From: Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Luke Return to Home
By Roland H. Worth, Jr. © 2015
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Weymouth: One day--it was a Sabbath--He was taking a meal at the house of one of the Rulers of the Pharisee party, while they were closely watching Him.
WEB: It happened, when he went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees on a Sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching him.
Young’s: And it came to pass, on his going into
the house of a certain one of the chiefs of the Pharisees, on a sabbath, to eat bread, that they were watching him,
Conte (RC): And it happened that, when Jesus entered the house of a certain leader of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were observing him.
14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees. A man of influence and reputation. 
Rather, “Of the rulers of the Pharisees.” The rendering of our version gives the general sense but is inadmissible. It is perhaps due to the translators being aware that the Pharisees had (strictly speaking) no Rulers. There were no grades of distinction between Pharisees as such. But obviously the expression would be popularly used of a Pharisee who was an eminent Rabbi like Hillel or Shammai, or of one who was also a Sanhedrist. 
We might suppose that after the rude experience of chapter 11:37-54, Jesus would be [reluctant] to place Himself again in such company. But even that occasion had served for the deliverance of important truth; and on another (7:36-47), He had met with a great opportunity in a Pharisee’s house. As He was invited now (verse 12) by one in a different place, who might have worthy motives, and a kinder personal feeling, He would not neglect a possible opening for the furtherance of His mission. 
Or: That our Lord accepted the invitation, though He was well aware of the implacable hostility of the Pharisaic party towards Him, was due to His gracious spirit of forgiving friendliness; and to this we owe the beautiful picture of His discourse and bearing throughout the feast which this chapter preserves for us. Every incident and remark of the banquet was turned to good. We have first the scene in the house (1-6); then the maneuvers to secure precedence at the meal (7-11); then the lesson to the host about the choice of guests (12-14); then the Parable of the King’s Feast suggested by the exclamation of one of the company (15-24). 
to eat bread. To dine. To partake of the hospitalities of his house. 
on the Sabbath day. The situation an illustration of traditional Jewish custom: Sabbath entertainments of a luxurious and joyous character were the rule among the Jews, and were even regarded as a religious duty (Nehemiah 8:9-12). All the food was however cooked on the previous day (Exodus 16:23). 
A contemporary moral application: As the Sabbath is intended for the benefit both of the body and soul of man, it should not be a day of austerity or fasting, especially among the laboring poor. The most wholesome and nutritive food should be then procured if possible; that both body and soul may feel the influence of this Divine appointment, and give God the glory of his grace. 
that they watched Him. This explains the reason of the invitation to the great Teacher, on the part of a leading Pharisee, after the Master's bitter denunciation of the party (see Luke 11:39-52). The feast and its attendant circumstances were all arranged, and Jesus' watchful enemies waited to see what he would do. 
More emphatically in the original “and they themselves were carefully watching Him,” compare 6:7. The invitation in fact even more than those in 7:36, 11:37 was a mere plot;--part of that elaborate espionage and malignant heresy-hunting (11:53, 54, 20:20; Mark 12:13), which is the mark of a decadent religion, and which the Pharisees performed with exemplary diligence. The Pharisees regarded it as their great object in life to exalt their sacred books; had they never read so much as this? “the wicked watcheth the righteous and seeketh occasion to slay him,” Psalms 37:32; “all that watch for iniquity are cut off, that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate,” Isaiah 29:20, 21. 
Weymouth: In front of Him was a man suffering from dropsy.
WEB: Behold, a certain man who had dropsy was in front of him.
Young’s: and lo, there was a certain dropsical man before him;
Conte (RC): And behold, a certain man before him was afflicted with edema.
14:2 And, behold, there was a certain man before Him. In what way he came there we know not. He might have been one of the Pharisee's family, or might have been placed there by the Pharisees to see whether he would heal him. This last supposition is not improbable, since it is said in Luke 14:1 that they watched him. 
Or: The phrase "let him go" of Luke 14:4 shows that the man was not a guest, but rather one who seems to have taken advantage of the freedom of an Oriental house to stand among the lookers-on. He may have been there purely from his own choice, but the evil intention with which Jesus was invited makes it highly probable that the man's presence was no accident, but part of a deep-laid plot to entrap Jesus. 
which had the dropsy. Would he pass by—contrary to his wont--such a sufferer? Would he heal him on the sabbath day? Could he? perhaps thought the crafty foes of the great Physician-Teacher. 
How the presence had to have been by pre-arrangement and intended as a deliberate challenge to Jesus: The verse represents with vividness the flash of recognition with which the Lord at once grasped the whole meaning of the scene. The dropsical man was not one of the guests; he stood as though by accident in the promiscuous [= varied] throng which may always enter an Oriental house during a meal. But his presence was no accident. The dropsy is unsightly, and was regarded as an incurable, disease.
The Pharisaic plot had therefore been concocted with that complex astuteness which marks in other instances (20:19-38; John 8:5) also the deadliness of their purpose. They argued (i) that He could not ignore the presence of a man conspicuously placed in front of Him; (ii) that perhaps He might fail in the cure of a disease exceptionally inveterate; (iii) that if He did heal the man on the Sabbath day there would be room for another charge before the synagogue or the Sanhedrin. One element which kindled our Lord’s indignation against the Pharisees for these crafty schemes was the way in which they made a mere tool of human misery. 
Weymouth: This led Jesus to ask the lawyers and Pharisees, "Is it allowable to cure people on the Sabbath?"
WEB: Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"
Young’s: and Jesus answering spake
to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, 'Is it lawful on the sabbath-day
Conte (RC): And responding, Jesus spoke to the experts in the law and to the Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath?"
14:3 And Jesus answering. In a moment he saw all and understood all, and answered the unasked question of his host and the assembled guests by putting to them another query which went to the root of the whole matter which they were pondering in their evil hearts. 
spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying. They evidently expected Jesus to act on the impulse, and were confused by His calm, deliberate question. 
Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? Having been criticized at other places over this matter, Jesus seizes the initiative. Such folk had condemned Him for “violating” the Sabbath prohibition on “work” and that accusation had a certain superficial appeal—so long as you did not think too much about it. In this case He puts them on the defensive straight off by demanding that they give a straight answer to whether it was right to heal on the Sabbath. Approaching the subject that way, there is little they can say that will not smell of callousness and unconcern for the well being of others. And, perhaps, just a touch of envy that Jesus should have such a power and they did not. [rw]
Weymouth: They gave Him no answer; so He took hold of the man, cured him, and sent him away.
WEB: But they were silent. He took him, and healed him, and let him go.
Young’s: and they were silent, and having taken
hold of him, he healed him, and let him go;
Conte (RC): But they kept silent. Yet truly, taking hold of him, he healed him and sent him away.
14:4 And they held their peace [kept silence, NKJV]. They were silent. Here was the time for them to make objections if they had any, and not after the man was healed. 
If the lawyers and Pharisees declared it lawful, they defeated their plot, and if they said otherwise, they involved themselves in an argument with Jesus in which, as experience taught them, they would be humiliated before the people. Hence, they kept silence, but their silence only justified Him, since it was the duty of every lawyer to pronounce this act unlawful if it had been so. 
and He took him. By taking hold of him, or touching him, he showed that the power of healing went forth from himself. 
and healed him, and let him go. Dropsy typically involved arms and other parts of the body swelling with water and letting go of the man allowed everyone to see that the quite visible condition had now disappeared. Since it was caused as a side effect of serious disease (for example the heart or kidneys) the healing carries with it the implicit assertion that the underlying cause was repaired as well. [rw]
Weymouth: Then He turned to them and said, "Which of you shall have a child or an ox fall into a well on the Sabbath day, and will not immediately lift him out?"
WEB: He answered them, "Which of you, if your son or an ox fell into a well, wouldn't immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?"
Young’s: and answering them he said, 'Of which of
you shall an ass or ox fall into a pit, and he will not immediately draw it up
on the sabbath-day?'
Conte (RC): And responding to them, he said, "Which of you will have a donkey or an ox fall into a pit, and will not promptly pull him out, on the day of the Sabbath?
14:5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass [son, ESV, NASB] or an ox fallen into a pit. The unquestionable reading if we are to follow the manuscripts is “a son or an ox.” The strangeness of the collocation (which however may be taken to imply “a son—nay even at ox”) has led to the conjectural emendation of huios into ois “a sheep” (whence the reading probaton “a sheep” in [manuscript] D) or onos “an ass” which was suggested by Deuteronomy 22:4. When however it is a question between two readings it is an almost invariable rule that the more difficult is to be preferred as the more likely to have been tampered with.
Further (i) Scripture never has “ass and ox” but always “ox and ass;” and (ii) “son” is a probable allusion to Exodus 23:12, “thine ox and thine ass and the son of thine handmaid shall rest on the Sabbath,” and (iii) the collocation “son and ox” is actually found in some Rabbinic parallels. If it be said that “a son falling into a well” is an unusual incident, the answer seems to be that it may be an allusion to the man’s disease (dropsy = the waterwatery disease); also that pits and wells are so common and often so unprotected in Palestine that the incident must have been less rare than it is among us. 
and will not straightway. Theoretically, the situation was not necessarily one that had to be dealt with immediately. If there was no apparent danger of dying, it could have been postponed. Likewise, if there was no obvious injury—especially a serious one—it could still have been postponed. But what living human being would do such a thing? The natural instinct is to immediately assure the safety whether clearly life-threatening or not. For one thing, how else could one possibly be sure it is not? [rw]
[They would do this] although the Sabbath labour thus involved would be considerable. And why would they do this? Because they had been taught, and in their better mind distinctly felt, that mercy was above the ceremonial law (Deuteronomy 22:4). 
pull him out on the Sabbath day? The noble instincts even of the jealous Pharisees must have been for a moment stirred above the dreary, lightless teaching with which the rabbinical schools had so marred the old Divine Law. Dr. Farrar quotes a traditional instance of this. "When Hillel"—afterwards the great rabbi and head of the famous school which bore his name—"then a poor porter, had been found half-frozen under masses of snow in the window of the lecture-room of Shemaiah and Abtation, where he had hidden himself, to profit by their wisdom, because he had been unable to earn the small fee for entrance, they had rubbed and resuscitated him, though it was the sabbath day, and had said that he was one for whose sake it was well worth while to break the sabbath." 
Weymouth: To this they could make no reply.
WEB: They couldn't answer him regarding these things.
Young’s: and they were not able to answer him
again unto these things.
Conte (RC): And they were unable to respond to him about these things.
14:6 And they could not answer him again to these things. A fact which never makes any difference to the convictions of ignorant hatred and superstitious narrowness. 
Weymouth: Then, when He noticed that the invited guests chose the best seats, He used this as an illustration and said to them,
WEB: He spoke a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the best seats, and said to them,
Young’s: And he spake a
simile unto those called, marking how they were choosing out the first couches,
saying unto them,
Conte (RC): Then he also told a parable, to those who were invited, noticing how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them:
14:7 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked [noted, NKJV]. Some of Jesus’ parables were given because they represented the broader scope of knowledge that the listeners needed to hear to be fully informed. In this case it was directly caused by the behavior He observed and was intended to directly apply to it. [rw]
how they chose out. Imperfect: were choosing. Something going on before his eyes. 
Since the chief seats were already occupied—this is presented as if in the middle of the preceding meal—this could carry the connotation that some were leaving and entering throughout the feast. Alternatively, this was something they were doing in their own minds: judging which were the most important seats and who was occupying them. If they weren’t going to occupy a center location, they were still highly conscious who was there in what—in their minds—was the kind of prestige position they themselves so amply deserved. [rw]
The struggle for precedence—a small ambition so universal that it even affected the Apostles (Mark 9:34)—gave Him the opportunity for a lesson of humility. 
the chief rooms [best places, NKJV]. The "triclinia", or Grecian table, then in use had three sections which were placed together so as to form a flat-bottomed U. The space enclosed by the table was not occupied. It was left vacant that the servants might enter it and attend to the wants of the guests who reclined around the outer margin of the table. The central seat of each of these three sections were deemed a place of honor. This struggle for precedence was a small ambition, but many of the ambitions of our day are equally small. 
saying unto them. Not keeping it to Himself, but publicly and immediately sharing the thoughts with those whose behavior deserved censure. [rw]
Weymouth: "When any one invites you to a wedding banquet, do not take the best seat, lest perhaps some more honoured guest than you may have been asked,
WEB: "When you are invited by anyone to a marriage feast, don't sit in the best seat, since perhaps someone more honorable than you might be invited by him,
Young’s: 'When thou mayest
be called by any one to marriage-feasts, thou mayest
not recline on the first couch, lest a more honourable
than thou may have been called by him,
Conte (RC): "When you are invited to a wedding, do not sit down in the first place, lest perhaps someone more honored than yourself may have been invited by him.
14:8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding. Jesus mentions another kind of feast than the one in progress, that he may not be needlessly personal. 
His host has acted honorably in inviting Jesus (whether out of ill intent or not); to drag the current gathering directly into the conversation would entangle him in this “briar bush” of controversy that his courtesy did not deserve. Furthermore the more important the family in which the marriage was occurring, the more social prestige would accompany occupying an important position at the festivities. Hence this shift in parable “location” zeroed in much better on the issue of pride. [rw]
sit not down in the highest room. The expositors of the Law of God, the religious guides of the people, were setting an example of self-seeking, were showing what was their estimate of a fitting reward, what was the crown of learning which they coveted—the first seats at a banquet, the title of respect and honour! 
lest a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him. A more aged man, or a man of higher rank. It is to be remarked that our Saviour did not consider the courtesies of life to be beneath his notice. His chief design here was, no doubt, to reprove the pride and ambition of the Pharisees; but, in doing it, he teaches us that religion does not violate the courtesies of life. It does not teach us to be rude, forward, pert, assuming, and despising the proprieties of social contact. They have utterly mistaken the nature of religion who suppose that because they are professed Christians, they must be rude and uncivil, and violate all the distinctions in society. The example and precepts of Jesus Christ were utterly unlike such conduct. He teaches us to be kind, and to treat people according to their rank and character. Compare Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17. 
Weymouth: and the man who invited you both will come and will say to you, 'Make room for this guest,' and then you, ashamed, will move to the lowest place.
WEB: and he who invited both of you would come and tell you, 'Make room for this person.' Then you would begin, with shame, to take the lowest place.
Young’s: and he who did call thee and him having
come shall say to thee, Give to this one place, and then thou mayest begin with shame to occupy the last place.
Conte (RC): And then he who called both you and him, approaching, may say to you, 'Give this place to him.' And then you would begin, with shame, to take the last place.
14:9 And he that bade thee and him. The host of the gathering, whoever that might be. The social setting of the parable would seem to require that he be a socially prominent person himself and that he be comfortably well off to have the financing necessary to host such individuals in a manner they would be used to. [rw]
come and say to thee, Give this man place. As an instance of such unseemly contention, Dr. Farrar quotes from the Talmud how, "at a banquet of King Alexander Jannaeus, the rabbi Simeon ben Shetach, in spite of the presence of some great Persian satraps, had thrust himself at table between the king and queen, and when rebuked for his intrusion quoted in his defence Ecclesiasticus 15:5, 'Exalt wisdom, and She … shall make thee sit among princes.' " 
and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. Humiliated, you move from one of the very desired seats to the lowest of them all—since by this time that would be the only type still available. No matter how gently delivered were the words, everyone else would notice what was going on and recognize its significance. A few only partially concealed laughs would likely be heard as well. Feeling like a fool in front of others is about as denigrating an event as any human being can ever suffer. [rw]
Weymouth: On the contrary, when you are invited go and take the lowest place, that when your host comes round he may say to you, 'My friend, come up higher.' This will be doing you honour in the presence of all the other guests.
WEB: But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes, he may tell you, 'Friend, move up higher.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.
Young’s: 'But, when thou mayest
be called, having gone on, recline in the last place, that when he who called
thee may come, he may say to thee, Friend, come up higher; then thou shalt have glory before those reclining with thee;
Conte (RC): But when you are invited, go, sit down in the lowest place, so that, when he who invited you arrives, he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher.' Then you will have glory in the sight of those who sit at table together with you.
14:10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room [place, NKJV]; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher. The point is that if you are really as important as your pride says you are, then forcing yourself into the most important seats is unnecessary: those running the feast will immediately recognize you and give you the seating you deserve. To give a political illustration: if the Lieutenant Governor of a state arrives unexpected at a banquet and he takes advantage of the closest available seating in the rear, you can virtually bet (successfully!) a large sum that he will be recognized and moved forward to a place more befitting his rank and status. It is the automatic recognition of status that one expects in such a situation. [rw]
then shalt thou have worship [glory, NKJV] in the presence of them that sit at meat [the table, NKJV] with thee. It need, however, hardly be said that nothing is farther from our Lord’s intentions than to teach mere calculating worldly politeness. From the simple facts of life that an intrusive person renders himself liable to just rebuffs, he draws the great spiritual lesson so much needed by the haughty religious professors by whom He was surrounded that: “Humble we must be if to heaven we go; / High is the roof there, but the door is low.” 
Weymouth: For whoever uplifts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be uplifted.
WEB: For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
every one who is exalting himself shall be humbled, and he who is humbling
himself shall be exalted.'
Conte (RC): For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted."
14:11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased. See Luke 1:52, 13:30, and Matthew 23:12. A similar lesson is prominent in the Book of Proverbs (15:33, 16:18, 19, 29:23), and is strongly enforced by Peter (1 Peter 5:5). 
and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Humility does not rule out the possibility of recognition—even great recognition. But it does assure, that when it comes, it shall be because of what you really are and have really accomplished and not out of a self-centered and inflated ego. 
Weymouth: Also to His host, who had invited Him, He said, "When you give a breakfast or a dinner, do not invite your friends or brothers or relatives or rich neighbours, lest perhaps they should invite you in return and a requital be made you.
WEB: He also said to the one who had invited him, "When you make a dinner or a supper, don't call your friends, nor your brothers, nor your kinsmen, nor rich neighbors, or perhaps they might also return the favor, and pay you back.
Young’s: And he said also to him who did call him,
'When thou mayest make a dinner or a supper, be not
calling thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kindred, nor rich neighbours, lest they may also call thee again, and a
recompense may come to thee;
Conte (RC): Then he also said to the one who had invited him: "When you prepare a lunch or dinner, do not choose to call your friends, or your brothers, or your relatives, or your wealthy neighbors, lest perhaps they might then invite you in return and repayment would made to you.
14:12 Then said he also to him that bade him. Having just said uncomfortable words to those who were guests along with Him, He now provides an uncomfortable teaching for the host as well: Dinners such as this were given out of friendship, or obligation, or to impress others so Jesus throws out the challenge: Why not be equally generous to those are in great need—unlike all these current guests—for you will receive a blessing (verse 14) of a kind and nature none of these possibly can give. [rw]
When thou makest a dinner or a supper. I think it obvious that the Savior does not mean here to prohibit the invitation and entertainment of those who might be able to reciprocate the courtesy; but to condemn (1) the motive with which it is sometimes done, and (2) the exclusiveness growing out of such motive, which limits the invitation to this class. I think He is aiming at the tree rather than the fruit—inculcating a principle rather than prescribing a rule. The tree which He would hew down is selfishness; the principle He would inculcate is uncalculating love. 
In this as many of our Lord’s utterances, we must take into account (1) the idioms of Oriental speech; (2) the rules of common sense, which teach us to distinguish between the letter and the spirit. It is obvious that our Lord did not mean to forbid the common hospitalities between kinsmen and equals, but only, as the context shews, (1) to discourage a mere interested hospitality intended to secure a return; and (2) to assert that unselfish generosity is superior to the common civilities of friendliness. The “not” therefore means, as often elsewhere in Scripture, “not only, but also,” or “Not so much . . . as,” as in Proverbs 8:10; John 6:27; 1 Corinthians 1:17, 15:10; 1 Timothy 2:9, etc. In other words, “not” sometimes denies “not absolutely but conditionally (Galatians 5:21) and comparatively (1 Corinthians 1:17.” See Matthew 9:13; Jeremiah 7:22; Joel 2:13; Hebrews 8:11. 
call not thy friends. A striking parallel occurs in Plato's "Phaedrus," 233. "And, in general, when you make a feast, invite not your friend, but the beggar and the empty soul, for they will love you, and attend you, and come about your doors, and will be the best pleased, and the most grateful, and will invoke blessings on your head." 
neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours. The “kin” would be invited simply because you “had to” even if little or no affection actually existed between you. The adjective modifying “neighbors” is important because they might be invited out of an effort to be kindly or friendly. But these neighbors are “rich” ones—you’ve singled them out as individuals who may well be of personal benefit to you. They are important to you not because of where they live (nearby) but because of their economic status. [rw]
lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee [you be repaid, NKJV]. How strangely it must have sounded to this man that a recompense was to be avoided! With him, no doubt, this had been the main consideration. He looked for the recompense—that what he bestowed should come back to him—that what passed for generous hospitality should in fact cost him nothing [because the cost and number of the feasts he received in return would be even greater, rw], and yet should bring large increase of exaltation and honor. From first to last every thing centered upon self; and perhaps for such a man the observance of the strict letter of the lesson would be necessary. 
Weymouth: But when you entertain, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind;
WEB: But when you make a feast, ask the poor, the maimed, the lame, or the blind;
Young’s: but when thou mayest
make a feast, be calling poor, maimed, lame, blind,
Conte (RC): But when you prepare a feast, call the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind.
14:13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor. Great pagan moralists, sick at heart at these dreary, selfish society conventionalities, have condemned this system of entertaining those who would be likely to make an equivalent return for the interested hospitality. So Martial, writing of such an incident, says, 'You are asking for gifts, Sextus, not for friends." Nehemiah gives a somewhat similar charge to the Jews of his day: "Eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared" (Nehemiah 8:10). 
the maimed. Those who are deprived of any member of their body, as an arm or a leg or who have not the use of them so that they can labor for their own support. 
the lame, the blind. One can’t walk well; the other can’t see. The first will be lucky if there is any kind of work they can do that brings in anything more than the most trivial; the second won’t be able to do even that much. In short, both are assuredly poor and almost as assuredly relying on charity to survive. [rw]
Weymouth: and you will be blessed, because they have no means of requiting you, but there will be requital for you at the Resurrection of the righteous."
WEB: and you will be blessed, because they don't have the resources to repay you. For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous."
happy thou shalt be, because they have not to
recompense thee, for it shall be recompensed to thee in the rising again of the
Conte (RC): And you will be blessed because they do not have a way to repay you. So then, your recompense will be in the resurrection of the just."
14:14 And thou shalt be blessed. The rendering of the Bible Union exhibits the sense much more clearly: “And happy shalt thou be, because they can not recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” But while this very clearly brings out the meaning of the clauses as they seem to stand related, I am not sure that this is the true meaning. It makes the failure of recompence here, the only ground of future recompence; in other words, it seems to teach that the man would be recompensed at the resurrection simply because the parties invited were not able to recompense him in this life.
While this may certainly be viewed from an angle in which it would be true, I am disposed to think that it is not exactly the sense of the passage; but that the first two clauses of verse 14 are to be construed as an hyperbaton or inversion, the second and not the first connecting immediately with verse 13. Thus understood the passage would read: “Call the poor, the maimed, and the blind, because they can not recompense thee; and thou shalt be blessed for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”
Here the ground of reward is not simply the fact that “they can not recompense,” but the motive that antedated [preceded] that fact—the unselfish love that expressed itself in the invitation of such people. Thus the lesson, like all His teaching, reaches down into the inner life, where it touches and purified the very springs of action. 
for they cannot recompense thee. Because of their poverty and lack of physical ability, there is nothing they can do for you. By the very nature of the situation, all the “giving and receiving” will be one sided, with the giving coming from you. [rw]
for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Some think that this verse teaches that there shall be two resurrections, but the contrast is not between two "times", but rather between two "parties" or divisions of one resurrection. If one has part in the resurrection of the just, he may expect recompense for his most trivial act. But if he be resurrected among the unjust, he need expect no reward, even for the most meritorious deeds of his whole life. 
Weymouth: After listening to this teaching, one of His fellow guests said to Him, "Blessed is he who shall feast in God's Kingdom."
WEB: When one of those who sat at the table with him heard these things, he said to him, "Blessed is he who will feast in the Kingdom of God!"
Young’s: And one of those reclining with him,
having heard these things, said to him, 'Happy is he who shall eat bread in the
reign of God;'
Conte (RC): When someone sitting at table with him had heard these things, he said to him, "Blessed is he who will eat bread in the kingdom of God."
14:15 And when one of them that sat at meat with Him heard these things. He may have wanted to diminish the force of the rebukes implied in the previous lessons by a vapid general remark. At any rate, he seems to have assumed that he would be one of those who would sit at the heavenly feast which should inaugurate the new aeon, and from which, like all Jews, he held it to be almost inconceivable that any circumcised son of Abraham should be excluded. Hence the warning involved in this parable which was meant to prove how small was the real anxiety to accept the divine invitation. [ ? ]
he said unto Him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. The language of Christ implied that God himself would feast those who feasted the poor, and this implication accorded with the Jewish notion that the kingdom of God would be ushered in with a great festival. Inspired by this thought, and feeling confident that he should have been part of the festivities, this guest exclaimed upon the anticipated blessedness. 
Weymouth: "A man once gave a great dinner," replied Jesus, "to which he invited a large number of guests.
WEB: But he said to him, "A certain man made a great supper, and he invited many people.
Young’s: and he said to him, 'A certain man made a
great supper, and called many,
Conte (RC): So he said to him: "A certain man prepared a great feast, and he invited many.
14:16 Then said He unto him. See a similar parable to this, though not spoken on the same occasion, explained, Matthew 22:1-14. 
A certain man made a great supper, and bade many. This invitation was preliminary, according to a custom of that part of the world, and signified specifically that those who received it were to be in readiness when definitely summoned. 
The kingdom of heaven, under the imagery of a great Banquet, was a picture well known to the Jews of that age. The guests in the Pharisee's house for the greater part were probably highly cultured men. At once they would grasp the meaning of the parable. They knew that the supper was heaven, and the Giver of the feast was God. The many—these were Israel, the long line of generations of the chosen people. So far strictly true, they thought, but, as Jesus proceeded, whispers would run round, "What means the Galilaean here?" 
Weymouth: At dinner-time he sent his servant to announce to those who had been invited, "'Come, for things are now ready.'
WEB: He sent out his servant at supper time to tell those who were invited, 'Come, for everything is ready now.'
Young’s: and he sent his servant at the hour of
the supper to say to those having been called, Be coming, because now are all
Conte (RC): And he sent his servant, at the hour of the feast, to tell the invited to come; for now everything was ready.
14:17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden. An invitation had been sent before, but this servant was sent at the time that the supper was ready. From this it would seem that it was the custom to announce to those invited just the time when the feast was prepared. The custom here referred to still prevails in Palestine. Dr. Thomson ("The Land and the Book," vol. i. p. 178) says: "If a sheikh, beg, or emeer invites, he always sends a servant to call you at the proper time. This servant often repeats the very formula mentioned in Luke 14:17; Tefŭddŭlû, el 'asha hâder. Come, for the supper is ready.
The fact that this custom is mainly confined to the wealthy and to the nobility is in strict agreement with the parable, where the certain man who made the great supper and bade many is supposed to be of this class. It is true now, as then, that to refuse is a high insult to the maker of the feast, nor would such excuses as those in the parable be more acceptable to a Druse emeer than they were to the lord of this 'great supper.' " 
First century application: The message of the servant corresponds to the ministry of John the Baptist and of Jesus Himself. 
Come; for all things are now ready. You were promised and forewarned this great celebration was coming. You’ve had plenty of time to prepare for it, so there should be no reason that a delay should occur. They are waiting for you. Come! [rw]
Weymouth: "But they all without exception began to excuse themselves. The first told him, "'I have purchased a piece of land, and must of necessity go and look at it. Pray hold me excused.'
WEB: They all as one began to make excuses. "The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please have me excused.'
Young’s: 'And they began with one consent all to
excuse themselves: The first said to him, A field I bought, and I have need to
go forth and see it; I beg of thee, have me excused.
Conte (RC): And at once they all began to make excuses. The first said to him: 'I bought a farm, and I need to go out and see it. I ask you to excuse me.'
14:18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The fact was, the invited were pleased to be invited, but there the matter ended with them. The banquet, which they were proud to have been asked to share in, had no influence upon their everyday lives. They made their engagements for pleasure and for business without the least regard to the day or the hour of the banquet: indeed, they treated it with perfect indifference. 
to make excuse. The Greek word is the exact equivalent of our “to beg off.” The same fact is indicated in John 1:11, 5:40, and in the “ye would not” of 13:34; and the reason is the antipathy of the natural or carnal man to God, John 15:24. 
the first said unto him. The three excuses have this in common that they all plead something that pertains to the self, and all place the gratification of self above the sense of duty and obligation. The piece of ground, the five yoke of oxen, and the wife, do but indicate the different directions in [which] the same stream flows. 
I have bought a piece of land. Perhaps he had purchased it on condition that he found it as good as it had been represented to him. 
and I must needs go and see it. No doubt he had seen the ground before he bought it, but it was a much more interesting sight now. A piece of ground, very poor-looking in itself, becomes attractive to a new purchaser. He can now mentally divide it out and plan its crops or its buildings.
This man of the Parable had not been of so much consequence in the world when he first accepted the invitation. He still sees the desirableness of maintaining friendship with the host; but his invitation does not now seem so attractive as it did before he was a landowner. He endeavors, therefore, with a show of courtesy to set up an opposing necessity. It is not, he [implies], that he does not desire to accept the invitation, not at all; the host will quite misconceive him if he thinks he is not dying to come; but necessity compels him to look after his property. He must go and take it over, and make arrangements about its use. He is extremely sorry, but so it is. 
I pray thee have me excused. The original is “consider me as having been excused.” The very form of the expression involves the consciousness that his excuse of necessity was merely an excuse. There is, too, an emphasis on the me—“excusatum me habeas”—it may be the duty of others to go; I am an exception. 
Weymouth: "A second pleaded, "'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and am on my way to try them. Pray hold me excused.'
WEB: "Another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I must go try them out. Please have me excused.'
Young’s: 'And another said, Five yoke of oxen I
bought, and I go on to prove them; I beg of thee, have me excused:
Conte (RC): And another said: 'I bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to examine them. I ask you to excuse me.'
14:19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove [test, NKJV] them. The second has not even the decency to plead any necessity. He merely says “I am going to test my oxen,” and implies “my will is sufficient reason.” 
I pray thee have me excused. The servant carrying the announcement is no fool. He could tell as easily as anyone that his master is not going to be happy at this unthinking dismissal of a previously made commitment. Does the rejecter really think he can do this and the feast giver continue to treat him as a friend or with respect? Is the man so full of his own pride that he feels the feast giver can do nothing but quietly endure the excuse without complaint? (Like the ancient Israelites seem to have thought that God would dismiss all their apostasies since they were His people. Therefore the bond made the relationship inescapable and unchangeable.) Whatever the reason, he is—to use our modern expression—“burning his bridges.” He has made himself a permanent adversary. [rw]
Weymouth: "Another said, "'I am just married. It is impossible for me to come.'
WEB: "Another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I can't come.'
Young’s: and another said, A
wife I married, and because of this I am not able to come.
Conte (RC): And another said, 'I have taken a wife, and therefore I am not able to go.'
14:20 And another said, I have married a wife. If this refers to “I have just married,” then surely he knew when he was going to get married and would have notified the party giver that he would not be available around that particular day. If this refers to the mere fact of currently being married, the same difficulty would exist; furthermore why doesn’t he invoke his “head of the family” privilege to do what had originally been agreed to? Now if the invitation had been accepted earlier in the same day (which is quite often assumed to be the case), then anything legitimate he could appeal to now, he should have known about earlier. In short, he is clearly “excuse mongering” rather than “reason giving.” [rw]
and therefore I cannot come. The “I cannot,” as in 11:7, is only an euphemism for “I will not.” He thinks his reason so strong that there can be no question about it. He relies doubtless on the principle of the exemption from war, granted to newly-married bridegrooms in Deuteronomy 24:5. Perhaps St. Paul is alluding to this parable in 1 Corinthians 7:29-33, “The time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; . . . and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not using it to the full.” Thus the three hindrances are possessions, wealth, pleasures. But, as Bengel says, neither the field (Matthew 13:44), nor the plowing (9:62), nor the wedding (2 Corinthians 11:2) need have been any real hindrance. The “sacred hate” of verse 26 would have cured all these excuses. 
Weymouth: "So the servant came and brought these answers to his master, and they stirred his anger. "'Go out quickly,' he said, 'into the streets of the city--the wide ones and the narrow. You will see poor men, and crippled, blind, lame: fetch them all in here.'
WEB: "That servant came, and told his lord these things. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor, maimed, blind, and lame.'
Young’s: 'And that servant having come, told to
his lord these things, then the master of the house, having been angry, said to
his servant, Go forth quickly to the broad places and lanes of the city, and
the poor, and maimed, and lame, and blind, bring in hither.
Conte (RC): And returning, the servant reported these things to his lord. Then the father of the family, becoming angry, said to his servant: 'Go out quickly into the streets and neighborhoods of the city. And lead here the poor, and the disabled, and the blind, and the lame.'
14:21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Told his master of the excuses of those who had been invited. Their conduct was remarkable, and it was his duty to acquaint him with the manner in which his invitation had been received. 
Surely a bit of personal pique in the mind (if not the speaking tone) of the servant as well? Any event this big and the household staff—probably including this servant himself—had been involved in the preparation. And all the hard work going for nothing? It offended not only the honor of his lord but of his workers who had done all the hard preparation! It was a rejection of both the Lord and everyone who labored on his behalf. [rw]
Then the master of the house being angry. This is a case of “constructive revenge”—doing good to “get even” with others. They had treated the diner invitation with contempt, so the host will show them that he would just as happily have the downcasts and outcasts of society as have them. In that context, the “worst” these people were regarded in society, the more vivid he has made his point. [rw]
said to his servant, Go out quickly. The feast is ready. There is no time to lose. They who partake of it must do it soon. So the gospel is ready; time flies; and they who partake of the gospel must do it soon, and they who preach it must give diligence to proclaim it to their fellow-men. 
into the streets and lanes of the city. The invitations were distributed broadcast among a rougher and less cultured class, but still the invitations to the banquet were confined to dwellers in the city; we hear as yet of no going without the walls. Here the invitation seems generally to have been accepted. All this in the first instance referred to the Galilaean peasants, to the Jewish publicans, to the mass of the people, who heard Him, on the whole, gladly. 
and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. The folks who would be lucky if they were permitted to carry off the leftovers and to whom attending the feast itself would be unbelievable. [rw]
Weymouth: "Soon the servant reported the result, saying, "'Sir, what you ordered is done, and there is room still.'
WEB: "The servant said, 'Lord, it is done as you commanded, and there is still room.'
Young’s: 'And the servant said, Sir, it hath been
done as thou didst command, and still there is room.
Conte (RC): And the servant said: 'It has been done, just as you ordered, lord, and there is still room.'
14:22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded. The Lord’s instruction has been carefully executed but there is still much room left. This implies something not explicitly stated—that there are far, far more invited than just the three individuals cited and that none of the invited came at all (or so comparatively few that it was far too inadequate to fill all of the remaining room). In other words, the three examples cited are illustrative of those who are willing to use any excuse they fancy to reject Jesus. As in the examples given, the reasons may be so futile as to be hard to say with a straight face. But a fundamental decision to reject has been made and, when that has been made, any meaningless excuse will work quite well. [rw]
and yet there is room. While these words are necessary to complete the picture, still in them we have a hint of the vast size of the kingdom of God. The realms of the blessed are practically boundless. Here, again, in the first instance, there was a Jewish instruction intended to correct the false current notion that that kingdom was narrow in extent, and intended to be confined to the chosen race of Israel. 
Weymouth: "'Go out,' replied the master, 'to the high roads and hedge-rows, and compel the people to come in, so that my house may be filled.
WEB: "The lord said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Young’s: 'And the lord said unto the servant, Go
forth to the ways and hedges, and constrain to come in, that my house may be
Conte (RC): And the lord said to the servant: 'Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel them to enter, so that my house may be filled.
14:23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges. Hitherto the parable-story has been dealing with the past and the present of Israel; it now becomes prophetic, and speaks of a state of things to be. The third series of invitations is not addressed to inhabitants of a city. No walls hem in these far-scattered dwellers among the highways and hedges of the world. This time the master of the house asks to his great banquet those who live in the isles of the Gentiles. 
hedges. A hedge is the inclosure around a field or vineyard. It was commonly made of thorns, which were planted thick, and which kept the cattle out of the vineyard. "A common plant for this purpose is the prickly pear, a species of cactus, which grows several feet high, and as thick as a man's body, armed with sharp thorns, and thus forming an almost impervious defense" (Professor Hackett, "Scripture Illustrations," p. 174). Those in the hedges were poor laborers employed in planting them or trimming them - people of the lowest class and of great poverty. By his directing them to go first into the streets of the city and then into the highways, we are not to understand our Saviour as referring to different classes of people, but only as denoting the earnestness with which God offers salvation to people, and his willingness that the most despised should come and live. 
and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. By such moral suasion as that described in 2 Timothy 4:2. The compulsion wanted is that used by Paul the Apostle, not by Paul the Inquisitor. The abuse of the word “Compel” in the cause of intolerance is one of the many instances which prove the deadliness of that mechanical letter-worship which attributes infallibility not only to Scripture, but even to its own ignorant misinterpretations. The compulsion is merciful, not sanguinary; it is a compulsion to inward acceptance, not to outward conformity; it is employed to overcome the humble despair of the penitent, not the proud resistance of the heretic. Otherwise it would have been applied, not to the poor suffering outcasts, but to the haughty and privileged persons who had refused the first invitation. Yet even Augustine shews some tendency to this immoral perversion of the words in his “Foris inveniatur necessitas, nascitur intus voluntas.” Others apply it to threats of eternal punishment, and a ministry which dwells on lessons of wrath. 
Why is the compulsion needed? The second and third classes are depicted as needing to be constrained. This would be so, because they would hold themselves unworthy of the invitation. But they were to be constrained by moral and not by physical means (Matthew 14:22; 2 Corinthians 12:11; Galatians 2:14). Physical constraint would have been contrary to all custom, as well as impossible to one servant. 
Weymouth: For I tell you that not one of those who were invited shall taste my dinner.'"
WEB: For I tell you that none of those men who were invited will taste of my supper.'"
Young’s: for I say to you, that none of those men
who have been called shall taste of my supper.'
Conte (RC): For I tell you, that none of those men who were invited will taste of my feast.' "
14:24 For I say unto you. Whose words are these? Are they spoken by the host of the parable-story; and if so, to whom does he address them? For in the original Greek it is not "I say unto thee" (singular), the servant with whom throughout he has been holding a colloquy, but "I say unto you" (plural): Who does he mean by "you"? The assembled guests?
Or especially the already introduced poor of Luke 14:21 (so Bengel)? But what conceivable purpose, as Stier well asks, would be served by addressing these stern words to the guests admitted? Would their bliss be increased by a side-glance at those who had lost what they were to enjoy? How inharmonious a close would this be of a parable constructed with such tender graciousness throughout. It is better, therefore, to understand it as spoken with deep solemnity by the Master himself to the assembled guests in the Pharisee's house, with whom he was then sitting at meat, and for whose special instruction He had spoken the foregoing parable of the great supper. 
That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. It must be remembered that Jesus had now been distinctly and deliberately rejected at Nazareth (4:29) and Jerusalem (John 8:59); in Judaea, Samaria (9:53), Galilee (10:13), and Peraea (8:37). “Seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles,” Acts 8:46; Hebrews 12:25; Matthew 21:43, 22:8. 
In-depth: An explanation of the parable of the banquet . We have a preliminary or general invitation followed by three special invitations. We may regard the general invitation as given by Moses, and the prophets in the ages before the feast was prepared.
(1) Then the first special one would be given by John the Baptist and Christ to the Jewish nation in the first stages of Christ's ministry.
(2) The second special invitation was given by Christ, the twelve and the seventy, and came more especially to the poor and outcast, the publicans and sinners, because the leading men of the nation spurned the invitation.
(3) The third invitation was begun by the apostles after the Lord's ascension and is still borne forward by those who have come after them and includes all nations.
The three conditions of Jew, outcast, and Gentiles are indicated by the three orders of guests: (1) The honorable citizens of the city (Luke 14:17); (2) those who frequent the streets and lanes, but are still in and out of the city (Luke 14:21); (3) those who live without the city and are found upon the highway and in the hedgepaths of the vineyards and gardens (Luke 14:23).
Weymouth: On His journey vast crowds attended Him, towards whom He turned and said,
WEB: Now great multitudes were going with him. He turned and said to them,
Young’s: And there were going on with him great
multitudes, and having turned, he said unto them,
Conte (RC): Now great crowds traveled with him. And turning around, he said to them:
14:25 And there went great multitudes with Him. This is evidently a scene of the journey, when multitudes of the Galilaean pilgrims were accompanying Him on their way to one of the great Jewish feasts. 
and He turned, and said unto them. Things were going to happen in Jerusalem that showed just how profoundly hostile major elements of the Jewish religious establishment were to Him and His cause. Some had already occurred on prior visits. This one would be even worse. There was no way they were going to go unobserved. If they were to remain faithful to Him both now and after the crucifixion, they needed to be prepared for the shock of outright resistance to any who remained committed. He wants them to be aware that discipleship may ultimately carry a quite heavy cost—one well worth it, but one wearisome to the spirit and which they need to be prepared for. [rw]
Weymouth: "If any one is coming to me who does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and his own life also, he cannot be a disciple of mine.
WEB: "If anyone comes to me, and doesn't disregard his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can't be my disciple.
Young’s: 'If any one doth come unto me, and doth
not hate his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and
sisters, and yet even his own life, he is not able to be my disciple;
Conte (RC): "If anyone comes to me, and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and yes, even his own life, he is not able to be my disciple.
14:26 If any man come to me. i.e., claim to be My disciple, My follower—then it is essential that his own set of values and standards must make loyalty to Me superior to anyone and anything else. “Any man:” No exceptions. The principle applies to every single man and woman who decides to commit to discipleship. [rw]
and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also. “Hateth", as used here, is an example of phenomenal speech, or speaking from appearances. In the cases supposed, the person would "appear" to hate those whom he abandoned for Christ. It is like repent, anger, etc., when spoken of God. To construe the passage literally as enjoining hatred would be contrary to the fifth commandment as re-enacted at Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20 and also contrary to our Lord's own example (John 19:25-27). Seeing the number of those adherents which now surrounded him, Jesus made use of this striking statement that he might startle each hearer, and impress upon him the wide difference between a mere outward appearance and a real, disciple-like adhesion to Him. 
It is not so much the true explanation to say that “hate” here means “love less” (Genesis 29:31), as to say that when our nearest and dearest relationships prove to be positive obstacles in coming to Christ, then all natural affections must be flung aside; compare Deuteronomy 13:6-9, 21:19-21, 33:8, 9. A reference to Matthew 10:37 will shew that “hate” means hate by comparison [i.e., hate one thing in comparison with another]. Our Lord purposely stated great principles in their boldest and even most paradoxical form by which He alone has succeeded in impressing them for ever as principles on the hearts of His disciples. The “love of love” involves a necessity for the possible “hate of hate,” as even worldly poets have understood: “I could not love thee, dear, so much / Love I not honour more.” --Lovelace. 
and his own life also. This further explains the meaning of the word “hate.” The psuche “soul” or “animal life” is the seat of the passions and temptations which naturally alienate the spirit from Christ. These must be hated, mortified, crucified if they cannot be controlled; and life itself must be cheerfully sacrificed, Revelation 12:11; Acts 20:24. 
he cannot be my disciple. He or she can claim it. They may even worship Me and regularly pray. But they’ve gutted the claim of any substance. It is, alas for them, turned into all a game of “let’s pretend.” And pretense can never be enough with Me. [rw]
Weymouth: No one who does not carry his own cross and come after me can be a disciple of mine.
WEB: Whoever doesn't bear his own cross, and come after me, can't be my disciple.
Young’s: and whoever doth not bear his cross, and
come after me, is not able to be my disciple.
Conte (RC): And whoever does not bear his cross and come after me, is not able to be my disciple.
14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross. Not only must self be mortified, but even the worst sufferings endured (1 Thessalonians 3:4, 5). The allusion to the cross must still have been mysterious to the hearers (Matthew 10:38), the more so since they were dreaming of Messianic triumphs and festivities. 
and come after Me. In addition to being the physical instrument of your death, the cross was physically heavy and difficult to carry. Hence Jesus alludes to—and concedes—that discipleship will have its burdens and troubles and He is determined not to leave them under any delusion that it could possibly be different. [rw]
cannot be My disciple. You could, certainly, pretend to be such. You might even become an accepted member of some local congregation. But the substance of true discipleship involved one carrying one’s spiritual burdens and obligations as well. Without that, religion is only a pretense and nothing that Jesus will give acceptance to. [rw]
Weymouth: "Which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not sit down first and calculate the cost, asking if he has the means to finish
WEB: For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doesn't first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?
Young’s: 'For who of you, willing to build a
tower, doth not first, having sat down, count the expence,
whether he have the things for completing?
Conte (RC): For who among you, wanting to build a tower, would not first sit down and determine the costs that are required, to see if he has the means to complete it?
14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? This and the next similitude are meant, like the previous teachings, to warn the expectant multitudes that to follow Christ in the true sense might be a far more serious matter than they imagined. They are significant lessons on the duty of deliberate choice which will not shrink from the ultimate consequences—the duty of counting the cost (see Matthew 10:22). Thus they involve that lesson of “patient continuance in well-doing,” which is so often inculcated in the New Testament. 
Weymouth: lest perhaps, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to finish, all who see it shall begin to jeer at him,
WEB: Or perhaps, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, everyone who sees begins to mock him,
Young’s: lest that he having laid a foundation,
and not being able to finish, all who are beholding may begin to mock him,
Conte (RC): Otherwise, after he will have laid the foundation and not been able to finish it, everyone who sees it may begin to mock him
14:29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him. Being the object of insulting humor was the last thing on his agenda! But the conspicuous failure of a major commitment made it inevitable. [rw]
First failure, then shame awaits renegade professions [of faith] and extinguished enthusiasms. 
Weymouth: saying, 'This man began to build, but could not finish.'
WEB: saying, 'This man began to build, and wasn't able to finish.'
Young’s: saying -- This man began to build, and
was not able to finish.
Conte (RC): saying: 'This man began to build what he was not able to finish.'
14:30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. The imagery was not an unfamiliar one in those days. The magnificent Herodian house [= family] had a passion for erecting great buildings, sacred and profane, in the varied cities under their sway. They would doubtless be often imitated, and no doubt many an unfinished edifice testified to the foolish emulation of some would-be imitator of the extravagant royal house. Now, such incomplete piles of masonry and brickwork simply excite a contemptuous pity for the builder, who has so falsely calculated his resources when he drew the plan of the palace or villa he was never able to finish. 
Weymouth: Or what king, marching to encounter another king in war, does not first sit down and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand men to meet the one who is advancing against him with twenty thousand?
WEB: Or what king, as he goes to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
Young’s: 'Or what king going on to engage with
another king in war, doth not, having sat down, first consult if he be able
with ten thousand to meet him who with twenty thousand is coming against him?
Conte (RC): Or, what king, advancing to engage in war against another king, would not first sit down and consider whether he may be able, with ten thousand, to meet one who comes against him with twenty thousand?
14:31 Or what king, going to make war against another king. It is not improbable that this simile was derived from the history of the time. The unhappy connection of the tetrarch Herod with Herodias had brought about the divorce of that sovereign's first wife, who was daughter of Aretas, a powerful Arabian prince. This involved Herod in an Arabian war, the result of which was disastrous to the tetrarch. Josephus points out that this ill-omened incident was the commencement of Herod Antipas's subsequent misfortunes. Our Lord not improbably used this simile, foreseeing what would be the ultimate end of this unhappy war of Herod. 
sitteth not down first, and consulteth [consider, NKJV] whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? The answer, of course, is nearly always: it’s not going to happen! However there are occasional exceptions. If you have well trained troops and the enemy has, overwhelmingly, fresh and forced new recruits the calculus begins to shift. If there are only a relatively few roads the enemy can realistically move his large force on and if the geography is such that you can harass and block him with modest ones until you can launch your own forces in a mass attack on favorable ground, well that represents additional factors that have to be taken into consideration. But these are going to be the rare exceptions and the wise ruler has little choice but to react as in this parable (verse 32): send negotiators while the enemy is far away to get the best possible terms. [rw]
Weymouth: If not, while the other is still a long way off, he sends messengers and sues for peace.
WEB: Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an envoy, and asks for conditions of peace.
Young’s: and if not so -- he being yet a long way
off -- having sent an embassy, he doth ask the things for peace.
Conte (RC): If not, then while the other is still far away, sending a delegation, he would ask him for terms of peace.
14:32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off. If the enemy gets too close, he has invested so much time and energy why should he stop at all? Only if one aborts the whole conflict before it reaches a point where the attacker sees absolutely no reason to pull back, is there hope of a successful arrangement. [rw]
he sendeth an ambassage [delegation, NKJV], and desireth conditions of peace. In “real world” terms the attacker is going to have to be offered a very generous settlement. If not everything he wants, then certainly the major ones and enough of the minor ones as well to make him feel confident that those who hear of what has happened will agree that he made a wise move in canceling the invasion. [rw]
In depth: Application of the parable (verses 31-32) to relationships with God . Is the adversary here God or the devil? As warring against God is no part of discipleship, it might seem that the conflict was with Satan. But the case supposed is that of a man who, after counting the cost, is about to decline taking up his cross--about to rebel against the claims of God. But while in this rebellious state he sees a superior force coming against him. This superior force cannot be the devil's, for Jesus could not counsel any to make peace with him, as the parable advises. The superior force, then, is God's, and the lesson here is that however fearful the task of being a disciple may be, it is not so dreadful as to fight against God. As soon as the hesitating man takes in this thought, he will immediately take up the cross which he was about to refuse.
Weymouth: Just as no one of you who does not detach himself from all that belongs to him can be a disciple of mine.
WEB: So therefore whoever of you who doesn't renounce all that he has, he can't be my disciple.
Young’s: 'So, then, every one of you who doth not
take leave of all that he himself hath, is not able to be my disciple.
Conte (RC): Therefore, everyone of you who does not renounce all that he possesses is not able to be my disciple.
14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple. i.e., every affection, gift or possession that interferes with true discipleship. We must be ready “to count all things but loss for Christ,” Philippians 3:7, 8. 
The problem is not forsaking “some” of what we have—a particular relative or behavior. The problem becomes far more difficult in regard to other matters--if we are so deeply attached to it that it can (almost successfully? fully?) war with loyalty to Christ as to which is stronger. [rw]
Weymouth: "Salt is good: but if even the salt has become tasteless, what will you use to season it?
WEB: Salt is good, but if the salt becomes flat and tasteless, with what do you season it?
Young’s: The salt is good, but if the salt doth
become tasteless, with what shall it be seasoned?
Conte (RC): Salt is good. But if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be seasoned?
14:34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour [flavor, NKJV], wherewith shall it be seasoned? The true reading is “Salt therefore is good,” connecting this verse with what has gone before. This similitude was thrice used by Christ with different applications. “Ye are the salt of the earth,” Matthew 5:13. “Have salt in yourselves,” Mark 9:50. Here the salt is the inward energy of holiness and devotion, and in the fate of salt which has lost its savour we see the peril which ensues from neglect of the previous lessons. 
Weymouth: Neither for land nor dunghill is it of any use; they throw it away. Listen, every one who has ears to listen with!"
WEB: It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Young’s: neither for land nor for manure is it fit
-- they cast it without. He who is having ears to hear -- let him hear.'
Conte (RC): It is useful neither in soil, nor in manure, so instead, it shall be thrown away. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear."
14:35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. There is nothing stronger than salt which can restore to it its lost pungency. Hence, if it have been spoilt by rain or exposure, it is only fit to be used for paths. The peril of backsliding, the worthlessness of the state produced by apostasy, is represented in John (15:6) by the cutting off and burning of the dead and withered branch. The main lesson of these three similitudes is expressed with its full force in Hebrews 6:4-12, 10:26-39; and the importance of it is emphasized by the proverbial expression, “He that hath ears to hear,” etc. (Matthew 11:15; Deuteronomy 24:4; Isaiah 6:9, 10). 
(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
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,
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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.
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.