tween their call to discipleship (John 
1 : 35-45), their call to be constant 
attendants, preachers, or evangelists 
(Matt. 4 : 18-22; Mark 1 : 16-20), and 
their selection as apostles, here related. 
After this they were miraculously en- 
dowed and sent out on a mission to the 
Jews (Matt. 10 : 1-4) ; see on ch. 9 : 1. 
The two accounts are very similar. 
Luke is the briefest, but alone records 
that Jesus passed the night in prayer, 
while Mark alone gives the reasons for 
the appointment of the twelve. After 
this account Luke relates that Jesus 
descended the mountain and performed 
miracles. Compare Mark 3 : 7-11. 

12. In those days. A general 
designation of the period during which 
the miracles just related were wrought, 
and the Pharisees and others were seek- 
ing how they might destroy him. Ac- 
cording to Mark (3 : 7-12 ; compare 
Matt. 12 : 15-21), just previous to this 
Jesus retired to the Sea of Galilee, fol- 
lowed by great multitudes, where he 
healed many, and unclean spirits ac- 
knowledged his Sonship. A mountain, 
the mountain, one familiarly so called. 
There are several mountains on the 
west side of the Sea of Galilee. Some 
regard the expression, the mountain, to 
mean the highlands, in distinction from 
the lowlands on the sea-shore. Into 
the mountain is a common expression 
signifying in among, into the region of 
the mountain. Thus in Mark 13 : 14 
and Luke 21 : 21, m, "flee into the 
mountains" — that is, in among the 
mountains. Luke alone says that Jesus 
went into the mountain to pray and 
continued all night in prayer, and 
called his disciples to him when it was 
day. Luke takes special notice of Jesus 



A. D. 28. 

13 prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto 

him his disciples: "and of them he chose twelve, "Mt. lo. i. 

14 whom also he named apostles ; Simon, ("whom he also "John i. 42. 

at prayer, ch. 3 : 21 ; 5:16; 9 : 18 ; 11 : 
1. Jesus resorted to special prayer be- 
fore great and important events, ch. 22 : 
41-44; Mark 6 : 46; John 11 : 41, 42; 
17 : 1. One of the greatest of his min- 
istry was now approaching. Its solem- 
nity, sacred ness, and importance are 
thus indicated. He was about to select 
those who were to be pillars in his fu- 
ture church, 

13. When it was day. Very prob- 
ably early in the morning. He called 
unto him his disciples. Those who 
had attended him on his preaching 
tours, and others who had become his 
professed followers. Mark (3 : 13) says, 
"He calleth whom he would." And 
of them, /ro7/i the number thus called 
to him, he chose twelve. Literally, 
Having chosen from, them twelve, whose 
names are given in vers. 14-16, the 
sentence in the original closing with 
ver. 19. Doubtless he selected the 
twelve, "ordained" or '^appointed" 
them, as Mark says, in some solemn and 
formal way, perhaps by laying his hand 
upon them and invoking the divine 
blessing upon them. But if it had 
been important for us to know, it would 
have doubtless been recorded. 

The number twelve is significant and 
frequent in Scripture. It is expressive 
of fulness, completeness, and strength ; 
and was doubtless intended to intimate 
that he was laying the foundations of a 
new organization, of which he himself 
was head and the chief corner-stone. 
Thus there were the twelve tribes of 
Israel; the twelve stones of the Urim 
and Thummim on the breast-plate of 
the high priest (Ex. 28 : 17-21) ; twelve 
loaves of show-bread (Lev. 24 : 5-8); 
the altar and twelve pillars which 
Moses erected by Mount Sinai (Ex. 24 : 
4) ; the altar of twelve stones by Elijah 
(1 Kings 18 : 31); the new Jerusalem 
with twelve foundation stones, Rev. 

21 : 14. The persons thus appointed 
were called apostles — that is, persons 
sent forth ; Christ is thus named in Heb. 
3 : 1 — and are thus styled more fre- 
quently by Luke than by the other 
evangelists, ch. 9:10; 11:49; 17:5; 

22 : 14 ; 24 : 10. Matthew ;10 : 2) and 

Mark (6 : 30) only one each, John not 
at all. They are more commonly called 
in the Gospels the twelve (Mark 4 : 10; 
6 : 7), or the twelve disciples (Matt. 20 : 
17), or simply disciples, ch. 9 : 12. Mark 
(3 : 14) gives the reason of their selec- 
tion, " that they should be with him 
and that he might send them forth to 
preach, and to have power to heal 
sicknesses and to cast out devils." They 
were to be constant personal attendants 
as learners and witnesses. They were 
to learn by his example as well as by 
his public and private discourses; they 
were to be witnesses of his life, death, 
and resurrection, and thus prepared to 
carry out his work after his departure. 
They were now disciples or learners; 
but after the descent of the Holy Spirit 
they are called, in the Acts and Epis- 
tles, apostles, never disciples. The 
qualifications for their office were four : 

(1.) They had seen the Lord and 
been eye and ear witnesses of what they 
testified to the world, John 15 : 27; 
Acts 1 : 8, 21, 22 ; 1 Cor. 15 : 8 ; 9:1; 
Acts 22 : 14, 15. 

(2.) They were called and chosen to 
that office by Christ himself, Luke 6 : 
13; Gal. 1 : 1. 

(3.) They were infallibly inspired for 
their work, John 16 : 13; 1 Cor. 2 : 10; 
Gal. 1 : 11, 12. 

(4.) They were to work miracles in 
evidence of their divine commission, 
Mark 3 : 14; 16 : 20; Acts 2 : 43. 
From the above it is evident they would 
have no successors. 

14. Four catalogues of the apostles 
are given in the New Testament, which, 
with their connectives, are presented in 
the table below (p. 145). 

From this it appears that each cata- 
logue is divided into three classes, the 
names of which are never interchanged, 
and each class headed by a leading name. 
Thus Peter heads the first class, Philip 
the second, James the third, and Judas 
Iscariot stands the last, except in the 
Acts, where his name is omitted be- 
cause of his apostasy and death. Notice 
the connective And, by which Mat- 
thew enumerates the apostles two by 
two, in pairs ; Mark and Luke one by 

A. D. 28. 



named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and 

one, individually; and Luke in the 
Acts, mixedly. Even such small dif- 
ferences go to show the independent 
origin of the Grospels. 

And Simon, whom he also 
named Peter. Simon is contracted 
from Simeon, and means hearkening; 
Peter signifies a stone, equivalent to 

Matthew 10 : 2. 

Mark 3 : 16. 

Luke 6 : 14. 

Acts 1 : 13. 



Simon Peter, 
And Andrew, 

James, son of Zeb- 

And John. 

Simon Peter, 
And James, son of 

And John, 

And Andrew. 

Simon Peter, 
And Andrew, 

And James, 

And John. 

And James, 

And John, 

And Andrew. 




And Bartholomew, 


And Matthew. 

And Philip, 
And Bartholomew, 
And Matthew, 
And Thomas. 

And Philip, 
And Bartholomew, 
And Matthew, 
And Thomas. 

And Thomas, 
And Matthew. 



James, son of Al- 

And Lebbeus Thad- 

Simon the Canaan- 

And Judas Iscariot. 

And James, son of 

And Thaddeus, 

And Simon the Ca- 

And Judas Iscariot. 

James, son of Al- 
And Simon Zelotes, 

And Judas, brother 

of James, 
And Judas Iscariot. 

James, son of Al- 
And Simon Zelotes, 

And Judas, brother 
of James. 

the Aramaic Cephas, first given him as 
a surname at his introduction to Jesus, 
John 1 : 42. Jesus doubtless repeated the 
name at this time ; Peter was the name 
by which he was generally, though not 
always (Acts 15 : 14), designated as an 
apostle. It was given him in allusion 
to his hardy character, noted for de- 
cision and boldness, and to the con- 
spicuous position he should hold among 
the apostles, in subordination to Christ, 
as one of the great foundations of the 
church, Eph. 2 : 20; Rev. 21 : 14. 

Not only is the name significant, but 
also its position at the head of the four 
catalogues of the apostles. He was 
among the first who recognized Jesus 
as the Messiah (John 1 : 40-42), and 
with Andrew, his brother, the first 
called to be a constant attendant of Jesus, 
Mark 1 : 16-18. He was spokesman of 
the apostles, as in Matt. 16 : 16, and 
the chief speaker on the day of Pen- 
tecost. He was also the first to carry 
the gospel to the Gentiles, Acts ch. 10. 
Thus Peter may be said to have opened 
the kingdom of heaven to both Jews 

and Gentiles. But though prominent 
and foremost amongst the apostles, he 
was not over them nor above them. 
That he had no superiority of rank is 
evident from 1 Pet. 5:1, where he 
describes himself as " a fellow-elder," 
and from the fiict that Paul in Gal. 2 : 
7-9 speaks of him as one of the 
"pillars" together with James and 
John, and compares him as an apostle 
to the circumcision to himself as an 
apostle to the uncircumcision, and 
rebukes him as an equal. That the 
apostles were all equal in rank aj^pears 
from Matt. 18 : 18; 19 : 27, 28; 20 : 25, 
26, 28 ; 23 : 8 ; John 20 : 21-23 ; Acts 

1 : 8. 

The most we know of Peter is derived 
from the Gospels and the Acts of the 
Apostles. The latter book traces him 
to the council at Jerusalem. After 
this he was with Paul at Antioch (Gal. 

2 : 11), labored at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:2; 

3 : 22), and at Babylon, where he wrote 
his first Epistle, 1 Pet. 5 : 13. According 
to a tradition which may be considered 
in the main reliable, he visited Rome 


A. D. 28. 

^o Jolin, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, 

in the last year of his life, and suffered 
niartyrdoni by crucifixion under the 
reif?n of Nero. 

Andrew was a name of Greek origin, 
and was in use among the Jews. It is 
derived from a word that means man, 
and ruay have been applied to him on 
account of his manly spirit. He be- 
longed to Bethsaida (John 1 : 44), and 
was a disciple of John the Baptist, and 
had the honor of leading his brother 
Peter to Christ, John 1 : 40, 41. He re- 
sided afterward at Capernaum, Mark 
1 : 29. He appears in connection with 
feeding the five thousand (John 6 : 8), 
afterward as the introducer of certain 
Greeks to Jesus (John 12 : 22), and also, 
with Peter, James, and John, asking 
concerning the destruction of the tem- 
ple, Mark 13 : 3. Of his subsequent 
history and labors notliing is certainly 
known. Tradition assigns Scythia, 
Greece, and Thrace as the scenes of his 
ministry. He is said to have been cru- 
cified at Patrse, in Achaia, on a cross in 
the shape of X, which is therefore called 
St. Andrew's cross. 

James, the son of Zebedee. The 
name is the same as Jacob, meaning 
supplanter. It is applied to three per- 
sons in the New Testament. This is 
James the Greater or elder, and is never 
mentioned in the New Testament apart 
from John his brother. They were se- 
lected with Peter to witness the restora- 
tion of Jairus' daughter (ch. 8 : 51), the 
transfiguration (ch. 9 : 28), and the ag- 
ony in Gethsemane, Mark 14 : 33. J ames 
was the fii'st martyr among the apostles, 
being slain with the sword by Herod 
Agrippa I., Acts 12 : 2. 

John, whose name means graciously 
given by Jehovah, was, next to Peter, the 
most noted of the twelve, and charac- 
terized by a wonderful mingling of 
gentleness and fii-mness. He belonged 
to a family of influence, as is evident 
from his acquaintance with the family 
of the high priest (John 18 : 15), and 
was in easy circumstances, since he be- 
came responsible for the maintenance 
of his Lord's mother, John 19 : 26, 27. 
After the ascension of Jesus he resided 
at Jerusalem. About A. D. 65 he re- 
moved to Ephesus, and for many years 
labored in Asia Minor. He survived 

all the apostles, and died at Ephesus 
about A. D. 100, being then, according 
to Epiphanius, ninety-four years old, 
but according to Jerome a hundred. 
James and John were surnamed " Boa- 
nerges," the sons of thunder, Mark 3 : 17 

Philip. A name of Greek origin, 
meaning lover of horses. He was a 
native of Bethsaida, a disciple of John 
the Baptist, and called by our Lord the 
day after the naming of Peter, John 1 : 
43. He is mentioned in connection with 
feeding the five thousand, as introdu- 
cing, with Andrew, certain Greeks to 
Jesus, and as asking, after the Last Sup- 
per, "Lord, show us the Father and it 
sufficeth us," John 6 : 5-7 ; 12 : 21 ; 14 : 
8-10. Of the labors and death of Philip 
nothing is certainly known. A tradi- 
tion says that he preached the gospel 
in Phrygia and suffered martyrdom. 
He doubtless had also a Hebrew name. 

Bartholomew. The Hebrew form 
is Bar-Tholmai, or son of Tholmai, the 
latter meaning rich in furrows, or ctilti- 
vated fields, the whole name implying, 
as some suppose, rich fruit. It is the 
patronymic, as is generally supposed, 
of Nathaniel of Cana of Galilee. In the 
first three Gospels Philip and Barthol- 
omew are constantly named together, 
and Nathaniel is nowhere mentioned ; 
while in the fourth Gospel Philip and 
Nathaniel are similarly combined, but 
nothing is said of Bartholomew, John 
1 : 45 ; 21 : 2. According to tradition, 
he labored in India (Arabia Felix is 
sometimes called India by the an- 
cients), and was crucified either in Ar- 
menia or Cilicia. 

15. Matthew was also called Levi 
the son of Alpheus. See on ch. 5 : 27. 
His residence was at Capernaum, and 
his profession a publican. His great 
humility is shown by styling himself in 
his Gospel " Matthew the publican " 
(Matt. 10 : 3), in his comparative si- 
lence in regard to leaving all and fol- 
lowing Jesus, and to the great feast he 
gave at his house, both of which are 
told us by Luke (5 : 28, 29). His name 
appears for the last time in the New 
Testament among the eleven in Acts 
1 : 13. Tradition assures us that he 
preached the gospel for several years 
in Palestine. Earlier traditions state 

A. D. 28. 



.Tamos the sofi of Alpheus, and Simon called Zelotes, 
IG and Judas, ^the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, ' Jude i. 

which also was the traitor. 
17 And he came down with them, and stood in the 

plain, and the company of his disciples, ^and a great '»Mt.4.25;Mk.3.7 

that he died a natural death, but a later 
one says that he suffered martyrdom in 

Thomas was also called Dulymn^ 
(John 11 : 16), both meaning a twin, 
the former Aranucan, the latter Greek. 
He was probably from Galilee. He 
was imimlsive (John 11 : 16), of an in- 
quiring mind (John 14 : 5, 6), and slow 
to be convinced, John 20 : 24-29. Tra- 
dition affirms that he preached the gos- 
pel in India and suffere<^l martyrdom. 

James the son of Alpheus is also 
called James the Less or the younger, 
Mark 15 : 40. His father is probably 
not the same as the father of Matthew, 
but is generally thought to be identical 
with Cleophas or Clopas, John 19 : 25. 
Alpheus and Clopas are but different 
ways of expressing the same Hebrew 
name. Some suppose him to be James, 
the brother or cousin of our Lord (John 
19 : 25 ; Luke 24 : 10), and that he had 
a brother Joses, Matt. 27 : bO). 

Simon called Zelotes. He is 
styled by Mark the Canaanite, which is 
said to be a corrupted Aramaic word 
equivalent to Zelotes, used here and in 
Acts 1 : 13; a name given perhaps on 
account of his former zeal for the law, 
and possibly as expressive of his clia- 
racter. The name also distinguished 
him among the apostles from Simon 
Peter. It has been thought that he 
belonged to a political sect known 
among the Jews as Zealots. This was 
probably not the case, as the party 
bearing that name do not appear in 
Jewish history till after the time of 
Christ. He is only mentioned in the 
New Testament in the four cata- 

16. Judas the brother of James, 
or, as some supply, the son of James. 
Brother is preferable, Jude 1. He 
was also called Lebbeiis (Matt. 10 : 3) 
and Thaddcus. Mark 3 : 18. He was 
the " Judas, not Iscariot," John 14 : 
22. It has been common to regard 
Lebbeus and Thaddeus as allied names, 
being derived from Hebrew or Ara- 
maean words, the former meaning heart 

and the latter breast, and hence denot- 
ing the hairty, the courageous. This is, 
however, doubtful. Judas means re- 
noicned. Some regard him as the author 
of the Epistle of .lude, but others think 
that the author of that Epistle was Jude, 
the Lord's brother. 

Judas Iscariot — that is, Judas, 
man of Karioth, probably a native of 
Karioth, a small town in tlie tribe of 
Judah, Josh. 15 : 25. He was probably 
the only one of the apostles who was 
not by birth a Galilean. His father's 
name was Simon, John 6 : 71. He car- 
ried the bag, and appropriated part of 
the common stock to his own use, John 
12 : 6. The climax of his sins was the 
betrayal of Jesus, which was speedily 
followed by suicide. His infamous cha- 
racter doubtless accounts for the position 
of his name as last on each of the cata- 
logues in the Gospels. Also is omitted 
by the best authorities. Was the 
traitor, became the traitor. An apostle 
and traitor, a terrible union, incurring 
fearful guilt. It was part of infinite wis- 
dom that Christ should have chosen his 
betrayer among the twelve. God works 
even through wicked men, as in the 
case of Balaam. The churches of Christ 
must not expect absolute purity on 
earth ; some of the chaff must remain 
among the wheat. The defection of 
those who have been regarded great 
in the church will not cause its ruin. 

17. Jesus now descends the mountain 
and displays his Messianic power and 
grace in healing a multitude. And he 
came down. Literally, And ha^^inrf 
come doivn, the sentence continuing from 
the preceding verse. See on ver. 13. 
With them. With the twelve and the 
other disciples who had been called to 
him. And stood in the plain. On, 
a ])lain or level place. Where this was 
cannot be ascertained. It appears from 
ch. 7 : 1 to have been near Capernaum, 
There is no positive evidence that it 
was the Horns of Hattin (two summits 
with a depression between them, and 
hence the name Horns), about seven 
miles south-west of Capernaum. It was 



A. D. 2a 

miiltitiidc of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, 
and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, whicli 
came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases ; 

18 and they that were vexed with unclean spirits : and 

19 they were healed. And the whole multitude *■ sought 
to touch him : for * there went virtue out of him, and 
healed them all. 

'Mt. 14. 36. 

»ch. 8. 46; Mk 
80; Num. 21 
9; Ps. 103. 
John 3. 14, 15. 


probably not so far from that city. 
Robinson contends that there are a 
dozen other mountains in the vicinity 
of the lake which would answer the 
purpose just as well. 

A great multitude. Luke here 
gives us a glimpse of the great crowds 
that attended the ministry of Jesus. He 
was popular with the masses, who sided 
with him against the Pharisees. It was 
not really the design of Jesus to with- 
draw from the people (vers. 11, 12), but 
from his enemies, whose influence was 
greatest in the towns. His Iriends and 
all who desired had an opportunity of 
coming to him in his retirement. 
Judea, south of Samaria, bounded by 
the Jordan on the east, the Mediterra- 
nean on the west, and the territory of 
the Arabs on the south. The boundary 
of the province seems to have been 
often varied by the addition or abstrac- 
tion of towns. Compare on ch. 1 : 5. 
Galilee. See on ch. 1 : 26. Sea 
coast of Tyre and Sidon. The 
Jews of that region. Tyre and Sidon 
were the two principal cities of Phoe- 
nicia on the coast of the Mediterranean 
Sea. Sidon, which means fishery, one 
of the oldest cities of the world, is 
believed to have been founded by 
Zidon, the eldest son of Canaan, Gen. 
10 : 15 ; 49 : 13. Its latitude is 33° 34' 
north, about the same as the middle 
portions of South Carolina. Tyre, 
meaning a rock, about twenty miles 
south, was of later date, but grew in 
importance, and gained an ascendency 
over Sidon and became the commer- 
cial emporium of Phoenicia. They 
were the subjects of prophecy and of 
divine judgments under Nebuchadnez- 
zar and Alexander, Isa. ch. 23 ; Ezek. 
chs. 26-28; 29 : 18. The cities that 
grew up on the ruins of the ancient 
ones existed in the times of our Saviour, 
Acts 12 : 20 ; 21 : 3, 7 ; 27 : 3. Sidon, 
now called Saida, contains about five 
thousand inhabitants, and is spoken of 

as dirty and full of ruins. Tyre, now 
called Sur, is at present a poor town, 
and has a population of about three 
thousand. The great multitude fol- 
lowing him from Galilee shows his pop- 
ularity there, while those coming from 
the outskirts of Palestine and the bor- 
ders of the Gentiles show how widely 
his fame was spread abroad. The ob- 
ject of their coming was twofold, to 
hear him and to be healed of their 

18. Vexed with unclean spirits, 
harassed as with a crowd of demons. 
We here get a glimpse of the numerous 
demoniacal possessions which were then 
permitted. See on ch. 4 : 33. We 
notice here that they are distinguished 
from "diseases " in the preceding verse. 
That it is said they were healed is 
no argument against the reality ot 
demoniacal possessions, for they mani- 
fested their power through the bodies 
of men, and to a greater or less extent 
excited physical maladies. 

19. The whole multitude. All 
of those diseased and who thought they 
might be diseased. Not only in a time 
of such enthusiasm would those who 
were afflicted with serious diseases touch 
him, but also those troubled with lighter 
maladies, and even many who only 
thought that possibly some disease 
might be lingering about them. Sought 
to touch him. Their eagerness was 
intense, and their efforts corresponded, 
showing their faith in him. Theirs 
was a touch of faith, for there went 
virtue out ofhim, and healed them 
all. The word here translated " virtue " 
is the same one translated power in 
ch. 4 : 36 ; 5 : 17. Nearly the same 
expression is used in ch. 8 : 46. It was 
his inherent divine power of healing. 
This power did not, of course, go forth 
unconsciously, but was exerted with 
tender and omniscient regard toward 
each one who touched him. 

20-49. The Sermon on the Plain 

A. D. 28. 



The sermon on the plain. 
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, 

Compare Matthew, chs. 5, 6, and 7. 
This discourse and that recorded by 
Matthew have been regarded by the 
majority of modern critics as identical, 
or at least two accounts of the same 
sermon. Such was the view generally 
held by the Greek Churcli. But 
Augustine, and after him most of the 
writers of the Latin Church, held that 
they were distinct. According to 
Augustine {De Consensu Evangelist- 
arum, ii. 19), Jesus first delivered the 
longer discourse, which Matthew gives, 
upon the mountain, and after descend- 
ing to the plain communicated, in an 
abridged form, the same truths to the 
multitude there. This is substantially 
the view of Lange and some others. 

After a careful and patient re-exam- 
ination of the whole suDJect, the author 
has been confirmed in the view taken 
in his Harmony and Notes on Matthew, 
that the discourses are distinct, and 
uttered on different occasions. So Drs. 
Whitley, Doddridge, Greswell, Krafft, 
Alexander, and others. For: 

1. The place was different. That in 
Matthew was on a mountain (Matt. 5 : 
1), but this in Luke was on a plain, 
ver. 17. 

2. The time appears to be different. 
That in Matthew was connected Avith 
our Lord's first missionary tour through- 
out Galilee (Matt. 4 : 23-25), and before 
the call of Matthew (ch. 9:9), and hence 
before the appointment of the apostles, 
but this in Luke was delivered after the 
twelve were chosen. Although Mat- 
thew is not always chronological in his 
arrangement, yet he appears to be so 
in regard to the sermon on the mount, 
and in the last eight chapters of his 
Gospel, and also in the fourteenth and 
four succeeding chapters. Considered 
by itself, ^Matthew would not very likely 
have related his own call after the ser- 
mon on the mount, if it occurred before 
that event. It might also be noted that 
the sermon on the mount was delivered 
in presence of a multitude gathered from 
within the boundaries of Israel (Matt. 
4 : 25), but the sermon on the plain in 
the audience of a multitude gathered 
not only from the land of Israel, but 

from the sea-coast of Tyre and Sidon, 
ver. 17. The latter would indicate a 
later period, when the fame of Jesus 
was more widely spread abroad. 

3. The connecting circumstances are 
different. That in Matthew was de- 
livered near the close of the first mis- 
sionary tour throughout Galilee, and 
followed by cleansing a leper. Matt. 8 : 
1-4. But this in Luke was preceded by 
our Lord's retirement from the opposi- 
tion of scribes and Pharisees and by a 
night of prayer, and followed by the 
healing of the centurion's servant. 

4. The variations of these two dis- 
courses are sufficient to give good 
grounds for supposing them distinct in 
time and place. Both seem complete 
and connected throughout, yet in Mat- 
thew there are one hundred and seven 
verses and in Luke onl)'- thirty, and 
about one quarter of the latter is not 
found in the former. Thus in Luke 
four woes are connected with four be- 
atitudes (vers. 24-26), and several other 
parts are fuller, vers. 34, 39, 40, 45. 
And notwithstanding their similarity, 
there is often a marked difference of 
expression. The objection that Jesus 
would not have delivered two discourses 
so similar, and repeated the same truths, 
seems to my mind not only untenable, 
but frivolous. We can conceive no 
reason why he might not have spoken 
these discourses to two different audi- 
ences, especially if we sup]X)se that some 
little time intervened. That he often 
repeated his sayings is evident from the 
comparison of many passages. See, for 
instance, Matt. 5 : 22 and Luke 12 : 58 ; 
Matt. 6 : 9-13 and Luke 11 : 2-4; Matt. 
6 : 24 and Luke 16 : 13 ; Matt. 7 : 13, 14, 
and Luke 13 : 24 ; Matt. 16 : 21 and 17 : 
22, 23, and 20 : 17-19. It should not be 
thought strange that our Lord should 
have repeated the highest and mo^^t 
central truths, when we consider their 
importance. The same thing has been 
done by the wisest teachers and by in- 
spired prophets. Compare Jer. 10 : 12- 
16 with 51 : 15-19. 

5. The evangelists give us two fitting 
occasions for such discourses. When 
the thousands were gathered by our 



A. D. 28. 

Blessed be ye poor: for yours 

is the kingdom of 

Lord's first general preaching tour, it 
was fitting that he should give a full 
public declaration, as in Matthew, con- 
cerning the nature of his s])iritual king- 
dom and the character and life required 
of his followers. So also the choice of 
the twelve and the attending multitude 
gave a proper occasion for such a dis- 
course as that recorded by Luke. The 
objection that Matt. 5 : 13, 14 ; 7:6 im- 
ply the previous appointment of the 
apostles is of no force ; for such passages 
do not, at mrst, imply more than that 
certain ones had been called as min- 
isters or constant attendants, as was 
actually the case, Matt. 4 : 18-22. 

I suggest the following synopsis of the 
sermon on the plain : I. Who are the 
truly happy, and who the truly wretch- 
ed and miserable ? vers. 19-26. II. The 
duty, extent, and standard of love, vers. 
27-36. This forbids a censorious spirit, 
demands beneficence and generosity. 
There is added a rule for themselves 
and their conduct toward their fellow- 
men, vers. 37, 38. III. Blind and cen- 
sorious teachers are incapable of guid- 
ing others; their censoriousness sliows 
their hypocrisy, vers. 39-42. IV. Je- 
sus confirms what he had said by 
illustrations from the natural world, 
and lays down a rule by which they 
can know the true characters of them- 
selves and others, vers. 43-45. V. A 
personal application to his professed 
followers and striking contrast be- 
tween those who obey and who do not 
obey his instructions, vers. 46-49. The 
minuter relations of the discourse will 
appear in the notes. 

20. He lifted up his eyes. An 
Oriental expression representing a 
solemn and important act, meaning 
that he directed his eyes at or toward 
his disciples, the objects of his special 
regard and attention, as about to address 
th(;m. He is emphatic in contrast to 
the multitude, who were intent on being 
healed or witnessing his miracles. From 
tliem he turned his eyes toward his 
disciples in general and the twelve in 
particular, who were eager to hear his 
instructions, to whom he directed his 
discourse in the hearing of the people, 
eh. 7 : 1. Luke sometimes gives us 

glimpses of the eloquence of the look 
of Jesus, ch. 22 : 61. 

Blessed. This word (Greek maka- 
rios) means happy, and is so translated 
in John 13 : 17 ; Acts 26 : 2 ; liom. 14 : 
22 ; 1 Pet. 3 : 14 ; 4 : 14. Another word 
(Greek eulogetos) is properly translated 
blessed, which in the New Testament is 
applied only to God, Mark 14 : 61 ; Rom. 
1 : 25 ; 2 Cor. 1 : 3. The latter is- derived 
from a verb which means to speak tveu 
of, to commend, and hence to praise, to 
bless, and as applied to God means 
worthy of all praise, adorable, blessed, ' 
with ascriptions of praise and thanks- 
givings. The passive perfect participle 
of this verb (eulogemenos) also properly 
means blessed, and as applied to men 
means those blessed or favored of God, 
Matt. 25 : 34. The former, makarios, is 
an adjective, and allied to a verb which 
means to pronounce happy, and answers 
to the Hebrew ashrey {happy), derived 
from a verb, to go well, to prosper, to be 
happy. Our Saviour means that those 
persons whom he pronounces happy are 
not only in the way to future blessedness, 
but that they are in the present enjoy- 
ment of hai^piness — happy in their re- 
lations and destiny. In the following 
beatitudes Jesus pronounces those hap- 
py whom the world holds to be most 
unhappy. He runs directly counter to 
the carnal views of the Jews of his 

Be ye poor. Ye who feel a deep 
sense of spiritual poverty, who are lowly 
in heart, and are conscious of your spir- 
itual ignorance and unworthiness, and 
of your entire dependence on God ; ye 
who are thus spiritual beggars, ch. 16 : 
20. See Isa. 57 : 15. That the reference 
is to the poor in spirit is evident from 
the spiritual promise that follows. Such 
are happy in contrast to the proud and 
ambitious — those who aspire after 
worldly pleasures, riches, and honor. 
Yours is the kingdom of God. 
It is intended for you, and it belongs to 
you as a gift through divine grace. You 
are subjects and citizens of the Messiah's 
kingdom, which has God for its Author 
and End, and you are entitled to the 
great blessings of Messiah's reign both 
for time and eternity. See on ch, 4 : 43. 

A. D. 28. 





* Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be *^,'- ?Pl-.? vP/^!?' 
filled. l;(W.lS;Mt.5,6. 

" Blessed are ye that weep now : for ye shall laugh. 

* Blessed arc ye, when men shall hate you, and 
when they ^ shall separate you from their company, 
and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as 

23 evil, "for the Son of man's sake. * Rejoice ye in that 

1 Pet. 2. 19; 3. 14. J.Tohii 16. 2. • Ps. 44. 22; Mt. 24. 9; 1 Cor. 4. 10; 
1 Pet. 4. 14. 'Mt, 5. 12; Ac. 5. 41 ; 16. 25; Ko. 5. 3; Col. 1. 24; Jam. 1. 
2, 3 ; 1 Pet. 4. 13. 

ch. 7. 38, r>0; Ps. 
32.3-7; 116. 3-8; 
Is. 25. 8; 57. 18; 
61.2,3; John 16. 
20 ; 2 Cor. 1. 7 ; 
7. 9, 10; Rev. 7. 
«Mt.5. 11; 10. 25; 

21. Ye that hunger. In accord- 
ance with the precedinj? verse, spiritual 
hunger is meant. Now, in this life and 
at the present time. Ye who earnestly 
and even painfnlly desire holiness, con- 
formity to the divine will, or " righteous- 
ness," Matt. 5 : G. As the hungry long 
after food, so do those here described 
ardently long after conformity of heart 
and life to the divine will, Ps. 42 : 1 ; 
John 6 : 35. This hungering and thirst- 
ing is indeed an evidence of their spirit- 
ual life. In contrast to those who enter- 
tain carnal hopes concerning the Mes- 
siah's kingdom, and long for worldly 
possessions, power, and glory, and are 
ready to use unjust means to obtain 
them, these hungering souls are happy, 
for they shall be filled. They shall 
be satisfied, so as to desire nothing more, 
as the hungry man is satisfied with food, 
Ps. 17 : 15. They shall find complete 
satisfaction in Christ, having Ms right- 
eousness accounted to them and being 
sanctified and conformed to his image, 
Prov. 21 : 21 ; Isa. 41 : 17 ; 60 : 21 ; 2 
Pet. 3 : 13. The fulfilment of this prom- 
ise begins here and extends to the fully- 
developed holiness of heart and conduct 
in the future world. 

Ye that weep now, a somewhat 
stronger expression than that in Mat- 
thew (5:4), "they that mourn," refer- 
ring to that deep anguish of spirit which 
manifests itself in groans and tears. 
This cannot refer to all kinds of weep- 
ing, for the sorrow "of the world work- 
eth death," 2 Cor. 7 : 10. It especially 
refers to those who weep under a peni- 
tent sense of their sins — under a feeling 
of their spiritual poverty — and exercise 
a godly sorrow that " worketh repent- 
ance unto salvation." But it need not 
be limited to merely those who grieve 
over their own sins, but may extend to 
those who, in addition to this, lament 
the sins of others, and who, in sorrow- 

ful circumstances and afflictions, mingle 
their grief with humble hope in God. 
In contrast to the gay and jovial those 
are happy, for they shall lau§:h. Not 
only shall they " be comforted," as in 
Matthew, but they shall exult with open 
joy. Their sins shall be forgiven ; they 
shall be supported in trial and cheered 
with the everlasting favor of God. 
Christ, "the Consolation of Israel" 
(Luke 2 : 25), will be their Saviour, 
the Holy Spirit their Comforter (John 
14 : 16, 17, 26), and the Father their 
Father and eternal Friend, Rom. 8 : 
15 ; 2 Cor. 1 : 3. Their joy shall be 
complete, pertaining both to the present 
and the future state, 2 Cor. 1:4; 4 : 17 ; 
Rev. 21 : 4. 

22. Hate • . . separate • . . re- 
proach ... cast out. A climax is 
expressed in these verbs. Hate yon, the 
feeling within which is the foundation 
of separations, reproaches, and persecu- 
tion. Separate you from them, from 
their synagogues, their society and in- 
tercourse, John 9 : 34 ; 16 : 2. Reproach 
you, heaping upon you, in addition, op- 
probrious epithets, as heretics and apos- 
tates. Cast out your name as evil, as vile 
and loathsome, defamed and stigmatized 
in the vilest manner possible. Pliny, a 
Latin historian, who died about A. D. 
116, refers to the fact that primitive 
Christians were hated merely because 
they were so called. And Tacitus speaks 
of Christians as " those who were hated " 
and as "hating all mankind." Your 
name refers to whatever they might be 
called, and might apply to a collective 
name as Xazarene or Christian, or to an 
individual name rendered opprobrious 
on account of their faith. Compare Acts 
24 : 5 ; 28 : 22 ; 1 Pet. 4 : 13-16. Nero 
charged upon Christians the crime of 
the ijurning of Rome. For the Son 
of man's sake. Because of your 
faith in me and subjection to me. On 



A. D. 28. 




day, and leap for joy: for, behold, ^ your reward is * ^^,- ^^^1? ',^V ^^" 
great in heaven: for "in the like manner did their 
fathers unto the prophets. 

^But woe unto you that are rich I for "ye have re- 
ceived your consolation. 

'Woe unto you that are full I for ye shall hunger. 

« Woe unto you that laugh now I for ye shall •* mourn 
and weep. 

*Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well 

27 ; Col. 3. 24. 

16. 10 ; 24. 19-21 ; 

36.16; Ne. 9. 26; 

Jer. 26. 8, 20-23 ; 

Mt. 23. 31-37; Ac. 

7.51,52; 1 Thes. 

2. 15. 
<ch. 12. 15-21 ; 18. 

23-25 ; Ps. 49. 6, 

7, 16-19 ; Am. 6. 

1-6 ; 1 Tim. 6, 17; 

Jam, 5. 1. • ch. 16. 19-25 ; Mt. 6. 2, 5, 16. f 1 Sam. 2. 5 ; Is. 65. 13 ; Rev. 
3. 17. 8 Pro. 14. 13 ; Ecc. 2. 2 ; 7. 6 ; Jam. 4. 9. »• ch. 12. 20 ; 13, 28 ; Job 
21, 11-13 ; Mt. 22. 11-13 ; 1 Thes, 5, 3, ' John 15. 19 ; Jam. 4. 4 ; 2 Pet. 2. 
18; 1 John 4. 5. 

the title Son of man see note on ch. 
5 : 24. 

23. Rejoice in that day, when you 

shall be thus treated. Leap for joy. 

Be exultant, jubilant with rapturous 
joy. Great is your reward. Not 

of debt, but of grace. Christians have 
reason to rejoice and exult amid persecu- 
tion in view of a reward so great and 
glorious, 2 Cor. 4 : 17. For in like 
manner, etc. No new thing was to 
happen to his disciples; for so was 
Elijah persecuted, 1 Kings 19 : 1, 2; 
and Elisha, 2 Kings 2 : 23 ; and Jere- 
miah, Jer. 38 : 4-13 ; and Zechariah, 2 
Chron. 24 : 20, 21 ; and Daniel, Dan, 6 : 
11-17. How great was their reward 
(Heb. 11 : 26) who were hastening to 
join that great cloud of witnesses! 
Heb. 12 : 1. 

A comparison of these beatitudes with 
those in Matt, 5 : 3-12 reveals a differ- 
ence not only in number, but also in 
expression, which harmonizes better 
with tbe view of two distinct discourses 
than of only one discourse. The four 
woes which follow point to the same 
conclusion, since they are not in Mat- 
thew, and would not very probably fol- 
low, Matt, 5 : 12. 

24. Woe unto you. Not the ex- 
pression of anger, but of lamentation 
and warning. Woe w to you, or Alas 
for you ! Jesus is not uttering impreca- 
tions as a Judge, but as the great Teacher 
and Prophet he declares the miserable 
condition of certain classes and warns 
them against it. You that are rich. 
This is the opposite of spiritual poverty, 
spoken of in ver. 20. You that make 
this world your portion (ch. 12 : 21 ; 
1 John 2 : 15) and trust in riches, ch. 18 : 
24, 25, and Mark 10 : 24. Such was the 
character of the Pharisees (ch. 16 : 14, 

15, 19) and the Laodicean church. Rev. 
3:17. Worldly riches are deceitful in 
their influence, choking the word and 
rendering it unfruitful (Matt, 13 : 22), 
and often lead to acts of oppression, 
James 2 : 6. For ye have received 
your consolation, in the reputation 
you have enjoyed, in the honors and 
applause you have received, and in the 
various worldly pleasures which have 
fallen to your lot. You have received 
this, and you will get no more. As you 
have made the world your portion, you 
will have none in the future world, ch. 
16 : 25. 

25. You that are full. The oppo- 
site of those who have spiritual hunger, 
ver. 21. Ye who have no cravings after 
spiritual food, but are satisfied with 
your worldly portion and with the 
dainties and luxuries of earth, James 
5 : 5. Ye shall hunger, being with- 
out food. Being reduced to want and 
bereft of all spiritual good, ye shall 
famish for need of that which can make 
the soul happy in the world to come. 
This will be an endless hunger. Y^e 
that laugh now. Opposite of the 
weeping in ver. 21. Ye who engage 
in the outward expression of worldly 
pleasure; who indulge in lightness, 
frivolity, and dissipation ; who live lives 
of gayety and mirth, and banish from you 
serious and solemn thoughts, Eccl. 7 : 6. 
Ye are miserable, for ye shall mourn 
and weep. Your frivolity will be 
turned into sorrow when you discover 
your miserable end and are cast out 
into outer darkness, where there is 
wailing and gnashing of teeth, Prov. 1 : 
25-28 ; James 4 : 9. This is not incon- 
sistent with rejoicing in the Loi-d. which 
is the privilege of Christians at all times, 
ver. 23. 

A. D. 28. 



of you I for so did their fathers to the false proph- 

27 ''But I say unto you which hear, Love your ene- ^ ]^\?^ '- ^o' T^: 

28 mies, do good to them which hate you, bless them r'o, 12. 20, ' ' 
that curse you, and 'pray for them which despitefully >ch. 23. 34 ; Ac 7. 

29 use you. ™And unto him that smiteth thee on the „^j^ g gg 
one cheek, offer also the other. ° And him that taketh » 1 cor! 6. 7. 

26. Woe unto you. Unto you should 
be omitted according to the oldest manu- 
scripts and the highest critical authori- 
ties, Tliis was spoken to his disciples. 
In tlie reason and warning given false 
prophets corresponds with false dis- 
ciples. This woe is opposite to the be- 
atitude i'l vers. 22, 23. All men, like 
the term icoj-ld, is here used to denote 
those who are not Christians. Shall 
speak well of you, shall bestow upon 
you universal applause. A Christian 
should strive to nave " a good report 
from those that are without" (1 Tim. 
3:7); but when his words and conduct 
are such as to please and delight tlie 
ungodly, affording no reproof for their 
impenitence and wicked practices, he 
has reason to be alarmed. " The friend- 
ship of the world worketh death," 
James 4 : 4. For so did their fath- 
ers. Their refers to all men iu the 
preceding clause. Their fathers are 
specially the wicked Jews of the past 
ages. To the false prophets, who 
sought to please the popular desires, 
saying, Peace, peace ! when there was no 
peace, strengthening the hands of evil- 
doers and daubing unsubstantial walls 
with untempered mortar or whitewash, 
1 Kings 22 : 6-14 ; Jer. 23 : 14; 28 : 10, 
11 ; Ezek. 13 : 10, 11. 

27. Having intimated that they 
should have enemies and suffer perse- 
cution (vers. 22, 26), Jesus proceeds, in 
this and the nine following verses, to 
direct them in their treatment of 
enemies. He enforces the duty of love, 
its extent, and its standard. By com- 
paring this with the sermon on the 
mount (Matt. 5 : 38-48; 7 : 12), it will 
be seen how different the arrangement 
here, and in some respect the course of 
thought, indicating that this and that 
were two separate discourses. These 
verses hardly bear the form of another 
report, or even of a repetition, of the 
same discourse. Great injustice has 
been done to the sermon on the plain 
by some expositors by endeavoring to 

make it conform to the sermon on the 
But I say unto you. As Jesus is 

about to enjoin duty, he thus speaks 
with authority and as a lawgiver. 
Which hear. My disciples and all 
that hear me this day. What he had 
been saying had regard to classes of 
persons, and was especially for his dis- 
ciples, but duty has reference to all. 
Love your enemies. Although I 
have uttered these woes against the 
enemies of my gospel, and have shown 
how they will treat my disciples, yet 
you must not harbor any feelings of 
revenge or malice toward your enemies, 
but love them. We are not to harbor 
malignant feelings toward any one. 
We cannot love the deeds of the wicked, 
but we can love their souls, and wish 
them well, and do them good if we have 
opportunity. This is the best way of 
subduing hatred and overcoming evil 
with good, Rom, 12 : 20, 21. 

Out of this foundation principle of 
love flows first a manifestation in act, 
expressed in the words Do good to 
them that hate you. 

28. Closely connected with the pre- 
ceding verse. A second manifestation 
of love is, Bless them that curse 
you. Speak words of peace, kindness, 
and love to those who revile and insult 
you. And a third is a manifestation iu 
prayer for divine help for that which 
you cannot accomplish either by word 
or act, Pray for them which de- 
spitefully use you, abuse you. Thus 
cursing is to be met with blessing, a 
steady and settled hatred with well- 
doing, and abusive language and con- 
duct — that is, hostile speech coupled 
with hostile action — with prayer. 

29. Jesus gives two examples to il- 
lustrate the treatment of enemies which 
he had just enjoined. Unto him that 
smiteth thee on the one cheek, 
simply, on the cheek. The first example. 
An act of great contempt, personal out- 
rage, and insolence. It was regarded as 




A. D. 28. 

away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. 
80 "Give to every man that asketh of thee; ''and of him 
31 that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. '•And 

Tira. 6. 18. P Ro. 12. 17-19. a Mt. 7. 12 : Gal. 5. 

•Dcu. 15. 7, 8, 10; 

Ps. 41.1 ; Pro. 21. 

26; Mt. 5. 42; 

Ro. 12. 13; 1 

an affront of the worst sort, and was se- 
verely punished by Jewisli and Iloman 
laws. Offer also the other, proverb- 
ial phrase expressing submission to in- 
sults and injuries, Lam. 3 : 30. This 
must not be taken too literally, but must 
l>e obeyed in the spirit more than in the 
letter. Thus, Christ himself did not 
conform literally to this precept (John 
38 : 22, 23), though he obeyed it in spirit 
by 5delding up himself to his persecutors 
and crucifiers, Isa. 50 : 6. Under private 
and personal outrages we are not to con- 
tend and fight, but we should endure 
them patiently from Christian principle. 
This does not prevent us from insisting 
firmly and kindly that justice should be 
done us, or from rebuking and remon- 
strating against injustice whenever prac- 
ticed against us. 

Taketh away thy cloak. The 
second example. From personal vio- 
lence Jesus descends to the demanding 
of property by legal or forcible means. 
The cloak or mantle was the outer, 
larger, and more valuable garment. It 
was worn loose around the body, and 
made of various materials, according 
to the circumstances of the wearer. It 
was commonly of different sizes, nearly 
square, six to nine feet long and about 
as many broad, and was wrapped around 
the body or fastened about the shoul- 
ders, and could be thrown off when en- 
gaged in labor. It was also used as a 
blanket or covering to wrap one's self 
in at night ; hence it was not allowed 
by the law to be taken by the creditor 
and retained as a pledge over-night, 
Ex. 22 : 26, 27. This fact shows how 
great the wrong and violence which 
would take away this outer garment. 
But if any one should go so far as to 
take this away, rather than contend 
with him, forbid him not to take 
thy coat also. Do not hinder him 
from taking thy tunic or under-garment, 
which was made of linen or cotton and 
folded close to the body. In matters of 
personal violence and wrong we are not 
to show a retaliating and revengeful 
spirit, but a forgiving and generous 
one. We are to suffer wrong rather 
than to do wrong. We are to suffer 

loss ourselves rather than to resort to 
quarrelling or law suits. 

30. Jesus proceeds to enjoin liberality 
toward all. Give to every one that 
asketh of thee, be he Jew, Samaritan, 
or heathen. This is to be interpreted 
by the principles of Christian benev- 
olence as interpreted elsewhere. We 
must also bear in mind that Jesus is 
opposing a retaliating and revengeful 
spirit. We must not out of revenge, 
withhold charity from any whojn we 
believe to be in need. Christians should 
be benevolent, giving willingly accord- 
ing to what they have (2 Cor. 8 : 12), 
doing good to all, especially to the 
household of faith (Gal. 6 : 10) ; yet 
their benevolence should be wisely 
distributed, exercised seldom or never 
toward those who can but will not 
work (2 Thess. 3 : 10), and always 
consistently with their duty to their 
families, 1 Tim. 5:8. As the Lord 
gives not always to those who ask the 
very thing that they ask, but t/uit which 
is better for them (2 Cor. 12 : 8, 9), so 
the spirit of love and true benevolence 
should prompt us to give, not always 
that which may be asked, but that 
which is best for the receiver. " To 
give everything to every one — the 
sword to the madman, the alms to the 
impostor, the criminal request to the 
temptress — would be to act as the enemy 
of others and ourselves." — Alford. 
Jesus doubtless had also in view the 
hard-hearted, oppressive, and covetous 
practices of the scribes and Pharisees 
(ch. 20 : 47) ; and he emphatically en- 
joins the spirit of the law in Deut. 15 : 
1-11, which they were violating, like 
their fathers frequently before them, 
Neh. 5 : 1-5 ; Ezek. 22 : 7. 

Of him that taketh away thy 
goods, without asking, in any injurious 
manner, as through the grinding exac- 
tions of ofiicials ; or by consent, having 
lent or sold them, and the person thus 
obtaining them is unable or unwilling 
to return them or an equivalent. Ask 
them, demand them, not again. Do 
not show a revengeful spirit, and neither 
by violence nor by legal forms demand 
them backj but by a kind and liberal 

A. D. 28. 



as yc would that men should do to you, do ye also to 
32 them likewise. Tor if ye love them which love you, 'Mt. 5. 46, 47. 
what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that 
love them. And if ye do good to them whieh do good 
to you, what thank have ye ? for sinners also do even 
the same. 'And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope "Mt, 5.42. 
to receive, what thank have ye ? for sinners also lend 
35 to sinners, to receive as much again. But 4ove ye 


»ver. 27; 

Le. 25. 

Bpirit strive to win back the offender to 
right views and act.s. Whatever you 
do, avoid a retaliating spirit, and show 
a spirit of forbearance and love. 

31. Jesus adds a rule for the manifes- 
tation of love toward others. So far 
from showing any retaliating spirit, 
As yc Avould that men should do, 
etc. Make the case of others your own, 
and as ye would as honest and righteous 
men that they sliould do to you, do in 
a like manner to them. This was in- 
deed no new requirement, but simply 
the application of the law to love our 
neighbor as ourselves, Matt. 7:12. 

Different writers have quoted similar 
sentiments from heathen and rabbinical 
authors; but while the latter have 
rather given the negative part of this 
command, Christ has given the positive. 
This may be seen by the following com- 
parison of Christ's precept with three 
of the best examples found in ancient 
authors : 

Confucius. B. C. Isocrates. B. C. 

500. 400. 

What you do Do not do to 

not like when others that which 

done to yourself, would make you 

do not do to angry if done by 

others. others to you. 

HiLLEL. A. D. 1. Christ. 

Do not unto an- And as ye would 

other what thou that men should do 

wouldst not have to you, do ye even 

another do unto so to them. 

This radical difference will at once be 
seen : Christ's precept alone commands 
us to do anything. Not only are we to 
avoid doing to others what we in their 
situation would dislike, but we are to 
do to them whatever we would reason- 
ably and righteously wish them to do 
to us. This truth, which was included 
in the law and prophets, and which was 
more or less clearly apprehended and 

expressed by moralists and inspired 
writers, received its greatest complete- 
ness and its most perfect application 
from our Saviour, and as containing 
the sum and substance of our duty to 
our fellow-men may justly be styled 
the Golden Rule. 

32. In this and the two following 
verses Jesus enforces this principle of 
love as he had laid it down, by refer- 
ring in contrast to the love exercised by 
sinners. His followers should certainly 
exhibit a higher principle and love 
than the ungodly. If they love only 
those who love them, what thank have 
they, what claim have they to extraor- 
dinary praise or moral approbation ? 
Or what is there in that worthy of re- 
ward ? For sinners, wicked persons, 
destitute of grace, do as much as this. 
Of the sons of God more should be ex- 

33, 34. These verses are not found in 
the sermon on the mount. It will be 
noticed that the expressions What 
thanks have ye and sinners are repeated 
three times. Love in ver. 32 is the 
ground principle, and doing good and 
lending in these verses are the applica- 
tion of love in deeds toward our fellow- 
men. To merely recii)rocate good 
deeds and to lend with the expectation 
of receiving a full equivalent is acting 
upon a selfish principle and according 
to the spirit of the world. The Chris- 
tian should be better than others. 
"Love for love is justice, love for no 
love is favor and kindness, but love and 
charity for all persons, even the unde- 
serving and the ill -deserving, is a 
Christ-like temper." — Dr. Alfred 
Nevin On Luke. 

35. Jesus enjoins again love to ene- 
mies, and enforces the deeds of love. 
The narrow-minded Jew fixed a limit 
to love. Thou shalt love thy neighbor 
and hate thine enemy, Matt. 5 : 43. 
Apostatizing or heretical Israelites were 
to be slain. An Israelite was not 



A. D. 28. 


your enemies, and do good, and "lend, hoping for "ver. 30;Ps,37.26. 
nothing again ; and your reward shall be great, and 
*ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is 'Mt. 5. 45. 
kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. ^ Be ye ' ^t- ^- ^8. 
therefore merciful as your Father also is merciful. 

"bound to do good or show kindness 
or to lend his money" to a Gentile. 
What a contrast is this precept of Je- 
sus ! Hoping for nothing again, 

or in return. This appears to be the 
meaning from the connection. Some 
"would render, not despairing — that is, 
about the result ; and others, after the 
Syriac version, Causing no one to de- 
spair, by refusing his request. But nei- 
ther of these so fully meets the demands 
of the context as the common render- 
ing. " To lend with the hope of receiv- 
ing again is becoming a man; but to 
lend without such hope becomes a 
Christian. The latter is enjoined, the 
former is not forbidden, even as it is 
lawful to love friends." — Bengel. Ps. 
112 : 5. The spirit of this command 
condemns usury or lending on exorb- 
itant interest. Your reward shall be 
great. It will bring happiness to your 
own bosoms and secure the blessing of 
God. Ye " shall be recompensed at the 
resurrection of the just," ch. 14 : 14. 
In what this reward will partly consist 
is further stated in the next clause. 

Ye shall be the children, sows, of 
the Highest. See on ch. 1 : 32. You 
shall prove yourselves sons of your heav- 
enly Father by showing a likeness to 
him and partaking of his spirit, Eph. 5 : 
1, 2. You shall thus be sharers in the 
Messiah's kingdom, Eom. 8 : 17. It 
follows that the love required is not the 
love of complacency, that which ap- 
proves of the moral character of all, but 
the love of benevolence, which desires 
the true welfare of all. We are to imi- 
tate God so far as a son may imitate a 
father. We are not to usurp a father's 
authority, and hence we are not to sit 
in judgment upon others nor execute 
vengeance on them, but, like true sons, 
to imitate our Father in goodness and 
love. For he is kind unto the un- 
thankful. One of the great sins of 
man is ingratitude. And the evil. 
Omit the, according to the best authori- 
ties. Not two classes of persons, but 
two qualities of the same class. Evil 
expresses an advance on the preceding, 

and means the notoriously wicked. God 
is daily bestowing his favors on the 
worst of men, who are provoking him, 
rebelling against him, and using his 
gifts to dishonor him. 

36. The standard of love and mercy 
is here given. Only a perfect standarcl 
was it becoming God to give, and only 
such a standard is suited to man, who 
is ever prone to imitate the defects, 
rather than the perfections, of his teach- 
ers and their instructions. Be ye 
therefore merciful. This is a differ- 
ent command from that in Matt. 5 : 48, 
Be ye therefore perfect, etc. The latter 
includes the former, but the former 
does not include the latter. Yet it may 
be said that he who has this mercy in 
exercise will have the other graces 
which go to make up a fully-developed 
Christian character. The difference in 
the two injunctions is sufficient, how- 
ever, to warrant separate interpretations. 
Those who have regarded the sermon 
on the mount and this on the plain as 
identical have done injustice in making 
these injunctions one and the same in 
their interpretations. Merciful, piti- 
ful, compassionate, the feelings pro- 
duced by the misery of others. In 
James 5 : 11 it is very properly trans- 
lated tender mercy. Yet it is not so 
strong a word as that in Matt. 5 : 7, 
" Happy the merciful." We may sup- 
pose Jesus to have used a corresponding 
term in the Aramaic, and thus even in 
this injunction he exhibited his tender 
compassion for our weakness in using a 
term more nearly suited to our capacity. 
Mercy is the exercise of compassionate 
love toward the suffering. The merci- 
ful make the sorrows of others their 
own and delight in relieving human 
distress. They address themselves to 
the wants of the world. God's mercy 
extends to all, to both body and soul. 
He is good to all and his tender mercies 
are over all his works, Ps. 145 :"9. So 
our compassion should have reference 
to both the bodily and spiritual interests 
of our fellow-men. God is absolutely 
merciful, but man, at the best, is only 

A. D. 28 



37 "Judc^c not, and yc shall not be judired : condemn iMt.?. i, 2. 
not, and ye shall not be condemned. " ForLrive, and '-'^"- 5. 7; Mk. 6. 

38 ye shall be foririven, ''Give, and it shall be given bi'eu.'ir). lo- Pro. 
unto you; good nunusure, pressed down, and shaken u. 2.'); 19.17. 
together, and running over, shall men give into your d>[*t''-' l'" Mk 4 
"bosom. For ** with the same measure that ye mete * ' -' ' ^- 
withal it shall be nieivsured to vou again. 

24; Jam. 2.13. 

relatively merciful. The attribute as a 
perfeetiou in God is infinitely above the 
grace or virtue in a complete and per- 
fect man. Yet one is the image of the 
other, and hence we can imitate it ; and 
the more Christ-like we are, the more 
perfect the likeness. In our compas- 
sionate love, in the feelings and exer- 
cise of mercy, we should strive to imitate 
Christ; thus we shall become like our 
heavenly Father, and attain the full 
maturity of this grace in our Christian 

37. The exercise of love forbids a 
censorious spirit. The self-righteous 
spirit of the Pharisee blinded him to 
his own faults and led him to judge 
others severely, ch. IS : 9. Judge 
not. The connection with what pre- 
cedes is close. Here is another differ- 
ence from the sermon on the mount, 
where this caution is given in another 
connection, Matt. 7 : 1. Judge not 
rashly, censoriously, unjustly, the con- 
duct of others. This does not prohibit 
judicial and official judgments (1 Cor. 
5 : 12), nor the mere formation of 
opinion (Matt. 16 : 13-16), which is 
more or less unavoidable, but those 
voluntary and rash judgments which 
are the product of a censorious spirit. 
And ye shall not be judged. By 
God. By avoiding censoriousness you 
will so iar avoid condemnation. But 
by exercising an unkind spirit toward 
your neighbor you will only increase 
the severity of the judgment of God, 
John S : 7 ;" Eom. 14 : 10-13. It is also 
true that they that judge others rashly 
are themselves judged in like manner 
by others. Jesus proceeds to expand 
this thought, which is not done in the 
sermon on the mount, where indeed 
(Matt. 7 : 1, 2) such expansion was not 
desirable. Condemn not. In a cen- 
sorious spirit do not spy out and de- 
nounce others and pronounce what 
their guilt deserves. Ye shall not be 
condemned. By God and less likely 
by your neighbor, Rom. 14 : 3, 4 ; James 

4 : 11. Forgive others their offenses. 
The spirit enjoined is the very opposite 
to that of jud'j^ing and condemnin:;;. 
Conniare Matt. 18 : 21, 35. Ye shall 
be forgiven. This forgiving disposi- 
tion indicates a state which is right in 
the sight of God. It is no arbitrary 
princi])le which is here laid down, )>nt 
is so inse]iarably connected with right 
feeling that God conducts himself to- 
ward us according to the spirit we 
cherish, Ps. IS : 25, 26. On this verse 
Van Oosterzee well remarks : " Un- 
doubtedly, to the spiritual man, who 
judges all things (1 Cor. 2 : 15), the 
right to judge, in and of itself, cannot 
be forbidden ; yet it is only granted by 
the Lord when one has jireviously cast 
a look of searching examination'upoa 

38. In accordance with this princi- 
ple of love, Jesus exhorts them to ex- 
ercise liberality and generosity. Give, 
and it shall be given unto you. 
God will bless you, and your kindness 
and liberality will affect "the hearts of 
others favorably toward you. Good 
measure. The figure used is that of 
dry measure, as of grain, pressed 
down, shaken together, running 
over, thus indicating s^reat abundance 
and liberality. Shall men give. 
Rather, Shall they give — that is, shall 
be given by men and also by God. The 
connection most naturally demands a 
reference to both God and' men. Into 
your bosom, of your garment. The 
fold of an Oriental garment, which fell 
over the girdle, was used as a large 
pocket for carrving things. Compare 
Ruth 3 : 15 ; Ps. 79 : 12. For with 
the same measure, etc. Tlie stand- 
ard which you apply to others shall be 
applied to you : " He that soweth spar- 
inglv shall reap also sparinglv," 2 Cor. 
9 : 6. "The liberal deviseth liberal 
things, and by liberal things shall he 
stand," Isa. 32 : 8. The same measure 
shall be given either by the hand of 
God or through the instrumentality of 



A. D. 28. 

39 And he spake a parable unto them, "Can the blind 
lead the blind? 'shall they not both fall into the 

40 ditch? KThe disciple is not above his master: but 
every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 

41 *»And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy 
brother's eye, 'but perceivest not the beam that is in 

•Is. 9. IG; Mt. 15. 

14; 1 Tim. G. 3-5. 
Mer. 14. 15, 16. 
KMt. 10. 24: John 

13. 16 ; 15. 20. 

b Mt. 7. 3. 
' Jer. 17. 9. 

men. See Judg. 1 : 6, 7 ; 2 Sam. 22 : 26, 
27; James 2 : 13; Rev. 13 : 10. 

39. Jesus proceeds to show by a pro- 
verbial saying that a teacher who is 
blind to his own faults — and such is a 
censorious one — is incapable of guiding 
others aright. He is addressing his dis- 
ciples, and specially the apostles, who 
were to be teachers. A parable. A 
comparison, an illustration or simili- 
tude. See on ch. 8:4. In the present 
instance it was a proverbial saying, 
which Jesus may have frequently used. 
See it in a different connection in Matt. 
15 : 14. It is not found in the sermon 
on the mount. Can the blind lead 
the blind? into the right path, with 
safety. The form of the question in the 
original demands a strong negative an- 
swer: No, it is not possible. Shall 
they not both fall, etc., demanding 
a strong affirmative reply. The ditch 
is an emblem of destruction. The Phar- 
isees are described as "blind leaders" 
(Matt. 15 : 14) and "blind guides," 
Matt. 23 : 16. The reference here is 
specially to censorious teachers who 
have a "beam" in their eye, ver. 41. 
Teachers especially need the light of 
truth. If ignorant and unskilful, they 
destroy themselves and others. 

40. The disciple is not above 
his master, rather the teacher. This 
verse appears to be a kind of proverbial 
saying, meaning the disciple cannot 
expect to become wiser and better than 
his teacher. Thus the Jewish writer 
Maimonides says, " He that learns shall 
not be greater than he of whom he 
learns, but shall be like him." But 
every one that is perfect, etc. Bet- 
ter, But every one shall he completdy 
trained, fully instructed, or perfected as 
his teacher. The disciple naturally 
makes his teacher his model and 
assimilates himself to him. If ye are 
blind and censorious teachers, you Avill 
infuse the same spirit into your disci- 
ples. You will thus be unsafe and unfit 
instructors. Some would refer the mas- 
ter or teacher here to Jesus, and make 

the expression mean, " I, your Teacher, 
have never shown a censorious and un- 
charitable spirit; do not, therefore, as- 
sume this to yourselves, but demean 
yourselves like your Teacher, imitating 
his example and imbibing his spirit, so 
that you may be his disciples in deed 
and in truth." The former view, how- 
ever, seems to siiit the connection better. 

41. Jesus shows the incongruity and 
the impossibility of censorious and 
uncharitable persons teaching others 
aright. The connection with the two 
preceding verses is natural. He who 
teaches others should himself have 
clear views of truth and be properly 
qualified; he should have no beam in 
his eye; like a good tree, he should 
bear good fruit; and being a good man, 
he should speak out of the good treasure 
of his heart, vers. 43-45. Why behold- 
est thou? It is common for persons 
of this spirit to censure those whose 
defects are by no means equal to their 
own. This is illustrated by the figure 
of the eye. The interrogative form 
used in this verse and the next renders 
the discourse the more pointed. The 
singular number indicates a personal 
application. ^ 

The mote, a dry particle of wood, 
a minute splinter, represents a small 
fault; the beam, a joist, a 7 after, de- 
notes a large one. Sin blinds men in re- 
gard to their own faults, and warpa , 
their judgment and makes them censo- 
rious in regard to others. Perceivest, 
Observe attentively, scrutinize. In- 
stead of looking at, staring at, the slight 
obstruction in thy brother's eye, thou 
oughtest to scrutinize diligently the 
large one in thine own. The illustra- 
tion here is an ideal one, and the beam 
a hyperbolical ex})ression, presenting 
in a strong light the difference between 
the faults of the two individuals. Some- 
what similar phrases have been found 
in the writings of the rabbins and in 
the classics. Compare Num. 33 : 55 ; 
Josh. 23 : 13. See also Rom. 2 : 17, 19, 

\. D. 28. 



42 thine own eye ? Either how canst thou say to thy 
hrother, Brother, let nie pull out the mote that is in 
thine eye, when thou thyself behoUlest not the beam 

that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, ^ciust out ^^ro. 13. 17. 
first the beam out of thine own eye, ami then shalt 
thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy 
brother's eye. 

43 'For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit ; 'Mt, 7. IG, 17. 
neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 

44 For ™ every tree is known by his own fruit. For of 
thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush 

45 gather they grapes. ■ A good man out of the good 

» Mt. 12.33 ; 1 John 

4. 1. 
» Pro. 10. 20 ; Mt. 

12. 3.5. 

42. How canst thou say. The 

illustration is still further applied. 
£ither should be omitted aceordine: 
to the best critical authorities. With 
what consistency canst thou say. Let 
me pull out, 'literally, cast out, the 
mote from thine eye? Is it possible 
that one who has such an obstruction 
in his own eye should undertake to 
cast out a small speck from his broth- 
er's eye ? The self-ignorance, the self- 
indulgence, and the unbounded assur- 
ance of censorious teachers are here 
brought to view. " Our own sinfulness 
destrovsthe spiritual vision which alone 
can rightly judge sin in others." — 

Hypocrite. Pretender, dissembler. 
One who assumes to be what he is not. 
The censorious formalist shows himself 
a hypocrite, in that he indulges greater 
sins in himself than those which he 
dwells upon and condemns in others. 
Jesus rebukes him for his folly, and 
points out the right course to pursue. 
Cast out first the beam. Sit first in 
judgment upon thyself. Direct thy at- 
tention first to the correction of thine 
own faults. Then shalt thou see 
clearly, the obstructions having been 
removed from thine own eye, to cast 
out the mote from thy brother's. 
You will then be able to judge rightly 
and to assist him in the correction of his 

43. For introduces a reason for what 
he had just said, founded on an illustra- 
tion drawn from the natural world. A 
good tree, etc. — better, Far there is 
no good tree th<it bringeth forth corrupt 
or bad fruit — a tree good for bearing 
and of good quality. Censoriousness 
and a beam in thine eye show that 
thou art corrupt within and a hypocrite, 

ver. 42. Neither doth a corrupt 
tree — bad in quality, in opposition to 
good — a worthless tree. A bad and 
hypocritical teacher cannot be expected 
to Dring forth the good fruits of love 
toward all. Some of the oldest manu- 
scripts read. Neither again doth, etc. 
Robinson and some others who regard 
this sermon as identical with the 
sermon on the mount transpose this 
verse, placing it after ver. 44, in order 
to make it conform with Matt. 7 : 16-18. 
But there is no necessity for this change 
of order. The connection here seems 
to be perfectly natural, and surely de- 
mands no transposition. How much 
better to take the discourse as inspira- 
tion has left it, and understand it ac- 
cordingly ! 

44. For introduces an admitted fact 
as a further reason. So uniform is the 
law of likeness in tlie natural world 
that every tree is known by, or from, 
his own fruit. Just so with men and 
with teachers. They are known from 
their spirit, words, acts, conduct, prac- 
tices, and by the effect of their doctrines 
on others. For from such worthless 
plants or shrubs as thorns or a bram - 
ble bush people do not harvest fisrs 
and grapes, the choicest and most 
highly valued fruits of Palestine, Num. 
13 : 23, 24. Thoriis represents the whole 
class of thorny plants; a bramble bus/i, 
any prickly shrub. At the present day 
travellers are struck with the number 
and variety of thorny shrubs and 
prickly plants in Palestine. Tlie 
people gather them and use them for 
fuel. In like manner, it is vain to 
expect the fruits of holiness and love 
from a corrupt heart. " If thy life is 
evil, it is vain to pretend to teach 
others." — Alfokd. 



A D. 28. 

treasure of his heart bringcth forth that which is 

good ; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his 

heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for "of the 'Mt. 12. 34. 

abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. 

46 J' And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the 

47 things which I say? <i Whosoever cometh to me, 
and neareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show 

48 you to whom he is like. He is like a man which built 
an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation 


Pch. 13. 25; Mai. 

1. 6; Mt. 7. 21- 

23; 2"). 11. 
qMt. 7. 24-27; John 

13. 17. 

45. This verge is closely connected 
with the preceding, yet it is not found 
in the sermon on tne mount. Jesus, 
however, used this saying in another 
connection and in a different order. 
Matt. 12 : 34, 35. Jesus now pursues 
an illustration similar to the preceding, 
applying the principle, that like pro- 
duces like, to good and bad men. A 
good man. Ilather, The good man, 
so also the evil man. Treasure means 
stores, anything laid up, be it good or 
bad; and here refers to inner, spiritual 
stores — the feelings, thoughts, purposes, 
of the soul. Bringeth forth that 
which is good . . . evil. Bringeth 
forth words and deeds good or evil. 
The heart is a storehouse of the sources 
of conduct. The words treasure of 
his heart, in the second place, are 
omitted by the highest critical authori- 
ties. For introduces a natural reason 
for what he had just said. Of, out of, 
the ahundance, the overflowing of 
the heart, the inward dispositions 
and feelings, whether good or bad, his 
mouth speaketh. Language is the 
overflowing of the soul, and naturally 
indicates its state and condition. Matt. 
15 : 18; Rom. 10 : 9, 10; 2 Cor. 4 : 13. 
"No man has so much artifice as to 
command the mouth entirely, so that it 
shall never discover itself in some un- 
guarded moment." — Doddridge. 

46, Jesus in conclusion makes a per- 
sonal application of his discourse to his 
real and to his professed disciples. 
Why call ye me Lord, Lord. 
Many, both real and professed friends, 
were thus addressing him. The repeti- 
tion points to a habitual profession. 
And do not the things which I 
say. Which you certainly would do 
if you truly accepted me as your Lord. 
It was applicable to the apostles and 
all his disciples so far as they did not 
obey his words. There was much of 

evil, the old leaven, in them all. They 
failed in the exercise of love toward 
others, and had too much of the cen- 
sorious and uncharitable spirit which 
he had been condemning. The inter- 
rogative form makes it a two-edged 
sword; an emphatic warning, on the 
one hand, against a mere profession, 
and an emphatic command, on the other, 
to make their professi(m and practice 
agree. The idea expressed in this verse 
is used with a different application in 
Matt. 7 : 21-23. The comparison which 
follows, while analogous to that in Mat- 
thew (7 : 24-27), shows considerable 
diversity. That in Matthew enters 
more fully into detail, but this in Luke 
seizes upon strong points, and in some 
parts is much the more graphic. 

47. Whosoever cometh to me, as 
a learner or disciple. These words are 
not in Matt. 7 : 24. Heareth . . . 
doeth. Doing, obeying, comes by 
hearing and implies faith, Rom. 10 : 14. 
My sayings, those which he had 
spoken in this sermon, and also at va- 
rious other times. 

48. A man which built an house. 
Rather, A man building a house, who is 
now engaged in the work. A house is 
a place of comfort and defence against 
all kinds of weather. Christians are 
moulding their characters, cultivating 
their sentiments, affections, and habits, 
and founding their hopes. Digged 
deep and laid, etc. Literally, Who 
dug and deepened and laid a foundation 
on the rock. The successive steps, as 
well as the diligence and earnestness of 
the builder, are here graphically brought 
to view. He was not satisfied with 
mere digging ; he goes deeper and deeper 
till he reaches the solid rock. So the 
Christian digs through and throws 
aside all human foundation, and is not 
content till he can found Iiis religion 
and his hopes on Christ and his truth. 

A. D. 28. 



on a roek; and when 'the flood arose, the stream *^?^; ^?^' ^J^^^i.l 

beat vehemently ui)on that house, and couhl not shake j!„ii. i" 12! ' ' 

49 it: 'for it w;is fonndod upon a rock. But lie that •Coi. 2. 7. 

heareth, and 'dooth not, is like a man that 'without a 'Jam. 2,20. 
foundation built an liouse upon the earth ; ajrainait 

Avhieii the stream did beat veliemently, and immcdi- ^j^ 28 15-18- Heb 

ately it fell : and " the ruin of that house was great. 2.2,3. ' 

Soric comnientiitors refer the rock to 
Christ (1 Cor. 3 • 11); others to the 
words of salvation which he tau!?ht. 
But he who builds ou Christ's words 
really builds ou Christ. Christ is ulti- 
mately the rock on which the church 
and Christians are founded, Isa. 28 : 

When the flood — ratlicr, A flood, 
an overtlowiuiT, an inundatioi> — arose, 
the stream beat vehemently upon 
that house ; it dashed against it, but 
in vain. The imagery here is the most 
vivid and familiar to an Eastern 
audience, accustomed to inundations. 
Immense quantities of rain fall in Pal- 
estine during the winter, between seed- 
time and harvest. The rivulet swells 
into a stream, and the stream into a 
river, sweeping away houses and cattle 
with the torrent. " In Egypt an entire 
village founded on the earth the writer 
saw in ruins, having been swept away 
by the flood from the mountains of 
Abyssinia." — Rev. W. H. Van Dorn, 
On Luke. The value of such a founda- 
tion is seen at once in that such a terri- 
ble ordeal could not shake that 
house, much less destroy it. Against 
the Christian's edifice of faith and ho})e 
many trials shall beat, temptations of 
Satan, persecutions, errors of doctrine 
and practice, death and the judgment; 
but none nor all of these shall shake a 
single hope or grace which is founded 
on the Rock of ages. Amid all his 
fiery ordeals he shall stand, because his 
house was founded upon a rock, or 
rather, according to the best critical 
authorities, it was well built, upon the 
proper foundation and in its structure. 
Compare Rom. 8 : 35-39 ; 1 Cor. 3 : 10- 

49. Without a foundation. With- 
out a foundation of rock ( ver, 48), which 
was the only material wortliy to be used 
or styled a foundation under such cir- 
cumbtances. Kuilt a house upon 
the earth, uj^on the surface, without 
digging and finding the rock. The 

earth represents the works, doctrines, 
and opinions of men, and all other 
delusive grounds on which unregener- 
ate men build their hopes for eternity. 
It is worthy of notice that he heard, 
which was commendable; he built his 
house, had his religion and his hopes 
of future safety and happiness; but all 
this was of no avail so long as he 
rested on things earthly, without any 
true foundation. Against his house the 
stream did dash, nndermining it, and 
immediately, without giving any 
show of resistance or affording its owner 
any protection, it fell. And to repre- 
sent more forcibly this terrible fall, 
Jesus adds. The ruin of that house 
was great. " The fishermen of Ben- 
gal," says Mr. Ward in his View of the 
Hindoos, " build their huts in the dry 
season on the bed of sand from which 
the river has retired. When the rains 
set in, which they do often very sud- 
denly, accompanied with violent north- 
west winds, the water pours down in 
torrents from the mountains. In one 
night multitudes of these huts are fre- 
quently swept away, and the place 
where they stood is the next morning 
undiscoverable." And thus the man 
with mere religious knowledge, without 
the corresponding practice, shall be 
visited with swift destruction, Prov. 12 : 
7 ; Isa. 28 : 16, 17. Expecting, it may 
be, to go to heaven, he shall be cast 
down to hell. " The soul of religion is 
the practical part, James 1 : 27. Talk- 
ative thinks that learning and saying 
Avill make a good Christian, and thus 
he deceiveth his own soul. Hearing is 
but the sowing of the seed. Talking is 
not sufficient to prove that fruit is in- 
deed in the heart and life. Let us as- 
sure ourselves that at the day of doom 
men shall be judged according to their 
fruits. . . . Tlie end of the world is 
compared to our harvest, and you know 
that men at harvest regard nothing but 
fruit."— John Bunyan in Pilgrim' i 



A. D. 28. 


1. The disciples of Jesus may suffer 
want toEjether with the reproaches and 
faultfindings of their enemies. Let 
them commit their cases to Jesus, who 
will defend their cause, vers. 1-5 ; Matt. 
9 : 14-17. 

2. They who are most destitute of 
true godliness are often the most tena- 
cious of the forms of the law and of 
traditions, ver. 2 ; Matt. 23 : 23, 24 ; 2 
Tim. 3 : 5. 

3. We must not sacrifice the spirit 
to the letter, inward piety to external 
forms, and especially must we beware 
of uncommanded observances, ver. 2; 
Isa. 1 : 12. 

4. Jesus taught the right use of the 
Sabbath — that it is in harmony with 
the fourth commandment to do deeds 
of necessity and mercy, and to perform 
all the labor that public and private 
worship requires, vers. 3, 4, 9 ; Matt. 12 : 
^ 11, 12. 

5. Learn the value of scriptural 
Knowledge. The Bible is our rule of 
faith and practice, vers. 3, 4 ; 2 Pet. 1 : 
19-21 ; Ps. 19 : 7-11 ; 119 : 9, 11, 105. 

6. Jesus did not desist from his work 
©ecause of opposition, ver. 6 ; ch. 13 : 
32,33; John 9 : 4; 1 Pet. 2 : 21. 

7. The wicked watch the friends of 
God, in order to ensnare or find fault 
with them, ver. 7 ; Ps. 37 : 32; 38 : 12; 
62 : 4 ; Jer. 20 : 10 ; Luke 14 : 1. 

8. Whatever is right may be done 
openly, ver. 8; John 18 : 20; Acts 26 : 
26 ; Eph. 6 : 19. 

9. In the stretching forth of the 
withered hand we have an illustration 
of the act and effort of faith, ver. 10 ; 
Eph. 2:8; Heb. 11:1; James 2 : 17-20. 

10. Christ is opposed by all the ele- 
ments of a wicked world. Wicked 
men of the most opposite character and 
aims band together in their hatred to 
the truth, ver. 11 ; Mark 3:6; John 
15 : 18-20; Acts 4 : 26; 1 John 3 : 
12, 13. 

11. Jesus has taught us by example 
to be much in prayer and to have spe- 
cial seasons for drawing near to God, as 
in times of trial and persecution, or 
when setting apart men for the minis- 
try, or for other important work, etc., 
ver. 12; Acts 6 : 6; 12 : 5; 13 : 3. 

12. Ministers are called of God, but 
should not hastily be appointed to 

office. There should be a previous dis- 
cij)leship. The apostles had been dis- 
cijjles, and most, and possibly all, of 
them discijiles also of John, ver. 13; 
Acts 13 : 2; 1 Tim. 5 : 22. 

13. As among the apostles, so among 
ministers and Christians generally, God 
calls into service every variety of tal- 
ent. Every gift and ability is needed 
in his kingdom, vers. 14-16; ch. 11 : 3; 
1 Cor. 12 : 4-11. 

14. If under our Saviour's ministry a 
Judas was found among his disciples 
and apostles, we must not think it 
strange if now unconverted and wicked 
men are sometimes found in the church 
and in the ministrv, ver. 16 ; Acts 8 : 
18-23 ; 2 Tim. 4 : 10 ; 2 Pet. 2 : 1, 12- 
16; 2 Cor. 11 : 13-15; 2 Tim. 1 : 20. 

15. AVatching and prayer prepare the 
way for toil and preaching, vers. 12, 17, 
20 ; Col. 4 : 2, 3. 

16. Doing good to the bodies of men 
often prepares the way for reaching 
their hearts and doing good to their 
souls, vers. 18, 19 ; ch. 9 : 11. 

17. True happiness is very different 
from what the world thinks it to be. Its 
seat is in the heart, not in any external 
condition, vers. 20-23. 

18. True religion makes men happy, 
and none can be truly happy without 
it, vers. 20-23 ; Eccl. 11:9; 12 : 13. 

19. The beatitudes present humilia- 
tion on the one hand and exaltation 
on the other, with present happiness 
("Happy ye poor," etc.) and future 
joy and glory (''ye shall," etc.), vers. 

20. All true happiness begins with 
spiritual poverty — a consciousness of a 
moral deficiency in ourselves, a self- 
renunciation that yields the heart up to 
Christ and the claims of the gospel, ver. 
20 ; Ps. 51 : 17 ; Isa. 57 :_15 ; Luke 4 : 18. 

21. True happiness is increased rather 
than diminished by the opposition and 
persecutions of men. If Christians 
have internal evidences of God's favor, 
the hatred of the woi'ld is an additional 
evidence. They are the companions of 
prophets, and shall be participators in 
their reward, vers. 22, 23 ; Acts 5 : 41 ; 
Heb. 10 : 34 ; 1 Pet. 4 : 12, 13. 

22. He is poor indeed who possesses 
not heavenlv riches, ver. 24 ; Matt. 6 • 
19-21 ; Rev.'3 : 17. 

23. Earth cannot satisfy the longings 
of the soul nor give lasting joy, ver. 

A. D. 28. 



25; Eccl. 7:6; Isa. 65 : 13; James 

24. lie who seeks the friendship of a 
•wicked world will siiorifice his friend- 
ship for Je-sus, ver. 26; James 2:7; 
4 :4. 

25. It is the sxlory of Christianity that 
it makes mankintl a common brother- 
hood, and that it is the only reliirion 
that demands love to onr enemies. 
These are evi«lenees of its divine orij;in, 
and of its universal adaptation to men, 
ver. 26. 

26. We must not imitate the world in 
returning evil for evil, but our heavenly 
Fatlier in loving our enemies and doing 
them the highest good. A revengeful 
si)irit is unchristian, vers. 27, 28, 

27. Forgiving injuries instead of 
avenging them is a mark of true great- 
ness and goodness, vers. 27, 28. 

28. The best way of overcoming evil 
is Mith good, vers'. 29, 30; Rom. 12 : 
20, 21. 

29. He who simply does to others as 
others do to him lias not yet learned 
the first lesson of Christianity, vers. 30, 

30. If our righteousness does not ex- 
ceed that of the world's morality, we 
cannot enter the kingdom of God, vers. 
32-34 ; Matt. 5 : 20. 

31. "All hopes of heaven which do 
not lead us to strive habitually to do to 
others as we would that they should do 
to us will fail us at giving up of the 
ghost," vers. 31-35; Job 11 : 20; Prov. 

10 : 28 ; Matt. 25 : 40-46. 

32. We should aim at the highest 
perfection of every virtue, especially of 
love and mercv, vers. 35, 36 ; 1 Cor. 13 : 

33. If we are God's children, we shall 
imitate him, vers. 35, 36. 

34. A censorious spirit is opposed to 
Christ, invites a like spirit from others, 
and is self-condemnatorv, ver, 37 ; 1 Pet. 
2 : 23 ; 1 Cor. 13 : 4-7 ; Matt. 18 : 33, 34 ; 
Horn. 2:1. 

35. If we put ourselves in the place 
of our Judge, and thus pronounce rash 
and harsh judgments on others, we 
shall bring judgments upon ourselves, 
vers. 37, 38 ; Judg. 1:6,7; P^om. 14:10; 
12 : 19. 

36. Men lose nothing, but are rather 
gainers, bv liberality, ver. 38 ; Prov. 

11 : 24; Ps*. 41 : 1 ; 1 Tim. 6 : 17-19. 

37. If teachers and leaders are blindj 

how great the darkness! ver. 39; Matt. 
6 : 23; Jnde 10, 13. 

38. Lot us strive to be as our Master, 
and in humiliation and ohedicMU'e will- 
ingly be made i»erfcct througii suli'eiiug, 
ver."40 ; lleb. 2 : 10. 

39. Sin and selfishness blind men to 
their own faults, and make tiiem cen- 
sorious and sharp-sighted in regard to 
the faults of others, ver. 41 ; 1 Tim. 5 : 
13 ; 2 Tim. 3 : 6-8. 

40. To get right ourselves before Go<l 
is our first duty ; then shall we be pre- 
pared to set others right. A beam in 
thine eye unfits thee to take out the 
mote fi-om thv brother's eye, ver. 42; 
Rom. 2 : 19-23; Gal. 6 : 1. 

41. A knowledge of ourselves is the 
best preventive of evil speaking and 
all censoriousness. ver 42. 

42. Every man shall stand or fall by 
the fruits of his heart and life, his words 
and his acts, vers. 43-45 ; Matt. 12 : 37 ; 
2 Cor. 5 : 10. 

43. Though we are not to be censor- 
ious in judging, it is our duty to ])rove 
all things and hold fast to that which 
is good, and decide by their fruits be- 
tween true and false teachers, as well as 
between true and false doctrine, vers. 
43-45; Jer. 23 : 16 ; 2 Cor. 11 : 13; 1 
Thess. 5 : 21 ; 2 Tim. 3 : 5. 

44. Profession without the correspond- 
ing practice is worthless, ver. 46 ; ch. 
25 : 11, 12. 

45. Christ is our Lawgiver, vers. 47- 
49; Acts 3 : 21, 22. 

46. Those who build on Christ by a 
living faith and a hearty obedience (the 
two are inseparable) shall stand against 
every trial, ver. 48 ; 1 Pet. 2 : 6. 

47. All hopes founded on human 
merit shall perish ; many who now 
weep, pray, and fast shall be lost be- 
cause they make these, and not Christ, 
their dependence, ver. 49 ; Isa. 28 : 37 ; 
Prov. 11 : 7. 


Having ended his sermon in the plain 
Jesus heals a centurion's servant {vers 
1-10), and the day after raises to life a 
widow's son (11-15), both of which 
result in greatly extending his fame, 
16, 17. It reaches John at Machoerus, 
5vho sends two disciples to him ; they 
witness the ujiracles of Jesus and carry 



A. D. 28. 

Healing of a centurion^ s servant. 

VII. NOW when he had ended all his sayings in the 

audience of tlie people, ^he entered into Cupernauni. 

2 And a certain centurion's servant, who *was dear 

» Mt. 8. 5. 
» Job 31. 15. 

back the report to their master, 18-23. 
After their departure Jesus discourses 
concerning John (24-28), the effect of 
which discourse upon the hearers is 
recorded (29, 30), which leads Jesus to 
speak of the treatment of both John 
and himself by that generation, 31-35. 
An interesting incident is added con- 
cerning the anointing of Jesus' feet by 
a penitent woman, which presents in 
striking contrast the self-righteous and 
censorious Pharisee, and Jesus as the 
compassionate Saviour and Friend of 
sinners, 36-50. 

1-10. Jesus at Capernaum Heals 
A Centurion's Servant, Matt. 8 : 
5-13. Luke's account is fuller at the 
beginning ; but Matthew's is fuller at 
the end. Thus vers. 3-6 below are not 
in Matthew, and Matt. 8 : 11-13 is not 
in Luke. 

1. When he had ended all his 
sayings, had finished his discourse. 
This shows that Luke gives us in the 
preceding chapter a discourse delivered 
at one time, and not a mere collection 
of sayings or detached parts of different 
discourses. In the audience, the 
hearing, of the people. The dis- 
course, which was especially to his dis- 
ciples (ch. 6 : 20), was also for the 
information and instruction of the peo- 
ple. He entered into Capernaum. 
The language implies that he was not far 
from Capernaum when he delivered the 
preceding discourse. On Capernaum 
see ch. 4 : 31. This city was the centre 
of his operations, and to it he frequent- 
ly returned from his preaching tours. 

2. And connects a continuous narra- 
tive. The language most naturally im- 
plies that the miracle now to be related 
was wrought immediately after the ser- 
mon on the plain. Equally natural is 
the implication that the healing of the 
leper (Matt. 8 : 1-4) followed immedi- 
ately after the sermon on the mount. 
Matthew, who does not give an account 
of the appointing of the twelve apostles 
and of the discourse that immediately 
followed, groups together without strict 
chronological order a number of remark- 

able miracles in connection with that 
of the leper, after the sermon on the 
mount. This will help to explain why 
the healing of the centurion is found iu 
the eighth chapter of Matthew. The 
prominence of the individual whose 
servant was healed, the commonness of 
palsy and the difficulty of its cure, the 
healing of the individual without touch- 
ing or even seeing him, may also have- 
been some of the reasons for the selec- 
tion and position of this miracle in Mat- 

A centurion was a Roman officer 
commanding a hundred men. He was 
]>robably in the service of Herod An- 
tipas, and stationed at Capernaum as 
an important provincial town and a 
place of considerable traffic on the Sea 
of Galilee, to preserve order there and 
in the adjacent country. He was a 
Gentile (Matt. 8 : 10), but seems to 
have been strongly attached to the 
people and worship of Jehovah, and to 
have regarded Jesus as without doubt 
a ''teacher come from God," and prob- 
ably as the Messiah, the Kedeemer of 
Israel. He was very probably a " pi-os- 
elyte of the gate," one who lived among 
the Jewish people and conformed to 
what were called the seven precepts of 
Noah, which prohibited blasphemy, 
idolatiy, murder, robbery, rebellion, 
and eating of blood and of things 
strangled. Those who submitted to 
circumcision and became naturalized 
Jews were termed " proselytes of right- 
eousness." Three other centurions ap- 
pear in the New Testament, and all in 
a favorable light — the one at the cross, 
ch. 23 : 47 ; Cornelius, Acts 10 : 1 ; 
Julius, Acts 27 : 1, 3, 43. 

Servant. This word properly means 
bondsman or slave, though it is also 
used to express the service of choice 
and devotion. See on 1 Cor. 7 : 21, 23; 
Gal. 3 : 28; Col. 3 : 11; John 15 : 15; 
Rom. 6 : 16. The word translated 
servant in ver. 7 is a different one, 
meaning literally my hoy, a familiar 
way of styling a domestic servant. 
Who Avas dear unto hiin. " It was 

A. D. 28. 



3 unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he 
heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the cklcrs of the 
Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal 

4 his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they be- 
souijht him instantly, saying. That he was worthy for 

6 whom lie shimld do this: for *lie loveth our nation, 'f>al. 5. C; i John 
6 and he hath built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went ^" ^^ ' '*' ^' 
W'ith them. 

not uneoraraon in Roman history to 
find instances of the deepest al!ection 
between nuvster and slave." — Dr. J. J. 
Owen. Was sick, with i)alsy or 
paralysis, Matt. 8 : 6. Ready to die, 
Mattliew says " he was grievously tor- 
mented," referring to the violence and 
painfulness of the disease. It was ready 
to terminate latally. 

3. He heard of Jesus, of his 
miraculous ptnver, and that he was now 
at Ca}>ernaum. He sent unto him 
the elders. Rather, He sent, to him 
elders, the article being wanting in the 
Greek. They were persons who were 
elders or magistrates of the city, or 
more probably officers of the synagogue 
which the centurion had built, ver. (3. 
The term elder was first applied to men 
of age, elderly men (Gen. 24 : 2 ; 50 : 7 ) ; 
and as persons of ripe age and ex- 
perience would naturally be called to 
the management of public atfairs (Josh. 
24 : 31), it afterward became an otiicial 
title, Ex. 3 : 16 ; 4 : 29 ; 19 : 7 ; 24 : 1, 
9. The office grew out of the patri- 
archal system. Among the Arabs of 
the present day the sheikh (the old 
man) is the highest authority in the 
tribe. Their authority was great, 
though undefined, Josh. 9 : 18; 1 Sam. 
8 : 4, 5. They continued during all the 
political changes of the Jews; under 
', the kings, 1 Kings 12 : 6; 20 : 8 ; during 
I the captivity, Jer. 29 : 1 ; Ezek. 20 : 1 ; 
• and after the return, Ezra 10 : 8, 14. 
In the time of Christ there were elders 
; of the people, ch. 22 : 6G ; Matt. 21 : 23. 
i Cities had their elders, and so had syn- 
I agogues. A portion of the Sanhedrim 
I was chosen from the elders, ch. 9 : 22 ; 
I 20 : 1. 

I Matthew makes no mention of the 
elders coming to Jesus, and seems to 
represent the centurion as coming per- 
sonally. But it was common then, as 
now, to speak of a person doing what 
was done by others under his direction. 

Thus Jesus is said to baptize, when he 
only baptized by his disciples, John 4 : 
1 ; see also 19 : 1. Possibly ihti cen- 
turion followed his friends, liis earnest- 
ness having overcome his modesty. 
4. Besought him instantly. Rather, 
earna.tly. Such is the meaning of the 
original, and such was the old meaning 
of the English word " instantly." The 
elders are urgent, and they bring the 
case earnestly, and of course quickly, to 
the attention of Jesus. Saying that. 
Omit that. The words he was 
worthy, etc. — rather, he is worthy 
that thou shoiUdst do this for him, etc. — 
are what the elders said to Jesus. 
Notice that while the elders plead the 
worthiness of the centurion, he alleges 
his owivunworthiness. Great excellence 
and humility go together. 

5. The special reasons of his worthi- 
ness which were uppermost in the 
minds of the elders are given. They 
did not know the deep piety and 
strong faith of the centurion. For he 
loveth our nation. A fact worthy 
of special mention, for Roman officials 
were eften noted for their tyranny and 
oppression. He hath l)mlt us a 
synagogue. He is emphatic in the 
original, he himself, of his own expense. 
The remainder of the clause literally 
is, built for us the synagogue — that is, 
huilt our synagogue. The detiniteness 
of the expression seems to imply tliat 
there was but one synagogue in Caper- 
naum. Some suppose that the ruins of 
a fine synagogue at Tell Hum mark the 
site of this synagogue and of Caper- 
naum. This does not necessarily follow. 
Every town had its synagogue, and 
doubtless many had much finer ones 
than Capernaum. See on ch. 4 : 31 
for a description of this ancient ruin, 
etc. The conduct of this centurion was 
in contrast with many Roman officers 
who treated the Jewish people and 
nation with contempt, and with s^mti 



A. D. 28. 

29. 23; 


And when he was now not far from the house, the 
centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, 
trouble not thyself : for^I am not worthy that thou 'Pro 

7 shouldest enter under my roof: wherefore neither ^^^ 
thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say 

8 in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I 
also am a man set under authority, having under me 
soldiers, and I say unto one. Go, and he goeth ; and 
to another. Come, and he cometh ; and to my servant, 

9 Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard these 
things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, 
and said unto the people that followed him, I say 

unto you, *I have not found so great faith, no, not in *^^- 9- 3i, 32, 


who had invaded and wantonly de- 
stroyed their synagogues. Yet several 
examples are recorded of persons build- 
ing synagogues. Even the Roman em- 
peror Augustus (who died A. D. 14) 
published a decree that Jewish syn- 
agogues should be spared and regarded 
as schools of learning and virtue. 

6, 7. Jesus goes with the elders ; and 
when they approach the centurion's 
house, he sends friends, not his ser- 
vants, but the intimate friends of his 
family, and through these the uenturion 
addresses Jesus. Thus what he does 
through others he does himself. Thus 
Solomon built the temple. Dr. Thomson 
(Land and Book, vol. i., p. 313) says of 
this speaking through others : " This is 
a very ancient and very common cus- 
tom. Everything is done by mediation. 
Thus the centurion sent to Jesus elders, 
beseeching him that he would come and 
heal his servant. In a hundred instances 
I have been pressed and annoyed by 
these mediating ambassadors." Yet it 
is possible that after this second em- 
bassy the centurion may have come out 
and met Jesus in person. Trouble 
not thyself. He would not put Jesus 
to any unnecessary trouble to come to 
his house when the healing could be 
performed without so doing. He also 
felt unworthy to have the Saviour 
honor his dwelling with his presence, 
not only because he was a Gentile, a 
heathen, but douutless also because of 
a sense of his own spiritual lowliness, 
his deep sinfulness, and hence unworthi- 
ness to receive under his roof the great 
Redeemer of Israel. He would, there- 
fore, have Jesus say in, or ^mth, a 
word. His authoritative word would 

take the place of his personal presence 
and act, and the servant would be heal- 
ed. In the use of a single word he be- 
lieved Jesus could cure his servant. On 
servant see on ver. 2. 

8. The reason for thus believing he 
now states. He knew both what it was 
to be under authority and what to exer- 
cise authority. His power was indeed 
limited, but even his word was promptly 
and faithfully obeyed. If the word of a 
subordinate officer like himself received 
such obedience, how much more the 
word of one whose rank was so exalted, 
and who was manifestly a Sovereign 
over all diseases ! 

9. Marvelled. Wondered at his 
faith and humility with admiration. 
As a man, Jesus exercised the various 
faculties of the human soul. This in- 
stance of faith excited the surprise or 
wonder of his human nature. To his 
divine nature all was known, nothing 
was new or strange. No, not in Is- 
rael. Not even in Israel, the chosen 
people of God. Israel was applied to 
the ten tribes after they separated from 
Judah, but after the captivity it was 
applied to the whole nation as settled in 
Palestine. This was the first instance 
of faith in Christ's power to heal at a 
distance. And this great faith was 
found, not in some favored Israelite, but 
in one far less privileged and favored — 
a Gentile ! Faith was a frequent and 
special object of our Saviour's praise, 
ver. 50 ; Matt. 15 : 28. ilatthew (8 : 11, 
12) at this point adds that it would 
at last be seen that many of the less 
privileged would be saved, while 
many of the highly favored would be 

L. D. 28. 



Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the 
house, found the servant whole that had been sick. 

Baising of a widow'' s son. 

And it came to ]>jvss the day after, that he went into 
a city called Nain,aiid many of his disciples wcntwith 
2 him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to 
the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man 
carried out, *the only son of his mother, and she was '2 Sam. 14. 7. 
a widow : and much people of the city was with her. 

10. Matthew (8 : 13) relates that Je- 
18 granted the reque.stof the centurion, 
hich is ini[)lie(l, though not stated, by 
uke. They who were sent returned 
id found tlie servant (the same word 
ver. 2) whole, restored to 


11-17. Jesus 
Ion at Xaix. 
y Luke only 

Raises a Widow's 
This miracle is related 
Luke records the rais- 
ig from the dead of two persons by 
esus, this one and Jairus' daughter, 
h. 8 : 41-56; Matthew and Mark only 
ne each, Jairus' daughter, Matt. 9 : 
8-26; Mark 5 : 22-43"; and John only 
ne, Lazarus, John 11 : 44. But other 
ersons were probably raised from the 
ead, of whom we have no particular 
ecord, ver. 22 ; Matt. 11:5. Only so 
luch is narrated as was necessary for 
videncing the Messiahship of Jesus 
ind for our faith, John 20 : 31. 

11. The day after, the one when 
le healed the centurion's son at Caper- 
laum. Nain, meaning, according to 
ome, pasture, but according to others 
gracefulness, was a town about four 
niles south-west of Tabor and about 
'wenty-one miles south-west of Caper- 
laum. It is in the vicinity of Endor, 
ind is situated picturesquely on a low 
Bouutain-spur, the north-western edge 
)f the Little Herraon, where the hill 
lesceuds into the plain of Esdraelon. 
(t seems to have been a town of some 
extent, but it is now little more than a 
r;luster of ruins ; the dwellings are 
5mall and the inhabitants few. Its 
Diodcrn name, Xein, is really identical 
with its ancient name. It has a foun- 
tain, which has had much to do with 
the continuance of the place till the 
present time. " It is a small, poor 
hamlet of some twenty houses, or rather 
huts. Round the houses, however, are 
pretty extensive ruins, and the writer 

found some traces of what appeared to 
be an ancient wall. The most interest- 
ing antiquities are the tombs hewn in 
the rock a short distance cast of the 
village. It was in this direction our 
Lord approached, and probably to one 
or other of those very tombs they were 
bearinjSf the corpse when he met and 
arrested the mournful procession." — 
J. L. Porter, Alexander's Kitto's Ct/clo. 
The situation of Nain is described as 
extremely beautiful. 

As the Jews generally buried the 
dead on the same day they died and 
before sundown, it has been asked, 
How could Jesus have reached Nain 
from Capernaum early enough in the 
day to meet the funeral procession? It 
must be remembered that the Orientals 
are early risers and begin their journey 
very early in the morning. They are 
also rapid walkers, and therefore Jesujj 
and his disciples could readily have 
reached Nain before noon. His sermon 
on the plain and the healing of the 
centurion's servant add to his fame, 
and many disciples and much 
people, or great multitudes, follow 

12. Gate of the city. The towns 
and villages were generally enclosed 
with walls for the sake of protection. 
A dead man carried out. The Jews, 
as well as the Greeks and Romans, were 
accustomed to bury their dead outside 
of their cities or towns, except certain 
distinguished persons and the kini^s of 
the house of David, who were buried 
within the city of David, 1 Sam. 28 : 3 ; 
2 Kings 21 : 18. The only son, and 
hence the mother's deepest love and her 
dependence. And she was a widow. 
A double affliction. She was also an 
object of public and deep sympathy, for 
much people,"or a great multitude, of 
the city attended her. 



A. D. 28. 

13 And when the Lord saw her, ''he had compassion on 

14 her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came 
and touched the bier : and they that bare him stood 
still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, 

15 "Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to 
speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 

bMt. 9. 36; John 
11. 38-85 ;Ro. 12. 
15 ; Ilcb. 4. 15. 

•ch. 8. 54; John 
11.43; Ac. 9. 40; 
Ro. 4. 17. 

13. The Lord. Thus Luke fre- 
quently styles Jesus — a name specially 
applicable to him, as his divinity was 
manifesting itself in his words and 
deeds, ch. 10:1; 11 : 39 ; 12 : 42 ; 13 : 
15 ; 17 : 6 ; 22 : 31, 61 ; 24 : 34. " This 
Bublime title was better known and 
more used when Luke and John wrote 
than when Matthew penned his Gos- 
pel. Mark holds an intermediate place. 
This leading doctrine of the faith must 
be taught and established in the begin- 
ning; afterward it might be assumed." 
— Bengel. "May it not be a silent 
evidence that Luke's Gospel is later 
than that of Matthew and Mark, and 
that it was written for those who had 
not seen Christ in the flesh, but who 
habitually thought of him as the as- 
cended and glorified Lord?" — Words- 
worth. Saw her overwhelmed with 
grief. His eye was ever quick to behold 
the sorrowing. Had compassion. A 
strong word in the original. His bowels 
yearned with compassion ; his heart was 
moved with pity. He rebuked the noisy 
grief at Jairus' house (Mark 5 : 39), but 
to this sorrowing mother he says, in 
words of tenderest sympathy. Weep 
not. He first speaks to her soul to 
turn her thoughts and faith to him. 
The word translated weep has special 
reference to the outward expressions of 
grief. The Orientals give vent to their 
sorrow over the dead in loud cries and 
lamentations. When Jesus had com- 
passion on her and performed the mira- 
cle, it was not only a personal blessing 
to the bereaved mother, but was for 
the glory of God and the establishment 
of his claims as the Messiah, John 

14. Having so far checked and con- 
soled the mother as to fix her expecta- 
tion and faith on him. Jesus approaches 
and touches the bier, or open coffin. 
His power is at once felt, and the bear- 
ers who carried the bier stood still, 
although they were moving, after the 
Jewish custom, with a quick step. The 
word here translated hier more strictly 

means a coffin, which was sometimes 
used among the Hebrews ; and if so, it 
must have been an open one, for the 
young man, at the command of Jesus, at 
once sat up, ver. 15. The present cus- 
toms of Palestine are consistent with 
either view. Dr. Van Dyck says : " At 
present cofiins are used only in the cit- 
ies, and even there they have been in. 
use only a comparatively short period. 
The general way of burial is to array 
the corpse in its best dress, as if it were 
living, and lay it on a bier, with no cov- 
ering at all, or with a cloak thrown over 
it, leaving the face exposed. The shroud, 
a long piece of white cotton stuff, is 
wrapped around the body at the grave. 
The grave has at the bottom, on all four 
sides, a ledge of stone built up against 
its sides high enough to allow the body 
to be deposited in the niche thus made 
and be covered with boards, the ends 
of which rest on this ledge and prevent 
the earth from actually touching the 
body. I have attended scores of funerals 
on Lebanon, and. I never saw a corpse 
carried that could not have sat up at 
once had it been restored to life." — Dr. 
Hackett's Smith's Dictionary of the 

Young man. This term was ap- 
plied to young men in the prime and 
vigor of manhood up to the age of forty. 
We may from the circumstances sup- 
pose this one to have been just entering 
upon manhood. I say unto thee. 
Jesus is the resurrection and the life, 
John 11 : 25. He had power over death 
and the grave. Arise. A word of 
power spoken to the soul. So in the 
cases of Jairus' daughter and of Laz- 
arus he raised from death with a word 
of command, ch. 9 : 54; John 11 : 43. 
He did it by his own power. Elijah 
and Elisha, Peter and Paul, obtained 
the restoration of life only by intense 
prayer, through the power of God, 1 
Kings 17 : 20; 2 Kings 4 : 33; Acts 9 : 
40 ; 20 : 10. 

15. He that was dead. Literally, 
And the dead. Another word is used 

A. D. 28. 

LUKE vir. 


16 *And there came a fear on all: and they glorified **^|^-? 
God, saying "that, A great prophet is risen up among 

17 us; and 'that, God hath visited his people. And 
this rumor of him went forth throughout all Judiea 
and throu<2rhout all the region round about. 


24. 19; 
19; 6. 
; 9. 17 ; 

Message from John the Baptist; our Lord's answer; and 
his address to the people. 

18 K And the disciples of John showed him of all these * ^^t- 1^- 2- 

14; 7. 
Ac. 2. 

1. 68 ; Ex. 4. 

in the original from that in ver. 12. 
Thus by two expressions is it rendered 
certain that death had taken place. 
Sat up. The command is heard by 
the young man's soul ; and at once 
returning, it reanimates his body 
through the divine power of Jesus. 
His silting up and his beginnins^ to 
speak were evidences of the complete- 
ness of the miracle. He was a well 
man. Jesus now proceeds to the crown- 
ing act. In condescending love and 
tenderness he delivered him, or gave 
him, to his mother. For the young 
man through death had ceased to belong 
to his mother, but Jesus gave him back 
again to her. Thus the Saviour gave a 
tender tribute of honor to maternal 
love. His tender care for those he 
raised from the dead is noticeable. 
He commanded food to be given to the 
daughter of Jairus (Luke 8 : 55), and 
that Lazarus be unbound (John 11 : 
44) ; and in this case he probably took 
the young man by the hand and with 
compassionate pleasure presented him 
to the rejoicing and grateful mother. 

16. Fear. A religious awe came 
upon all, inspiring reverential feelings. 
Compare ch. 1 : &o. Glorified God, 
made him glorious by grateful and 
adoring praise. That . . . that 
should be omitted. Luke gives what 
the people said, namely : A great 
prophet, etc., . . • God hath visit- 
ed, etc. Since Elijah and Elisha alone 
raised the dead, and Jesus appeared to 
the people of Nain as equal if not 
superior to those ancient prophets by 
this wonderful miracle, they speak of 
hinr as a gre-at prophet. The prophet, 
the Messiah who was to come, was 
doubtless in their thoughts, Deut. 18 : 
15, 18. So they also add, God has visit- 
ed his people in mercv, Isa. 59 : 16- 
21. Compare ch. 1 : Qd', 78. 

17. This rumor, report, concerning 

Jesus and this miracle, that he was a 
jjreat prophet, and that perhaps God 
had visited his people by sending the 
Messiah. In all Judea, strictly that 
portion of Palestine lying south of 
Samaria. But here it seems almost to 
be used in the wider sense for the whole 
of Palestine. Compare ch. 23 : 5, and 
see on ch, 1 : 5. At all events, the 
rejiort went through the whole land 
and the surrounding regions, through- 
out all the regions round about, 
so that it reached the ears of John in 
his im]irisonment, ver. 18. 

18-35. John the Baptist sends a 
Message to Jesus ; his Reply, and 
HIS Dtscouese to the People. 
^Litt. 11 : 2-19. Luke is the fullest 
regarding the two disciples of John 
sent to Jesus, the miracles which Jesus 
then performed (vers. 19, 20), and con- 
cerning the effect of his discourse on 
the Pharisees and publicans, vers. 29, 
30. But Matthew is the fullest on the 
character of John and the kingdom of 
heaven suffering violence, Matt. 11 : 
12, 13. 

18. The disciples of John. These 
disciples were probably in the vicinity 
of Machaerus, a fortress in the southern 
extremity of Perea, east of the Dead 
Sea, and, next to Jerusalem, the 
strongest fortress of the Jews. The 
place where the castle of Machserus 
stood was identified in 1806 with ruins 
of the modern Mukaur, east of the 
Dead Sea, lying on the lofty summit 
of the long mountain ridge, Attarus, 
at its northern termination, near the 
shore of the Zerka Ma'in, and on its 
south side. The mountain is extremely 
cragged, precipitous, and here inacces- 
sible on three sides. Large square 
blocks of stone still show the remains 
of the ancient walls. See Seetzen^s 
Reisen, vol. ii., 330. " It is surrounded 
by ravines, at some points not less than 




A. D. 28. 

19 tilings. And John calling unto him two of his disci- ^^J^- 3- 1-'^; 49. lO; 
pies sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou "^he that isM/i-is -'Dau" 

20 should come ? or look we for another ? AVhen the 

9. 24-26; Z.!C. a 
9; John 6. 14. 

one hundred and seventy-five feet 
deep. . . . Into one of the deep ravines 
beneath the fortress the headless body 
of John (Mark 6 : 29) may have been 
cast, which his disciples took up and 
buried, and then went and told Jesus. 
. . . The crag on which the old fortress 
stood is said to be visible from Jeru- 
salem." — Dr. Hackett'S Smith's Dic- 
tionary, p. 1728. 

Showed him all these things. 
Concerning what Jesus taught and did, 
especially this report of him (ver. 17) 
and of his miracle at Nain. This verse 
implies that the incidents here related 
took place soon after the event just 
mentioned. This was the second time 
that John's disciples reported to him 
the growing fame of Jesus, John 3 : 26. 

19, 20. John calling unto him tAVO 
of his disciples. John's disciples 
still adhered to him, though he was in 
prison and had fully accomplished his 
mission, ch. 5 : 33. They were slow to 
acknowledge Christ to be superior to 
their master. A separate organization 
was kept up long after his execution, 
Acts 19 : 3. Indeed, a sect bearing the 
name of John's Disciples " exists to the 
present day in the East, which is opposed 
alike to Judaism and to Christianity. 

Sent them to Jesus. Some of the 
oldest manuscripts read, to the Lord, 
ver. 13. It was fitting that the disciples 
should go and see for themselves. 

He that should come. He that 
comes. An appellation of the Messiah 
which appears to have become quite 
common (ch, 3 : 16 ; John 11 : 27), and 
probablv had its origin in ancient 
prophecy, Ps. 40 : 7 ; 118 : 26 ; Mai. 3 : 
1; Matt. 21 : 9; Heb. 10 : 37. The 
meaning of the question is, "Art thou 
he that comes, the Messiah who has been 
so long expected, or look we still for an- 
other?" Possibly, as the later Jews 
afterward adopted the view of two Mes- 
siahs, a conquering Messiah and a suffer- 
ing Messiah, so John, in this hour of his 
irial, may have entertained a vague idea 
that there might be another who should 
more completely fulfil the predictions 
of the prophets. 

Various reasons have been given for 

this inquiry of John. Some think that 
he asked it for the sake of his disciples, 
whose minds he wished to satisfy in re- 
gard to the Messiahship of Jesus. But 
to this it is objected that the answer 
was sent to John himself. Others sup- 
pose that doubt existed for some reason 
or other in John's own mind. And 
still others think that his inquiry de- 
noted impatient zeal, and implied an 
intimation to Jesus to assert his Mes- 
siahship still more plainly, and that our 
Saviour's reply was a rebuke similar to 
that given to Mary, John 2 : 4. 

But whatever view we adopt, we must 
beware of supposing that John had no 
higher ideas of the kingdom of God than 
those which were common at that time 
among the Jews. That he had concep- 
tions of its spiritual nature is evident 
from his preaching. See Matt. 3 : 7-12 ; 
John 1 : 29-31, 34 ; 3 : 27-36. It seems 
also evident that the reason of the in- 
quiry must be found principally in John 
himself; for the answer was sent to him, 
and the import of it was comforting, 
strengthening, and corrective. While 
it administered a gentle rebuke, it was 
adapted to confirm his faith. Having 
been confined in prison several months, 
cut ofi" suddenly from active labor, and 
hearing many reports of Jesus, some 
vague and some distorted by the preju- 
dices of his disciples, it was not strange 
that he should have been dejected, like 
many eminent saints before him, brood- 
ing over his own troubles and the slaw 
progress of the kingdom of God. In 
this his hour of darkness he felt that he 
needed more light and more strength. 
Not that he doubted his own office as 
forerunner, nor that he had any good 
reason to doubt the divine commission 
of Jesus nor any of the declarations he 
had made concerning him, but he felt 
the inward need of a new confirmation^ 
of his own faith by a fresh declaration 
from Jesus himself. And this was just 
what he received. This view also makes 
the analogy between John and his pro- 
totype, Elijah, complete. The one Avas 
cast into prison by Herod, the other 
driven into the wilderness by Ahab, and 
both during their trial were dejected 

A. D. 28. 



men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hatli 
sent us unto thee, siiyin<j;. Art thou he that should 

21 come, or h)ok we ior another? And in the same hour 
he cured many of their inhrmitiee and j)higues, and of 
evil spirits ; and unto many that were blind he gave 

22 sight. 'Then Jesus answering said unto them. Go 
your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and 
heard ; '^liow that the blind see, 'the lame walk, "»the 
lepei*3 are cleansed, "the deaf hear, "the dead are 

23 raised, ^to the poor the gospel is preached. ^And 
blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. 

«Mt. 11.4. 

kls. 29. 18; 85. 4- 

0; 42. 7; Mt. 9. 

30; John 2. 2:{; 

3. 2; 5. 36; lU. 

25, 38- 14. 11. 
»Mt. 15. «), 31. 
" Mt. 8. 1-4. 
"Mk. 7. 37. 
Mt. 9. 24, 25. 
Pch. 4. 18; Ps. 22. 

26;()8. 10; Is. 61. 

1 ; Jam. 2. 5. 
iMt. 11.6. 

and desponding, 1 Kings 19 : 1-4, 14. 
Doubtless also the diseii)les of John 
needed similar and possibly greater en- 
couragement and a severer rel)uke than 
did their master. Very j^robably John 
had their good also in view. Tliat the 
answer of Jesus resulted in their good 
also a{>pears from the fact that when 
John was beheaded, tliey " took up the 
body and buried it, and came and told 
Jesiis," Matt. 14 : 12. 

20. This verse, not found in Matthew, 
simply states that the men came, and 
they put the question as instructed. 

21. This verse is not found in Mat- 
thew's account. Jesus first replies in 
deeds. In that same hour. At that 
very time when John's disciples came to 
him. Infirmities, or diseases, and 
plagues, and of evil spirits. Luke, 
the i)hysician, accurately distinguishes 
between diseases and evil spirits. Unto 
many blind he gave sight. The 
original is expressive. He freely and 
graciously bestowed sight on the blind. 

22. After manifesting his divine power 
as the Messiah, Jesus still makes no 
direct reply, but commands the disciples 
of John to go and tell John, make 
knoivn to him, his miracles and the 
preaching which were the evidences of 
his Messiahship and an exact fulfilment 
of prophecy, Isa. 29 : 18 ; 35 : 5, 6 ; 61 : 
1-3. What an example of modesty and 
humility does Jesus present in his reply ! 
He says not, Report the miracles that I 
am working, but what things ye 
have seen and heard. Seen refers 
specially to the miracles which were 
wrought in the presence of John's dis- 
ciples, ver. 21. Heard may refer to 
nccounts of other miracles from eye- 
^vitnesses ; but its special reference is to 
the preaching of the good tidings to the 

Jesus specifies the more signal things 
they heard and saw which were the 
signs of his ministry. The dead are 
raised. They may have witnessed the 
raising of the dead, or they may have 
received accounts from reliable wit- 
nesses of the raising of the daughter of 
J aims (ch. 8 : 41-56), and of the widow's 
son at Nain, vers. 11-15. The miracles 
were significant, and symbolical of the 
healing of the soul. They were attended 
with spiritual blessings, and indeed 
were the external signs of inward cures 
to those who exercised faith in Jesus as 
the Redeemer. The i>oor. The low- 
ly, the humble, including the idea of 
being afflicted and distressed. Refer- 
ence is evidently made to Isa. 61 : 1, 
and to that class of persons who com- 
bined external poverty with humility 
and a sense of spiritual want. See ch. 
4 : 18. The gospel. The good tidings 
of eternal salvation. Pharisees and 
philosophers and false religionists had 
overlooked the poor and the lowly. 
Stier observes that with the dead are 
raised is united the poor are evangelized, 
or have the gospel preached to them, as 
being a thing hitherto unheard of and 

23. Blessed. Happy in his condi- 
tion, his relations and destinv. See ch. 
6 : 20. Shall not he offended in 
me. Rather, at me, as an occasion of 
offence, of dissatisfaction and dislike. 
The meaning is, Happy is he to whom 
I shall not prove a stumbling-block, 
who shall not take offence at my cha- 
racter, conduct, or words, so as to desert 
and reject me. Mark how carefully put 
are the words. They are not personal 
to John himself, nor do they imply that 
he had really taken offence at Jesus. So 
far as he remained steadfast, they were 
full of comfort; but so far as he de- 



A. D. 28 

24 'And when the messengers of John were departed, ""^i*- ii-7. 
he began to speak unto the people concerning John, 

What went ye out into the wilderness for to see ? A 

25 reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out 
for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Be- 
hold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live 

26 delicately, are in king's courts. But what went ye 

sponded or wavered in his faith, they 
were full of warning of what might re- 
sult from such a condition of mind and 
course of conduct. 

This incident gives Jesus an occasion 
for uttering the following discourse to 
the multitude. 

24-30. John's Character, Office, 
AND Dignity. The effect of the dis- 
course on Christ's hearers. Matt. 11 : 

24. When the messengers of 
John were departed, so as not to 
appear to flatter him through them, 
Jesus began to speak of him in the 
highest terms of commendation. This 
shows that John had not gone far in 
wavering ; and we may justly infer that 
the answer of Jesus dispelled all dark- 
ness and despondency that may have 
possessed his mind. Bengel remarks, 
" The world praises to the face, censures 
behind the back ; divine truth the oppo- 
site." Jesus doubtless intended to pre- 
vent the people putting a wrong con- 
struction on John's inquiry, and from 
supposing that he in any sense retracted 
his testimony in regard to Jesus. He 
also had an opportunity of affirming the 
character and high position of John, 
and showing the wicked treatment that 
both his forerunner and himself had re- 
ceived ; of pronouncing woes upon un- 
believers, and extending gracious invi- 
tations to those who were in a condition 
to receive him, Matt. 11 : 20-30. In- 
stead of beginning with positive asser- 
tions, he wisely commences with certain 
interrogations which lead to the most 
positive affirmations. Referring to the 
time when they went forth into the wil- 
derness to the preaching and baptism 
of John, he asks, But what went ye 
out into the wilderness for to see ? 
The word translated see is very expres- 
sive, meaning to behold, to gaze at, as a 
public show or spectacle. A reed 
shaken with the Avind? Surely not 
a reed shaken by the wind ? Some sup- 
pose that Jesus refers to reeds as a com- 

mon product of the wilderness of Judea, 
and which grew in abundance on tlie 
banks of the Jordan : surely it was not 
to see the rustling reeds of the desert? 
Others regard the language as descrip- 
tive of John : surely he did not go out 
to see a man fickle, wavering, and un- 
stable ? The latter suits the context the 
best ; for Jesus began to speak concern- 
ing John, and he proceeds to the most 
positive assertions. It also accords with 
the figurative style of the East. The 
meaning is, Ye did not go out to see a 
man who was wavering and easily in- 
fluenced, like the reeds of the Avilderness 
shaken by the wind; for you found 
John to be a firm and decided character. 
Think not, therefore, that he is in any 
way different now, or that he has 
changed his views in regard to the great 
truths and doctrines he then expressed. , 
25. But if ye did not go out to see ■ 
such a character, what, then, went ye "^ 
outfortosee? A man? Notice the 
fine climax in these questions. A reed, 
a man, a prophet. Soft raiment? 
Luxurious clothing, a mark of eifemi- 
nacy and the very opposite to John's 
dress, Matt. 3 : 4. It is evident that this 
was not their object ; for they would not 
have gone into the wilderness to find 
one in costly and luxurious clothing, 
and who lived delicately, but ratlier 
to king's palaces. The meaning is. Ye 
did not go out to see a man in gorgeous 
or splendid dress and of effeminate 
haoits and character, like those who 
dwell in the palaces of kings, and es- 
pecially at the court of Herod ; for you 
found John bold, stern, and inflexible, 
austere and self-denying, and not one 
disposed to flatter from motives of expe- 
diency, selfishness, or cowardice. Think 
not, then, that he has been influenced 
by any such motives in sending his re- 
cent inquiry to me, or that the inquiry 
itself indicates any such trait in his cha- 
racter. Jesus appeals to John's well- 
known character, and to the esteem in 
which he was held by the multitude 

A. D. 28. 



out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and 

27 much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is 
written, Behohi, I send my messenger before thy 

28 face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For 
I say unto you, Among those that are born of women, 
there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist : 
But he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater 
than he. 

29 And all the people that heard him, and the publi- 

when he was in the height of his minis- 
terial success. These were a sufficient 
answer to the supposition that he was 
either fickle, selfish, orcowanlly. 

26. But if ve went not out to see a 
luxurious and effeminate person, what, 
then, went ye out to see ? Anticipating 
their replvj he asks, a prophet? for 
all held John as a proi)het, ch. 20 : 6. 
This he affirms. Yea, and adds, much 
more than a prophet. A prophet 
was not only one who foretold future 
events, but also one who was divinely 
commissioned as a religious teacher, or 
who instructed men as to the will of 
God. John was more than an ordinary 
prophet. The reason for this assertion 
IS given in the following verse. 

27. For introduces the proof that 
John was more than a prophet by 
quoting Mai. 3:1. The quotation is 
according to the sense of the prophecy, 
not in its exact language. John was 
the messenger of God who was to pre- 
pare the way before the Lord, even the 
messenger, or angel, of the covenant. 
He was, in other words, the forerunner 
of the Messiah, and thus superior to all 
of his predecessors. He was himself 
the subject of prophecy (one of the two 
messengers, or angels, spoken of by 
Malachi), the nearest of all the prophets 
to the Messiah, and indeed the preparer 
of his way. The prophets had si)oken 
of Christ'from afar; they had pointed 
men toicard Christ ; but John announced 
his immediate coming (ch. 1 : 76; Matt. 
3 : 2, 3, 11), and introduced Christ, 
John 1 : 35, 36. Christ was the Bride- 
groom, John the friend of the Bride- 
groom, his groomsman, John 3 : 39. 
Thus, he enjoyed a distinction never 
before conferred on. any prophet (this 
verse) or even on any man (next verse). 
Prepare thy way. Fully make 
ready for thy advent. Before thy 
face. Immediately before thee. 

28. Born of women. From the 
human race, among mankind. Greater 
than John. None enjoyed the dis- 
tinction that he enjoy«Jd, his relative 
position to the Messiah as explained in 
the preceding verse. It does not neces- 
sarily mean that he excelled all others 
in piety and purity of character. He 
that is least, etc. Literally, he that 
13 less — that is, than all the rest in the 
kingdom of God. This in English is 
equivalent to he that is least. Greater 
than he. Than John the Baptist. 
They who are in tlie kingdom of God 
constitute the bride of Christ. In- 
asmuch as the bride enjoys a greater 
distinction than the friend of th^ bride- 
groom, so the weakest and the least dis- 
tinguished in Christ's kingdom enjoys 
a distinction above John, the harbinger 
and groomsman of Christ. Some sup- 
pose the passage to mean. He that is 
less than John, his inferior in all other 
respects, yet, by virtue of his being in 
the kingdom of heaven, is greater, more 
important and distinguished, than he. 
The former interpretation is to be pre- 
ferred as the most natural. 

29. This verse and the next are not 
in Matthew's account. Luke here 
throws in a brief allusion to the effect 
of these teachings on his hearers. Some 
eminent authorities, however, suppose 
that these two verses are the words of 
Jesus and the continuation of his dis- 
course. This seems to me somewhat 
arbitrary and unnatural. Alford's re- 
mark is very pertinent: "They are 
evidently a parenthetical insertion of 
the evangelist, expressive, not of what 
had taken place during John's baptism, / 
but of the 2^resent effect of our Lord's 
discourse on the then assembled mul- 
titude. Their whole diction and form 
is historical, not belonging to discourse." 
But whether we regard them as Luke's 
or our Lord's words, they show that the 



A. D. 28. 

cans, "justified God, *beinj; baptized with the bap- 

30 tism of John. "But the Pharisees and lawyers re- 
jected ""the counsel of God against themselves, being 
not baptized of him. 

31 And the Lord said, ^ Whereunto then shall I liken 
the men of this generation? and to what are they 

32 like? They are like unto children sitting in the 

» vor. 35 ; Ps. 51. 4 ; 

Ilo. 3. 4-fi. 
tch. 3. 12; Mt. 3. 

»Mt. 11. 16-19. 
" Ac. 20. 27. 
'Mt. 11. 16. 

success of John's ministry was prin- 
cipally among the more despised classes 
of the people, while the religious teachers 
rejected him. See on ver. 31. 

All the people that heard him. 
Rather, hearing it, the most natural 
reference being neither to John nor to 
Jesus, but to what Jesus had just said. 
The publicans, tax-gatherers. See 
on ch. 3 : 12. Justified God, pro- 
nounced this testimony of Jesus con- 
cerning John to be true, and hence that 
God was just and good in sending such 
a teacher as John. They thus ap- 
proved of Avhat Jesus had said, and 
of the preaching and baptism of John. 
Being baptized. They had formerly 
acknowledged themselves sinners, pro- 
fessed repentance, and had been bap- 
tized. They now act consistently. 
" John struck the first chords, but 
the sounds would soon have died out 
in silence if a mightier hand had not 
swept the yet vibrating strings." — 

30. Pharisees. See on Luke 5 : 17. 
Jjavvyers, leai-ned and skilled in the 
Mosaic law; hence interpreters and 
teachers of the law. A person who is 
styled a laxoyer in Matt. 22 : 35 is called 
a scribe in Mark 12 : 28. The two 
terms have generally been considered 
as nearly equivalent, the lawyer being 
regarded as a teaching scribe. Lawyers 
are frequently connected with the 
Pharisees (ch. 14 : 3), and probably 
were very generally of that sect. Re- 
jected the counsel of God, as ex- 
hibited by the testimony of Jesus and 
as shown by the mission of John. 
Against themselves, to their own 
hurt. It is, however, better to trans- 
late toward themselves. They rejected 
God's plan, purpose, and mission of 
mercy toward themselves, as presented 
in the ministry both of John and Jesus. 
See the tender words of Jesus in ch. 13 : 
34. Being not baptized of him, 
John. Thus they rejected John when 

he was exercising his ministry, and 
now they still reject him as well as the 
testimony of Jesus concerning him. It 
is worthy of notice in both this verse 
and the preceding that being or not 
being baptized is connected with ap- 
proval or disapproval of the counsel of 

31-35. How THE Ministry of John 
AND OF Jesus had been Respective- 
ly EECEIVED, or the childish treatment 
they had received of that generation, 
Matt. 11 : 16-19. 

31. And the Lord said. This 
should be omitted, according to the old- 
est manuscripts and the highest critical 
authorities. The omission of these 
words forms the strongest argument for 
supposing the preceding two verses to 
be a continuation of our Lord's dis- 
course. But those two verses in the 
original are historical in style, as re- 
marked above. The change to the style 
of discourse in this verse was sufficient 
without formally introducing the words, 
*' And the Lord said." Again, as Jesus 
now speaks of the conduct of that gen- 
eration toward John and toward him- 
self, it is more natural to regard the 
preceding verse as showing not only 
the rejection of John, but also of our 
Lord's testimony concerning him ; and 
hence that the words are Luke's. But 
whereunto, etc. Implying that they 
had not ears to attend to and understand 
what he had just taught in regard to 
John and himself. This generation. 
The people of this time, especially the 
leaders, the scribes and Pharisees. Luke 
adds, To what are they like? as if 
it were difficult to find an object with 
which to compare them. 

32. They are like unto children, 
who, sitting in the markets, imitate in 
their plays the scenes of actual life, 
now of marriage and now of funerals, 
yet are unable in any way to please 
one another. The ancient markets 
were places of public resort where peo- 

A. D. 28. 



market-place, and callinp: one to another, and saving, 
We have j)ijHHl unto you, and ye have not dancea ; 
we have mourned to you, and ye liave not wept. 

33 For "John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor '^^^- i- 15; Mt. 3 

34 drinking wine: and ye say. He liatli a devil. The •*— ^^k. i.o. 
Son of man is come eating and drinking ; and ye say, 

Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend 
3/> of publicans and sinners! ^But wisdom is justified » ilos. 14. 9; Mt, 
of all her children. JJ; .^1,^ - •^"*'° ^^ 

pie congregated for business or for con- 
versation, and the children for amuse- 
ment. " In the market-places of the 
East you may often see a boy playing 
on a reed pipe, and other children dan- 
cing to it. We olten saw also a funeral 
train, where some were wailing and 
others responding in regular measure." 
— M. W. Jacobus. 

When they had piped, played on 
the flute a lively and joyful tune, the 
others had not danced to the music. It 
was customary among the Jews, Greeks, 
and Romans to play the flute at marriage 
dances. And then, changing their play, 
they had mourned, sung dirges as at a 
funeral, yet even then the others, being 
determined to be satisfied and pleased 
with nothing, had not wept, the word 
implying not only shedding of tears, but 
also every external expression of grief. 
These two sets of children represented 
the childish, freakish, and ill-humored 
conduct of the scribes and Pharisees 
toward John and Jesus. Neither of 
them really represent Christ and his 
forerunner, for, as Dr. Schatf remarks, 
they " could with no degree of pro- 
priety and good taste be represented as 
playmates and comrades of their way- 
ward contemporaries." 

33. Jesus now applies the illustration 
just given. The Baptist. The bap- 
tizer. Tliis title was evidently familiar 
to the Jews. Matthew speaks of John 
the Baptist, without any explanation, 
as a person well known. So also did 
Herod, Mark 6 : 14. Josephus also 
says [Antiq. xviii. 5, 2) that he was 
" called," or rather " surnamed, the Bap- 
tist." Neither eating bread nor 
drinking wine. John was abstemious 
and austere in his habits, not living on 
ordinary food, but on locusts and wild 
honey (eh. 3:4); yet the people, espe- 
cially the scribes and lawyers, ascribed 
it to demoniacal instead of divine influ- 

ence, saying, He hath a devil. See 

on ch. 4': 33. 

34. The Son of man, the Messiah. 
See on ch. 5 : 24. The title is here very 
fitting, as the human side of Christ is 
here brought noticeably to view. Eat- 
ing and drinking. Jesus lived as men 
ordinarily lived, and gave attention to 
the social enjoyments of life. Thus he 
attended the marriage at Cana in Gal- 
ilee (John 2 : 1-11) and the feast at the 
house of Matthew, ch. 5 : 29. Yet 
they also found fault with him. They 
call him a glutton, a wine-drinker, a 
friend of publicans and sinners. The 
last clause suggests, however, their 
chief objection. He associated with 
the common people, ate with publicans 
and sinners, and proclaimed that he 
came not to call righteous men, but 
sinners, ch. 5 : 32. He was a Friend, 
not of their sins, but of their souls. 
How evident it was from the illustra- 
tion here given and the opposite modes 
of life of John the Baptist and Jesus 
that the trouble was in the hearts of 
these ttiultfinders, who were determined 
to be satisfied with nothing! 

35. But wisdom is, rather xvas, 
justified of, rather by, all her 
children. The meaning is. But 
though both Christ and his forerininer 
were condemned by this childish gen- 
eration, yet the divine wisdom (compare 
1 Cor. 2:7) displayed in both of these 
characters, so dissimilar, was justified, 
acquitted, and approved on the part of 
her children, those who received her 
truth and observed her commands. By 
this language Jesus condemns the Jew- 
ish leaders and approves of those who 
had accepted his doctrine. The former 
were childish, like petulant, ])eevish chil- 
dren; the latter were childlike, teach- 
able, confiding, and faithful. The con- 
duct of the former was condemned by 
that of the latter. The way is tiuis 



A. D. 28. 

A penitent woman anoints the feet of Jesus. 

86 *And one of the Pharisees desired him that he 
would eat with him. *And he went into the Phari- 
see's house, and sat down to meat. 

37 And, behold, ^'a woman in the city, which was a '•John 11.2 
sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the 


»Mt.2f5.6; Mk.l4. 

3; John 11. 2. 
»ch. 11.37; 14. 1. 

f)repared for the fearful woes that fol- 
ow in Matt. 11 : 10-24; his prayer of 
thanksgiving and his tender invitation 
to all who were groaning under spirit- 
ual bondage to come to him for rest, 
Matt. 11 : 25-30. 

36-50. Jesus Dines with Simon 
THE Pharisee, and is Anointed by 
A Penitent Woman. Luke alone 
relates this incident. It probably oc- 
curred very soon after the events just 
narrated ; possibly in the vicinity of 
Nain. It is altogether different from 
the anointing related in Matt. 26 : 6-13 ; 
Mark 14 : 3-9 and John 12 : 2-8. This 
took place much earlier, in Galilee ; 
that in Bethany, just before the cruci- 
fixion. This was in the house of Simon 
the Pharisee ; that at the house of Simon 
the leper. Here a penitent woman, a 
sinner; there a female disciple. Here 
the anointing was the thankfulness of 
penitence and love ; there for his burial. 
Here the woman is censured by the 
host ; there by a disciple. Here a sinner 
is forgiven; there a female disciple is 
raised to the honor of an everlasting re- 
membrance. A close examination will 
reveal other differences. That both oc- 
curred at the house of a Simon is not 
strange in a country where the name 
was very common. There are eight 
other Simons mentioned in the New 
Testament, two of them among the 
apostles, cli. 6 : 14-16. As the other 
evangelists omit this, so Luke omits the 
other. Why Luke does not relate the 
latter we can only conjecture. But of 
this we can rest assured — that it Avas not 
the design of the Spirit that any one 
evangelist should relate two anointings 
in some respects similar. 

36. One. His name, as we incident- 
ally learn from ver. 40, was Simon. It 
was not important to know the name of 
either this Pharisee or the penitent 
woman, since the incident here related 
is introduced to teach and illustrate 
certain great truths. Desired him, 
etc. Yet he was careful not to com- 

promise himself by showing courtesies 
to Jesus, lest he should appear as a 
secret follower, vers. 44-46. Various 
motives probably induced Simon to 
invite Jesus, such as curiosity, pride, — 
since Jesus was very popular, — and some 
awakened interest in what Jesus had 
said or done. Sat down to meat. 
Reclined at table, according to the 
Oriental custom at meals. The guests 
reclined upon their left side, with their 
head supported by the left arm and their 
faces toward the table. 

37. A woman in the city which 
was a sinner. According to the best 
manuscripts and the highest critical 
authorities, A woman who was a sinner 
in the city — that is, publicly, well known 
as such, one who was leading an un- 
chaste life in the city. The whole nar- 
rative implies that she had been em- 
phatically a sinner. The city most 
naturally refers either to Capernaum, 
his principal place of residence, or to 
Nain. It was more j)robably the latter, 
which is the last city mentioned in the 
narrative, ver. 11. The name of this 
woman is withheld, doubtless through 
delicacy and tenderness toward her. 
There is no sufficient reason for suppos- 
ing her to have been Mary Magdalene. 
Luke introduces the latter in ch. 8 : 2 as 
one who had never been before men- 
tioned by him. Because Mary Magda- 
lene had been possessed with seven 
demons does not imply anything against 
her moral character or life. Injustice 
has too long been done her by using her 
name in relation to persons and societies 
connected with raising the fallen from a 
life of infamy. When she kncAV, etc. 
She sought him out. Her heart was 
already touched. She seems to have 
• seen and heard Jesus. Possibly she had 
heard that invitation, " Come unto me," 
etc., Matt. 11 : 28-30. What part of the 
Pharisee's house it was, where they were 
dining, M'e are not told. It may have 
been in the open court around which 
the house was built. " In the East tlie 

A. D. 28. 

LUKE vir. 


Pharisee's house, ^brought an alaba«^tor box of oint- *Mt. 26. 
38 ment ; and stood at his feet behind Aim ""weeping, *2Cor. 7. 



and began *to wa^h his foet with tears, and did wipe 'G^- '»• 4; i Sam. 
th€7ji with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, ' *^' 
and anointed them with the ointment. 

Now when the Pharisee whieh had bidden him saw 
it, he spake within himself, saying, 'This man, if he '^h. i5. 2. 

meals are most commonly taken in an 
open court, or a room euclosed on three 
sides, admitting free access. We took a 
meal at the house of the consul at Tyre. 
It was an open area, and several nativi^ 
dropped in without the least ceremony 
or restraint to see us." — M. AV. Jaco- 
bus. " An Oriental's house is by no 
means his castle. The universal preva- 
lence of the law of hospitality — the very 
first of Eastern virtues — almost forces 
him to live with open doors, and any 
one at any time may have access to his 
rooms. When we were at a sheykh's 
house, the population took a ereat in- 
terest in inspecting us." — Dr. Fakrar, 
Life of Christ, vol. i., p. 298. This was 
the best opportunity for this woman to 
express her gratitude. It appears to 
have been the custom then as now in 
some parts of the Elast to allow un- 
invited persons, and even such as the 
guests would not eat with, to enter the 
house, and even participate in the con- 
versation going on at the table. 

Alabaster box. One word in the 
original, meaning alabaster, and well 
expressed here by alabaster vase or box. ; 
Alabaster was a variety of gypsum, 
white and semi-transparent, very costly, 
and used for making vases and vials for 
ointments. It was considered by the 
ancients the best for preserving them. 
Layard found vases of white alabaster 
among the ruins of Xineveh, which 
were used for holding ointments or 
cosmetics. The general shape of these ' 
boxes or vases was large at the bottom, 1 
with a long, narrow neck. It was com- i 
mon to break this neck in order to open | 
the flask. Ointment, an aromatic oil 
or perfumed unguent, probably obtained 
from cenain trees, | 

38. Stood at his feet behind 
him. In his reclining position upon 
his left side his feet would be upon 
the couch away from the table behind 
him. See on ver. 36. It was customary i 
to embrace the feet of rabbis or teach- ' 

ers. In unostentatious modesty and in 
deep humility, in abasement and shame 
on account of her sins, she approached 
behind him, weeping tears of peni- 
tence, the silent language of the heart, 
which could not l>e expresseil in words. 
1 Began to wash his feet. The word 
; translated wash means to icet, moisten, 
j shoicer. Her tears fell like rain upon 
his feet as she was about to anoint them. 
It was quite customary to put the san- 
: dais aside before eating, lest the couch 
' on whirh they lay be soiled. Did 
I wipe them with the hairs of her 
; head, with the long tresses of hair 
I which were flowing loose about her 
shoulders. " Dishevelled as in grief; 
most exquisite reverence I" — Bexgel. 
Kissed his feet, tenderly kissed his 
feet. The expression indicates fondness, 
atfection. It was an act of penitent 
love. It was not unusual for persons to 
kiss the feet of a rabbi. And anointed 
them with the ointment, which be- 
fore she had used entirely upon herself 
for adornment in her unhallowed life 
of sin. Xotice that this woman in her 
gratitude and love only so far overcomes 
her feelings of shame and abasement as 
to anoint our Saviour's feet, but Mary, 
the sister of Lazarus, in the boldness of 
her faith and hope, anoints his head, 
Mark 14 : .3. Observe also that this 
woman caoe to anoint his feet. Her 
shower of tears and the wiping of his 
feet with her hair was nor an anticipated 
offering, but the sudden outgushing of 
her heart, overflowing with penitence 
and love. 

39. When the Pharisee . . . 
saw. Jesus accepts the offering in si- 
lence, but the self-righteous spirit of the 
Pharisee is sh^ckfd. Doubtless he was 
displeased^ seeing such a woman enter, 
and at beholding her ] ' 'i an 

act to one of his guest-. ,' to 

the^traditians, her very t . . aid 
render Jesgs.iinclean. Spake within 
himseTTT He assunes that Je^us is 



A. D. 28. 

• ch. 18. 11 

were a prophet, would have known who and what 
manner of woman thi is that toucheth him : *for she 
is a sinner. 

40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have 
somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith. Master, 

41 say on. There was a certain creditor which had two 
^ debtors : the one owed five hundred * pence, and the 

42 other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, J he 
frankly forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, 

43 which of them will love him most ? Simon answered 

Is. 65. 

•■ch. 13.4. 

« Mt. 18. 28. 

JPs. 32. 1-5; 10.3. 

3 ; Is. 43. 25 ; Mic. 

7. 18 ; Ac. 1.3. 38, 

39; Ro. 3. 24: 

Eph. 2. 8, 9. 

ignorant of the character of the woman, 
and therefore permits the act. He does 
not for a moment suspect that Jesus 
would receive such attention from a 
sinner. This man, if he Avere a 
prophet, etc. The people regarded 
Jesus as a prophet, ver. 16. The Jews 
held that discerning of spirits was a 
sign of a true prophet, and especially 
of the Messiah, Isa. 11 : 3, 4; 1 Kings 
14:6; 2 Kings 1 : 3 ; 5 : 26. According 
to the rabbins, one Bar Coziba, who 
professed to be the Messiah, was put to 
death because he could not at once tell 
who was a wicked person and who was 
not, according to Isa. 11 : 3. Simon, as 
a Pharisee, doubted concerning Jesus. 
The apparent ignorance of Jesus, in- 
creased his doubts. 

40. Jesus answering. To the 
thoughts and reasonings of Simon's 
heart. Jesus shows that he is more 
than a prophet, that he knew both Si- 
mon's heart and this woman's heart, 
and that her sins were forgiven. The 
answer of Jesus rather indicates that 
the doubts of Simon arose, not from ma- 
lignant opposition, but from erroneous 
views of ceremonial uncleanness. Si- 
mon, I have somewhat, etc. A 
courteous and modest way of approach- 
ing his host, and at the same time a call 
for his special attention. As if he had 
said, With thy permission I have some- 
thing to say to thee ; shall I say it ? 
Master. Eather, Teacher. The mod- 
esty and courtesy of Jesus calls forth a 
courteous reply. 

41. Jesus presents to Simon a compar- 
ison or parable showing that a benefac- 
tor is loved in proportion to the benefits 
received. A certain creditor, a lender 
of money. Two debtors are the em- 
phatic words in this sentence, and are 
the prominent persons in the parable. 
Fivs hundred pence. Rather, de- 

naries, Roman silver coins worth fifteen 
cents each, in all amounting to seventy- 
five dollars. Fifty pence, denaries, 
equal to seven dollars and fifty cents. , 
Money, however, was much more val- 
uable then than now. 

42. And Avhen they had nothing 
to pay. Better, And they having 
nothing to pay. They were both bank- 
rupt. If a person has nothing, he is 
equally a bankrupt whether his debt is 
large or small. Thus all are before 
God spiritual debtors and spiritually 
penniless. How the creditor found 
this out is not told, nor is it neces- 
sary to the parable. He frankly 
forgave them both. The mean- 
ing is he forgave them both as an 
act of kindness and grace. It was an 
act which would naturally call forth 
the love and gratitude of these creditors. 
Jesus then asks. Tell me, therefore, 
Avhich of them ^vill love him 
most? Jesus would also have the 
decision from the Pharisee himself, 
who would thus pronounce on his own 
case. This was one of Christ's ways of 
bringing truth home to the heart. 
Compare the good Samaritan, ch. 10 : 
36, 37, and the vineyard let out to 
wicked husbandmen, Matt. 21 : 40, 41. 
It is natural to apply this parable to 
both the woman and the Pharisee, and 
hence some suppose that the latter had 
received from Jesus some kindness. 
Indeed, the presence of Jesus at his 
table was a kindness and a blessed privi- 
lege to the Pharisee. But to apply the 
parable strictly to the Pharisee would 
necessitate the supposition that the 
Pharisee had been forgiven, and that 
his love corresponded, ver. 47. But 
the circumstances which gave rise to 
this parable really demand only the 
application of the parable to the 
woman. Jesus is vindicating himself 

A. D. 28. 



and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. 
And ho said unto him, Thou hast ri*j:htly judged. 
44 And he turned to tlie woman, and said unto Simon, 
Seest thou this woman ? I entered into tliine house : 
thou gaveiiit me no ''water for my feet : but she hath ^^^'j'^A' }^' " 

° ^ ' Judg. 19. 21. 

and explaining the case of tl\e woman. 
He does it the more pointedly by eon- 
trasting her conduct with tliat of the 
Pharisee. She showed great love, the 
Pharisee showed a want of love. And 
thus Jesus gives him a gentle hint that 
he is without forgiveness. 

43. I suppose. Simon answers 
reverently and with frank discretion. 
There is evidently a softening of the 
haughty sy)irit manifested in his heart 
a little before, ver. 89. We are not to 
take it for granted that he understood 
why Jesus thus asked him. He doubt- 
less expected some moral or religious 
application, but probably did not sus- 
pect that the question had reference to 
himself, perhaps as little as David had 
when he pronounced judgment on Na- 
than's parable, 2 Sam. 12 : 5-7. He 
was probably astonished and confound- 
ed, not only with the knowledge that 
Jesus showed concerning himself and 
|the woman, but also with the clear and 
forcible presentation of forgiveness and 
love. Christ's knowledge of Simon's 
inmost thoughts was an evidence to 
him that Jesus knew the state of this 
woman's heart. Thou hast rightly 
judged. Jesus speaks as the great 
Teacher. Simou nnist have felt that 
there was power and authority in his 
words, and he was not only pleased but 
chiefly impressed with Christ's confir- 
mation of his answer. 

Owen remarks in this place: "We 
may here jvistly interpose a caution 
against the erroneous mference that a 
vile and notorious sinner, when brought 
into a state of penitence and belief in 
Christ, will of necessity surpass in self- 
sacrificing love one whose external 
conduct ha.s been so correct that little 
or no outward change is seen in him 
when converted to God. This is not 
the point of the parable. It is simply 
that the child of grace who has a vivid 
sense of sin . . . will have a deeper 
and more abiding sense of his obliga- 
tions than one whose spiritual vision is 
BO dim that he has a very slight sense 
of sin and ill-desert. This clear per- 

ception of sin, and the dreadful sense 
of doom which it deserves, are often 
found in persons who, like Bunyan and 
Newton, have been vile and open 
offenders ; but it is often seen, and per- 
haps with equal if not greater frequency, 
in j)ersons whose external deportment 
has been, like that of Brainerd, Martyn, 
and others, correct from their youth 
upward. It is the lively sense of sin 
and its consequences which calls forth 
gratitude in view of God's pardoning 
love." Yet it should be remembered 
that there are no little sinners in the 
sight of God. Every sinner who comes 
to Christ has had much forgiven, yet 
not every one has gone to the same ex- 
tent of rebellion against God. 

44-46. And he turned to the 
woman, requiring but a slight change 
of posture. All this time he had al- 
lowed the woman to do her work with- 
out specially observing her. Simon, 
however, had not been without special 
though contemptuous glances at her. 
Seest thou this woman? Imply- 
ing that he had seen her, and calling 
attention to her as the one to whom he 
would specially apply the parable. I 
entered into thy house, as thy 
guest, on thy express invitation. Thy 
is emphatic, bringing forcibly to Simon's 
mind the contrast between his conduct 
toward Jesus and that of the woman. 
He gave no 7vater for his feet; she, pre- 
cious tears. He wiped his feet with no 
clean linen; she, with the hair, the 
glory of her head. He gave him not 
even a kiss ; she ceased not to kiss even 
his feet. He did not anoint his head 
with oil ; she anointed \i\sfeet with the 
more costly and precious ointment. 

The Pharisee omitted the customary 
tokens of hospitality. He may have 
thought it a sufficient condescension and 
kindness to have invited Jesus to his 
table. Yet he exhibited at least a want 
of attention in that he made no eflFort to 
show courtesy to Jesus, Indeed, he 
seems to have done as little as possible 
without appearing specially censurable. 

Water for my feet. A common 


LUKE vir. 

A. D. 28. 

washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the 

45 hairs of her head. Tliou gavest me no ' kiss : but this '^^g |^' *' 
woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to mps*. 23.5 

46 kiss my feet. ™My head with oil thou didst not 
anoint : but this woman hath anointed my feet with 

47 ointment. "Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, 
*» which are many, are forgiven ; for Pshe loved much : 
but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth lit- 

2 Sam. 
i Ro. 3. 

■ 1 Tim 



ols. 1. 






; 1 Cor. 


p2 Cor. 





1 4 


civility in the East, where the feet, with- 
out stockings and with sandals, become 


soiled and dusty, Gen. 18 : 4 ; Judg. 19 : 
21. Some would apologize for Simon 
because Jesus had not come from a 
journey. But this was a very custom- 
ary civility to strangers before all 
meals. The words of Jesus imply that 
there had been some neglect, or at least 
no pains in bestowing attention upon 
him. Washed my feet. Better, wet 
my feet, the same as in ver. 38. No 
kiss, a common salutation of friend- 
ship, Ex. 4 : 27 ; 18 : 7 ; Acts 20 : 37. 
It is still common in the East. The 
words of Jesus imply that the custom 
was common then. Since the time I 
came in. It seems that she followed 
Jesus very soon after his entering the 
house. She had come to express her 
gratitude and love, and had eagerly 
embraced the first opportunity. My 
head ... didst not anoint. It 
was common to anoint the head with oil 
at feasts, Ps. 23 : 5 ; 141 : 5. Olive oil 
was generally used. The words of Jesus 
show that it was then a common civility 
to guests and strangers. This woman in 
her humility, not presuming to anoint 
his head, anointed his feet. 

47. Wherefore I say unto you. 
Her love was an evidence of forgiveness. 
Jesus speaks with authority and as one 
that knows. That he knew Simon's 

thoughts as well as he did this woman's, 
who was an entire stranger to him per- 
sonally, was an evidence to Simon that 
he noAv knew her sins forgiven. Her 
sins, which are many. Jesus in- 
timates that she had indeed been a great 
sinner. Are forgiven. When Jesus 
forgives a penitent, he forgives not 
merely a part, but all his sins. For 
she loved much. Jesus introduces 
this verse with wherefore, giving a 
conclusion drawn from the principle 
laid down in his parable, as applied to 
the woman. So also here he gives a 
reason introduced by for. He does 
not, however, give her love as a ground 
of merit, the ground of her forgiveness, 
but as the evidence of it. Her acts 
showed her love and also her faith in 
Jesus, ver. 50. Her love was an index 
of her heart, broken and contrite, blessed 
of God and forgiven. The parable and 
context point to this view. Jesus had 
brought Simon to the decision that who- 
ever was forgiven much loved much 
(vers. 42, 43), and hence that forgive- 
ness is followed by love as an efiect or 
result. This woman exhibited great 
love, and hence her sins are already for- 
given. And this accords with what fol- 
lows, but to whom little is forgiven, 
the same loveth little, love arising 
from forgiveness. If love was the cause 
of forgiveness, then the language would 
more naturally be, " he that loveth little, 
the same is forgiven little." And this 
teaching of Jesus is in harmony with 
God's word and Christian experience. 
" We love him because he first loved us," 
1 John 4 : 19. 

This last clause, to whom little is 
forgiven, is generally applied to Simon. 
In his own estimation he had but few 
sins, and they were forgiven ; he felt 
himself but little indebted to Jesus for 
any kindness or favor bestowed; hence 
he had but little gratitude or love to 
manifest toward him. Indeed, the Ian- 

A. D. 28. 

LUKE vir. 


48 tic. And lie said unto her, '>Thy sins arc forgiven. '*^l^- 9- 2; Mk. 2. 

49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say 
within themselves, 'Who is this that forgiveth sins 

50 also? And he said to the woman, 'Thy faith hath 
saved thee ; *go in peace. 

' Mt. 9. 3 ; Mt. 2. 7. 
•cli.8. 48; 18. 42; 

Mt. 9. 22; Mk. 

10. .V2 ; Eph. 2. 8. 
» Ro. 5. 1. 

puajcre is such that Simon might infer 
that his sins had not been forgiven, since 
he had neglected to show toward Jesus 
the common courtesies of life. He must 
have felt that, in contrast to this woman, 
he had really done nothing worthy of 
the name of courtesy, and that he total- 
ly lacked that love which she exhibited ; 
and hence he had showed no evidence 
of sins fori^iven. If, therefore, these 
words specially apply to Simon, tliey 
are one of those tender ))ut telling 
sentences of Jesus which contain mucli 
more than at first appears. I do not, 
however, see a real necessity of suppos- 
ing that Jesus referred particularly to 
Simon in contrast to the woman. The 
clause, " To whom little is forgiven," is, 
after all, but a fuller statement of the 
principle brought out in the parable, 
which every one, and Simon among 
them, could apply to himself. And if 
iSimon did faithfully apply it to his 
own heart and acts, he could discover 
nothing but condemnation. " Great 
forbearance ! Simon's conscience might 
have answered, Nothing is forgiven me, 
therefore I love thee not at all." — Stier. 

48. Turning from Simon to the wo- 
man, Jesus assures her personally, Thy 
sins are forgiven. Her sins had been 
forgiven before ; she was in a forgiven 
state, as her love indicated. This she 
hoped and felt, but now she is assured 
of the fact by the Saviour himself. She 
had been justified before God, now she 
is justified before men. AVe see that 
persons may be forgiven on simple 
faith, ver. 50, without this lively and 
personal assurance. 

49. At this declaration of Jesus the 
guests at tjible in amazement began to 
say (ch. 5 : 21) Avithin themselves. 
They spoke in low tones or in their 
thoughts. This appears to have been 
the language of surprise and astonish- 
ment rather than of malignant opposi- 
tion. There is no charge of blasphemy, 
as in ch. 5 : 21. Who" is this? Who 
is he, what his character, that such 
strange words proceed from his lips? 
Some understand the sense to be, " Who 

?> this insolent one?" It seems hardly 
required by the context. That for- 
giveth sins also? Rather, lyutt also, 
or ereii, forgiveth sins. lie had raised 
the dead (vers, 14, lo), and had sliown a 
knowledge of this woman's character, 
although a strans^er to him ; but here 
was something that appeared greater 
still, the power of forgiving sins. This 
was a prerogative that belonged to God 
alone. Who, then, could this be? It 
was a problem which raised their aston- 
ishment, and doul)tless in some of them 
aroused opposition, but which they 
could not solve. 

50. Jesus leaves Simon and the guests 
to their own thoughts while he further 
attends to the spiritual wants of this 
woman. He would not have her nor 
any in his hearing mistake the ground 
or the means of her pardon. Thy faith 
hath saved thee. Not thy hve, but 
tht/ faith. And not thy faith as a ground 
of merit, but as an instrument or me- 
dium by or through which salvation is 
received, Rom. 5 : 1. She had embraced 
the Saviour's invitation, " Come unto 
me," etc. See on ver. 37. She had 
come to Jesus in faith and received 
pardon. Jesus ever emphasized faith, 
ch. 8 : 48 ; 17 : 19. It was a word of 
consolation to her soul, and it pointed 
to a living fact in her history, exciting 
her to live by faith, tJo in peace, a 
common phrase at parting among the 
Jews (1 Sam. 1 : 17), like our "Good- 
bye," or " God be with you." It was 
not an unmeaning parting word in the 
mouth of Jesus. Literally, Go away 
into peace, in a state of peaceful seren- 
ity and of peace with God, and into 
such a state in the future and at the 
end of thy course. It was a parting 
blessing looking both to a present and 
a future condition and enjoyment. In 
other words, Go in the abiding enjoy- 
ment of peace. 

" Our Lord here approached the be- 
lieving sinner and enriched her in four 
general steps, prefigurative of how he 
will deal with others. First he silently 
received her approach ; then he turned 



A. D. 28. 

upon her the light of his countenance ; 
next he addressed specially to her the 
word of assurance; and last of all he 
Bent her aj^ain into the world in the 
peace of faith." — Stiek. 


1. Christ is the Wonderful in his 
words, his deeds, and his saving power, 
vers. 1-10 ; Isa. 9 : 6. 

2. Soldiers are encouraged to look to 
Jesus, ver. 2 ; ch. 3 : 14 ; 23 : 47 ; Acts 
10: 1. 

3. Acts of beneficence, when done 
with right motives, are pleasing to God 
and are to be commended by men, vers. 
3-5; Mark 12 : 43; 14 : 8, 9; 2 Cor. 

4. The centurion presents a beautiful 
example of faith — a belief on testi- 
mony, an unwavering confidence iu the 
power of Jesus, and that his power Avas 
not limited to time and place, showing 
itself in earnest entreaty and drawing 
to itself divine compassion, vers. 3-8. 

5. We also have in the centurion a 
striking exhibition of humility. What 
thoughts does he have of himself, not- 
withstanding his prosperous circum- 
stances and his honorable station, and 
what high veneration for Jesus ! Hu- 
mility rests on faith and is inseparable 
from it, vers. 6-8. 

6. The centurion's faith was condem- 
natory of the unbelief of the Jews. It 
was a foreshadowing of that faith by 
which the Gentiles should surpass Is- 
rael, ver. 9; Matt. 8 : 10, 11; Rom. 9 : 
31, 32. 

7. Faith in Jesus receives an im- 
mediate answer, but the evidence of it 
may not be seen at the moment. By 
inquiry it was found that the answer of 
Jesus to the centurion's praver of faith 
was immediate, ver. 10; Matt. 8:13; 
Acts 9 : 11. 

8. The more we confide in Jesus, the 
more is he pleased. We cannot put too 
great a burden of faith upon him, vers. 
9, 10 ; Matt. 15 : 28. 

9. Jesus did nothing in vain. His 
journeys, his walks, his visits, and his 
rests were all to some purpose. He 
went to Nain just at the right time, ver. 
11 ; Matt. 4 : 18; John 11 : 4, 6, 11. 

10. The young may die. Their 
bloom and vigor cannot shield them 

from the destroyer, ver. 12; ch. 8 : 42, 
49 ; Ps. 90 : 12. 

11. Jesus is full of compassion for 
the afflicted and the sorrowing, ver. 13 ; 
ch. 4: 18, 19; Rev. 5 : 5; 21 : 3,4. 

12. Jesus is the resurrection and the 
life. By such cases as this, the daugh- 
ter of Jairus, and Lazarus, he gave 
proof of his divinity and his power to 
raise all the dead, vers. 14, 15; John 
11 : 25. 

13. Jesus has power to quicken dead 
souls, vers. 14, 15 ; John 5 : 25 ; Eph. 
2: 1. 

14. The fact that nothing is given of 
the conversations of this and other men 
raised to life is an indirect evidence of 
the inspiration of the gospel. A spu- 
rious gospel would have given with great 
boldness the figments of fancy. God 
does not intend that we should know 
more than his word reveals of the other 
world, ver. 15. 

15. Jesus gave the most unmistakable 
evidence of his Messiahship openly to 
the people, vers. 11, 16, 17 ; ver. 10. 

16. Our service on earth may not 
cease with our active labors : in trials and 
afflictions we may be called to suffer, 
like John in prison, the will of God, 
ver. 18; 1 Pet. 4 : 19. 

17. It is our duty to study the evi- 
dences, and to be fully satisfied that 
Jesus is the Christ, vers. 19, 20; 1 Pet. 

1 : 10, 11. 

18. The proofs of the Messiahship oi 
Jesus, from miracles, fulfilment of 
prophecy, and the preaching of the 
gospel, are unanswerable and con- 
stantly increasing, vers. 21, 22; John 
14 : 12; Rev. 19 : 10 ; Matt. 24 : 14. 

19. The miracles of Jesus were types 
of the spiritual deliverances he brings 
to the soul, ver. 22; Ps. 146 : 8; Isa. 35: 
3-6 ; 61 : 1. 

20. Let us not be offended with Jesus 
because prophecy is slowly fulfilled and 
his cause slowly advances, or because 
sin abounds and judgment is delayed 
from coming upon the wicked, ver. 23 ; 

2 Pet. 3 : 9, 10. 

21. Beware of flattery. Jesus spoke 
words of warning, reproof, and encour- 
agement to John through his disciples, 
but waited their depai-ture before speak- 
ing of him in the highest terms. How 
unlike the world, who praise to the 
face, but traduce behind the back ! vers 
24-28 ; Ps. 12 : 3 ; Prov. 26 : 28. 

A. D. 28. 



22. How poor an account of gospel 
blessings can many give who attend 
uiK>n the preaching of the word ! vers. 
24, 25; lleb. 5, 11, 12. 

23. How exalted and responsible the 
position of the Christian minister, who 
IS not only more than a i)rophet, but 
even greater than John himself! ver. 
28; Eph. 3 : 8. 

24. All the prophets and the law 
until John unite in their testimony 
that Jesus is the Christ, ver. 27 ; Matt. 
11 : 13, 14 ; Acts 10 : 43. 

25. The most unpromising classes 
often accept the gospel, while the more 
highly favored reject it, vers. 29, 30 ; 
Matt. 8 : 10-12. 

26. Religious cavilers are fickle and 
childish in their opposition to Christ, 
his cause, his ministers and people, and 
the arrangements of his grace and 
providence, vers. 31-35. 

27. The same objections essentially 
are raised against divine truth now as 
in the days of John and Christ — the 
law is too severe, the gospel too lax, 
vers. 33, 34 ; 1 Cor. 1 : 23. 

28. The children of wisdom sanction 
the divine arrangements, having learned 
their fitness and necessity by happy ex- 
perience. "First, the lavv, then the 
gospel ; first, death, then life ; first, 
penitence and sorrow, then joy; first, 
the Baptist, then Christ." — Lange. ver. 
35 ; 1 €or. 5 : 24 ; Rom. 1 : 16. 

29. You may show outward respect 
to Christ and contribute of your means 
to his cause, vet remain unsaved, ver. 
36 ; Matt. 7 : 21-23. 

30. Sinners should resort to Jesus. 

: He came to save them. The greatness 
of their sins should only hasten their 
approach, ver. 37 ; ch. 15 : 2, 7 ; 10 : 32 ; 

i 1 Tim. 1 : 15. 

' 31. The proper way to come to Jesus 

; is in penitence, faith, and love, ver. 38 ; 

j ch. 18 : 14. 

32. The self-righteous heart naturally 

I rebels against the doctrine of salvation 
by grace, and pardon to the most noto- 
rious sinners, if penitent and believing, 

I ver. 39 ; Isa. 65 : 5 ; 1 Cor. 1 : 23. 

1 33. Jesus knows our hearts, ver. 40; 
John 2 : 24, 25. 

34. The kindness and hospitality of 
friends should not excuse us from faith- 
fulness and dutv to them, ver. 40 ; Lev. 
19:17; Col. 4:6. 

35. Sinners are debtors to God for a 

life of perfect obedience. Their own 
righteousness being but filthy rags, they 
have nothing to ))av, vers. 41, 42 ; Isa. 
64 : 6; Matt. 5 : 26; 6 : 12; John 16 : S.- 
Rom. 2:5; 3 : 23. 

36. Pardon is through grace, ver. 42; 
Rom. 4 : 16; p:ph. 1 : 6, 7 ; 2:5. 

37. Love is essential to g(xlliness, 
vers. 42, 43; 1 Cor. 13 : 1; 1 John 4 : 

38. Love to Christ will manifest itself 
in the words and acts of daily life, and 
especially in expressions of gratitude 
and in religious service, vers. 44-46 ; 
John 5 : 42, 43 ; 1 John 3 : 16, 17 ; 1 John 

39. We should treat with great ten- 
derness the sinner, however many or 
great his sins, who feels his guilt and 
would look to Jesus for forgiveness, ver. 

47 ; Matt. 11 : 28-30: 12 : 20, 21. 

40. God's gracious love, which secures 
to us our salvation, is the foundation of 
our love to him, ver. 47 ; 1 John 4 : 10, 

41. Jesus alone can forgive sins, ver. 

48 ; Acts 5 : 31 ; Isa. 1:18; John 6 : 37 ; 
Eph. 1:7; Heb. 8 : 12 ; 1 John 1 : 7. 

42. The displays of Christ's power 
and mercy too often inspire only wonder 
in those who behold, ver. 49 ; Acts 13 : 

43. The consciousness of forgiveness 
leads not to presumption, but to humil- 
ity and obedience, vers. 47-50 ; Eph. 4 : 

44. Faith is the instrument or medium 
of our salvation. A believing soul is at 
peace with God, ver. 50 ; Rom. 5:1,2; 
Eph. 2 : 5. 


Luke begins this chapter with a refer- 
ence to our Lord's second missionary 
toTir throughout Galilee (vers. 1-3) ; then 
he gives the parable of the sower and its 
interpretation (9-18), and an incident 
illustrating the relation of Jesus to his 
relatives and his disciples, 19-21. The 
evangelist then proceeds to relate several 
of our Lord's most wonderful miracles — 
the stilling of the storm (22-25) ; the 
healing of the demoniac of Gerasa (26- 
39) ; the raising of Jairus' daughter and 
the cure of a diseased woman, 40-56. 

1-3. Jesus with the Twelve 
MAKES A Second Pee aching Tour 



A. D. 28, 

Jesus makes a second general preaching tour in Galilee. 

VIII. AND it came to pass afterward, that he went 
throughout every city and village, preaching and 
shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God : and 
2 the twelve were with him, and " certain women, which "Mt. 27. 55, 56. 
had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary 
called Magdalene, ^out of whom went seven devils, »Mk, le. 9. 

men who had been healed attend him 
and minister to him. This tour prob- 
ably occupied two or three months of 
the summer, A. D. 28. Recorded only 
by Luke. 

1. Afterward, after the events re- 
lated in the preceding chapter. Com- 
pare on ch. 1 : 3, note on " in order." 
How much time intervened we are not 
informed ; probably not long. Indeed, 
we may conceive that this preaching tour 
really commenced upon our Lord's leav- 
ing Capernaum for Nain (ch. 7 : 11) ; 
and after remaining there and in its 
vicinity a little time, it is continued as 
here related. He went throughout, 
or journeyed through, every city and 
village. This is strong and popular 
language, meaning that he made a 
general and extensive preaching tour 
from city to city and from village to 
village. City, a walled town. Vil- 
lage, a town without walls. Preach- 
ing, heralding, announcing. Showing 
the glad tidings. Proclaiming or 
publishing the glad tidings of the 
Saviour and his reign. Luke's language 
is full and emphatic. We catch a 
glimpse of the activity and abundant 
labors of Jesus. He preached publicly, 
everywhere, and to all classes. This 
was in marked contrast to the exclu- 
siveness of Pharisaic instruction. 

Kingdom of God. See on ch. 4 : 
43. The twelve were with him, as 
his attendants and as learners. They 
were with him as his witnesses also 
(Acts 1 : 21, 22), and were becoming 
prepared for their future work. 

2, And certain women. A circle 
of female disciples had been gathered 
to him from thankful love, and appear 
to have attended to a considerable ex- 
tent upon the ministry of Jesus in his 
journeys. Luke again refers to them 
in ch. 23 : 55 and 24 : 10. " It was a 
Jewish custom for women, especially 
widows, to aid public teachers from 

their private property, and therefore to 
accompany them in their journeys." — 
Bengel. Evil spirits. Demons. 
Infirmities. Various and inveterate 
diseases. Luke, a physician, distin- 
guishes between demoniacal possessions 
and diseases. 

Mary called Magdalene, or the 
Magdalene, from Magdala, now the vil- 
lage of Mejdel, on the west coast of the 
Sea of Galilee. She was a woman of 
some property, as is evident from her 
ministering to the wants of Jesus, and 
from the position of her name, not only 
in connection with but even before that 
of Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's 
steward, who, from his official position, 
must have acquired considerable wealth. 
Tradition has confounded her with the 
sinner in ch. 7 : 37, but without evidence 
or reason. Naming charitable institu- 
tions for fallen women '' Magdalene 
hospitals," etc., is unwarranted by 
Scripture, and is little less than a 
libelous implication. Neither is she to 
be confounded with Mary, who anointed 
Jesus in Bethany, John 12 : 3. She was 
one of the two women who saw the 
burial of Jesus (Mark 15 : 47), and one 
of those who prepared spices and oint- 
ment to embalm him. She was early 
at the tomb on the first day of the week ; 
and lingering there after the other dis- 
ciples had retired, she was the first to 
see her Lord, Mark 16 : 1 ; John 20 : 11- 

Out of whom went seven devils, 
demons. This is to be taken literally; 
not figuratively, of sins. It no more 
follows that persons possessed of demons 
were unusually dissolute than that 
insane persons are pre-eminently de- 
praved. Seven is a sacred number of 
completeness, and may mean the defi- 
nite number seven or may be used in- 
definitely for several, Ruth 4 : 15; 1 
Sam. 2:5; Isa. 4:1; Matt. 12 : 45. It 
probably implies here that her whole 
nature had been under demoniacal con« 

A. D. 28. 



3 and "Joanna, the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and * ch. 24. lo, 
Susanna, and many others, ^ which ministered unto '2Cor. 8. 9. 
him of their substance. 

Parable of the sower. 

4 'And when mucli people were gathered together, and *^}^- '3. 3; Mk. 4. 
were come to him out of every city, he spake by a 

5 parable : A sower went out to sow his seed : and as 

trol. It is also implied, as in Mark IG : 
9 it is plainly asserted, that Jesus cast 
out these demons. 

3. Joauna, the wife of Chuza 
Herod's steward. The connection 
implies this one also had been dispos- 
sessed of an evil spirit or cured of some 
serious malady. She is again mention- 
ed in ch. 24 : 10. Joanna, the feminine 
of John. Chuza was a house-steward 
of llerod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee 
(ch. 3 : 1), a manager of his property, 
concerns, and household aflfairs. It has 
been conjectured that he was that noble- 
man whose son Jesus healed, and who 
believed with all his house, John 4 : 
46, 53. He was evidently a man of some 
note, and his wife must have been able 
to contribute largely to the support of 
Jesus and the twelve. " Professor 
Blunt has observed in his 'Coincidences 
that we find a reason here why Herod 
should say to his servants (Matt. 14 : 2), 
* This is John the Baptist,' . . . because 
his steward's wife was a disciple of 
Jesus, and so there would be frequent 
mention of him among the servants in 
Herod's court." — Alford. Perhaps 
Joanna was now a widow, and was thus 
able to devote her time and property to 
the service of Jesus. . 

Susanna means Lily. It is also im- 
plied that she had been delivered from 
demoniacal possession or from some dis- 
ease by the Saviour's power. This is 
the only place where she is mentioned. 

Ministered unto him, according 

to the highest critical authorities, to 

them, to Jesus and the twelve. Of 

their substance, of their possession, 

I property. Thus not all our Lord's fol- 

I lowers were poor. These female disci- 

I pies appear to have belonged to a class 

' who were in good worldly circumstances. 

Jesus condescended to live on the gifts 

and charities of his followers. " He 

who supported the spiritual life of his 

people did not disda'n to be supported 

by them bodily. He was not ashamed 
to descend to so deep a poverty that he 
lived on the charities of love. It wjus 
only others that he fed miraculously ; 
for himself he lived upon the love of 
his people." — Olshausen. 

4-15. TuE Parable of the Sower. 
The various receptions that men give to 
the word of God. The causes and the 
consequences. Matt. 13 : 1-18 ; Mark 4 : 
1-21. Mark's account is somewhat the 
fullest. Luke is the briefest. Indeed, 
Luke gives but one parable at this point, 
while Matthew gives seven and Mark 
three. Yet Luke is rich in parables, 
such as the importunate friend, ch. 11 : 
5-8 ; the good Samaritan, ch. 10 : 30- 
37 ; the rich fool, ch. 12 : 16-21, etc. 
See chapters 15, 16. 

4. Much people. Jesus was bring- 
ing to an end his second preaching tour 
throughout Galilee. He was now prob- 
ably at or near Capernaum. As near 
the close of his first general preachini^ 
circuit, when the crowds of people and 
the interest were at their height, he de- 
hvered the sermon on the mount (Matt. 
4 : 23-5 : 1), so now, near the end of 
this circuit, when a gj^eat multitude had 
gathered together of those who had 
come to him out of every city round 
about, he speaks to the people in par- 
ables. According to Matthew and Mark, 
the concourse was so great that Jesus 
went up into a ship and addressed the 
people, who stood on the shore. A little 
before this he had healed a blind and 
dumb demoniac, and the scribes and 
Pharisees charged him with casting 
out demons through Beelzebub, tlie 
prince of demons. Matt. 12 : 22-45 ; 
Mark 3 : 19-30. 

A parable. The Greek word thus 
translated comes from a verb meaning 
to throw beside, to compare. Hence a 
parable in the most comprehensivt; 
sense is a placing beside or together, a 
comparing, and may apply to any il- 



A. D. 28. 

lie sowed, some fell by the wayside ; and it was trod- 

lustration from analogy, a comparison, 
similitude, allegory, figurative or poet- 
ical discourse, dark saying or proverb, 
Num. 23 : 7 ; Job 27 : 1 ; Ps. 49 : 4 ; 78 : 
2 ; :\'[att. 13 : 35. In Luke 4 : 23 it is 
properly translated proverb. Indeed, 
Luke is less strict in his use of the word 
than either Matthew or Mark, ch. 5 : 
36 ; 6 : 39. John does not use the Avord. 
In a more restricted sense it denotes an 
illustration of moral and religious truth 
drawn from events which take place 
among mankind. Tlie narrative or dis- 
course may be fictitious, but it must 
be within the limits of probability, else 
it becomes a fable. Teaching by para- 
bles was common in the East, especially 
among the Jews, 2 Sam. 12 : 1-14 ; Isa. 
5:1-5; Ezek. 19 : 1-9. 

The Pakables of Christ were of 
the more restricted kind, and deserve 
especial notice. First, they were not 
fables. Fables illustrate human charac- 
ter and conduct; the parables of Christ 
illustrate moral and spiritual truths. 
Fables are founded upon supposed 
words and acts of brutes or inanimate 
things ; the parables of Christ were all 
founded upon common and familiar in- 
cidents in nature and human experience, 
and all drawn, with one exception, from 
the present world. None of them was 
even necessarily fictitious. Facts are 
better than fiction ; and Jesus with his 
omniscience had before him all events 
connected with the present and future 
world. It should also be noted that 
Jesus never uses the fable. His teaching 
demanded a higher kind of illustration. 
Compare the fables of Jotham (Judg. 
9 : 8-15) and Joash (2 Kings 14 : 1) with 
the parables of this chapter. 

Second, they were not proverbs. Prov- 
erbs are brief, sententious sayings ex- 
pressing in simple or figurative lan- 
guage the result of human experience or 
observation. The parables of Christ 
are more extended, illustrating truth 
neither obscurely nor briefly, but plainly 
and in detail. In general it may be said 
that parables are expanded proverbs 
and proverbs are concentrated parables. 
Compare the proverbs, " Physician, heal 
thyself" (Luke 4 : 23), "A prophet is 
not without honor, save in his own 
country," etc. (Matt. 13 : 57), with the 

parable of the wicked husbandmen, 
Matt. 21 : 33-44. Yet many a i>roverb 
expanded would be a fable or an alle- 

2'hird, neither were they allegories. 
Dr. Trench has well remarked that 
"the parable differs from the allegory 
in form rather than in essence." The 
allegory bears to the parable a relation 
similar to that which the metaphor bears 
to the simile or comparison. Thus, 
" That man is a fox " is a metaphor, but 
" That man is like a fox " is a simile or 
comparison. So " I am the true vine," 
etc. (John 15 : 1-8), is an allegory, but 
" The kingdom of heaven is like the 
grain of mustard," etc., is a parable. In 
the parable one thing is compared with 
another, the two kept separate and 
standing side by side ; but in the alle- 
gory the two are united and mingled 
together, and the thing which repre- 
sents is really invested with the attri- 
butes and powers of that which is rep- 
resented. Thus the allegory is self- 
interpreting ; at least the interpretation 
is contained within itself. In Bunyan's 
allegory the imaginary Christian is in- 
vested with the attributes and powers 
of the real one, and thus the signification 
is mingled with the fictitious narrative. 
But the parable, strictly speaking, con- 
tains in itself only the types which 
ilhistrate something without and run- 
ning parallel with them. Thus in the 
parables of Christ various facts in the 
world are made to illustrate great moral 
and spiritual facts and truths which are 
always kept separate, yet are always 
parallel. Comj^are the allegories of 
John 10 : 1-16 ; 15 : 1-8 with the par- 
ables of this chapter, or the parable in 
Isa. 3 : 1-7 with the allegory in Ps. 80 : 

The parables of Christ were thus the 
illustration of spiritual things by an 
analogy of facts and incidents in every- 
day life and human experience. Their 
design (ver. 10) and the right mode of 
expounding them (11-15) will appear 
as we proceed. 

5. A soAver. Rather, the sower, rep- 
resenting the whole class of sowers. 
The scene was a very familiar one to 
his hearers. Went out, once upon a 
time from his house, from the village 

A. D. 28. 



6 den down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And 
some fell upon a rock ; and as soon as it wi\s sprung 
up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 

7 And some fell among thorns ; and the thorns sprang 

8 up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good 
ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundred- 

or city. The time is indefinite, but the 
fact was of common occurrence. Pos- 
sibly a sower wiis near at hand in a 
neighboring fieUl, thus making the par- 
able the more striking and impressive. 
The sowing season began with October 
and continued to the end of February. 
It is not improbable that it was now 

Some fell. Or, more literally, One 
fell, one seed or one portion of seed 
fell. By the wayside. Fields were 
very commonly unenclosed, or separated 
only by a narrow footpath. The ordi- 
nary roads also were not fenced. Hence 
the seed of the sower was liable to fall 
beyond the ploughed field upon the hard 
ground, path, or road which formed the 
wayside. The seed was thus exposed 
to a double danger. It was trodden 
down by travellers passing along the 
way, an incident noticed only by Luke, 
anc\ the fowls of the air, the birds, 
such as the lark, sparrow, and raven 
(eh. 12 : 24), devoured it. 

6. And some. Rather, Another 
seed or portion of seed fell, etc. Just 
as it is now common to say in gra])hic 
discourse, " One here, and another 
there." Upon the rock, upon a rocky 
surface slightly covered with earth. 
" There was the rocky ground of the 
hillside protruding here and there 
through the corn-fields, as elsewhere 
through the grassy slopes." — Stanley. 
It would therefore soon be warmed 
and soon parched. The seed would 
spring up quickly. Matt. 13 : 5 ; Mark 

6. As soon as it was sprung up, 
or springing up, it withered away. 
The grain sprang up quickly above 
the surface, and then quickly died. 
Tlie hot Oriental sun soon scorched it 
Avith its beams, evaporating its vital 
juices, and because it lacked 
moisture, there being no chance for 
the plant to grow downward, it withered 

7. And some. Another seed or 
portion of seed, as in ver. 6. Among 

thorns. Into the midst of or among 
the thorns, where the roots of the 
thorns remained, not having been care- 
fully extirpated. These sprang up 
with it above the surface, and choked, 
strangled, stifled the grain, by pressing 
upon it, overtopping it, shading it, an<l 
exhausting the soil, and hence it yielded 
no fruit. Thorny shrubs and plants 
abound in Palestine. " The traveller 
finds them in his path, go where he 
may. Many of them are small, but 
some grow as high as a man's head. 
The rabbinical writers say that there 
are no less than twenty-two words in 
the Hebrew Bible denoting thorny and 
prickly plants." — Dr. Hackett, IScrip- 
ture Illustrations, p. 134. 

8. And other. And another, as in 
ver. 6. On good ground. Into the 
good groxind, the rich, deep soil; neither 
hard and beaten, nor rocky, nor in- 
fested with thorns, but well prepared 
for receiving the seed. It therefore 
sprang up and bare fruit. Luke 
states only the highest amount, a hun- 
dredfold, while Matthew and Mark 
give the diSerent increase, thirty, sixty, 
and a hundredfold, the former descend- 
ing from the highest to the lowest ; the 
latter rising from the lowest to the high- 
est. The independence of the evan- 
gelists may thus be incidentally seen, 
and it also shows how little importance 
is to be attached to such slight differ- 

Hundredfold. Thus Isaac, when 
sojourning in the land of the Philistines, 
is said to have sowed and " received in 
the same year a hundredfold," Gen. 26 : 
12. Herodotus mentions two hundred- 
fold as a common yield in the plain of 
Babylon, and sometimes three. Dr. J. 
P. Newman (From Dan to Beersheba, 
p. 396) says of the plain of Gennesaret, 
which may have been near where Jesus 
was speaking, " Equalling in fertility 
the plains of Jericho, it is well watered, 
and its soil is in part a rich black 
mould. , . . Were it cultivated with 
intelligence and taste, it would be the 



A.D. 28, 

fold. And when lie had said tlicse things, he cried, 
He that liath ears to hear, let him hear. 
9 *And his disciples asked him, saying, What might 

10 this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given 
to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God : but to 
others in parables ; that seeing they might not see, 

11 and hearing they might not understand. *'Now the 

•Mt. 13. 10; Mk.4 

«>Mt. 13. 18; 
4. 14. 


paradise of Northern Palestine, produ- 
cing the choicest fruits luxuriantly, and 
possessing an eternal spring. Even 
now, notwithstanding its neglected state, 
it is dotted with magnificent corn-fields 
and with groves of dwarf-palms." Jesus 
too was familiar with the fertile plain 
of Esdraelon, directly below Nazareth, 
which could yield grain enough, if 
properly cultivated, to support the en- 
tire population at present in Palestine. 
When he had said these things, 
this parable, he cried, exclaimed in 
loud and distinct tones, so that all could 
hear, in order to give emphasis to what 
he had just spoken. He that hath 
ears, etc. A call to candid and serious 
attention. He that can hear, let him 
now seriously attend and understand 
the solemn truths taught by this par- 

9. His disciples asked him. 
When he was alone, Mark 4 : 10. 
What might this parable be ? or 
better. What this parable was, what it 
meant ? The parable just delivered 
gave occasion for asking not only con- 
cerning this parable, but also, accord- 
ing to Matthew (13 : 10), concerning 
the design of parables generally : " Why 
speakest thou unto them in parables ?" 
And in the reply of Jesus here recorded 
both questions are answered, the latter 
in the next verse. The inquiries of the 
disciples imply that this was the first 
time that Jesus taught the multitude 
by parabolic discourses. Before this 
his teaching had been plain and direct, 
intermingled with occasional simili- 
tudes, as in the sermon on the mount. 
But now " without a parable spake he 
not unto them," Mark 4 : 34. 

10. In his reply Jesus speaks first re- 
specting parables generally as used by 
him in illustrating the things of his king- 
dom. He uses them, in order that the 
jnysteries of the kingdom might be veiled 
to the hardened and ill-designing, but 
illustrated to his believing followers. 
Unto you it is given to know, etc. 

Given by the sovereign will and good 
pleasure of God, and to hearts pre- 
pared by divine grace. Compare Matt. 
19 : 11; John 3 : 27 ; 19 : 11. Unto 
you is emphatic and in contrast to 
others, the rest^ who are not my dis- 
ciples. The hardened and ill-designing 
multitude is here specially referred to. 
The separation between Christians and 
the world is brought into view. Mys- 
teries. The secrete, the truths con- 
cerning the kingdom of Christ, hitherto 
hidden, but now being revealed. Mys- 
tery refers not to that which is incom- 
prehensible in its own nature, but to 
what is unrevealed. See Rom. 16 : 25, 
28; iCor. 2:7, 8; 15:51; 1 Tim. 3 : 
16; Eph. 1 : 9, 10. Kingdom of God. 
See on ch. 4 : 43. The great truths of 
the gospel were entrusted and made 
known to his followers, not to the op- 
posing scribes and Pharisees. Even 
what prophets had foretold was a mys- 
tery to the worldly-minded multitude, 1 
Cor. 2 : 14. 

To others in parables, implying 
that parables may veil and darken 
truth to some, while they illustrate it 
to others. 

That seeing, etc. A full quotation 
from Isa. 6 : 9. Mark gives the quota- 
tion more fully than Luke; Matthew 
(13 : 14, 15) the fullest of all. The hard- 
ness of heart exhibited under the preach- 
ing of Isaiah was but a type of that 
greater hardness which should be shown 
by the unbelieving Jewish people in the 
rejection of Christ and his gospel, John 
12 : 40; Acts 28 : 26, 27 ; Rom. 11 : 8. 
That expresses a purpose, and not a 
mere result. On account of sin they are 
left to spiritual deafness and blindness. 
That seeing clearly and distinctly the 
external form, as of the parables, they 
might not — rather, maf/ not — perceive 
the hidden truth and spiritual meaning. 
And hearing distinctly and clearly the 
words by which the truths of the gospel 
are announced, they may not under- 
stand their spiritual meaning. They 

A. D. 28. 



• Col. 1. 5, 6; Jam. 
1. 21 ; 1 IVt. 1. 


12 parable is tliis : "The seed is the word of God. Those 
by the wayside are they that hear ; then cometh the 
devil, an! taketli away the word out of their hearts, 

J 8 lest they should believe and be saved. They on the 

rock are they, which, when they hear, •* receive the ^ Ps. 106. 12, 13, 
word with joy ; and these have no root, which for a 
while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 

have faculties and oi)portunities, but 
they will not riglitly use them . Though 
they have moral and intellectual ])ow- 
ers, they are righteously given over to 
their spiritual blindness and deafness. 

11-15. Interpretation of the 
Parable of the Sower. Matt. 13 : 
18-23 ; Mark 4 : 13-20. These three 
accounts are very similar, yet with the 
diflerences of independent narratives. 
Luke is shortest, and Mark somewhat 
the longest. 

11. The parable is this. Jesus 
proceeds to answer the question asked 
above, ver. 9, to interpret the ])arable. 
Compare 40 : 12. The seed is made 
prominent by Luke. The word of 
God. The truths of the gospel. See 
1 Pet. 1 : 23. The Bible is the great 
treasure of gospel seed. What a respon- 
sibility resting on those Avho have it ! 

12. This parable divides the hearers of 
the gospel into four classes : the thought- 
less, the superficial and fickle, tlie world- 
ly, and the truly pious. Those by the 
wayside, the thoughtless hearers, rep- 
resented by the seed sown by the way- 
side. The fate of the seed is inseparable 
from the fate of the man ; it can, there- 
fore, truthfully represent the man. 
They that hear, by the ear, with no 
impression on the heart, like seed on 
the hard and trodden wayside. The 
devil. See on ch. 4 : 2. Taketh 
away, like the birds picking up the 
grain. He not only does this himself, 
but by his agents, wicked men and evil 
spirits, and also by evil thoughts and 
desires ; and, indeed, by anything which 
will take away the attention from the 
truths of the gospel. The word out 
of their hearts, which had produced 
no impression upon it. The heart was 
indeed the soil on which the seed fell. 
Matt. 13 : 19. Lest they should be- 
lieve. Rather, That they may not be- 
lieve and be saved. Satan would keep 
them from salvation by keeping them 
in unbelief, 2 Cor. 1 : 3* 4. 

13. The stony ground, or superficial 
and fickle hearers. They on the 
rock are they, etc. They are the 
ones whose case is represented by tlie 
seed, etc. These do not merely hear the 
word incidentally; not mere passive 
hearers, but emotional and somewhat 
thoughtful, they with joy receive 
the word. Hearing the glad tidings 
and thinking upon the pleasures and 
gains of salvation, they are at once 
highly pleased and delighted, without 
counting the cost, Luke 14 : 25-33. 
Their gladness is not the joy flowing 
out of repentance. Their emotions are 
easily aroused, but their heart beneath 
is hard and unrenewed. There is no 
deep conviction of sin, no brokenness 
and contrition of spirit, no change of 

Having "no root in themselves" 
(Mark 4 : 17), they are creatures of ex- 
citement, carried away with the novel- 
ties, the pleasures, or the sentimental 
excitements of religion ; and hence, as 
the excitement subsides, they change 
and turn back. They experience for a 
while an emotional and apparent faith, 
for a while believe, but believe not 
with all the heart, Acts 8 : 37. When 
temptation, the first severe trial, 
comes, they fall away, from a mere 
superficial religion and false profes- 
sion. As the hot sun causes the deeply- 
rooted plant to grow, while at the same 
time it withers the rootless grains on 
rocky places, so tribulation and perse- 
cution strengthen and develop the true 
child of God (Rom. 5:3; 8 : 28 ; 2 Cor. 
4 : 17; Rev. 7 : 14), while they offend, 
discourage, and completely disaffect the 
false and superficial disciple, Hos. 9 : 
16 ; 2 Tim. 4 : 10. Such hearers are 
abundant at the present day among all 
denominations, and even in the most 
genuine revivals. It has been estimated 
that of over twelve hundred thousand 
persons received as probationers by the 
Methodist Episcopal Church from 185d 



A. D. 28. 

14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, 
when they have heard, go forth, and *are choked 
with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and 

15 bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good 
ground are they, which 'in an honest and good heart, 
having heard the word, «keep it, and bring forth fruit 
•'wuth patience. 

" Ro. 2. 7 ; Heb. 10. 36 ; 12. 1 ; Jam. 5. 10, 11. 

• 1 Tim. 6. 9. 

'Ps. 1. 1, 2; Pro. 

8. 33, 34; Ac. 2. 

41 ; 17. 11 ; 1 Pet. 

2. 1 2. 
8 Job' 23. 11, 12; 

John 8. 31 ; Col. 

1. 23; Heb. 3. 

12-14; Jam. 1. 


to 1865 inclusive, seven hundred thou- 
sand never were received into full mem- 

14. The worldly hearers. And that 
which fell among thorns, etc. An- 
other class of unfruitful hearers are they 
whose case is represented by the seed 
sown among the thorns. Their heart 
is like the ploughed but ill-prepared 
field ; the soil is rich and deep, but the 
thorn-roots have not been extirpated. 
They have conviction of sin, show signs 
of sorrow and repentance, and pass 
through an experience similar to that 
often witnessed in true conversion, but 
the heart is divided, darling sins are 
secretly fostered, and the powers of the 
body and soul are not given to Christ. 
They are not thoughtless, like those of 
the first class ; nor, like those of the 
second, do they fail to count the cost, 
and hence do not participate in their 
false and fleeting joy. They hear, hear 
seriously, enter upon a conflict with the 
world, but fail to conquer. The cause 
is a heart not consecrated to Jesus. Go 
forth, into the world to their various 

Choked with cares, of the world, 
Mark 4 : 19 ; anxious cares about world- 
ly things, which divide the heart be- 
tween God and the things of this life, 
James 1 : 6-8. This applies especially 
to the poor, whose "struggles with 
poverty draw ofl" the mind from God, 
and also to every one who is so unduly 
anxious about worldly things (Matt. 6 : 
25) as to prevent him from giving up 
himself to God and casting his care on 
him, 1 Pet. 5 : 7. And riches, allur- 
ing the heart and leading it to exer- 
cise confidence in wealth ; producing 
self-sufiiciency and self-complacency. 
Hence they take up with a false hope 
and a mere profession. Matthew (13 : 
22) and Mark (4 : 19) say, "The deceit- 
fulness of riches," And pleasures 
of this life, of life, whatever they may 

be, which will draw away the heart 
from God. Such are the natural ac- 
companiments of such a course, 1 Tim. 
6 : 9, 10. " Three more sweeping gen- 
eric terms for worldly-raindedness could 
not be found in our language." — J. J. 
Owen. Bring no fruit unto per- 
fection. They may have much of the 
outward appearance of the disciple, and 
even apparent fruits, but these, not 
coming to perfection, are unfit for use, 
and as worthless as no fruit at all. In 
the sight of God they are really desti- 
tute of good works. 

15. The good-ground hearers, or the 
truly pious. They hear the word at- 
tentively and rightly, and receiye it 
into their hearts. According to Mat- 
thew (13 : 23), they "understand" its 
true spiritual import. In an honest 
and good heart, earnest and simple- 
minded, humble and teachable, Hke the 
good ground, prepared for the seed, 
ready to receive it in such a manner as 
to retain it and act upon it. All hearts 
are evil by nature, but in some there is 
a readiness, through the working of the 
Spirit and the truth, to hear and accept 
the gospel. It is heard, not thought- 
lessly (ver. 15), but seriously ; received, 
not superficially (vers. 16, 17), but deep- 
ly in the heart ; accepted, not partially 
(18, 19), but fully, with the whole heart. 
There is repentance and faith, a full 
surrender of the heart to Christ. While 
the soul acts freely, the Spirit works 
elFectually in connection with the truth, 
and thus, without infringing upon the 
will, the heart is prepared by divine 
grace, John 5 : 40 ; 6 : 44 ; 16 : 8 ; 1 Cor. 
2 : 14. Having heard the \*'Ord, 
not only with the ear, but also with the 
heart. And not only hear it, but keep 
it, rather, hold it fast, retain it so that 
it is reflected upon, and it takes root. 
Hence they bring forth fruit, the 
distinguishing characteristic of this 
class. With patience, with a con- 

A. D. 28. 



IG 'No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth '^^'*;2i ; ch. n. 

' " 4.» ; JVlt. 6. 15, 16. 

stancy of purpose, with a consistent per- 
severance, tlirough a life of discourage- 
ments and trials. This is in contrast to 
those in ver. 14, who bring forth no 
fruit unto perfection. Compare Rom. 

The same classes of hearers are found 
ai; the present day and in every age. 
Tha wisdom of our Saviour's instruc- 
tions is thus seen in their perfect ap- 
plication through all time. 

In these verses our Saviour has given 
a model exposition. From it we learn 
to avoid two opposite extremes: first, 
making every pomt significant; second, 
overloolving some points which are 
really significant. The resemblance in 
the principal incidents is all that should 
be generally sought. I would give the 
following general directions : 

First of all, seek carefully the grand 
design of the parable and its centre of 
comparison; and then, with the mind 
fixed on these, explain the principal 
parts accordingly, without giving too 
much prominence to minute particulars 
"which serve merely to complete the 
story. In seeking the design of a para- 
ble, particular attention must be given 
to its occasion, connection, introduction, 
and close. The centre of comparison is 
that from which all parts of the parable 
extend in illustrating its grand design. 
Avoid fanciful interpretations; beware 
of seeking comparisons which are for- 
eign to the design of the parable. The 
interpretation must be natural and easy, 
not forced and far-fetched. Beware, 
also, of founding a doctrine or a duty 
on single phrases or incidental circum- 

These principles may be briefly illus- 
trated in the parable of the sower, as 
follows : The general design of parables 
is to illustrate the mysteries of the 
kingdom of Gcd, vers. 11, 26, 30. The 
■ particular design of this parable is to 
illustrate the various kinds of reception 
men give to the word of God ; the causes 
and consequences are incidentally 
traced. The centre of the comparison 
is the receptivity of the ground to the 
seed with that of the heart to the word 
of God. All portions of the parable 
and its interpretation are in harmony 
with this grand design and central si- 

militude. The soiver is the Son of man, 
or his representatives, liis servants; the 
seed is the word of God ; the ground, the 
hearts of men ; the seed with its I'esults, 
as sown on the ground, the various 
classes of hearers. Now, many resem- 
blances might be affirmed which Jesus 
has not affirmed. This, for example, 
from a soiver as a husbandman, his going 
forth, the time and manner of his sow- 
ing, the local position of the wayside. 
But these would be foreign to the grand 
design, and very remotely connected, 
if connected at all, with the centre of 
comparison. So also to refer the way- 
side hearer to thoughtless childhood, 
the stony ground to ardent and super- 
ficial youth, and the thorny ground to 
worldly-minded maturity would be fan- 
ciful as well as unnatural. For these 
classes may all be found among persons 
of the same age. And finally, to con- 
clude that there are but three classes of 
fruit-bearing Christians corresponding 
to the thirtvfold, the sixtv, and the 
hundred (Matt. 13 : 23; Mark 4 : 20), 
each bearing no more and no less than 
the ratio of his class, would obviously 
be forced, and be founding a principle 
on single phrases and incidental circum- 

16-18. All of his Instructions de- 
signed TO GIVE Light ; his Hear- 
ers Responsible for their Mea- 
sure OF Light, Matt. 13 : 12 ; Mark 4 : 
21-25. Compare Matt. 5 : 15 ; 7 : 12 ; 10 : 
26, where Jesus uses the same language 
on other occasions. Jesus sometimes 
repeated great and important truths. 
See Matt. 6 : 9-13 and Luke 11 : 2-4 ; 
Matt. 16 : 21 ; 17 : 22, 23, and 20 : 17-19.. 
The same thing has been done by the 
wisest teachers and by inspired prophets. 
Compare Ps. 14 and 53 ; Jer. 10 : 12-16 
with 51 : 15-19. 

16. Jesus had told his disciples that 
it was given them to know the mysteries 
of the kingdom of God, but not to the 
unbelieving and hardened multitude, 
and hence his special reason for speak- 
ing in parables at that time, ver. 10. 
They might possibly infer that these 
instructions in the great truths of his 
kingdom were to be kept secret, and 
that parabolic instruction is, in its very 
nature, adapted to darken rather than 



A. D. 28. 

it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed ; but setteth 

a on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see 26 27 -^i ^or^4 

17 the light. ^For nothing is secret, that shall not be 5.' 

made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not ^^^- ^Q^t-j.^fu' 

18 be known and come abroad. 'Take heed therefore 4.23,24. ' 
how ye hear; ™for whosoever hath, to him shall be "ch. 19. 26; see 
given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be 25^29 ^^Helf2^^i- 
taken even that which he seemeth to have. jam. i. 19, 22. 

enlighten. Jesus, however, dispels any 
Buch notions by what he now says. It 
is the nature of all truth to enlighten ; 
if it darkens, the fault is in the hearer, 
not in the truth. His instructions are 
all intended to be made public, and the 
hearer will be made responsible for his 
manner of receiving it. 

When he hath lighted a candle, 
a lamp, the common domestic lamp, 
covers it with a vessel, 
a household utensil for con- 
taining things. Or under 
a hed. A couch, proba- 
bly that on which people 
reclined at their meals, 
which was elevated three 
or four feet above the floor. 
But men put it on a can- 
dlestick, or rather on the 
lamp-standard, the support 
on Avhich the lamp is 
placed, in order that when 
they enter in the house 
or room they may see the light, the 
lamp giving light. ** The lamp, being 
low, was placed on a support sufficiently 
high to give light through the room; 
and this latter would be equally neces- 
sary to the candle with its candlestick, 
as Ave use the term." — Dr. Conant on 
Jlatt. 5 : 15. And thus the truths of 
•the gospel are like the lamp, designed 
not to be covered up, but to be made 
known, so as to give light to the world. 
17. For, Jesus gives the reason of 
his figurative language in the preceding 
verse in a plain and emphatic declara- 
tion. For there is nothing secret, 
concealed, intentionally done in secret, 
that it shall not be made manifest, 
revealed and made known. Neither 
anything hid, by parable or other- 
wise, that it shall not be known and 
come abroad, come into open view, 
be brought to light. Nothing which 
had been taught or done in secret was 
to be withheld, but all is designed to be 

proclaimed publicly at the proper time. 
Even their secrecy would help toward 
their future publicity. Matt. 10 : 27; 
Acts 20 : 27 ; 2 Pet. 1 : 19. And as ap- 
plied to his parabolic instructions, truth 
now veiled in parables would be in due. 
time the more manifest through them. 
That which might seem to hide truth 
would most beautifully and openly 
illustrate it. Those who would now 
withhold the Bible from the people are 
acting contrary to the design of Christ 
and of truth. 

18. Take heed therefore how ye 
hear. See to it, consider carefully, that 
you be not like the superficial hearers 
of the parable, but like those repre- 
sented by the good ground, that you 
hear in a prayerful, humble, and teach- 
able spirit. Tor, The reason of what 
he had just said, given as a general 
principle. Matthew (13 : 12) gives it 
earlier in the discourse. But its appli- 
cability both there and here renders it 
probable that Jesus used it twice on the 
same occasion. Whosoever hath. He 
that, having a teachable spirit, has al- 
ready some knowledge of the gospel 
and of Christ. Experimental know- 
ledge and love for Christ, an improve- 
ment of this knowledge, and a desire 
for more are implied in such a slate. 
To him shall be given, more know- 
ledge. He shall have greater means 
and facilities for its attainment. Who- 
soever hath not, not having a teach- 
able spirit, has failed to receive and use 
the instructions of Christ — the truths 
of the gospel. Hence he has net experi- 
mental knowledge and love for Christ, 
and desires not to know his truth. From 
such shall be taken away even that 
which he seemeth to* have. The 
light, the means, and the knowledge 
which have been profiered him shall be 
withheld. The possession, however, is 
not real and truly experimental, but 
apparent and imaginary. His specula- 

A. D. 28. 



Christ^s mother and brethren. 

10 "Then came to him his mother and his brethren, "Si'e parallel^ Mt. 
iiO and could not come at him for the press. And it was 31I35. ' ' ' 

told him bii certain which said, Thy mother and thy 
21 brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. And 

he answered and said unto them, My mother and my 

tive views and notions shall become 
metre confused and darkened. Judas 
auionjx the twelve was an example of 
this ela^is. lie who uses and improves 
the liglit he has shall obtain more light, 
llos. 6:3; John 8:12; but he who neg- 
lects to do it shall lose it altogether and 
be condemned as an unprolitable ser- 
vant, Mutt. 25 : 29, 30. 

Matthew follows this parable by those 
of the lares, the grain of mustard, the 
leaven, tlie treasure hid in the field, 
the mercliant seeking goodly pearls, 
and the net. Mark follows it by the 
parables of the seed grooving secretly, 
the grain of mustard, and the leaven. 

19-21. CiiKiST's Mother and 
Brethren. Who they are in the 
truest and highest sense, Matt. 12 : 46- 
60 ; Mark 3 : 31-35. Luke is the brief- 
est. Matthew and Mark are similar, 
both presenting some graphic details. 
They both place also this incident be- 
fore the parable of the sower and fol- 
lowing the charge against Jesus of being 
in league with J^atan. Matthew (13 : 1) 
fixes it on the (lay of his parabolic 
discourse, and Mark is confirmatory. 
Luke, however, relates this incident 
after the parable of the sower, without 
any note of time, most naturally im- 
plying that it was at the time when he 
si)oke that parable. Ue is thus really 
in harmony with Matthew aiid Mark, 
but in his great brevity at this point he 
inverts the natural order, possibly be- 
cause, as Oosterzee remarks, this inci- 
dent " might sen'e very Avell to com- 
mend the right hearing, inasmuch as it 
indicates the high rank which the doers 
of the word (James 1 : 25 j, according to 
tlie Saviom''s judgment, enjoy." 

19. Then came, etc. ;More correctly, 
And his mother and his brethren came. 
He was probably speaking in the open 
air at or near Capernaum. His breth- 
ren. The presumption is that these 
were his brothers, the children, younger 
than himself, of Joseph and Mary. They 
raust be so regarded unless it be shown 

to the contrary, or some valid objection 
established against such a view. Some 
have regarded them as the children of 
Joseph by a former marriage. Others 
take the word brothers, in the wider 
Oriental sense, to mean near relations, 
kinsmen. Gen. 14 : 8. The first view, 
I think, is to be preferred. Compare 
on ch. 13 : 55, 56. Luke alone gives the 
reason implied in the narrative of Mat- 
thew and Mark why his mother and 
brethren could not come near him, 
because of the press, or the multitude, 
which was so great and so eager to hear 
him that he and his disciples had not 
had time to eat bread, Mark 3 : 20. On 
account of this continuous teaching his 
relatives had experienced great anxiety, 
and had gone to lay hold of him, saying. 
He is beside himself, Mark 3 : 21. All 
this accomplished nothing. Now his 
mother and brothers, his nearest and 
dearest relatives, seek to get a hearing. 
They not only feared that he might in- 
jure himself by overwork and fasting, 
but they also trembled at the dangers to 
which he was exposing himself by such 
plain admonitions. They doubtless 
wished to caution him, get him away 
from the multitude and the present ex- 
citement, and shield him from the as- 
saults or machinations of those whose 
enmity he had just embittered by his 

20. The fact concerning his mothei 
and brothers is borne from one to an 
other through the crowd till one of the 
nearest announces it to Jesus, Matt. 12 : 
47 ; Mark 3 : 32. Luke states it in the 
most general way, it Avas told him, 
but how or by whom is not stated. By 
certain should be omitted. 

21. Jesus improves the occasion to 
call attention to a higher and a spirit- 
ual relationship, and hence he says, 
J>iy mother and my brethren, etc. 
It should be noticed that this was said 
not to his mother and brethren, but to 
the multitude, to him and to others who 
had just announced the presence of his 



A. D. 28. 

brethren arc these "which hear the word of God, and "'^^^J} ^^- 1'; Ja°> 
do it. 

Jesus, crossing the lake, stills a storm. 

22 pNow it came to pass on a certain day, that he 
went into a ship with his disciples : and he said unto 
them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. 

23 And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell 
asleep. And there came down a storm of wind on the 

PMt. 8.18; Mk. 4. 

Mark (3 : 34) gives the look 
upon those who sat around 
(12 : 49) gives 

of Jesus 

him. Matthew (12 : 49) gives not the 
look, but the movement of his hand, 
which he stretched out toward his dis- 
ciples. The look and the stretched-out 
hand were both with affectionate regard 
as he said, My mother and my 
brethren, my nearest, dearest kindred, 
whose claims upon me are superior to 
those of any earthly friends, are these 
— pointing toward his disciples — who 
hear the word of God and do it. 
Such only are his true disciples. Matt. 
7 : 21. Thus they show their spiritual 
relationship to God the Father, and 
consequently to him. There is nothing 
in this language disrespectful to his hu- 
man relatives. 

" My brother and my sister," found 
in Mark, may be included in the plural 
brethren of Luke. "And mother " 
makes a climax, the nearest relationship 
that any human being can hold to me. 
Even beyond my beloved and highly- 
favored mother according to the flesh is 
the nearness and dearness of that rela- 
tionship which exists between me and 
my followers. We may view the enu- 
meration of mother, brethren, and sister 
(Mark 3 : 35) as uniting and concentrat- 
ing human relationships in one, to ex- 
press and symbolize the highest spiritual 
union between Jesus and his disciples. 
Jesus does not introduce the word father, 
for he had no human father, and he never 
speaks of any but God as his Father. 
Compare ch. 2 : 48, 49. And as Joseph 
is never mentioned in connection with 
Mary during Christ's public ministry, 
it is probable that he was dead. 

Jesus thus refused or delayed speak- 
ing to his mother and brothers. The 
whole was an indirect repi'oof to them 
for their timidity and over-anxiety on 
his account. 

22-25. Jesus Ckosses the Lake; 
Stills the Tempest. Matt. 8 : 18, 

23-27; Mark 4 : 35-41. The account 
given by Mark is the fullest, most 
graphic, and most definite. Luko 
comes next in fulness and graphic 

22. As the sermon on the mount was 
followed by a miracle, so was the great 
parabolic discourse by the seaside. The 
former was for the enlightenment of 
all, and the miracle was before all; the 
latter Avas specially for those who had 
ears to hear, his disciples, and the 
miracle was performed specially for 
them. That miracle (the leper, Matt. 
8 : 2-4) represents man cleansed and 
saved by the Saviour in harmony with 
the law ; this might be termed an acted 
parable or dark saying. In the ex- 
tremity and darkness of the disciples, 
Christ appears the solver of their per- 
plexity, and the deliverer from threat- 
ening destruction. 

On a certain day. Mark (4 : 35) 
says, "the same day" or ^' that da}/," 
fixing this voyage and miracle to the 
evening and night following the par- 
abolic discourse just given. It was 
probably about sunsetting. 

He went into a ship with his 
disciples. He had entered, in order 
to discourse to the people, Matt. 13 : 2 ; 
Mark 4:1. It appears from Matthew 
that after discoursing from the boat 
he retired a while to the house, probably 
where he resided at Capernaum (Matt. 
13 : 36) ; then returned to the boat and 
possibly discoursed still more ; but see- 
ing the multitude continuing (Matt. 
8 : 18), he commands to depart to the 
opposite side, which command was 
obeyed promj^tly and in haste. The 
other side. The eastern side of the 

23. Asleep. He needed sleep, like 
other men, especially after a day of 
constant labor. It was his design, also, 
that this storm should be simultaneous 
with his sleep, so that his disciples 

A. D. 28. 



lake; and they were filled with wafer, <> and were in '*^\ ,^: P'^^^"^' 

24 jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, {q'" » "• • • 
sayiniT, Master, master, we ])erish ! Then he arose, 

and rebuked the wind and the rajj^in^^ of the water: 

25 and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said 

should feel their extremity and l)e the 
more deeply impressed with his power 
over the elements. Like Jonah, he 
slept in the midst of the storm ; hut 
how differently! — the propliet tleeing 
from duty, Jesus calmly awaitincf the 
fxact moment of duty ; the prophet 
the cause, Jesus the allayer, of the 

There came down a storm of 
wind, precipitated from the heavens 
and the surrounding mountains u])on 
the lake. It wtis one of those sudden, 
violent squalls or whirlwinds, attended 
with some rain, to which the lake is 
subject. Captain C. W. Wilson {Re- 
covery of Jerusalem) gives the following 
graphic description of one of these 
storms on the Sea of Galilee. 

" 1 hid a good opportunity of watch- 
ing one of them from the ruins of 
Gamala on the eastern hills. Suddenly, 
about midday, there was a sound of 
distant thunder, and a small cloud ' no 
bigger than a man's hand ' was seen 
rising over the heights of Lubieh, to 
the west. In a few moments the cloud 
began to spread, and heavy black 
masses came rolling down the hills 
toward the lake, completely obscuring 
Tabor and Hattiu. At this moment 
the breeze died away ; there were a few 
minutes of perfect calm, during which 
the sun shone out with intense power, 
and the surface of the lake was smooth 
and even as a mirror; Tiberias, Mejdel, 
and other buildings stood out in sharp 
relief from the gloom behind; but they 
were soon lost sight of as the thunder- 
gust swept past them, and rapidly ad- 
vancing across the lake lifted the 
placid water into a bright sheet of 
foam ; in another moment it reached 
the ruins, driving myself and com- 
panion to take refuge in a cistern, 
where, for nearly an hour, we were 
confined, listening to the rattling peals 
of thunder and torrents of rain. The 
effect of half the lake in perfect rest, 
whilst the other half was in wild con- 
fusion, was extremely grand; it would 
have fared badly with any light craft 

caught in mid-lake by the storm ; and 
we could not help thinking of that 
memorable occasion on whi'-h the 
storm is so graphically descrilied as 
'coming down' (Luke 8 • 23) upon the 
lak** " 

'I hey were filled, or began to be 
filled, referring to the boat ; the persona 
in it are figuratively put for the ship 
itself. Hence, they, the ship, and the 
disciples were in jeopardy, in peril 
of sinking. " It was covered with the 
Avaves," Matt. 8 : 24. 

24. They, his disciples. Awoke 
him. They roused him uj), not for his 
safety, but their own. Master, Mas- 
ter. The word here used is somewhat 
a favorite with Luke, denoting a teacher 
with authority. The same word is used 
in ch. 5 : 5, on which see. The repeti- 
tion shows the intensity of their feel- 
ings and their imminent danger. We 
perish! A mingled prayer and com- 
plaint, with mingled fear and faith. 
The cries of intense anxiety, the ex- 
clamations of terror, " Master, Master, 
we are lost ! Canst thou lie sleeping 
here while we are perishing? Save us 
from impending ruin !" Matt. 8 : 25. 
How great the tempest, thus to terrify 
the disciples, who were accustomed to 
sailing and fishing on the lake ! 

He arose. How patiently he bears 
their murmuring and their little faith, 
and how quickly he comes to their 
relief! Rebuked the av ind and the 
raging of the Avater, the swelling 
waves. Some infer from the language 
that Satan and his demons were the 
cause of the storm, and that they are 
the objects of rebuke. It may be ex- 
plained, however, by supposing a strong 
personification. By thus speaking, 
Jesus showed that the elements were 
subject to his bidding. Compare -Ps. 
106 : 9; 89 : 8, 9. They ceased. 
Both the winds and the rolling waves. 
The latter was the more remarkable, 
for the wind sometimes comes and goes 
suddenly ; but the waves continue to 
roll, subsiding gradually. But here the 
waves as well as the wind cease sud- 



A. D. 28. 

unto them, Where is your faith? And they being 
afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner 
of man is this! ""for he commandeth even the winds 'Ps. 89. 9 
and water, and they obey him. 

Jesus casts out legion, who enter and destroy the swine. 
26 " And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, 

• Mt. 8. 28; 9. 1 
Mk. 5. 1 ; Is. 27 
1 ; J as. 2. 19; 
Rev. 20. lb. 

denly. And there was a calm, a 
stillness; the wind is lulled, and the 
lake is without a ripple ; what a contrast 
to the violent agitation of both air and 
water which had just subsided ! Jesus 
with his disciples in the ship is a beau- 
tiful emblem of the church tossed and 
shaken by the tempests of the Avorld, 
yet always safe ; for Jesus is with her 
to the end. Compare, in contrast, Ezek. 
eh. 27, where Tyre is presented under 
the figure of a vast ship, built, manned, 
and freighted by the combined skill, 
strength, beauty, and riches of all 
nations ; but it is broken by the storm 
and destroyed. 

25. Jesus rebukes the troubled hearts 
of his disciples. Matthew places this 
before, and Mark and Luke after, the 
rebuking of the wind. The language 
comes in perfectly natural while Jesus 
is rising up from sleep. A part may 
have been spoken before and a part 
after the miracle. Thus as he awoke 
he may have answered their complain- 
ing entreaty, " Why ai'e ye fearful, O 
ye of little faith ?" Matt. 8 : 26. Then, 
arising and rebuking the elements, he 
may have added, " Where is your 
faith?" Luke 8 : 25; " W^hy are ye so 
fearful ? How is it that you have no 
faith ?" Mark 4 : 40. Their earnest en- 
treaty showed that they had a '' little 
faith ;" but as their terror arose from 
want of confidence in the power of Je- 
sus, and so completely unmanned them, 
it could be said comparatively that they 
had "no faith." 

They being afraid wondered. 
Fear and astonishment are mingled to- 
gether, leading them to exclaim. What 
manner of man is this? Rather, 
Who, then, is this who exercises such 
perfect control over the elements of 
nature? For he commandeth, 
rather, that he commandeth, with au- 
thority as to a subordinate, referring to 
the proof of Christ's great power, as 
shown in the obedience of the elements. 
From Matthew (8 : 27) this seems to be 

the exclamation of the crew or sailors 
on board. But here, and also in ilark 
(4 : 41), it aj)pears that the disciples 
shared in their feelings and exclama- 
tions of amazement. They indeed be- 
lieved in Jesus as the Messiah, but such 
an exhibition of power confounded 
them — not only confirmed their pre- 
vious knowledge and belief of his 
greatness, but excited within them 
wondering thoughts regarding his di- 
vine origin, power, etc. Compare the 
exclamation of the mariners on a sim- 
ilar occasion (Matt. 14 : 33), "Of a 
truth thou art the Son of God." 

26-40. Healing of the Gadarene 
Demoniac. After which he returns to 
the western side of the lake, Matt. 8 : 
28 to 9 : 1 ; Mark 5 : 1-21. The account 
of Mark is the fullest and most vivid. 
That of Luke comes next in fulness and 

26. They arrived. Rather, They sail- 
ed to — that is, from where the tempest 
was stilled. Country of the Gada- 
renes. According to the highest critical 
authorities, co?n?7r?/ of the G era series ; so 
also in Mark 5:1; but in Matt. 8 : 28 the 
most approved reading is " country of 
Gadarenes." It should be added, how- 
ever, that there is some manuscript au- 
thority for reading Gergesenes in Mark, 
and especially in Matthew and Luke. 
We will briefly notice the three cities 
in order. (1) Gadara, now Umkeis, was 
a city of Perea, a chief city of Decapo- 
lis, about seven or eight miles south-east 
of the Sea of Galilee. The territory or 
" the country " of Gadara could well ex- 
tend to the lake. The hill on which 
the city was located could not, however, 
have been the scene of the miracle, for 
it was not .lear enough to the lake ; and 
besides, the swine would have had to 
run down the mountain, ford the Hie- 
romax (now the Jcrmnk), a river as deep 
and rapid as the Jordan, and then cross 
a plain several miles before reaching 
the sea. (2) Gerasa, now Jerash, on the 
eastern boundary of Perea, was a town 

A. D. 28. 

LUKE viir. 


27 which is over against Galilee. And when he went 
forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain 
man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, 

28 neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When 
he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, 

of Decapolis, about forty miles south- 
east of the scene of the miracle. Jose- 
nhus describes it as rich and populous. 
Alost beautiful and extensive ruins 
now mark its site. A large tract of 
country adjacent to the city, possibly 
extending to the Sea of Galilee, may 
have borne its name. Jerome states 
that in his day Gilead was called Gerasa. 
(3) Gerge^Ki, according to Origen, was a 
city that stood on the eastern shore of 
the Sea of Galilee. Some reference to 
its ancient inhabitants may possibly 
have been made by Girgashites in Josh. 
3 : 10. Its ruins, now called Gersa, may 
be seen on the eastern shore of the 
lake, about midway between the en- 
trance and the outlet of the Jordan. 
" It is within a few rods of the shore, 
and an immense mountain rises directly 
above it, in which are ancient tombs. 
. . . The lake is so near the base of 
the mountain that the swine rushing 
madly down it could not stop, but 
would be hurried on into the water and 
drowned." — Dk. Thomson, The Land 
and the Book, vol. ii., pp. 35, 36. This 
is confirmed by the report of Captain 
Wilson to a society in England known 
as the Palestine Exploration Fund, as 
follows : " Between Gersa and Wady 
Fik appears to have been the scene of 
the destruction of the herd of swine ; 
indeed, no other point on that side of 
the lake is so suitable. From the eastern 
plateau the ground slopes steeply, in a 
few places almost precipitously, down 
to the level of the lake, leaving a mar- 
gin of fertile land from half a mile to a 
mile broad between the base of the hill 
and the water; but at this particular 
point, and only at this, a spur runs out 
to the shore. There is no clifF, but a 
slope sufficiently steep to fulfil the re- 
quirements of the Bible narrative." 
The name as pronounced by the Arabs 
is very nearly the ancient Gergesa or 
Geresa. Hence the country of the Gera- 
senes is best explained as referring to 
the district of this city on the shore of 
the lake. The country of Gergesa or 
Gerasa probably joined upon that of j 

Gadara ; and as the limits of the terri- 
tory of each citv were not very accu- 
rately defined, Matthew could call it 
the country of the Gadarenes, and Mark 
and Luke the country of the Gerasenes. 
Over against Galilee. On the east- 
ern side of the lake. This locates the 
country of the Gerasenes here spoken 
of on the eastern shore of the lake. 

27. When he went forth to land, 
etc. When he landed, immediately the 
demoniac met him. This shows that 
the miracle was performed near the 
shore. Out of the city, belonging 
to the city. Luke alone mentions this. 
This most naturally implies that the 
city was near the shore. A certain 
man. Matthew says, "two possessed 
with devils." This, however, is no con- 
tradiction ; for he who speaks of the two 
includes the one, and they who speak 
of the one do not deny that there were 
two. One of them may have been more 
prominent and afterAvard well known 
to many, and hence may have been only 
noticed by Mark and Luke. He only 
may have gone forth publishing the 
great things done for him, ver. 39, 
Which had devils, demons. Notice 
the plural is used ; so in Matt. 8 : 28. 
Luke alone mentions long time and 
ware, wore, no clothes, though im- 
plied in Mark 5 : 3-5, 15. Thomson 
{Land and Book, vol. i., p. 211) thus 
refers to this common trait of insanity : 
" I have seen them absolutely naked in 
the crowded streets of Beirut and Sidon. 
There are also cases where they run 
wildly about the country and frighten 
the whole neighborhood." Neither 
abode, had his temporary residence, 
in any house, but in the tombs. 
The sepulchres of the Hebrews were 
generally cut out 5f the solid rock. 
Caves were also used for this purpose. 
They are now often resorted to for shel- 
ter during the night, and sometimes 
the wandering Arabs take up their win- 
ter abode in them. Compare Judg. 6 : 
2. A maniac too is sometimes found 
dwelling in them. 

28. Saw Jesus. Luke here briefly 



A. D. 28 

and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with 
thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high ? I beseech 

29 thee, torment me not. For he had commanded the 
unclean spirit to come out of the man. For often- 
times it had caught him, and he was kept bound with 
chains and in fetters ; and he brake the bands, and 

30 was driven of the devil into the wilderness. And 
Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And 
he said, Legion : because many devils were entered 

relates what Mark expands in eh. 5 : 6, 
7. Cried out, gave one of his un- 
earthly shrieks. Fell down before 

him, in reverence. The verb here 
used is not so strong as that used by 
Mark 5 : 6. Thus he whom no one 
could tame prostrates himself in rever- 
ence before the Son of God. Demons 
believe and tremble (James 2 : 19), 
while unbelieving Jews blaspheme, 
Mark 3 : 22. 

And said. Thus the demons speak 
through the man, so thorough was 
their control over both his body and 
soul. What have I to do with 
thee. What is there in common be- 
tween thee and me? Why interfere 
with me ? Ezra 4 : 3. See on ch. I : 
24. The use of the singular here may 
be explained by supposing the chief or 
commander of these unclean spirits as 
speakinsf. Son of God most high. 
Evidently recognizing his divine na- 
ture. Compare on ch. 1 : 35. I be- 
seech thee. What a sight ! Demons 
at prayer. Torment nie not. The 
presence of Jesus, sending the demons 
from the man (see next verse), or send- 
ing them into the abyss, or hell, were 
each and all a torment to the demon. 
Matt. (8 : 29) adds '' before the time " 
— that is, of final doom, Matt. 25 : 41 ; 2 
Pet. 2:4; Jude 6. 

29. Liike here gives the reason of this 
remarkable and importunate adjura- 
tion. For he had commanded, more 
exactly. For he commanded him. Jesus 
had just before this cry commanded the 
unclean spirit to come out of the man. 
This itself was a source of torment, and 
excited the demon's guilty fears of some- 
thing even more terrible. Demons seem 
to have been less miserable in human 
possession than without it. It should 
be noted that the iinclean spirit did not 
come out immediately upon Christ's 
command. This was not owing to the 

strength of the demons, or to any in- 
abilit}^ in Jesus, but to his wisdom, 
who permitted the unclean spirit to 
speak imploringly, tell his name, and 
the great number under him. Thus 
the great power of Jesus was the more 
strikingly manifested to his disciples, 
and for all time. Luke more par- 
ticularly describes the miserable con- 
dition of the man. Compare Mark 5 : 
3-5. For oftentimes, etc. A more 
correct translation is, For during a 
long time it had seized him. The pos- 
session was of long standing. He w^as 
kept bound. Rather, he ivas hound, 
being kept under close confinement, or, 
as the Bible Union version has it, being 
secured tvith chains and fetters^ so that 
he could not get away or do violence. 
Chains, specially for binding prisoners. 
Fetters, or shackles, especially for 
the feet, though they may be applied 
to any part of the body. And he 
brake, asunder, tare or burst asunder 
the bonds, showing his unnatural 
muscular strength. And was driven 
of, by, the devil, demon, into the 
wilderness, desert places, among the 
mountains and tombs, Mark 5 : 5. This 
language plainly indicates the power 
of a personal demon. Mark adds, " nei- 
ther could any man tame him," bring 
him physically and mentally under his 
power. Matthew (8 : 28) says that he 
was " exceeding fierce, so that no man 
might pass that way." 

30. Asked him, the unclean spirit 
who had spoken through the man, ver. 
28. What is thy name? Jesus did 
not ask this for his own information, 
but to show the miserable condition of 
the man and the great combined power 
of demons, which he was about to over- 
come. Legion. Tlie Eoman legion 
consisted of about six thousand. The 
word had come to signify any large 
number with the ideas of order and 

A. D. 28. 



31 into him. And they besought him that he would not 
command them to go out *into the deep. 

32 And there was there an herd of many "swine feed- 
ing on the mountain : and they besought him tliat he 
would sutler them to enter into them. "And lie suf- 

33 fered them. Then went the devils out of the man, 
and entered into the swine : and the lierd ran vio- 
lently down a steep place into the lake, and were 

• Rev. 2<). 3. 
•Lo. 11. 7,8. 

« 1 Kl. 22. 22 ; Ac. 
HJ.M; 19. 16, 17. 

Bubordination. It is about equivalent 
to host, and explained by the unclean 
spirit himself. For mauy devils, etc. 
One chief, suj)erior one, with inferior 
ones under him. He ji^ives his name as 
associated with subordinate spirits. It 
shows his overwhelming power over 
the entire nature of the man. That 
eyil spirits go often in companies is 
to be inferred, not only from this, but 
also from the case of Mary Magdalene, 
from whom were cast out seven demons, 
cli. 8 : 2. How many demons there 
were in this case we have no means of 
knowing, although the number of the 
swine, two thousand (Mark 5 : 13), 
may be suggestive of the number of 

31. They, the demons, besought 
him. Some of the best manuscripts 
and versions read, he, the demons, be- 
sought /u?/i, which agrees better with the 
preceding verse. An unclean spirit at 
prayer ! Yet many men are prayerless. 
Not command them. They acknow- 
ledge Christ's power and authority. 
The deep. Rather, the abyss, or hell, 
the abode of lost spirits, Rev. 9:1,11; 
20 : 3. 

32. On — better,t?i — the mountains, 
within the region of the mountain. 
This is consistent with Mark 5 : 11, 
" nigh unto," rather '• by the mountain, " 
on a slope of the mountain ; and with 
Matthew (8 : 30), "a good way off from 
them," a relative exjjression, which 
may be applied to a greater or less dis- 
tance, according to circumstances and 
the particular feelings of the beholder 
at the time. Many swine. Mark 
(5 : 13) states that they numbered about 
two thousand. They besought. The 
demons all unite in a special petition. 
They do not ask that they may be made 
better or have their natures changed ; 
but as they must depart from the man, 
they ask permission to enter the swine. 

That he would suffer, or permit, 
them. They recognize the power of 
Jesus as Lord. They do not demand 
but entreat him as one who can do with 
them as he sees fit. Swine. These 
unclean brutes were congenial with 
their unclean natures. How they could 
possess inferior animals is not dithcult 
to imagine, since they so thoroughly 
possessed the lower and sensual nature 
of men. They could exert no moral 
and intellectual influence, as in man, 
but they could operate through the 
organs of their bodies, and through 
their animal and sensual natures. 

He suflfered them. Jesus did not 
send them, but permitted them, and the 
permission was immediate. Why he did 
this we are not informed. The requests 
of Satan are sometimes granted (Job 
1 : 12; 2 : 6), but always for some good 
purpose in the end. By giving them 
this permission it was clearly shown 
that demons do exist, that those pos- 
sessed with demons were not simply 
insane or suffering from mere bodily 
disease. It also showed the power and 
malignity of these fiends of darkness 
and their subjection to Christ, who 
"was manifested that he might destroy 
the works of the devil," John 3 : 8. 
Their final and utter overthrow was 

33. The herd ran violently down 
a steep place. Rushed down the 
overhanging steep. The declivity at 
the base of the mountain at Gersa is 
said to be almost perpendicular. " The 
bluff behind is so steep, and the shore 
so narrow, that a herd of swine rushing 
frantically down must certainly havt. 
been overwhelmed in the sea before 
they could recover themselves." — Mr. 
Tkistram, Land of Israel, p. 406. 
Choked. Strangled in the sea, result- 
ing in their death ; Matthew (8 : 32) defi- 
nitely says, " perished in the waters. " 



A. D. 28. 

34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they 
fled, and went and told it in the city and in the coun- 

35 try. Then they went out to see what was done ; and 
came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the 
devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, 
clothed, and in his right mind : and they were afraid. 

36 They also which saw it told them by what means he 
that was possessed of the devils was healed. 

37 ^Then the whole multitude of the country of the 
Gadarenes round about ^besought him to depart from 
then" ; for they were taken with great fear. And he 
went up into the ship, and returned back again. 

y Mt. 8. 34. 
• Ac, 16. 39. 

1 his miracle and that of the withered 
fig tree which Jesus cursed (ch. 11 : 12- 

14, 20) are the only ones which resulted 
in any destruction of property. Cavil- 
lers have seized hold of these in their 
objections to Christianity. But Christ 
as the Son of God had a right to send 
the demons wherever he pleased. The 
cattle of a thousand hills were also his 
(Ps. 50 : 10), and he had a right to do 
what he would with his own, Matt. 20 : 

15. The act was one of sovereign au- 
thority. Besides, the permission was 
our Lord's, the destruction of the swine 
the work of demons. Jesus was no 
more responsible for what the demons 
did than he is for what wicked men do, 
whom he permits to live and to hold 
positions of power in the world. We 
must believe that Jesus had wise and 
good reasons for this permission, as 
for all he ever did or permitted. The 
owners may have in various ways show- 
ed contempt for the Mosaic law, and 
hence this judgment upon them. This 
may have been a special providential 
sermon for the people of that city and 

34. The feeders of the swine, aston- 
ished and affrighted at the frenzied 
destruction of the whole herd in the 
Sta, flee and report the catastrophe to 
the owners in the city and in the 
country, or fields. Gersa and vicinity 
are doubtless meant. From Matt. 8 : 
33 it appears that they also told " what 
was befallen to the possessed with 
devils." Their haste in fleeing did not 
give them much time for this. But they 
doubtless saw and heard the demoniac 
at the base of the mountain, and from 
his changed deportment inferred some 
of the facts of the case. 

35. The people at once went out to 

see for themselves what was done. 

Such a wonderful occurrence would 
quickly call out a crowd. Matthew 
(8 : 34) says "the whole city came out 
to meet Jesus." They came to Jesus, 
and found the man, no longer a de- 
moniac, wild and raving, but sitting 
at the feet of Jesus as a disciple, a 
learner, ready to hear instruction and 
obey it; and clothed like others with 
raiment and in his right mind, with 
a sane or sound mind. The effect upon 
them: they were afraid, they were 
awestruck at such an exhibition of 
supernatural power, and in the presence 
of one possessed with greater power 
than legion. 

36. They also Avhich, who, saw 
it. Those who had been eye-witnesses; 
probably those who had come with Je- 
sus across the lake, and possibly other 
spectators with them not mentioned. 
The keepers of the swine, who fled and 
told the owners, doubtless returned with 
the people, but they were probably not 
able to relate so particularly the cir- 
cumstances as those who had been 
nearer the scene of the miracle. Told 
by what means, rather, how, in what 
way, the man was healed. They re- 
port the circumstances. 

37. The effect of the miracle upon 
the people. The w^hole multitude, 
who had thronged to see tlie stranire 
sight from the country of the Gad- 
arenes round about. According to 
the highest critical authorities, the Ge- 
rasenes, as in ver. 26 ; from Gersa and 
the surrounding region. Upon seeing 
and hearing what Avas done, they be- 
sought him , etc. Luke adds the special 
reason for this strange request : for they 
were taken, seized, with great fear. 
They were not only filled with a super- 

A.. D. 28. 



Now *the man out of whom the devils were de- 

Inirted besoujrlit him tli:it lie miirlit bo with him. But 
Tesus sent him away, saying. Return to thine own 
house, '•and show how preat things God hath done 
unto thee. And he went his way, and " jjublished 
throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had 
done unto him. 

•Mk. 5. 18; Phil. 

b Ps. .32. 6; 71. IS; 
(iai. 1. *J.l, 2i; 1 
Tim. 1. l;i-lH. 

•Ps. GC. 13; r.'6. 2, 

ititious awe at such exhibitions of power 
compare Deut. 5 : 25 ; Luke 5:8), but 
vith fear that similar results might at- 
end other miracles. Other owners of 
iwiue mav have thoujjht their traffic iu 
langer, Acts 19 : 24-31. To what ex- 
remes do worldly interests excite men! 
^Vorldly gain is valued above the bless- 
ngs of Jesus, To their minds the loss 
)f the lierd of swine more than coun- 
erbalanced the cure of the demoniac ! 
Jesus answers their prayer and lets 
hem aloue. He went up (omit up) 
into the ship and returned. We 

10 not read of his ever visiting them 
igaiu. Contrast the CHtreaty of the 
>amaritaus, John 4 : 40. 

38. Besought him, as Jesus was 
mtering the boat, Mark 5 : 18. A va- 
riety of reasons doubtless united in 
eading him to make this request. It 
vas the warm expression and desire of 
jratitude and love. The mean and sel- 
ish request and treatment of the Gera- 
;enes doubtless strengthened this feeling 
ind desire. Very likely, too, he might 
lave feared a repossession by the de- 
uons after Jesus departed, Matt. 12 : 

39. The demons pray, and their pray- 
ers are granted, to their own discomfiture, 
rers. 10, 12 ; the Grerasenes pray, and 
heir prayer also is granted by being 
eft to their own destruction ; the man 
.vho had been healed prays, and behold 
lis petition is not granted, for it was 
lot best and he had a work to do. 
Return to thine own house. AVhere 
s not told, possibly at Gadara. It was 
somewhere in Decapolis, Mark 5 : 20. 
Show, tell, relate. There is a time to 
>peak and a time to keep silent, ver. 43 ; 
;h. 1 : 44. The proclamation of his mir- 
icles often increased the multitude, to 
lis great inconvenience, ch, 1 : 45 ; 2 : 

11 3 : 9, 10. But here Jesus was about 
:o leave the country. The healed man 
should be a living witness of the good- 
ness and mercy of Jesus to that whole 
region against the evil reports of herds- 

men and swine-owners. " Let not tlie 
story of the destruction of the swine be 
the only one in circulation ; let the de- 
liverance of the poor demoniac be 
told, and let him be the person who 
should tell it." — Andrew Fuller. A 
reason for this command may doubtless 
also be found in the man himself. It 
was for his good to go to his home and 
announce the facts of his deliverance. 
His friends at home needed the spirit- 
ual blessings of which he was probably 
a partaker, and he needed the develop- 
ment which such activity would pro- 
duce. And nowhere could the great 
cure be so much appreciated as in liis 
own house, (iod, through the power 
of Jesus, the Messiah. The healed man 
speaks of Jesus in the next sentence. 
It is quite likely that he had some idea 
of Christ's divine nature, since the de- 
mon had called him the Son of the most 
high God, ver. 28. Lie had very prob- 
ably received spiritual as well as bodily 
deliverance. Hath done lor thee. 
Hence he was truly a representative of 
Jesus to the inhabitants of his country, 
Matt. 25 : 45. His commission rather 
implies his belief in Jesus as the Mes- 

Obedient to Christ's command, the 
healed demoniac began to publish what 
Jesus had done for him, not only to 
his own house, but through "the 
whole city, probably of Gersa, and 
according to Mark 5 : 20, through that 
M'hole region lying east and south-east 
of the Sea of Galilee, called Decapolis, 
a name meaning the ten cities. All did 
marvel. No glorifying God, no con- 
versions, are recorded. The great mir- 
acle excited wonder, but we are not 
told that it led to repentance and 
faith. Something more than miracles 
is needed to reach and savingly benefit 
the heart. Still, the healed demoniac 
may have accomplished a work pre- 
paratory to the future proclamation of 
the gospel. 

40. Jesus having returned to the 




A. D. 28. 

Raising of Jairus' daughter ; and healing of a woman with 
an issue of blood. 

40 And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, 
the people gladly received him : for they were all 
waiting for him. 

41 ^And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, 
and he was a ruler of the synagogue : and he fell 
down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would 

42 come into his house : for he had one only daughter, 
about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. 

43 But as he went the people thronged him. ® And a 

dMt. 9.18; Mk. 5. 

• Mt. 9. 20 ; 2 Chr. 
16. 12; Job 13.4; 
Is. 55. 2. 

western side of the lake, the people 
gladly received him, welcomed him. 
They were all waiting for him, by 

the seaside, probably near Capernaum, 
Matt. 9 : 1. They were expecting his 
arrival. Very probably they saw his 
ship in the distance and hastily assem- 
bled to receive him. 

41-56. Eaising of Jairus' Daugh- 
ter; Healing of the Woman with 
THE Issue of Blood. Matt. 9 : 18- 
26 ; Mark 5 : 22-43. Mark is the fullest 
and most graphic of the three evan- 
gelists. Luke again comes next in ful- 
ness and detail. According to Matt. 
9 : 17, 18, these miracles were per- 
formed immediately after Christ's dis- 
course on fasting at Matthew's feast. 
The position of this section then would 
be just after Mark 2 : 22 and Luke 5 : 
39. See on ver. 56. For some reason 
unknown to us Mark and Luke may 
have deferred this account till after the 
healing of the demoniac, possibly to 
bring together these wonderful miracles 
on opposite sides of the lake, placing 
last the greatest miracle, the raising of 
the dead. Or we may suppose that 
Christ's discourse on fasting (Matt. 9 : 
14-17 ; Mark 2 : 18-22 ; Luke 5 : 33-39) 
finds its position at this point between 
the healing of the demoniac and the 
raising of Jairus' daughter. Some sup- 
pose that Matthew's feast also (ch. 2 : 
15-22) finds its true position here. But 
every arrangement is beset with dif- 
ficulty. Did we know more of the cir- 
cumstances, all would be plain. See 
author's Harmony, notes on ^§ 46, 47, 

41. And hehold, there came. 
These words do not necessarily connect 
this in time with the preceding miracle. 
The meaning may be, " And on a certain 
occasion there came." Or, taking the 

last clause of the preceding verse, On a 
time he was by the sea, surrounded with 
crowds, and. there came. According to 
Matt. (9 : 10, 14, 18) Jesus seems to 
have been in the house of Matthew, ch. 
5 : 29. But it is not necessary to sup- 
pose the whole or even a part of Christ's 
discourse on fasting to have been de- 
livered in the house ; see on ch. 5 : 33. 
It may have been given, after coming 
forth from Matthew's feast, in a public 

A ruler of the synagogue. One 
of the elders and presiding officers, who 
convened the assembly, preserved order, 
invited readers and speakers. Acts 13 : 
15. Jairus, probably the Hebrew 
name Jair (Num. 32 : 41), meaning 
tvhom Jehovah enlightens. Fell down 
at Jesus' feet, in the posture of rev- 
erence and earnest entreaty. 

42. For. Luke gives the reason why 
Jairus besought Jesus. One only 
daughter. Better, an only daughter. 
Luke alone mentions this. She lay a 
dying. Mark (5 : 23) savs "at the 
point of death." But Matthew (9 : 18), 
"is even now dead." The father on 
reaching Jesus may have first given 
vent to his fears by the strong state- 
ment, she "is even now dead," or rather 
has just now died, and then have ex- 
plained himself by saying that she was 
at the point of death or dying. His 
strong faith is shown by his leaving his 
dying daughter to seek the aid of Jesus, 
and by his earnest entreaty, 

Jesus immediately complies with the 
request and goes with Jairus " to his 
house. The people, multitude, such 
as so often attended him, followed and 
thronged him, pressed upon him, a 
strong word in the original, crowded 
upon him almost to suflocation, so that 
he could not walk without difficulty. 

A. D. 28. 



woman havinp: an issue of blood twelve years, which 
had spent all her livin^j^ upon j)hysicians, neither 

44 eould be healed of any, eanie boliind //////, and touched 
the border of his garment: and immediately her issue 

45 of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched 
me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with 
him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press 

46 /Afc, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesussaid, 
Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that 'virtue 

'ch. 6. 

19; Mk. 5. 

43. At this point Matthew, Mark, 
and Luke relate the healing of a 
woman having a chronic disease which 
according to the law rendered her un- 
clean, Lev. 15 : 25. The details of her 
grievous disorder arc unnecessary. Her 
hopeless case and the incurablencss of 
her disease are shown in this and the 
next verse. It was of long continuance, 
chronic, twelve years. 

Spent all her living upon phy- 
sicians. There was a medical pro- 
fession and many practitioners. This 
woman had ])robably been j)ossessed of 
wealth and had moved in good society, 
but the expenses of many physicians 
had reduced her to ]>overty. Although 
she had emphatically spent all, yet 
she was not benetited (Mai'k 5 : 26), 
tteither could she he healed of 
any, by any. Luke, a physician, 
strongly put her case that her disease 
was incurable. 

44. But having heard of Jesus, having 
faith in his power to heal her, she ap- 
proaches him in the crowd from be- 
hind, both from a sense of her un- 
worthiness and her unclean ness, and 
also to escape observation, and touched 
the border, rather, the fringe, of his 
garment, his mantle, outer garment. 
Lev. 15 : 38. " It is important, though 
it may be ditficult, to realize the situa- 
tion of this woman, once possessed of 
health and wealth, and no doubt moving 
in respectable society, now beggared 
and diseased, Avithout a hope of human 
help, and secretly believing in the 
power of Christ, and him alone, to 
heal her, yet deterred by some natural 
misgiving and by shame, perhaps con- 
nected with the nature of her malady, 
from coming with the rest to be publicly 
recognized and then relieved. How- 
ever commonplace the case may seem 
to many, there are some in whose ex- 
perience, when clearly seen and serious- 

ly attended to, it touches a mysterious 
chord of i^ainful sympathy." — Alex- 

Immediately, etc. The cure in this 
verse is described as instantaneous and 
complete. Stanched, stopped. The 
deep-rooted disease was thoroughly 

45. Who touched mc? The ques- 
tion implies neither ignorance nor dis- 
simulation in Jesus. It was asked in 
order to call forth the confession of the 
woman for her own good and the good 
of others. Compare ch. 24 : 17-19, 
where Jesus asks questions of the two 
on their way to Emmaus, not for his 
own information, but to draw out a 
statement of their views and feelings. 
So a judge asks the prisoner whether 
he is guilty or not guilty, though he 
may know the certainty of his guilt. 
Compare Gen. 3 : 9 ; 2 Kings 5 : 25. 

A general denial by the multitude 
followed, all denied. The question 
seemed unreasonable, uncalled for. 
Peter and they that Avere with 
him. His immediate followers who 
believed on him. Luke alone mentions 
the name of Peter in this connection. 
It was much like Peter thus to speak 
both for himself and as spokesman for 
the disciples. There is a shade of cen- 
sure in Peter's words. He thinks 
merely of an accidental and not in the 
least of a believing touch. 

46. But Jesus atiirmed that some one 
had touched him, implying a touch 
of intention and faith, and not a mere 
thoughtless and accidental pressing of 
the multitude, for he perceived that 
virtue — that is, power — had gone out 
from him. He had an inward con- 
sciousness of the fact. He knew it in- 
tellectually. The words do not imply 
that the power went out involuntarily. 
Others touched him, but felt no saving 
influence, because theirs was not ita 



A. D. 28. 

47 is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that 

«she was not hid, she came trembling, and fall- kPs. 38. 9 
ing down before him, she declared unto him before 
all the people for what cause she had touched him, 

48 and how she was healed immediately. And he said 
unto her. Daughter, be of good comfort : ^ thy faith 
hath made thee whole: 'go in peace. 

49 ''While he yet spake, there cometh one from the 
ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy 

50 daughter is dead ; trouble not the Master. But when 
Jesus heard if, he answered him, saying. Fear not : 
believe only, and she shall be made whole. 

>> Mt. 8. 13. 
•ISam. 1. 17. 

k Mk. 5. 35. 

faith. Her cure was the result and 
answer of her touch of faith, which 
reached beyond the fringe of his gar- 
ment to his divine nature. Compare 
oh. 6 : 19. Within that nature there 
was the inherent power to cure diseases 
and a knowledge of all that was going 
on. He permitted power to go forth to 
the healing of the woman when her 
faith was properly exercised. That it 
went forth without his permission and 
direction is not required by the lan- 
guage, and at the same time is in- 
consistent with his divinity, as well as 

47. When the woman saw that 
she was not hid. Mark (5 : 32) says 
that Jesus " looked around to see her." 
Jesus knew, and now by his look he 
brings out the confession. Compare his 
look upon Peter, Luke 22 : 61. She 
came trembling. The trembling was 
the result, the outward manifestation, 
of her fear, which arose from a sense of 
his greatness and of her own un worthi- 
ness, from her stealthy method of ob- 
taining a cure and his manner of 
searching her out. In humility and 
reverence she came, falling down, 
prostrating herself, before him, giving 
herself up to his power and mercy, and 
declared before all the people, 
candidly and publicly acknowledged 
what she had done, why she did it, and 
with what effect. Thus while Jesus 
permitted her, in her timidity and sense 
of shame, to receive his saving power 
secretly, he called out a public acknow- 
ledgment after that power had been 

*' Nature may shrink back and wish 
to spare itself the shame of acknow- 
ledging its moral pollution, but this 
weakness must be conquered, and the 

tide of love and thankfulness permitted 
to flow out, full and free, to the glory 
of divine grace. A genuine faith, 
though untaught, unspoken, and per- 
haps slightly superstitious, may receive 
the first blessing ; but then it must be 
spoken and taught and tested. It can- 
not remain under the soil, but must 
shoot up into the face of the sky and 
live in the light of day." — A. Hovey, 
3Iiracles of Christ, p. 168. 

48. Having drawn from the woman 
a proper confession, Jesus now speaks 
words of comfort and confirms the 
miracle. Daughter. A term of kind- 
ness, and doubtless expressive of a 
spiritual relation sustained to him, 2 
Cor. 6 : 18 ; Heb. 2 : 10. Thy faith, 
etc. According to Matthew (9 : 22), he 
adds, " Be of good comfort." Jesus 
makes her faith prominent, though im- 
perfect, as the condition or means of 
her cure. His divine power had been 
exerted according to her faith. Go in 
peace. A usual form of parting salu- 
tation, especially to inferiors, expressive 
of friendship and good wishes, Ex. 4 : 
18 ; 1 Sam, 1:17; Luke 7 : 50 ; James 
2 : 16. Literally, go into peace, into a 
state of serenity and freedom from thy 
former bodily and spiritual sufferings. 
He dismisses her with his blessing. 

49. While he yet spake. How 
long these moments of delay must have 
seemed to the anxious Jairus ! But in 
the midst of them, while Jesus was still 
speaking to the woman, messengers 
came from the ruler's house announ- 
cing the death of his daughter. Trouble 
not. It appears that Jairus had come 
with the knowledge and consent of his 
family. Master. Teacher. 

50. When Jesus heard it. The 
message, which was spoken as in 

A. D. 28. 



61 And when he came into the house, he suffered no 
man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and 

52 the father and tlie mother of the maiden. And all 
wept, and bewailed her : but he said, Weep not ; she 

63 is not dead, ' but sleepeth. And they laughed him to 'John ii. ii, 13. 

54 scorn, knowing that she wa:3 dead. And he put them 
all out, and took her by the hand, and callea, saying, 

private to Jairus. From words of peace 
and blessing to the woman, Jesns turns 
to give comfort to Jairus and encourage 
his faith. Fear not, as if there were 
no hope and all was lost. Believe only 
in my power to help you and save your 
daughter. And to assure his faith, Je- 
sus adds, She shall be made whole. 
He encourages his faith to expect the 
recovery of his daughter, though some- 
what indefinitely. Hoic, and really 
from what, Jairus might still be in 
doubt ! 

51. Only Peter, James, andJohn 
are now suftered to go with him and 
Jairus into the house and into the 
apartment where the daughter was 
lying, Mark 5 : 37, 40. The multitude 
and other disciples, doubtless learning 
that the child was dead, were the more 
easily prevailed upon to stay from fol- 
lowing Jesus. These three formed 
Christ's innermost circle of disciples. 
They were afterward selected to be 
present at his transfiguration (ch. 9 : 
2) and his agony in the garden, ch. 
14 : 33. Thus were they fitted to be fore- 
most in labors and sufferings. Acts 2 : 
14; 3: 3, 4; 4 : 3, 13; 8 : 14; 12 : 2, 3. 

52. All wept and bewailed her, 
in loud expressions of grief. According 
to Matt. 9 : 23, the flute-players were 
performing their doleful music. The 
custom of mourning for the dead and 
at funerals is alluded to in such pas- 
sages as Eccl. 12:5; Jer. 9 : 17 ; 16 : 6, 
7 ; Ezek. 24 : 17 ; Amos 5 : 16. Similar 
customs still prevail in the East. " It 
is customary, when a member of a fam- 
ily is about to die, for the friends to 
assemble around and watch the ebbing 
away of life, so as to mark the precise 
moment when he breathes his last, upon 
which they set up instantly a united 
outcry, attended with weeping, and 
often with beating the breast and tear- 
ing out the hair of the head. . . . How 
exactly, at the moment of the Saviour's 
arrival, did the house of Jairus corre- 
spond with the condition of one at the 

present time in which a death has just 
tiiken place ! It resounded with the 
same boisterous expression of grief for 
which the nations of the East are still 
noted. The lamentation must also have 
commenced at the instant of the child's 
decease; for when Jesus arrived, he found 
the mourners present and singing the 
death-dirge." — Hackett, Illustration 
of Scripture, p. 122. In the East burial 
generally takes place very soon after 
death. The ancient Jews commonly 
buried a person the same day that he 
died. Compare Acts 5 : 5-10. 

Weep not. Cease your mourning. 
Many ancient manuscripts have for 
immediately after weep not. Is not 
dead, but sleepeth. Regard her not 
as dead, but sleeping, for she is soon to 
come to life again. Some suppose her 
death only apparent — that she was in a 
swoon or state of unconsciousness like 
one dead. But according to what fol- 
lows, not only did the mourners know 
that she was dead, but at the command 
of Jesus her spirit returned. Jesus used 
a similar verb when he said, " Lazarus 
sleepeth," which he explained to mean 
death, John 11 : 11, 14. It is true that 
the verb in the latter passage is the 
one generally used for describing death 
as a sleep, Matt. 27 : 52 ; Acts 7 : 60 ; 13 : 
36, etc.; but we find the verb of this 
passage used also of the dead in 1 Thess. 
5 : 10. Jesus also allowed the parents 
and others to regard the damsel as 
really dead and raised to life again, 
Luke 8 : 52, 53, oQ. In relation to his 
power, death was only a sleep from 
which she should be speedily awak- 

53. The company of mourners was 
certain that the child was dead, and 
understanding neither the language nor 
the power of Jesus laughed him to 
scorn, in derision, knowing that the 
child was dead. 

54. He put them all out. This 
clause should be omitted, according to 
the highest critical authorities. The 



A. D. 28. 

55 Maid, ™ arise. And her spirit came again, and she 
arose straightway : and he commanded to give her 

66 meat. And her parents were astonished: but "he 
charged them that they should tell no man what was 

™ch. 7. 14; John 
]1. 43; Rom. 4. 

»Mt. 8. 4; 9. 30; 
Mk. 5. 43. 

omission is in harmony with Luke's 
account, who is less particular than 
Mark regarding what was done in the 
house. Suiting his action to his words, 
Jesus took or seized the hand of the 
child. This was not necessary to the 
miracle, but for the good of tliose 
present. Their impression was thus 
deepened, and the faith of the parents 
strengthened. Called, cried out. 
Maid, better Maiden, arise. Mark 
gives the exact Aramaic words which 
Jesus used : " Talitha cumi." 

bb. Her spirit came again. This 
was the actual return of her spirit. She 
had been really dead. She arose 
immediately. The cure was instan- 
taneous and complete. The vividness 
of the narrative is completed by the di- 
rection to give her meat, food. She 
was not only alive, but well. Jesus 
was not unmindful of the little things 
which lier parents in their amazement 

bQ. Her parents were astonish- 
ed, showing that they regarded her as 
really raised from the dead. He 
charged them to tell no one for wise 
reasons — possibly to prevent arousing 
the fanaticism of the peoj^le and the 
greater envy of the Pharisees, for his 
time had not come. Yet notwithstand- 
ing this precaution, Matthew tells us 
(ch. 9 : 26) that the fame went abroad 
in all that land. There is no contradic- 
tion between the evangelists, as some 
would have us suppose. The death 
of the child had been announced (ver. 
49), but afterward she was alive and 
well. The mourners and minstrels, 
who had known of the child's death 
and were put forth from the house, 
must have found out that the child was 
really restored to life. There were thus 
ways enough for the report to spread, 
even though the parents and disciples 
strictly obeyed Jesus, which they may 
not have done. This is the first in- 
stance of Christ's raising the dead of 
which we have any account, unless we 
regard the raising of the widow's son 
at Nain to have preceded this, Luke 

7 : 11-17. But aside from questions of 
harmony, that of the widow's son holds 
a second and higher place. The ruler's 
daughter was raised privately almost 
immediately after dying, the widow's 
son publicly and on the way to the 
grave ; and afterward Lazarus, also 
I)ublicly, from the tomb, having been 
dead four days, John 11 : 39, 45, 46. 
Thus we have a regular gradation in 
exhibitions of divine power, which is 
at least suggestive of the order in which 
the events occurred. Immediately after 
this miracle Matthew (9 : 27-34) places 
the healing of two blind men and the 
casting out of a dumb spirit. 


1. How diligent \fas Jesus in doing 
good ! May he ever be our model ! ver. 
1 ; ch. 4 : 43. 

2. None have more reason for grati- 
tude for a Saviour than woman. From 
the degradation of slavery the gospel 
has raised her to be the companion of 
man, and to devoted and most useful 
service in the kingdom of God, vers. 2, 
3 ; John 20 : 17 ; Acts 1 : 14 ; 8 : 12 ; 
9 : 36 ; Phil. 4 : 3. 

3. In view of what Christ has done 
for us, we should minister to him, vers. 
2, 3 ; 1 John 4 : 10, 19. 

4. In our teaching it is well to seek 
analogies from nature or daily life. Our 
Saviour exalted familiar doings into 
chapters and sermons, ver. 4 ; ch. 6 : 

5. As men commit seed to the earth 
in expectation of a harvest, so should 
we exercise faith in the promises of 
God, ver. 4 ; James 5:7, 8 ; Ps. 126 i 
5, 6. 

6. " The strong faith of the sower 
trusts his seed everywhere," vers. 6, 7 ; 
Eccl. 11 : 6. 

7. He who would understand divine 
truth must hear with attention and seek 
divine guidance, ver. 8, 9 ; 1 Kings 3 : 
11, 12 ; John 14 : 26 ; Ps. 119 : 18. 

8. The truths of the gospel are spe 

A. D. 28. 



ciallv entrusted to Christiana, ver. 10 ; 
Matt. IG : 17 ; 1 Cor. 4:1; Ileb. 1 : 1, 2. 

9. Some persons, tliough living, are 
given over to destruction, ver. 10 ; Horn. 
1 : 28 ; Jer. (3 : 30. 

10. Both the sower and the seed are 
all-importiint. Witliout either no fruit 
can be expected, ver. 11 ; Rom. 10 : 14, 
15; 1 Pet. 1 : 25. 

11. You may neglect jour soul, but 
Satan will neglect no means to ensure 
vour ruin, ver. 12 ; 2 Cor. 4:3, 4 ; 1 
Pet. 5 : 8 ; 1 Tim. 5 : 13. 

12. In the Spirit's work of renewing 
the heart sorrow precedes joy. We 
have reason to suspect that this is wrong 
or imperfect where nothing but joy at- 
tends professed conversion, ver. 13 ; ch. 
15 : 17-23 ; 18 : 13, 14 ; John 16 : 8 ; 2 
Cor. 7 : 10. 

13. If we would be the Lord's, the 
idols of the heart must be renounced, 
vers. 13, 14 ; Ezek. 14 : 3-5 ; Matt. 5 : 
29, 30 ; Rom, 8:7; James 4 : 4. 

14. When the word of God is truly 
received into the heart, the soul is sub- 
jected and united to Christ, and brings 
forth fruit to God, ver. 15; John 15 : 4, 
7, 8 ; Gal. 5 : 22-24. 

15. If we have received spiritual 
knowledge, it is our duty to impart it to 
others, ver. 16 ; Jer. 23 : 28 ; 1 Pet. 4 : 

16. All mysteries of God relating to 
man will be made known at the proper 
time, ver. 17 ; 1 Cor. 2 : 7-10 ; Dan. 12 : 
9, 10. 

17. The eternal interests of men de- 
pend on how and what thev hear, ver. 
18; Rom. 10 : 17 ; Eph. 1 : 13. 

18. The diligent use of religious priv- 
ileges and opportunities will yield a 
rich return of blessings, ver. 18 ; Prov. 
13 : 4; 19 : 15 ; 2 Pet. 3 : 14. 

19. How great the honor of being a 
disciple of Jesus ! Even the weakest 
are among his nearest relatives and en- 
joy an affection beyond any earthly 
love, vers. 19-21 ; Isa. 49 : 15 ; Rom. 
8 : 17. 

20. If we would enjoy his love and 
honor, we must do the will of our heav- 
eulv Father, ver. 21 ; Matt. 7 : 21 ; 1 
John 3 : 2, 10, 14. 

21. All, when truly converted, begin 
to desire to do the will of God, ver. 21 ; 
Ps. 119 : 5; Rom. 7 : 22. 

22. " Whither our Lord leads,believers 
may safely venture and follow. Many 

are willing to go to heaven by land, but 
dread unknown perils." — Rev. W. H. 
Van Dokn. Ver. 22; ch. 9 : 61, 62. 

23. Jesus not only labored but slept 
for a purpose — in this instance that 
his discii)lcs in their extremity might 
awake him, and that he might the bet- 
ter manifest his power, ver. 23. 

24. There is no storm in the world, 
the church, the family, or the heart, 
too violent for Jesus to quell, ver. 24 ; 
Ps. 46 : 2, 3. 

25. Even Christians often distrust 
Christ in his providence; yet Jesus 
deals tenderly with their want of faith, 
ver. 25 ; ch. 24 : 25 ; John 20 : 27-29. 

26. Jesus is willing to minister, not 
only where people are ready to receive 
him, but also where they are ready to 
reject him, ver. 26 ; John 1:11; Rom. 
10 : 21 ; Rev. 3 : 20. 

27. Satan and his angels exert an 
active influence among men, and are 
prompt in opposing Christ and his 
kingdom, ver. 27 ; John 12 : 31 ; 14 : 
30 ; 1 Pet. 5 : 8, 9. 

28. How deplorable the condition of 
the sinner under the power of sin and 
Satan ! vers. 28, 29 ; Jer. 17:9; 13 : 23 ; 
John 3:6; Rom. 8 : 3, 4. 

29. If the condition of men under 
Satan's power can be so terrible in this 
world, what must it be at last in hell ! 
ver. 29 ; Matt. 25 : 41. 

30. Jesus is Sovereign of the universe, 
ver. 28; Eccl. 8:4; Matt. 28 : 18; 
Phil. 2 : 9-11 ; Rev. 19 : 16. 

31. An answered prayer is not always 
a sign of divine approbation, nor an 
unanswered one a sign of divine dis- 
pleasure, vers. 30-32 ; Ps. 78 : 29 ; 106 : 
14, 15. 

32. The powers of hell are subject to 
the word of Jesus ; they cannot go 
beyond his permission, ver. 31 ; Luke 
10 : 18, 19. 

33. Jesus may permit our property 
to be taken from us either in mercy or 
judgment, ver. 33; Dan. 4 : 34, 35.' 

34. Multitudes who grovel in the 
filth of iniquity, like the swine when 
possessed of the devil, rush madly on 
in companv to their own destruction, 
ver. 33 ; 2 Pet. 2:12; Rev. 12 : 12. 

35. Many, fearing worldly danger or 
loss on account of Christ, lose their own 
souls, vers. 33-36 ; Luke 9 : 23-26. 

36. Covetousness ruins multitudes, 
ver. 37; Luke 12 : 15-21 ; Col. 3 : 5. 


LUls E IX. 

A. D. 29 

37. Christ often answers the prayeir, 
** Depart from us, for we desire not a 
knowledge of thy ways," and leaves 
the petitioners to perish, vers. 37, 38 ; 
Job 21 : 14; 22 : 17. 

38. How unhappy would wicked men 
and demons be in heaven with Christ, 
whom they so much dread ! ver. 37 ; 
Rev. 6 : 16. 

39. Jesus will not compel repentance. 
He overcame the tempest in approach- 
ing Gerasa, cast out demons on enter- 
ing the country, but turned back before 
the opposing will of the wicked in- 
habitants, ver. 37; Matt. 22:3; 23: 
37 ; John 5 : 40. 

40. Jesus knows better than his peo- 
ple where they should go and what 
thev should do, vers. 38, 39 ; Luke 9 : 

41. Home has the first claim upon 
the attention of a Christian, especially 
of a young convert, ver. 19 ; Ps. 66 : 16 ; 
John 1 : 41, 45; 4 : 29. 

42. Persevere in doing good. While 
some may reject the gospel, others will 
be in readiness to receive it, ver. 40; 
Acts 12 : 46-49. 

43. Influence and wealth are no pre- 
ventive of sickness and death, ver. 41 ; 
Luke 16 : 22 ; Heb. 9 : 27. 

44. The earnest prayer of faith shall 
be answered, vers. 42, 50; Luke 7 : 7, 
9, 10 ; James 5 : 15-18. 

45. In human diseases and sufferings 
we see the miseries of sin and the type 
of the deeper disease of the soul, ver. 
43 ; Gen. 3 : 17-19 ; Rom. 5 : 12. 

46. It is proper in sickness to use 
medicine and seek physicians, but not 
to trust in them rather than God, ver. 
43 ; 2 Chron. 16 : 12, 13. 

47. Many sinners, instead of looking 
lo Christ, waste their time and strength 
on physicians of no value, from whom 
they suffer many things and get no 
better, but rather grow worse, ver. 43 ; 
Job 13 : 4 ; Jer. 6 : 14 ; 8:11, 22. 

48. Happy are they whom times of 
great extremity lead to Jesus, ver. 44 ; 
oh. 7 : 26 ; Acts 12 : 5 ; Ps. 116 : 3-8. 

49. Many press around Christ, but 
few touch him in faith, ver. 28 ; ch. 4 : 
45-48 ; John 6 : 67-69. 

50. Jesus was conscious of his in- 
dwelling divinity, and through this he 
performed his miracles, ver. 46 ; John 
1:14; 8 : 58 ; 10 : 36, 37. 

51. Sinners in secret may seek and 

find Jesus, but he demands of them an 
open confession, and only in this will 
they find the full peace and consolation 
of the gospel, vers. 47, 48 ; Rom. 10 : 9, 
10; Ps. 116 : 13, 14. 

52. Faith is a precious grace. It is 
the appointed means of obtaining par- 
don and salvation, ver. 48 ; Rom. 5:1; 

3 : 26 ; Heb. 10 : 38. 

53. In the darkest hour let the words 
"only believe" dispel our fear, vers. 
49, 50 ; Luke 24 : 25, 26 ; Acts 27 : 33, 

54. To wail and howl over our dead 
is heathenish, but to sorrow in submis- 
sion and hope is Christian, vers. 51, 52 ; 
1 Thess. 4 : 13. 

55. To the Christian, death is as a 
sleep, ver. 52; 1 Cor. 15 : 6, 18; 1 Thess. 

4 : 14. 

56. The Christian should be nothing 
daunted though unbelievers scoff at 
the word and power of Jesus, ver. 53 ; 
Isa. 51 : 7 ; Acts 26 : 8, 24, 25. 

57. Jesus in the house of Jairus dis- 
played that power by which he will 
raise the dead at the last great day, 
vei-s. 54, 55 ; Hos. 13 : 14 ; John 6 : 40, 
44 ; 1 Thess. 4 : 14 ; 1 Cor. 15 : 52. 

58. As Christ raised dead bodies, so 
does he raise dead souls to spiritual life, 
vers, 54, 55 ; John 5 : 21 ; Eph. 2 : 1-7. 

59. Jesus is mindful of our smallest 
necessities, ver. 56 ; ch. 6 : 34, 37 ; Heb. 
4: 15; 13:5. 


In this chapter Luke hastily passes 
over several months, touching upon 
leading points. Beginning with the 
mission of the twelve (vers. 1-6), he 
next notices the perplexity of Herod on 
hearing what Jesus did (7-9) ; then re- 
lates the return of the twelve, their 
retirement to a desert place, and the 
feeding of the five thousand (11-17); 
after which he records the confession 
of Peter, our Saviour's prediction of his 
sufferings, death, and resurrection, and 
his discourse on the necessity of self- 
sacrifice, 18-27. The account of tlie 
transfiguration then follows (28-36 ; 
the healing of a demoniac who ba»iloil 
the disciples (37-43) ; our Lord's secon.'l 
announcement of his death (44, 45; ; an I 
his rebuke of the ambition and p;u-;y 
spirit of his disciples, 46-50. Ac iliis 

A. D. 29. 



Mi^Kion of the twelve apostles. 

IX. THEN "he called his twelve disciples together, 

and gave them power and authority over all devils, 

2 and to cure diseases. And Phe sent them to preach 

•Mt. 10. 1,5; Mk. 

Pch. 10. 1. 9; Mt. 

10. 7, 8; Mk. 6.12. 

point Luke begins an important ])or- 
tion of his narrative, ■which contains 
much that is not found in the other 
Gospels. Jesus starts for Jerusalem ; is 
refused the hospitality of a Samaritan 
viUage, which arouses the anger of 
James and John, who are rebuked by 
Jesus, 51-56. The chapter closes with 
the replies of our Lord to certain who 
proposed to follow him, 57-62. 

In tracing our Saviour's Galilean 
ministry it appears: first, that the 
welcome which Jesus and his words 
had received in Galilee gradually gave 
way to suspicion, dislike, and even hos- 
tility, by a large number of the people ; 
that this development of opposition was 
connected with the presence of scribes 
and Pharisees, who came from Jerusa- 
lem to watch his conduct and move- 
ments; second, that the external cha- 
racter as well as the localities of his 
mission was much changed after the 
beheading of John the Baptist. 

1-6. The Twelve endowed with 
Miraculous Power; instructed 

AND sent forth; THEY GO FORTH, 

Preach, and Work Miracles, Matt. 
10 : 1-42 ; 11:1; Mark 6 : 7-13. This 
took place while Jesus and his disciples 
were making their third general preach- 
ing tour throughout Galilee. At what 
f>lace is unknown, Mark 6 : 6. But 
ittle variation is found in the incidents 
related by the three evangelists, but 
much in the length of the discourse to 
the twelve. Matthew, who is ever in- 
tent on giving the words of Jesus, pre- 
sents the discourse very fully ; Mark 
briefly gives that portion which refers 
to their equipment for the journey and 
their conduct toward the people ; Luke 

E resents more briefly that portion given 
y Mark, but his brevity may in part 
be accounted for by the fact that he 
gives quite fully Christ's discourse to 
the seventy (ch. 10 : 2-15), similar to 
Matt. 9 : 37, 38 ; 10 : 9-16, which is not 
found in the other Gospels. 

This endowment of the apostles to 
work miracles and this mission with 
appropriate instructions must be dis- 

tinguished from their selection and ap- 
))ointment as apostles, which is given 
in ch. 6:13; Mark 3 : 14, and was fol- 
lowed by the sermon on the plain, ch. 
6 : 20^9. We must also distinguish it 
from their call to be constant attendants, 
preachers, or evangelists, Mark 1 : 16- 
20 ; also from their call to become dis- 
ciples, John 1 : 35-45. 

1. He called his twelve disci- 
ples, the twelve, omitting disciples, ac- 
cording to the best authorities. Mat- 
thew (9 : 36-38) supplies a connecting 
link. While prosecuting his third gen- 
eral missionary tour, Jesus had compas- 
sion on the multitude that attended him, 
because of their want of religious teach- 
ers, and he called unto him the twelve 
an(l began to send them forth to preach 
and work miracles. The number twelve 
is significant and frequent in Scripture — 
twelve sons of Israel ; twelve stones of 
the Urim and Thummim on the breast- 
plate of the high priest (Ex. 28 : 17-21) ; 
twelve loaves of show-bread (Lev. 24 : 
b-S) ; the altar and the twelve pillars 
which Moses erected by Mount Sinai 
(Ex. 24 : 4) ; the altar of twelve stones 
by Elijah (1 Kings 18 : 31) ; the twelve 
spies who went to search the promised 
land (Num. 13 : 1 ; Deut. 1 : 23); the 
twelve stones taken from the bed of the 
Jordan (Josh. 4 : 3), etc. So also the 
woman with a crown of twelve stars 
(Rev. 12 : 1) and the New Jerusalem 
with twelve foundation-stones. Rev. 
21 : 14. 

Gave them power and authority, 
power to perform and authority to ex- 
ercise the power, and both delegated 
from Jesus, who possessed them in him- 
self. It was not over spirits in general, 
but limited to all demons, of whatever 
grade or power. They were also em- 
powered to cure diseases. They 
were thus to exercise miraculous power 
similar to that of Jesus. They received 
all the power and instructions they 
needed for their immediate work, anil 
no more. This mission was preparatory ; 
it also showed j)rogress in their qualifi- 
cations. They were the more fully em- 



A. D. 29. 

the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. i And he 
said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, nei- 
ther staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money ; 
neither have two coats apiece. ""And whatsoever 
house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart. 

<ich. 10. 4; 
Mt. 10. 9 

22. 35; 

'Mt. 10. 

11; Mk. 

powered by the Holy Spirit for their 
apostolic work on the day of Pentecost, 
oh. 24 : 49 ; Acts 1:8. 

2. The great object of their mission is 
stated, to preach the kingdom of 
God. Their easting out demons and 
healing the sick were the evidences of 
their divine commission. He sent 
them, by two and two, Mark 6 : 7. 

3, The Provision foe their Jour- 
ney is noticed in this verse. They are 
to rely on God for their daily supply. 
Hence, take nothing for your jour- 
ney. Rather, for the journey, or for the 
way. Neither staves, according to 
the highest critical authorities, neither 
staff. 8o Matt. 10 : 10. But Mark (6 : 
8) says, " save a staff only." This is no 
discrepancy, but shows the independ- 
ence of the narratives. If they had a 
staff, they could use it, but they were 
not to procure one for the journey, nor 
even take it if not in their hands. The 
idea is: Make no preparation for the 
journey, but go just as you are. Nor 
scrip, hag or wallet, generally made 

of leather, for carrying 
provisions ; neither 
bread in it, neither 
money, the word for 
silver or silver coin 
being used. Neither 
have two coats, tu- 
nics, under-garments, 
worn next to the skin, 
mostly with sleeves, 
and reaching generally to the knees. 
They were not to encumber themselves 
with a change of raiment. Compare 1 
Sam. 17 : 40, where are mentioned a 
staff, shepherd's crook or club, and a 
shepherd's bag, into which David put 
five smooth stones. Dr. Tliomson says 
that shepherds and farmers in the East 
generally have a bag or wallet, made 
from the skins of kids, stripped off 
whole, and tanned by a simple process. 
" The entire ' outfit ' of these first mis- 
sionaries shows that they were plain 
fishermen, farmers, or shepherds; and 
to such men there was no extraordinary 


self-denial in the matter or the mode of 
their mission. . . . Nor was there any 
departure from the simple manners of 
the country (at present) in this. At 
this day the farmer sets out on excur- 
sions quite as extensive without a para 
(about a fourth of a cent) in his purse. 
And the modern Moslem prophet of 
Tarshiha thus sends forth his apostles 
over this identical region. Neither do 
they encumber themselves with two 
coats. They are accustomed to sleep in 
the garments they have on during the 
day, and in this climate such plain peo- 
ple experience no inconvenience from 
it. They wear a coarse shoe, answering 
to the sandal of the ancients, but never 
take two pair of them ; and although 
the staff is an invariable companion of 
all wayfarers, they are content with 
01^e." — The Land and Book, vol. i., p. 

4. In this and the next verse Jesus 
gives Directions as to their Con- 
duct TOWARD the People. What- 
soever, whatever, house ye enter 
into, upon your arrival at any town or 
village, as invited and welcomed mes- 
sengers or preachers. There abide. 
Make that your temporary abode until 
you depart. Go not from house to 
house (ch. 10 : 7), shifting your quar- 
ters. *'The reason is very obvious to 
one acquainted with Oriental customs. 
When a stranger arrives in a village or 
encampment, the neighbors, one after 
another, must invite him to eat with 
them. There is a strict etiquette ab^)ut 
it, involving much ostentation and 
hypocrisy; and a failure in the due 
observance of this system of hospitality 
is violently resented, and often leads to 
alienations and feuds among neighbors ; 
it also consumes much time, causes un- 
usual distraction of mind, leads to levity, 
and every way counteracts the success 
of a spiritual mission. On these ac- 
counts the evangelists were to avoid 
these feasts : they were sent, not to be 
honored and feasted, but to call men to 
repentance, prepare the way of the 

A. D. 29. 



5 'And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out 
of that city, 'shake off the very dust from your feet 
for a testimony against them. 

6 "And they departed, and went through the towns, 
preaching the gospel, and healing every where. 

Herod's perplexity on hearing of the miraeles of Jesus. 

7 ^Xow Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done 

•Mt. 10. 14. 

«Ac. 13.51. 

• Mk. 6. 12. 

»Mt. IL 1 


Jx)rd, and proclaim that the kinedom 
cf heaven was at hand. They were, 
therefore, first to seek a becoming 
habitation to lodge in, and there abide 
till the work in that city was accom- 
plished." — Dk. Thomson, Land and 
Book, i.. p. 5.S4. 

5. llow they should act toward the 
rejecter of them and their message. 
Whosoever will not receive yon, 
whether a person or persons, a family 
or city. For they would be rejected, 
not merely by individuals, but even by 
whole communities. Thus the Gera- 
senes (eh. 8 : 37) and a Samaritan vil- 
lage (eh. 9 : 53) rejected Jesus. Going 
forth from that place when thus re- 
jected, they were to shake off the very 
dust of their feet as a testimony 
asainst them, as a proof or token 
that they were as the heathen to them, 
polluted and devoted to destruction, and 
hence they were desirous of separating 
themselves from them for ever. The 
Jews were accustomed to shake off the 
dust of the heathen when they returned 
from a foreign country to their own 
land, by which they renounced all fel- 
lowship with Gentiles and proclaimed 
that the very dust of those foreign 
countries was polluting to their own. 
So Jesus enjoins upon his apostles the 
same symbolical act toward the Jews 
who rejected the gospel, intimating 
thereby that they were no longer to be 
regarded as God's people, but as the 
heathen and idolaters. Compare Neh. 
5 : 13. Paul shook off the dust of his 
Feet against his persecutors at Antioch i 
in Pisidia i Acts 13 : 51), and shook out 
his garments against the Jews at Corinth, 
A-cts 18 : 6. ; 

6. In this verse we have a summary , 
account of this mission on which they '' 
were sent forth. " i 

They went through the towns, 
or villages ; where is not told us. It 
seems probable, however, that they , 
went through the southern and south- I 

eastern portion of Galilee, taking in 
Tiberias and its vicinity. For (1) Jesus 
cautioned them against entering a city 
of the Samaritans (Matt. 10 : 5), which 
fairly implies that they would at 
come near the borders of Samaria ; and 
(2) Herod appears to have had his at- 
tention specially directed to Jesus fver. 
7) by this mission of the twelve. Very 
likely, therefore, they visited Tiberias 
or its vicinity, the' capital of Gal- 
ilee, where Herod resided most of the 
time; and if he was absent, his offi- 
cers or courtiers may have sent him 
the report. Preached the gospel. 
Expressed in the original by a single 
verb, an7iou7i<:ed the glad tidings, to the 
I>eople, individually and collectively, 
as they had opportunity. Mark (6 : 12) 
says that they " preached that men 
should repent." 

Healing everyAvhere, in all the 
villages and places to which they came. 
Luke is brief, but comprehensive. Mark 
(6 : 13) says, " They cast out many 
devils, and anointed with oil many that 
were sick, and healed them." ' How 
long they were out upon this mission is 
not told us. Some suppose it to have 
occupied only one or two days ; others 
extend it to several months. ' The facts 
that Jesus made a considerable circuit 
after sending them out (Matt. 11 : 1), 
that they went through the villages 
teaching (ver. 6), and that Jesus upon 
their return invited them to retirement 
and rest (Mark 6 : 31 1, point to a quite 
extensive tour and to considerable time. 
They probably occupied several weeks, 
from the latter part of February or the 
first part of March, A. D. 29, till early 
in April. The passover that year be- 
gan April 17, and it was near when the 
five thousand were fed, vers. 10-17 ; 
John 6 : 4. 

7-9. Heeod's Opinion of Jesus, 
Matt. 14 : 1-12 ; Mark 6 : 14-29. Mark 
is fullest; Luke comes next in detail ; 
but Matthew as well as Mark relate** ^he 



A. D. 29. 

by him : and he was perplexed, because that it was 

8 said of some, that John was risen from the dead ; and 
of some, that Elias had appeared ; and of others, that 

9 one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod 

recent beheading of John the Baptist, 
which Luke omits. 

7. Herod the tetrarch. Tetrarch, 
a Greek word meaning a rmler of the 
fourth part, which became a common 
title for those who governed any part 
of a province, subject only to the Roman 
emperor. Hence, in general and pop- 
ular language, and from courtesy, he is 
styled king, Mark 6 : 14 ; Matt. 14 : 9. 
This was Herod Antipas, son of Herod 
the Great. His dominion comprised 
Galilee, Samaria, and Perea. He first 
married a daughter of Aretas, king of 
Arabia Petrsea, but afterward took He- 
rodias, his brother Philip's wife. Are- 
tas, indignant at the insult ofiered his 
daughter, waged war against Herod and 
defeated him. This defeat, according 
to Josephus {Ant. xviii. 5, 2), was re- 
garded by many as a punishment for 
the murder of John. In A. D. 39 he 
was banished to France, whither Hero- 
dias followed him. Both died in exile. 
He was sensual, weak (Matt. 14 : 9), 
cunning (Luke 13 : 32), unscrupulous 
(Luke 3 : 19), and superstitious, Mark 
6 : 20 ; Luke 9 : 9. 

Heard of all that was done by 
him. By him should be omitted ac- 
cording to the oldest and best manu- 
scripts. Herod had heard of the preach- 
ing and the miracles of the disciples, 
and that Jesus had sent them forth. 
The name of Jesus had become famous 
by the preaching and miracles of the 
apostles as well as his own. It is 
probable that Herod was at war with 
Aretas and making his headquarters at 
Machserus, a frontier fortress near the 
Dead Sea, between Perea and Arabia, 
Avhere John the Baptist was in prison. 
This, in connection with his voluptuous 
life, will explain why Herod seems not 
to have heard of Jesus before. "A 
palace is late in hearing spiritual 
news." — Bengel. The murder of John 
must* at least have startled Herod's con- 
science and made him uneasy, ver. 20, 
26. If he had heard before of Jesus, it 
had produced no impression on his 
mind. But now the fame of Jesus, the 
leport of his miracles, preaching, and 

doings, at once arrested his attention 
and produced anxiety in his mind, 
filled with superstition and tortured by 
a guilty conscience. 

He was perplexed, at aloss toknow 
what to think of it ; he was in a state of 
painful uncertainty. Because intro- 
ducee the reason of his great perplexity. 
Some (his servants. Matt. 14 : 2) said, 
John the Baptist was risen from 
the dead, an opinion to which his own 
mind was inclined, Mark 6 : 16. Dead 
refers not to a mere state or condition, 
but to persons in that state, from among 
the dead. Some suppose Herod was a 
Sadducee, from comparing Mark 8 : 15 
with Matt. 16 : 6, and that his guilt and 
fears now made him a cowardly be- 
liever in the doctrine of the resurrec- 
tion. Infidels and skeptics have been 
known to renounce their unbelief in 
times of danger. It was the miracle- 
working power that specially arrested 
Herod's attention. John wrought no 
miracles (John 10 : 41), but now, Herod 
reasons, the powers are active in John's 
person because he has come forth from 
the dead, having thus acquired new 
spiritual and miraculous power. His 
fears may have been excited lest Jesus 
might become a political rival, or lest 
his superhuman power might be di- 
rected against him. 

8. Some that Elias, Elijah, had 
appeared, whose coming had been 
foretold by Malachi (4:5) and was 
generally expected by the Jews. " Dur- 
ing certain prayers the door of the house 
was set open, that Elijah might enter 
and announce the Messiah. ... So firm 
was the conviction of his speedy arrival 
that when goods were found and no 
owner appeared to claim them the 
common saying was, * Put them by till 
Elijah com'es.'"— Hackett's Smith's 
Dictionary, p. 710. John was indeed 
the Elijah who Avas to come. Matt. 11 : 
14. Notice that of Elijah it is said had 
appeared, since he did not die, but was 
translated. Others, that one of the 
old prophets was risen again. 
There were those who M'ere not ready 
to regard him as the prophet Elijah, 

A. D. 29 



said, John have I beheaded : but who is this of whom 
I hear such things ? >' And he desired to sec him. 

Jesus retires to a desert place, where he feeds more than jive 


10 "And the apostles, when they were returned, told 

y ch. 23. 8. 

•Mt. 14. 13; Mk 
6. 30 ; John G. U 

but still like one of the old prophets, 
though not so great as Elijan. Pop- 
ular opinion thus accorded to Jesus a 
higher mission ; some higher than otli- 
ers, but none so high as that of the 
Messiah. His Messiahshij) was per- 
ceived by faith, Matt. IG : IG, 17. Com- 
pare simihir reports a little later, Matt. 
16 : 13, 14. 

9. A statement of Herod's perplexitv, 
ver. 7. John have I beheadcil. 
This is the only reference by Luke to 
the death of John, Avhich at first seems 
remarkable, since he gives so j)articular 
account of his birth. But John's history 
is given only as he was connected witli 
, Jesus as his forerunner. The account 
of his birth specially presents him as 
such. His death occurred about seven- 
teen mouths after his imprisonment, 
probably early in March, A. D. 29. His 
active mission had thus been finished 
for nearly a year and a half. As noth- 
ing in his narrative really demanded an 
aecount of his tragic end, Luke passes 
over it with a simple reference. Herod 
in his perplexitv inquires. Who is 
this, etc. Matthew (14 : 2) and Mark 
(6 : 14) present not so much the doubt 
in Herod's mind as the feelings and con- 
victions of a guilty consciejice. Hence 
he desired to see him, in order to 
satisfy his mind whether he was John, 
and also to witness a miracle. He was 
not, however, gratified till the morning 
of the crucifixion, ch. 26 : 7-12. 

Concerning Machserus, the place of 
John's execution. Prof. Harvey of Ham- 
ilton Theological Seminary, who visited 
it in 1874, says : " This ancient fortress 
and town are a day's journey south of 
Nebo. The castle was built under the 
later Maccabees as the great south-east- 
ern defence of Palestine. It was greatly 
strengthened by Herod, who built a pal- 
ace within it. The citadel stood on the 
summit of a conical mountain sur- 
rounded by deep valleys and with an 
almost perpendicular ascent. It is three 
thousand and eight hundred feet above 
the Dead Sea. Here, according to Jo- 

sephus, John the Baptist was beheaded, 
and it was at the palace within that 
fortress Herod Antipas was feasting 
when Herodias demanded the head of 
the faithful man of God. Such also 
seems to be the belief of the early 
Fathers, and the probability is that the 
story of Josephus is correct. It was 
welfnigh impregnable, but met its fate 
ultimately at the hands of the Romans, 
who took it by stratagem. The summit, 
which is one hundred yards in diameter, 
exhibits traces of the massive walls, an 
immense cistern, and the lower walls 
of two rooms, supposed to be prisons. 
The hill itself probably contains many 
interior chambers, audits sides are per- 
forated with caves. The ruins of the 
city it protected now cover a full square 
mile, but its history has mostly perished, 
like its mouldering palaces," 

10. TuE Twelve Return from 
THEIR Mission and Report to Je- 
sus, Mark 6 : 30, 31. Mark again is the 

10. The apostles. The word means 
persons sent forth. Jesus gave this title 
(ch. 6 : 13) to the twelve when he se- 
lected them from among his disciples. 
Mark appropriately applies this title 
now to the twelve just returning from 
their mission. When they were re- 
tnrned. Possil)ly the news of the 
death of John the Baptist may have 
hastened their return. But as they ap- 
pear to have returned together, it is 
more probable that Jesus had directed 
them to come back a little before the 
approaching passover. Told him 
all, etc. Made a detailed report of 
places visited, how they had been re- 
ceived and what they had accomplished, 
what miracles they had wrought, and 
what doctrines and precepts they had 
taught. From comparing Matt. 14 : 
12, 13, it appears that simultaneously 
with the apostles' return was the report 
of John's disciples respecting the death 
of their ma.ster. They now were prob- 
ably at Capernaum. 

10-17. Jesus Retires and mirac- 



A. D. 29. 

him all that they had done. And he took them, and 
went aside privately into a desert place belonging to 
11 the city called Bethsaida. And the people, when they 
knew it, followed him : and he received them, and 
spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed 
them that had need of healing. 

ULOUSLY Feeds the Multitude, 
Matt. 14 : 13-21 ; Mark 6 ; 32-44; John 
6 : 1-14. The great importance of this 
account and miracle may be inferred 
from the fact that all the evangelists 
relate it. Mark and John are the full- 
est and enter most into details. Mat- 
thew and Luke are about equally con- 

As the imprisonment of John formed 
an era in Christ's ministry when he 
commenced his active and public labors 
in Galilee (Matt. 4 : 12), so did the death 
of John form another era when he ex- 
tended his labors into Northern Galilee 
and east of the Jordan. Heretofore he 
had made Capernaum the centre of his 
missionary operations in Eastern Galilee. 
But henceforth, making but brief visits 
to this scene of his former labors, he 
extends his journeys into Decapolis 
(Mark 7 : 31) and Northern Galilee, 
going north-west as far as the neighbor- 
hood of Tyre and Sidon (Mark 7 : 24) 
and north-east as far as Csesarea Phil- 
i2:>pi, Mark 8 : 27. 

10. And he took them. Better, 
And taking them with him, he went 
aside, or retired, privately, from the 
western side of tlie Sea of Galilee, prob- 
ably at or near Capernaum. The reason 
of their departure was — (1) the disci- 
ples needed rest (Mark 6 : 31) ; (2) the 
news of the death of John the Baptist 
(Matt. 14 : 13); doubtless they were 
deeply moved ; retirement was becom- 
ing; (3) withdrawing from the jurisdic- 
tion of Herod Antipas, who may now 
have returned to Tiberias and was de- 
sirous of seeing Jesus (ver. 9), to that 
of the mild Herod Philip (ch. 3 : 1), 
on the east and north of the Sea of 
Galilee. These reasons are consistent 
one with another. Into a desert 
place belonging to, etc. Not a 
barren waste (ver. 39), but an unculti- 
vated and uninhabited region in the 
vicinity of Eastern Bethsaida, which 
stood on the north-eastern side of the 
lake near the Jordan, and which Philip, 
according to Josephus, advanced to the 

dignity of a city, and named it Julias. 
Matthew and Mark record the fact that 
they went by ship. But according to 
some of the oldest manuscripts, the 
words into a desert place belonging 
should be omitted. This omission is 
supported by the greatest weight of 
critical authority. If, therefore, we 
read, he went aside privately to a city 
called Bethsaida, the desert place is to 
be regarded as pertaining to Bethsaida, 
or as the Syriac version reads, "the 
desert part of Bethsaida." The phrase, 
"^ city called Bethsaida," points to 
that one north of the lake and east of 
the Jordan. 

11. And the people, etc. Jesus 
had withdrawn with his disciples from 
the people without making known his 
design of crossing the lake; but they 
saw him and his disciples embarking 
covertly, and interpret his design, Mark 
6 : 33. They tell the news (Matt. 14 
13), and the people, seeing from the 
shore the direction that Jesus was going, 
followed him, by going on foot 
around the northern end of the lake, 
to the place where they saw that he 
was about to land. Christ's popularity 
among the common people, and their 
eagerness to enjoy his teaching and his 
miraculous power (John 6 : 2) are here 
very briefly presented. 

And he received them, welcomed 
them, instead of being displeased that 
they should encroach upon his retire- 
ment. Matthew and Mark state that 
he was moved with compassion at the 
sight of them. Instead, therefore, of 
dismissing them, that he and his dis- 
ciples might enjoy quiet, he spake 
unto them of, or concerning, the 
kingdom of God, the truths of his 
kingdom. The idea of the original is 
that he continued the work of teaching 
and healing till the day began to wear 
away, ver. 12. Matthew (14 : 14) omits 
reference to his teaching, and simply 
says " he healed their sick." But Mark 
(6 : 34) omits reference to his healing, 
and says, " he began to teach them 

A. D. 29. 



hPs.TS. 19; 107.5, 
C ; Uoe. 13. 5. 

12 *And when the day began to wear away, then came '^oV.H'^u '^^^ 
the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude ' ° ° •^>^' 
away, that they may go into the towns and countrj' 
round about, and lodge, and get victual : ^for we are 

13 here in a desert place. But he said unto them. Give 
ye them to eat. And they said. We have no more 
but five loaves and two fishes ; except we should go 

14 and buy meat fi^r all this people. For they were 
about five thousand men. And he said to his disci- 
ples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company. 

many thinsrs." John (6 : 3, 4) says I 
that Jesus went up into the mountain, 
or hiirhlands, by the shore, and "there ; 
sat with his disciples," which was the 
jxisture of teaching, Matt. 5 : 1. Also 
that the passover was nigh, which | 
began that year, A. D. 29, on April i 
17th. This also may account in part 
for the great multitude present, many 
of whom were on their way to Jeru- 
salem to keep the feast. 

12. Began to wear away, or to 
dfdinc. It was now the first evening 
(Matt. 14 : 15), the decline of day, 
about three o'clock in the afternoon. 
The second evening, when he had sent 
the multitude away (Mark 6 : 47), ■ 
began at sunset. Jesus had probably 
been employed several hours in teach- 
ing and healing the sick, ver. 11. 
Hence he must have arrived at the 
eastern side of the lake quite early in 
the day. i 

The twelve, who had doubtless 
been here and there, now come to him 
while he is still employed with the 
multitude. This is a desert place. 
See on ver. 32. Away from the villages ; 
and thoroughfares no food could be i 
obtained. The time (the same word 
is translated cf/zyatthe beginning of the ! 
verse J, the daytime, is far passed, i 
is far advanced, or far gone ; it is now j 
late. j 

Send the multitude away. The ! 
first reason for dismunng the mul- ' 
titude is already given, the lateness ; 
of the hour. Another reason was that 
they might go into the towns, 
rather, into the villages around, among 
those who had provisions to sell, and 
buy for themselves; and into the 
country around about, rather, and 
into the fields. Around about should not 
be connected with country or fields, but 
with villages, as above. The object was , 

that they might lodge and get 
victuals'. We are here in a 
desert place, away from villages 
and thoroughfares where lodging and 
food can be obtained. 

13. Jesus commands his disciples 
to give them to eat, declaring that 
there was no necessity for sending 
them away. Matt. 14 : 16. This was 
calculated to excite their expectation 
and strengthen their faith. Then he 
asks Philip, in order to try his faith, 
" Whence shall we buy bread that 
these may eat ?" who answered that 
two hundred pennyworth ftwo hundred 
denaries, about thirty dollars) would 
not be sufficient, John 6 : 5-7. The 
twelve ask him if they shall go and 
buy that amount, Mark 6 : 37. And 
now they state that they have but five 
loaves and two fishes, except they 
buy. It was Andrew who gave the 
information that a lad had five barley 
loaves, an inferior kind of food, and 
two small fishes, John 6 : 8, 9. Loaves 
were usually made in the form of 
round cakes, and generally about half 
an inch in thickness. The language of 
the four evangelists implies that this 
was all the provisions on the ground. 
Compare Mau. 14 : 17. 

14. Luke gives the number of men 
present. Matthew (14 : 21) says, '"Be- 
sides women and children." There 
were probably seven or eight thousand 
in all, possibly ten thousand. 

With authority Jesus says to his dis- 
ciples, 3Iake them sit down, recline 
or lie down, the customary posture 
at table, by fifties in a company, 
better, in cornpanies of fifty, in separate 
parties, or messes, for the sake of order 
and convenience. " The scene of this 
extraordinary miracle is the noble plain 
iButaiha, at the mouth of the Jordan, 
which during most of the year is now, 



A. D. 29. 

15 And they did so, and made them all sit down. 

16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and 
looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and 
gave to the disciples to set before the multitude. 

17 And they did eat, and were all filled : and there was 
taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve 

as then, covered with * green grass.' " — 
Dr. J. P. Newman, From Dan to Beer- 
sheba, p. 395. " This Butaiha belonged 
to Bethsaida, At this extreme south- 
east corner of it the mountain shuts 
down upon the lake bleak and barren. 
... In this little cove the ships (boats) 
were anchored. On this beautiful 
sward at the base of the rocky hill the 
people were seated to receive from the 
hands of the Son of God the miraculous 
bread, emblematic of his body, which 
is the true bread from heaven." — Dr. 
Thomson, The Land and the Book, vol. 
ii., p. 29. This plain east of the Jordan 
forms a triangle, the shore of the lake 
making one side, the Jordan the 
second, and the eastern mountains the 

15. The order of Jesus is quickly 
obeyed. The multitude, under the di- 
rection of the apostles, all sit down, 
recline in companies upon the green 
grass, Mark 6 : 39. Thus all confusion 
and all deception was prevented. The 
multitude could be conveniently served 
and easily and accurately counted. 

16. Looking up to heaven, to the 
sky, which seems to separate us from 
the place of God's immediate presence. 
" Looking up is a natural and scriptural 
gesture in addressing God, whom all 
men, as it were, instinctively regard as 
dwelling in some special sense above 
them." — Alexander. Compare 2 
Chron. 6:13; Ps. 123 : 1, 2 ; John 11 : 
41. Blessed them. Implored a 
blessing on the bread and the fishes. 
.John (6 : 11) says, "He gave thanks." 
The latter is included in the former. 
The word translated bless is used in 
praising God for favors (ch. 1 : 64) ; 
also in invoking God's blessing (ch. 2 : 
34) ; also in God's conferring favors, 
Heb. 6 : 14 ; Acts 3 : 26. These three 
senses really met in Jesus. For, as a 
man, he praised God and implored his 
blessing ; while, as God, he granted it. 
So Matthew (15 : 36) has gave thanks, 

while Mark (8 : 7) has blessed. The 
same diversity is seen in the account of 
the Lord's Supper. Matthew (26 : 26) 
and Mark (14 : 22) have blessed; Luke 
(22 : 19) and Paul (1 Cor. 11 : 24) have 
gave thanks. And brake. The usual 
way of preparing bread for eating. The 
Scriptures speak of breaking bread, but 
never of cutting it. The thin loaves, 
or cakes, were very likely brittle. And 
gave them to his disciples, etc. A 
beautiful illustration and foreshadow- 
ing of their future work of bearing the 
bread of life to perishing sinners. 

17. Three facts stated in regard to the 
food. They did eat, none were pass- 
ed over, as the following clause implies, 
and were all filled. The appetites 
of all were fully satisfied. The broken 
bread and the divided fishes, like the 
widow's meal and oil (1 Kings 17 : 16), 
did not waste nor fail so long as the 
disciples continued to supply the multi- 

And there was taken up. This 
they carried away with them. While 
these provisions lasted the disciples 
were constantly reminded of this won- 
derful miracle. Jesus had given the 
command, " Gather up the fragments 
that remain that nothing be lost" (John 
6 : 12), thereby teaching a lesson of 
prudent economy. They were not to 
expect a continuation of the miracle. 
Fragments, broken pieces of bread 
and fishes, Mark 6 : 43. Twelve 
baskets. The usual Jewish travelling- 
basket. The number was twelve ; thus 
each apostle filled his basket. Thus 
there remained much more than the 
original provisions, showing an actual 
increase of food, and not a supernatural 
restraining and satisfying of the appe- 
tite. Some suppose that the provisions 
taken up were those broken by Jesus, 
but undistributed. The most natural 
supposition, however, is that they had 
been distributed, or mostly so, and that 
they were gathered up from the ground 

A. D. 29. 



Peters confession ; Jesus aiuiorinces his sufferinfjs^ death ^ and 
resurrection, and teaches seff-denial. 

18 "And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his 
disciples were with him : and he asked them, saying, 

19 ^Whom say the people that I am? They answering 

•Mt. 16.13; Mk.8. 

iDan. 7. 13; Mt. 

12.40; 13. .37, 41; 

John 1. 50; Ac. 

7. 5G ; Heb. 2. 14- 


where the companies had eaten. John 
fi : 12, 13, especially implies this. 

Various attempts have been made by 
neolojrists to explain away this miracle 
by endeavoring to trace it to natural 
causes, and even by su])posing it origin- 
ally a parable, related by mistake as an 
actual occurrence. But all such at- 
tempts are manifestly absurd and 
ridiculous. All of the four narratives 
clearly convey the idea of superhuman 
power. They do not tell how that 
power was exerted or how the food 
was increased, but they do clearly tell 
us that a few loaves and fishes, which 
a lad could carry in his basket, were 
increased so that thousands satisfied 
their hunger, and there remained at 
least twelve times more of fragments 
than of the original provisions. It is 
not necessary to suppose creative 
power ; for the laws and the elements 
of the natural world being under the 
direction of Jesus, he could bring to- 
gether at his will all the elements con- 
stituting the bread and the fishes. The 
power in one case was as truly omnip- 
otent as in the other. Similar ex- 
hibitions of divine power are recorded 
in the Old Testament, in giving the 
manna (Ex. 16 : 4) and in multiplying 
the widow's oil, 2 Kings 4 : 2-7. Com- 
pare the turning of water into wine, 
John 2 : 9. 

In this miracle Jesus also exhibited 
himself as the Bread of Life. See the 
application that Jesus made of it soon 
after in the synagogue at Capernaum, 
John 6 : 26-35, 48-58. The multitude 
was blind to this deep spiritual import 
and design, but they felt the force of 
the miracle as an evidence of the Mes- 
siahship of Jesus, and they exclaim, 
" Of a truth this is the prophet that 
Cometh into the world," John 6 : 14. 
Possibly a tradition that the Messiah 
would rain manna from heaven may 
also have had its influence in leading 
them to this conclusion. 

18-21. Jesus Visits the Vicinity 


OF Peter in behalf of the Twelve. 
Matt. 16 : 13-20 ; Mark 8 : 27-30. About 
at this point the period of preparation 
of Christ's last suncrings may be said to 
commence. He begins to prepare the 
minds of his disciples by clear views 
of himself, and by distinct intimations 
of his suflerings. 

Between this and the preceding verse 
Luke passes over manv incidents — re- 
corded in Matt. 14 : 2LM6 : 13; Mark 
6 : 45-8 : 27 ; John 6 : 22-7 : 1— show- 
ing how lightly he touches this portion 
of our Lord's history. The night after 
feeding the five thousand Jesus walks 
on the water, and the day following de- 
livers a discourse in the synagogue at 
Capernaum. John 6 : 59. Continuing 
in Galilee (John 7 : 1), he discoursed on 
unwashed hands, after which he visited 
the region of Tyre and Sidon and healed 
a daughter of a Canaanitish woman. 
Jesus then returns through Decapolis, 
heals many, and feeds the four thousand ; 
crosses to the western side of the lake, 
where the Pharisees require a sign ; re- 
crosses the lake, cautioning the disci- 
ples against the leaven of the Pharisees ; 
and arriving at Bethsaida Julias heals 
a blind man. From thence he visits 
Csesarea Philippi, where Peter utters 
the confession in this section. See au- 
thor's Harmony, §^ 76 to 87. 

IS. And it came to pass. Luke 
thus indefinitely introduces a new topic, 
i passing over about three months be- 
tween this and the last topic, as if he 
had said, It came to pass on a certain 
time when Jesus was alone praying. 
Mark states that they were in the way 
as they were going among the villages 
of Caesarea Philippi. But Luke spe- 
cially here and elsewhere notices the 
praying of Jesus, ver. 28; 3 : 21 ; 11 : 
1. He was alone from the multitude. 
His disciples were with him. It 
was a fitting time and place to draw 
from his disciples, the twelve, their 
opinion of him. He therefore asks 
them, Whom say the people, or 
multitudes who attended his ministry, 




A. D. 29 

said, *John the Baptist; but some say, Elias, and 
others soy, that one of the old prophets is risen again. 

20 He said unto tliem, But whom say ye that I am? 

21 ^Peter answering said, The Christ of God. ^And he 
straitly charged them and commanded them to tell no 

22 man that thing ; saying, ^ The Son of man must suffer 

•vers. 7, 8; Mt. 14 

'Mt. 16. 16; John 


8 Mt. 16. 20. 

hMt. 16. 21 ; Mk. 

8. 31 ; 9. 1 ; Mt. 

17. 22. 

that I am ? or declare me to be. He 
thus would first call forth the oj)inion 
of the masses, who had followed him 
and were friendly to him. His enemies 
had expressed their opinion by words 
and acts, Mark 3 : 6, 22 ; 7:2. 

19. In the answer of the disciples we 
have a vivid picture of the opinions of 
the people generally. They did not re- 
gard him as the Messiah, but intimately 
connected with him as a pi'ecursor or 
forerunner. Some, like Herod, thought 
him to be John the Baptist risen 
from the dead, ver. 7 ; some Ekas, 
Elijah, who was to come, ilal. 4:5; 
and others one of the old prophets 
is risen again, as Jeremiah (Matt. 
16 : 14), who was regarded as the great- 
est of the prophets, and expected by 
some of the Jews as one of the fore- 
runners of the Messiah. The Jews 
held to the actual coming and the bod- 
ily resurrection of these men, and not 
that the soul of any of them had reap- 
peared in the body of Jesus. We find 
here the same diversity of views as that 
described in vers. 7, 8. Only persons 
of strong faith had recognized him as 
the Messiah, Matt. 9 : 27 ; 15 : 22 ; John 
4:42; 6 : 68, 69 ; 7 : 31. 

20. Jesus now asks the twelve their 
opinion of him. But whom say ye, 
etc. Ye is emphatic, and in contrast to 
the multitude (ver. 18), whose views 
they had jtist given. Ye have told me 
the confused and conflicting views of 
the people ; but ye, whovi do ye say or de- 
clare me to be ? And Peter answer- 
ing, for the twelve, for Jesus addressed 
his question to them. Peter appears to 
have been the spokesman of the apos- 
tles, and to have acted somewhat like 
the chairman of a committee or the 
foreman of a jury, Mark 10 : 28 ; Matt. 
15 : 15 ; Luke 12 : 41 ; John 6 : 68. 
Compare Matt. 17:24; John 13:24. 
The eleven assent to his declaration of 
their faith, for they make no other re- 
ply. The Christ of God, the em- 
phatic language of firm conviction. 
The Christ, the 3Iessiah, or the 

Anointed, as the word means, the One 
foretold by ancient prophets, and styled 
the Messiah, or Anointed, by David and 
Daniel, Ps. 2:2; Dan. 9 : 25. He was the 
Son of David, in whom were fulfilled all 
the types of anointed prophets, priests, 
and kings of the old dispensation — the 
great Prophet, Priest, and King. Of 
God, from God, emphatically God's 
Messiah (compare ch. 2 : 26 ; Ps. 2 : 2), 
including Sonship, and described more 
fully by Matthew (16 : 16), "Thou art 
the Christ, the Son of the living God." 
Mark and Luke give the main and 
essential proposition of Peter's answer ; 
Matthew's form is more descriptive, 
and expresses the fulness of their faith. 
He also adds what Jesus said to Peter, 
Matt. 16 : 17-19. 

21, And he straitly, strictly, 
charged them, implying that they 
would incur his displeasure should they 
disobey. Should tell no man that 
thing, or tell this to no one — that is, this 
confession " that he is the Christ," Matt. 
16 : 20. Had the Jews known him, they 
would not have crucified him, 1 Cor. 
2 : 8. The time had not yet come for 
the proclamation that he was the Mes- 
siah. He must suffer, die, and rise from 
the dead, and the Spirit must come. 
Nothing must be done either to hasten 
or delay the designs of his enemies. 
The people were not yet ready for hear- 
ing this truth, neither were the apostles 
fully prepared for their work. 

22-27. Jesus foretells his Death 
AND Resurrection ; teaches the 
Duty and Necessity of Self-de- 
nial, Matt. 16 : 21-28 ; Mark 8 : 38- 
ch. 9 : 1. Luke is the briefest; Mark 
the most vivid and the fullest on self- 
denial. Matthew and Mark record our 
Lord's rebuke of Peter in the region 
of Csesarea Philippi. 

22. Saying. This is closely con- 
nected with the preceding verse. The 
Son of man. See onch. 5 : 24. Jesus 
teaches that he must suffer, the ne- 
cessity of his sufierings. Before this 
he had taught them that he was the 


A. D. 29. 



many thinc^, and be rejected of the elders and chief 

priesti? and scribes, and be shiin, and be raised the 

third day. 
2?* 'And iie said to fhem all, If any mn7i will come after 'ch. 14.27 ; Mt. lo. 

me, let him deny himself, and take uj) his cross daily, sf^/^Ko^L^S ' 
24 and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall 

Christ ; now he teaches them that he, 
the Christ, must sutfer. Before lie had 
given obscure intinuitions of both his 
BUfferinj^s (Matt. 10 : 38; John 3 : 14) 
autl his resurrection, Matt. 1*2 : 40 ; 
John 2 : 19 ; but now he speaks plainly 
aiitl teaches their necessity, lie con- 
tinued afterward with further particu- 
lars, vers. 43-45; 18 : 31-34. Thus he 
be.uran also to correct their mistaken 
and worldly views, and in a measure 
to i)re]^are them for the event when it 
came and afterward for the better un- 
derstandinc: of both this and of ancient 
prophecv, Isa. 53 : 4-10; Daii. 9 : 26; 
Luke 24' : 26, 27, 44, 46. Matthew adds 
the fact that " he must go unto Jerusa- 
lem." Be rejected of, by the San- 
hedrim, the highest civil and ecclesias- 
tical court of the Jews, which consisted 
of seventy-one membei*s from the three 
classes immediately named. They de- 
nied what Peter and the disciples had 
confessed ; they rejected Jesus as the 
Messiah, the Son of the living God, ch. 
22 : 66-71. Elders. See on ch. 7 : 3. 
Chief priests, the heads of the twen- 
ty-four classes into which David di- 
vided the priests (1 Chron. 24:7-18; 
Luke 1 : 5), the high priest, who was gen- 
erally president of the Sanhedrim, and 
his surviving predecessors. Scribes. 
See on ch. 5 : 21. Be raised the 
third day. Jesus died on Friday 
afternoon and rose on Sunday morning. 
The time intervenmg was one whole 
day and parts of two days, which were 
counted as three whole days according 
to Jewish mode of reckoning. 

23. He said to them all, to the 
people as well as his disciples. For the 
duties of self-denial and self-sacrifice 
were of interest to and binding upon 
all. But the great doctrine of his suf- 
ferings was for the present intended 
specially for his disciples. It is not 
strange that a crowd should have col- 
lected around him in the vicinity of 
Caisarea Philippi as well as elsewliere. 
Jesus having retired for prayer (ver. 
18), the twelve may have first come to 

him, and then the people may have 
drawn near. If any one will come 
after me. Purposes or desires to come 
after me as my follower or disciple. 
Deny himself. Renounce himself, 
abstaining from everything that stands 
in the way of duty. Take up his 
cross, etc. A proverbial expression, 
denoting the self-denials and self-sac- 
rifices, the inner and outer struggles, 
pertiiining to the Christian life, and 
also, doubtless, prophetic of his own 
ignominious death. He had just told 
his disciples that he must suffer ; now 
he teaches them and the people that 
discipleship also involved sufferings and 
self-denials. Taking the cross and fol- 
lowing Christ are inseparable. Every 
one has his own cross, which he 
must take willingly and daily, and 
follow Christ, not the world or any 
object of selfish inclination. Luke 
alone has daily, implying that cross- 
bearing is continuous and through life. 
There are the crosses of humiliation, of 
renunciation of our own wisdom, of 
self-righteousness, of sinful propensities 
and habits, of reproach, and of suf- 
fering for Christ's sake and our own 
good ; the crosses of repentance, of 
baptism, and of a life consecrated to 
Christ's service. The language is an 
allusion to the severest and most dis- 
graceful Roman punishment, in which 
the malefactor was often compelled to 
bear his own cross to the place of execu- 
tion. So Jesus bore it, John 19 : 17. 
Compare Isaac carrying the wood in 
Gen. 22 : 6. It was, doubtless, very 
expressive to the disciples when he 
uttered it, and was well fitted to pre- 
pare their mind for ti-ials as well as 
for his sufferings and death. Yet that 
great event served to give an intensity 
of meaning to this and similar passages, 
John 12 : 16; Rom. Q-.Q] Gab 2 : 20; 
5 : 24 ; 1 Pet. 4 : 1, 2. 

24. As he is to lose his life, so they 
must be willing to lose theirs. For 
whosoever will save his life. The 
truth enunciated in this proverbial form 



A. D. 29. 


lose it : but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, 

25 the same shall save it. J For what is a man advan- ^^t. IG. 26 
tagcd, if he gain tlie whole world, and lose himself, or ' ' 

26 be cast away? ''For whosoever shall be ashamed of '' 33; Mk.8. 
me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be "^^^ ^ ■"■""■ ^" ^^' 
ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and m 

27 his Father's, and of the holy angels. 'But I tell you >Mt. 16.28; Mk.9. 
of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall ^' J 
not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. 1 

of expression sliows the necessity and 
results of self-denial and self-sacrifice 
for Christ, and thus gives a reason for 
what Jesus had just said in the preced- 
ing verse. Whoever purposes to save 
his natural or temporal life, makes this 
his great object, and hence rejects me, 
shall lose his higher spiritual life. 
But whosoever will lose, etc. But 
whosoever shall lose his temporal life 
for my sake and the gospel's, making it 
secondary and subservient, shall save 
his life in the higher and spiritual 
sense. He shall " find " eternal life, 
Matt. 16 : 25. He shall save both body 
and soul to a celestial, heavenly life. 
Compare Paul's language in Phil. 3 : 7, 
8, " I have suffered the loss of all 
things," etc. 

25. For what is a man ad- 
vantaged? or profited. Further reason 
for self-denial in following Christ, The 
interrogative form makes the statement 
the more emphatic. It cannot by any 
means profit him if he acquire the 
whole world and all of its enjoyments, 
etc. Lose himself or be cast 
aivay. The Bible Union version ren- 
ders the original with great accuracy. 
" For what is a man profited when he 
has gained the whole world and lost 
or forfeited himself," himself referring 
specially to his higher nature, his 
soul, but including his whole being. 
Compare Matt. 10 : 28, '' Destroy both 
soul and body in hell," Lost as a con- 
sequence of seeking the world and not 
following Jesus, Forfeited as a penalty 
for so doing, 

26, An additional reason for follow- 
ing Jesus in self-denial and crosses 
derived from Avhat his hearers might 
experience at the judgment. For who- 
soever shall be ashamed of me, 
as his Lord and teacher. Of my 
Avords, doctrines and jirecepts, my 
teachings. See John 12 : 41-43 for an 

example of some who were ashamed of 
him before that generation. In con- 
trast, compare Paul, who was not 
ashamed of him, Rom, 1 : 16. Of him 
also shall the Son of man, whom 
you now see, be ashamed, he shall 
rightly and justly disown and reject, 
when he shall come, Avhen, in con- 
trast to his present humble condition, 
he shall appear in threefold glory : 
(1) his own glory, as the exalted 
Messiah, Phil, 2 : 9-11, (2) in his 
Father's, in the glorious majesty of 
God the Father, John 17 : 5; Heb, 1 : 
3; Matt. 24 : 30. (3) of his holy 
angels, who surround him with 
their brightness. Matt. 25 : 31 ; 2 Thess. 
1:7; Jude 14. Angels are here 
styled Iioly, as distinguished from fallen 
angels, evil spirits. Holiness also has 
a spiritual glory in it. Jesus evidently 
refers to his second coming and the 
judgment, when he shall render to 
every man according to his works, 
Matt. 16 : 27 ; 7 : 21 ; 13 : 40-42 ; 25 : 
31, 41. 

27. And I say to you of a truth. 
A most solemn and authoritative decla- 
ration. There be, etc. There are 
some of those standing here. Of the 
twelve and of the multitude, all of 
whom he was addressing, ver, 23. 
Which. Who. Shall not taste, 
etc, A strong negative in the original ; 
death is represented by the figure of a 
bitter cup or goblet — shall not die. Till 
they see the kingdom of God, of 
the Messiah, See on ch, 4 : 43, Mark 
(9 : 1) adds, "come with power," with 
the exhibitions of divine and omnipo- 
tent power. The kingdom had, indeed, 
already come or commenced, ch. 17 : 
20, 21. The language in Matthew (16 : 
28), " till they shall see the Son of man 
coming in his kingdom," presents Jesus 
as the King and divine Representat've 
of his kingdom. The fulfilment M' 

A. L). 2;). 



The transfiguration. 
28 ™ And it came to pass about an eight days after these " ^^^: i^- i i ^^k. 
sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went " " 

this prediction has been variously re- 
forroa by conuuentators — (1) to the 
transiiixuratiou ; (2) to the resurrection ; 
(.">) to the (hiy of Pentecost; (4) to the 
destruction of Jerusalem ; (5) to the 

1)roi;ressive establishment of Christ's 
:ingdom between the etfusion of the 
lloiy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and 
the destruction of Jerusalem ; (6) to the 
second coming of Christ. 

The great objection to any of these 
views appears to be a want of compre- 
hensiveness. They lose sight of a great 
principle in prophecy — namely, that it 
often points, not only to the final event 
itself, but also to types of that event, 
thus including a series of events all 
ranging under one description and ful- 
filled by one prophecy. Thus, the reign 
of Solomon is a type of the glory and 
the durabilitv of the reign of Christ, 
the Son of David, Ps. 72. The return 
of Israel from their captivity at Baby- 
lon is linked in prophecy with the fu- 
ture triumph and glory of spiritual 
Israel. According to this princijde, 
this prediction was fulfilled to the 
apostles and disciples in the resurrec- 
tion (Rom. 1 : 4), to the multitude and 
people generally in the pentecostal sea- 
son and the complete miraculous estab- 
lishment of Christianitv (Acts 4 : 25-30 ; 
13 : 32-34; 2 Cor. 13 : 4; Ps. 2 : 6), and 
to the Jewish nation in his providential 
coming at the destruction of Jerusa- 
lem, which was a type of his final 

AVe can hardly refer this prediction 
to the transfiguration, which occurred 
only a few days after ; for the expres- 
sion, '^ shall not Uiste of death till," im- 
plies some distance of time, and not 
merely length of privilege. Compare 2 
Pet. 1 : 15. So also it is not absolutely 
necessary to include in the fulfilment 
Christ's second coming to judgment, 
yet the reference of Jesus to that com- 
ing in the preceding verse (ch. 8 : 38) 
would naturally suggest that view. 
Thus, some of those present saw Jesus 
come as a King in his kingdom, and in 
this they saw a type and earnest of his 
final coming. John (John 21 : 22) and 
probably Philip survived the destruc- 

tion of Jerusalem, which occurred about 
forty years after this. 

28-36. The Transfiguratiox. Je- 
sus miraculously presented to three 
chosen disciples as a spiritual and glo- 
rified Saviour, the Redeemer and Law- 
giver of his people. An earnest of his 
future glorv and that of his followers, 
Matt. 17 : 1-9; Mark 9 : 2-10. 

In the first portion of the narrative 
Luke is the fullest, but in the latter 
portion Matthew and Mark. The ac- 
counts of the latter two are very sim- 
ilar, but Mark is the more vivid. Luke 
alone records the subject of discourse 
between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, and 
the sleep of the three disciples. 

28. About an eight days after. 
The modern Greeks speak of a week as 
eight days. Luke here counts the days 
of Peter's confession and of the trans- 
figuration. Matthew and Mark speak 
more definitely, " After six days " — that 
is, from the confession of Peter, ver. 20. 
It was very fitting that Jesus should 
make some exhibition of his glory as a 
divine and human Saviour very soon 
after Peter's confession and his own 
prediction of his sufi"erings and his dis- 
course on self-denial. The specification 
of time suggests, and indeed implies, 
some connection or relation between the 
preceding discourse and the transfigu- 
ration. Why Jesus must suffer death, 
and how glory should follow, was a 
mystery to the disciples. Jesus gave 
them a week to ponder his sayings, and 
then gave some of them this wonderful 
exhibition of himself as the Messiah, 
the Son of God and the Son of man, 
the great Lawgiver and Prophet, the 
great Priest and King, the suffering 
and the glorified Redeemer. He took. 
Better, he took with him, as compan- 
ions or attendants, Peter, James, 
and John. The three specially-fa- 
vored apostles, and the most intimate 
bosom friends of Jesus. They alone 
saw Jesus raise the daughter of Jairu3 
(ch. 5 : 37), and they alone were the 
Avitnesses of his agony in the garden, 
ch. 14 : 33. Now they are chosen to 
behold his transfigured glory. Peter 
refers distinctly to this wondrous scene, 



A. D. 29. 

29 up into a mountain "to pray. A 
fashion of his countenance was 

oO ment ivas white and glistering, 
talked with him two men, whi 

nd as he prayed, the "^h. 5. 16; Mt. n. 

altered, and his rai- l 1236 f io.^ h' 

And, behold, there 
ch were Moses and 


2 Pet. 1 : 16-18. John, in a more gen- 
eral manner, says, " We beheld his 
glory," John 1 : 14. 
Went up into a mountain. 

Rather, the mountain. So also 2 Pet. 
1 : 18, the holy moiintain. A definite 
place was very probably in the mind 
of Luke as well as of Peter. lie brings 
them up the mountain to a secluded, 
solitary place, and there they were 
alone by themselves. To pray. Luke 
only mentions this design. This, to- 
gether with the fact that the disciples 
were heavy with sleep, leads to the 
conclusion that the transfiguration oc- 
curred at night, for night was a very 
common season with Jesus for prayer 
(ch. 6:46; Luke 6 : 12), and he did not 
descend the mountain till the next day. 
Besides, the whole scene could be seen to 
better advantage at night than by day. 
AVhat mountain this was is wisely con- 
cealed from us. Tradition says it was 
Mount Tabor, the highest peak in 
Galilee, five miles east of Nazareth, 
but without foundation, for a fortified 
town stood on the summit of Tabor 
and was garrisoned by the Romans in 
the time of Christ. Besides, Jesus was 
more than fifty miles north of Tabor 
in the region of Csesarea Philippi, and 
it does not appear that he returned to 
Galilee till after the transfiguration, 
ver. 30. It was, more probably, on one 
of the summits of Hermon. 

" Standing upon the height which 
overlooks Ctesarea Philippi, I looked 
around upon the towering ridges which 
Great Hermon, the Sheikh of the Moun- 
tains, as the Arabs call it, projects into 
the plain. Full of thought that one of 
these summits on which I gazed had in 
all probability witnessed the transfigu- 
ration, I had fixed upon one of them 
which, from its peculiar position, form, 
and elevation, might aptly be spoken of 
as a ' high mountain apart,' when, cast- 
ing ray eye casually down along its sides 
as they sloped into the valley, the re- 
mains of three ancient villages appeared 
dotting its base. I remembered how in- 
stantly on the descent from the moun- 
tain Jesus had found himself in the 

midst of his disciples and of the multi- 
tude, and was pleased at observing that 
the mountain-top met all the require- 
ments of the gospel narrative." — Dk. 
Wm. Hanna, Life of Christ, vol. i., i). 

29. As lie prayed, or while he was 
praying. Thus Jesus honored prayer. 
Again Luke only notices this. The 
fashion, appearance, of his counte- 
nance was altered, his bodily form 
remaining the same. It is interesting to 
notice that Luke does not use, like Mat- 
thew and Mark, the word transfigured. 
Perhaps it was lest his Greek and Ro- 
man readers might get a wrong concep- 
tion from a common use of the word. 
Matthew (17:2) says, "his face did 
shine as the sun." As faint illustra- 
tions the case of Moses may be used, 
the skin of whose face shone when he 
descended from the mount (Ex. 34 : 29- 
35), and that of Stephen, whose face 
shone before the Sanhedrim as the face 
of an angel. Acts 6 : 15. In the next 
clause we learn that the change extend- 
ed to his raiment. His divine nature 
shone forth and its glory enveloped his 

His raiment, garments, especially 
his outer ones, which were visible. 
White and glistering. Literally, 
flashing forth light, a glittering white. 
The texture of his garment was not 
changed, but it was bright with the ra- 
diating light of his glorified body. 

30. Glory was not only manifested in 
and around his person, but heavenly 
visitors attended him. And, behold, 
calling special attention to what fol- 
lows. Moses and Eiias. Ulias is 
the Greek form of the Hebrew name 
Elijah. While Matthew and Luke say 
Moses and Elias, Mark puts Elias first, 
adding with lloses. Moses was the 
representative of the law and Elijah of 
the prophets. Luke presents them at 
once, talking with Jesus. 

It is idle to ask how the 
knew them, since many ways can be 
conceived by which they could come 
to this knowledge. Jesus may have 
saluted them by their names, or the 

A. D. 20. 



31 Elias: who aj^poarod in glory, and spake of his dc- 

32 cease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But 

Peter and they that were with him "were lieavy with °r)a°- 8. 18; lo. 9. 
sleep: and when they were awake, >'they saw his P2ret. 1. 17. 
glory, and the two men that stood with him. 

33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, 
Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be 
here : and let us make three tabernacles ; one for thee, 

conversation may have indieated it, or 
they may have known them intnitively 
thronujh tlie Spirit, etc. In Moses also 
they saw, in a glorions, visil)k^ form, a 
spirit of the jnst made perfect, and in 
Elijah one in his glorious l)ody. Eli- 
jah had been translated nine hundred 
years bei'ore, and Moses died more than 
fourteen hundred years before, on 
Mount Neho, and the L ;rd " buried 
liim in a valley, in the land of Moab, 
over against Beth-peor." There is no 
reason for believing that he had been 
raised from the dead. He may have 
appeared in a form assumed by angels 
on other occasions. 

31. Who appeared in §:lory, in a 
glorified condition. Spake of his 
decease, his departure from life. 
Luke alone records the subject of con- 
versation. Compare 2 Pet. 1 : 15. Jesus 
had announced his death to his disciples 
six days before this. Which he should 
accomplish, fulfil, as appointed and 
foretold. They speak of that which the 
law and prophets had typified and fore- 
told. A becoming theme of such his- 
torical personages and representatives 
of the law and prophets. They very 
probably talked with Jesus regarding 
the wondrous results of his death in 
man's redemption. 

32. Were heavy with sleep, were 
weighed down with sleep. Almost the 
same expression is found in Matt. 26 : 
43 ; Mark 14 : 40 ; Acts 20 : 9, where 
actual sleep is meant. This is the most 
natural meaning here. Peter is made 
prominent, being alone named. When 
they Avere awake, aumking or fully 
awaking. This is in contrast to " heavy 
with sleep." From sleep they pass 
through a state of drowsiness into that 
of full wakefulness. Thus, Luke makes 
it certain that it was not a dream, but 
an actual sight. But some with Alford 
and Meyer translate, having watched or 
kept awake through the scene of the 
transfiguration, in which case they sup- 

pose the ])receding clause to mean 
weighed down with drowsiness, which 
they resisted. This is allowable. The 
former view, however, seems the most 
natural and best suited to the connec- 
tion. They saw his glory, etc. The 
glory of the scene may have had much 
to do with their awaking. Now fully 
aroused and awake, they see. They are 
competent witnesses. From this it 
would seem that the three apostles did 
not witness the beginning of the trans- 
figuration. It is no uncommon thing 
for an Oriental, having wrapped him- 
self in his garment, to lie upon the grass 
in open air and in a moment fall asleep. 
So afterward the same three slept in 

33. As they departed from him. 
More exactly, as they were departing. 
By some movement or other Moses and 
Elijah indicate that they are about to 
depart. Peter would detain them, and 
he acts again as spokesman (ver. 20), 
not of the twelve, but of three. An- 
swering. The word answer is often 
used in Scripture as a kind of response 
to some words, circumstance, or occa- 
sion which precedes. Thus what Peter 
had just seen gave the occasion of what 
he now uttered. His language was a 
response of his feelings in view of the 
circumstances around him, and espe- 
cially to the movement of the two to 
depart. Said to Jesus. Addressed 
him as the principal personage and the 
most familiar to him. Master. The 
same word is thus translated in ch. 5 : 
5. Mark alone gives rabbi the original 
word that Peter uttered in addressing 
Jesus. It is good, etc., that we are 
here. Joy, a holy, spiritual ecstacy, per- 
vaded the souls of the disciples. Peter 
felt delight and a desire for more ; but 
he was not prepared for its continuance, 
as his confusion and mingled terror 
showed. To work and suffer was better 
than to remain there. Their time for 
rest and glory had not yet come. Peter. 



A. D. 29. 

and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing 

34 what he said. While he tlius spake, there came a 
cU)ud, and overshadowed them, and they feared as 

35 they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice 
out of the cloud, saying, "iThis is my beloved Son: 

36 ''hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was 
found alone. "And they kept it close, and told no 

qMt. 3. 17. 
'Ac. 3. 22. 
• Ecc. 3. 7 ; 


Mt. 17. 

in his bewilderment, proposes to erect 
three tabernacles, booths or tents, 
doubtless here of branches and leaves 
of trees, such as could be made in that 
solitary retreat. Such booths were 
erected at the feast of tabernacles. He 
proposes three booths, though six per- 
sons were present. He would have one 
.■tor each of the glorious personages 
present, and he and his two fellow-dis- 
ciples act as servants. Liake briefly 
explains the making of this strange 
request: not knowing what he 
said. He was bewildered. His words 
came forth without thought or delibera- 
tion. He felt he must say something, 
and he uttered that which came first 
into his mind. The cause of this state 
of mind is given by Mark (9 : 6), " For 
they were sore afraid." Mark speaks 
of the first stage of this fear, while 
Matthew (17 : 6) and Luke (ver. 34) 
describe its climax and overpowering 
influence when the voice spoke out of 
the cloud. 

34. Two more wondrous events occur, 
the cloud and the voice. While Peter 
was thus speaking there came a 
cloud, and overshadowed them, 
making a sheltering covering to them 
— a different covering from what Peter 
had suggested. Matthew (17 : 5) says 
it was a bright cloud. It was the symbol 
of the divine presence, as was the cloud 
over the tabernacle (Ex. 40 : 38), the 
cloud on Mount Sinai (Ex. 24 : 16, 17), 
and the cloud in Solomon's temple, 1 
Kings 8 : 10, 11. Compare Ex. 16 : 
10 ; Ezek. 10 : 4 ; Rev. 14 : 14. It was 
doubtless similar to that at his ascen- 
sion. Acts 1 : 9. But who are meant 
by them ? Some say Jesus, Moses, and 
Elijah ; and some Moses and Elijah 
only ; others the disciples ; and others 
all present. If we merely consulted the 
nearest antecedents, we should decide 
that Moses and Elijah are meant ; but 
from the whole connection it seems that 
the cloud overshadowed all present. 

They feared, the disciples. As they 
entered into the cloud. We can 

conceive of Moses and Elijah entering 
into the cloud, or of the cloud descend- 
ing and diffusing itself all about them, 
the disciples being in the outer and less 
luminous portion of it. I rather incline 
to the latter view. 

35. There came a voice out of 
the cloud, from God the Father, as in 
ch. 3 : 22, giving the same attestation 
as that at his baptism. Matthew (17 : 
5) gives the fuller form, having the 
words, " in whom I am well pleased." 
The divine testimony is attended by 
the command which was wanting at his 
baptism. Beloved. According to the 
highest critical authorities, chosen son. 
Compare chap. 23 : 35. Hear him, 
attend to his instructions ; hear and 
obey him as the Messiah, the Prophet 
and Lawgiver of the church. Compare 
the prediction in Deut. 18 : 15-19; Acts 
3 : 32 ; 7 : 37. God would now speak 
through his Son, Heb. 1 : 1, 2. He is 
emphatically the great Teacher. In 
these occurrences the disciples were 
favored with a sign from heaven. To 
this Peter refers (2 Pet. 1 : 17), and to 
it John seems to allude, John 1 : 14. 

36. This glorious scene ended abrupt- 
ly. Matthew (17 : 6) relates that Avhen 
the disciples heard the voice from the 
cloud they fell on their face, but Jesus 
touched them, and they recovered from 
their fear and looked up. The heav- 
enly messengers departed immediately 
after the voice, and Je.sus at once at- 
tends to his overpowered disciples. All 
took but a moment. When the voice 
was past, more literally. When the 
voice had come, when it had been ut- 
tered, after it was heard. Jesus was 
found alone. The disciples cast 
around a searching look (Mark 9 : 8), 
and they perceived that Jesus was 
alone; the one foreshadowed, foretold, 
and testified to by the law and the 
prophets, and the one now to be heard 

A. I). 29. 



man in those days any of those things which they liad 

Jlcaling of a demoniac. 

37 *And it came to pitss, that on the next day, wlien *^\]'\l''- *^' ^^''• 
tliey were come down from the hill, much people met 

38 him. And, behold, a man of the company cried out, 
saying, Miister, I beseech thee, look upon my son : for 

39 he is mine only child. And, lo, a spirit taketh him, 
and he suddenly crieth out ; and it teareth him that 
he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth 

and obeyed. The old dispensation is 
passins? away ; Jesus remains the same 
yesterday, to-day, and for ever. 

We have here an open manifestation 
and declaration of Christ's power and 
glory. It is not improbable that this 
was one of the points in his historj' to 
which Jesus referred when he said 
(Matt. 28 : 18, correctly translated), 
" All power was given to me in heaven 
and on earth." 

And they kept it close, they kept 
silent, an emphatic expression. This 
thev did at the express command of 
Jesus, Matt. 17 : 9 ; Mark 9 : 9. In 
those days, while Jesus was with 
them. Our Lord's command of secrecy 
extended to his resurrection. Matt. 17 : 
9. Mark (9 : 9) relates that the three 
disciples questioned among themselves 
what the rising of Jesus from the dead 
was. Luke passes over the conversa- 
tion of Jesus while descending the 
mountain respecting Elijah, which 
Matthew and Mark give at this point. 

37-43. Healing OF A POSSESSED Lu- 
natic w^HOM THE Disciples could 
>'0T Heal, Matt. 17 : 14-21 ; Mark 9 : 
14-29. Luke's account holds a middle 
place between that of Mark, which is 
the fullest and most vivid, and that of 
Matthew, which is the briefest. Mark 
alone relates the questioning of the 
scribes and the amazement of the mul- 
titude upon seeing Jesus ; also the con- 
versation between Jesus and the father 
of the demoniac, Mark 9 : 14-16, 21- 
25. Matthew is the fullest in his report 
of the reply of Jesus to the nine on 
their inability to cast out the demon. 
Matt. 17 : 20, 21. Luke omits all refer- 
ence to this last point, but alone re- 
cords the amazement of all at the mir- 

37. The next day, probably the 
morning after the transfiguration. 

From the hill, the mountain. It 
was probably near the foot of the 
mountain. See, on ver. 28, Dr. Hanna's 
description. All the three evangelists 
agree in placing this miracle immedi- 
ately after the transfiguration. i>Iuch 
people, a great multitude, met him. 
Mark, relating more in detail, presents 
the scribes as questioning the disciples, 
and makes the words of the father an 
answer to a question of Jesus to the 

38. Without any explanation Luke 
presents the anxious father as a special 
object of attention. And behold, 
etc. 3Iaster, teacher. I beseech 
thee, the language of earnest entreaty. 
Look upon my son, in compassion, 
and exert thv gracious power in his be- 
half. Matthew (17 : 14) relates that the 
man came doing homage to him with 
bended knees. For he is mine only 
child. This reason which the father 
gives is recorded only by Luke. The 
agony and the earnestness of the father 
were, therefore, the more intense. 

39. The father describes the terrible 
handling of the child by the demon. 
A spirit. Mark (9 : 16, 25) styles it 
" a dumb " and " deaf spirit." In Mat- 
thew (17 : 15) the child is described as 
a lunatic — that is, probably, an epilep- 
tic. He was possessed with a demon 
which caused deafness, dumbness, and 
fits of epilepsy. It was a severe and 
complicated case. His dumbness con- 
sisted in his inabilit\^ to utter articulate 
sounds. Taketh him, seizes him, as 
if to destroy him. At any time the de- 
mon might exert his frenzied power 
upon the child, producing sudden and 
violent paroxysms. And he sud- 
denly crieth out. It is the child that 
cries out as the demon seizes him. It, 
the demon, teareth him, throws him 
into convulsions. That he foameth. 




A. D. 29. 

40 from him. And I besought tliy cliscij)les to cast him 

41 out ; and they could not. And Jesus answering said, 
" O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I 
be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. 

42 And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him 
down and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean 
spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again 

43 to his father. ''And they were all amazed at the ^Zec, 8. 6, 
mighty power of God. 

"Dan. 32. 20; Ps. 
78. 6, 8, 22 ; John 
20. 27; Heb. 3. 

Rather, with foaming. The child was 
not only inwardly racked and con- 
vulsed, but he foamed at the mouth. 
Bruising him, doing him bodily in- 
jury. Hardly departeth from him, 
showmg the reluctance of t':ie demon to 
release its victim. The accounts of the 
three evangelists show independence, 
but no real discrepancy. The father, 
in Matt. 17 : 15, says, " for ofttimes he 
falleth into the fire and oft into the 
water," and in Mark 9 : 18, " he foameth, 
and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth 
away." The three descriptions taken 
together form a fearful picture of the 
frenzied paroxysms which were added 
to his habitual dumbness. 

40. I besought thy disciples. The 
nine apostles, since Jesus was absent. 
They could not. This lack of power 
was owing to their weak faith, Matt. 
17 : 20. Jesus had given them poAver 
to east out unclean spirits (ch, 6 : 7), and 
doubtless they had exercised this power, 
but now they falter, and the enemies of 
truth prevail. The three most favored 
apostles were also with Jesus, and this 
case was an extreme one. Their faith 
Avas not equal to the exigency. There is 
some analogy between Israel turning to 
idolatry while Moses was absent in the 
mount and the spiritual weakness of the 
disciples during our Lord's absence at 
his transfiguration. 

41. O faithless and perverse 
generation. Unbelieving and per- 
verted race, Deut. 32 : 5, 20. That gen- 
eration and race among whom Jesus 
was laboring were indeed faithless and 
led astray by blind guides. The scribes 
were cavilling, the multitude was amaz- 
ed at seeing Jesus, the lather acknow- 
ledged the weakness of his faith (Mark 
9 : 22, 24), and the disciples had weak 
faith or no faith to heal this one. Hoav 
.oiig, etc. An exclamation, not of im- 
patience of life nor of continuance with 
them, but of holy displeasure at their 

unbelief and hardness of heart. Be 
with you, expressing a great closeness, 
nearness to them. Suffer you. Bear 
with you, exercising patience with you 
in your unbelief. Compare Ex. 32 : 19, 
34. How great the unbelief of the 
people in view of the time he had been 
exercising his ministry and the wonder- 
ful miracles he had performed ! Com- 
i:)are John 14 : 9. And his ministry was 
drawing to a close. Bring thy son 
hither unto me. There is power in 
me to effect a cure. The command was 
adapted to awaken and strengthen faith 
in the father. 

42. The order of Jesus is obeyed. As 
he was yet a coming. Mark says, 
"they brought him." He was very 
probably carried, several being required 
to do it. Threw him down and tare 
him, fearfully convulsed him, but not 
in such a manner as to do him injury. 
This occurred, Mark tells us, upon the 
boy seeing Jesus. The sight of Jesus 
arouses the infuriated demon. He has 
great wrath, knowing that his time wa." 
short. Rev. 12 : 12. 

Mark (9 : 20-25) gives a vivid descrip- 
tion of the terrible paroxysm of the 
child and the conversation of Jesus 
with the father, and the growing faith 
of the latter, who exclaimed, " I be- 
lieve, help thou my unbelief." 

Rebuked the spirit. Bade him 
come out, Mark 9 : 25. Healed 
the child, by a simple word of com- 
mand, thus showing his absolute power 
over the kingdom of darkness. This 
was especially fitting, as his disciples 
had shown such weakness. Mark viv- 
idly describes the final paroxysms of 
the" child, the violent departure of the 
demon, leaving him as one dead, and 
his immediate restoration Delivered 
him again, or gave him back, to his 
father, as one restored to the family 
from a condition as good as lost and 

A. D. 20. 



Jt'su!i the second time announces hh death. 

But while they wondered every one at all thinp;s 

44 which JehUs did, he said unto his disciples, *Let these '^^^- ^7. 22; Mk. 

sayiuixs sink down intr. your ears : for the Son of man ^ ' ^'^ ' '^" 

4o shall be delivered intv) the hands of men. ^ But they ' ^^.\,\^^} }^ ^' 

understood not this sayinir, and it was hid from them, g 27- io.'6-^i2! 

that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask 16; 14. 5-y. ' 

him of that saying. 

43. The effect of the miracle on all 
present. This is recorded only by Liike. 
They were all amazed, especially 
the multitude ; their minds were struck 
with astonishment. At the mie^hty 
power, greatness, majesty, of God, 
Mliich was thus exhibited by this mira- 
cle. Here, as elsewhere, Luke brins^s 
to view the glory of God in the Saviour's 
miracles, ch. 5 : 26; 7 : 16. For com- 
ments on the rest of this verse see 

43-45. Jesus the Second Time 
Foretells his own Death and 
Eesukrection, ^latt. 17 : 22, 23 ; 
Mark 9 : 30-32. The three accounts 
show independence without discrepancy. 
That of Mark is somewhat the fullest. 
Matthew is the briefest ; Luke holds a 
middle place. 

43. For comments on the first part of 
this verse see above. Mark (9 : 30) 
relates that they now departed from the 
vicinitv of Csesarea Philippi and passed 
through Galilee. Matthew (17 : 22) 
speaks of Jesus abiding in Galilee ; and 
from John 7 : 1-9 we may infer that 
Jesus, during this whole period, rather 
sought r.tirement. 

While they wondered every 
one, spoken of the multitude specially, 
as the disciples are referred to in the 
next clause. It is not necessary to sup- 
pose the multitude present ; the feeling 
of the people generally is described. 
He said unto his disciples, prob- 
ably the twelve, his nearest and most 
confidential followers, whom he would 
specially instruct in these doctrines. 
Some would also include other disciples 
in Galilee, from whom the seventy were 
selected. But the privacy of the journey 
and the nature of the truths taught 
limit it rather to the apostles. 

44. Let these sayings sink down, 
etc. The words which I am about to 
speak, let them be lodged permanently 
in vour minds and hearts. The dis- 

ciples needed to be prepared for the 
fiery ordeal. Besides that, they may 
have been elated with the wonderful 
miracles which he did, the expectations 
of Peter, James, and John aroused by 
the glories of the transfiguration, and 
all by the promise of Jesus in ver. 27. 
Tims they have been expecting a speedy 
manifestation of Jesus as king. They 
needed again to be taught with great 
emphasis that he must suffer. For. 
The solemn announcement which this 
word introduces was a sufficient reason 
for its sinking in their hearts. The Son 
of man shall be delivered, betrayed 
by Judas and given up by the Father to 
men, in order that he may suffer and 
die, Acts 2 : 23. The divine plan of 
his sufferings and death had formed 
the topic of discourse on the mount 
(ver. 31), and now is the topic to his 
nearest circle of disciples. It would 
seem from Ltike (ver, 43) that Jesus 
began these instructions almost imme- 
diately after the healing of the lunatic 
child, and from Matthew and Mark 
that he continued these instructions 
while journeying in Galilee. Jesus 
foretells his betrayal. He thus imparts 
additional information to what he had 
given immediately after Peter's con- 
fession, ver. 22. He was delivered up 
by the will and counsel of God, and he 
was to be betrayed into the hands 
of men. It was thus not a repetition, 
but a gradual increase in revealing to 
his disciples the facts of his sufferings. 
Luke omits here our Lord's reference to 
his resurrection, which occurs in the 
conversation as related by Matthew and 

45. They understood not this 
saying. Luke explains this ignorance 
and uncertainty in the minds of the 
disciples by adding it was hid from 
them that they perceived it not. 
That expresses not the result, hnt pur- 
pose. It was part of the divine plan 



A. D. 20. 

Jesus rebukes the disciples for ambition and censorious zeal. 

46 'Then there arose a reasoning among them, which 

47 of them shoukl be greatest. And Jesus, * perceiving 
the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him 

48 by him, and said unto them, ''Whosoever shall re- 

»Mt. 18. 1; Mk. 9. 

•Jer. 17. 10. 

bMt. 10.40; 18.5; 
Mk.9. 37; .John 
12.44; 13. 20. 

that they should not yet understand. 
It is not difficult to conceive how they 
reasoned. Jesus often spoke in parables 
and figures (John 16 : 25, 29), and it was 
easy to understand him so now. Three 
of the disciples had seen him trans- 
figured, and might infer that it was not 
necessary for him to literally die and 
rise in order to enter upon liis full 
glory. Jesus had taught his followers 
the necessity of a spiritual crucifixion 
and death (vers. 23-25), and they might 
infer a similar meaning was to be given 
to his language concerning himself. Yet 
they were perplexed, and so troubled 
that Matthew (17 : 23) says, " they were 
exceeding sorry." " Although they 
were familiar with the doctrine of 
atonement, they could not receive the 
idea that the Messiah was to be himself 
the atoning victim. Other devout men 
felt similar difficulties; see Acts 8 : 
32-34." — Annotated Paragraph Bible. 
And true to life it is added that they 
feared to ask him of that saying, 
to question him regarding these things, 
which seemed to be connected with his 
own death. There is a natural diffi- 
dence in speaking to a jierson regarding 
near - approaching death. And this 
diffidence was increased to fear by the 
awe-inspiring presence and power of 

46-50. Who are Greatest in 
Christ's Kingdom. Zeal of John, 
Matt. 18 : 1-5 ; Mark 9 : 33-41. Luke 
is the briefest. Mark is the fullest and 
most graphic. Matthew, however, omits 
all reference to the zeal of John, which 
Mark and Luke record. The three 
accounts show the diversity of inde- 
pendent narrators with no real discrep- 

46. A^'cording to Matthew (17 : 24-27), 
they had come to Capernaum, where 
Jesus miraculously provides the tribute 
money. While in the way to Caper- 
naum (Mark 9 : 33), there arose a 
reasoning among them, or a </joi«$i'/i^ 
in them, the same word being used as 
that translated thought in the next 
verse. The word, however, means dis- 

puting in Phil. 2 : 14 ; 1 Tim, 2 : 8. Its 
verb in Mark 9 : 33 means to reason, 
discuss. The clause here may therefore 
be translated. There arose a debate, or a 
dispute, among them. This was but the 
development of the thought within 
them. Which of them should be 
the greatest, or, more exactly, which 
of them was greater than the rest. The 
Greek comparative here is equivalent - 
to the English superlative. This dis- 
pute shows their worldly views of the 
Messiah's kingdom — that they still ex- 
pected his earthly kingdom to be soon 
established, and that those who were 
greatest now would be greatest then. 
What gave rise to this disputation we 
are not told. It is natural to refer to 
Christ's address to Peter (Matt. 16 : 17- 
19), and to the privilege accorded the 
three disciples in being with Jesus ou 
the mount of transfiguration and at 
the raising of the daughter of Jairus. 
The failure of the nine to cast out the 
deaf and dumb demon from the child 
(ver. 40) may also have had its influ- 
ence. It is evident, from their disputing 
the point, that they had not understood 
Jesus on any occasion as pointing out 
Peter, or any other disciple, as the 

47. Jesus, perceiving the thought 
of their heart, and the reasoning 
which arose therefrom, teaches humility 
and true greatness symbolically by 
placing a child in their midst. Mark 
relates that, being in a house, Jesus 
asked them regarding their dispute, and 
they were silent. Then he took a 
child, or having laid hold of a child, 
and set, or placed, him by him; and 
having thus treated him with honor and 
tenderness, he said to them, ver. 48. 
There is an interesting, though unrelia- 
ble, tradition that this child was Igna- 
tius the martyr, pastor of Antioch from 
about A. D. 68 to 107. But as Jesus 
was in the house, possibly of Peter, 
and the child was doubtless of the 
household, it may have been the child 
of Peter or of one of the other apostles. 
48, Whosoever shall receive. 

A. D. 29. 



ceive this child in my name reccivcth mo : and who- 
soever shall receive nic reccivcth him that sent me: 

"for he that is least among you all, the same shall be '^ro. i8. 12 ; Mt. 

great. ^^' ^^' ^^^ 

49 ''And John answered and said, Master, we saw one ^^ik. 9. 38: see 
casting out devils in thy name ; and we forbad him, N"i»- ii- 28. 

50 because he foUoAveth not with us. And Jesus said 

unto him, Forbid him not : for "he that is not against *^yj 30-^1 Cor ^12' 

us is for us. 3. ' ' ' 

cordially to his heart and fellowship. 
This child, one of these spiritual, 
hinnble ones ; one of Christ's little ones, 
whether a child in years or not. The 
child was a beautiful symbol of the true 
iiseiple, who humbly, submissively, and 
confidently yields himself up to the 
Saviour's will, guidance, and protection. 
And it must be received in my name, 
on account of me, because he is my 
disci}>le, and sustains a personal relation 
to me, and from love to me. Here is 
the reason for receiving one such little 
one. Receiveth me, in one of these 
little ones as my representative. Christ's 
disciples are his representatives and one 
with himself. Matt. 10 : 40 ; 25 : 45. He 
here shows their nearness to himself 
and the honor and esteem in which he 
holds them. And he traces the relation 
back to the Father : receiveth him 
that sent me. Jesus uses strong lan- 
guage, since he is not only sent by the 
Father, but is in his divine nature one 
with the Father. The Father is espe- 
cially represented in him. Jesus thus 
taught that his kingdom was spiritual, 
and that humility and a child-like 
spirit were essential to true greatness. 

49. "What Jesus had said respecting 
the receiving of Christ's little ones, and 
receiving in his naine, led John to refer 
to a recent occurrence. Having found 
one who did not accompany the apostles 
casting out demons, they forbade him. 
This led Jesus to reply, disapproving 
their conduct, and warning them against 
giving offences. Matthew omits refer- 
ence to this incident. Luke gives it 
briefly, but omits the discourse on 

And John answered. This was 
the response of his own feelings in view 
of what Jesus had just said. The con- 
Bcience of John was aroused. He re- 
members how they had hindered one 
who confessed the name of Jesus, for 

good reasons, as he then thought, but 
now he doubts whether they did right. 
They saw one casting out demons in 
thy name, claiming to do it by thy 
authority, and uttering thy name in 
doing it. It ai)pears that this one not 
merely attemj)ted, as in the case of the 
sons of Sceva (Acts 19 : 12-16), but 
actually cast out demons in the name 
of Jesus. He seems to have been a fol- 
lower of Jesus, though he did not ac- 
com])any Jesus and the twelve. We 
forbade him. John very probably 
took a leading part in this. Compare 
the proposal of James and John in re- 
gard to the village of the Samaritans 
that did not receive Jesus, ver. 54. 
When this occurred is not told us. 
Because he foUoweth not Avith 
us, not of our company. Having been 
commissioned and empowered to cast 
out demons (Mark 6:7), they may have 
regarded the privilege as exclusively 
theirs. They thought it wrong for one 
not commissioned by Jesus to exercise 
the power in his name. Compare a 
similar spirit exercised by Joshua, 
Num. 11 : 26-30. 

50. Jesus in his answer shows that the 
man in question could not have been 
oi)posed to him, but was evidently act- 
ing in his service and relying upon his 
power. Forbid him not, a general 
direction. Neither forbid him nor any 
other one in a similar position. Lange 
very properly observes here that we 
should distinguish between forbidding 
and commanding. They are not to for- 
bid such as seem to be acting in the 
service of Jesus irregularly, but it does 
not follow that they are to command it. 
For introduces the reason by a short 
proverbial phrase. In his kingdom 
there is no neutrality in the contest 
between God and sin. " He that is not 
with me is against me " (Matt. 12 : 30) ; 
and so he that is not against us 



A. D. 29. 

Jesus leaves Galilee for Jerusalem, passing through 

51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that 

(his disciples are his representatives and 
one in interest with him) is for us, on 
our side. 

At this point Matthew (18 : 15-35) re- 
cords our Lord's discourse on offences, 
the method of dealing with an offend- 
ing brother, and the parable of the un- 
merciful servant. 

51-56. Jesus commences a Jour- 
ney TO Jerusalem. Probably to the 
feast of the tabernacles, which in the 
year A. D. 29 began on October 19. A 
Samaritan Village refuses to re- 
ceive HIM, John 7 : 2-10. At this 
point Luke enters upon a new portion 
of his narrative, which contains much 
that is not found in the other Gospels. 
On account of its few notes of time and 
place and the similarity of ch. 11 : 14- 
36 with incidents related by Matthew 
and Mark at an earlier period, it has 
been regarded as one of the most diffi- 
cult portions to harmonize and bring 
into a chronological arrangement. Some 
have regarded the task as simply im- 
possible. Others have supposed that 
Luke from this point to ch. 18 : 15 has 
thrown together a mass of discourses 
and incidents without reference to 
either chronology or order. But such 
a supposition in regard to one-third of 
Luke's Gospel is hardly consistent with 
the accuracy, research, and order pro- 
posed by Luke in ch. 1 : 1-4. VVith 
Ellicott and some others, I think we can 
find order and connection, though little 
apparent chronology. And why not? 
Luke's narrative has been found reg- 
ular and orderly thus far when com- 
pared with the other evangelists. And 
so also from ch. 18 : 15 the same order 
and regularity are observable on a like 
comparison. Should we not, therefore, 
expect the same characteristics in this 
portion of Luke which are peculiar to 
him? Most assuredly. And this is 
confirmed by a careful comparison with 
the Gospel of John. During the last 
six months of Christ's ministry John 
records our Lord's journey to the feast 
of tabernacles (John 7 : 10), his pres- 
ence at the feast of dedication (10 : 22), 
his going down from Perea to Bethany 
to raise Lazarus (10 : 40-42; 11 : 1-17), 

and his final journey to Jerusalem from 
a city called Ephraim, 11 : 54; 12 : 1. 
Now, by a happy coincidence, we find 
the same number of references in Luke 
— three of journeying toward Jerusa- 
lem and one of being near Jerusalem. 
Thus, beginning with the last, Luke 17 : 
11, " And it came to pass, as he went to 
Jerusalem, that he passed through the 
midst of Samaria and Galilee," we find 
it coincides well with John 11 : 54; 12 : 
1, and the last journey of the other, 
evangelists. Proceeding backward we 
come next to Luke 13 : 22, " And he went 
through the cities and villages teaching 
and journeying toward Jerusalem," 
which most naturally falls in with the 
journey from Perea to Bethany, John 
11 : 1-17. Then, next previous to this, 
is the presence of Jesus at the house of 
Mary and Martha, which was at Beth- 
any, Luke 10 : 38-42. This points 
toward the feast of dedication (John 
10 : 22) and the probable presence of 
Jesus in Judea for a time before that 
event. And then comes the journey 
related in this section, which will 
coincide with that to the feast of taber- 
nacles, John 7 : 10. 

Some might prefer to suppose that 
Jesus returned to Galilee immediately 
after the feast of tabernacles, and that 
Luke records here a journey, some- 
what protracted, which ended at Jerusa- 
lem at the feast of dedication. This is 
possible. Yet a careful examination of 
John's Gospel leads rather to the con- 
clusion that Jesus remained in Judea 
during the two months between the 
feast of tabernacles and that of dedica- 
tion. John records no journey to the 
latter feast, but only our Lord's presence 
there. His presence in Judea is con- 
firmed not only by Luke 10 : 38, but 
also by such passages as Luke 13 : 1. 
That this was the same journey as that 
in John 7 : 10 is also probable from the 
fact that the shorter route through Sa- 
maria harmonizes with the late time of 
starting and the privacy of that journey. 
Even the sending of messengers to a 
city of the Samaritans to make ready 
for him is not inconsistent with this 
privacy, for it may have been in a most 

A. D. 20. 



'he should he received iij>, ^he steadfiu^tly set his face 'Mk-K.i9; Ac. i, 

52 to fi^o to Jeriisaloin. And sent messengers hefore his fislso. 5-9. 

face: and they went and entered into a vilhige of the hcom J h 4 4 

63 Samaritans, to make ready for him. And ""they did 9?™^* ^ ^ • ' 

quiet and careful manner. Jesus had 
not gone up to the feast with the great 
companies which passed through Perea, 
but now afterward hastens with the 
twelve by the shortest and a more 
retired route ; and the siending of mes- 
sengers would tend to expedite the 

AVhile we may not regard this as our 
Lord's final departure from Galilee (see 
ch. 17 : 11), he doubtless now left it as 
his place of residence. " But now his 
earthly home (Capernaum) is to receive 
him no more. Six months of anxious 
wandering in Judea and the lands on 
the further side of Jordan, interrupted 
only by brief sojourns in remote frontier 
towns, now claim our attention — six 
months of ceaseless activities and un- 
resting labor, of mighty deeds and 
momentous teaching, yet six months, 
if not of actual flight, yet of ever- 
recurring avoidance of implacable and 
murderous designs that were now fast 
approaching their appalling and im- 
pious climax." — Ellicott's Life of 
Christ, pp. 218, 219. 

This presence of Jesus in and near 
Judea for the six months preceding his 
last passover would naturally tend to 
hasten the foul design of the Jews. 
Had it not been for this, his death 
might have been delayed. See author's 
Harmony, ^^ 97, 98, and introductory 
note to Part VI. 

51. WJien the time was come, 
when the days were being fulfilled, or 
completed, that he should be re- 
ceived up, or taken iip, into heaven, 
with the idea of this being done through 
his own divine power. The reference 
is to his ascension. This was through 
the path of suftering, death, and the 
resurrection. Hence the phrase at least 
implies, if it does not include, his death 
and resurrection. Jesus had in view 
the joy that was set before him, Heb. 
12 : 2. The last period of our Saviour's 
earthly ministry was now entered upon, 
which appropriately began with the 
transfiguration and with predictions of 
his death and resurrection, and culmi- 
nated in his ascension (ch. 9 : 22, 31, 44 ; 

I Mark 9 : 31), and which was throughout 
j manifestly a season of preparation for 
that final result. The language is thus 
in perfect harmony with the view that 
several months intervened before the 

He steadfastly set his face to 
go to Jerusalem. He firmly set his 
lace, like one intently fixing his gaze 
upon an object toward which he eagerly 
presses. The expression denotes a firm, 
resolute purpose. This was necessary 
for enduring the extreme suffering be- 
fore him, and was anticipatory of the 
glory that should follow. Ever after 
this till his work is accomplished does 
he make Jerusalem the goal toward 
which he journeys. And during this 
whole period Luke gives no account of 
his actual arriving there except the one 
Avhich stands at the end, and to which 
all the previous journeyings were but 
secondary and preparatory. One of the 
objects of Luke in recording this firm 
determination of Jesus in going up to 
Jerusalem was to introduce the incident 
that follows. 

52. And sent messengers. Prob- 
ably some of the twelve, but not James 
and John, as some suppose, for they are 
brought into view as another party and 
witnesses of the treatment which Jesus 
and his messengers received. 

Before his face. In advance of 
him. AVhat follows shows that it was 
into Samaria. Their object was to pro- 
vide lodging and entertainment for him. 
To make ready for him, not t<> 
preach the gospel and prepare the 
hearts of the people, but to make the 
necessary arrangements of hospitality. 
This seems evident from the fact that 
when they were refused they went to 
another village. 

A village, an unwalled town. What 
village is of course unknown. See be- 
low. Samaritans. Samaria took its 
name from its capital city, Samaria. 
According to Josephus (Jewish War, iii. 
3, 4), it lay between Judea and Galilee, 
commencing in the north at a village 
called Ginea, on the southern border of 
the plain of Esdraelou, and extending 



A. D. 29. 

not receive him, because his face was as though he 

64 would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples 

James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou 

that we command fire to come down from heaven, 

southward to the toparchy of Acrabatha, 
in the lower part of the territory of 
Ephraim. This Ginea, or En Gannim 
(meaning "the fountain of gardens"), 
has been very properly conjectured as 
the village which rejected Jesus. It 
was the first Samaritan village at which 
he would arrive on his route. 

The Samaritans were the descendants 
of heathen colonists from Babylonia, 
Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, 
whom Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, 
sent into the country after he had taken 
Samaria and carried away the better 
portion of the ten tribes, and of the 
remnant of Israelites left behind, whom 
they intermarried. A mixed people as 
well as a mixed religion was the result, 
2 Kings 17 : 24-41. On the return of 
the Jews from the Babylonish captivity 
the Samaritans requested permission to 
assist them, in rebuilding the temiDle. 
This they were denied, after which they 
opposed the Jews and greatly retarded 
their work, Ezra 4 : 1-5 ; Neh. 2 : 10, 
19 ; 4 : 1-3. Later still, Manasseh, son 
of the high priest, married the daughter 
of Sanballat, the governor of Samaria, 
and Nehemiah would not allow him to 
perform the functions of the priest's 
office, but drove him from the city, 
Neh. 13 : 28. Accordingly, the Samar- 
itans, under Sanballat, reared a temple 
on Mount Gerizim, and Manasseh acted 
there as high priest. This served to 
deepen the hatred between the JeAvs 
and the Samaritans and render it per- 
petual, John 4:9; 8 : 48. The temple 
on Mount Gerizim was destroyed by 
Hyrcanus about 129 B. C., but the Sa- 
maritans still regarded the place as sa- 
cred and as the proper place of national 
worship ; John 4 : 20, 21. They rejected 
all the sacred books of the Jews except 
the Pentateuch. A few families of the 
Samaritans now remain at Nablous, the 
ancient Shechera. They have a very 
ancient manuscript of the Pentateuch, 
are strict observers of the law, keeping 
the Sabbath and the ancient festivals, 
and are expecting the Messiah. 

53. They did not receive him, to 
their hospitality ; did not furnish lodg- 

ing and food for him and his company. 
The reason : because his face was 

as though, etc., because his face was 
as of one going to Jerusalem. The di- 
rection of the journey, his haste, and 
his manifest and resolute purpose would 
indicate this, and especially if it was a 
time of one of the great feasts at Jeru- 
salem. Then, if ever, the hatred of the 
Samaritans would show itself, for the 
place of worship (John 4 : 20) was a 
cardinal point of dispute. The circum- 
stances would indicate that one of the 
feasts was at hand. From Josephus we 
learn that the Galileans often took the 
direct route through Samaria to the 
feast at Jerusalem, and that on one oc- 
casion, when going to a feast, certain 
Samaritans of Ginea fought with them 
and killed many. Ant. xx. 6, 1 ; Jewish 
War, ii. 12, 3. In order to escape an- 
noyances, the Galileans often avoided 
Samai'ia by crossing the Jordan, passing 
through Perea, and going to Jerusalem 
by the way of Jericho, 

54. James and John. See on ch. 
6 : 14. Some have been surprised that 
one of so mild a disposition as the be- 
loved disciple should have manifested 
such a spirit and made such a proposi- 
tion as that recorded here. But they 
mistake the temperament of the two 
brothers. It was John who with Peter 
said to the Jewish rulers, " Whether it 
be right in the sight of God to hearken 
unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 
For we cannot but speak the things 
which we have seen and heard," Acts 
4 : 19, 20. And James had taken such 
a bold and prominent stand that he was 
the first of the apostles to suffer mar- 
tyrdom, Acts 12 : 2. In his Epistles 
John shows that he Avas a man of strong 
convictions, decided statements, and of 
prompt and earnest action. Jesus, too, 
had surnamed these two brothers Boan- 
erges, or sons of thunder (Mark 3 : 17), 
with reference, doubtless, to their fer- 
vent and zealous spirit and their great 
ministerial power as preachers of the 

Lord, Avilt thou that we com- 
mand, etc. The form of the question 

A. D. 20. 



5o and consume tlicm, oven as 'Elias did? But he 
tuniod, and rohukcd them, and said, ^Ye know not 

5<» what manner of spirit yc are of. For 'the Son of man 
is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save than. 
"And they went to anotlier viUage, 

Tim. 1. 15. ^ Mt. 5. \\<d ; Ko. 12. 18, 19 ; 1 Pet. 2. 21-23. 

>2Ki. 1. 10-H. 
k.Ter. 17.9: Ho. 11. 

19-21; Jam. 1. 

19. 20; .3. 17, 18; 

1 Pet. 3. 9. 
>Mt. 18. 11; John 

3. 17 ; 12. 47 ; 1 

in the oriijinal sucfgcsts that thoy pro- 
j>oseil it as worthy of consideration and 
adoption, Are we to connnand, etc. In 
this proposal of James and John we not 
only see indignation a*;:ainst snch treat- 
ment of their Master, bnt also some 
manifestation of Jewish feelings toward 
Samaritans. The fact that Samaritans 
had done this made these brothers tlie 
more ready to present their proposal. 
Fire, . .', as Elias {Elijah) did. 
Having recently seen Elijah on the 
monnt, they were reminded of what he 
dill (2 Kings 1 : 10) ; and with enlarged 
views of the greatness and glory of Je- 
sns and elated with their own peculiar 

{)rivileges, they thought that these un- 
)elieving and inhospitable Samaritans 
should be dealt with as were the ancient 
Samaritans by the prophet before them. 
It is possible also that they may have 
been in the very vicinity where this 
judicial act and judgment of the Lord 
through the prophet was performed. 
If so, the associations of the place niay 
have helped the suggestion. Shall 
we. John spoke also for his brethren. 
Command fire . . . from heaven, 
actual fire, or in the form of light- 
ning, 1 Kings 18 : 38 ; 2 Kings 1:12. 

bb. He turned, short or suddenly, 
as if taken by surprise. Jesus seems to 
have been a little in advance, and his 
attention may have been taken up with 
the Samaritans and the messengers he 
had sent, ver. 52. Rebuked them, 
John and the disciples who shared his 
indignation, with becoming severity 
mingled with condescending consider- 
ation. Ye know not, etc. Tischen- 
dorf omits all of this verse after re- 
buked them, according to many of the 
oldest manuscripts, regarding it as an 
insertion of a later hand. But the 
words are found in the Vulgate and in 
four of the manuscripts of the Itala 
version, both of which versions were 
made from Greek manuscripts older 
than any that now exist. They are also 
found in most other ancient versions, 
and are quoted by early Christian wri- 

ters. The omission of the words was 
}jerhaps occasioned bv accidental error 
in copying; or possibly some copyist, 
regarding them as an implication on 
Elijah, may have omitted them. 

There is also a difference of view in 
regard to the form of the sentence, some 
taking it as a declarative and others as 
an interrogative sentence. According 
to the first, it should read. Ye know not 
of wkat spirit ye are; instead of exhibit- 
ing my spirit and that of the gospel, ye 
do not sufficiently know your own 
hearts nor realize that personal resen^t- 
ment and ostentation are largely min- 
gled with your zeal for me. You there- 
fore lack that humility, sympathy, and 
self-sacrificing love which belong to the 
true spirit of my gospel. According to 
the second, it should be rendered, Know 
ye not oj what spirit ye are of? — that ye 
are not of the fiery and judicial spirit 
of Elijah, which was befitting his times 
and the old dispensation, but that ye 
are of the Holy Spirit, which is dove- 
like, gentle, forgiving, and loving. The 
first view seems to be preferable, gram- 
matically more natural, and better suit- 
ed to the connection. Yet there is 
nothing in this passage condemnatory 
of what Elijah did. He acted as a 
messenger of God. " The few cases in 
which God has seen fit to vindicate his 
power and justice by terrible dispensa- 
tions of Providence are eagerly seized 
for imitation by the unhallowed zeal of 
bigotry and party spirit. But this is as 
much opposed to the spirit of judicial 
holiness which animated the stern Eli- 
jah as i' is to the spirit of merciful 
forgiveness Jesus both showed and 
t-A\xg\\t."— Annotated Par. Bible. "It 
is very interesting to remember that 
this same John came down to Samaria 
(Acts 8 : 14-17) with Peter to confer the 
gift of the Holy Spirit on the Samari- 
tan believers." — Alford. 

bQ. For introduces a reason for his 
rebuke, explaining and confirming what 
he had said, and correcting the mistake 
into which John and the other disciples 



A. D. 29 

The requirements of discipleship. 
/)7 ° And it came to pass, that, as they wont in the way, "See refs. Mt. 8. 
a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee ~ " 

had fallen. The Son of man. See 
on ch. 5 : 24. Is not come to de- 
stroy, etc., not for judgment, but for 
mercy, John 3:17; 5 : 45. The sen- 
tence, For the Son of man came not to 
destroy men's lives, but to save them, is 
not found in the oldest manuscripts, and 
is omitted by most of the highest crit- 
ical authorities. It appears to have 
been a truth often uttered by our Lord, 
and may have been written by some 
ancient transcriber upon the margin 
from ch. 18 : 10; Matt. 18 : 11, and 
transferred by some later hand into the 
text itself. It is, however, most natural 
in this connection and in perfect har- 
mony with the words and spirit of the 
whole passage. 

And they went, etc. Thus Jesus 
follows his own direction which he 
gave to the twelve. Matt. 10 : 14, 23. 
What village is not recorded, but one 
whose inhabitants were more noble and 
where Jesus may have had friends. 
Possibly Sychar, where many had be- 
lieved on him, John 4 : 5, 39-42. 

57-62. conceening following 
Jesus. The Requieements of Dis- 
cipleship, Matt. 8 : 19-22. Matthew 
gives the first two incidents in connec- 
tion with stilling the tempest. I give 
the preference to Luke's order — (1) be- 
cause he professes to write a contin- 
uous narrative (ch. 1 : 1-4) ; (2) Matthew, 
less intent on writing such a narrative, 
groups discourses and events ; (3) the 
incidents in Matthew occur in that part 
of the Gospel (chs. 8 and 9) where we 
have the plainest indications of group- 
ing and classifying. There can be no 
serious objection, however, against the 
supposition that the first incident oc- 
curred twice, and that Matthew grouped 
with it the second, which occurred at a 
later date. The position which Luke 
gives them is very natural. As Jesus 
was going toward Jerusalem with a 
resolution that might be felt, it was 
perfectly natural that some should pro- 
pose discipleship, and it was also fitting 
in this period of our Lord's ministry 
that he should most plainly lay down 
the requirements of discipleship. 

The following remarks of Olshausen 

are Avorthy of consideration : " In Mat- 
thew a portion of this passage stands 
amidst a collection of the miracles of 
Jesus, and consequently in a less appro- 
priate connection. Nay, in the account 
of Matthew there is wanting that very 
point which with Luke stands prom- 
inently forth as the connecting link of 
the preceding narrative ; for as the suf- 
ferings which his enemies were prepar- 
ing for the Saviour had been there 
described, so the following history states 
how it stood between those friends whose 
affections his appearance and his word.s 
attracted. One portion pressed hastily 
forward, but a single word as to the 
difiiculties caused them to withdraw; 
another portion of them were called by 
the Lord himself, but their anxiety oil 
the subject of the world deterred thera 
from at once embracing the call. la 
Luke, then, we are not to overlook the 
contrast between ■ Some one said tr 
him ' and ' J esus said to another * (ver. 
59), which mark the several positions 
of Christ's different friends." 

57. First incident. Self-denial must 
be expected in following Jesus. It 
came to pass, that, omitted by the 
highest critical authorities. As they 
went in the way, or as they were 
going in the tvay, toward Jerusalem. A 
certain man. Matthew says, "a 
certain scribe." Lord, acknowledg- 
ing his authority as Teacher and Master. 

I will follow, etc. I will become 
thy constant attendant, sharing with 
you toils, dangers, difficulties, and suc- 
cesses, everywhere and at all times. 
If this is the same incident as that 
related by Matthew, then he was very 
probably a professed disciple, since 
Matthew (8 : 21) speaks of the next 
person as " another disciple." Ife re- 
garded Jesus as the Messiah, but, like 
the disciples in general, had wrong 
views of the nature of Christ's kingdom. 
He expected a temporal kingdom, and 
would naturally expect, as one of the 
constant attendants of Jesus and a 
preacher of the glad tidings, to share 
in its honors and triumphs. Lange 
supposes that Matthew here relates the 
calling of Judas Iscariot. 

A. D. 29. 



68 whithersoever thou goest And Jesus said unto him, 
Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests ; but 
the Son of man hath not where to hiv his head. 

69 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he 
said. Lord, sutler me first to go and bury my father. 

60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bur>- their dead: 
"but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 

• 2 Tim. 2. 4 ; 4. 5. 

58. The reply of Jesus corrects this 
man's false exi^»ectaiion of comfort and 
worldly advantage in his service by 
showin;; his own unsettled and home- 
less condition, Jesus does not forbid 
him, but rather shows him that, so far 
from expecting worldly emoluments, 
he must expect to be a sharer in his 

Eoverty anci sufterings. Jesus would 
ave him count the cost. It does not 
appear upon hearing this that he did 
follow Jesus as a constant attendant. 
He who is not willing to give up all 
worldly prospects for Jesus is not fit 
to be a minister of the gospel. The 
foxes have holes, dens, lurking- 

E laces, and the birds of the air 
ave nests, dwelling-places. Even 
wild and inferior animals have their 
places of safety and abode, but I am a 
pilgrim, without propeny and without 
a home. The Son of man. See on 
ch. 5 : 24. 

Hath not where to lay. Destitute 
of a home and its comforts. In follow- 
ing me, therefore, you must expect 
povertv and hardships. Compare Matt. 
8 : 19,20. 

59. Second incident. Jesus must be 
preferred above all. The former ap- 
pears to have oflTered his services in 
temporary enthusiasm. But this one 
receives the injunction from Jesus him- 
self. Follow me, he was doubtless 
one who needed encouragement and 
earnest pressing home of duty. He 
also acknowledged his authority as 
Lord, Master and Teacher. Suffer 
me. Permit me. Tradition makes 
the latter to have been Philip, But he 
was called long before. John 1 : 43. 
It could be he only on the supposition 
that he was becoming slack in the 
service of Jesus, and that he received 
the command anew, as in the ca^e of 
Peter (John 21 : 19), "Follow me." 
First to go and bury. He put a 
Condition on his obeying Christ's com- 
mand, and placed his duty to his father 

before duty to Jesus. The language 
implies that his father was dead, not, 
as some suppose, that he should wait 
till his aged father was dead and 

60. Jesus did not grant his request. 
He could not have done it without 
acknowledging that this man's duty 
to his parent was more important than 
his duty to Christ. In order to teach 
that no duty arising from human rela- 
tionship should interfere with a duty 
arising from a positive command re- 
quiring immediate obedience, Jesus 
answers. Let the dead bury their 
dead, etc. A few interpreters take 
dead, in both cases, in its literal, physi- 
cal sense, Let the dead bury one an- 
other, which is equivalent to their 
being unburied. This would make tlie 
words of Jesus mean. Better let your 
father remain unburied than not to 
give my command the immediate obe- 
dience required. It accords, however, 
better ^^ith the compassionate spirit of 
Jesus to suppose that he meant that 
there were others to bury him. The 
usual interpretation is therefore prefer- 
able, which regards the word de<id to 
be used in two senses, the first spiritual, 
as in Rev. 3:1, the second literal. Let 
the dead in trespasses and sins bury 
their kindred and friends who are dead 
in body. As if Jesus had said, Your 
father has other children and friends, 
who are spiritually dead and can be of 
no service in my kingdom ; let them 
attend to his burial. You have aa 
important duty to perform, higher than 
any human obligation, not only of love 
to me and of discipleship, but of the 
ministry. Go thou and preach the 
kingdom of God. This latter injunc- 
tion is not recorded by Matthew. Jesus 
does not disregard the claims of filial 
duty. He himself was subject to his 
parents in childhood, and on the cross 
provided a home for his mother. But 
he could not sanction the conduct of 



A. D. 29. 

61 And another also said, Lord, p I will follow thee ; 
but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at 

62 home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, "^No 
man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking 
back, is fit for the kingdom of God. 

P Soe 1 Ki. 19. 20 ; 

Ecc. 9. 10; Mt. 

10. .37, .38. 
qch.l7. :il, ,32; Pa. 

78. 8, 9 ; 2 Tim. 

4. 10; Heb. 10. 


any disciple who would put duty to a 
fellow-man above that to Christ the 
lawgiver of his people. That disciple 
was proposing a wrong principle, and 
in acting u])on it would have done great 
injury to his own spirituality. Cora- 
pare the law of the Nazarite, Num. 
6 :7. 

61. The third incident. The disciple 
must not look back. Lord, I will 
follow thee. We are not informed 
whether Jesus had previously called 
him or not. We may possibly infer 
that he was a disciple from the fact 
that he, like the others, proposed to 
follow Jesus as a constant attendant. 
But let me first go and bid them 
farew^ell. Compare Elisha's request 
when Elijah called him from the plough, 
" Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father 
and my mother, and then I will follow 
thee," 1 Kings 19 : 20. This incident 
may have been in the mind of this man 
and of Jesus, since the figure of the 
plough and of ploughing is used in 
the next verse. 

62. But while the request of Elisha 
was granted that of this man was denied. 
The reason must be found in their dif- 
ferent states of heart. Elisha was firm 
and determined ; this man lacked reso- 
lution, he was fickle and vacillating. 
Having put his hand to the 
plough, and looking back, thus 
exhibiting irresolution and indecision. 
The ploughman must keep his eye fixed 
tipon his work if he would make a good 
furrow. If he does not, his work will 
be imperfect. Especially was this true 
with the light plough of the East, 
which was easily overturned and needed 
a watchful eye and a firm and steady 
hand. *' I often saw the peasants 
breaking up the soil, and always with 
a plough having but one handle. The 
fashion of it recalled to my mind the 
manner in which the Saviour expressed 
himself in reference to the inconstant, 
faithless disciple : ' No man, having put 
his hand to the plough, and looking 
back,' etc. It was interesting to remark 
this instance of exact conformity to 

Oriental habits. Had the plough in 
that country been made as ours is made, 
the language would have been, * No 
man, having put his hands to the 
plough,' etc. A learned commentator 
uninformed as to this point would be 
apt to talk of a grammatical figure here, 
of an exchange of the plural for the 
singular, for the sake of a more definite 
expression. ... As the soil is generally 
thin and the plough is so light, the 
machine glides rapidly over the surface ; 
and unless the laborer, therefore, keeps 
his eye fixed on it, the plough is liable 
to slip aside without breaking up the 
earth at all. The Saviour's illustration 
implies the necessity of such vigilance, 
and is founded on the circumstance 
here mentioned. The calling of th« 
Christian requires singleness of aim, 
decision, and perseverance ; and he who 
fails to exert these qualities, though ho 
may seem to have taken some of the 
first steps in the path to heaven, will 
never reach that blessed world." — Dr. 
H AC RETT, nitistrations of Scripture, pp. 
162, 163. 

Is fit, literally, well placed, well 
ordered, suited for the service of the 
kingdom of God, for Christ's king- 
dom, for work in it, and for proclaiming 
it. On kingdom of God, see on ch. 4 : 
43. It was by such a M'innowing that 
our Lord selected his seventy. 

This reply of our Saviour was doubt- 
less an adaptation of a proverbial 
expression to the point in hand. Quota- 
tions have been made from heathen 
authors similar to this. Thus, Hesiod, 
one of the earliest Greek poets, says, 

"Let him attend his charge, and careful 

The straight-lined furrow; gaze no more 

But keep his mind intently on his work." 

We have in these verses three classes 
of persons, and our Lord's treatment of 
them. First, the enthusiastic, impul- 
sive, and somewhat unreflecting, whom 
he would have count the cost. Second, 
the procrastinating, whom he would 
prompt to immediate action. Third, 

A. D. 29. 



the vacillntincj, u])oii whom lie iirt^os nn 
unwavorini,' juirposo iiiul an unresorved 
decision. Sonu", t^oiiii; boyoml this sec- 
tion, tind a fourtli cliaraeter in John, 
Tiiev divitie anil desijijnate as foUows: 
The chok^ric, vers. 5l-o6 ; the saiii^nine, 
57, 58 ; the mehmeholic, 59, (50 ; the 
phh'gmatie, (31, 62. It is often con- 
venient to make such distinctions, 
although we need not suppose that Luke 
had precisely this purpose in mind. 


1. Christ is King in Zion, and minis- 
ters are his messengers and derive from 
him whatever authority they possess, 
ver. 1 ; Mark 16 : 15-18. 

2. Christ's presence and power attend 
his servants, ver, 2 ; Matt. 28 : 20. 

3. Ministers of the gospel should go 
forth to their work trusting in Christ's 
wisdom to direct, his power to preserve, 
and his love to supply, ver. 3 ; 1 Cor. 
9 : 8-11 ; 3 John 7. 

4. Ministers should bring the gospel 
into the family and strive there thor- 
oughly to accomplish their work. And 
Christians should practically recognize 
the fact that the laborer is worthy of 
his hire, ver. 4 ; Acts l(j : 15 ; 2 Cor. 1 1 : 
7, 8 ; 3 John 8. 

5. They Avho receive not Christ's min- 
isters, withholding from them the wel- 
come of their hearts and the support 
that is their due, and especially those 
who reject their message, are guilty of 
great sin and exposed to a most fearful 
judgment, ver. 5 ; Matt. 10 : 14, 15. 

6. The twelve found Christ's promises 
verified everywhere, and so will all his 
servants, ver. 6 ; Acts 26 : 22 ; 1 Cor. 1 : 
21 ; 2 Cor. 12 : 8. 

7. The most openly wicked often 
wonder and tremble at the works of 
Jesus, ver. 7 ; Isa. 57 : 20 ; compare Job 
15 : 20, 21. 

8. How many are ready to give Jesus 
an honorable position and character, 
but would withhold from him divinity! 
ver. 8. 

9. In Herod we see the power of con- 
science in recalling and condemning his 
sin and in arousing fear and producing 
remorse, ver. 9; Mark 6 : 20, 26. In 
him also we have a striking example 
of making and carrying out a sinful 

" It is a Rfoat sin to swear tin to a sin ; 
lUit ^,'rc;it(>r sin to ket'p a siiifiil oath. 
Wlio can be i)oiMul hy any solemn vow 
To do a nuirdcroiis dew! ?" — 

SUAKh:si'KAKK, 2 Jknry VI., v. 2. 

10. Laborers of Christ must give an 
account to him of what they have done. 
llaj)py are they wiio receive his ap- 
proval and at last are invited to enter 
into rest! ver. 10; Acts 20 : 24; 2 Cor. • 

5 : 10 ; Heb. 13 : 17. 

11. "Be thankful when ordinances are 
near, and follow them when distant." — 
W. H. Van Doren. Ver. 11; Josh. 
3 : 3. 

12. How often do we fail to properly 
estimate Christ's power and grace in 
either our worldlv or spiritual matters 1 
ver. 12 ; Eph. 3 :'20. 

13. God uses our extremity to mani- 
fest his power. At such times we should 
manifest our faith in the diligent use 
of proper means and in prayer and de- 
pendence on him, ver. 13; Ex. 14 : 15; 
Deut. 33 : 25; Ts. 37 : 3; 78 : 19; Isa. 
33 : 16. 

14. God is a God of order. Let his 
people, therefore, do all things decently 
and in order, vers. 14. 15 ; 1 Cor. 14 : 
33, 40. 

15. Jesus has by example taught us 
to give thanks whenever we eat, ver. 
16; Deut. 8 : 10; Acts 27 : 35. 

16. It is the duty of ministers to feed 
the spiritually hungry and faint, ver. 
16 ; John 6 : 48, 58. 

17. Jesus fully satisfies every spiritual 
want of the soul, ver. 17 ; John 6 : 35 ; 
7 : 37, 38 ; Matt. 5:6; Rev. 7 : 16. 

18. Jesus is an example of prayer. 
Every important point in life he hal- 
lowed with prayer, ver. 18 ; ch. 3:21; 

6 : 12, etc. 

19. It is not enough to say that Christ 
was a great Prophet; we must also 
acknowledge him as the Messiah and 
his supreme Sonship. vers. 19, 20; Ps. 
2:2; Dan. 9 : 25 ; John 17 : 3. 

20. Except we believe and confess 
that Jesus Christ is the Son of the 
living God, we can lay no claim to 
discipleship, ver. 20; Rom. 10:9, 10; 
1 John 2 : 22, 23 ; 4 : 15 ; 5 : 10-12. 

21. Men were unprepared to preach 
or to hear the full proclamation of the 
gospel until Christ had suffered and 
risen and the Holy Spirit had come, 
ver. 21 ; Eph. 4 : 7-13. 

22. Except Christ had suffered, the 
divine plan and will could not have 



A. D. 29. 

been carried out, prophecy could not 
have been fulfilled, and men could not 
have been saved, ver. 22 ; Luke 24 : 26. 

23. Self-denial is inseparable from 
true Christian discipleship, ver. 23; 
Matt. 10 : 38 ; Rom. 8:13. 

24. Religion must fully engage the 
powers and purposes of the soul, or 
we are lost for ever, ver. 24; ch. 14 : 

25. The soul is of infinite value. 
Nothing can compensate its loss. 
" Those who have not gained Christ 
have lost all," ver. 25 ; ch. 12 : 16-21 ; 
Ps. 49 : 8 ; Matt. 25 : 46. 

26. The treatment which men give 
Christ, his doctrines, and his cause in 
this world shall they receive from 
Christ in the world to come, ver. 26 ; 
Matt. 25 : 37-45. 

27. "It is an unhappy dying when 
one tastes of death before he has seen 
the kingdom of God. Salvation is cer- 
tainly very often nearer to us than we 
think," ver. 27 ; Rom. 13 : 11. 

28. Prayer is inseparably connected 
with the pathway to glory, vers. 28, 29 ; 
Gen. 32 : 38 ; James 4 : 8 ; 1 John 2 : 1. 

29. If Jesus was so glorious on the 
earthly mount, what must he be on the 
heavenly ! ver. 29 ; John 1 : 14 ; 17:5; 
Rev. 1 : 16; Col. 3 : 4. 

30. Through Moses and Elijah on the 
mount both the law and the prophets 
honored Christ, ver. 30 ; Acts 3 : 22-24. 

31. Christ's death and resurrection 
his most important work when on 
earth ; Moses and Elijah speak not of 
his miracles nor of his teaching, but of 
his departure, ver. 31 ; ch. 12 : 50 ; John 
12 : 27. 

32. Believers in their present state 
of warfare and trial are permitted to 
have occasional glimpses of the future 
glory, ver. 32 ; John 17 : 22 ; Eph. 2:6; 
2 Cor. 3 : 18. 

33. If it was good to be on the mount, 
how good and blessed will it be to 
dwell with Jesus and his glorified for 
ever ! ver. 33 ; Rom. 8 : 18 ; 2 Cor. 4 : 
16-18; 5 : 1-4. 

34. Though so ignorant, weak, and 
sinful here, we can safely rest on Jesus, 
whom God presents to us as our Saviour 
and teacher, vers. 34, 35 ; Ps. 2 : 6, 7, 
12; John 10 : 27, 28; 14 : 6. 

35. Christ is Lord both of the dead 
and living, vers. 35, 36 ; Rom. 14 : 9 ; 
Rev. 1 : 18 ; 3 : 7. 

36. The law and the prophets gave 
way to our great Propnet and Law- 
giver. Let us hear, honor, and obey 
him, vers. 35, 36 ; Acts 3 : 22, 23 ; 1 Cor. 

11 : 1; Gal. 1 : 8, 11, 12. 

37. How dependent are Christians on 
Christ! He often leaves them in great 
straits to teach them their great need 
of him, vers. 37-40; Matt. 14 : 28-31 ; 
John 15 : 5. 

38. Parents should feel a deep anxiety 
for unconverted children, and should 
earnestly entreat Christ to come and 
save them, vers. 38, 39 ; Eph. 6 : 4 ; 2 
Tim. 1 : 5. 

39. The faithful labors and believing 
prayers of parents for their children, 
shall not be in vain, vers. 38-41 ; Gen. 
17 : 18-20 ; James 5 : 16. 

40. The followers of Christ are often 
weak and put to shame before the 
world because of their unbelief, ver. 
40 ; Matt. 17 : 21. 

41. Jesus has complete power over 
Satan and his kingdom, ver. 41 ; ch. 10 : 
18 ; 1 John 3:8. ^ 

42. Excessive manifestation of wick- 
edness and of the devil's power often 
indicates that Christ is near with victory 
and salvation, ver. 42 ; Rev. 12 : 12 ; 20 : 

43. In his humiliation Jesus was 
often exhibiting the evidences of his 
divinity, ver. 43 ; Isa. 9 : 6 ; 2 Pet. 1 : 

44. We are not only to meditate on 
the glories of Jesus, but also upon his 
sufferings and death, ver. 44 ; 2 Tim. 2 : 

45. None need fear to ask Jesus for 
wisdom and guidance, ver. 45; James 
1 :5. 

46. Pride and ambition and seeking 
after pre-eminence are alike opposed 
to the will, example, and teaching of 
Jesus, ver. 46 ; Matt. 18 : 3, 4 ; 2 Cor. 

12 : 7 ; 3 John 9. 

47. Little children have many cha- 
racteristics worthy of study and imita- 
tion, ver. 47 ; Ps. 131 : 1, 2; Mark 10 : 
14, 15; James 4 : 6, 10. 

48. Christ has set us an example of 
humility, condescension, and love in 
making the least and the feeblest of his 
people representatives of himself, ver. 
48 ; Matt. 25 : 45. 

49. Mere party zeal is opposed to the 
spirit of Christ. To forbid any to do 
good in the name of Jesus is to disobey 

A. D. 29. 




The seventy instructed and sent forth. 
AFTER these things the Lord appointed other 

him, vers. 49, 50; 1 Cor. 1 : 11-15; Phil. 
1 : 18. 

50. There can he no neutrality of 
heart in Christ's service, ver. 50; Matt. 
12 : 30. 

51. "If travelling toward the heaven- 
ly Jerusalem, the fear of death should 
not depress us." — W. 11. Van Doren. 
Ver. 51; Isa. 50 : 7-11; Acts 20 : 24; 
Rom. 8 : 18. 

52. Hospitality is a Christian duty, 
especiallv to Christ's servants, ver. 52 ; 
Heb. 13 :'2; Gal. 6 : 10. 

53. Beware how you reject Jesus 
through erroneous views of truth or 
through prejudice, ver. 53; Rev. 3 : 20. 

54. Pride, anger, revenge, and perse- 
cution are alike opposed to the spirit 
of the gospel, ver. 54; Rom. 12 : 19- 

55. Beware how you through zeal 
mistake the spirit of the world for that 
r)f Christ. Never do that for religion 
which is contrary to religion, ver. 55 ; 1 
Pet. 3 : 8, 9, 16-18. 

56. Christ's love is destructive of 
selfishness, ver. bQ; ch. 19 : 8-10. 

bl. How sad the day for a people or 
for an individual when Christ departs 
From them! ver. bQ; Hos. 9 : 12. 

bS. All who follow Jesus should 
count the cost. They must be willing, 
if necessary, like him, to be homeless, 
rer. 58 ; ch. 14 : 27-33. 

59. Duty to Christ is supreme. No 
earthly connections or engagements 
should interfere with our obedience to 
tiim, vers. 59, 60; Matt. 10 : 37, 38; 2 
rim. 4 : 10. 

60. Christ demands a deliberate and 
anreserved surrender. He who would 
follow him must follow him wholly or 
lot at all, vers. 61, 62 ; ch. 17 : 32 ; Matt. 
LO : 22 ; James 1 : 12. 


In this chapter Luke relates the ap- 
pointment and commission of the 
seventy (vers. 1-16) ; their return, and 
Christ's words of warning, gratitude, 
md blessing (17-24) ; his reply to a 
certain lawyer, and the parable of the 
^ood Samaritan (25-37) ; and his visit 

at the house of Martha and Mary, 38- 

1-16. The Seventy Appointed, 
Instructed, and sent Forth, Woes 
upon the unbelieving cities of Galilee. 
Comi)are tlie sending out of the twelve, 
ch. 9 : 1-5. The instructions to the 
seventy are similar to the first portion 
of those j)reviously given to the twelve. 
Matt. 10 : 5-15. The difference between 
the two seems to be that the seventy are 
addressed with more special reference to 
a present emergency and a ])resent 
duty, while that to the twelve includes 
also future emergencies, duties, dan- 
gers, and work. Why Luke alone gives 
this account may be explained by the 
facts that he alone of the first three 
evangelists relates this portion of 
Christ's ministry, and that John's 
Gospel is supplemental. 

It has been very common to suppose 
that Jesus sent forth the seventy from 
Capernaum. But of this there is no 
proof. Indeed, the narrative most dis- 
tinctly affirms that it was after Jesus 
had left Galilee for Jerusalem, ver. 1 
compared with ch. 9 : 51-56. They 
may have been commissioned while he 
was yet in Samaria or upon entering 
into Judea. But if this journey to 
Jerusalem was, as we have supposed, 
to the feast of tabernacles (see on ch. 
9 : 51-56), then the sending forth of the 
seventy more probably occurred after 
our Saviour's arrival at Jerusalem ; for 
he went up hastily and privately to the 
feast, John 7 : 10, 14. We can hardly 
suppose that Jesus could have had the 
time to commis-sion and instruct the 
seventy on the way, or that there could 
have been so large a company as 
eighty-two persons, for the twelve were 
with him. Luke's narrative seems 
also to place it after that journey. This 
harmonizes also with the rabbinical 
tradition that at the feast of the 
tabernacles sacrifices were offered for 
the seventy nations of the heathen 

If this was so, then the mission of the 
seventy immediately after the feast ap- 
pears to be symbolical of the gospel as 
designed for the whole world, and the 
relation of this account by Luke is ip 



A. D. 29. 

'seventy also, and 'sent them two and two before his 'Num. ii. i6. 
face into every city and place, whither he himself ' ^^' ^^' ^ ' ^^^' ^' 
would come. 

Therefore said he unto them, *The harvest truly is ' Mt. 9. 37, 38; John 
great, but the laborers are few: "pray ye therefore »2The3. 3. i. 

keeping with the universal design of 
this Gospel. 

1. After these things, which are 
narrated in the latter portion of the 
preceding chapter. This opens an ac- 
count of new events, and very naturally 
refers to those which occurred after the 
journey just referred to, ch. 9 : 51-56. 
By comjiaring the seventh and eighth 
chapters of John we learn that Jesus 
arrived at the temple and taught about 
the middle of the feast, and that he 
was still teaching upon the last day of 
the feast (John 7 : 37), which occurred 
in the year A. D. 29, on October 26. 
The break in Luke's narrative between 
the ninth and tenth chapters seems to 
be a fitting place for this account of 
John. Compare author's Harmony, 
^^ 99, 100, 101, and 102. 

It would seem, therefore, very prob- 
able that at the close of the feast the 
liOrd appointed other seventy 
also. Rather, appointed, also seventy 
others. This has reference to the fact 
that Jesus had previously sent forth 
the twelve, ch. 9 : 1-6. It could hardly 
refer, as some suppose, to the mes- 
sengers sent to provide hospitality in a 
certain Samaritan village (ch. 9 : 52) ; 
for the seventy were to preach the 
gospel, and are similarly instructed to 
the twelve. Notice that Luke here 
terms Jesus Lord, as befitting the act 
that he was doing. See on ch. 7 : 13. 
As their Lord and Master he appointed 
them. Why he appointed seventy has 
been variously explained. It was a 
sacred number, like seven and twelve, 
which it has pleased God to use. Thus 
there were seventy elders whom God 
made partakers of the spirit that was in 
Moses, Ex. 24 : 1 ; Num. 11 : 16, 17. 
So also the Jews divided the heathen 
world into seventy nations, for whom 
sacrifices are said to have been offered 
at the feast of tabernacles. See above. 
Who they were is not recorded any- 
where in the New Testament. Tradi- 
tion mentions many names, some of 
which are very improbable, but others, 
Buch as Matthias, Barnabas, Mark, and 

Luke, were possibly among them. Some 
ancient manuscripts read seventy-two^ 
which was probably a correction to 
agree with the number of the San- 
hedrim, which was sometimes said to 
consist of seventy-two, at other times 
of seventy-one, and, in round numbers, 
of seventy. 

Sent them two by two, as the 
twelve before them, Mark 6 : 7. They 
were sent forth in pairs for mutual con- 
sultation and assistance, for showing 
their agreement in doctrine, and for the 
confirmation of their testimony, as in 
the mouth of two witnesses every word 
might be established. Matt. 18 : 16. It 
is worthy of notice that while the twelve 
were limited in their mission to the Jews, 
the seventy were sent forth without any 
such limitation. Before his face. In 
advance of him or befoi-e him. Into 
every city and place. Where we 
are not informed, except by the addi- 
tional clause, whither he himself 
would come. Rather, was about to 
come, if time and duties permitted. 
During the seven weeks between the 
feast of tabernacles and the feast of 
dedication Jesus very likely remained 
in Judea, since John makes no mention 
of his going elsewhere. The narrative 
which follows also favors this supposi- 
tion. After the feast of dedication he 
went into Perea and there abode, John 
10 : 40. We may therefore conclude 
that the seventy visited different parts 
of Judea and Perea. 

2. The instructions to the seventy. 
This discourse is similar t» that to the 
twelve (Matt. 10 : 5 ff".), yet not the 
same ; so Luke's sermon on the plain 
(ch. 6 : 20 ff".) is similar to Matthew's 
sermon on the mount, but not the same. 
Therefore. According to the highest 
critical authorities, And he said to them. 
He proceeds to give a reason for sending 
forth this large band of laborers — the 
need and opportunity of preaching the 
gospel. The harvest truly is great, 
but the laborers are few. They are 
too few to gather it. What will it avail, 
then, if there are not enough to reap it ? 

A. D. 29. 



the Lord of the liarvcst, that he Avould send forth 

3 hiborers into his harvest. Go your ways: * behold, I ' 

4 send you forth as lambs among wolves. ' Carry nei- "9^10". Mk. 6.8.^' 
ther purse, nor scrip, nor shoes : and • salute no man » 2 iii, 4. 29. 

There are vnstmuhitudes who need the 
gospel, but how few the preachers ! Je- 
sus before this addressed the same lan- 
euasjje to his disciples after the apostles 
had already been chosen, Matt. 9 : 
37, 88. 

But how shall this great want be 
sui)plied ? How shall this vast harvest 
be garnered ? By ]irayer for laborers 
to the Lord of the harvest. Christ 
is the Lord of the harvest, ch. 10 : 1 ; 
13 : 37. lie is God manifested in the 
Qesh. Thus, while he sjwke of God, and 
was so understood by his disciples, he 
also spoke of himself. They afterward, 
when thev were enlightened, so under- 
stood it, John 20 : 21 ; Eph. 4 : 11-15. 
The harvest primarily referred to the 
multitude before him, but in its wider 
sense it included the whole world. 
Send forth expresses an earnest and 
argent sending forth of laborers. Pray 
that the Lord of the harvest will, by the 
power of his Spirit, impel and urge'forth 
laborers, so overcoming their natural 
anwillingness to engage in such a work, 
and so laying upon them the duty and 
the necessity, that they shall go forth 
Feeling and saying, " Woe is me if I 
preach not the gospel," 1 Cor. 9 : 16. 

3. Go your ways. Depart to your 
work and to the places where you are 
to preach the gospel. Behold, I send 
j'ou forth. Send you forth is the verb 
From which apostle is derived. Apostles 
were literally persons sent forth. The 
seventy were sent forth on a similar 
mission. They, however, did not con- 
stitute a separate order, like the apostles, 
ch. 6:13; Matt. 10 : 2. 

As Iambs among wolves. Lambs 
and wolves are natural enemies; the 
one is innocent and defenceless, the 
other malicious and cruel. The seventy 
were indeed lambs of " the good Shep- 
herd" (John 10 : 11), precious and val- 
uable to him who sent them forth. The 
figure gives an impressive image of 
them as Christ's precious ones, meek 
and innocent, unarmed and defenceless, 
in the midst of cruel foes. Compare 
Matt. 10 : 16, where this declaration is 
found in the second division of the dis- 

course and Jesus uses the word s/icep 
instead of lambs. It is very possible 
that the position and the word here 
used are significant. In this last period 
of our Saviour's ministry there were 
greater dangers, and the seventy were 
less highly favored than the apostles. 
Hence it was fitting that these dangers 
should be made emphatic by this dec- 
laration at the opening of their com- 
mission, and that they should realize 
their proper characters and their simple 
and defenceless condition so clearly ex- 
pressed by the word lambs. And espe- 
cially so as Jesus does not add, " Be ye 
therefore wise as serpents and harmless 
as doves." 

4. The provision for their journey. 
They are to rely upon God for their 
daily supply. Carry neither purse, 
bag for money; nor scrip, bag or 
sack for provisions (see note on ch. 9 : 
3) ; nor shoes, sandals, soles fastened 
to the bottom of the feet with straps 
passing over the foot and an^ile. They 
were to have no extra sandals and noth- 
ing to encumber them in their journey 
or to prevent despatch. They were to 
go just as they were, without making 
preparation, and depend on the hospital- 
ity of the country. Compare ch. 9 : 3. 
Salute no man, etc., a remarkable 
prohibition, given to no other of his fol- 
lowers. Oriental salutations are long 
and tedious, consuming much time. 
Many mutual inquiries are made about 
their name, residence, business, etc. 
Olshausen supposes the prohibition to 
mean, salute no one to gain favor. This 
is forced and far-fetched. It rather 
means, haste, delay not, lose no time in 
salutations. It was expected that every 
one would exchange salutations, except 
certain persons who were excused, as 
mourners for the dead and those who 
fasted for rain. By withholding salu- 
tations they would show the urgency 
of their business, that their minds were 
absorbed with it and intent on immedi- 
ately performing it. Compare the sim- 
ilar command of Elisha to Gehazi indi- 
cating the importance and haste of his 
business, 2 Kings 4 : 29. " Inferiors re- 




A. D. 29. 

5 by the way. "And into whatsoever house ye enter, 

6 first say, ''Peace be to this house. And if ''the son of 
peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it : if not, 

7 it shall turn to you again. ''And in the same house 
remain, ® eating and drinking such things as they 
give : for ^the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not 
from house to house. 

8 And into Avhatsoever city ye enter, and they receive 

9 you, eat ^such things as are set before you : ''and heal 
the sick that are therein, and say unto them, *The 

20; 10. 7; 11. 11, 12; 23. 13; 25. 1, 14. 

•Mt. 10. 12, 13. 

^ 1 iSarn. 26. 6. 

"l Sam. 25. 17; 1 

Pet. 1. 14. 
dch. 9. 4; Mt. 10. 

• 1 Cor. 10. 27. 
'Mt. 10.10; 1 Cor 

9. 4 ; Gal. 6. ; I 

Tim. 5. 17. 18. 
8 1 Cor. 10. 27. 
»> ch. 9. 2. 
'ver. U; Mt. 3. 2; 

4. 17 ; 5. 3, 10, 19, 

mained standing until superiors had 
passed by." — Van Oostekzee. Dr. 
Jahn says that Arabians are so animat- 
ed on meeting friends by the way that 
they will repeat no less than ten times 
the ceremony of grasping hands and kiss- 
ing and the inquiries about each other's 
health. That Jesus had respect to the 
common courtesies of life is evident 
from the next verse. 

5. In this verse and in the six follow- 
ing, Jesus gives directions as to their 
conduct toward the people. First how 
to enter a house. Whatever house they 
should happen to enter, they were first 
to utter the usual salutation, Peace 
be to this house (1 Sara, 25 : 6), 
which was both a prayer and a blessing, 
and which indicated the benevolent de- 
sign of their mission. 

6. Where to abide is told them in this 
and the next verse. If the son, rather, 
a son, of peace be there, one worthy 
of peace and ready to receive the gos- 
pel or glad tidings of peace, Phil. 4 : 7. 
Compare the opposite characters, chil- 
dren of wrath, Eph. 2 : 3. Your peace 
shall rest upon it, the prayer and 
blessing of your salutation shall be an- 
swered; they shall enjoy the peace you 
invoke. If not, if there be not a son 
of peace there, if there is no readiness 
to receive your message, it shall turn 
to you again, your blessing shall re- 
turn to you, and you shall enjoy the 
rich reward of having done your duty. 

7. And in the same house, rather, 
and in that house, where there is a son 
of peace, a readiness to receive the gos- 
pel, remain, till your mission in that 
place is fulfilled ; and be not fastidious 
about your entertainment, but receive 
what is set before you, eating and 
drinking such things as they give, 
or, more literally, what things are ivith 

them, and, impliedly, what is set before 
you by them. They were not to dej)art 
on account of poverty of entertainment, 
nor were they to press any to provide' 
extra entertainment or more expensive 
than they could aflford, but by their 
conduct show their gratitude for their 

The reason for pursuing this course is 
given : for the laborer is worthy 
of his hire, of his wages, his living. 
As they wei-e laboring for the good of 
those to whom they ministered, it was 
right that they should receive from 
them the supply of their temporary 
wants. Compare Rom. 15 : 27 ; 1 Cor. 

9 : 13, 14. It is worthy of notice that 
this is the only passage in the Gospels 
quoted in the Epistles. See 1 Tim. 5 : 18, 
where it is introduced by the expression, 
"The Scripture saith." 

The preceding injunction is further 
enforced. Go not from house to 
house. They would thus be easy of 
access and more efficient, would lose 
no time in accepting entertainments and 
feasts, and would show a contented 
spirit in abiding where they were, 
though a richer hospitahty might be 
offered them. 

8. What had just been said of a fam- 
ily is now said of a city. They re- 
ceive you, welcome you to their hos- 

9. Heal the sick. Healing is here 
placed before preaching, an emphatic 
intimation of the importance of mira- 
cles to them as the evidence of the di- 
vine authority of their message. Yei 
that miracles were not always to pre- 
cede preaching is evident from Matt. 

10 : 7, 8, where, in the instructions to 
the twelve, preaching is placed before 
healing. The twelve were also com- 
manded to "cleanse theleperg, raise the 

A. D. 29. 



Mt. 10. 


10 kingdom of God is come nh^h unto you. But into 
whatsoever city ye enter, and tliey receive you not, 
po your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, 

11 J Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on Jch. 9. 5; Mt 
us, we do wipe off against you : notwithstanding be H'^^ ^' 
ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come 

12 nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that Mt shall be "^^t- 'O- is; Mk, 
more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that ^* ^^' 

13 'Woe unto thee, Chorazin ! woe unto thee, Beth- ijit. ii. 20, 21. 

dead, and cast out demons." Yet the 
Beventy, when they retm-ned, dech^red 
with joy that even the demons were 
Bubject to them. 

They were to say to them that were 
healed and to the people of that city, 
The kinsrdom of God, the adminis- 
tration of the Messiali, the gospel dis- 
pensation (see on ch. 4 : 48), is come, 
or ha3 come, nisch unto you, or upon 
you, with the idea of coming down 
from heaven upon men. Prepare your- 
selves, therefore, to receive the blessings 
of the Messiah and of his kingdom, 
Jesus himself was about to follow in 
many of these places. 

10. In this verse and the next Jesus 
tells them what to do when rejected. 
Receive you not. Neither welcome 
you to their hospitality nor regard your 
message. The streets. The cora- 

f»aratively broad streets or avenues 
eading out of the city. The streets of 
Oriental cities are generally narrow. 
And say, publicly. 

11. Even the very dust, etc. Even 
the dust that cleaves to our feet from 
your city. We wipe off. See note 
on ch. 9 : 5. 

Notwithstanding, be ye sure of 
this, knoiu thi^, a solemn declaration 
that the blessing of the Messiah had 
been offered, that the kingdom of 
God is come nigh unto you, 
rather, has come nigh. Unto you 
should be omitted, according to the 
highest critical authorities, thus making 
their leavetaking the more solemn. It 
has come near, though you contemn it, 
dnd you will be held responsible for 
it. In ver. 9 we have the message of 
mercy, in this verse a message of con- 

12. But should be omitted. 3Iore 
tolerable for Sodom. There will 
oe degrees of punishment according to 

the degrees of guilt. Sodom, situated 
where the southern portion of the Dead 
Sea now is, was a type of aggravated 
sins (Gen. 13 : 13 ; 18 : 20; Jude 7), and 
of terrible retribution, Deut. 29 : 23 ; 
Isa. 13 : 19; Jer. 49 : 18; Amos 4 : 11 ; 
2 Pet. 2 : 6. Yet their doom would be 
less dreadful at the day of judgment 
than that of those who should reject 
the gospel message. The greater the 
light, the greater the guilt and the 
greater the punishment. The doomed 
cities of the plain had enjoyed but the 
dim light that gleamed from the preach- 
ing of Lot ; the Jews had their law, their 
prophets, John the Baptist, and, to crown 
all, the ])reaching of Christ and his apos- 
tles. In rejecting these their crime wa.s 
greater than that of the worst of hea- 
then. In that day, the day of judg- 

13. In this verse and the two that 
follow are the woes which Jesus pro- 
nounced upon the highly favored but 
wicked cities of Galilee, 'where he had 
frequently been and which he had re- 
cently left, no more to reside among 
them. They are presented as examples 
of cities which had rejected the kingdom 
of God, and which should therefore 
suffer the terrible consequences. The 
same woes are found in Matt. 11 : 21. 
Wherefore, some have supposed that 
both refer to this time, and that Mat- 
thew, from his habit of grouping dis- 
courses and events, inserted it in con- 
nection with other sayings at an earlier 
date. But there is no necessity for this 
supposition. It is more natural to sup- 
pose that Jesus repeated this, like other 
weighty sayings. And they were es- 
pecially appropriate at this time. The 
preceding verse is certainly repeated^ 
having been uttered before, Matt. 10 : 
15. Why not this? Compare on Matt. 
11 : 20-24. 



A. D. 29. 

saidal "for if the mighty works had been done in °Kzo. 3. R 
Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they 
had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth 

14 and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre 

15 and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. ° And thou, 
Capernaum, which art "exalted to heaven, Pshalt be 
thrust down to hell. 

»Mt. 11. 23. 

o(ie. 11.4; Deu. 1. 

28; l8. 14. 13; 

Jer. 51. 53. 
PEze. 25. 20; 32. 



Woe unto thee, an exclamation of 
pity and indignation betokening coming 

Choraziii was a city only known 
from this passage and from Matt. 11 : 
21. Jerome informs us that it was situ- 
ated on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, 
two miles from Capernaum, Some sup- 
pose it to be the modern Tell IIu7n, on 
the north-west shore of the lake ; others 
suppose it to be the modern Khorazy, 
where are quite extensive ruins, about 
two miles inland from Tell Hum. If 
Tell Hum be the site of Capernaum, 
then Khorazy is probably the site of 
Chorazin. But if Capernaum was at 
Khan Minyah, then Chorazin was prob- 
ably at Tell Hum. It has been sug- 
gested that after the latter was destroy- 
ed on the exposed coast the inhabitants 
retired to a more secure spot, carrying 
with them the name of their home. See 
on Capernaum, ch. 4 : 31. Bethsaida 
is supposed to be the name of two 
towns, one on the east and the other 
on the west of the lake. The name, 
which means a house of fishing or 
fishery, could easily be applied to more 
than one place, especially where fish- 
ing was so common a business. The 
Bethsaida on the north-eastern border 
of the lake is referred to in Luke 9 : 
10 ; Mark 6 : 32 ; 8 : 22. The one men- 
tioned here was on the west side, near 
Capernaum, the birthplace of Andrew, 
Peter, and Philip. See also John 1 : 
44; 12 : 21. 

The mighty works. Greek dii- 
nameis, wonderful works, miracles, the 
effect of supernatural power. Jesus 
performed many miracles of which we 
have no special account, Matt. 4 : 24 ; 
8 : 16 ; 9 : 35. 

Tyre and Sidon. See note on ch. 
6 : 17. 

A great while ago. In ancient 
times. The inhabitants of those ancient 
cities would have repented, and thus 
would have e^aped the fearful judg- 

ment which came upon them. Sack- 
cloth and ashes. It was customaiy 
in the East for mourners to wear a gar- 
ment of coarse black cloth, commonly 
made of hair, designed to hang on the 
body like a sack. Gen. 37 : 34; 1 Kings 
21 : 27 ; John 3 : 5. To sit in ashes 
was a token of grief and mourning. 
(Job 2 : 8), as was also strewing them 
upon the head, 2 Sam. 13 : 19. These 
would have been the external symbols 
of their sorrow and penitence, John 3 : 8. 

14. But. Not only is their sin less 
than yours, because they enjoyed less 
light and fewer advantages than you, 
but also at the day of judgment their 
punishment will be more endurable 
than yours, 

15. Capernaum. On the north- 
western coast of the Sea of Galilee. See 
on ch, 4 : 31. Exalted to heaven. 
Exalted in privilege as the residence of 
Christ. The Lord from heaven had come 
and dwelt there, thus raising it in honor 
and privileges to the very heavens, Matt. 
9:1. Perhaps its situation on the hill 
that rises from the plain of Gennesaret 
may have suggested and made the allu- 
sion the more striking. According to 
some of the oldest manuscripts, this 
passage should read, "And thou, Caper- 
naum, shalt thou be exalted to heaven ? 
thou shalt be thrust down to hell." In 
view of the distinction and the privi- 
leges of my residence in thee shalt thou 
be exalted to heaven ? Nay, on account 
of thy misimprovement of them thou 
shalt, etc. This reading, however, is 
not to be regarded as settled. Hell. 
Not Gehenna, the place of punishment 
for the wicked, but Hades, the abode of 
the dead, the w^orld of departed spirits, 
and may be translated the under world. 
On Gehenna see ch, 12 : 5, Hades in 
the Greek has the same signification as 
Sheol in the Hebrew, both representing 
the region of the departed. As Sheol in 
the Old Testament is represented fig- 
uratively as beneath (Isa. 14 : 9; Ezek. 

A. D. 29. 





•^He that hearcth you hcareth mo: and 'he that 
despiscth you despiscth me; 'and he that despiseth 
me despiseth him that sent me. 

The return of the seventy. 
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, 

qMt. 10.40; 

Mk. 9.37; 

i:<. 20. 
» 1 Thes. 4. 8. 
•John 5. 23. 

IR. 5: 

31 : 17 , Amos 9 : 2), so is Hades in the 
New Testiiment. Thus in this pjissage 
it is represented as the depth below in 
eontnts* to heaven as the heiffhl above. 
Compare Rom. 10 : 6, 7 ; Phil. 2 : 10; 
Lev. o : 3, 13. Under world thus cor- 
responds with the scriptural conception 
of this abode. Hades occurs ten times 
in the New Testament — namelv, Matt. 
11 : 23 ; 16 : IS ; Luke 10 : 15 ; "l6 : 18 ; 
Acts 2 : 27, 31 ; Rev. 1:18; Q:d>; 20 : 
13, 14. It occurs also in 1 Cor. 15 : 55 
in the text from which the common ver- 
sion was translated, and is there ren- 
dered grave. The true text reads death 
in both clauses of the verse. Heaven 
and the muter u'orld here stand in con- 
trast, the one representing: height of 
privileges and blessings, and the other 
the depth of woe and desolation. 

What a commentary are the calam- 
ities which came upon those cities, blot- 
ting out their existence and leaving 
nothing but solitary wastes to this day I 
" And the very generation which re- 
jected him was doomed to recall in 
bitter and fruitless agony these peace- 
ful, happy days of the Son of man. 
Thirty years had barely elapsed when 
the storm of Roman invasion burst fu- 
riously over that smiling land. He who 
will may read in the Jewish War of 
Josephus the hideous details of the 
slaughter which decimated the cities 
of Galilee and wrung from the historian 
the repeated confession that ' it was cer- 
tainly God who brought the Romans to 
punish the Galileans,' and exposed the 
people of city after city ' to be destroyed 
bv their bloody enemies.' Immediately 
after the celebrated passage in which 
he describes the lake and plain of Gen- 
nesaret as ' the ambition of nature ' fol- 
lows a description of that terrible sea- 
fight on these bright waters, in which 
the number of slain, including those 
killed in the city, was six thousand and 
five hundred. . . . ' One might then,' 
continues the historian, ' see the lake 
all bloody and full of dead bodies, for 
not one of them escaped. And a ter- 

rible stench and a very sad sight there 
was on the following day over that 
countrv; for as for the shores, they 
were I'ull of shipwrecks and of dead 
bodies all swelled; and as the dead 
bodies were inflamed by the sun and 
putrefied, they corrupted the air inso- 
much that the misery was not only an 
object of commiseration to the Jews, 
but even to those that hated them and 
had been the authors of that misery.' " 
— Dr. Farrar, Li'fe of Christ, vol", ii., 
p. 101. See Joseph. Jeic War, iii. 10, 

16. Christ's disciples are his repre- 
sentatives. A vital and inseparable 
union exists between him and his fol- 
lowers. He that hcareth yon hear- 
eth nie, etc. From what follows, "he 
that heareth me heareth him that sent 
me " is implied. You are my represen- 
tatives, even as I am my Father's rep- 
resentative. He, therefore, that receiv- 
eth you, not merely to his house and 
board, but also to his heart, welcoming 
you as my messengers, and consequently 
your message, heareth both me and my 
Father. "What honor and what blessed- 
ness! Matt. 25 : 34-40. And he that 
despiseth yon, etc. Rather, sets at 
naught, reject eth yoxt rejecteth me, etc. 

17-24. The Return of the Sev- 
enty. Their joy and our Lord's words 
of warning, gratitude, and blessing. 
Since Luke gives the account of their 
return immediately after their mission, 
it is natural to infer that they were 
gone but a few days, possibly a week 
or two. As they went in haste and in 
thirty-five companies (ver. 1 1, they could 
accomplish much in a short time. Jesus 
was probably at Jerusalem or in its vi- 
cinity. See ver. 3S. 

17. Returned, after havine visited 
the allotted districts, and at the time 
which had probably been appointed. 
Asrain should be omitted as unneces- 
sary. With joy, at their success and 
their miraculous power in Christ's 
name. Lord, thus recognizing his di- 
vine authority, ver, 1. £ven the dev- 



A. D. 29. 

Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy "John 16. ii ; ttc b. 

18 name. And he said unto them, "I beheld Satan as g ;^Rev. 9.*i'''V2' 

19 lightning full irom heaven. Behold, * I give unto you s.'g. 

jjovver to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over '^ig.^ijev' 20*^1^3' 

ils, the demons. See on ch. 4 : 33. Not 
only did they heal the sick, which Je- 
sus iomraanded them to do (ver. 9), but 
their faith was so active and strong that 
they cast out demons. This was the 
more remarkable, as even nine apostles 
had some time before this been baliled 
by a demon, ch. 9 : 40. They rejoiced, 
therefore, that demons were subject 
unto them, or subjected to them. At 
the same time, while elated, they ac- 
knowledge the source of their power — 
through thy name, in thy name, in thy 
authority and power, and pervaded by 
thy influence. There is great sim- 
plicity and honesty