From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Luke Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2015


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Verses 1-42



Books Utilized Codes at End of Chapter




10:1                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them before Him, by twos, to go to every town or place which He Himself intended to visit.

WEB:              Now after these things, the Lord also appointed seventy others, and sent them two by two ahead of him into every city and place, where he was about to come.          

Young’s:         And after these things, the Lord did appoint also other seventy, and sent them by twos before his face, to every city and place whither he himself was about to come,
Conte (RC):   Then, after these things, the Lord also designated another seventy-two. And he sent them in pairs before his face, into every city and place where he was to arrive.


10:1                 Introductory note:  The Biblical setting / historical context of the mission being described.  Luke has told us of the journey through Samaria to Jerusalem (Luke 9:52), and John has told us what occurred at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem (John 7:2). We learn from John also that Jesus was at the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22).  The first feast was in October and the latter in December.  Jesus evidently spent the time between these feast in Judea, making a tour of that province and sending the seventy before him, thus thoroughly evangelizing it as he had Galilee, by sending out the twelve.  [53]

                        After these things.  After the appointment of the twelve apostles and the transactions recorded in the previous chapter.  [11]

                        the Lord appointed.  The seventy were probably selected from the messengers mentioned in the last chapter, from the candidates so well sifted in its closing verses, and from some of our Lord's friends in Judea.  [9]  

                        other seventy also.   Seventy others besides the apostles.  They were appointed for a different purpose from the apostles.  The apostles were to be with Him--to hear His instructions--to be witnesses of His miracles, His sufferings, His death, His resurrection and ascension, that they might then go and proclaim all these things to the world.  The seventy were sent out to preach immediately and chiefly where He Himself was to come.  They were appointed for a temporary object.  [11]

                        The saying about the paucity of labourers, found also in Mt. (ix. 38), implies that Jesus was constantly on the outlook for competent assistants, and that He would use such as were available.  [12]

The number was large, that they might rapidly accomplish, in a short time, throughout Southern Galilee, but more especially beyond the Jordan, the work which had been done in Northern Palestine.  [52] 

                        Aside:  Why seventy in particular?  Why the precise number seventy?  The most common opinion is that as the number twelve had a reference probably to the number of the Patriarchs intimating the Lord's provision for His Israel, so seventy may have reference to the Elders chosen by Moses to aid him in the government of the people.  (Num. xi. 16, 25.)  [9]

The number may have been suggested by the seventy nations into which the Jews divided mankind (Gen. ch. 10) or the 70 members of the Sanhedrin, but more likely by the seventy elders appointed to help Moses (Num. 11:16-17, 24-25).  [22]      

                        Seventy (seventy-two in B), representing the nations of the earth, the number consciously fixed by the evangelist to symbolise Christian universalism--according to Dr. Baur and the Tubingen School; representing in the mind of Jesus        the seventy Sanhedrists, as the Twelve were meant to represent the tribes of Israel, the seventy disciples having for their vocation to do what the Sanhedrists had         failed to do--prepare the people for the appearance of the Christ--according to Hahn.  [12]

                        and sent them.  Luke alone records this mission.  [7]

                        two and two.  So there were thirty-five different couples to go thirty-five different ways.  Two were suited for mutual support and counsel; and, also, that by the mouth of two witnesses everything might be established.  Compare the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3.  [14]

                        Christ sends His disciples two and two, to teach them to labour in the church in the spirit of concord and charity.  [27]

                        before His face.  In advance:  to [announce] this, His last journey.  [7]

                        into every city and place.  The Twelve had been sent out to assist Jesus in His work; the Seventy were sent to prepare the way for His own arrival, so that there should be no needless loss of time, which at the best was short for the great work that remained to be done.  As the work of the two missions was in some respects similar, the instructions were substantially the same in both cases.  But note that, while the Twelve were forbidden to go to the Gentiles or to the Samaritans (Matt. 10:5), no such restriction was put on the Seventy whose work lay in a district where Gentiles were numerous.  [22]

                        whither he Himself would come.  In Greek, whither he was about to come; that is, provided the proper conditions should exist.  [14]


                        In depth:  the unique nature of the work of the Seventy [16].  The mission, unlike that of the Twelve, was evidently quite temporary.  All the instructions are in keeping with a brief and hasty pioneering mission, intended to supply what of general preparation for coming events the Lord's own visit afterwards to the same "cities and places" (verse 1) would not, from want of time, now suffice to accomplish; whereas the instructions to the Twelve, besides embracing all those to the Seventy, contemplate world-wide and permanent effects.  Accordingly, after their return from this single missionary tour, we never again read of the Seventy. 


                        In depth:  The geographic location to which the men were sent [55].  This sentence makes it clear that Jesus planned a quite extensive evangelistic tour, intended himself to visit not less than thirty-five town [since He sent two representatives to each, rw], probably many more.  Where these towns were Luke does not say, other than that they were between Galilee and Jerusalem.  Probably many, perhaps most, of them lay in Perea, as Matthew suggests, or in Judea and Perea, as Mark implies.  Perea was the one territory inhabited by Jews in which Jesus had as yet done little or no work.  Knowing that the end of His life is near, He plans a tour which shall reach as fully as may be the one remaining district of Palestine.  This event, therefore, gives character in large part to the whole period.


                        In depth:  The historicity of the mission of the Seventy [23].  The narrative of the Seventy has been relegated into the unhistorical domain by Strauss, Baur, Ritschl, and others.  But:

                        1.  As they accept that this was only a temporary and special appointment for the present journey, and not a permanent function (verse 1) the silence of the rest of the evangelists, as well as the silence of the subsequent history about their doings, is very easy to understand.

                        2.  That Jesus in general had around Him a larger circle of constant disciples, broader the twelve from whom He could appoint seventy for a special commission, is in itself, and from the evidence of such passages as Acts 1:15, 21;  I Corinthians 15:6, as well as John 6:60, not to be doubted.

                        3.  If an invention, the tradition would hardly have restrained itself within these narrow limits, but would have gone further than simply to allow the Seventy to be appointed and sent forth, and then to return and vanish; and would especially have passed over into the apostolic history.

                        4.  That Jesus gave them a commission similar to that which He gave the Twelve, arose from the similar character of their temporary [missions].

                        5.  If the narrative had been, as has been supposed, an invention of the author, to keep the apostle call of Paul in contrast with that of the Twelve, it would have been put as necessary as it was easy to the inventor to relate what they did, or at least to interweave references to the ministry of Paul, yet these are entirely wanting.  Moreover, the Acts of the Apostles would not have been perfectly silent about the Seventy. 



10:2                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And He addressed them thus: "The harvest is abundant, but the reapers are few: therefore entreat the Owner of the harvest to send out more reapers into His fields. And now go.

WEB:              Then he said to them, "The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he may send out laborers into his harvest.

Young’s:         then said he unto them, 'The harvest indeed is abundant, but the workmen few; beseech ye then the Lord of the harvest, that He may put forth workmen to His harvest.
Conte (RC):   And he said to them: "Certainly the harvest is great, but the workers are few. Therefore, ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into his harvest.


10:2                 Therefore said He unto them, The harvest truly is great.  Compare Matthew 9:37; John 4:35.  [56]

but the labourers are few.  The laborers, even now that he had called seventy others, were few to meet the demand.  We may infer that He had no more that He could hopefully send out for such work.  [52]

                        pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest.  That the harvest increase is God’s, gives them good ground for praying Him to do what they cannot of themselves accomplish.  The injunction may mean, “Pray that God will prosper you in winning men to faith in me, some of whom will become light-bearers to others,” or also, “that He may incline some who already believe to such ardor of love and zeal, that they will, without reserve, give themselves up to the ministry of the gospel.”  [52]

                        send forth.  Strictly, “thrust forth;” the Greek implies urgency, almost compulsion, as though much reluctance would have to be overcome.  Send forth, not, specifically, from Judea, still less from heaven (Godet), but from the seclusion of earthly engagement of private life.  [52]



10:3                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Remember that I am sending you out as lambs into the midst of wolves.

WEB:              Go your ways. Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.       

Young’s:         'Go away; lo, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves;
Conte (RC):   Go forth. Behold, I send you out like lambs among wolves.


10:3                 Go your ways.  The origin and authority of the gospel ministry, Divine.   [7]

                        behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.  Not a flattering introduction to their work, if there were faint-hearted men among them; but honest.  They were at once guarded against illusions.  [52]

                        “As sheep,” Matthew 10:16 (of the Twelve).  The slight variation must not be pressed.  The impression meant to be conveyed is merely that of simplicity and defenselessness.  A tradition, as old as Clemens Romanus [= Clement of Rome], tells us that Peter had asked (on the previous occasion), “But how then if the wolves should tear the lambs?” and that Jesus replied, “Let not the lambs fear the wolves when the lambs are once dead,” and added the words in Matthew 10:28.  There is no reason to doubt this interesting tradition, which may rank as one of the most certain of the “unwritten sayings” (agrapha dogmata) of our Lord.  [56]



10:4                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Carry no purse, bag, nor change of shoes; and salute no one on your way."

WEB:              Carry no purse, nor wallet, nor sandals. Greet no one on the way.  

Young’s:         carry no bag, no scrip, nor sandals; and salute no one on the way;
Conte (RC):   Do not choose to carry a purse, nor provisions, nor shoes; and you shall greet no one along the way.


10:4                 Carry neither purse [money bag, NKJV].  If there’s no money bag then, to all practical extent, there is no money to be carried either for where would you put it?  (They weren’t a society that had pockets in their clothing.)  [rw] 

                        nor scrip.  Not money, but a “traveling bag” (Holman translation) or “knapsack” (ESV) where one could carry clothing and other objects.  [rw]

                        nor shoes.  Not that they were to go unshod, but that they were not to carry a change of sandals.  See Deut. xxix. 5; xxxiii. 25.  [2]

                        and salute no man on the way.  Oriental salutations are tedious and complicated.  The command is suited to a rapid and temporary mission.  Compare 2 Kings iv. 29.  "These instructions were also intended to reprove another propensity which an Oriental can hardly resist, no matter how urgent his business.  If he meets an acquaintance, he must stop and make an endless number of inquiries, and answer         as many.  If they come upon men making a bargain, or discussing any other matter, they must pause and intrude their own ideas, and enter keenly into the business, though it in nowise concerns them . . ."  (Thomson,  "Land and Book")  [2]

                        In their salutations on meeting, much time is often consumed by the Orientals in mutual inquiries and compliments, manual and oral.  That our Saviour did not intend to intimate any objection to proper salutations of civility and respect, appears clearly enough from the courteous salutation enjoined in the next verse [but] they are not to waste their time in useless and empty ceremonies, as others do who have nothing better to do with their time.  [9]



10:5                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!'

WEB:              Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house.'           

Young’s:         and into whatever house ye do enter, first say, Peace to this house;
Conte (RC):   Into whatever house you will have entered, first say, 'Peace to this house.'


10:5                 And into whatsoever house ye enter.  No matter whose it is; no matter where it is.  [rw]

                        first say, Peace be to this house.  The common formula of salutation among the Jews, with whom “peace” comprehended all blessing, and welfare, as it is among the Mahometans now, in their Salaam = Hebrew Shalom.  [52]



10:6                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And if there is a lover of peace there, your peace shall rest upon it; otherwise come back upon you.

WEB:              If a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.     

Young’s:         and if indeed there may be there the son of peace, rest on it shall your peace; and if not so, upon you it shall turn back.
Conte (RC):   And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.


10:6                 And if.  Note that it is contingent.  It is what is naturally hoped for; not necessarily what will occur.  [rw]

                        the son of peace be there.  One disposed to peace or peaceful and kind in his disposition.  [11]

                        In the Jewish style, a man who has any good or bad quality is called "the son" of it.  Thus, wise men are called "the children of wisdom" (Matthew 11:19;  Luke 7:35).  So, likewise, what a man is doomed to, he is called "the son" of, as in Ephesians 2:3, wicked men are styled the "children of wrath"; so Judas is called "the son of perdition" (John 17:12); and a man who deserves to die is called (2 Samuel 12:5) a "son of death."   "Son of peace" in the text not only means a peaceable, quiet man, but one also of good report for his uprightness and benevolence.   It would have been a dishonor to this mission, had the missionaries taken up their lodgings with those who had not a good report among them who were without.  [1] 

                        your peace shall rest upon it.  “Your greeting will be accepted” (GW translation)

Or:  They will receive what you have wished for them.  [rw]

                        if not, it shall turn to you again.  “Your greeting will be rejected” (GW translation)

Or:  The wish/prayer will go unanswered.  [rw]

Matthew 10:13.  “My prayer returned into mine own bosom,” Psalms 35:13.  [56]



10:7                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And in that same house stay, eating and drinking at their table; for the labourer deserves his wages. Do not move from one house to another.

WEB:              Remain in that same house, eating and drinking the things they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Don't go from house to house.                       

Young’s:         And in that house remain, eating and drinking the things they have, for worthy is the workman of his hire; go not from house to house,
Conte (RC):   And remain in the same house, eating and drinking the things that are with them. For the worker is worthy of his pay. Do not choose to pass from house to house.


10:7                 And in the same house remain.  Don’t go changing your place of residence.  You have a roof over your head.  You won’t be there but so long.  So be content with it.  [rw]

eating and drinking such things as they give.  Whether quality cooking or mediocre.  Whether the food you are used to or not.  Whether the items you prefer or not.  Take it in the spirit of generosity in which it is provided.  [rw]

                        the laborer is worthy of his hire.  This expression is a proverbial one.  It is remarkable as being the only expression in the Gospels which is quoted in the Epistles.  Paul uses it in writing to Timothy, in connection with the expression, "the Scripture saith"  (1 Tim. v. 18).  [9]

                        This obvious truth might free their minds from scruple in receiving the hospitality of the house; “eating and drinking” such things as they gave. [52]

                        Go not from house to house.  It would be treating with disrespect those who were the first willing to help you.  It could easily degenerate into an effort to find the most prestigious family you could stay with—flattering to your ego, but ignoring the central purpose of your being there, teaching God’s word.  [rw] 



10:8                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "And whatever town you come to and they receive you, eat what they put before you.

WEB:              Into whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat the things that are set before you.    

Young’s:         and into whatever city ye enter, and they may receive you, eat the things set before you,
Conte (RC):   And into whatever city you have entered and they have received you, eat what they set before you.


10:8                 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.  They were to have the same practice of verse 7 no matter where they landed up on this journey.  They were to adopt to local dietary custom rather than expect their own to be followed.  [rw]



10:9                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Cure the sick in that town, and tell them, "'The Kingdom of God is now at your door.'

WEB:              Heal the sick who are therein, and tell them, 'The Kingdom of God has come near to you.'   

Young’s:         and heal the ailing in it, and say to them, The reign of God hath come nigh to you.
Conte (RC):   And cure the sick who are in that place, and proclaim to them, 'The
kingdom of God has drawn near to you.'


10:9                 And heal the sick that are therein.  Both as a satisfaction to Christ-like sympathy with suffering, and to prepare hearts for a more ready acceptance of the greater boon of spiritual healing and eternal life.  [52]

                        and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.  Your actions in healing will add credibility to your message.  Oddly there is no mention of teaching about Jesus.  Yet the question was inevitable:  “Why did you come?”  And the obvious (and truthful) answer would be:  “Jesus sent us!”  Which would lead into a discussion of Jesus’ ministry and His teaching.  An unknown number of these individuals would have already had the opportunity of seeing and hearing Jesus at one place or another.  The fact that He could send these people out with miracle performing power would further enhance His credibility, for who could possibly give disciples such powers unless on a unique mission from God—with all the authority to teach and act that that implied?  [rw]



10:10                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "But whatever town you come to and they will not receive you, go out into the broader streets and say,

WEB:              But into whatever city you enter, and they don't receive you, go out into its streets and say,    

Young’s:         'And into whatever city ye do enter, and they may not receive you, having gone forth to its broad places, say,
Conte (RC):   But into whatever city you have entered and they have not received you, going out into its main streets, say:


10:10               But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say.  Again an uniform practice is enjoined, but in this case for those communities that were rejective and refused to respect their message.  [rw]



10:11                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "'The very dust of your town that hangs about us we wipe off as a protest. Only be sure of this, that the Kingdom of God is close at hand.'

WEB:              'Even the dust from your city that clings to us, we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the Kingdom of God has come near to you.'          

Young’s:         And the dust that hath cleaved to us, from your city, we do wipe off against you, but this know ye, that the reign of God hath come nigh to you;
Conte (RC):   'Even the dust which clings to us from your city, we wipe away against you. Yet know this: the
kingdom of God has drawn near.'


10:11               Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you.   [The Venerable] Bede says, "Either as a testimony to the earthly toil which they had in vain undergone, or to show that so far from seeking anything earthly from them, they suffer not even the dust from their land to cling to them."  [30]

                        notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.  The rejection in no way alters the validity of the message they had been teaching.  “It’s happening whether you like it or not.”  [rw]



10:12                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "I tell you that it will be more endurable for Sodom on the great day than for that town.

WEB:              I tell you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.         

Young’s:         and I say to you, that for Sodom in that day it shall be more tolerable than for that city.
Conte (RC):   I say to you, that in that day,
Sodom will be forgiven more than that city will be.


10:12               But I say unto you.  This is not just the teaching found in the Old Testament; it is also part of My message of reformation and faithfulness to God as well.  [rw]

that it shall be more tolerable.  Also see verse 14.  There is “bad” and there is “B-A-D.”  They are going to personally discover the difference when they see that cities they themselves would have dismissed as terrible receive a judgment that, comparatively, seems less than their own.  This could be on the emotional scale of their reaction since they dismiss these cases as examples of outright depravity far unlike their own “righteous” souls—in that context, even the same punishment seems proportionately less.  If taken literally, then their situation would be even more horrifying to them.  [rw] 

in that day.  Since the earliest prophets, Obadiah (verse 8) and Joel (3:18, the stereotyped designation of a period of judgment connected with the Messiah’s reign, when the people of God should be suitably blessed, and His enemies visited with condign vengeance.  The idea of it grew more clear and definite in the history of revelation, until in the mouth of Jesus (Matthew 7:22), and His apostles (2 Timothy 1:12, 18; 4:8), it is distinctly the day of eternal judgment at His second coming.  [52]

                        for Sodom, than for that city.  It doesn’t require any great knowledge of the Old Testament to know that Sodom was wiped off the map for its sin.  So if Sodom’s treatment will look merciful in comparison, try and imagine just how horrible your punishment will be!  [rw] 



10:13                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Alas for thee, Chorazin! Alas for thee, Bethsaida! For had the miracles been performed in Tyre and Sidon which have been performed in you, long ere now they would have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

WEB:              "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.      

Young’s:         'Woe to thee, Chorazin; woe to thee, Bethsaida; for if in Tyre and Sidon had been done the mighty works that were done in you, long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes, they had reformed;
Conte (RC):   Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you,
Bethsaida! For if the miracles that have been wrought in you, had been wrought in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in haircloth and ashes.


10:13               Woe unto thee, Chorazin!  This place is nowhere mentioned but in this and the parallel texts, and in these only by way of reference.  It would seem to have been a town of some note, on the shores of the lake of Galilee, and near Capernaum, along with which and Bethsaida its name occurs.  [9] 

                        Woe unto thee, Bethsaida!  [This] was in the same region with Chorazin.  It was the birth-place            of Andrew, Peter and Philip.  (Mark xiv. 70; John i. 44.)  [9]

                        for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you.  Quite a verbal slap in the face!  Those towns you consider prime examples of evil, they would have understood the message of My miracles—the need to heed my message of repentance—and set their lives aright.  In contrast, you in your arrogant self-confidence assume you have nothing that needs correction—when you very much do!  [rw]      

                        they had a great while ago repented.  Historically, of course, these cities were “a great while ago,” far in the past.  What he is talking about, of course, is their quickness to change.  These first century contemporaries had either seen or heard of miracle after miracle after miracle of Jesus and refused to alter their course of life.  In contrast, these pagans would have been smart enough--after seeing a fraction of them--to heed the message of moral and religious reform.  They would have repented “a great while ago” while these contemporaries still were unable to grasp the message and its implications for behavior.  [56]

                        sitting in sackcloth.  [Examples of its use:]  Jacob put sackcloth upon his lions and mourned (Genesis 37:34).  Lord bids Isaiah put off sackcloth from his body (Isaiah 20:2).  Rejoicing, it was flung off (Psalms 30;11) and white put on (Ecclesiastes 9:8).  [7]

                        and ashes.  As a sign of mourning.  Defiling one's self with dead things, as ashes or dirt, as a sign of sorrow, was common among the Orientals and Greeks.  Thus Homer describes Achilles on hearing of the death of Patroclus:


                                    "Grasping in both hands

                        The ashes of the hearth, he showered them o'er

                        His head, and soiled with them his noble face."

                                                                                    Iliad, xviii., 23.


                        And Priam, mourning for Hector:


                                    "In the midst the aged man

                        Sat with a cloak wrapped round him, and much dust

                        Strewn on his head and neck, which, when he rolled

                        Upon the earth, he gathered with his hands."

                                                                                    Iliad, xxiv., 162--5.


                        See 1 Sam. iv. 12; 2 Sam. i. 2; xiii. 19; Job ii. 12; Ezek. xvii. 30; Apoc. xviii. 19.  In Judith iv. 14, 15, in the mourning over the ravages of the Assyrians, the priests ministering at the altar, girded with sackcloth, and with ashes on their mitres.  [2]



10:14                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    However, for Tyre and Sidon it will be more endurable at the Judgement than for you.

WEB:              But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.

Young’s:         but for Tyre and Sidon it shall be more tolerable in the judgment than for you.
Conte (RC):   Yet truly,
Tyre and Sidon will be forgiven more in the judgment than you will be.


10:14               But it shall be more tolerable.  This is one of the passages in the New Testament where the doctrine of degrees in punishment is plainly set forth, and in words which fell from the lips of the Redeemer Himself.  [18]

                        for Tyre.  This celebrated city, the commercial emporium of ancient Phoenicia, was founded two hundred years before the time of Solomon.  It stood on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, about midway between Egypt and Asia Minor.  It was one of the wealthiest and most celebrated cities of antiquity.  [9]

                        and Sidon.  Or Zidon, was a still more ancient Phoenician city, standing on the same shore, about forty miles north of Tyre.  It was situated within the limits of the tribe of Asher, but was never conquered by Israel.  It was celebrated for commerce and manufactures.  Against these two cities Ezekiel prophesies (Ezek. xxxviii).  [9]

                        at the judgment.  Note that Jesus does not speak of this happening “at death,” nor “individually.”  He speaks as if this is a judgment event that will occur to one and all at the same time.  [rw]

                        The guilty inhabitants of these cities had received their temporal punishment (Genesis 19:24-25); but the final judgment was yet to come.  [56]

                        than for you.  They were so self-confident of their own acceptability to God.  They weren’t like those, those nasty Gentiles.  And in many ways they weren’t.  But they had fallen for the delusion that because one is religiously right (or at least, “righter”) than another, that God is going to forgive them their own evils.  In every age, it is far easier to tell others to fix their evils than to undertake the time and frustration of handling our own!  [rw] 



10:15                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And thou, Capernaum, shalt thou be lifted high as Heaven? Thou shalt be driven down as low as Hades.

WEB:              You, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.     

Young’s:         'And thou, Capernaum, which unto the heaven wast exalted, unto hades thou shalt be brought down.
Conte (RC):   And as for you,
Capernaum, who would be exalted even up to Heaven: you shall be submerged into Hell.


10:15               And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven.  You think you are the greatest place in the world.  You are full of your own conceit and pride.  But all that is delusionary thinking.  The reality is that your ego is on a dead end collision with reality that will only bring your people to their doom.  [rw]

                        shalt be thrust down to Hell.  Literal versus symbolic depiction of greatest possible degree of alienation/distance from God [52].  Hades may be here a metaphor to express the lowest imaginable depth, according to that representation of the ancient mythologies, which made the abode of Hades open as far below the surface of the earth as the heaven—the sky or the ethereal firmament—is above it.  This would be to the Greek mind the greatest possible perpendicular measure [= distance], from heaven to Hades.

            As the Greek name for the world of the dead had become naturalized in Palestine, since the rule of Alexander the Great, we may well suppose that the Greek conception of it might be so familiar as to warrant allusions to it, although the Hebrew conception of Sheol, the abode of the dead, as modified during the four or more centuries after the close of the Old Testament, was commonly expressed by the word, in Christ’s time. 

But the whole sentence may be taken as it usually has been, not metaphorically, but literally:  Capernaum instead of rising into heaven shall be brought into Hades, in one section of which is the region of punishment.  What hinders this from being entirely satisfactory, is that unto Hades is strictly “as far as to Hades,” implying a special depth of descent, while the other cities equally were brought down to the lower world, literally, and “to undergo punishment in Gehenna” (Meyer on Matthew 11:23).  Then, they, pre-eminently, “will begin to say, We did eat and drink in thy presence, and thou didst teach in our streets, but instead of finding any comfort in the rememberance, it will inflict the sharpest sting of all upon their souls. 

A symbolic description of what happened to the region during the Jewish Revolt of 66-70 A.D. [18]?  The present state of the Plain of Gennesaret is indeed so desolate and miserable that we can scarcely picture to ourselves that it was once a populous, crowded district, the blue lake covered with fishing and trading vessels, its shores and the plain inland highly cultivated, a very garden in that part of Asia.  Rich towns and thriving villages in that favoured neighbourhood are described by contemporary writers in such glowing terms that we, who are spectators of the dreary and melancholy shores of the Gennesaret lake, are puzzled as we read, and should suspect an exaggeration, only an exaggeration would have been purposeless (see Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 3.3.2). 

Some thirty years after the woe had been uttered, in the terrible wars in which Rome avenged herself on the Jewish hatred and scorn, the garden of Gennesaret was changed into a ruin-covered solitude.  Josephus, who had been dwelling on the loveliness of the place, describes the state of the shore strewn with wrecks and putrefying bodies, "insomuch that the misery was not only an object of commiseration to the Jews, but even to these that hated them and had been the authors of that misery" ('Bell. Jud.,' 3.10. 8). 



10:16                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "He who listens to you listens to me; and he who disregards you disregards me, and he who disregards me disregards Him who sent me."

WEB:              Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me."

Young’s:         'He who is hearing you, doth hear me; and he who is putting you away, doth put me away; and he who is putting me away, doth put away Him who sent me.'
Conte (RC):   Whoever hears you, hears me. And whoever despises you, despises me. And whoever despises me, despises him who sent me."


10:16               He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me.  This is not a blank check for them to go out and teach whatever they wished.  The assumption throughout is that what they are teaching is what Christ wanted taught and conformed to it:  that is the only way that hearing them they would also be “hearing Me.”  If it were something different that would not be the case.  It is also the reason that “despising” the teaching of these Galileans was so dangerous . . . because the message they shared was that the Son of God had sent them out to teach—the message of the one who would be crowned King of Kings.  Rulers take a very dim few of having their words mocked and when that King is also Deity the danger can only be called suicidal.  [rw]  

and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent me.  But all that only partly covers the subject.  By treating with disdain those teachings they are also despising the Father who sent Him:  “the words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10b).  “The word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father's which sent Me” (John 14:24b).  [rw]


10:17                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    When the Seventy returned, they exclaimed joyfully, "Master, even the demons submit to us when we utter your name."

WEB:              The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!"  

Young’s:         And the seventy turned back with joy, saying, 'Sir, and the demons are being subjected to us in thy name;'
Conte (RC):   Then the seventy-two returned with gladness, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us, in your name."


10:17               And the seventy returned.  One pair after another.  [24]

                        As in ch. ix. 6-10, Luke attaches the return of the Seventy very closely to their mission.  They probably were not many days absent.  [15]

                        Or:  How long a time had elapsed since their mission began, and where they found the Master on their return, are matters of doubt.  Some weeks probably had been required.  [52]

                        with joy.  Their mission had gone very well and they had every reason for exuberance.  [rw]

                        even the devils are subject unto us.  If demons are subject, saints need fear no other foe.  [7]

                        Not merely cast out, but subjected, subdued and tamed.  [9]

                        through Thy Name.  When commanded in Thy name to come out of those who are possessed.  [11]


                        In depth:  What was Jesus doing while their mission was being carried out?  It has been supposed, with much probability, by a great many harmonizers, that all which is recorded in John 7:11-10:39, or a part of it, took place on an incidental and private journey to Jerusalem during the interval.  Such a supposition gives a convenient place and time for the visit to Martha and Mary (verses 38-42 of this chapter).  Luke, however, writes without any apparent knowledge of that journey.  If we adopt the view proposed, the seventy, having gone southward through Perea, the country beyond the Jordan, might have been Jesus in or near Jerusalem, or at or near Jericho, as He went across thither again (John 10:40).  Then we are entirely free to imagine the course of His travel and labors during the considerable period before He reappears at Jericho on the final ascent to Jerusalem (18:35). 



10:18                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "I saw Satan fall like a lightning-flash out of Heaven," He replied.

WEB:              He said to them, "I saw Satan having fallen like lightning from heaven.    

Young’s:         and he said to them, 'I was beholding the Adversary, as lightning from the heaven having fallen;
Conte (RC):   And he said to them: "I was watching as Satan fell like lightning from heaven.


10:18               And He said unto them, I beheld Satan.  This [verse] may be translated "I was beholding Satan fallen as lightning falls from heaven".  The sense indicates that the words refer to the victories over the unclean spirits just reported by the seventy.  In their successes Jesus saw Satan falling from the lofty heights with the swiftness of lightning. The overthrow of Satan was then in progress (John 12:31).  [53]

Or:  There has been much discussion as to what is meant by this fall, and why it is referred to.  It has been identified with the fall of the angels at the beginning of the world, with the Incarnation, with the temptation of Jesus, in both of which Satan sustained defeat.  The Fathers adopted the first of these alternatives, and found the motive of the reference in a desire to warn the disciples.  The devil fell through pride; take care you fall not from the same cause (verse 20).  [12]

                        Or:  The prophets used the past tense in describing their visions of future events.  Thus Daniel (vii. 9) says:  "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, etc."  He saw in that rapture of prophecy, the future as plainly as if it were before him.  So Jesus as a prophet saw Satan fall, because, by the work of the Church on earth the supremacy of evil in the heathen nations would be destroyed.  [4]

                        as lightning.  The precise point of the comparison has been variously conceived:  momentary brightness, quick, sudden movement, inevitableness of the descent--down it must come to the earth, etc.  [12] 

                        fall.  Implies its rapid, decisive, and terrible nature.  [7]

                        from heaven.  From exalted power and privilege (verse 15).  [8]

Implies loss of preeminence and power (Revelation 20:2).  [7]




10:19                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "I have given you power to tread serpents and scorpions underfoot, and to trample on all the power of the Enemy; and in no case shall anything do you harm.

WEB:              Behold, I give you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will in any way hurt you.         

Young’s:         lo, I give to you the authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and on all the power of the enemy, and nothing by any means shall hurt you;
Conte (RC):   Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the powers of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.


10:19               Behold, I give unto power to tread on serpents.  Are these words to be interpreted figuratively or literally?  In favor of the literal view, may be placed our Lord's promise in Mark xvi. 18, and the fact that Paul took up a viper and was unhurt (Acts xxviii. 56).  In favor of the figurative view, may be placed the fact, that Satan is called the "old serpent," that his angels partake of his nature, and that there is a promise in Gen. iii. 15, that "the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," in which all Christ's members are interested.  (See also Ps. xli. 14.)  The probability is, that both interpretations are true.  (See Acts xxviii. 56.)  [9]

                        Literal interpretation:  This was after they and returned from their brief mission, and therefore refers to powers to be continued to them permanently.  It is an increase of power, confirming that already received.  You have done well, receive a power of miracles which shall abide with you, and show you to be true prophets and ministers of Mine.  [4]

A symbolic interpretation:  It seems however, best, in the case of this peculiar promise, to interpret the Lord's words as referring to spiritual powers of evil, taking the serpent and scorpion as symbols of these.  It should be remembered that the subject of conversation between the Master and his servants was the conflict with and victory ever these awful powers restlessly hostile to the human race (see Psalms 91:13).  [18]    

                        and scorpions.  Scorpions (poisonous insects about four inches long, with a sting in their tails and found in tropical climates) are often put figuratively for crafty, wicked and malicious men (Ezek. ii. 6).  [9]

                        and over all the power of the enemy.  Satan.  The meaning of this verse is that Jesus would preserve them from the power of Satan and all his emissaries--from all wicked and crafty men; and this shows that He had Divine power.  [11]

                        and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  Romans 8:28, 39.  [56]

                        As I sit here adding new material to this volume, I feel repeated minor heart pains.  It’s been about thirteen or fourteen years since my “elephants on the chest” heart attack and my quadruple bypass.  And perhaps nine years since my double bypass.  One of these days one of these pains—or the other varieties of chest discomfort that like to chip into the endeavor—will kill me.  I will be “hurt;” barring something quite amazing, some variant of this will eventually kill me.  Yet am I hurt?  The pain will be short though, perhaps, intense.  But the glory that comes afterwards, that is eternal.  In the long view, it will simply be the final step toward something far greater.  [rw] 



10:20                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Nevertheless rejoice not at this, that the spirits submit to you; but rejoice that your names are registered in Heaven."

WEB:              Nevertheless, don't rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Young’s:         but, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subjected to you, but rejoice rather that your names were written in the heavens.'
Conte (RC):   Yet truly, do not choose to rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."


10:20               Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you.  At first this is a startling statement:  What better thing is to there to be exuberant over would be the immediately response.  Well Jesus explains that however great this is, there is still something manifold greater.  That is also available for them.  [rw]

                        rejoice not . . . but rather rejoice.  I.e., not so much.  So far from forbidding it, He takes occasion from it to tell them what had been passing in His own mind.  But as power over demons was after all intoxicating, He gives them a higher joy to balance it, the joy of having their names in Heaven's register.  (Philippians 4:3).  [16]

                        The power to preach the Gospel of the kingdom and to work miracles in proof of it, was a fit subject of rejoicing, but it was far more important to them that they were heirs of that kingdom by faith, and by a diligent perseverance, might at the last save their own souls.  Not all who work miracles in the name of the Lord shall be saved (Matt. vii. 22-23), nor all who preach to others shall therefore escape being themselves castaways.  1 Cor. ix. 27.  [4]

                        but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.  In the census register of the new kingdom (Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 13:8; 20:12; 21:27).  [6]

                        The names of citizens of a city or state were accustomed to be written in a book or register from which they were blotted out when they became unworthy or forfeited the favor of their country.  Compare Psalm 69:28; Exodus 32:32;             Deuteronomy 9:14; Revelation 3:5.  [The phrase] means that they were citizens of heaven.  [11]



10:21                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    On that same occasion Jesus was filled by the Holy Spirit with rapturous joy. "I give Thee fervent thanks," He exclaimed, "O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from sages and men of understanding, and hast revealed them to babes. Yes, Father, for such has been Thy gracious will.

WEB:              In that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in your sight."  

Young’s:         In that hour was Jesus glad in the Spirit, and said, 'I do confess to thee, Father, Lord of the heaven and of the earth, that Thou didst hide these things from wise men and understanding, and didst reveal them to babes; yes, Father, because so it became good pleasure before Thee.
Conte (RC):   In the same hour, he exulted in the Holy Spirit, and he said: "I confess to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent, and have revealed them to little ones. It is so, Father, because this way was pleasing before you.


10:21               In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit.  Rejoiced in spirit, literally, exulted, the word being expressive of the most intense joy.  (See Acts ii. 26; 1 Peter iv. 13; Rev. xix. 17.)  Three times we are told in the Gospels that our Lord Jesus Christ wept.  Once only are we told that He rejoiced.  [9]

                        Most valuable as recording one element—the element of exultant joy—which the Evangelists so rarely touch as to have originated the legend, preserved in the spurious letter of P. Lentulus to the Senate, that He wept often, but that no one had ever seen Him smile.  [56]

                        and said, I thank thee, O Father.  This is "the only record, outside St. John's Gospel, of a prayer like that which we find in John 17:1-26.  It is noteworthy that in this exceptional instance we find, both in the prayer and the teaching that follows it in St. Matthew and St. Luke, turns of thought and phrase almost absolutely identical with what is most characteristic of St. John. It is as though this isolated fragment of a higher teaching had been preserved by them as a witness that there was a region upon which they scarcely dared to enter, but into which men were to be led afterwards by the beloved disciple " (Dean Plumptre).  [18]

                        Lord of heaven and earth.  Nowhere and nothing is exempt from the Lordship of Jehovah.  Wherever there is intelligent or mere animal existence, there He is Lord as both creator and preserver of the universe.  The ultimate embodiment of power.  And mere mortals think they can permanently challenge and defy His will—and get away with it?  [rw]

                        that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.  Here we have the contrast between the “wisdom of the world,” which is “foolishness with God,” and the “foolishness of the world,” which is “wisdom with God,” on which Paul also was fond of dwelling, 1 Corinthians 1:21, 26; 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4; Romans 1:22.  For similar passages in the Gospels see Matthew 16:17, 18:3, 4.  [56] 

                        even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.  It was the Father’s decision to send earthbound a message that would make far more sense and be far more appealing to the average person rather than the intellectual.  In purely utilitarian terms, of course, this made great sense:  there are far more “common men” than there are those who spend all their time possible in the world of ideas.  Indeed, if that weren’t the case, society couldn’t prosper, but would collapse.  [rw] 



10:22                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    All things are delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is but the Father, nor who the Father is but the Son, and he to whom the Son may choose to reveal Him."

WEB:              Turning to the disciples, he said, "All things have been delivered to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is, except the Father, and who the Father is, except the Son, and he to whomever the Son desires to reveal him."

Young’s:         All things were delivered up to me by my Father, and no one doth know who the Son is, except the Father, and who the Father is, except the Son, and he to whom the Son may wish to reveal Him.'
Conte (RC):   All things have been delivered to me by my Father. And no one knows who the Son is, except the Father, and who the Father is, except the Son, and those to whom the Son has chosen to reveal him."


10:22               All things are delivered to me of my Father.  Sadler:  "It seems impossible to limit "all things" to "all knowledge."  It must include all dominion, all power.  This verse alone would be sufficient to prove the essential Godhead of the Redeemer; for the giving of all things to Him--into His mind, or into His hands--implies that He has the capacity to receive all things which the Father has to give, therefore He must be essentially God."  [30]

                        “Are delivered:”  Rather, “were delivered to me by,” cf. 20:14.  The entire verse is one of those in which the teaching of the Synoptists (Matthew 28:18) comes into nearest resemblance to that of John, which abounds in such passages (John 1:18, 3:35, 5:26, 27, 6:44, 46, 14:6-9, 17:1, 2; 1 John 5:20).  In the same way we find this view assumed in Paul’s earlier epistles (e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:24, 27), and magnificiently developed in the epistles of the captivity (Philippians 2:9; Ephesians 1:21, 22).  [56]

                        no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son.  St. Chrysostom comments, "He does not mean that all men are altogether ignorant of Him; but that none knows Him with that knowledge wherewith He knows Him."  [30]

                        and he to whom the Son will reveal him.  One can understand what the Son does of the Father, and vice versa, by listening to the Son:  By the Son’s actions and teachings one will gain a reliable understanding of both.  [rw]  



10:23                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And He turned towards His disciples and said to them apart, "Blessed are the eyes which see what you see!

WEB:              Turning to the disciples, he said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see,   

Young’s:         And having turned unto the disciples, he said, by themselves, 'Happy the eyes that are perceiving what ye perceive;
Conte (RC):   And turning to his disciples, he said: "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.


10:23               And he turned Him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see.  To a degree not shared by outsiders, they had gained an opportunity that the spiritually perceptive in the past would have loved to share:  to see the things they had seen in Jesus’ actions and to hear the things they had heard in Jesus’ teachings.  Those ancients could only dream of the fulfillment of messianic prophecy; they were actually seeing it—however much they fell short of fully understanding what was going on (verse 24).  [rw]



10:24                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    For I tell you that many Prophets and kings have desired to see the things you see, and have not seen them, and to hear the things you hear, and have not heard them."

WEB:              for I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see the things which you see, and didn't see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and didn't hear them."

Young’s:         for I say to you, that many prophets and kings did wish to see what ye perceive, and did not see, and to hear what ye hear, and did not hear.'
Conte (RC):   For I say to you, that many prophets and kings wanted to see the things that you see, and they did not see them, and to hear the things that you hear, and they did not hear them."


10:24               For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.  David was a prophet as well as king of Israel; Moses was king in Jeshurum (Deuteronomy 33:4-5), and Solomon was one of the inspired writers [of the Old Testament].  [20]

                        And:  Because of this the disciples were—in their own special way—more blessed than those they read about in Scripture and whose praise they freely gave.  [rw]



10:25                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Then an expounder of the Law stood up to test Him with a question. "Rabbi," he asked, "what shall I do to inherit the Life of the Ages?"

WEB:              Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

Young’s:         And lo, a certain lawyer stood up, trying him, and saying, 'Teacher, what having done, life age-during shall I inherit?'
Conte (RC):   And behold, a certain expert in the law rose up, testing him and saying, "Teacher, what must I do to possess eternal life?"


10:25               And behold a certain lawyer.  One who professed to be well skilled in the laws of Moses and whose business it was to explain them.  [11]

                        A teacher of the Mosaic Law—differing little from a scribe, as the man is called in Mark 12:28.  The same person may have had both functions—that of preserving and that of expounding the Law.  [56]

                        stood up.  The Master was evidently teaching in a house or a courtyard of a house. Many were sitting round him. To attract his attention, this lawyer stood up before putting his question to Jesus.  [18]

                        and tempted Him saying.  [Pretended] a desire to be instructed, but did it to perplex Him or to lead Him, if possible, to contradict some of the maxims of the Law.  [11]

                        Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  How many times have we, like this lawyer, tempted God in prayer!  We often beg of Him to instruct us in His will, as if we really intended to do it, while,         at the same time, we neglect to do that which we know of it already.  There are but too many who place the best part of their devotion in asking questions, and hearing a spiritual guide or director, concerning those things which they sufficiently understand; and who waste both His time and their own in such discourses as are of little or no advantage at all.  The gospel would save them abundance of this trouble, if they would but therein sincerely consult the truth itself, and practice that which they know.  [27]

                        Or:  Something more than a desire to test the extent of Christ's knowledge appears to have prompted his question.  It is not presented in an abstract form.  It is not, "Master, what should be done that eternal life may be inherited?" but, "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"  It looks as if it came from one feeling a deep, personal interest in the inquiry. [9]



10:26                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Go to the Law," said Jesus; "what is written there? how does it read?"

WEB:              He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?"        

Young’s:         And he said unto him, 'In the law what hath been written? how dost thou read?'
Conte (RC):   But he said to him: "What is written in the law? How do you read it?"


10:26               He said unto him, What is written in the law?  Jesus referred him to the Law as a safe rule and asked him what was said there.  He trusted in his own works.  To bring him off from that ground, to make him feel that it was an unsafe foundation, Jesus showed him what the Law required and thus would have showed him that he needed a better righteousness than his own.  This is the proper use of the Law.  By comparing ourselves with that, we see our own defects, and are thus prepared to welcome a better righteousness than our own--that of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus the Law becomes a schoolmaster to lead us to Him (Galatians 3:24).  [11]

                        This manner of bringing all questions of this kind to the test of the law and the testimony, was confounding to the malice and cunning of the Pharisees, and will ever be so to all men who, following cunningly devised fables, wander from the path of God's commandments.  Our Lord does not answer him as he expected, with the subtle distinctions of the two great schools of doctors then existing, but by a simple reference to Moses himself.  The law was a covenant.  If the Jews kept their part and promise, God surely would keep His, and give them eternal life.  So of the Christian covenant in baptism.  [4]

                        How readest thou?  The phrase resembled one in constant use among the Rabbis, and the lawyer deserved to get no other answer because his question was not sincere.  The very meaning and mission of his life was to teach this answer.  [56]

Christ may have pointed to the text (Deuteronomy 11:13) on His phylactery.  [7]



10:27                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,'" he replied, "'with thy whole heart, thy whole soul, thy whole strength, and thy whole mind; and thy fellow man as much as thyself.'"

WEB:              He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."

Young’s:         And he answering said, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God out of all thy heart, and out of all thy soul, and out of all thy strength, and out of all thy understanding, and thy neighbour as thyself.'           
Conte (RC):   In response, he said: "You shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart, and from your whole soul, and from all your strength, and from all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."


10:27               And he answering, said.  This was the summary of the Law in Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12; Leviticus 19:18.  [56]

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.  It was not mere obedience that was sought but love as well.  Obedience may come due to fear alone, but when it is rooted in love of God it comes out of a far higher and more honorable motive.  [rw]

with all thy heart.  Without divided sentiments; not part favoring God and part preferring something else entirely.  By including four different items in His list—all the heart, soul, strength, and mind—Jesus is clearly intending to convey the sentiment that with whatever you have, that you can love God with, love Him fully and completely.  Don’t try to cut out a segment of your entity, your existence, where you promote a separate agenda.  [rw]  

and with all thy soul.  I.e., with thy warmest affections.  [7]

Or:  With all thy inner being, the eternal part of you.  [rw]

                        and with all thy strength.  I.e., with the most vigorous resolution of thy will.  [7]

                        and with all thy mind.  I.e., with thy understanding guiding thy affections and thy will.  [7]

                        and thy neighbour as thyself.  Hillel had given this part of the answer to an enquirer who similarly came to put him to the test, and as far as it went, it was a right answer (Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:13, 14; James 2:8); but it became futile if left to stand alone, without the first  Commandment.  [56]        



10:28                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "A right answer," said Jesus; "do that, and you shall live."

WEB:              He said to him, "You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live."

Young’s:         And he said to him, 'Rightly thou didst answer; this do, and thou shalt live.'
Conte (RC):   And he said to him: "You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live."


10:28               And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right.  True words, but he was ignorant of their import.  [7]

                        “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?”  Genesis 4:7; “which if a man do, he shall live in them,” Leviticus 18:5; Romans 10:5; but see Galatians 3:21, 22.  [56]

                        this do.  The lawyer had asked his question simply as a test.  With him the law was simply matter for speculation and theory, and the word "do" was very startling.  It showed the difference between his and the Master's views of the law.  He had hoped by a question to expose Jesus as one who set aside the law, but Jesus had exposed the lawyer as one who merely theorized about the law, and himself as one who advocated the doing of the law.  [53]

                        As the passage from Deuteronomy was one of those inscribed in the phylacteries (little leather boxes containing four texts in their compartments), which the scribe wore on his forehead and wrist, it is an ingenious conjecture that our Lord, as He spoke, pointed to one of them.  [56]

and thou shalt live.  Rather than die physically or spiritually.  Whatever may happen in this world, you will be blessed with a “life” state that nothing can strip you of but your own rejection of it.  [rw]       



10:29                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    But he, desiring to justify himself, said, "But what is meant by my 'fellow man'?"

WEB:              But he, desiring to justify himself, asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?"

Young’s:         And he, willing to declare himself righteous, said unto Jesus, 'And who is my neighbour?'
Conte (RC):   But since he wanted to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"


10:29               But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus.   Desirous to appear blameless, or to vindicate himself, and show that he had kept the Law.  Jesus wished to lead him to a view of his own sinfulness and his real departure from the Law.  [11]

                        And who is my neighbour?  He starts another question as an excuse for dropping the former.  [7]

                              He wants his moral duties to be labeled and defined with the Talmudic precision to which ceremonial duties had been reduced.  [56]



10:30                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Jesus replied, "A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell among robbers, who after both stripping and beating him went away, leaving him half dead.

WEB:              Jesus answered, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

Young’s:         and Jesus having taken up the word, said, 'A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and having stripped him and inflicted blows, they went away, leaving him half dead.
Conte (RC):   Then Jesus, taking this up, said: "A certain man descended from
Jerusalem to Jericho, and he happened upon robbers, who now also plundered him. And inflicting him with wounds, they went away, leaving him behind, half-alive.


10:30               And Jesus answering said.  Jesus answered him in a very different manner from what he expected.  He made the lawyer his own judge and constrained him to admit what at first would probably have been denied.  He compelled him to acknowledge that a Samaritan--of a race most hated--had shown the kindness of a neighbour, while a priest and a Levite had denied it to their own countrymen.  [11]

                        Our Lord did not give the inquirer a direct answer, but stated a case, and led him to answer himself.  This has generally been called a "parable," but it is related as a fact and probably was so.  [20]

                        A certain man.  Clearly, as the tenor of the Parable implies, a Jew.  [56]

                        went down.   The expression is quite literal:  [Jerusalem] stands 2400 feet above the Mediterranean Sea, and 1500 above Jericho.  [7]

                        from Jerusalem to Jericho.  Jericho was situated about fifteen miles to the northeast of Jerusalem and about eight west of the river Jordan.  [11]

                        The road from Jerusalem to Jericho is eighteen miles long, and descends about 3,500 feet.  About two miles from Jerusalem it passes through the village of Bethany, and for the rest of the eighteen miles it passes through desolate mountain ravines without any habitation save the inn, the ruins of which are still seen about half way to Jericho.  [53]

                        and fell among thieves.  Rather, "robbers."  The thief takes by stealth, the robber by force.  [14]

                        The word "thieves" means those who merely take property.  These were highwaymen, and not merely took the property, but endangered the life.  They were robbers.   At this time Judea abounded with robbers.  Josephus says that at one time Herod the Great dismissed forty thousand men who had been employed in building the temple--a large part of whom became highwaymen (Josephus' Antiquities, 15.7).  [11]

                        which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him.  Perhaps he carries his all along with him, and, unwilling to part with it, stands upon his defense, wishing to sell life and property as dearly as he can.  Perhaps he carries but little--nothing that the thievish band into whose hands he falls [into] much value.  Whether it is that a struggle has taken place, or that exasperation at disappointment whets their wrath, the robbers of the wilderness strip their victim of his raiment, wound him and leave him there half dead.  [9]

and departed, leaving him half dead.  So near dead as to be unable to help himself; and yet not without hope if he were but helped.  [14]

                        So far as the robbers were concerned, it was a mere accident that any life was left in him.  [56]


In depth:  The road to Jericho [10].  How fitly the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was made the scene of this story will appear when it is understood that this road has always been infested by daring and desperate robbers.  "It passes," says Dr. Hanna, "through the heart of the eastern division of the wilderness of Judaea, and runs for a considerable space along the abrupt and winding sides of a deep and rocky ravine, offering the greatest facilities for concealment and attack.  From the number of robberies and murders committed in it, Jews of old called it  'the Bloody Road,'  and it retains its character still.  We traveled it guarded by a dozen Arabs, who told by the way of an English party that the year before had been attacked and plundered and stripped; and we were kept in constant alarm by the scouts sent out beforehand announcing the distant sight of dangerous-looking Bedouins.  All the way from Bethany to the plain of Jordan is utter solitude--one single ruin, perhaps that of the very inn to which the wounded Jew was carried, being the only sign of human habitation that meets the eye.  Somewhere along this road the solitary traveler of whom Jesus speaks is attacked.

                      In depth:  The conflict between personal, direct helpfulness and indirect advocacy of help [42].  The service of the Good Samaritan was personal.  And in no respect is he more worthy of eternal emulation than in that.  He got down from his horse and gave himself to the man's needs.  This is worth noting in these days when so many things are done through organizations and committees.    

Organization is so great a help in all good work that there has grown up a pathetic faith that all that is necessary to overcome an evil is to form an organization, appoint committees, and deal with it impersonally.  Dr. Charles R. Brown says, "This story would have been very different if the Samaritan had seen the trouble and said, 'When I reach home I must send a check to the Relief Corps for Wounded Travelers'; or if he had simply determined to get a ringing resolution passed at the next meeting of the association, denouncing  'these Bedouin atrocities'; or if he had consumed all his philanthropic zeal in writing an open letter' to the paper on the laxity of police regulations on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho.  In the meantime, the poor, wounded, half-dead traveler would have been dead altogether.  What the Good Samaritan did was to take personal care of the needy man; after that the check, the open letter, the resolutions might be very well." 



10:31                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Now a priest happened to be going down that way, and on seeing him passed by on the other side.

WEB:              By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side.           

Young’s:         'And by a coincidence a certain priest was going down in that way, and having seen him, he passed over on the opposite side;
Conte (RC):  And it happened that a certain priest was descending along the same way. And seeing him, he passed by.


10:31               And by chance.  Only here in New Testament.  The word means, literally, a coincidence.  By coincidence of circumstances.  [2]

Many good opportunities are hidden under that which may seem accidental.  [24]

                        Or:  [By chance,] humanly speaking, though, as regards God, it was arranged by His all-seeing Providence.  [17]

                        there came down a certain priest.  It is said that not less than twelve thousand priests and Levites dwelt at Jericho; and as their business was at Jerusalem, of course there would be many of them constantly travelling on the road.  [11] 

                        The Talmudists said that there were almost as many priests at Jericho as at Jerusalem.  [2]

                        The priest should have been first to offer aid.  It became his place.  And it was safer for him to do it, even if the thieves had returned, from the reverence generally paid by even the worst men to his office.  Lam. iv. 16.  Alas for the people, when the shepherds are daunted and flee from trouble.  [4]

                        He was selfishly afraid of risk, trouble, and ceremonial defilement, and since no one was there to know of his conduct, he was thus led to neglect the traditional kindness of Jews towards their own countrymen (Tacitus Hist. V. 5; Juvenal xiv. 103,104), as well as the positive rules of the Law (Deuteronomy 22:4) and the Prophets (Isaiah lviii. 7).  [56]

                        that way.  Rather, “on the road.”  It is emphatically mentioned, because there was another road to Jericho which was safer, and therefore more frequently used.  [56]

                        and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  First “he saw him” and after seeing him “he passed by on the other side.”  In other words, he went out of his way to avoid doing anything at all—to not even come close. [rw]      


                        In depth:  How did the priest rationalize his conduct?  He does not look whether it be an enemy or friend.  His only idea [is]:  "This is a dangerous place, and I must escape."  If some compassion stirs his heart, "He is too far gone, what can I do?"  Or his robes might be spoiled with blood.  He may tell others, "I saw a poor creature dying, and I prayed for his soul."  Yet this priest would have aided a[n animal] in danger (Luke 14:5).  "If thou meet an enemy's ass lying under a burden, thou shalt surely help him" (Exodus 23:5).  God prefers mercy to sacrifice:  he omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.  [7]

                        There may have been many excuses for this neglect of the wounded man:  danger, hate, dread of defilement, expense, but Jesus does not consider any of them worth mentioning.  [53]


In depth:  The unique nature of the condemnation [18].  It has been remarked that the grave censure which this story levels at the everyday want of charity on the part of priests and Levites, fills up what would otherwise have been a blank in the Master's many-sided teaching.  Nowhere else in the gospel narrative do we find our Lord taking up the attitude of censor of the priestly and Levitical orders.  We have little difficulty in discovering reasons for this apparently strange reticence.  They were still the official guardians and ministers of his Father's house.  In his public teaching, as a rule, he would refrain from touching these or their hollow, pretentious lives. 

Once, and once only, in this one parable did he dwell--but even here with no severe denunciations, as in the case of scribes and Pharisees--on the shortcomings of the priestly caste.  The bitter woe was fast coming on these degenerate children of Aaron.  In less than half a century, that house, the glory and the joy of Israel, would be utterly destroyed, not to be raised again.  No woe that the Christ could pronounce could be as crushing in its pitiless condemnation.  The very reason for the existence of priest and Levite as priest and Levite would exist no longer. 



10:32                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    In like manner a Levite also came to the place, and seeing him passed by on the other side.

WEB:              In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side.     

Young’s:         and in like manner also, a Levite, having been about the place, having come and seen, passed over on the opposite side.
Conte (RC):   And similarly a Levite, when he was near the place, also saw him, and he passed by.


10:32               And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came.  Curious to know more, he approached cautiously.  [7]

                        and looked upon him.  It is remarked by critics here that the expression used does not denote, as in the case of the priest, that he accidentally saw him and took no farther notice of him, but that he came and looked on him more attentively --but still did nothing to relieve him.  [11]

                        passed by on the other side.  Thus did the priest and the Levite, who made their boast in, and were the express interpreters of that law, which was so careful in pressing the duties of humanity, that twice it had said, "Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them:  thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again" (Deut. xxii. 4; Ec. xxxiii. 5).  Here not a brother's ox or his ass, but a brother himself was lying in his blood, and they hid themselves from him (Isa. lviii. 7).  These men had not learned that God "will have mercy rather than sacrifice."  [9]                   


                        In depth:  how did the Levite rationalize his conduct?  There was pride, [for Levites] were superior in station, of the sacred tribe, and despised the poor wounded man.  There was selfish fear probably--they might be attacked by the same robbers.  There was over-sensibility probably--they shrank from the sight of an object so deplorable.  [7]

                        Or:  Sadler comments, "It seems as if the Levite examined the case more closely, but declined giving assistance as too difficult or too expensive.  The Levite seems in one respect to have been more blamable than the priest, for being more of a menial servant of the temple, he was accustomed to rougher work . . . so it would not have been out of the way of his occupation to remove the wounded man to the neighbouring inn."  [30]

                        Or:  Perhaps the Priest had been aware that a Levite was behind him, and left the trouble to him:  and perhaps the Levite said to himself that he need not do what the priest had not thought fit to do. [56]



10:33                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    But a certain Samaritan, being on a journey, came where he lay, and seeing him was moved with pity.

WEB:              But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion,

Young’s:         'But a certain Samaritan, journeying, came along him, and having seen him, he was moved with compassion,
Conte (RC):   But a certain Samaritan, being on a journey, came near him. And seeing him, he was moved by mercy.


10:33               But a certain Samaritan.  A by-word among them, synonymous with heretic and devil (John 8:48).  [16]

                        The southern border of their territory was not far north of this road, and with all their mutual hatred, there was nothing, under the Roman rule, to hinder their traveling through each other’s country.  [52] 

                        The irony:  A Samaritan is thus selected for high eulogy—though the Samaritans had so ignominiously rejected Jesus (9:53).  [56]

                        as he journeyed, came where he was.  Speculation:  He was not “coming down” as the Priest and Levite were from the Holy City and the Temple, but from the unauthorized worship of alien Gerizim.  [56]

                        and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.  Thereby shewing himself, in spite of his heresy and ignorance, a better man than the orthodox Priest and Levite; and all the more so because he was an “alien” (17:18), and “the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9) and this very wounded man would, under other circumstances, have shrunk from the touch of the Samaritan as from pollution.  Yet this “Cuthaean”—this “worshipper of the pigeon”—this man of a race which was accused of misleading the Jews by false fire-signals, and of defiling the Temple with human bones—whose testimony would not have been admitted in a Jewish court of law—with whom no Jew would so much as eat (Josephus Antiquities xx. 6, 1, xviii. 2, 2; B. J. II. 12. 3)--shews a spontaneous and perfect pity of which neither Priest nor Levite had been remotely capable.  The fact that the Jews had applied to our Lord Himself the opprobrious name of “Samaritan” (John 8:48) is one of the indications that a deeper meaning lies under the beautiful obvious significance of the Parable.  [56]


                        In depth:  The origins and characteristics of the Samaritans [22].  This people was a mixed race which sprang up in Northern Israel after the fall of the Kingdom of Israel, in B.C. 722, as a result of the intermarriage of the heathen Assyrian colonists (II Kings 17:24-41) with the remnants of the Israelites left in the land.  On account of this impurity of their descent and because of their opposition to the rebuilding of the Temple after the Captivity (Ezra, Chap. 4), they were hated by the Jews (John 4:9).  There still remain between one and two hundred who live in Nablus, near the site of ancient Shechem.  Under the teaching of a Jewish priest, sent by the King of Assyria, they gradually adopted a sort of Jehovah worship (II Kings 17:25).  Of the Jewish canon they accepted only the Pentateuch.  They observed the Passover and still do so.  They expected the Messiah, not as a king, but to teach them all things.  (Deut. 18:15; John 4:25). 



10:34                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    He went to him, and dressed his wounds with oil and wine and bound them up. Then placing him on his own mule he brought him to an inn, where he bestowed every care on him.

WEB:              came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.   

Young’s:         and having come near, he bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine, and having lifted him up on his own beast, he brought him to an inn, and was careful of him;
Conte (RC):   And approaching him, he bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. And setting him on his pack animal, he brought him to an inn, and he took care of him.


10:34               And went to him, and bound up his wounds.  He forgot business and danger in anxiety about the dying man.  [7]

                        pouring in oil and wine.  Oil and wine always formed part of the provision for a journey.  [13]

                        Usual remedies for sores, wounds, etc.  Hippocrates prescribes for ulcers, "Bind with soft wool, and sprinkle with wine and oil."  [2]

                        If the oil was brought from Samaria, it was celebrated for its excellence.  [14]

                        and set him upon his own beast.  “Set:”  The word implies the labour of “lifting him up,” and then the good Samaritan walked by his side.  [56]

                        and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  The last thing a wounded man needed was to be left outdoors over night.  For that matter there was always the danger the thieves would return and make the Samaritan an additional victim.  So he does the wise thing and proceeds to an inn (where there would be a roof over their heads) and took additional care of him (provided for any obvious needs:  water, a comforting word, etc.).  [rw]



10:35                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    The next day he took out two shillings and gave them to the innkeeper. "'Take care of him,' he said, 'and whatever further expense you are put to, I will repay it you at my next visit.'

WEB:              On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, 'Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.'                       

Young’s:         and on the morrow, going forth, taking out two denaries, he gave to the innkeeper, and said to him, Be careful of him, and whatever thou mayest spend more, I, in my coming again, will give back to thee.
Conte (RC):   And the next day, he took out two denarii, and he gave them to the proprietor, and he said: 'Take care of him. And whatever extra you will have spent, I will repay to you at my return.'


10:35               And on the morrow when he departed.  He had obligations to meet himself and could not tarry very long.  So he now took care to assure that the injured man is not abandoned without help.  [rw]                     

he took out two pence and gave them to the host.  Benevolent himself, he treats the host as guided by self-interest alone.  [7]

                        Stier says, "He does not demand of the host to continue the work of love freely and for nothing; he lays no burden on the shoulder of another, because he had preceded with a good example; but pays in advance ample wages for two days' labour."  [30]

                        The host.  The innkeeper.  [11]

                        The word occurs here only in the New Testament, and the fact that in the Talmud the Greek word for “an inn with a host” is adopted, seems to shew that the institution had come in with Greek customs.  In earlier and simpler days the open hospitality of the East excluded the necessity for anything but ordinary khans.  [56]

                        and saith unto him, Take care of him.  The inns of the ancients supplied nothing but room and lodging, it being expected that the traveller carried his own supplies.  [14]

                        and whatsoever thou spendest more.  No need for you to worry that this might cost you more than what I’m leaving for you.  [rw] 

                        when I come again.  Implying that he was a regular traveler along this route and had no doubt that he would be returning again.  [rw] 

                        I will repay thee.  "Emphatic.  The wounded man must not be made chargeable."  (Bengel)  [30]



10:36                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Which of those three seems to you to have acted like a fellow man to him who fell among the robbers?"

WEB:              Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?"

Young’s:         'Who, then, of these three, seemeth to thee to have become neighbour of him who fell among the robbers?'
Conte (RC):   Which of these three, does it seem to you, was a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?"


10:36               Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  Not, who thought, but who “was” neighbor to him?  [7]

                        We typically think of “neighbors” as those who live close to us.  Jesus uses the term of whoever we encounter, a much broader use of the term.  [rw]



10:37                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "The one who showed him pity," he replied. "Go," said Jesus, "and act in the same way."

WEB:              He said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."      

Young’s:         and he said, 'He who did the kindness with him,' then Jesus said to him, 'Be going on, and thou be doing in like manner.'
Conte (RC):   Then he said, "The one who acted with mercy toward him." And Jesus said to him, "Go, and act similarly."


10:37               And he said, He that showed mercy.  Ashamed to name the Samaritan, a crowd listening.  [7]

                        Jesus gave countenance to no such racial prejudice, even though the Samaritans had rejected him but a few weeks before this (Luke 9:53).  [53]

                        Our neighbour is he who stands in need of our assistance, let him be what he will.  Blood, interest, friendship, inclination, or vain generosity, are but private             and selfish motives:  the common ties of nature, and those of grace, are the things which ought to give us a common satisfaction or concern for the happiness or misery of other men.  Mercy is a natural debt, not a service which is arbitrary and left to our own discretion.  [27]

                        Then said Jesus unto him, Go and do thou likewise.  Show the same kindness to all--to friend and foe--and then you will have evidence that you keep the Law, and not till then.  [11]

                        Learn from an enemy wisdom, and imitate him.  Thus is the question answered.  No matter how warm our expressions, how burning our eloquence, how superior our dogmas, so long as we have not charity they profit us nothing. 1 Cor. xiii.  In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision--neither privilege of itself saves, nor want of it ruins, but only as joined to faith which worketh by love.  "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:  Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself."  Gal. v. 6, 14.  [4]


                        In depth:  An allegorical interpretation of the parable, using it to construct a parallel with spiritual matters [18].  Another and a very different exposition of this great parable treats it as a Divine allegory.  It commends itself to the present generation less than the plain matter-of-fact exegesis adopted in the foregoing notes.  In the allegory, the wounded traveller represents mankind at large, stripped by the devil and his angels; he is left by them grievously wounded, yet not dead outright.  Priest and Levite were alike powerless to help.

"Many passed us by," once wrote a devout mediaeval writer, "and there was none to save." Moses and his Law, Aaron and his sacrifices, patriarch, prophet, and priest,—these were powerless.  Only the true Samaritan (Christ), beholding, was moved with compassion and poured oil into the wounds.

Among the ancients, Chrysostom and Clement of Alexandria and Augustine might be cited as good examples of these allegorical expositors. Among mediaeval Churchmen, Bernard and his devout school.  Although this method of exposition has not been adopted here, still an exegesis which has commended itself so heartily to learned and devout Churchmen in all the Christian ages deserves at least a more respectful mention than the scornful allusion or the contemptuous silence with which it is nowadays too often dismissed.



10:38                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    As they pursued their journey He came to a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed Him to her house.

WEB:              It happened as they went on their way, he entered into a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.           

Young’s:         And it came to pass, in their going on, that he entered into a certain village, and a certain woman, by name Martha, did receive him into her house,
Conte (RC):   Now it happened that, while they were traveling, he entered into a certain town. And a certain woman, named Martha, received him into her home.


10:38               Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village.  Bethany.  See John 11:1.  [11]

                        and a  certain woman named Martha.  The name is rather Aramaic than pure Hebrew.  It is equivalent to the Greek Kyria, and signifies "lady."  It has been suggested that the Second Epistle of St. John was addressed to this Martha.  It was written, we know, to the elect kyria, or "lady" (2 John 1:1). 

                        received Him.  Received Him kindly and hospitably.  [11]

                        into her house.  We know little of the internal relations of the family.  Lazarus appears as without a wife—perhaps a widower.  Martha appears as the older sister.  Some think her to have been the wife of one Simon, who had been a leper, whose house was known as his after his decease (Matthew 26:6; Mark 14:3; compare John 12:1).  The house is here called “her house” and she is seen to be housekeeper.  [52]


                        In depth:  Who were the members of this family [18]?  Various identifications, more or less probable, have been attempted in the persons of the Bethany family.  Martha has been supposed to be identical with the wife of Simon the leper.  One hypothesis identifies Lazarus with the "young ruler" whom Jesus loved (see Dean Plumptre, in Bishop Ellicott's Commentary); another, with the saintly Rabbi Eliezer (or Lazarus) of the Talmud.  These are, however, little more than ingenious, though perhaps not quite baseless, fancies.  [18]


                        In depth:  Why isn’t the name of the village or of Lazarus mentioned [18]?   A close intimacy evidently existed between the brother and his two sisters and Jesus. They evidently were prominent friends of the Master, and during the years of the public ministry were on many occasions associated with Jesus of Nazareth, and yet a singular reticence evidently existed on the part of the writers of the first three Gospels in respect of the brother and sisters. His name is never mentioned by them.  Here, for instance, Bethany is simply alluded to as "a certain village.”

            There was some reason, no doubt, why the three synoptical evangelists exercised this reticence.  The long recital of John 11:1-57 gives us the clue.  For the disciples of Jesus publicly to call attention in their sermons and addresses to Lazarus, on whom the Master's greatest miracle had been worked, would have no doubt called down a ceaseless, restless hostility on the Bethany household; for it must be remembered that for years after the Resurrection the deadly enemies of Jesus and his followers were supreme in Jerusalem and the neighbourhood.

            There were [other] reasons, no doubt, now unknown to us, which rendered it important to the welfare of the early Church that the Bethany family should remain undisturbed and in comparative privacy [as well].  The peculiar and unique position of Lazarus.  During those four days what had he seen and heard?  Much curiosity, no doubt, existed to question the risen one:  what fierce hostility, what morbid useless speculation, might not have been easily aroused?

            St. John's Gospel was not written for long years after the event.  It probably represents no public preaching, rather a private and esoteric teaching.  The home of St. John, too, for years prior to putting forth his Gospel, was far distant from Jerusalem.  Probably Jerusalem had ceased to exist as a city well-nigh a quarter of a century before St. John's writing was given to the Church.  There were no reasons then for any silence. Jerusalem and Bethany were a heap of ruins.  [Due to their death,] Lazarus and his sisters and well-nigh all their friends had probably then been long in the presence of the loved or hated Master.



10:39                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    She had a sister called Mary, who seated herself at the Lord's feet and listened to His teaching.

WEB:              She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.

Young’s:         and she had also a sister, called Mary, who also, having seated herself beside the feet of Jesus, was hearing the word,
Conte (RC):   And she had a sister, named Mary, who, while sitting beside the Lord's feet, was listening to his word.


10:39               And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet.  Sitting "at His feet" now that they were reclining at the table, meant sitting behind Him, alone amid the company, and screened from their too-curious gaze by Him who drew all eyes to Himself.  Nor does she break through her womanly reserve to take part in the conversation; she simply "heard His word;" or "she kept listening," as the imperfect tense denotes.  She put herself in the listening attitude, content to be in the shadow, outside the charmed circle, if she only might hear Him speak  [35]

                        This was the common posture of disciples before their teachers. Deut. xxxiii. 3.  So St. Paul was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel.  Acts xxii. 3.  Jesus had probably but a short time to remain in Bethany at this time.  Mary, anxious to lose none of His instructions, and with a soul filled with a love of truth, esteemed all other things as of little consequence for the time.  [4]

                        and heard His word.  This notable difference in their manner of receiving the Lord, may have arisen from the different lights, under which they regarded His Person.  Martha may have regarded Him, as come to establish a temporal kingdom; and therefore she was cumbered with much serving, in order to do Him the greatest honour.  Mary, on the other hand, viewing Him, as a Spiritual teacher and deliverer, waited upon Him in silent attention and sat at His feet.  As is the nature and degree of our faith, so is our conduct; according to our inward apprehension [= understanding] of the Lord, is our outward demeanour [= behavior] towards Him. vii. 47; Col ii. 6. — J. Ford. [36]

                        Martha honored Christ as a "guest", but Mary honored him as a "teacher".  [53]



10:40                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Martha meanwhile was busy and distracted in waiting at table, and she came and said, "Master, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do all the waiting? Tell her to assist me."

WEB:              But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came up to him, and said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me."         

Young’s:         and Martha was distracted about much serving, and having stood by him, she said, 'Sir, dost thou not care that my sister left me alone to serve? say then to her, that she may partake along with me.'
Conte (RC):   Now Martha was continually busying herself with serving. And she stood still and said: "Lord, is it not a concern to you that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, speak to her, so that she may help me."


10:40               But Martha was cumbered about much serving.  Was much distracted with the cares of the family and providing suitably to entertain the Savior.  It should be said here that there is no evidence that Martha had a worldly or covetous disposition.  Her anxiety was to provide [suitably] for the Lord Jesus.  As mistress of the family, this care properly devolved on her; and the only fault which can be charged on her, was too earnest a desire to [fulfill her duties] and, perhaps, too much haste and fretfulness in speaking to Jesus about Mary.  [11]

                        cumbered.  Greek, "distracted by thought-scattering anxieties."  [7]

                        Literally means “was being dragged in different direction,” i.e., was distracted (1 Corinthians 7:35).  She was anxious to give her Lord a most hospitable reception, and was vexed at the contemplative humility [of Mary] which she regarded as slothfulness.  [56]

                        and came to Him and said.  Dr. Farrar very happily seizes the tone and temper of Martha.  He renders the Greek words here, "but suddenly coming up."  We see in this inimitable touch the little petulant outburst of jealousy in the loving, busy [woman], as she hurried in with the words, "Why is Mary sitting there doing nothing?"  [18]

                        Lord, Dost Thou not care.  This was an improper reproof of our Lord, as if He encouraged Mary in neglecting her duty.  Or perhaps Martha supposed that Mary was sitting there to show Him the proper expressions of courtesy and kindness and that Mary would not think it proper to leave Him without His direction and permission.  She, therefore, hinted to Jesus the need of the aid of her sister and requested that Jesus would signify His wish that Mary should assist her.  [11]

                        that my sister hath left me to serve alone?  “Left me:” The Greek word means ‘left me alone in the middle of my work” to come and listen to you.  [56]  

bid her therefore that she help me.  We almost seem to hear the undertone of “It is no use for me to tell her.”  [56]



10:41                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Martha, Martha," replied Jesus, "you are anxious and worried about a multitude of things;

WEB:              Jesus answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,

Young’s:         And Jesus answering said to her, 'Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and disquieted about many things,
Conte (RC):   And the Lord responded by saying to her: "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled over many things.


10:41               And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha.  There is a solemn reproof in this repetition.  It implies a doubt and a danger.  [14]

                        thou art careful [worried, NKJV] and troubled.  Disturbed, distracted.  [11]

                        about many things.  The many objects which [require] your attention in the family.  [11] 

                        Our Lord by no means condemns household activities: prompt, untiring energies in the daily affairs of life often solemnly enjoined (Proverbs 6:6; 10:5; 1 Timothy 5:8).  He did condemn the state of mind she had in her work.  [7]


                        In depth:  The relationship of the admonition to the preceding parable of the good Samaritan.  Stier comments, "We would regard it as the intention of the Evangelist to guard by this deep contrast, in its juxtaposition with the preceding parable, against the misconception, which even to this day clings to people's view of the good Samaritan.  Have not many believers who wish to follow Christ's admonition, and offer to Him the loving service of abundant works of charity, lost themselves, on the other side, in a Christian concern about many things, in an urgent, self-troubled spirit, which prevents the calm reception of peace?  And is not the inmost fundamental thought of the word directed to busy Martha a warning against such a tendency?"  [30]



10:42                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    and yet only one thing is really necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion and she shall not be deprived of it."

WEB:              but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her."     

Young’s:         but of one thing there is need, and Mary the good part did choose, that shall not be taken away from her.'
Conte (RC):   And yet only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the best portion, and it shall not be taken away from her."


10:42               But one thing is needful.  The term "needful" in the Greek is a noun--necessity.  These are desirable; that is indispensable.  To make Jesus here say, as some commentators do, that but one dish instead of many is needful, is scarce less than burlesque; and such an interpretation should be carried out by making Mary's "good part" signify the best bit in the dish!  How unjustifiable is this low interpretation (ancient though it be) is clear from the fact that neither dish nor food has once many named in the narrative.  The "many" to which the "one thing" is contrasted does not indicate either. It is properly supplemented by our translators with the word "things;" as including the total multiplicity of her household cares.  [14]  

                        and Mary hath chosen that good part.  Not in the general sense of Moses' choice (Hebrews 11:25), and Joshua's (Joshua 24:15), and David's (Psalms 119:30); i.e., of good in opposition to bad; but, of two good ways of serving and pleasing the Lord, choosing the better.  [16]     

                          which shall not be taken away from her.  Our Saviour will never Himself take away His grace from the believer, nor allow any creature to do it.  Only as we reject it, will it be lost.  [4]  

                        To speak of such theological questions as “indefectible grace” here, is to use the narrative otherwise than was intended.  The general meaning is that of Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5.  It has been usual with Roman Catholic and other writers to see in Martha the type of the active, and in Mary of the contemplative disposition, and to exalt one above the other.  This is not the point of the narrative, for both may and ought to be combined as in St. Paul and St. John.  The gentle reproof to Martha is aimed not at her hospitable activity, but at the “fret and fuss,” the absence of repose and calm, by which it was accompanied; and above all, at the tendency to interfere with excellence of a different kind.  [56]    


                        In depth:  An alternate reading to “one thing” [18].  Some expositors have taken the expression to mean "a single dish is sufficient" for my entertainment; so much careful, anxious thought is thrown away.  A curious variation in the reading occurs here in some, though not in all the oldest, authorities.  It seems as though some of the early copyists of the text of the Gospel were wishful to make the words, which they possibly understood as a lesson of the Master's on simplicity of food, clearer and more emphatic.

This other reading is, "There is need of few things, or of one only."  In other words, "Few things are enough for me and my friends to sit down to, or even one dish only."  The teaching contained in Luke 10:7 gives a little colour to this quaint interpretation of the Master's words here, which sees in them a general warning against taking thought for the pleasures of the table.

But, on the whole, the old reading contained in the received text is preferable, and the old interpretation, too, viz. that the true life of man needs but one thing, or, if the other reading be adopted, needs but few things.  If we must specify the one, we would call it "love," or "charity."  So John, we know, in his old days, summed up all man's duties in this "love."  If, on the other hand, we are asked to name the few, then we would add to love, faith and hope. The parable of the "good Samaritan," that practical lesson of the love or charity the Master was alluding to, had just been spoken; it was still, we may reverently assume, fresh in the Divine Teacher's mind.







Books Utilized

(with number code)



1          =          Adam Clarke.  The New Testament . . . with a Commentary and

Critical Notes.  Volume I:   Matthew to the Acts.   Reprint, Nashville,

Tennessee:  Abingdon Press.


2          =          Marvin R. Vincent.  Word Studies in the New Testament.  Volume I:

The Synoptic  Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles of Peter, James,

and Jude.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1887; 1911 printing.


3          =          J. S. Lamar.  Luke.  [Eugene S. Smith, Publisher; reprint, 1977 (?)]


4          =          Charles H. Hall.  Notes, Practical and Expository on the Gospels;

volume two:  Luke-John.  New York:  Hurd and Houghton, 1856,



5          =          John Kitto.  Daily Bible Illustrations.  Volume II:  Evening Series: 

The Life and Death of Our Lord.  New York:  Robert Carter and

Brothers, 1881.


6          =          Thomas M. Lindsay.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  Two

volumes.  New York:  Scribner & Welford, 1887.


7          =          W. H. van Doren.  A Suggestive Commentary on the New Testament: 

Saint Luke.  Two volumes.  New York:  D. Appleton and Company,



8          =          Melancthon W. Jacobus.  Notes on the Gospels, Critical and

Explanatory:  Luke and John.  New York:  Robert Carter &

Brothers, 1856; 1872 reprint.


9          =          Alfred Nevin.  Popular Expositor of the Gospels and Acts:  Luke. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:  Ziegler & McCurdy, 1872.


10        =          Alfred Nevin.  The Parables of Jesus.  Philadelphia:  Presbyterian

Board of Publication, 1881.


11        =          Albert Barnes.  "Luke."  In Barnes' Notes on the New Testament.

Reprint, Kregel Publications, 1980.


12        =          Alexander B. Bruce.  The Synoptic Gospels.  In The Expositor's

Greek Testament, edited by W. Robertson Nicoll.  Reprint, Grand

Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.   Eerdmans Publishing Company.


13        =          F. Godet.  A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke.  Translated

from the Second French Edition by E. W. Shalders and M. D. Cusin.

New York:  I. K. Funk & Company, 1881.


14        =          D. D. Whedon.  Commentary on the Gospels:  Luke-John.   New

York:  Carlton & Lanahan, 1866; 1870 reprint.   


15        =          Henry Alford.  The Greek Testament.  Volume I:  The Four Gospels.

Fifth Edition.  London:  Rivingtons, 1863.  


16        =          David Brown.   "Luke" in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and

David Brown,  A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the

Old and New Testaments.  Volume II:  New Testament.  Hartford:

S. S. Scranton Company, no date.


17        =          Dr. [no first name provided] MacEvilly.  An Exposition of the Gospel

of St. Luke.  New York:  Benziger Brothers, 1886.


18        =          H. D. M. Spence.  “Luke.”  In the Pulpit Commentary, edited by H. D.

M. Spence.  Reprinted by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,



19        =          John Calvin.  Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists,

Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Translated by William Pringle.  Reprint,

Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.    Eerdmans Publishing Company.


20        =          Thomas Scott.  The Holy Bible . . . with Explanatory Notes (and)

Practical Observations.  Boston:  Crocker and Brewster.


21        =          Henry T. Sell.  Bible Studies in the Life of Christ:  Historical and

Constructive.  New York:  Fleming H. Revell Company, 1902.


22        =          Philip Vollmer.  The Modern Student's Life of Christ.  New York:

Fleming H. Revell Company, 1912.


23        =          Heinrich A. W. Meyer.  Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the

Gospels of Mark and Luke.  Translated from the Fifth German

Edition by Robert Ernest Wallis.  N. Y.:  Funk and Wagnalls,

1884; 1893 printing. 


24        =          John Albert Bengel. Gnomon of the New Testament.  A New

                        Translation by Charlton T. Lewis and Marvin R. Vincent. 

Volume One.  Philadelphia:  Perkinpine & Higgins, 1860.


25        =          John Cummings.  Sabbath Evening Readers on the New Testa-

ment:  St. Luke.  London:  Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co,1854.


26        =          Walter F. Adeney, editor.  The Century Bible:  A Modern  

Commentary--Luke.  New York:  H. Frowdey, 1901.  Title page

missing from copy.


27        =          Pasquier Quesnel.  The Gospels with Reflections on Each Verse.

Volumes I and II.  (Luke is in part of both).  New York:  Anson

D. F. Randolph, 1855; 1867 reprint. 


28        =          Charles R. Erdman.  The Gospel of Luke:  An Exposition.

Philadelphia:  Westminster   Press, 1921; 1936 reprint.


29        =          Elvira J. Slack.  Jesus:  The Man of Galilee.  New York:  National

Board of the Young Womens Christian Associations, 1911.


30        =          Arthur Ritchie.  Spiritual Studies in St. Luke's Gospel.  Milwaukee:

The Young Churchman Company, 1906.


31        =          Bernhard Weiss.  A Commentary on the New Testament.  Volume

Two:  Luke-The Acts.  New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company,1906.


32        =          Matthew Henry.  Commentary on the Whole Bible.  Volume V:

Matthew to John.  17--.  Reprint, New York:  Fleming H. Revell

Company, no date.


33        =          C. G. Barth.  The Bible Manual:  An Expository and Practical

Commentary on the Books of Scripture.  Second Edition.

London:  James Nisbet and Company, 1865.


34        =          Nathaniel S. Folsom.  The Four Gospels:  Translated . . . and with

Critical and Expository Notes.  Third Edition.  Boston:  Cupples,

Upham, and Company, 1871; 1885 reprint.


35        =          Henry Burton.  The Gospel according to Luke.  In the Expositor's

Bible series.  New York:  A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1895. 


36        =          [Anonymous].  Choice Notes on the Gospel of S. Luke, Drawn from

Old and New Sources.  London:  Macmillan & Company, 1869.


37        =          Marcus Dods.  The Parables of Our Lord.  New York:  Fleming H.

Revell Company, 18--. 


38        =          Alfred Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.  

Second Edition.  New York:  Anson D. F. Randolph and Company,



39        =          A. T. Robertson.  Luke the Historian in the Light of Research. 

New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920; 1930 reprint. 


40        =          James R. Gray.  Christian Workers' Commentary on the Old and

New Testaments.  Chicago:  Bible Institute Colportage Associat-

ion/Fleming H. Revell Company, 1915.


41        =          W. Sanday.  Outlines of the Life of Christ.  New York:  Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1905.


42        =          Halford E. Luccock.  Studies in the Parables of Jesus.  New York:

Methodist Book Concern, 1917.


43        =          George H. Hubbard.  The Teaching of Jesus in Parables.  New

York:  Pilgrim Press, 1907. 


44        =          Charles S. Robinson.  Studies in Luke's Gospel.  Second Series.

New York:American Tract Society, 1890.  


45        =          John Laidlaw.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:  Funk &

Wagnalls Company,   1892.


46        =          William M. Taylor.  The Miracles of Our Saviour.  Fifth Edition.

New York:  A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1890; 1903 reprint.


47        =          Alexander Maclaren.  Expositions of Holy Scripture:  St. Luke.

New York:  George H. Doran Company, [no date].


48        =          George MacDonald.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:

George Routledge & Sons, 1878. 


49        =          Joseph Parker.  The People's Bibles:  Discourses upon Holy Scrip-

                        ture—Mark-Luke.    New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company, 18--.


50        =          Daniel Whitby and Moses Lowman.  A Critical Commentary and

Paraphrase on the New Testament:  The Four Gospels and the Acts

of the Apostles.  Philadelphia:  Carey & Hart, 1846.


51        =          Matthew Poole.  Annotations on the Holy Bible.  1600s.



52        =          George R. Bliss.  Luke.  In An American Commentary on the New

Testament.  Philadelphia:  American Baptist Publication Society,



53        =          J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton.  The Fourfold Gospel. 

1914.  Computerized.


54        =          John Trapp.  Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.  1654.



55        =          Ernest D. Burton and Shailer Matthews.  The Life of Christ.

Chicago, Illinois:  University of Chicago Press, 1900; 5th reprint,



56        =          Frederic W. Farrar.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  In “The

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges” series.  Cambridge:  At

the University Press, 1882.