From: Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Luke Return to Home
By Roland H. Worth, Jr. © 2015
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WEB: He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up,
Young’s: And he spake
also a simile to them, that it behoveth us always to
pray, and not to faint,
Conte (RC): Now he also told them a parable, that we should continually pray and not cease,
18:1 Introductory note: The logic of using an unjust judge to teach about a just God . The Greek gives a fictitious character to the narrative by saying a certain city, a certain judge. That our Saviour should represent His Father by so unworthy a judge is perplexing, till one notices that it is a way of contrast that He so represents Him. It is, in this respect, like the parable of the unneighborly friend (11:5ff.), and analogous to that of the unjust steward (16:1ff.). To give the intended lesson of perseverance in prayer under discouragement, Jesus could not so forcibly have used the image of an earthly judge, upright, and promptly considerate of the equity of a cause. But when He shows that such perseverance might overcome the sluggishness of one most utterly void of piety, justice, and philanthropy—fearing not God, nor caring for the rights or wrongs and sufferings of men—He had already proved what power it would have with our just and compassionate God.
And He spake. Literally, "and he spake also," calls attention to the fact that the parable-teaching immediately to follow was a continuation of what had preceded. 
Not content with foretelling and describing that perilous period (17:22ff.), He “spake a parable,” to illustrate their duty in the long waiting for His advent. 
a parable unto them. The parable resembles that of the friend who came at (Luke 11:5-10), but there the petitioner asked a gift, and here the request is for justice and deliverance. 
to this end. To show this. 
It is only here and in verse 9 that the explanation or point of a parable is given before the parable itself. Both parables are peculiar to Luke. The duty inculcated is rather urgent prayer (as in 11:5-13) than that spirit of unflagging prayer which is elsewhere enforced, 21:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:28. “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire / Uttered, or unexpressed.” 
that men ought always to pray. To persevere in the practice of prayer. This is opposed to an inconstant or impulsive spirit, which makes one or two hurried petitions and ceases. 
To be always praying. His object was not so much to teach this duty as, assuming it, to show something of the manner and effect of it. They would be in great danger of losing heart () and forsaking their faith, the remedy for which would be unceasing prayer and in reference to this duty He spake the parable. 
and not to faint. To relax, to let go, to give in, or to give up, either from cowardice or from despair. 
WEB: saying, "There was a judge in a certain city who didn't fear God, and didn't respect man.
Young’s: saying, 'A
certain judge was in a certain city -- God he is not fearing, and man he is not
Conte (RC): saying: "There was a certain judge in a certain city, who did not fear God and did not respect man.
18:2 Saying, there was in a city a judge. According to Deut. xvi.
His office was to punish wrongdoers, to administer laws, and to do justice to all, especially to the widow and orphan. Matt. v. 25. They "judged not for man," that is not to favor any person unjustly, "but for the Lord who is with such in judgment." 2 Chron. xix. 6. Poor, weak, and desolate persons had often no other resource for justice than the conscience of the judge. God had given the Jewish magistrates frequent commands to be just to all such. Is. i. 17; Jer. xxi. 12. 
The little story is not improbably taken from life, and doubtless the inferior judges under such a sovereignty as that of the Herods might afford many instances of carelessness and venality. 
which feared not God. Was altogether destitute of awe of God, and of that reverence which belongs to Him, as our infinite superior. 
neither regarded [respected, ESV] man. Occupying a position of power, in which men could not injure him, he did not feel any concern as to what they said or thought of him, and hence, in all his decisions, he was influenced merely by passion or interest. 
Weymouth: And in the same town was a widow who repeatedly came and entreated him, saying, "'Give me justice and stop my oppressor.'
WEB: A widow was in that city, and she often came to him, saying, 'Defend me from my adversary!'
Young’s: and a widow was in that city, and she was
coming unto him, saying, Do me justice on my opponent,
Conte (RC): But there was a certain widow in that city, and she went to him, saying, 'Vindicate me from my adversary.'
18:3 And there was a widow in that city. One easily impaired and not readily protected. 
In every land the type of the defenceless poor, and therefore protected specially by the Mosaic law (Exodus ; Deuteronomy ; 27:19) and in the early Christian Church (Acts 6:1; ; 1 Timothy 5:2). 
She represents Christ’s disciples, His church. No image could be better suited to express their helplessness and pitiable state in an unfriendly world, and their absolute dependence on the equity of the Supreme Judge. 
and she came unto him. She had a right to expect justice done her by the judge, against an oppressor. This was his office and business. 
saying, Avenge me of [Get justice for me from, NKJV] mine adversary. Do me justice against him, so that I may be free from injuries and annoyance at his hands. The special nature of her wrongs, whether of dues withheld, or unjust claims alleged, is left entirely to imagination. 
The technical term ekdikeson implies “settle my case (so as to free me) from my adversary.” The same word is found in Romans 12:19; Revelation 6:10. There is a curious parallel in Ecclus 25:14-17, “He will not despise . . . the widow when she poureth out her complaint. Do not let the tears run down the widow’s cheeks? And is not her cry against him that causeth them to fall? . . . The prayer of the humble pierceth the clouds, and . . . he will not depart till the Most High shall behold to judge righteously and execute judgment.” 
WEB: He wouldn't for a while, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God, nor respect man,
Young’s: and he would not for a time, but after
these things he said in himself, Even if God I do not fear, and man do not
Conte (RC): And he refused to do so for a long time. But afterwards, he said within himself: 'Even though I do not fear God, nor respect man, And he refused to do so for a long time. But afterwards, he said within himself: 'Even though I do not fear God, nor respect man,
18:4 And he would not for a while. Probably this means for a considerable time. It was his duty to attend to the claims of justice, but this was long delayed. 
The judge was unwilling to redress her wrongs, and put her off and refused to hear her petition. 
but afterwards he said within himself. Or thought within himself. How many actions which appear good have neither the love of God nor that of our neighbor, but only self-love of the basest kind, for their principle and motive! 
He came to this conclusion, in order to avoid any farther trouble. 
Though I fear not God, nor regard man. Neither has any impact on me. Not necessarily because he exalts impartiality and the search for justice (or he would already have intervened) but out of arrogant self-centeredness—whose god is getting his own way and his worship is of the power that lets him do as he wishes. [rw]
Weymouth: yet because she annoys me I will give her justice, to prevent her from constantly coming to pester me.'"
WEB: yet because this widow bothers me, I will defend her, or else she will wear me out by her continual coming.'"
Young’s: yet because this widow doth give me
trouble, I will do her justice, lest, perpetually coming, she may plague me.'
Conte (RC): yet because this widow is pestering me, I will vindicate her, lest by returning, she may, in the end, wear me out.' "
18:5 Yet because this widow troubleth me. He has taken no pains to discover whether the woman's cause is right or not, yet he determines to yield to her request; and his sole reason for doing so is the fear of being constantly annoyed by her importunity. 
I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. Greek, “lest at last coming she beat me.” For the last clause the Revision substitutes “wear me out,” but places “bruise” in the margin as the sense of the Greek. The Greek word is hard to translate faithfully without an appearance of unbecoming levity. But our Lord pictures the unprincipled judge to the life. In the spirit of mingled impatience and jest, he uses a verb which signifies “to give one a black eye”; much like our “to beat one black and blue.” In his bantering soliloquy the man supposes she may do him bodily harm; lest she pound me. (Vulgate, sugillet me.) 
WEB: The Lord said, "Listen to what the unrighteous judge says.
Young’s: And the Lord said, 'Hear ye what the
unrighteous judge saith:
Conte (RC): Then the Lord said: "Listen to what the unjust judge said.
18:6 And the Lord said. Unjust and unfair judges rarely have anything worth listening to but this time one does! [rw]
Hear what the unjust judge saith. Give attention to this and derive from it practical instruction. 
This expression indicates that the Lord paused for a moment that the parable might be fully grasped before he made the application. 
Weymouth: And will not God avenge the wrongs of His own People who cry aloud to Him day and night, although He seems slow in taking action on their behalf?
WEB: Won't God avenge his chosen ones, who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them?
Young’s: and shall not God execute the justice to
His choice ones, who are crying unto Him day and night --
bearing long in regard to them?
Conte (RC): So then, will not God grant the vindication of his elect, who cry out to him day and night? Or will he continue to endure them?
18:7 And shall not God. Jesus bids them contrast the cases: (1) the widow went to a stranger, we to our Father; (2) the widow was alone, we belong to a mighty multitude who agree to besiege the Throne in prayer; (3) she went to a forbidding and unjust man, we to a merciful Father who has asked us to approach; (4) she had no friend to speak for her, and we have an Advocate with the Father (Matthew Henry). 
The argument is simply a fortiori. Even an unjust and abandoned judge grants a just petition at last out of base motives when it is often urged, to a defenceless person for whom he cares nothing; how much more shall a just and merciful God hear the cry and avenge the cause of those whom He loves? 
Avenge [give justice to, ESV]. The best comment is furnished by Revelation 6:9-11. But the “avenging” is rather the “vindication,” i.e., the deliverance from the oppressor. 
His own elect. People of God--saints, Christians; so called because God has chosen them to be His. The term is usually given to the true followers of God in the Scriptures, and is a term of affection, denoting His great love in choosing them and conferring on them grace and mercy and eternal life. See 1 Thessalonians 1:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 1:2; Ephesians 1:4. 
See note, Matt. xxiv. 22. The chosen people; Christians. They are called so because they are chosen out of the Gentile world, by that providence of God which has sent to them the Church and Gospel. 
The argument is what logic calls from the less to the greater. If such a man, from mere selfish annoyance at importunity, will do what is requested, how much more will a holy and righteous God hear the prayers of His chosen people, ascending by day and by night, for deliverance from affliction? 
Which cry day and night unto Him. I.e., fervently beseech--day and night, i.e., continually. 
Let not the earnestness which is ascribed to the prayer of God's people in the parable be overlooked. A few ascriptions of praise and a few acknowledgments of mercies are not the kind of prayers which are pleasing to God. He requires heart-prayers, the wellings-up of desires from souls that feel their sin and their need of a Saviour. It is not "eloquent prayers," elaborately carved and polished by the tools of rhetoric for ears refined, that are pleasing to God. It is not a harangue addressed to men under the form of prayer to God that He approves, neither is it "much speaking" or "vain repetitions" that engage His attention. Do you wish to pray aright? Unburden your soul at the gate of His ear. Go with a broken and a contrite heart. The word of His promise is, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, believing, ye shall receive," and "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." 
They cry unceasingly. It is their habit of mind and life, in public, in their families, and in secret, making all their wants known unto the Lord. 1 Thess. v. 17; 1 Tim. ii. 8; Jas. v. 13. 
though He bear long with them? A very difficult passage, and interpretations vary greatly.
(1). The verb (Greek) means to be long-suffering, or to endure patiently. Such is its usual rendering in the New Testament.
(2). Them (Greek) refers not to the persecutors of God's elect, but to the elect themselves. The Rev. cuts the knot by the most literal of renderings: "and He is long-suffering over them."
(3). The secondary meaning of restraining or delaying may fairly be deduced from the verb, and explained either (a) of delaying punishment, or (b) of delaying sympathy or help. 
Interpreted as a reference to God delaying punishment of
the wicked to give them the opportunity for reform: With
whom does God bear long? With the
wrong-doers, whose works and words oppress and make life heavy and grievous to
the servants of God; with these who have no claim to consideration will
God bear long. And this announcement
gives us some clue to the meaning of the delay we often experience before we
get an answer to many of our prayers. The
prayer is heard, but God, in the exercise of mercy and forbearance, has
dealings with the oppressors. It were
easy for the Almighty to grant an immediate answer, but only at the cost often
of visiting some of the oppressors with immediate punishment, and this is not
his way of working. God bears long
before his judgments swift and terrible are sent forth. This has ever been his way of working with
individuals as with nations. Was it not
thus, for instance, that he acted towards
WEB: I tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
Young’s: I say to you, that He will execute the
justice to them quickly; but the Son of Man having come, shall he find the
faith upon the earth?'
Conte (RC): I tell you that he will quickly bring vindication to them. Yet truly, when the Son of man returns, do you think that he will find faith on earth?"
18:8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Not suddenly but shortly, soon. The set time to favor them will soon arrive--as soon as needful--though to man's impatience it seems to be long delay. So was it with the sisters at Bethany (John 11) and with the Syrophenician woman and with the disciples on the sea, to whom he came only at the fourth or last watch. 
Or: It means that God will act in accordance with his servant's prayer, not soon, but suddenly; sure and sudden at the crisis the action of Divine providence comes at the last "as a thief in the night." 
Nevertheless. Notwithstanding this. Though this is true that God shall avenge His elect, yet will He find His elect faithful, expecting Him? The danger is not that God will be unfaithful. The danger is that His afflicted people will be discouraged; will not persevere in prayer; will not continue to have confidence in Him; and will be, under heavy trials, sinking into despondency. 
when the son of Man cometh. Either in His second coming when the dead are raised or in His earlier
comings in temporal judgment, such as on
shall He find faith. The word "faith" is sometimes taken to denote the whole of religion; and it has been understood in this sense here. But there is a close connection in what Christ says and it should be understood as referring to what He said before. The truth that He had been teaching was that God would deliver His people from their calamities. He asks them here, whether, when He came, he should find this faith, or a belief of this truth about His followers? Would they be found preserving in prayer and believing that God would yet avenge them. This is not to be understood, therefore, as affirming that when Christ comes to judgment there will be few Christians, and the world be overrun with wickedness. That may be true; but it is not the truth taught here. 
on the earth? The land--referring particularly to the
Weymouth: And to some who relied on themselves as being righteous men, and looked down upon all others, He addressed this parable.
WEB: He spoke also this parable to certain people who were convinced of their own righteousness, and who despised all others.
Young’s: And he spake
also unto certain who have been trusting in themselves that they were
righteous, and have been despising the rest, this simile:
Conte (RC): Now about certain persons who consider themselves to be just, while disdaining others, he told also this parable:
18:9 And He spake
this parable. With this parable, "the Pharisee and the publican,'' Luke
concludes his memories of the last journeyings toward
unto certain. It applied to some of the bystanders, but was useful to all. The first parable taught the use of constant prayer; this illustrates the proper manner of it, that it be with humility. 
To what class, sect, or party, they belonged, or whether to any one class, is not told us. It is, considering the commonness of unreasonable self-esteem, well left applicable equally to disciples and unbelievers, Pharisees and publicans. 
which trusted in themselves that they were righteous. The word “righteous” is used in its ordinary, Old Testament sense, meaning, “conformed to the will of God,” and so entitled to His favor. Whoever thinks He already stands well enough in the sight of God, and needs no repentance and spiritual renewal, belongs to the kind of people here intended. 
See 16:15; Philippians 3:4; 2 Corinthians 1:9. The Jewish words Jashar, “the upright man,” and Tsaddik, “just,” expressed their highest moral ideal; but they made their uprightness and justice consist so much in attention to the ceremonial minutiae of the Levitic Law, and rigid externalism to engrossed their thoughts, that they had lost sight of those loftier and true ideals of charity which the Prophets had continually set before them. This fetish-worship of the letter, this scrupulosity about trifles, tended only to self-confidence and pride. It had long been denounced in Scripture. “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness,” Proverbs 30:12; “which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day,” Isaiah lxv. 5. This is the sort of “faith” which the Son of Man shall find on the earth—men’s faith in themselves! 
and despised others. Others who were not as externally righteous as themselves. 
Literally, “set all others at naught.” The next step to the opinion that one is as good as is necessary, is spiritual pride. Pride is essentially the disparagement of others in comparison with oneself. So this clause is only the other face of the same medal. 
word “despise” means “treat as nothing,” regard as mere ciphers,” Romans 14:3,
10. The Rabbis intended the most highflown designations for each other, such as “Light of
WEB: "Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector.
Young’s: 'Two men went up to the temple to pray,
the one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer;
Conte (RC): "Two men ascended to the temple, in order to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector.
Two men went up into the temple to pray. Into one of the courts of the temple--the court where prayer was commonly offered. 
to pray. The stated hours of prayer were and , but men went there to pray whenever they felt like it. 
the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The two represent the extremes of Jewish social and religious life. 
In depth: Prayers in the Talmud that reflect the Pharisaic sense of superiority . Although it may not be necessary, yet one or two quotations will help to show how truly this picture of the Pharisee was taken from life. Thus, the following prayer of a Rabbi is recorded, "I thank Thee, O Lord my God, that Thou hast put my part with those who sit in the Academy, and not with those who sit at the corners (moneychangers and traders). For I rise early and they rise early: I rise early to the words of the Law, and they to vain things. I labor and they labor: I labor and receive a reward, they labor and receive no reward. I run and they run: I run to the life of the world to come, and they to the pit of destruction" (Ber 28b).
more closely parallel is this thanksgiving, which a Rabbi puts into the mouth
Weymouth: The Pharisee, standing erect, prayed as follows by himself: "'O God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people--I am not a thief nor a cheat nor an adulterer, nor do I even resemble this tax-gatherer.
WEB: The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: 'God, I thank you, that I am not like the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
Young’s: the Pharisee having stood by himself,
thus prayed: God, I thank Thee that I am not as the rest of men, rapacious,
unrighteous, adulterers, or even as this tax-gatherer;
Conte (RC): Standing, the Pharisee prayed within himself in this way: 'O God, I give thanks to you that I am not like the rest of men: robbers, unjust, adulterers, even as this tax collector chooses to be.
The Pharisee stood. This was the ancient custom--to stand in prayer--both among the Jews and early Christians (1 Kings ; 2 Chronicles ; Matthew 6:5; Mark ) though on special occasions kneeling or bodily prostration was practiced (Daniel ; 2 Chronicles ; Acts ; ; 21:5. 
and prayed. That is, he boasted; for in reality he only, with a slight phrase of thanks, told God how good he was. He praised rather than prayed; and praised himself rather than God. In fact, he really omitted to pray at all. As if he had no sin, he asked no forgiveness. As if he had no defect or weakness, he asked no divine aid. As if he had no wants, he asked no favours. Under the form of thanks, he (1) enumerates the bad things that the rest of men are, but he is not; (2) enumerates the good things he does. And there he closes. 
thus with himself. Some have proposed to render this, "Stood by himself" and prayed. In this way it would be characteristic of the sect of the Pharisees, who dreaded the contact of others as polluting, and who were disposed to say to all, Stand by yourselves. The Syriac so rendered it. But it is doubtful whether the Greek will allow this construction. If not, it means he said over to himself what he had done, and what was the ground on which he expected the favor of God. 
As internal prayer: "Stood by himself" and prayed there. This he may have done, as was their taste and habit. Or--he prayed thus with himself--i.e., as he would not have prayed aloud. See Mark 14:4 and for the same construction. 
As egotistical external prayer: This man did not pray with himself in the sense of praying internally or secretly, that nobody might hear him, but it was one of his main designs that everybody should hear him. He spoke for himself, for his own satisfaction, and with much complacency of heart. 
One reconstruction of how these various aspects of the Pharisee’s prayer tied together to reinforce his self-confident arrogance: Standing was the ordinary Jewish attitude of prayer (1 Kings 8:22; Mark 11:25), but the word statheis (which is not used of the Tax-gatherer) seems to imply that he stood by himself to avoid the contaminating contact of the “people of the earth,” and posed himself in a conspicuous attitude (Matthew 6:5), as well as “prayed with himself” as the words are perhaps rightly rendered. He was “a separatist in spirit as in name,” Trench. (Pharisee from Pharash, “to separate.”) 
God, I thank Thee. It was not wrong in the Pharisee to begin his prayer as he did. It is right to thank God. (See Ps. ciii.) It was the proud, boastful spirit of the Pharisee, that made his thank-offering vain. 
See the strong denunciation of such insolent self-sufficiency in Revelation 3:17, 18. 
that I am not as other men are. How closely drawn from the life is this picture of a Pharisee will be seen by a comparison of the prayer here with the prayer of a rabbi contained in the Talmud. When Rabbi Nechounia Ben Hakana left his school, he used to say, "I thank thee, O Eternal, my God, for having given me part with those who attend this school instead of running through the shops. I rise early like them, but it is to study the Law, not for futile ends. I take trouble as they do, but I shall be rewarded, and they will not. We run alike, but I for the future life, while they will only arrive at the pit of destruction" (from the treatise 'Berachath'). 
other men. Lit., the rest of men. A Jewish saying is quoted that a true Rabbin ought to thank God every day of his life; 1, that he was not created a Gentile; 2, that he was not a plebeian; 3, that he was not born a woman. 
extortioners, unjust, adulterers. Or was he really so innocent?—A concise argument: He judges himself by outward acts and formal observances, rather than by inward purity; probably he had kept himself clear of the sins he mentions by means of limitations of divine commandments. The Pharisees as a class did practice extortion (Matthew ; Luke ), held lax views as to the sanctity of marriage (Matthew 19:3-9), and oppressed the poor and the helpless (Mark ). 
A more detailed argument: Could he, in any real sense, have made out even this claim to be free from glaring crimes? His class at any rate are charged by Christ with being “full of extortion” (Matthew ); and they were unjust, seeing that they “omitted judgment” (). They are not indeed charged by Jesus with adultery either in the metaphorical or literal sense, but they are spoken of as being prominent members of an adulterous generation, and on several occasions our Lord sternly rebuked their shameful laxity in the matter of divorce (Matthew 19:3-9). And not only does Josephus charge them with this crime also, but their Talmud, with perfect self-complacency, shews how the flagrant immorality of even their most eminent Rabbis found a way to shelter itself, with barefaced and cynical casuistry, under legal forms. See John 8:1-11. It appears from the tract Sotah in the Mishnah, that the ordeal of the “water of jealousy” had been abolished by Jochanan Ben Zakkai, the greatest Rabbi of this age, because the crime had grown so common. 
extortioners. [Those] who take away the goods of others by force and violence. It means, also, those who take advantage of the necessities of others, the poor and the oppressed, and extort their property. 
unjust. They who are not fair and honest in their dealings; who get the property of others by fraud. They are distinguished from extortioners because they who are unjust may have the appearance of honesty; in the other case there is not. 
adulterers. Because he had never done such or because he used his “reasoning” talents to prove that in his particular case the condemnations of such were never intended to apply? [rw]
Or even as this publican. Self-exultation ends in insulting his neighbor. 
Or: It is hard to think that a Pharisee would acknowledge anything good in a publican; but, perhaps, the fact that the latter is found in the house of prayer, at the proper hour, is allowed some weight in his favor. That is the more charitable view of the Pharisee’s meaning. [Hence] it may be understood: I thank thee that I am not as bad as even this publican, not to say extortioners, etc. 
WEB: I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.'
Young’s: I fast twice in the week, I give tithes
of all things -- as many as I possess.
Conte (RC): I fast twice between Sabbaths. I give tithes from all that I possess.'
I fast twice in the week. This practice had no divine sanction. The Law appointed only a single fast-day in the year, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus ). By the time of Zechariah there seem to have been four yearly fasts (Zechariah ). The bi-weekly fast of the Pharisees was a mere burden imposed by the oral Law. The days chosen were Thursday and Monday, because on those days Moses was believed to have ascended and descended from Sinai, Babha Kama, f. 82, 1. The man boasts of his empty ceremonialism. 
The religion of the Pharisee consisted in two things: first, that he did no injury to others; and, secondly, that he attended faithfully to the external duties of piety. Having stated the first part of it, he proceeds now to state positively what he did. 
I give tithes. He braggingly made a gift of that which he was bound to pay. 
of all that I possess. A tenth part, or tithe, of the crops and the cattle was required by the law of Moses (Numbers ; Leviticus 27:30) for the support of the Levites. But this one boasts that he was in the habit of giving tithes of all which he acquired. 
The law commanded only to tithe the fruit of the field and produce of the cattle (Num. xviii. 21; Deut. xiv. 22; Lev. xxvii. 20), but he tithed mint and cummin (Matt. xxiii. 23), all that came into his possession, probably not capital but income, down to the trifles on which there was question, even in the Jewish schools, whether it was needful to tithe them or not. (Hos. xii. 8.) To fast is right, and to give tithes is right, but this Pharisee spoiled all he had done by his proud and self-righteous pretensions. 
What is left out of the prayer: The fact that he does not say a word about his sins shews how low was his standard. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper,” Proverbs 28:13. He was clothed with phylacteries and fringes, not with humility, 1 Peter 5:5. A Talmudic treatise, the Berachoth, furnishes us with a close analogy to the prayer of the Pharisee in that of Rabbi Nechounia Ben Hakana, who on leaving his school used to say, “I thank thee, O Eternal, my God, for having given me part with those who attend this school instead of running through the shops. I rise early like them, but it is to study the Law, not for futile ends. I take trouble as they do, but I shall be rewarded, and they will not; we run alike, but I for the future life, while they will only arrive at the pit of destruction.” 
Weymouth: "But the tax-gatherer, standing far back, would not so much as lift his eyes to Heaven, but kept beating his breast and saying, "'O God, be reconciled to me, sinner that I am.'
WEB: But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn't even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'
Young’s: 'And the tax-gatherer, having stood afar off, would not even the eyes lift up to the heaven, but was smiting on his breast, saying, God be propitious to me -- the sinner!
Conte (RC): And the tax collector, standing at a distance, was not willing to even lift up his eyes to heaven. But he struck his chest, saying: 'O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
And the publican, standing afar off. As
unworthy to draw near [the
Some explain, from the sanctuary; others, from the Pharisee. 
would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven. Conscious of his guilt. He felt that he was a sinner; and shame and sorrow prevented his looking up. Men who are conscious of guilt always fix their eyes on the ground. 
He was bowed down with shame and remorse,--was in such real trouble that he felt unworthy to look toward the place where God's honor dwelt. 
Scriptural basis for this attitude: The Jew usually stood with arms outspread, the palms turned upwards, as though to receive the gifts of heaven, and the eyes raised. “Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes,” Psalms 123:1, 2; but on the other hand, “Mine iniquities have taken such hold upon me that I am not able to look up,” Psalms 40:12; “O my God, I am ashamed blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens,” Ezra 9:6. 
but smote upon his breast. An expression of grief and anguish in view of his sins. 
A natural gesture, which the heart dictates to all men. It was a proof of the sincerity of his grief, and an open confession of it. 
For this custom of expressing grief, see ; Nahum 2:7; Jeremiah 31:19. 
saying, God be merciful to me. The word for “be merciful” means “be propitiated” as in Hebrews 2:17. 
The prayer of the publican was totally different from that of the Pharisee. He made no boast of his own righteousness towards God or man. He felt that he was a sinner and, feeling it, was willing to acknowledge it. This is the kind of prayer that will be acceptable to God. When we are willing to confess and forsake our sins, we shall find mercy. 
The verb rendered “be merciful,” found elsewhere in the New Testament only once, signifies “be thou propitiated,” and implies the need of expiation, in order to [have] reconciliation with God. We cannot say that the Saviour meant to make the publican distinctly conscious of this meaning, but a word is ascribed to him which carries the feeling of it. He certainly might have thought of the sacrificial significance of the offerings connected with the hour of evening prayer (1:9-10). And that was all the publican’s prayer. Unlike the effusion of the Pharisee, it was all prayer[--and no bragging]. 
a sinner. The Greek words rendered a sinner, literally signify "the sinner," that is, "the great sinner." 
He speaks of himself as the chief of sinners, 1 Timothy 1:15. 
WEB: I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Young’s: I say to you, this one went down declared
righteous, to his house, rather than that one: for every one who is exalting himself shall be humbled, and he who is humbling himself
shall be exalted.'
Conte (RC): I say to you, this one descended to his house justified, but not the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled; and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
I tell you. Have no doubt about it. This is unquestionably true. [rw]
this man went down
to his house. Spiritually,
“down” from the center of worship to the everyday place where he dwelt. Literally as well, “down” from the
justified. I.e., accepted and approved in the sight of God. 
Forgiven, accepted, comforted. God pardoned him and had mercy upon him, sinner as he was. God loved him and gave him grace, not because he was a sinner, but because he distrusted himself, and had that loving faith in the Divine mercy, that he believed it would reach and save even such a wretch as he was. He was certain, with such feelings, to turn away from sin, and purpose a new life, and was mercifully loved by God, as if he had never been the sinner he was. 
rather than the other. The difference between the two men was one only saw his virtues—notably defined as what he did not do rather than what he did do—while the sinner was all too aware of his moral lapses. It would be startling if the sinner did not have his own virtues he could have cited since few alive are without some positive characteristics. But however few or many they may have been, he was fully aware that without Divine forgiveness all those virtues were worthless in God’s sight. [rw]
for every one that exalteth himself. Above his or her own actual character in God’s eyes. [rw]
shall be abased [humbled, NKJV]; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. One is humble voluntarily; the other is not. The conceited and self-centered will be exposed and his pretensions shattered. The carefully sculptured reputation for “righteousness” will be seen as nothing more than the empty words and mediocre pretense of a half-competent actor on the stage. In contrast, the person who has cultivated the lifestyle of humility rather than arrogance, that is the one whose rewards and praise will be such that his true value is “exalted.” He had been a “nobody” in the sight of the world; now he was one of the V.I.P.s. [rw]
Weymouth: On one occasion people also brought with them their infants, for Him to touch them; but the disciples, noticing this, proceeded to find fault with them.
WEB: They were also bringing their babies to him, that he might touch them. But when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
Young’s: And they were bringing near also the
babes, that he may touch them, and the disciples having seen did rebuke them,
Conte (RC): And they were bringing little children to him, so that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.
And they brought unto Him also infants. They were not only little children, but infants. They--the reference is here doubtless had to the parents. 
It seems to have been a custom of Jewish mothers to carry their babes to eminent Rabbis for their blessing; naturally therefore these mothers would bring their children and babes to Jesus. See Matthew 19:13-15; Mark . 
That He would touch them. So Mark. Matthew has "lay his hands on them and pray." 
(See Matt. xix. 13.) It was customary among the Jews, when one prayed for another who was present, to lay his hands upon the person's head. (Genesis 18:14; Matt. ix. 18; Acts vi. 6, ciii. 17.) This imposition of hands was practiced especially in paternal blessing. (Gen. xlviii. 14-10.) 
Our Lord thus sanctifies the bond of marriage and its offspring. It was a silent but powerful reply to the mistaken inference which his disciples had drawn from his words. They had said, "It is not good to marry" (Matthew ). 
It is quite possible that they weren’t really sure what special benefit this would bring. But here was a brilliant teacher that shredded the “logic” of the prestigious and who could instantaneously heal the sick and even raise the dead. It would be impossible for anyone but the most callous to avoid concluding that some benefit must be conveyed. [rw]
but when His disciples saw it, they rebuked them. Spoke chidingly, to prevent them from carrying out their purpose. The disciples probably thought it wrong that the time of their Lord should be taken up about women and little children. It was beneath His dignity, and likely to diminish the honor in which they would wish Him to be held. 
Repeatedly the disciples thus interposed to save annoyance and interruption to their Master; but, as the result showed, always against the mind [preference] of Christ (Matthew ; [Luke] -40). 
In-depth: Difficulties of using these verses as proof of the desirability of infant baptism . The attempt to draw any direct authority for infant baptism from this passage, has long been given up by scholars. The absolute lack of all proper ground for that practice is indicated, however, in the way even so excellent a commentator as Van Oosterzee still strives to draw some warrant from these verses. “The desire of the mothers to see their children blessed by Jesus sprang from a similar feeling of need [to that] from which afterward the baptism of children proceeded.”
But the baptism of children is a sacrament, in the view of all Pedobaptist theologians; and does a sacrament proceed from the wish of mothers? Rather, as they (Protestants, at least) tell us, from express divine appointment, recorded in the Scripture.
Van Oosterzee proceeds: “The Saviour, who approved the first named wish, would, if asked about it, undoubtedly not stand in the way of the latter.” The “undoubtedly” is surely too strong. If it were certain that the Saviour was favorable to infant baptism, why did He not say it or have it said? If the idea be that He would now consent to it, if asked, it is amazing that one aware of the innumerable and expressible evils which have obviously cursed His cause in consequence of it, should dream of such a thing.
summoned them, saying, "Allow the little children to come to me, and don't
hinder them, for the
Young’s: and Jesus having called them near, said,
'Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such
is the reign of God;
Conte (RC): But Jesus, calling them together, said: "Allow the children to come to me, and do not be an obstacle to them. For of such is the
But Jesus called them unto him. St. Mark adds that Jesus was much displeased with the officious interference of the disciples who so little understood His tenderness. 
Or: Either addressing the little ones directly, in tones of gentle invitation, or bidding the parents to bring them. 
and said, Suffer. See on Matt. xix. 14. Only Mark notes the taking in His arms. 
little children to come unto Me. In polemic theology, Christ’s reception and blessing of the little children is pleaded as a warrant for infant baptism. The most that can be said, however, is that if authority for such baptism were clearly established upon other scriptural grounds, this passage would not be out of harmony with it. Of course, there is no baptism here, and no hint of any; and I think it unfortunate that this tender incident was ever transferred to the arena of controversy---especially as the lesson which the Savior draws from it is of so different a character. 
It seems extremely probable that, if the disciples had not interfered, Jesus would have simply granted the request of the mothers, and we should have heard little of it. The following account is rather a lesson to the disciples, than a judgment concerning the state of children. The use of a word appropriate to babes, and of another denoting little children, to the same persons, shows that they were of various ages, from earliest infancy up. 
forbid. The term means, more [specifically], hinder or prevent. 
them not for of such is the
Or: The kingdom belongs to little children--they are in it through grace, and will be kept in it unless they willfully reject Christ's gospel. 
certainly, I tell you, whoever doesn't receive the
Young’s: verily I say to you, Whoever may not
receive the reign of God as a little child, may not enter into it.'
Conte (RC): Amen, I say to you, whoever will not accept the
Verily I say
unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the
shall in no wise enter therein. This generalizes the preceding statement, and shows, not that mere child-likeness guarantees membership in Christ’s kingdom; but that, without that teachableness, humility, trust, and obedience, no one can have part or lot therein. Thus it explains how multitudes of excellent people, as the world judges, naturally remain aloof from connection with Christ. 
WEB: A certain ruler asked him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
Young’s: And a certain ruler
questioned him, saying, 'Good teacher, what having done -- shall I inherit life
Conte (RC): And a certain leader questioned him, saying: "Good teacher, what should I do to possess eternal life?"
And a certain ruler. This incident is related in the three synoptical Gospels. St. Matthew speaks of him as the young man. St. Luke here styles him a ruler; by some the title is supposed simply to denote that he was the ruler of a synagogue or congregation; others, however, consider that it denotes that the subject of the narrative was a ruler of the Jews, and possibly, but this is of course doubtful, a member of the Sanhedrin. His youth (Matthew ) is not at variance with this inference. Youth is defined by Philo as including the period between twenty-one and twenty-eight. All the three evangelists mention his great wealth. Dean Plumptre suggests that his large possessions and evident devotion had probably opened to him, at a comparatively early age, a place in the great council. 
There is no appearance of a desire to “tempt” Jesus, as in a somewhat similar case (), but a sincere wish to know the truth touching a most important question. 
asked Him, saying, Good Master. This title was an impropriety, almost an impertinence; for the title “good” was never addressed to Rabbis by their pupils. Therefore to address Jesus thus was to assume a tone almost of patronage. Moreover, as the young Ruler did not look on Jesus as divine, it was to assume a false standpoint altogether. 
What shall I do to inherit eternal life? He was eager to know, and probably expected some new rules, some points of minute external observance, which he would gladly learn and practice. Instead, Jesus mentions one or two of the commonest and most commonplace commandments, forbidding murder, lust, theft, lying, and so forth. He wished to show the young ruler that there were depths of fulfillment even in these simple commands which he had never dreamed of. 
eternal life. His question concerning eternal life indicates that he was a Pharisee, and he evidently represented the noblest phase of this religious party. He had followed out the precepts of the best rabbinic schools of his day, but there was something lacking, he felt, and the influence of the Master's words led him to take this question point-blank to the famous Teacher. 
WEB: Jesus asked him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good, except one--God.
Young’s: And Jesus said to him, 'Why me dost thou call good? no one is
good, except One -- God;
Conte (RC): Then Jesus said to him: "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? According to Matthew the question also ran, “Why asked thou Me about the good?” The emphasis is not on the me but on good. Why do you give me this strange title which from your point of view is unwarrantable? Compare Plato, Phaed., 27, “to be a good man is impossible . . . God alone could have this honour.” 
none is good save one, that is, God. Did our Lord mean then to teach that God only ought to be called "good?" Impossible; for that had been to contradict all Scripture teaching and His own too: Psalms 112:5; Matthew 25:21; Titus 1:8. Unless therefore we are to ascribe captiousness to our Lord, he could have had but one object--to raise the youth's ideas of Himself, as not to be classed merely with other "good masters," and declining to receive this title apart from the "One" who is essentially and only "good." This indeed is but distantly hinted; but unless this is seen in the background of our Lord's words, nothing worthy of Him can be made out of them. 
If, as Socinians allege, Jesus here denies that He is God, He also denies that He is good. .
WEB: You know the commandments: 'Don't commit adultery,' 'Don't murder,' 'Don't steal,' 'Don't give false testimony,' 'Honor your father and your mother.'"
Young’s: the commands thou hast known: Thou mayest not commit adultery, Thou mayest
do no murder, Thou mayest not steal, Thou mayest not bear false witness, Honour
thy father and thy mother.'
Conte (RC): You know the commandments: You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony. Honor your father and mother."
Thou knowest the commandments. The report in St. Matthew is somewhat fuller. There the ruler, when directed to the commandments, replies by asking "which?" expecting most likely to be referred to some of the elaborate traditional laws of the rabbinic schools, which were difficult to keep even by men in the position of a wealthy Pharisee; but to his surprise Jesus mentions the most general and best-known of the ancient ten. 
Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. Notice that Jesus refers him only to commandments “of the second table,” enjoining duties to fellow-men. Some judge this to have been because He thought reflection on these would suffice to convict him of sin. How much, then would he be humbled in view of deficiencies of obedience and love toward God? But as it is a common fact that Jesus and His apostles, in summarizing the Law, confine themselves to the commandments of this class, we may suppose that it was because men could more easily test themselves by these than by the profounder, more spiritual requirements of Godlike love. 
WEB: He said, "I have observed all these things from my youth up."
Young’s: And he said, 'All these I did keep from
Conte (RC): And he said, "I have kept all these things from my youth."
And he said. He listens to the Master with something like impatient surprise. There is a ring of concealed indignation in his [response]. 
all these have I kept. From the statement of Mark (x. 21), Jesus beholding him, loved him, it seems probable that the young man, in expressing himself as in this verse, did not mean to make a self-righteous boast, but to say that he knew the will of God as contained in the law, and that he had directed his life generally according to that law. Otherwise we should hardly be told that Jesus loved him, except as He loves all mankind. He would hardly have felt a special interest in him. 
Or, a less complimentary interpretation: There seems to have been an accent of extreme surprise in his reply. “You bid me not be a thief, adulterer, murderer! For whom do you take me? I am no criminal. These I kept since I was a child.” And then he added, “what lack I yet?” (Matthew ).—here, again the Gospel is true to the letter in its picture of a Pharisaic Rabbi. Thus the Talmud describes one of the classes of Pharisees as the tell-me-something-more-to-do-and-I-will-do-it Pharisee; and when R. Chaninah was dying he said to the Angel of Death, “Go and fetch me the Book of the Law, and see whether there is anything in it which I have not kept.” 
from my youth up. There was no “sowing wild oats” for him. He had recognized the behavioral style that should characterize a worshipper of God and had followed it since he was a young man. [rw]
Weymouth: On receiving this answer Jesus said to him, "There is still one thing wanting in you. Sell everything you possess and give the money to the poor, and you shall have wealth in Heaven; and then come, follow me."
WEB: When Jesus heard these things, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have, and distribute it to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Come, follow me."
Young’s: and having heard these things, Jesus said
to him, 'Yet one thing to thee is lacking; all things -- as many as thou hast
-- sell, and distribute to the poor, and thou shalt
have treasure in heaven, and come, be following me;'
Conte (RC): And when Jesus heard this, he said to him: "One thing is still lacking for you. Sell all the things that you have, and give to the poor. And then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me."
Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest though one thing. Lit., still one thing is lacking to thee. Mark alone adds that Jesus, looking upon him, loved him. 
sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. A unique requirement expressly given to this man alone, of all with whom Christ discoursed about salvation, can not convey the absolute and general condition of salvation. It was given to him as suited to make plain what he lacked in moral perfection (Matthew ) and eternal life. 
and come, follow me. Quite probably Christ desired him to give himself to the ministry of the gospel, as Peter and Andrew, James and John had done—leaving all. We can easily imagine that he would, thus proved, have made a useful laborer in God’s harvest. It will be noticed that this consecration of his worldly goods to charity was not itself to be a saving act. It was only preparatory to that course of discipleship to Christ which would lead to eternal life. 
WEB: But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was very rich.
Young’s: and he, having heard these things, became
very sorrowful, for he was exceeding rich.
Conte (RC): When he heard this, he became very sorrowful. For he was very rich.
And when he heard this. The 'Gospel of the Hebrews,' a very ancient document, a few fragments only of which have come down to us in quotations in the Fathers, thus describes the scene: "Then the rich man began to scratch his head, for that was not to his mind. And the Lord said to him, How then canst thou say, I have kept the Law; for it is written in the Law, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; and, lo! many of thy brethren, children of Abraham, live in the gutter, and die of hunger, while thy table is loaded with good things, and nothing is sent out to them?" (quoted by Origen, in Matthew 19:1-30). Dante calls this "The Great Refusal," and represents the shade of the young ruler among the throng of the useless, of those who faced both ways (' Inferno,' 10.27).
It is worthy of notice that there was no angry retort from the wealthy ruler, no scornful, cynical smile of derision, as we read of among the covetous, wealthy Pharisees (Luke 16:14). Still, in the heart of this seeker after the true wisdom there was a sore conflict. Grieving, sorrow-stricken, with gloomy looks, he turned away in silence. 
he was very sorrowful. That he was “sorrowful” shows that he could not dispute the teaching. These were different things, however, from what he was used to hear concerning the way of life. 
Matthew says, “he went away grieving;’ Mark adds that “his brow grew gloomy and cloudy at the command.” And thus at the time he made, through cowardice or [other reasons], what Dante (Inferno, x. 27) calls “il gran rifiuto,” “the great refusal,” and the poet sees his shade among the whirling throng of the useless and the facing-both-ways on the confines of the Inferno. Nothing, however, forbids us to hope that the words of Jesus who “loved him” sank into his soul and brought him to a humbler and holier frame of mind. 
for he was very rich. It is very easy for those with little to mock the rich man, but it is it any easier for the poor to give up whatever impediment that hinders their spiritual life? Backbiting, deceit, violence—a million and one things, from undesirable to outright abhorrent. God no more gives the poor a “black check” of acceptance that He does the rich. Both He instructs to do things they would rather not. [rw]
seeing that he became very sad, said, "How hard it is for those who have
riches to enter into the
Young’s: And Jesus having seen him become very
sorrowful, said, 'How hardly shall those having riches enter into the reign of
Conte (RC): Then Jesus, seeing him brought to sorrow, said: "How difficult it is for those who have money to enter into the
And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful. Some major manuscripts leave out the “was very sorrowful” but the previous verse made explicit its presence. It is rare for extreme sorrow to not be visible on the face, movements, and action of the affected individual. [rw]
He said, How hardly shall they that
have riches enter into the
striking reading of some manuscripts in Mark , is that Christ, seeing the pained astonishment of the disciples,
said, “Children! How
hard it is to enter into the
WEB: For it is
easier for a camel to enter in through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to
enter into the
Young’s: for it is easier for a camel through the
eye of a needle to enter, than for a rich man into the reign of God to enter.'
Conte (RC): For it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a wealthy man to enter into the
For it is easier for a camel. A proverbial expression denoting literally a thing impossible, but figuratively, very difficult. 
This is a proverbial way of expressing an impossibility, but by no means intended to be absolutely so understood, because evidently it is qualified by both the preceding and succeeding context. In the former it is hard for them; in the latter it is possible with God. Perhaps, too, we should discern a difference between a man that has riches and a rich man. The former may have them in trust as the steward of God, and be poor in spirit and rich in good works—the latter, however, the rich man, is like the rich fool, who lays up treasures for himself, or like the rich man in the parable who selfishly clings to his “good things” as his portion. 
to go through the needle’s eye. Both Matthew and Mark use another word for needle; see on Mark x. 25. Luke alone has [the word], which, besides being an older term, is the peculiar word for the surgical needle. The other word is condemned by the Greek grammarians as barbarous. 
For a camel to pass through the eye of a needle was a natural impossibility; and for a rich man to be saved he declares is still harder. All attempts to soften this statement, either by supposing the needle’s eye to be a figure for a narrow gate in a city gate—of which use of the term there is no proof at all—or, that the Greek word for camel was changed from one meaning “cable,” or “hope”—for which there is no text authority, and which also would be literally impossible, all such attempts are vain and unnecessary. Christ, as often, to more deeply impress a truth, speaks the language of hyperbole, for which His hearers would, and all sensible readers, do make proper allowance. 
than for a rich man
to enter into the
In depth: The
conjecture that the rich man was Lazarus . Dean Plumptre has
a most interesting theory that the young wealthy ruler was Lazarus of
He begins by stating that "there is one other case in the first two Gospels which presents similar phenomena, in the narrative of the supper at Bethany, St. Matthew and St. Mark record the passionate affection which expressed itself in pouring the precious ointment of spikenard upon our Lord's head as the act of 'a woman', leaving her unnamed. In John 12:3 we find that the woman was Mary, the sister of Lazarus. The train of thought thus suggested points to the supposition that here also there may have been reasons for suppressing in the records a name which was familiar to the narrator.
“ What if
the young ruler were Lazarus himself?
The points of agreement are sufficiently numerous to warrant the
conjecture. The household of Lazarus, as
the spikenard ointment shows, were of the wealthier class. The friends who came to comfort the bereaved
sisters were themselves, in
“The young ruler was obviously a
Pharisee, and the language of Martha (John ) shows that she, too, believed in eternal life and the resurrection of
the dead. The answer to the young ruler, ' One thing thou lackest',
is almost identical with that to Martha, 'One thing is needful' (Luke ). In
such a case, of course, nothing can be attained beyond conjectural inference;
but the present writer must avow his belief that the coincidences in this case
are such as to carry the evidence to a very
WEB: Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?"
Young’s: And those who heard,
said, 'And who is able to be saved?'
Conte (RC): And those who were listening to this said, "Then who is able to be saved?"
And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? They would perhaps have been less surprised, if He had said, “How hardly do the poor enter in!” And the bearing of their question was, “If the rich, with all their means for giving alms, and time for the performance of religious works, have so great difficulty, what is to become of us?” Or, is it possible that, in the crudeness of their conceptions concerning the Messiah’s kingdom, they had included riches as an essential endowment of all its members, and could not imagine salvation without it? 
WEB: But he said, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."
Young’s: and he said, 'The things impossible with
men are possible with God.'
Conte (RC): He said to them, "Things that are impossible with men are possible with God."
And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. “There is nothing too hard for thee,” Jeremiah 32:17; compare Job xlii. 2; Zechariah 8:6. 
The conversion of any man was a work of God’s grace; that of a rich man, from the incident which they had just witnessed, seemed most strikingly so. But God could accomplish even that. 
WEB: Peter said, "Look, we have left everything, and followed you."
Young’s: And Peter said, 'Lo, we left all, and did
Conte (RC): And Peter said, "Behold, we have left everything, and we have followed you."
Then Peter said. Speaking not just of what he personally had done, but what was true of all the apostles. [rw]
The feeling which dictated his remark is uncertain; perhaps it was a passing touch of self-congratulation; perhaps a plea for pity in the hard task of salvation. 
Lo, we have left all. Our trades, our houses, and families. 
A man may be rich without riches: he may leave all, without having ever possessed any thing. It is by the heart that we cleave to earthly possessions; it is by renouncing them in our heart that we disengage ourselves from them. We leave them, when we cease to desire them. 
and followed Thee. He was naturally curious, if not anxious, after the exciting case of the ruler, and the startling comments of the Saviour, to understand how he himself and his fellow apostles stood related, in these respects, to the eternal life. 
WEB: He said
to them, "Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house,
or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children, for the
Young’s: and he said to them, 'Verily I say to
you, that there is not one who left house, or parents, or brothers, or wife, or
children, for the sake of the reign of God,
Conte (RC): And he said to them: "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has left behind home, or parents, or brothers, or a wife, or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
And He said unto them. Peter is not rebuked for having respect to the recompense of reward—because the hope of reward is a legitimate motive to action. Besides, the Savior knew that the sacrifice had not been made in the spirit of selfish bargaining—so much sacrifice for so much reward—but for the kingdom of God’s sake, and out of loyalty and love to the Master. 
Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children. Christ seems, by His enumeration of objects given up, to represent all types of loss and sacrifice to which His disciples were, and would be, liable. 
God knows full well the difference between doing something as a self-serving excuse to justify what would otherwise be viewed as horrible . . . and doing the same thing out of genuine dedicated spirituality. [rw]
WEB: who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the world to come, eternal life."
Young’s: who may not receive back manifold more in
this time, and in the coming age, life age-during.'
Conte (RC): who will not receive much more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life."
Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time. Matthew and Mark say “a hundredfold.” Of course, the promise of “the hundred-fold” is neither literal nor quantitative, but qualitative and spiritual.  .
and in the world to come life everlasting. There are special blessings that will come in the present life, but there are also those that can only be received after this world is left behind. A new world; a greater world. 
WEB: He took
the twelve aside, and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to
Young’s: And having taken the twelve aside, he
said unto them, 'Lo, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be completed
-- that have been written through the prophets -- to the Son of Man,
Conte (RC): Then Jesus took the twelve aside, and he said to them: "Behold, we are ascending to Jerusalem, and everything shall be completed which was written by the prophets about the Son of man.
note: Where the raising of Lazarus best
fits into this gospel’s chronology and why it is not mentioned here : Between these verses and the last should
probably be inserted the journey from the Peraean
Bethany to the Judaean
miracle led to a meeting of the Sanhedrin, at which was decided—mainly on the
authority of Caiaphas—that Jesus must be put to death
though not during the ensuing Passover,--with such precautions as were
possible. The terrible decision became
known. Indeed, it led to attempts to
murder Lazarus and seize Jesus, which compelled Him to retire secretly to the
Here our Lord spent, in undisturbed and unrecorded calm, the last few weeks of His life, occupied in training the Apostles who were to convert the world. Towards the close of the time He would see, from the hill of Ephraim, the crowds of Galilaean pilgrims streaming down the Jordan valley to keep the Passover at Jerusalem; and, secure under their protection till His brief days of destined work were done, He left His place of retreat to join their caravans for His last solemn progress to Jerusalem.
Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem. [“Took unto him the twelve,” i.e.] apart, and on the road, as learn from Matthew . Mark, with one of his graphic touches of detail, describes Jesus walking before them, and (as we infer from the expression of the Evangelist) in such awful majesty of sorrow that those nearest Him were filled with deep amazement, and those who were following at a greater distance felt a hush of fear (Mark 10:32). Then it was that He beckoned them to Him, and revealed the crowning circumstances of horror respecting His death. 
This inner core was the special group that Jesus counted on to continue His mission of sharing God’s redemptive mission after His death. They, of all people, needed to be repeatedly forewarned. They might regard the warning as “impossible to happen,” but it would be vital for the rebuilding of their faith afterwards: “Jesus had known and we were too thick-headed to grasp what He was driving at.” [rw]
and all things written by the prophets. Those who foretold the coming of the Messiah, and whose predictions are recorded in the Old Testament. 
The things soon to occur—as surprising as they may seem to you—is nothing that should shake your faith. The prophets long ago spoke of these things so they should not shock you. But, of course, they did. They had to have great faith in order to undergo what they had already been through with Jesus, but that faith had never encountered the kind of—apparently—total, overwhelming disaster that would overwhelm their Leader and leave them themselves running for safety. [rw]
concerning the Son of
shall be accomplished. [Implying] these things shall be accomplished in Him--He being the Son of Man or the Messiah. 
WEB: For he will be delivered up to the Gentiles, will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit on.
Young’s: for he shall be delivered up to the
nations, and shall be mocked, and insulted, and spit upon,
Conte (RC): For he will be handed over to the Gentiles, and he will be mocked and scourged and spit upon.
For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles. Matthew (-19) tells us that the information was given privately to His disciples and adds the words "crucify Him." This was the third distinction prediction: (1) Luke ; (2) Luke ; (3) Luke -34.
In the first prediction Jesus spoke (1) of sufferings; (2) of rejection at the hands of the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, of all the recognized religious leaders of the nation; (3) of a violent death; and (4) of resurrection after three days.
In the second Jesus adds (Luke ) (5) the fact of betrayal (the Son of Man shall be delivered into the hands of men).
In this third prediction our Lord foretells the end with very minute detail. In addition to what was given in the previous prediction, He declares (6) that He is to be tried and condemned by the Sanhedrin (Mark 10:33); (7) that He is also to undergo a Roman trial; (8) that after trial He is to be subjected to all manner of [insult], to mocking, spitting upon, and scourging; (9) the delivery to the Gentiles also implied crucifixion and the actual statement "to crucify Him" is made by Matthew (20:19). The disciples did not understand His words. John tells us of another occasion that the disciples did not understand at the first, but came to know the meaning "when Jesus was glorified" (John ). 
and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on. In addition to their refusal to believe that the Jewish Messiah could possibly be murdered, the involvement of Roman authorities had to be especially perplexing. He had repeatedly embarrassed and angered the religious leadership for not knowing what they were talking about and for refusing to submit themselves to the intended meaning of the very Divine Law they made a display of knowing, understanding, and practicing. That they would attempt “dirty pool” would be quite understandable though it being successful was another matter. Jesus had escaped all their efforts at discreditation; escaping death schemes would seem a quite reasonable projection based on past behavior.
But why in the world would the Romans get themselves involved in this dispute among Jews? John the Baptist made no secret, apparently, of Herod Antipas’ excess so that Roman official had a personal grievance and even in that case it took a foolish promise to get him to execute the Baptist.
Jesus had done no such thing. The possibility that the Jewish priestly aristocracy would be able to psychologically strong-arm Pilate into getting involved would surely have seemed an impossibility. But even a Roman governor, as they would learn, could be maneuvered if the right “important people” used all their skills and a little luck went their way. [rw]
WEB: They will scourge and kill him. On the third day, he will rise again."
Young’s: and having scourged they shall put him to
death, and on the third day he shall rise again.'
Conte (RC): And after they have scourged him, they will kill him. And on the third day, he will rise again."
And they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again. A Roman scourging was a nasty piece of business under the best of circumstances and that would easily serve as adequate punishment in Roman eyes for many evils and nuisances. But on top of that they would execute Him who had done nothing to arouse their anger and, if anything, had gone out of His way to avoid doing so (think of the paying Caesar taxes question in particular). If the apostles found it impossible to grasp what these things met (as seen in the next verse), is it any surprise that the resurrection was also beyond their comprehension as well? If you can’t really accept the dying part, you are hardly likely to be able to grasp the escape from death! [rw]
WEB: They understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they didn't understand the things that were said.
Young’s: And they none of these things understood,
and this saying was hid from them, and they were not knowing the things said.
Conte (RC): But they understood none of these things. For this word was concealed from them, and they did not understand the things that were said.
And they understood none of these things. Notwithstanding all the information which Christ had given them concerning this subject, they could not as yet fully comprehend how the Messiah should suffer; or how their Master, whose power they knew was unlimited, should permit the Jews and Gentiles to torment and slay him as He here intimates they would. 
So fixed and ineradicable was their false conception of the Messianic reign that they could not believe that what Jesus said could be literally true (Matthew ). Only later did the full significance of his saying dawn upon them (John ; John ). 
and this saying was hid from them. Not so much, we may believe, in the way of judicial blindness, as if they blamefully missed the true sense; but rather through mercy, that they might not be prematurely aware of the trials before them, but first find the import of the prediction, when they should most need its comfort. 
neither knew they the things which were spoken. A necessary result of the preceding statement. 
happened, as he came near
Young’s: And it came to pass, in his coming nigh
to Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting beside the way begging,
Conte (RC): Now it happened that, as he was approaching Jericho, a certain blind man was sitting beside the way, begging.
And it came to
pass, that as He was come nigh unto
a certain blind man sat by the way side begging. He had placed himself by the road-side in order that travelers might see him and give him help. Except in extraordinary cases, it is in all respects most advisable to relieve those who are known by us both as to their wants and conduct, and, provided less be not given in charity, and no extreme case neglected, the refusal of relief to vagrant beggars is rather a proof of discretion than an indication of defect in beneficence [= charity]. If this conduct were generally adopted, the indigent would, in ordinary cases, be compelled to abide where they are known; the sums expended in charity would be far more profitably applied, the interests of morality and religion better secured, and the poor themselves far more adequately relieved. 
In depth: Explanations for the differences in the
synoptic accounts of the
healing of the blind man . The three narratives of the blind men
have exercised the ingenuity of harmonizers.
Luke and Mark have one, Matthew mentions two; Luke represents the
miracle as taking place when Jesus was approaching Jericho; Matthew and Mark,
when He was leaving it. The following solutions
have been suggested: (1) There were three
different healings. (2) As Christ entered
A related approach as to Bartimaeus
in particular: Knowing that Jesus was on the way to
A note on the literary independence of the authors: With simple and truthful writers like the Evangelists, we may feel sure that some good reason underlies the obvious apparent discrepancy [on the physical location of the healing] which would however in any case be unimportant. And, as Chrysostom says, such discrepancies have their own value as a marked proof of the mutual independence of the Evangelists. 
WEB: Hearing a multitude going by, he asked what this meant.
Young’s: and having heard a multitude going by, he
was inquiring what this may be,
Conte (RC): And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this was.
And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. Blind, of course, did not mean oblivious. He could hear the crowd—apparently joyous, jubilant, and in clear distinction from the noise he had been hearing from other travelers throughout the day. Since he couldn’t see for himself, he naturally enquired what was going on that made the people act in this manner. [rw]
WEB: They told
him that Jesus of
Young’s: and they brought him word that Jesus the
Nazarene doth pass by,
Conte (RC): And they told him that Jesus of
And they told him,
that Jesus of
WEB: He cried out, "Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!"
Young’s: and he cried out, saying, 'Jesus, Son of
David, deal kindly with me;'
Conte (RC): And he cried out, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, take pity on me!"
And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David. Thus proving his persuasion of the Messiahship of our Lord. 
have mercy on me. This speaks his sense of need, and, equally, of unworthiness. He can ask help only for pity’s sake, without any claim or allegation of merit. 
Weymouth: Those in front reproved him and tried to silence him; but he continued shouting, louder than ever, "Son of David, take pity on me."
WEB: Those who led the way rebuked him, that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "You son of David, have mercy on me!"
Young’s: and those going before were rebuking him,
that he might be silent, but he was much more crying out, 'Son of David, deal
kindly with me.'
Conte (RC): And those who were passing by rebuked him, so that he would be silent. Yet truly, he cried out all the more, "Son of David, take pity on me!"
And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. At this time the multitude were respectful to Jesus. Their rebuke resulted simply from the desire in those, for the most part spiritually undeveloped men, that the procession to Jerusalem, where they anticipated a public and open avowal by Jesus of His Messiahship, even, perhaps, the assumption of the regal dignity, might not be delayed by an affair of comparatively such trivial importance as the giving sight to a poor blind man. The beggar regarded not the rebuke that was given him. His case was urgent. 
but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. They were thinking dreams of national glory; he was thinking dreams of escaping his ongoing misery. Did not the crowd realize that even Kings—if they are wise—think of the needs of their people as well? [rw]
Weymouth: At length Jesus stopped and desired them to bring the man to Him; and when he had come close to Him He asked him,
WEB: Standing still, Jesus commanded him to be brought to him. When he had come near, he asked him,
Young’s: And Jesus having stood, commanded him to
be brought unto him, and he having come nigh, he questioned him,
Conte (RC): Then Jesus, standing still, ordered him to be brought to him. And when he had drawn near, he questioned him,
And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto Him. He would not perform the miracle till the blind man came to Him, that, by the manner of his walking, the spectators might be convinced that he was truly blind. 
“Brought unto Him,” by the hands, very likely of some who had thought it unbecoming that the wretch should address their Lord. 
and when he was come near, he asked him. Close enough that He could both see and hear the man clearly and that whatever occurred in the way of a miracle would unquestionably be understood by the observers to have been done by the power of Jesus’ will. [rw]
The narrative of Mark, which is evidently derived from an immediate eye-witness, describes Bartimaeus as “springing to his feet and flinging away his outer robe,” when he was told that Jesus had called him. 
WEB: "What do you want me to do?" He said, "Lord, that I may see again."
Young’s: saying, 'What wilt thou I shall do to
thee?' and he said, 'Sir, that I may receive sight.'
Conte (RC): saying, "What do you want, that I might do for you?" So he said, "Lord, that I may see."
Saying, what wilt thou that I should do unto thee? This question of our Lord was, in part, an expression of His readiness to aid; in part, also, for the calling out into yet livelier exercise the faith and expectation of the petitioner. (Matt. ix. 28.) 
Lord, that I may receive my sight. The man's cry had hitherto been a vague general cry for mercy, now he singles out the blessing which He craves, declares the channel in which He desired the solicited mercy to run. 
Lord. In Mark the title given is Rabboni, the highest form of the title Rabbi. 
WEB: Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you."
Young’s: And Jesus said to him,
'Receive thy sight; thy faith hath saved thee;'
Conte (RC): And Jesus said to him: "Look around. Your faith has saved you."
And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight. Without the slightest hesitation, the healing word was spoken. 
thy faith hath saved thee. i.e., instrumentally, in bringing thee to the source of saving power. 
[This] was added to honor the faith which the man had exercised, and show that there had not been merely an arbitrary exercise of the divine power. 
WEB: Immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God. All the people, when they saw it, praised God.
Young’s: and presently he did receive sight, and
was following him, glorifying God; and all the people, having seen, did give
praise to God.
Conte (RC): And immediately he saw. And he followed him, magnifying God. And all the people, when they saw this, gave praise to God.
And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. The time for any reticence respecting miracles was long past. Luke is specially fond of recording doxologies. See , , , , . 
and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God. A miracle they weren’t expecting, at a time when they weren’t expecting one, but even in the midst of their passionate jubilation of the future of Jesus, they at least recognize what He has done is something worthy of praise in its own right. Hopefully because they recognized that a Divine King should act in such a manner for His people. [rw]
(with number code)
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2 = Marvin R. Vincent. Word Studies in the New Testament. Volume I:
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4 = Charles H. Hall. Notes, Practical and Expository on the Gospels;
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10 = Alfred Nevin.
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12 = Alexander B. Bruce. The Synoptic Gospels. In The Expositor's
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13 = F. Godet. A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke. Translated
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15 = Henry Alford. The Greek Testament. Volume I: The Four Gospels.
16 = David Brown. "Luke" in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and
David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the
Old and New Testaments.
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17 = Dr. [no first name provided] MacEvilly. An Exposition of the Gospel
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18 = H. D. M. Spence. “Luke.” In the Pulpit Commentary, edited by H. D.
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19 = John Calvin. Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists,
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20 = Thomas Scott. The Holy Bible ...with Explanatory Notes (and)
21 = Henry T. Sell. Bible Studies in the Life of Christ: Historical and
22 = Philip Vollmer. The Modern Student's Life of Christ.
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23 = Heinrich A. W. Meyer. Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the
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25 = John Cummings. Sabbath Evening Readers on the New Testa-
26 = Walter F. Adeney, editor. The Century Bible: A Modern
missing from copy.
27 = Pasquier Quesnel. The Gospels with Reflections on Each Verse.
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29 = Elvira J. Slack. Jesus: The Man of
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32 = Matthew Henry. Commentary on the Whole Bible. Volume V:
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33 = C. G. Barth. The Bible Manual: An Expository and Practical
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38 = Alfred Edersheim. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.
39 = A. T. Robertson. Luke the Historian in the Light of Research.
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920; 1930 reprint.
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Sanday. Outlines of the Life of Christ.
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42 = Halford E. Luccock. Studies in the Parables
Methodist Book Concern, 1917.
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44 = Charles S. Robinson. Studies in Luke's Gospel. Second Series.
45 = John
Laidlaw. The Miracles of Our Lord.
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Miracles of Our Lord.
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51 = Matthew Poole. Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1600s.
52 = George R. Bliss. Luke. In An American Commentary on the New
53 = J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. The Fourfold Gospel.
54 = John Trapp. Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1654.
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56 = Frederic W. Farrar. The Gospel According to St. Luke. In “The
the University Press, 1882.