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

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2015


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13:1                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Just at that time people came to tell Him about the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

WEB:              Now there were some present at the same time who told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.          

Young’s:         And there were present certain at that time, telling him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate did mingle with their sacrifices;
Conte (RC):   And there were present, at that very time, some who were reporting about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate mixed with their sacrifices.


13:1                 There were present at that season.  That is, some persons who were present, and who had heard his discourse recorded in the previous chapter. There was probably a pause in his discourse, when they mentioned what had been done by Pilate to the Galileans.  [11]

                        Or:  McClellan (New Testament, page 552), who teems with novelties of harmonization, and can hardly allow any event of the Gospels to fail of assignment to its precise day and hour, here, on the ground that Luke does not say “at that same hour,” but “season,” will see no reference at all to the preceding chapter, but whirls our passage back to a Passover season, at the time of Luke 5:16-17, and of the interval between John 4:54 and 5:1.  [52]

                        some that told him of the Galilaeans.  Their motive:  passing on latest news?  They were probably visitors from Jerusalem, who reported, as a matter of news, without any particular feeling on the subject, an incident of recent occurrence there.  [52]

                        Their motive:  stir up a revolutionary desire?  Rather, “There arrived at that very season.”  The curious phrase seems to imply that they had come on purpose to announce this catastrophe.  Hence some have supposed that they wished to kindle in the mind of Jesus as a Galilaean (23:5) a spirit of Messianic retribution (Josephuus, Antiquities, XVII. 9, 3).  But Christ’s answer rather proves that they were not calling attention to them as martyrs, but as supposed victims of divine anger.  Their reports indicate a sort of pleasure in recounting the misfortunes of others.  [56]

                        Their motive:  share news of a deserved case of retributive comeuppance?  They [implicitly] argue that God would not have delivered up any of His worshipers to so shocking a death had they not been guilty of some exceptional iniquity.  [37]

                        Why they told him of it can only be a matter of conjecture. It might be from the desire to get him to express an opinion respecting the conduct of Pilate, and thus to involve him in difficulty with the reigning powers of Judea. It might be as a mere matter of news. But, from the answer of Jesus, it would appear that "they" supposed that the Galileans "deserved" it, and that they meant to pass a judgment on the character of those people, a thing of which they were exceedingly fond. The answer of Jesus is a reproof of their habit of hastily judging the character of others.  [11]

                        whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  That is, while they were sacrificing at Jerusalem, Pilate came suddenly upon them and killed them, and "their" blood was mingled with the blood of the animals that they were slaying for sacrifice. It does not mean that Pilate "offered" their blood in sacrifice, but only that as they were sacrificing he killed them. The fact is not mentioned by Josephus, and nothing more is known of it than what is here recorded. We learn, however, from Josephus that the Galileans were much disposed to broils and seditions. It appears, also, that Pilate and Herod had a quarrel with each other (Luke 23:12), and it is not improbable that Pilate might feel a particular enmity to the subjects of Herod. It is likely that the Galileans excited a tumult in the temple, and that Pilate took occasion to come suddenly upon them, and show his opposition to them and Herod by slaying them.  [11]

                        Probably at some Passover outbreak, on which the Roman soldiers had hurried down from Fort Antonia.  This [kind of] incident often occurred during the turbulent administration of Pilate and the Romans; see 23:1; Acts 21:34.  At one Passover, “during the sacrifice,” 3,000 Jews had been massacred “like victims,” and “the Temple courts filled with dead bodies” (Josephus, Antiquities, XVII, 9, 3); and at another Passover, no less than 20,000 (Id. XX. 5, 3; see also Wars of the Jews, II. 5, V. 1).  Early in his administration Pilate had sent disguised soldiers with daggers among the crowd (id. XVIII. 3, 1; Wars of the Jews, II. 9, 4).  The special incidents here alluded to were far too common to be specially recorded by Josephus; but in the fact that the victims in this instance were Galilaeans, we may perhaps see a reason for the “enmity” between Pilate and Herod Antipas (xxiii. 12).  [56]     



13:2                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "Do you suppose," He asked in reply, "that those Galilaeans were worse sinners than the mass of the Galilaeans, because this happened to them?

WEB:              Jesus answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things?           

Young’s:         and Jesus answering said to them, 'Think ye that these Galileans became sinners beyond all the Galileans, because they have suffered such things?
Conte (RC):   And responding, he said to them: "Do you think that these Galileans must have sinned more than all other Galileans, because they suffered so much?


13:2                 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye.  From this answer it would appear that they supposed that the fact that these men had been slain in this manner proved that they were very great sinners.  [11]

                        Our Lord’s answer shows how ready He was to turn an item of current news into a lesson of duty toward His kingdom.  [52]

                        that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?  Sacrifice was intended to cleanse guilt.  How hopeless, therefore, must their guilt be who were punished at the very times when they should have been cleansed!  [53]

                        were sinners.  The “were” is literally, “became,” i.e. “stamped themselves as,” “proved themselves to be.”  We trace a similar mistaken “supposition” in the question of the disciples about the blind man (John 9:2).  It was indeed deeply engrained in the Jewish mind, although the Book of Job had been expressly leveled at the uncharitable error of assuming that individual misfortune could only be the consequence of individual crime.  Such is sometimes the case (Genesis xliii. 21; Judges 1:7), but although all human sorrow has its ultimate cause in human sin, it is wrong to assume in individual cases the connexion of calamity with crime.  [56]



13:3                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    I tell you, certainly not. On the contrary, if you are not penitent you will all perish as they did.

WEB:              I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.

Young’s:         No -- I say to you, but, if ye may not reform, all ye even so shall perish.
Conte (RC):   No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you will all perish similarly.


13:3                 I tell you, Nay.  But the Jews erred in this interpreting the event.  Quantity of individual sin cannot safely be inferred from the measure of individual misfortune.  It was true that the Galileans suffered because of sin, for all suffering is the result of sin. But it was not true that the suffering was punishment for unusual sinfulness. Our suffering is often due to the general sin of humanity--the sin of the whole associate body of which we are a part.  [53]

                        but except ye repent.  Repentance is not merely an act, but a habit; it consists in a total change in the tone and character of a man.  It is a turning away from all sin, upon the settled conviction of the understanding, that it is wrong; that it is opposed to the holy nature and righteous Law of God.  Repentance is a holy determination of the will, a holy bias of the affections, a hatred of iniquity, an humble mind, a contrite spirit, because we have sinned against the most high God.  Repentance implies all this, and much more.  Hos. xiv. 8; Rom. vi. 21.—R. Cecil.  [36]       

           ye shall all likewise perish.  He did not tell them that "they" were as bad as the Galileans, but left them to "infer" it, for if they did not repent, they must soon likewise be destroyed.  [11]

                        The expression as truly indicates Christ’s judgment that all men are sinners as would any explicit and dogmatic statement.  [52] 

                        A historical fulfillment that parallels such major bloodshed (which does not exclude a spiritual fulfillment at the end of the world):  The first meaning of the words was doubtless prophetic.  As a matter of historic fact, the Jewish nation did not repent, and myriads of them in the siege of Jerusalem perished by a doom closely analogous to that of these unhappy Galilaeans (see Josephus, Wars of the Jews v. 1, 3, 7, 11, 12, and especially 13; vi. Passim, vii. 3).  And since all life and all history are governed by the same divine laws, the warning is applicable to men and to nations at all periods.  [56]



13:4                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell, do you suppose they had failed in their duty more than all the rest of the people who live in Jerusalem?

WEB:              Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the men who dwell in Jerusalem?      

Young’s:         'Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them; think ye that these became debtors beyond all men who are dwelling in Jerusalem?
Conte (RC):   And those eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they also were greater transgressors than all the men living in Jerusalem?


13:4                 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower.  For what purpose the "tower" here referred to was erected is not known; nor is it known at what time the event here referred to occurred. It is probable that it was not far from the time when the Saviour made use of the illustration, for the manner in which he refers to it implies that it was fresh in the recollection of those to whom he spoke.  [11]

                        Ewald's conjecture in connection with this Siloam accident is ingenious. He supposes that the rigid Jews looked on the catastrophe as a retribution because the workmen who perished were paid by Pilate out of the sacred corban money (see Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,').  The works were no doubt in connection with the aqueduct to the Pool of Siloam.  [18]

                        in Siloam.  The name Siloah or Siloam is found only three times in the Bible as applied to water - once in Isaiah 8:6, who speaks of it as running water; once as a pool near to the king's garden in Nehemiah 3:15; and once as a pool, in the account of the Saviour's healing the man born blind, in John 9:7-11.  Josephus mentions the fountain of Siloam frequently as situated at the mouth of the Valley of Tyropoeon, or the Valley of Cheesemongers, where the fountain long indicated as that fountain is still found.  It is on the south side of Mount Moriah, and between that and the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

The water at present flows out of a small artificial basin under the cliff, and is received into a large reservoir 53 feet in length by 18 feet in breadth.  The small upper basin or fountain excavated in the rock is merely the entrance, or rather the termination of a long and narrow subterranean passage beyond, by which the water comes from the Fountain of the Virgin.  [11] 

                        fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?  They had been arguing for the assumed guilt of the Galileans in Jerusalem (verse 2), but Jesus is apparently well aware of major events in that city as well:  What about the eighteen killed by that falling tower?  They “dwelt in Jerusalem” (i.e., were locals).  Were they outrageous sinners as well?  When you insist that because something bad happened to “X” because of their sinfulness, you are hard pressed that the same isn’t true about “Y” or anyone and everyone else that might be cited.  [rw] 


13:5                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    I tell you, certainly not. On the contrary, if you do not repent you will all perish just as they did."

WEB:              I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way."

Young’s:         No -- I say to you, but, if ye may not reform, all ye in like manner shall perish.'
Conte (RC):   No, I tell you. But if you do not repent, you will all perish similarly."


13:5                 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent ye shall all.  What one should worry about is not being murdered while worshipping or a building falling on top of you.  These won’t happen to many or often.  What does apply to “all” (Jesus’ word) is that all must repent (change their way of thinking and behavior) to one that will please God.  The consequences flowing from not doing so will be disastrous in the next life and quite possibly in this one as well.  [rw]

                        likewise perish.  It is very wrong to suppose that those who suffer by the sword, or by natural accidents, are the most culpable before God.  An adequate punishment for sin cannot be inflicted in this world:  what God does here, in this way, is in general:  1st, through mercy, to alarm others;  2nd, to show his hatred to sin;  3rd, to preserve in men's minds a proper sense of his providence and justice; and.  [1]  

                        If one believes the fall of Jerusalem rather than the final judgment is under consideration:  The words were indeed prophetic to the letter.  Thousands of Jews perished in the last terrible war by the swords of the Roman legionaries, like the Galilaeans of Luke 13:1; not a few met their death in the capital among the ruins of the burning fallen houses.  We know that Jerusalem in its entirety was destroyed, and the loss of life in the siege, and especially in its dread closing scenes, was simply incalculable. Within forty years all this happened.  [18]



13:6                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And He gave them the following parable. "A man," He said, "who had a fig-tree growing in his garden came to look for fruit on it and could find none.

WEB:              He spoke this parable. "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it, and found none.   

Young’s:         And he spake this simile: 'A certain one had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit in it, and he did not find;
Conte (RC):   And he also told this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree, which was planted in his vineyard. And he came seeking fruit on it, but found none.


13:6                 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree.  It seems clear that in the truth which the parable shadows forth, Christ corresponds to the vine-dresser, and Jehovah to the owner (Isaiah 5:7).  Some however prefer to see in the vine-dresser the Holy Spirit as Intercessor.  [56] 

                        planted in his vineyard.  A place where vines were planted.  It was not common to plant fig-trees in them, but our Lord represents it as having been sometimes done.  [11]

                        and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.  To check on it now and then was natural—to not do so would be flat unnatural—especially when the time of year was at hand for it to bear fruit.  [rw]



13:7                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    So he said to the gardener, "'See, this is the third year I have come to look for fruit on this fig-tree and cannot find any. Cut it down. Why should so much ground be actually wasted?'

WEB:              He said to the vine dresser, 'Behold, these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and found none. Cut it down. Why does it waste the soil?'      

Young’s:         and he said unto the vine-dresser, Lo, three years I come seeking fruit in this fig-tree, and do not find, cut it off, why also the ground doth it render useless?
Conte (RC):   Then he said to the cultivator of the vineyard: 'Behold, for these three years I came seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I have found none. Therefore, cut it down. For why should it even occupy the land?' 


13:7                 Then said he unto the dresser [keeper, NKJV] of his vineyard.  The individual responsible for the ongoing care of the entire vineyard.  [rw]

                        Behold, these three years I come.  He has been checking regularly on them.  Not daily for that is the keeper’s responsibility, but the periodic checking that a serious owner would undertake to assure that nothing is being neglected because he isn’t there regularly and whether something might need to be done that his subordinate(s) is hesitant to mention.  [rw]

                        I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none.  Remember, my soul, the fig tree was charged, not with bearing noxious fruit, but no fruit. —T. Fuller.  [36]

                        cut it down.  The Greek form of the verb implies instant urgency.  It would have the excision done at one stroke [immediately].  [52]

            why cumbereth up [why does it use up, NKJV] the ground.  It not only bore no fruit itself, but used up room and nourishment which another tree might have used for fruit-bearing. [37]

                        Or:  It cumbered the ground by occupying ground which the vines should have had, and by interfering with their light by its shade, which is very dense.  [53]


                        In depth:  Interpreting the parable as a collective reference to the Jewish people of His day [11]:  It was spoken to illustrate the dealings of God with them, and their own wickedness under all his kindness, and we may understand the different parts of the parable as designed to represent:  1. God, by the man who owned the vineyard.  2. The vineyard as the Jewish people.  3. The coming of the owner for fruit, the desire of God that they should produce good works.  4. The barrenness of the tree, the wickedness of the people.  5. The dresser was perhaps intended to denote the Saviour and the other messengers of God, pleading that God would spare the Jews, and save them from their enemies that stood ready to destroy them, as soon as God should permit.  6. His waiting denotes the delay of vengeance, to give them an opportunity of repentance. And, 7. The remark of the dresser that he might "then" cut it down, denotes the acquiescence of all in the belief that such a judgment would be just.

            We may also remark that God treats sinners in this manner now; that he spares them long; that he gives them opportunities of repentance; that many live but to cumber the ground; that they are not only useless to the church, but pernicious to the world; that in due time, when they are fairly tried, they shall be cut down; and that the universe will bow to the awful decree of God, and say that their damnation is just.


                        In depth:  Interpreting the parable as a strictly individual reference to those claiming to be part of God’s people.  The text is talking about a (singular) fig tree, implying that it is one of many in the “vineyard.”  (Did one ever hear of a vineyard with just one tree?)  So the application of the text would be primarily individual.  What others do will determine how those “trees” will be treated.  The productive ones are hardly going to be hewn down because of the unproductive ones.  It is only the latter that are in danger.  [rw]


                        In depth:  Attempting to find a symbolic meaning for the “three years” [18].  Some expositors see in this period of three years an allusion to the storied past of Hebrew life, and in the number 3 discern the three marked epochs, each lasting several centuries, of the high priests, judges, and kings.  This, however, is a very doubtful reference, owing to the impossibility of separating the first two periods of the rule of high priests and judges, as these interchange and overlap each other.

Another school of interpreters sees a reference to the three years of the public ministry of Jesus.  A better reference would be God's successive calls to Israel by the Law, the prophets, and by Christ.

It is, however, safer, in this and many of the Lord's parables, not to press every little detail which was necessary for the completion of the picture.  Here the period of three years in which the Lord of the vineyard came seeking fruit, represents by the number 3 the symbol of completeness—a period of full opportunity given to the tree to have become fruitful and productive.



13:8                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "But the gardener pleaded, "'Leave it, Sir, this year also, till I have dug round it and manured it.

WEB:              He answered, 'Lord, leave it alone this year also, until I dig around it, and fertilize it.

Young’s:         'And he answering saith to him, Sir, suffer it also this year, till that I may dig about it, and cast in dung;
Conte (RC):   But in response, he said to him: 'Lord, let it be for this year also, during which time I will dig around it and add fertilizer.


13:8                 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also.  It was the last summons to repentance, the final reminder to the old covenant people that to their high privileges as the chosen race there were duties attached.  They prided themselves on the privileges, they utterly forgot the duties.  [18]

                        till I shall dig about it, and dung [fertilize, NKJV] it.  Those to whom Jesus spoke had been called to repentance by the preaching both of John and of Jesus, and had had ample time and opportunity to bring forth the fruits of repentance, and deserved to be destroyed; but they would still be allowed further opportunity.  [53]



13:9                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    If after that it bears fruit, well and good; if it does not, then you shall cut it down.'"

WEB:              If it bears fruit, fine; but if not, after that, you can cut it down.'"  

Young’s:         and if indeed it may bear fruit – and

if not so, thereafter thou shalt cut it off.'
Conte (RC):   And, indeed, it should bear fruit. But

if not, in the future, you shall cut it down.'"


13:9                 And if it bear fruit, well.  The “well” is not in the original, the idiom being a common but striking aposiopesis:  i.e. the conclusion of the sentence is left to the speaker’s imagination.  The phrase implies, If, as is it at least possible, it bears fruit; but if not, as thou supposes, then, etc.  [56]  

                        if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.  It is agreed on both sides that if          fruit be not now borne, the end has come.  There will be no more pleading.  [37]

                        The cutting down is the approaching destruction of the existing state and nation, delayed for “this year also,” that they might have full opportunity to repent and accept the Messiah; but which, it is intimated by the agitation of the gardener, will then have to come.  But, like all the parables which were primarily adapted to the case of temporal Israel, this one also has its obvious applications to the case of any men who have failed to render to God just love and service.  [52] 



13:10                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Once He was teaching on the Sabbath in one of the synagogues

WEB:              He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath day.      

Young’s:         And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath,
Conte (RC):   Now he was teaching in their synagogue on the Sabbaths.


13:10               And He was teaching.  In conformity with the practice seen in 4:16.  [52]

                        in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.  It has been suggested, with considerable probability, that owing to the persistent enmity of the hierarchy and dominant class at Jerusalem, he was excluded from some at least of the synagogues.  [18]

                        The mention of some synagogue, not more definitely specified, is the first decisive hint of a change of scene, further than from the outside to the inside of a house, or vice versa, since the mention of “a certain place” (11:1).  [52]



13:11                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    where a woman was present who for eighteen years had been a confirmed invalid: she was bent double, and was unable to lift herself to her full height.

WEB:              Behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and she was bent over, and could in no way straighten herself up.      

Young’s:         and lo, there was a woman having a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and she was bowed together, and not able to bend back at all,
Conte (RC):   And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years. And she was bent over; and she was unable to look upwards at all.


13:11               And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity.  The use of the word "spirit" in this verse indicates that the curvature of the spine which afflicted this woman was attributed to demoniacal agency.  [53]

                        Alternate approach—the evidence is not clear cut either way:  It is difficult to determine whether this was a case of demoniac possession.  Verse 16 would seem to indicate it, but does not necessarily imply it.  Compare Paul’s thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan (2 Corinthians 12:7).  Against this, too, is the fact that He laid His hands on her, which is not recorded of Him elsewhere in the healing of demoniacs.  [3]

                        eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.  Here ability to move about had been crippled to the degree she could not even straighten her back.  [rw]



13:12                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    But Jesus saw her, and calling to her, He said to her, "Woman, you are free from your weakness."

WEB:              When Jesus saw her, he called her, and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your infirmity."     

Young’s:         and Jesus having seen her, did call her near, and said to her, 'Woman, thou hast been loosed from thy infirmity;'
Conte (RC):   And when Jesus saw her, he called her to himself, and he said to her, "Woman, you are released from your infirmity."


13:12               And when Jesus saw her, he called her to Him.  The fact that she had to “call her to Him” argues that she had been reluctant to bother Him, no matter how severe her problems.  In one sense this is very strange:  who wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity?  In actual life, however, there is the warring desire not to impose on others for what seems a permanent and incurable situation.  [rw]

                        and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.  [Loosed:]  The only passage in The New Testament where the word is used of disease. Medical writers use it of releasing from disease, relaxing tendons, and taking off bandages (Luke 13:25).  [2]

                        This form of expression was especially appropriate, when the trouble was as if she had been bound down with cords.  [52]



13:13                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And He put His hands on her, and she immediately stood upright and began to give glory to God.

WEB:              He laid his hands on her, and immediately she stood up straight, and glorified God.   

Young’s:         and he laid on her his hands, and presently she was set upright, and was glorifying God.
Conte (RC):   And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was straightened, and she glorified God.


13:13               And he laid his hands on her.  Linking the healing both in her mind and that of the many observers to the power of Jesus to heal.  [rw]

and immediately.  Without delay.  In a real miracle you don’t have to go home with the assurance that sometime, somewhere God will make your cure complete and obvious.  With those gifted with the genuine healing power, the results were promptly obvious.  [rw]

she was made straight.  Her obvious, visible infirmity was removed.  There was no possibility of fraud.  [rw]  

and glorified God.  Although Jesus did the healing, she recognized that it was the Father who had given Him the power to do so and who had sent Him out at a time and place where the paths of the two would cross.  [rw] 



13:14                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Then the Warden of the Synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured her on a Sabbath, said to the crowd, "There are six days in the week on which people ought to work. On those days therefore come and get yourselves cured, and not on the Sabbath day."

WEB:              The ruler of the synagogue, being indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the multitude, "There are six days in which men ought to work. Therefore come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day!"         

Young’s:         And the chief of the synagogue answering -- much displeased that on the sabbath Jesus healed -- said to the multitude, 'Six days there are in which it behoveth us to be working; in these, then, coming, be healed, and not on the sabbath-day.'
Conte (RC):   Then, as a result, the ruler of the synagogue became angry that Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, and he said to the crowd: "There are six days on which you ought to work. Therefore, come and be cured on those, and not on the day of the Sabbath."


13:14               And the ruler of the synagogue.  There is not evidence that the woman came with any intention of being healed, nor was the ruler angry at her, but at Jesus.  [53]

                        answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day.  One can understand a dedicated Sabbatarian religious leader being startled.  But one would expect any protest to be a polite one (“How could you when it’s the Sabbath?”) and not one delivered with the rage of “indignation.”  After all, a long-suffering woman had been healed.  Did that not count for a lot?  To this man doctrinal perfection counted for everything and human suffering was as nothing compared to it.  It never dawned on him that the Sabbath day laws were never given with regulating the miraculous in mind, but only normal human endeavors which the miraculous—obviously!—does not fall under!  And his protest isn’t even delivered to Jesus but at those who might be benefited by His grace—“the people”! [rw]

                        and said unto the people.  As though the reception of divine grace were Sabbath-breaking toil!  Few remarks of the opponents of our Lord wee so transparently illogical and hypocritical as this.  It was meanly indirect because it was [actually] aimed at Jesus, though the man is too much in awe to address it to Him.  It was the underhanded ignorance and insolence, as well as the gross insincerity of the remark, which called forth a reproof exceptionally severe.  [56]

                        Or:   Much (most?) of the crowd were members of this, “his” synagogue and Jesus wasn’t.  Their visitor might or might not have a proper idea of proper Sabbath observance since He came from somewhere else—but surely they did!  If this approach is right, his annoyance at his own standards not being instinctively followed, fuels an inflamed ego and powers his protest far more than any doctrinal objection.  [rw]

                        There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed.   True; but there had been no stroke of work; no one had even come to the place for the purpose of being bodily saved.  A word spoken, the stretching out of a hand, a straightening of herself upon the part of the woman—that was all.  [52]

                        and not on the Sabbath day.  If it was a case of life and death the doctor might prescribe on the Sabbath day, but the doctor was not to pay the slightest attention to chronic cases of any kind; they were there on Saturday and they would be there on Monday, and they would be there the next week, and they would be there the next month, and therefore no particular heed was to be paid to them.  [49]



13:15                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    But the Lord's reply to him was, "Hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his bullock or his ass from the stall and lead him to water?

WEB:              Therefore the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each one of you free his ox or his donkey from the stall on the Sabbath, and lead him away to water?      

Young’s:         Then the Lord answered him and said, 'Hypocrite, doth not each of you on the sabbath loose his ox or ass from the stall, and having led away, doth water it?
Conte (RC):   Then the Lord said to him in response: "You hypocrites! Does not each one of you, on the Sabbath, release his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it to water?


13:15               The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite.  Rather (with the best uncials) “Hypocrites!,” classing the man with the whole sect to which he belonged and whose shibboleths he used.  [56] 

The word "hypocrite" was among the strongest ever used by our Lord.  He here applies it to the whole class to whom the ruler belonged and for whom he was the spokesman--the class who are mentioned as "adversaries" in disguising their hatred toward Christ under a pretended zeal for the Sabbath.  (2)  Their zeal for the Sabbath was at no time sincere, for they favored indulgence where their own interests were involved, but applied their Sabbath rules sharply where others were concerned.  It was their tradition and not the Sabbath which Jesus had broken, and he here attempts no other justification of himself than to show that he is guiltless under a fair application of their own precedents.  [53]

doth not each one of you.  Working from the assumption that a local frame of reference could be under consideration:  This could refer to (1)  either all of his class or category (i.e., religious leaders), meaning “I’m doing nothing your own example and that of your fellow rabbis would rebuke if one of you were doing it” or (2) “You know that both you and everyone in this congregation works by the standard of behavior I’m following.  You found nothing wrong with it in the past.  It’s pure hypocrisy to do so now!”  [rw]  

                         on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass.  He vividly draws a contrast between the animal and the human being.  The ox and the ass, though, were personal property; the afflicted daughter of Abraham was but a woman, friendless and poor.  [18]           

            from the stall.  A place where cattle are kept to be fed, and sheltered from the weather.  [11]

                        and lead him away to watering?  This was what was needed and was provided without much conscious thought; it was virtually instinctive.  Should not a suffering human be provided similar instinctive assistance?  [rw]


                        In depth:  How the Lord’s rebuttal arguments varied on different times and occasions [56].  Our Lord varied from time to time the arguments with which He abolished the fanatical formalism of the Pharisees respecting the Sabbath.  Sometimes He appealed to His own inherent authority (John 5:17-47); sometimes to Scripture precedents (6:3-5); or to common sense and eternal principles (6:9).  Here, as in 14:5, He uses an argumentum ad hominem, refuting their traditional rules by the selfish insincerity with which they applied them.  They allowed men to unloose and lead to water their cattle on the Sabbath, and thus to break their own Sabbatic rules to save themselves the trouble of providing water overnight, or, at the best, to abridge a few hours’ thirst; was then this suffering woman not to be touched, not to be spoken to, to end 18 years of suffering?  [56]  



13:16                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And this woman, daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan had bound for no less than eighteen years, was she not to be loosed from this chain because it is the Sabbath day?"

WEB:              Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound eighteen long years, be freed from this bondage on the Sabbath day?"    

Young’s:         and this one, being a daughter of Abraham, whom the Adversary bound, lo, eighteen years, did it not behove to be loosed from this bond on the sabbath-day?'
Conte (RC):   So then, should not this daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for lo these eighteen years, be released from this restraint on the day of the Sabbath?"


13:16               And ought not this woman.  Taking their own conduct on the Sabbath day as the basis for his justification, Jesus presents three contrasts, each of which made His action better than theirs: (1) He had blessed the woman instead of an ox.  (2)  He had loosed from a disease instead of from a comfortable stall.  (3)  He had relieved a waiting of eighteen years' standing instead of one of some few hours' duration--the brief time since the watering of the morning [53]

                        Our Saviour gives him back his own word “ought;”—but the man’s ought had been one of ceremonial obligation, and the ought of Jesus was founded on the divine necessity of love.  [56]

                        being a daughter of Abraham.  He mentions the woman's descent from Abraham because, according to their ideas, it made her worthy of every consideration.  [53]

                        whom Satan hath bound.  Recorded by St Luke alone, the "woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself."  It may be that this belongs to the class of demoniacal possession as well, but I am very doubtful whether the expression in the narrative--"a spirit of infirmity," even coupled with that of our Lord in defending her and himself from the hypocritical attack of the ruler of the synagogue, "this woman--whom Satan hath bound," renders it necessary to regard it as one of the latter kind.  [48]

                        Or:  In attributing the infirmity to Satan he acknowledges the action of the demon as Satan's agent. Disease were not infrequently ascribed to Satan and the demons (Acts 10:38; 2 Corinthians 12:7)  [??]

                        lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?  Jesus throws three arguments at him.  They aren’t developed, but it is hard to imagine the synagogue leader was so unwise as not to see them:  (1)  She is “a daughter of Abraham.”  As part of the covenant people surely she deserves to be healed, Sabbath day or not.  Or does being a child of Abraham now count for nothing in your sight?  (2)  “Satan hath bound” her and she is now liberated.  Is there any wrong day to break loose the Satanic chains?  Indeed, if you don’t break lose those chains when there is the opportunity—even on the Sabbath day—aren’t you helping Satan keep the person in captivity?  (3)  She had been suffering “eighteen years.”  Even if you ignore these other things, hasn’t she earned the right for immediate release after enduring pain and discomfort for so long?  Doesn’t mercy count for anything in your eyes?  [rw]



13:17                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    When He had said this, all His opponents were ashamed, while the whole multitude was delighted at the many glorious things continually done by Him.

WEB:              As he said these things, all his adversaries were disappointed, and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.     

Young’s:         And he saying these things, all who were opposed to him were being ashamed, and all the multitude were rejoicing over all the glorious things that are being done by him.
Conte (RC):   And as he was saying these things, all his adversaries were ashamed. And all the people rejoiced in everything that was being done gloriously by him.


13:17               And when He had said these things, all His adversaries were ashamed.  This is one of the few occasions—the only one?--where we read that His opponents had been so blind that they themselves were embarrassed by what they had said.  In this town Jesus ran into hotheads who were willing to admit they were wrong rather than His usual opponents who were never going to let the idea cross their minds.  Men to whom truth actually did mean something—beneath their bluster—versus those to whom upholding the Traditions was all that mattered.  [rw]

                        and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.  All the glorious things that were done” argues that this was but one of a series of miracles He worked that day.  The people did not begrudge Him the day of the week it was, but took joy that physical deliverance had been granted to those who needed it.  [rw]



13:18                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    This prompted Him to say, "What is the Kingdom of God like? and to what shall I compare it?

WEB:              He said, "What is the Kingdom of God like? To what shall I compare it?        

Young’s:         And he said, 'To what is the reign of God like? and to what shall I liken it?
Conte (RC):   And so he said: "To what is the kingdom of God similar, and to what figure shall I compare it?


13:18               Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it [to what shall I compare it, NKJV]?  He tells the audience what He is going to discuss—the kingdom—so they will immediately know what the real topic is and seek out a parallel for His words in the nature of the kingdom.  He is challenging them to think—to stretch their minds and consider a very different (non-worldly) concept for the idea than that which they were used to (one that would kick out the Romans and regain national independence).  [rw]



13:19                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    It is like a mustard seed which a man drops into the soil in his garden, and it grows and becomes a tree in whose branches the birds roost."

WEB:              It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and put in his own garden. It grew, and became a large tree, and the birds of the sky lodged in its branches." 

Young’s:         It is like to a grain of mustard, which a man having taken, did cast into his garden, and it increased, and came to a great tree, and the fowls of the heavens did rest in its branches.'
Conte (RC):   It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and cast into his garden. And it grew, and it became a great tree, and the birds of the air rested in its branches."


13:19               It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree.  The contrast between the mustard seed and the full grown herb is very striking, even with us; but in Palestine the expansion is much greater.  Under favorable conditions it takes almost a shrubby character, becoming, in appearance, a small tree.  Thompson, Tristram, and Hackett speak of seeing the mustard plants growing to the height of the rider on his horse, and with branches strong enough to support birds, which actually “lodged” in them.  [52]

                        and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.  This lodging in the branches is not, necessarily, nesting there, but perching there at night, and at other times, when resting in the shade.  [52]



13:20                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And again He said, "To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?

WEB:              Again he said, "To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?        

Young’s:         And again he said, 'To what shall I liken the reign of God?
Conte (RC):   And again, he said: "To what figure shall I compare the kingdom of God?


13:20               And again He said.  The teaching of our Lord which immediately follows [the healing] concerns the small beginnings of His kingdom, symbolized in the grain of mustard seed and the leaven, may, I think, have immediate reference to the cure of this woman, and show that he regarded her glorifying of God for her recovery as one of those beginnings of a mighty growth.  We do find the same similes in a different connection in St Matthew and St Mark; but even if we had no instances of fact, it would be rational to suppose that the Lord, in the varieties of place, audience, and occasion, in the dullness likewise of His disciples, and the perfection of the similes he chose, would again and again make use of the same.  [48]

                        Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?  As if He were searching in His mind which of various comparisons He could choose from—the best one to fit this particular audience.  Even if He had already selected it, posing the question would still be a useful rhetorical tactic:  to help His listeners understand that what He is about to say represents a different illustration rather than some further aspect of what has already been said.  It is a sermonic tool “to make things easier for your audience.”  [rw]



13:21                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    It is like yeast which a woman takes and buries in a bushel of flour, to work there till the whole is leavened."

WEB:              It is like yeast, which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened."     

Young’s:         It is like leaven, which a woman, having taken, did hide in three measures of meal, till that all was leavened.'
Conte (RC):   It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of fine wheat flour, until it was entirely leavened."


13:21               It is like leaven.  The first of these two little parables of the kingdom, "the mustard seed," portrayed its strangely rapid growth. The second, "the leaven," treats of the mighty inward transformation which the kingdom of God will effect in the hearts of men and women.  [18]

                        The unexpected use of a word that is typically used with negative connotations being used with positive ones:  Except in this .parable, leaven in Scripture (being connected with corruption and fermentation) is used as the type of sin.  See 11:1; Exodus 12:1, 15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:9.  Here, however, the only point considered is its rapid, and unseen, and effectual working. [56]

                        which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal.  Assuming a symbolic point is being intended:  Perhaps referring here to the well-known division of man into body, soul, and spirit.  More likely, however, the number 3 is used as the symbol of completeness, signifying that the Divine purpose was then influencing the whole mass of mankind.  [18]

                        Assuming that symbolic applications can be thought provoking but have nothing to do with the original intent:  The verisimilitude, simplicity, and vividness of the parables arise from the natural and specific details introduced into them.  To press these into separate lessons only leads to arbitrary exegesis and false theology.  Probably the “three measures” are only mentioned because they are the ordinary amount which a woman would leaven at one time.  If any one likes to improve the detail by applying it to (1) body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23); or (2) to Jews, Samaritans, and Galilaeans; or (3) to the three sons of Noah (!), as representing Semites, Aryans, and Allophylians,--it should be understood that these are pious applications, and interesting plays of fancy, not comments on our Lord’s words. [56]  

                        till the whole was leavened.  Nothing could be better adapted than this homely figure to signify that holy contagion, by which the spiritual principle of a new life, once planted by God in the heart, spreads and grows, until all the faculties and affections are entirely pervaded by its influence, and brought into an [appropriateness] for heaven, according to the pattern of Christ.  And not only so, but its power goes out into all kindred souls with which it comes in contact, contributing to their transformation, while it also receives helpful impulse from them.  The process is described in Ephesians 4:11-16, the result being, that from Christ, the Head, “the whole body, fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body until the building up of itself in love” (Revision).  The self-propagating quality of leaven, or yeast, made it a fit symbol of the vital principle of Christianity, whose spontaneous diffusion through the whole being of the individual believer, and so, eventually, of all believers was to be set forth.  [52]   



13:22                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    He was passing through town after town and village after village, steadily proceeding towards Jerusalem,

WEB:              He went on his way through cities and villages, teaching, and traveling on to Jerusalem.     

Young’s:         And he was going through cities and villages, teaching, and making progress toward Jerusalem;
Conte (RC):   And he was traveling through the cities and towns, teaching and making his way to Jerusalem.


13:22               And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.  Luke, by these little notes of time and place, wishes to direct attention to the fact that all this part of the Gospel relates to one great division of the public ministry—to that which immediately preceded the last Passover.  [18]

                        Or:  Some see in this the starting-point of a separate journey.  The expression is too vague on which to build.  It may imply a fresh progress after some brief period of rest.  [56]



13:23                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    when some one asked Him, "Sir, are there but few who are to be saved?"

WEB:              One said to him, "Lord, are they few who are saved?" He said to them,  

Young’s:         and a certain one said to him, 'Sir, are those saved few?' and he said unto them,
Conte (RC):   And someone said to him, "Lord, are they few who are saved?" But he said to them:


13:23               Then said one unto Him, Lord.  It is likely that this question was asked by a Jew, and that the two parables illustrating the smallness of the kingdom's beginning suggested it to Him.  The Jews extended their exclusive spirit even to their ideals of a world to come, so that they believed none but the chosen race would behold its glories. The circumstances attending to the conversion of Cornelius, recorded in Acts, show how this exclusiveness survived even among Jewish Christians. The questioner wished Jesus to commit Himself to this narrow Jewish spirit, or else to take a position which would subject Him to the charge of being unpatriotic.  [53]

                        are there few that be saved?  It is possible, nay, it is very common, for men to dispute, and with no small earnestness, on certain questions, which are called religious, but which have no sort of reference to themselves:  for instance, they inquire, whether any of the heathen can be saved, and in what manner; but not, whether they themselves are in a state of salvation?  Much more wisely did the jailer ask, "What must I do to be saved?"  The reason is this, that, if this question come near to ourselves, we are afraid of certain painful [answers]. —H. Martyn.  [36]

                        Contemporary/later belief on the subject:  2 Esdras 8, where the question is discussed and where it is assumed that few only will be saved, “The most High hath made this world for many, but the world to come for few” (8:1).  “There are many more of them which perish than of them which shall be saved; like as a wave is greater than a drop” (9:15, 16).  “Let the multitude perish then” (id. 22).  Part, at least, of the Book of Esdras is probably post-Christian.  [56]

                        And He said unto them.  Without directly rebuking such questions, our Lord, as in other instances, strove to place the questioners in a wiser frame of mind (Deuteronomy 29:29).  It is a solemn assertion of the necessity for earnest, personal endeavour.  Our Lord says, Consider the question with reference to yourself, not with reference to others.  Look at it in the spirit of the publican, not in the spirit of the Pharisee.  [56]



13:24                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Strain every nerve to force your way in through the narrow gate," He answered; "for multitudes, I tell you, will endeavour to find a way in and will not succeed.

WEB:              "Strive to enter in by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will seek to enter in, and will not be able.         

Young’s:         'Be striving to go in through the straight gate, because many, I say to you, will seek to go in, and shall not be able;
Conte (RC):   "Strive to enter through the narrow gate. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and not be able.


13:24               Strive.  Literally, agonize.  [53]

to enter in.  If my religion is only a formal compliance with those modes of worship, which are in fashion, where I live; if it cost me no pain or trouble; if it lays me under no rules and restraint, if I have no careful thoughts and [serious] reflections about it, is it not great weakness to think, that I am striving to enter in at the strait gate? Prov. xiv. 12; 2 Sam. xxiv. 24. — William. Law.  [36]

                        at the strait gate [narrow gate, NKJV; narrow door in many translations].  The passage should be compared with that in Matthew 7:13.  There one enters by a narrow gate upon a narrow road, indicating the strictness of the Christian life. Here one enters by a narrow door upon a season of festivity, indicating the joyous privileges of a Christian life. [53]

                        for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.  Jesus answers that "many" shall be excluded from the kingdom, and that the questioner, and all others who hear, need to exercise themselves and give the matter their own personal attention lest they be among that many.  [53]

                        [This failure is] because they only seek and do not strive; they wish for heaven, but will not abandon earth.  Sometimes also because they seek too late (Proverbs 1:28, 29; Isaiah 1:15; John 7:34; Hebrews 12:17), but mainly because they seek to enter through other ways by which there is no entrance, since Christ is the only door (John 10:7, 14:6).  [56]



13:25                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    As soon as the Master of the house shall have risen and shut the door, and you have begun to stand outside and knock at the door and say, "'Sir, open the door for us' --"'I do not know you,' He answers; 'you are no friends of mine.'

WEB:              When once the master of the house has risen up, and has shut the door, and you begin to stand outside, and to knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' then he will answer and tell you, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'             

Young’s:         from the time the master of the house may have risen up, and may have shut the door, and ye may begin without to stand, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, lord, open to us, and he answering shall say to you, I have not known you whence ye are,
Conte (RC):   Then, when the father of the family will have entered and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, open to us.' And in response, he will say to you, 'I do not know where you are from.'


13:25               When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door.  This verse gives the reason why one should strive to enter in.  The "time" for entrance is limited, and he must get in before it expires.  [53]

                        and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are [where you are from, NKJV].  This is direct and personal:  “ye”—His listeners; “you”—again, His listeners, the supposedly faithful and pious.  Not some hypothetical people somewhere else in the world, but those standing around Him.  [rw]

                        Matthew 25:10.  That the first application of the warning was to Jews who relied on their privileges appears from the fact that the excluded class are not poor sinners, but self-righteous Pharisees who claim entrance as their right.  [56] 



13:26                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Then you will plead, "'We have eaten and drunk in your company and you have taught in our streets.'

WEB:              Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.'         

Young’s:         then ye may begin to say, We did eat before thee, and did drink, and in our broad places thou didst teach;
Conte (RC):   Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.'


13:26               Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence.  Jesus ate with friends, acquaintances, Pharisees, and the reprobate—whoever was willing to give Him an audience and passing attention.  His enemies and those who openly rejected Him would remember it with scorn and it is not imaginable that they would have viewed this as giving them some special acceptance.  Hence the only individuals who were likely bragging of eating with Jesus would, of course, be those who claimed to be His disciples.  And He puts them on warning too—standing alone this would not be enough.  [rw]     

                        and thou hast taught in our streets.  Here again (see 13:28) we see how our Lord discouraged all notions of any privilege derived from fleshly privileges, or even proximity to Himself.  Romans 2:17-20.  [56]

                        In contrast to the meals, multitudes saw Him in their streets and heard at least a little of His teaching.  Hence this verse likely refers to the smaller group who ate with Him in private and the far larger one that had heard him in their town or village—both claiming special privilege due to the connection, the first one being a far stronger connection than this far broader and vaguest of ones.  Even if (as seems unlikely) they are alluding to the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000--and they having been present at that event--that remains a painfully vague reed on which to build their case. [rw] 



13:27                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "But He will reply, "'I tell you that you are no friends of mine. Begone from me, all of you, wrongdoers that you are.'

WEB:              He will say, 'I tell you, I don't know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity.' 

Young’s:         and he shall say, I say to you, I have not known you whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of the unrighteousness.
Conte (RC):   And he will say to you: 'I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!'


13:27               But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are.  All excuse shall be cut short at once, 3:8.  [56]

                        depart from me.  I do not even want you close to me!  Get out of my sight!  Be gone!  Total and complete repudiation.  They had failed the standards of character He demanded of one and all.  [rw]

                        2 Timothy 2:19, “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.  And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  [56]

                        all ye workers of iniquity.  Not having been workers of righteousness, they were, of necessity, workers of iniquity; more so, rather than less, because of their former enjoyment of religious advantages, which they had utterly neglected.  [52]



13:28                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "There will be the weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets in the Kingdom of God, and yourselves being driven far away.

WEB:              There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God, and yourselves being thrown outside.    

Young’s:         'There shall be there the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth, when ye may see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the reign of God, and yourselves being cast out without;
Conte (RC):   In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, yet you yourselves are expelled outside.


13:28               There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  The weeping betrays pain; the gnashing of teeth, rage.  [52]

                        when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. These are the folk they took pride in:  the patriarchs and the prophets.  In their own uninspired way they were convinced that their teaching made it possible to be worthy to be within the patriarchical company.  They thought their own teaching so reliable that even the prophets would speak kind words of their endeavor.  (If they thought otherwise they would have been admitting the worthlessness of their teaching!)  Mousetrapped by their own assumptions, they will discover to their horror that they were but temporary residents in “the kingdom of God” and had proved themselves unworthy to remain within it.  The sorrow of tears surely hides the humiliation and rage at the explicit disparagement of their superior spirituality.  After all, they were superior, weren’t they?  [rw] 



13:29                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    They will come from east and west, from north and south, and will sit down at the banquet in the Kingdom of God.

WEB:              They will come from the east, west, north, and south, and will sit down in the Kingdom of God.          

Young’s:         and they shall come from east and west, and from north and south, and shall recline in the reign of God,
Conte (RC):   And they will arrive from the East, and the West, and the North, and the South; and they will recline at table in the kingdom of God.


13:29               And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.  Old Testament prophecy had spoken of such happening:  And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it” (Isaiah 2:2).  “. . . Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people” (Isaiah 56:7).  “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths:  for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Micah 4:2).

                        The irony is that these newcomers are being freely admitted into the kingdom with the prophets and the patriarchs while the keepers of religious orthodoxy of the first century (verse 28) are thrown out.  In their vision of the future, any influx of outsiders would inevitably enhance their status as the “proper” analysts and explainers of scripture and tradition.  Actually they had so messed things up that, to set things right, they had to be expelled so the spiritual kingdom could be free of their polluting and distorted attitudes and practices.  It’s a powerful “two punch” indictment that they must have bitterly rebelled against.  [rw]



13:30                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And I tell you that some now last will then be first, and some now first will then be last."

WEB:              Behold, there are some who are last who will be first, and there are some who are first who will be last."      

Young’s:         and lo, there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last.'
Conte (RC):   And behold, those who are last will be first, and those who are first will be last."


13:30               And, behold.  The phrase sometimes implies “strange as you may think it.”  It occurs 23 times in St. Matthew, 16 in St. Luke; but not in St. Mark.  [56]

                        there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.  Our Lord used this proverbial expression more than once.  Matthew 19:30.  It had, besides its universal truthfulness, a special bearing on His own time.  “The publicans and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you,” Matthew 31:31.  “The Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness,” Romans 9:30.  [56]



13:31                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Just at that time there came some Pharisees who warned Him, saying, "Leave this place and continue your journey; Herod means to kill you."

WEB:              On that same day, some Pharisees came, saying to him, "Get out of here, and go away, for Herod wants to kill you."

Young’s:         On that day there came near certain Pharisees, saying to him, 'Go forth, and be going on hence, for Herod doth wish to kill thee;'
Conte (RC):   On the same day, some of the Pharisees approached, saying to him: "Depart, and go away from here. For Herod wishes to kill you."


13:31               The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence.  The Pharisees, as a class, had been so inflamed with anger against Him, that they would fain have put Him to death.  His transparent innocence, and the good will of the people toward Him, hindered that purpose; and to prevent the still further strengthening of that good will, the Pharisees of some neighborhood in Perea set themselves to scare Him away from them. [52]

                        For the Pharisees to suddenly become helpful and concerned with Jesus’ safety is totally inconsistent with their usual behavior.  Whatever their exact motive, they did it out of their own agenda and not His.  [rw]

                        for Herod will kill thee.  This incident connected with Herod Antipas, which is only related by Luke, not improbably was communicated to Luke and Paul by Manaen, who was intimately connected with that prince, and who was a prominent member of the primitive Church of Antioch in those days when Paul was beginning his work for the cause (see Acts 13:1).  This curious message probably emanated from Herod and Herodias.  The tetrarch was disturbed and uneasy at the Lord's continued presence in his dominions, and the crowds who thronged to hear the great Teacher occasioned the jealous prince grave disquietude.  Herod shrank from laying hands on him, though, for the memory of the murdered friend of Jesus [ = John the Baptist] was a terrible one.  [18]



13:32                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Go," He replied, "and take this message to that fox: "'See, to-day and to-morrow I am driving out demons and effecting cures, and on the third day I finish my course.'

WEB:              He said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I complete my mission.    

Young’s:         and he said to them, 'Having gone, say to this fox, Lo, I cast forth demons, and perfect cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I am being perfected;       
Conte (RC):   And he said to them: "Go and tell that fox: 'Behold, I cast out demons and accomplish healings, today and tomorrow. And on the third day I reach the end.'


13:32               And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell.  He has no wish to keep the condemnation or His remaining longer a secret:  “Go and tell him!”  To the Pharisees this is a blunt challenge: “If you think He can do something about Me before I’m ready, go and take these words to him.  Let’s find out!”  It also shows—however harsh we take the condemnation—that He had no reservations about Herod learning of it.  Burned and guilty over how he had handled one prophet (John), would he really be all that thrilled about arresting yet another one?  [rw]       

                        that fox.  Herod.  Describing his cunning and cowardice.  [2]

When Jesus Christ spoke a severe word, the severity came out of the truth of its application.  He saw the inner heart, the real and true quality of the Tetrarch.  It was not an [insulting] epithet; it was a character in a word; it was a man summed up in a syllable. [49]

                        Or (taking it as a fully intended and deserved insult):  Rather, “this she-fox,” as though Christ saw him actually present, or identified his fox-like nature with that which the Pharisees were now displaying.  The fact that the word is feminine may be only due to its being generic.  The fox was among the ancients, as well as among the moderns, the type of knavish craftiness and covert attack.  This is the only word of unmitigated contempt (as distinguished from rebuke and scorn) recorded among the utterances of Christ, and it was more than justified by the mingled tyranny and timidity, insolence and baseness of Herod Antipas—a half-Samaritan, half-Idumaean tetrarch, who, professing Judaism, lived in heathen practices, and governed by the grace of Caesar and the help of alien mercenaries; who had murdered the greatest of the Prophets to gratify a dancing wanton; and who was living at that moment in an adultery doubly-incestuous with a woman of whom he had treacherously robbed his brother while he was his guest.  [56] 

                        Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures.  As a ruler, Herod had a respect for power (begrudged and envious, perhaps, but a respect none the less) for it allowed him to do what he wished and to carry out his intentions.  Now here we have this Jesus, with a widespread reputation for not only healing the severely sick but even removing demonic plague that made lives a living torment.  Jesus may be annoying me by His “arrogance,” but do I really want to see what happens if I outright arrest Him?  Probably nothing—but, then again. . . !        

                        Note also that a distinction is made between exorcism (casting out demons) and curing of diseases.  An overlap was certainly possible (demonically caused diseases), but Jesus’ words show that they were normally two separate categories.  It also argues—since it is presented as simple fact rather than something that needed to be defended—that the distinction was normal in His contemporary society.  [rw]

                        to day and to morrow.  It is probable that these expressions are general (as in Hosea 6:2).  They mean “I shall stay in Herod’s dominions with perfect security for a brief while longer till my work is done.”  It must be remembered that Peraea was in the tetrarchate of Herod, so that this incident may have occurred during the slow and solemn progress towards Jerusalem.  [56]

                        and the third day I shall be perfected.  The word teleioumai has been variously rendered and explained.  Bleek makes it mean “I shall end” (my work in Galilee); Godet, “I am being perfected,” in the sense of “I shall arrive at the destined end of my work;” Resch, “I complete my work” by one crowning miracle (John 11:40-44).  This solemn meaning best accords with other usages of the word, e.g. in the cry from the Cross, tetelestai, “It is finished” (John 19:30).  See too Hebrews 5:9, 11:40.  [56]



13:33                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Yet I must continue my journey to-day and to-morrow and the day following; for it is not conceivable that a Prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.

WEB:              Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the next day, for it can't be that a prophet perish outside of Jerusalem.'

Young’s:         but it behoveth me to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following, to go on, because it is not possible for a prophet to perish out of Jerusalem.
Conte (RC):   Yet truly, it is necessary for me to walk today and tomorrow and the following day. For it does not fall to a prophet to perish beyond Jerusalem.


13:33               Nevertheless.  Though Herod’s threat does not influence Me, still I must depart.  The great objects of My earthly mission require it. [3]

                        I must walk.  Rather, “I must journey;” the same word as in verse 31, “depart.”  It seems to imply, “I will not leave Herod’s dominion, but I shall journey on at my own leisure through them.”  [56]

                        to day, and to morrow, and the day following.  The three days he had referred to in the previous verse as indicating the time frame He intended to remain where He was.  [rw]

                        for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.  i.e., there is a moral unfitness in the murder of a Prophet anywhere but in Jerusalem.  The words are those of terribly irony; and yet, even amid the irony, the voice of the Speaker seemed to break with tears as He uttered the tender appeal of the next verse.  [56]



13:34                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou who murderest the Prophets and stonest those who have been sent to thee, how often have I desired to gather thy children just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not come!

WEB:              "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, like a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you refused! 

Young’s:         'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that is killing the prophets, and stoning those sent unto her, how often did I will to gather together thy children, as a hen her brood under the wings, and ye did not will.
Conte (RC):   Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets, and you stone those who are sent to you. Daily, I wanted to gather together your children, in the manner of a bird with her nest under her wings, but you were not willing!


13:34               O Jerusalem, Jerusalem.  The words were perhaps spoken again in the Great Denunciation of the Tuesday in Passion Week, Matthew 23:37.  [56]        

                        which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee.  “It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers” (Isaiah 1:21).  See 11:47, 20:14; Matthew 23:34; 2 Esdras 1:32, “I sent unto you my servants the prophets whom ye have taken and slain, and torn their bodies in pieces, whose blood I will require of your hands, saith the Lord.”  [56]  

                        how often.  This, like other passages in the Synoptists, implies more frequent visits to Jerusalem than they actually record.  [56]

                        would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings.  A metaphor still more tender and appealing than that of the eagle which “stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings” of Deuteronomy 32:11, 12.  [56] 

It is nature, that teacheth a wise man in fear to hide himself.  But grace and faith doth teach him, where.  Where should the frightened child hide his head, but in the bosom of his loving father?  Where a Christian, but under the shadows of the wings of Christ, his Saviour? Isa. xxvi. 20. —Hooker.  [36]

                        and ye would not!  In contrast with the “would I” of verse 34; it indicates “the sad privilege which man possesses of resisting the most serious influences of grace.”  [56]



13:35                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    See, your house is left to you. But I tell you that you will never see me again until you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'"

WEB:              Behold, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'"          

Young’s:         Lo, your house is being left to you desolate, and verily I say to you -- ye may not see me, till it may come, when ye may say, Blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord.'
Conte (RC):   Behold, your house will be left desolate for you. But I say to you, that you shall not see me, until it happens that you say: 'Blessed is he who has arrived in the name of the Lord.' "


13:35               Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.  The authenticity of the word “desolate” is very doubtful, as it is omitted in [a number of important manuscripts].  The words therefore mean “The Shechinah has vanished from you now” (Ezekiel 10:19, 11:23).  The house is now yours, not God’s; and because yours therefore a cave of brigands.”  If the word “desolate” be genuine it may allude to Daniel 9:27 and “the desolating wing of abomination,” as well as to other prophecies, Leviticus 26:31; Micah 3:12; Isaiah 5:5, 6.  There is a remarkable parallel in 2 Esdras 1:30-33, “I gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings:  but now, what shall I do unto you?  I will cast you out from my face. . . .  Thus saith the Almighty Lord, your house is desolate, I will cast you out as the wind doth stubble.”  [56]         

                        and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.  As a reference to the Second Coming of the Lord:  It is a most frivolous interpretation of these words to make them merely refer to the Hosannas of Palm Sunday (19:38) as though they meant, “I shall not visit Jerusalem till the day of my humble triumph.”  They clearly refer to the future and final penitence of Israel.  The “perfecting” of Jesus would be His death, and then once again He would return as “the Coming One.”  Hosea 3:4, 5; Psalms cxviii. 26.  Here, as in so many other stern passages of Scripture, in the Valley of Achor is opened a door of Hope, for the phrase implies “till the time comes as come it will” (Zechariah 13; Romans 11).  [56]



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-

                        tureMark-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.