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

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2015


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17:1                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Jesus said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that causes of stumbling should come; but alas for him through whom they come!

WEB:              He said to the disciples, "It is impossible that no occasions of stumbling should come, but woe to him through whom they come!

Young’s:         And he said unto the disciples, 'It is impossible for the stumbling blocks not to come, but woe to him through whom they come;
Conte (RC):   And he said to his disciples: "It is impossible for scandals not to occur. But woe to him through whom they come!


17:1                 Introductory note:  Relationship of 17:1-4 to the preceding chapter [52].  There is some doubt whether these verses are a continuation of the preceding discourse, or a different report of what may have been said on another occasion (Matthew 18:7, 6, 21f.).  We may say, at least, that they seem to stand in a natural and reasoned connection here also.  The murmuring (15:2) and the derisive comments (16:14) of the most influential classes of the religious community on Christ’s acts and teachings, were well suited to shake the faith and devotion to Him of His weaker disciples; in other words, to cause them to stumble[--the subject of the current section]. 

                        Or, at greater length [18]:  The thread of connection here is not very obvious, and many expositors are content with regarding this seventeenth chapter as simply containing certain lesson of teaching placed here by St. Luke without regard to anything which preceded or succeeded them in the narrative, these expositors regarding the contents of this chapter as well authenticated sayings of the Master, which were repeated to Luke or Paul without any precise note of time or place, and which appeared to them too important for them to omit in these memoirs of the Divine life.  Notwithstanding this deliberate opinion, endorsed by Godet and others, there does seem a clear connection here with the narrative immediately preceding. 

The Divine Master, while mourning over the sorrowful certainty of offences being committed in the present confused and disordered state of things, yet pronounces a bitter woe on the soul of the man through whose agency the offences were wrought.  The "little ones" whom these offences would injure are clearly in this instance not children, although, of course, the words would include the very young, for who Jesus ever showed the tenderest love; but the reference is clearly to disciples whose faith was only as yet weak would be easily influenced either for good or evil. 

The offences,             then, especially and selfishness of professors of godliness.  The sight of these, professedly serving God and all the while serving mammon more earnestly, would bring the very name of God's service into evil odour with some.  The selfish rich man of the great parable just spoken, professedly a religious man, one who evidently prided himself on his descent from Abraham the friend of God, and yet lived as a heartless, selfish sinner, who was eventually condemned for inhumanity, was probably in the Lord's mind when he spoke thus.  What fatal injury to the cause of true religion would be caused by one such life as that!  It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea. 


                        Then said He unto the disciples.  Jesus here ceases to speak to the Pharisees, and begins a new series of sayings addressed to the disciples, which sayings are, however, pertinent to the occasion, and not wholly disconnected with what he has just been saying.  [53]

                        It is impossible.  In a world where Pharisees abound (1 Corinthians 11:19).  [53]

It cannot but happen.  Such is the state of things that it will be.  [11]

but that offences will come.  “Offences” here are what are commonly called “stumbling-blocks,” occasions of stumbling, or actual fall in the course of discipleship to Christ.  The Greek word meant the trigger of a trap, contact with which would cause the trap to spring; then, in the Septuagint, the trap or snare; then anything, stone or what not (Hebrew mikshol) with which one comes in contact, so as to stumble or be thrown down.  Hence, morally, whatever was adapted to shock the confidence of believers, and cause wavering or apostasy in the life of faith.  It may arise among Christians themselves, or in the bearings of the world upon them, and is named here, probably, with reference to the malicious words and deeds of the Pharisees, as calculated to turn the disciples away from Him.  The impossibility of their not coming lies in the moral antagonism of the world to Him and His cause.  It would cease should the world become thoroughly converted to His spirit.  [52]

                        but woe unto him, through whom they come!  The world will cause such dangers to occur because of its incompatibility with faith in Jesus.  How much worse when they come due to the injustice, intemperance, or power seeking of those who claim to be His followers!  [rw]

                        No moral necessity, no predestined certainty, removes the responsibility for individual guilt.  [56]



17:2                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    It would be well for him if, with a millstone round his neck, he were lying at the bottom of the sea, rather than that he should cause even one of these little ones to fall.

WEB:              It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, rather than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.

Young’s:         it is more profitable to him if a weighty millstone is put round about his neck, and he hath been cast into the sea, than that he may cause one of these little ones to stumble.
Conte (RC):   It would be better for him if a millstone were placed around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than to lead astray one of these little ones.


17:2                 it were better.  Only here in New Testament.  The verb means to pay what is due, and is equivalent to our phrase, it pays.  [2]

                        for him that a millstone.  Compare Matt. xviii. 6.  The correct reading here is λίθος μυλικός, a millstone; not a great millstone as Matt.  [2]

                        Drowning a person with a stone tied about the neck was an ancient mode of punishment.  [9]

                        were hanged about his neck, and he cast.  Hurled:  with an underlying sense of violence, called out by so great an outrage.  [2]

                        into the sea.  In plain prose, to have lost his natural life is a lesser damage than to have committed such a sin.  [52]

                        The literal rendering of the verse is “It is for his advantage if a millstone is hanging round his neck, and he has been flung into the sea, rather than that, etc.”  In other words, the fate of a man who is lying drowned at the bottom of the sea is better than if his continuance in life would have led to causing “one of these little ones” to stumble.  [56]

                        than that he should offend [cause . . . to stumble,” NASB, NIV] one of these.   Implying that little children were then in their midst.  [7]

                        little ones.  Mark adds “that believe in me” (9:42).  The reference is not to children, or the young, though of course the warning applies no less to their case; but primarily to publicans and weak believers.  Christ calls even the Apostles “children,” John 13:33 (cf. 1 John 2:12, 13).  [56]  

                        Probably Jesus pointed to some of the weak and unestablished followers who accompanied Him and the twelve Apostles.  There are always many who are "babes in Christ." (1 Cor. iii. 1.)  Those who are strong in faith must be careful not to injure the weak in faith, even as the elder children in a family must carefully avoid hurting the tender frames of the younger children.  [9]



17:3                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Be on your guard. "If your brother acts wrongly, reprove him; and if he is sorry, forgive him;

WEB:              Be careful. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him. If he repents, forgive him.           

Young’s:         'Take heed to yourselves, and, if thy brother may sin in regard to thee, rebuke him, and if he may reform, forgive him,
Conte (RC):   Be attentive to yourselves. If your brother has sinned against you, correct him. And if he has repented, forgive him.


17:3                 Take heed to yourselves.  What if you are a victim of such self-centeredness by fellow believers?  How are you to react to it?  That theme Jesus now moves to.  [rw]  

He did not advise weakness or indifference to sin; He suggested that a brother who offends may deserve and should receive a rebuke.  It is proper that he should be made to feel and to appreciate his fault.  Nevertheless, he is to be treated with kindness and if he sincerely repents, he is to be forgiven freely.  Even if he repeats his sin with frequency, no revenge is to be harbored against him.  [28]  

                        If.  It does not imply that we must not forgive unless he repent.  [7] But does it not leave the option fully in our own hands in such cases, to decide on a case to case basis?  It may be good to forgive even then (for our own mental and emotional well-being if nothing else), but it is only obligatory if the person repents.  [rw]             

                        Thy brother trespass against thee.  Sin against thee, or does anything that gives you an offence, or does you an injury.  [11]

                        rebuke him.  Reprove.  Go and tell him his fault, and seek an explanation.  Acquaint him with what has been the effect of his conduct, and the state of your feelings, that he may acknowledge his errors and repent.  [11]

                        and if he repent.  Sincerely recognize and confess his fault.  [52]

                        forgive him.  Immediately, without insisting on any rigorous satisfaction.  [9]

                        Forgiveness is chiefly taken for abstaining from revenge; and so far we are to forgive our enemies, even whilst they continue so, and though they do not repent.  Besides, we are to pray for them, and to do them all offices of common humanity and charity.  But sometimes forgiveness doth signify a perfect reconciliation to those, that have offended us; and this is the meaning of that text, of rebuking our brother, if he trespass against us; and, if he repent, to forgive him. Prov. xix. 11 ; Col. iii. 8-13.—Nelson.  [36]



17:4                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    and if seven times in a day he acts wrongly towards you, and seven times turns again to you and says, 'I am sorry,' you must forgive him."

WEB:              If he sins against you seven times in the day, and seven times returns, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him."         

Young’s:         and if seven times in the day he may sin against thee, and seven times in the day may turn back to thee, saying, I reform; thou shalt forgive him.'
Conte (RC):   And if he has sinned against you seven times a day, and seven times a day has turned back to you, saying, 'I am sorry,' then forgive him."


17:4                 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day.  Obviously a person who has pushed your patience and tolerance to the breaking point.  [rw]

                        seven times.  This is a Hebrew idiom to express an indefinite number--meaning frequently.  [8]

                        The sacred number, expressive of numerous repetitions.  [14]

                        A purely general expression, which as little involves the quantitative limitation of forgiveness upon repentance as the “seventy times seven” of Matthew 18:22.  Some of the Rabbis had limited the duty of forgiveness to a thrice-repeated offence.  [56]

                        and seven times in a day, turn again to thee.  He is going beyond merely vowing to himself not to repeat his foolishness; he is willing to openly admit the mistreatment to the victim in sorrow rather than bragging.  [rw]

saying.  To say so openly is not only not disgraceful, but even profitable; the spirits of the offender and the offended are admirably healed.  [24]

                        I repent.   In which, of course, he resigns all evil feelings and designs and desires mutual peace.  [14]

                        The passage differs from that in Matthew in that the repentance of the sinner is required as a condition precedent to forgiveness.  [53]

                        thou shalt forgive him.  This cannot mean that we are not to forgive men unless they do repent.  At this rate there would be much bitterness constantly kept alive.  But it does mean that when there is no repentance or regret for an injury done, there can be no renewal of cordial friendship, or complete reconciliation between man and man.  [9]



17:5                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And the Apostles said to the Lord, "Give us faith."

WEB:              The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."

Young’s:         And the apostles said to the Lord, 'Add to us faith;'
Conte (RC):   And the Apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."


17:5                 And the apostles said unto the Lord.  The high title given, and the spontaneous united request, shew how deeply they had felt the previous lessons.  [56]

                        increase our faith.  This duty of forgiving offences seemed so difficult to the disciples that they felt the need strongly of an increase of faith; they felt that they were prone themselves to harbor resentments and that it required an additional increase of true religion to enable them to comply with the requirements of Jesus.  [11]



17:6                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "If your faith," replied the Lord, "is like a mustard seed, you might command this black-mulberry-tree, 'Tear up your roots and plant yourself in the sea,' and instantly it would obey you.

WEB:              The Lord said, "If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you would tell this sycamore tree, 'Be uprooted, and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. 

Young’s:         and the Lord said, 'If ye had faith as a grain of mustard, ye would have said to this sycamine, Be uprooted, and be planted in the sea, and it would have obeyed you.
Conte (RC):   But the Lord said: "If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you may say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted, and be transplanted into the sea.' And it would obey you.


17:6                 And the Lord said, If ye had faith.  The Saviour does not deny that they had any faith, but only gives them to feel how far they are removed from faith in the highest ideal sense, which alone can make them capable of fulfilling His own so strict requirement.  [9]

                        as a grain of mustard seed.  “Which is the least of all seeds,” Matthew 13:32.  [56]

                        ye might say unto this sycamine tree.  Or mulberry.  Luke distinguished between this and the fig-mulberry (ch. xix. 4).  The names were sometimes confused, but a physician would readily make the distinction, as both were used medicinally.  [2]

                        This was named as an apparently solid and immovable object then before their eyes.  The present indicative of the verb following it assumes that they have such faith—“if ye have faith, and I know ye have.”  Thus the sentence implies, by the very irregularity of its form, the surprise of our Lord that they do not act out the faith which they [already] have.  [52]  

                        Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.  He could hardly have intended, literally, to promise the power of merely physical prodigies, something which neither Christ nor His apostles ever wrought.  [52]

                        In Matthew 17:20 we have a similar passage with the variation of “this mountain,” which our Lord doubtless spoke pointing to Mount Hermon.  The Jews gave to a great Rabbi the title of “uprooter of mountains,” in the sense of “remover of difficulties;” and our Lord here most appropriately expresses the truth that Faith can remove all difficulties and obstacles, Mark 9:23, 11:23.  [56]



17:7                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    But which of you who has a servant ploughing, or tending sheep, will say to him when he comes in from the farm, 'Come at once and take your place at table,'

WEB:              But who is there among you, having a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say, when he comes in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down at the table,'

Young’s:         'But, who is he of you -- having a servant ploughing or feeding -- who, to him having come in out of the field, will say, Having come near, recline at meat?
Conte (RC):   But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, would say to him, as he was returning from the field, 'Come in immediately; sit down to eat,'


17:7                 Introductory note:  Connection of verses 7-10 to preceding sections [52].  The continuity of discourse which we have been able to trace, with a degree of probability hitherto, through this chapter, can hardly be carried further.  Meyer finds a like in the implied liability of the disciples to arrogance, on account of the works of faith, of which they were capable.  It seems more reasonable to suppose that Luke found this piece of instruction well suited to close up the series of counsels which the Lord had been addressing to them.  For this purpose what could be more fit than a lesson of humility?

                        This lesson is delivered in a sort of hypothetical parable.  Suppose a master should require his slave, when returning from the day’s work out of doors, to prepare and serve for him the supper, before taking his own meal.  The slave, in obeying, would have done no more than his recognized task, and no one would think it worthy of special commendation or reward.


                        But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle.  Whether or not any of the apostles were farmers is very doubtful.  This does not necessarily imply it, as the words are simply addressed to them as men generally.  [14]

                        However:  The “which of you,” as addressed to the poor Apostles, may be surprising; but the sons of Zebedee at least had once had hired servants, Mark 1:20.  [56]

                        will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?  The person is described as “having a servant” (singular) so whatever work there is to do will, by default, become his responsibility.  Hence, even though it would be nice if he could “sit his feet up and have dinner” as soon as the day’s outside work was done, whatever needed to be done inside fell on his list of automatic chores as well.  Hence fixing his master’s meal would take priority over any personal interests or desires of his own.  [rw]

                        There is none of the harshness which some have imagined.  The master merely says, Get me my dinner, and then take your own.  [56] 



17:8                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    and will not rather say to him, 'Get my dinner ready, make yourself tidy, and wait upon me till I have finished my dinner, and then you shall have yours'?

WEB:              and will not rather tell him, 'Prepare my supper, clothe yourself properly, and serve me, while I eat and drink. Afterward you shall eat and drink'?           

Young’s:         but will not rather say to him, Prepare what I may sup, and having girded thyself about, minister to me, till I eat and drink, and after these things thou shalt eat and drink?
Conte (RC):   and would not say to him: 'Prepare my dinner; gird yourself and minister to me, while I eat and drink; and after these things, you shall eat and drink?'


17:8                 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready [Prepare something, NKJV] wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?  It is not a matter of harshness but of carrying out one’s duties.  The master specifically rules out any effort to keep the servant from eating, but simply reminds him to first take care of his household duty.  [rw]



17:9                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Does he thank the servant for obeying his orders?

WEB:              Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded? I think not.     

Young’s:         Hath he favour to that servant because he did the things directed? I think not.
Conte (RC):   Would he be grateful to that servant, for doing what he commanded him to do?


17:9                 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him?  i.e., does he feel or express any special gratitude to him?  As a matter of fact, men are not in the habit of acknowledging the daily services of their dependents.  Our Lord draws from this common circumstance of life a rebuke of the spirit which would spin out to eternity a selfish desire for personal rewards (Matthew 19:27, 20:21).  [56]   

I trow [think, NKJV] not.  The words are probably genuine, though omitted [in a number of manuscripts].  There is a touch of irony in them, and doubtless they express a passing shade of disapproval at the thanklessness and discourtesy with which dependents are too often treated.  The other side of the picture—God’s approval of our efforts—is given in 12:37; Revelation 3:20.  [56]



17:10                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    So you also, when you have obeyed all the orders given you, must say, "'There is no merit in our service: what we have done is only what we were in duty bound to do.'"

WEB:              Even so you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy servants. We have done our duty.'"           

Young’s:         'So also ye, when ye may have done all the things directed you, say -- We are unprofitable servants, because that which we owed to do -- we have done.'
Conte (RC):   I think not. So too, when you have done all these things that have been taught to you, you should say: 'We are useless servants. We have done what we should have done.' "


17:10               So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you.  If that time should ever come—it will still be incumbent on you to be humble.  [52]

                        say, We are unprofitable servants.  Not useless, but having rendered no service beyond what was due.  "The profit does not begin until the servant goes beyond his obligation" (Meyer).  "A servant owes all things"  (Bengel).  [2]

                        The same word for unprofitable occurs in Matthew 25:30; Romans 3:12.  This verse, like many others (Isaiah lxiv. 6; Romans 3:27), cuts at the root of the whole Romish notion as to the possibility of “works of supererogation.”  “We sleep half our lives; we give God a tenth of our time; and yet we think that with our good works we can merit Heaven.  What have I been doing today?  I have talked for two hours.  I have been at meals three hours.  I have been idle four hours.  Ah!  Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord!” –Luther.  [56]  

                        we have done that which was our duty to do.  In this passage, which is in the nature of a parable, Jesus teaches that duty is coextensive with ability, and explodes the doctrine that it is possible for a man to do "works of supererogation".  Since in God's sight no man can even do his full duty (Psalms 143:2), it is impossible that he can do MORE than his duty.  We may be rewarded for the discharge of our duty, but the reward is of grace and not of merit.  Compare Luke 12:3-48.  The theme is no doubt suggested by Luke 17:6.  When one's faith endows him with great gifts he need not consider himself as an unusually profitable servant for he can do no more than it is his duty to do.

Godet denies this connection with Luke 17:6, contending that miracles are not among "the things that are commanded", and for those who could bestow it, a gift of healing was as much an obligation as a gift of alms (Matthew 10:8; Acts 3:1-6).  The paragraph is a fitting close to a discourse so much of which relates to Pharisaism.  [53]



17:11                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    As they pursued their journey to Jerusalem, He passed through Samaria and Galilee.

WEB:              It happened as he was on his way to Jerusalem, that he was passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee.

Young’s:         And it came to pass, in his going on to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee,
Conte (RC):   And it happened that, while he was traveling to
Jerusalem, he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.


17:11               Introductory note:  Is the chronological order followed by Luke in placing the story of the cleansing of ten lepers (17:11-19) at this point [52]?  The evangelist now turns from the series of discourses beginning with chapter 14, and continued to this point without evident change of place.  From the statement in verse 11, it appears that the following incident occurred near the border between Galilee and Samaria.  It belongs to the final journey toward Jerusalem, announced in 9:51, and again mentioned [in] 13:22.  But whether it comes in chronological order, so that all reported in 9:51-17:10 has taken place in the south of Galilee, or whether a part of the foregoing events have occurred in Perea, so that we now have an earlier transaction, out of its real order, cannot be positively decided.  We think it more likely that portions of the preceding narrative belong to a more advanced stage of the journey, and that what is reported in this paragraph had taken place considerably earlier.   


                        And it came to pass, as He went to Jerusalem.  Just a note of time and place inserted by Luke to remind the reader that all these incidents took place, this important teaching was spoken, during those last few months preceding the Crucifixion, and generally in that long, slow progress from the north of Palestine.  [18] 

                        that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.  He went from Galilee, and probably travelled through the chief villages and towns in it, and as Samaria was situated between Galilee and Jerusalem, it was necessary to pass through it.  Or it may mean, that he passed along on the borders of each towards the river Jordan, and so passed in the midst, i.e., between Galilee and Samaria.  This is rendered more probable from the circumstance that as he went from Galilee, there would have been no occasion for saying that he passed through it, unless it be meant through the confines or borders of it, or at least it would have been mentioned before Samaria.  [11]

                        With more geographic detail:  The most natural meaning of these words is that our Lord, when rejected at the frontier village of En Gannim (see on 9:52, 56), altered His route, and determined to pass towards Jerusalem through Peraea.  In order to reach Peraea He would have to pass down the Wady of Bethshean,--which lies between the borders of Galilee and Samaria,--and there to cross the bridge over Jordan.  [56] 



17:12                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And as He entered a certain village, ten men met Him who were lepers and stood at a distance.

WEB:              As he entered into a certain village, ten men who were lepers met him, who stood at a distance.        

Young’s:         and he entering into a certain village, there met him ten leprous men, who stood afar off,
Conte (RC):   And as he was entering a certain town, ten leprous men met him, and they stood at a distance.


17:12               And as he entered into a certain village, there met him.  They were in His way or they were in His path as He was entering the village.  [11]

                        ten men.  So in 2 Kings 7:3 we find four lepers together.  [56]

that were lepers.  As they were excluded from other society, they associated among themselves.  Bitterest prejudices were dropped and Jew and Samaritan banded together in their common misery.  [8]

                        which stood afar off.  Cf. Leviticus 13:45-46.  [16]

                        Little did they realize His superiority to those ceremonial scruples when good was to be done to needy men.  Wetstein, on the passage, gives quotations from the Rabbinic literature to show their aversion to lepers.  Two Rabbis disputing the question maintained:  one, that it was not fit to come within a hundred cubits of a leper; the other, within four cubits, when he stood between them and the wind.  Another would not eat an egg if laid in a courtyard where a leper was.  One, when he saw a leper, assailed him with stones, saying:  “Off to thy own place, lest thou defile others,” etc.  [52]  



17:13                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    In loud voices they cried out, "Jesus, Rabbi, take pity on us."

WEB:              They lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"

Young’s:         and they lifted up the voice, saying, 'Jesus, master, deal kindly with us;'
Conte (RC):   And they lifted up their voice, saying, "Jesus, Teacher, take pity on us."


17:13               And they.  Of themselves, without waiting to be spoken to, as the Greek shows.  [52]

                        lifted up their voices.  So as to be heard a long way.  [52]

                        and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.  In what manner, needed no explanation.  The plea was obviously equivalent to “Heal us of our dreadful malady.”  [52] 



17:14                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Perceiving this, He said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the Priests." And while on their way to do this they were made clean.

WEB:              When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." It happened that as they went, they were cleansed.

Young’s:         and having seen them, he said to them, 'Having gone on, shew yourselves to the priests;' and it came to pass, in their going, they were cleansed,
Conte (RC):   And when he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And it happened that, as they were going, they were cleansed.


17:14               And when He saw them.  Arguing that He had not seen them before their cries attracted His attention.  They were standing “afar off” (verse 12). [rw]

He said unto them.  Without waiting for plea or explanation, calling aloud [the following words].  [52]

How close was He to them?  Apparently He called out this answer to them while they were still at the required legal distance of 100 paces.  [56]

                        go show yourselves to the priests.  At Jerusalem, a long journey.  Thus the Samaritan is brought to the faith of Israel.  [24]

                        Sadler remarks that, "Is it likely that the Lord would formally recognize a religion of whose [adherents] He had said, Ye worship ye know not what?  The healing which the man experienced at the hands of a Jew was better than ten thousand arguments to convince him that the religion which Jesus observed was the true one."  [30]

                        This command was according to the direction [of Scripture].  (Lev. xiii. 2, and cf.; xiv. 2, and cf.)  [9]   

                        Was going to Jerusalem really necessary?  For this, as Edersheim tells us, (Vol. ii. p. 329) it was not necessary to repair to Jerusalem, inasmuch as any priest might declare "unclean" or "clean," provided the applicants came singly and not in company, for his inspection, and so in the plural form of the injunction, "show yourselves to the priests," we have a minute accuracy, which is, according to the same author, "another point of undesigned evidence of the authenticity of the narrative."  [46]

                        And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.  On their way.  As they went forward in [obedience to] Christ's command, they were healed.  They must already have had some faith in the result.  So the inquirer who puts confidence in the divine directions, and believes the gospel call, and goes blind and leprous as he is, finds healing as he goes.  [8]

                        they went.  Both Jews and Samaritan, towards Jerusalem.  [7]   

                        Since Jesus had not directly commanded appearance before a Jewish priest, was the Samaritan even seeking one?  The healing took place when they had shewn, by starting on their way to fulfil the command of Jesus, that they had faith.  The Samaritan was on his way to his own priests at Gerizim.  [56]   



17:15                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    One of them, seeing that he was cured, came back, adoring and praising God in a loud voice,

WEB:              One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice. 

Young’s:         and one of them having seen that he was healed did turn back, with a loud voice glorifying God,
Conte (RC):   And one of them, when he saw that he was cleansed, returned, magnifying God with a loud voice.


17:15               And one of them.  On his way to the priests at Mt. Gerizim the Samaritan turned back to express his thanks.  Apparently nine of the lepers were Jews.  [53]

                        Or:  That he was going to Mount Gerizim does not appear:  from his being found with Jews, he probably would act as a Jew.  [15]

                        when he saw that he was healed, turned back.  They had not gone so far away that they did not know Jesus was still where they had left Him.  Such an experience might well suspend the ceremonial duty, until they had discharged the moral duty of gratitude and praise to the author of their cure.  [52]

and with a loud voice glorified God.  Some see in this an implied contrast to the harsh, husky voice of his leprous condition; but this is unlikely.  [56]



17:16                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    and he threw himself at the feet of Jesus, thanking Him. He was a Samaritan.

WEB:              He fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks; and he was a Samaritan.

Young’s:         and he fell upon his face at his feet, giving thanks to him, and he was a Samaritan.
Conte (RC):   And he fell face down before his feet, giving thanks. And this one was a Samaritan.


17:16               And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks.  Showing honor and respect—as well as gratitude.  [rw]

                        and he was a Samaritan.  Apparently nine of these lepers were Jews, and only one a Samaritan.  This man would not have been allowed to associate with Jews but for the miserable disease with which he was afflicted, and which obliterated all distinction of race and caste.  [18]

                        A caution:  It is not indeed [explicitly] said that all the rest were Jews.  What is certain is that the one man who came back was not a Jew.  [12]



17:17                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Were not all ten made clean?" Jesus asked; "but where are the nine?

WEB:              Jesus answered, "Weren't the ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 

Young’s:         And Jesus answering said, 'Were not the ten cleansed, and the nine -- where?
Conte (RC):   And in response, Jesus said: "Were not ten made clean? And so where are the nine?


17:17               And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed?  The point of His question is that the nine were morally bound, as well as the one, to express their gratitude to Him.  It was a case where “mercy,” the spiritual service of God, might properly interrupt, for a sufficient season, the “sacrifice,” or ceremonial service, which, according to the Law, Christ had enjoined.  [52]

                        but where are the nine?  There is something of surprise and sadness in the question of Jesus as He saw this restored leper lying at his feet:  "Were not the ten cleansed?  but where are the nine?"  It is always surprising to find that ingratitude is so common among men.  Nine out of ten probably will forget every favor they may receive.  It is rare that one realizes and acknowledges his debt.  [28]

Those who are of the household of faith, are          oftentimes more subject to ingratitude than strangers, because they are less sensible of their own unworthiness.  [27]

                        It has been suggested that the priests, in their hostility to Jesus, hindered the return of the nine.  The one who was a Samaritan would naturally pay little heed to a remonstrance from such a quarter.  From the terms of the narrative it is, however, more likely that the strange Samaritan, as soon as he felt he was really cured, moved by intense, adoring gratitude, at once turned back to offer his humble, heartfelt thanks to his Deliverer.  The others, now they had got what they so earnestly required, forgot to be grateful, and hurried off to the priests to procure their certificate of health.  [18]



17:18                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Have none been found to come back and give glory to God except this foreigner?"

WEB:              Were there none found who returned to give glory to God, except this stranger?"          

Young’s:         There were not found who did turn back to give glory to God, except this alien;'
Conte (RC):   Was no one found who would return and give glory to God, except this foreigner?"


17:18               There are not found that returned to give glory to God.  Jesus did not forbid their expressing gratitude to Him for His mercy.  He rather seems to reprove them for not doing it.  [11]

                        Ingratitude is one of the most universal and deeply seated of human vices, and our Lord was perfectly familiar with it.  But in this instance He was moved by the depth of this thanklessness in so many recipients of so blessed a favour.  Hence his sorrowful amazement.  He felt as if all His benefits “were falling into a deep silent grave.”  [56]

                        save this stranger [foreigner, NKJV].  This foreign born, the alien.  [14]



17:19                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And He said to him, "Rise and go: your faith has cured you."

WEB:              Then he said to him, "Get up, and go your way. Your faith has healed you."

Young’s:         and he said to him, 'Having risen, be going on, thy faith hath saved thee.'
Conte (RC):   And he said to him: "Rise up, go forth. For your faith has saved you."


17:19               And He said unto him, go thy way.  It was not then proper for a Samaritan to remain long with Him.  [24]

                        And/or:  He was now free to go forward in all his duty:  and he would, of course, go at once to the priest, for the examination and certificate of healing that             were necessary to restore him to society, as well as to offer the gift commanded by Moses.  [8]

                        Or:  Thou hast shown thyself to thy great High Priest; thou art made pure in body and pronounced pure in soul by Him, and thou needest no other endorsement.  [14]

                        thy faith hath made thee whole.  Literally, “save thee,” as in 7:50.  [52]



17:20                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Being asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God was coming, He answered, "The Kingdom of God does not so come that you can stealthily watch for it.

WEB:              Being asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The Kingdom of God doesn't come with observation;  

Young’s:         And having been questioned by the Pharisees, when the reign of God doth come, he answered them, and said, 'The reign of God doth not come with observation;
Conte (RC):   Then he was questioned by the Pharisees: "When does the
kingdom of God arrive?" And in response, he said to them: "The kingdom of God arrives unobserved.


17:20               And when He was demanded [asked, NKJV].  They could not, being Pharisees, have inquired of Jesus, as being Himself the Messiah, around whose throne the kingdom would crystallize; but, as a religious teacher of high repute, they might be curious to have His views on the question.  A less charitable, but, perhaps, at this time, a more probable explanation, would be, that  they hoped, by some unreasonable, or unorthodox, expression of His, to disparage His wisdom, or His piety, and perhaps bring Him into collision with the authorities.  Whatever the motive, our Savior was, as ever, prepared.  He answers their query by showing the impossibility of answering it in their sense.  [52] 

of the Pharisees.  The appearance of the Pharisees again leads to the supposition of a distinct occasion, whose date and locality are left undetermined.  [52]

                        when the kingdom of God should come.  The reign of God; or the dispensation under the Messiah.  This was a matter of much importance to them, and they had taught that it would come with parade and pomp.  [11]

                        They were looking for a reign of the Messiah, under which all the glorious predictions of the prophets would be literally fulfilled, with many circumstances added by their later theology.  They had their views as to what the manner of the Messiah would be, and what events would precede and attend His coming, but hardly assumed to fix a precise date for the event.  [52] 

                        He answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.  With scrupulous and attentive looking for it.  Or with an appearance as to attract observation--that is, with great pomp, majesty, splendor.  He did not deny that, according to their views, the time was drawing near; but He denied that it would come in the manner in which they expected.  [11]

                        With observation (μετὰ παρατηρήσεως):   Only here in New Testament. The progress of the kingdom cannot be defined by visible marks like that of an earthly kingdom. Its growth in the world is a process of pervasion, like the working of the leaven through the lump.  [2]



17:21                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' --for the Kingdom of God is within you."

WEB:              neither will they say, 'Look, here!' or, 'Look, there!' for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you."   

Young’s:         nor shall they say, Lo, here; or lo, there; for lo, the reign of God is within you.'
Conte (RC):   And so, they will not say, 'Behold, it is here,' or 'Behold, it is there.' For behold, the
kingdom of God is within you.


17:21               Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there!  When an earthly prince visits different parts of his territories, he does it with much pomp.  His movements attract much observation and becomes the common topic of conversation.  The inquiry is, Where is he?  Which way will he go?  And it is a matter of important news to be able to say where he is.  Jesus says that the Messiah would not come in that manner.  It would be silent--obscure--and attracting comparatively little notice.  Or the passage may have reference to the custom of the pretended Messiahs, who appeared in this manner.  They said that in this place or in that, in this mountain, or that desert, they would show signs that should convince the people that they were the Messiah.  [11]

                        for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.  Or "is in your midst."  The words may mean that the kingdom of God belongs to the inward spiritual life and manifests its power there and not elsewhere; or they may imply that the kingdom had already come, and was in the midst of the Pharisees, who were too blinded spiritually to perceive its presence.  They had expected a popular insurrection.  "The design of the setting up of Christ's kingdom is not to make one nation great, but all nations good" (Matthew Henry).  [6]

                        Or:  Is not an external and political one, but is a power and a realm within the soul.  By using the second person plural, Jesus did not mean to concede that that kingdom was now actually within their hearts.  He spoke to them generally as men.  Some render the passage, "the kingdom of God is among you."  The Greek preposition well admits that meaning, but the context scarcely does.  What our Lord appears to assert is, that His kingdom is not external but internal; that is, it is not a thing of observation and localities, but of consciousness and within.  [14]

                        Arguing that “among you” does indeed fit the situation quite well:  The spiritual truth expressed by such a rendering [as “the kingdom of God is within you”] implies that “the Kingdom of God is . . . righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17).  See Deuteronomy 30:14.  So that Meyer is hardly justified in saying that the conception of the Kingdom of God as an ethical condition of the soul is modern not historico-biblical.  But entos humon may also undoubtedly mean “among you,” “in the midst of your ranks,” as in Xenophon, Anabasis, I. 10, 3; and this rendering is more in accordance (i) with the context—as to the sudden coming of the Son of Man; and (ii) with the fact,--for it certainly could not be said that the Kingdom of God was in the hearts of the Pharisees.  The meaning then is the same as in John 1:26; Matthew 12:28.  But in either case our Lord implied that His Kingdom had already come while they were straining their eyes forward in curious observation, 7:16, 11:20.  [56]     



17:22                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Then, turning to His disciples, He said, "There will come a time when you will wish you could see a single one of the days of the Son of Man, but will not see one.

WEB:              He said to the disciples, "The days will come, when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.

Young’s:         And he said unto his disciples, 'Days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and ye shall not behold it;
Conte (RC):   And he said to his disciples: "The time will come when you will desire to see one day of the Son of man, and you will not see it.


17:22               And He said unto the disciples.  He here takes occasion to direct the minds of His disciples to the days of vengeance which were about to fall on the nation.  Heavy and calamitous days shall befall the Jewish people, and you will desire a deliverer.  [11]

                        Or:  A comparison of this passage with the corresponding portions of Matthew 24, viz., verses 26, 28, 37-41, raises the question whether we have two reports of the same discourse or whether our Lord so nearly repeated the same words at different times.  Now, it is pretty obvious that our discourse has reference almost entirely to the final advent of the Lord, at the end of the world; while Matthew’s embraces many features of the coming at the destruction of Jerusalem and of the Jewish State.  [52] 

                        The days will come.  Rather, “days will come.”  The Greek has no article.  The Saviour would not indicate definite days, but more affectingly, days of a certain quality, days of difficulty, hardship, distress, as shown by what follows.  [52] 

                        when ye shall desire.  You who are now My professed followers; who now number yourselves among My disciples.  [11]

                        to see one of the days of the Son of man.  As a reference to see days of happiness like when Jesus had been on earth with them during His ministry:  Compare Matthew 9:15, “The days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast in those days.”  See, too, John 12:35, 13:33, 17:12.  They were looking forwards with no realization of that rich present blessedness for which they would one day yearn.  [56]

As a reference to the desire to see times like they will be after Christ’s Second Coming:  Their troubles and trials would be such, at various times before His return, that they would long for the rest and refreshment of even one of those days which He had taught them to anticipate, in the glory and blessedness of the finished kingdom in heaven.  The following context shows this to be the meaning, rather than to make the sentence refer backward to the days they were  then spending in His earthly society.  [52]  

                        Such terrible days that you wish for a Messiah like traditionally had been expected:  Such shall be the calamities of those times; so great shall be the afflictions and persecutions, that you will greatly desire a deliverer--one who shall come to you in the character in which you have expected the Messiah would come, and who should deliver you from the power of your enemies.  [Yet] ye shall not see such a day of deliverance--such a Messiah as the nation has expected, and such an interposition as you would desire.  [11]  

                        and ye shall not see it.  They would still have to wait and toil and suffer.  [52]



17:23                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    And they will say to you, 'See there!' 'See here!' Do not start off and go in pursuit.

WEB:              They will tell you, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Don't go away, nor follow after them,  

Young’s:         and they shall say to you, Lo, here; or lo, there; ye may not go away, nor follow;
Conte (RC):   And they will say to you, 'Behold, he is here,' and 'Behold, he is there.' Do not choose to go out, and do not follow them.


17:23               And they shall say to you.  In your fatigue and faint-heartedness.  [52]

                        See here; or, see there.  The Messiah is here if you just go to this place—or that place!  The delay is over!  [rw]

                        As reflecting a mind frame that would not die out until the Jewish revolt of the 130s in Judaea:  A vivid description of the perpetual Messianic excitements, which finally ceased in the days of Barcochba and the Rabbi Akibha.  We find a similar warning in 21:8.  See Josephus, Antiquities, xx. 8; Wars of the Jews, ii. 13, vi. 5; Tacitus, Histories, v. 13.  With the whole passage compare Matthew 24:23-41.  [56]   

                        go not after them.  Try not to find them.  Do not waste your time seeking out what will be a waste of your time even if you do find them.  [rw]

nor follow them.  Do not become their disciples or embrace their teaching or that of their “disciples.”  [rw]

In your forlornness you will be especially liable to delusion; but no one shall know of My coming sooner than you.  [52]



17:24                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    For just as the lightning, when it flashes, shines from one part of the horizon to the opposite part, so will the Son of Man be on His day.

WEB:              for as the lightning, when it flashes out of the one part under the sky, shines to the other part under the sky; so will the Son of Man be in his day.      

Young’s:         for as the lightning that is lightening out of the one part under heaven, to the other part under heaven doth shine, so shall be also the Son of Man in his day;
Conte (RC):   For just as lightning flashes from under heaven and shines to whatever is under heaven, so also will the Son of man be in his day.


17:24               For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven.  Bright, swift, sudden, universal, irresistible.  [56]

The point of comparison is the instantaneousness and universal visibility of the lightning flash, throughout the whole circle of the horizon.  [52]

                        so shall also the Son of man be in his day.  “The brightness of His coming” also will shine equally, in the same moment, over the whole world, and prove, not only that He has come, but that He is as near to one as to another.  Without attempting at all to foretell the date of the glorious appearing, our Lord mentions some things which must precede it, the occurrence of which would mark the lapse of the intervening time, and the prediction of which was well calculated to check elation on their part, and to quicken them in diligence to “be found of Him in peace.”  The first thing was the sad and shameful fate soon to overtake their Master Himself.  [52]



17:25                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    But first He must endure much suffering, and be rejected by the present generation.

WEB:              But first, he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 

Young’s:         and first it behoveth him to suffer many things, and to be rejected by this generation.
Conte (RC):   But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.


17:25               But first must He suffer many things.  The unspeakable humiliation, dishonor, and violence that should precede the crucifixion and in the agonies of that death itself.  [52]

                        and be rejected of this generation.  The bulk of the population would refuse to embrace His call.  In large part this grew out of His failure to be the kind of Messiah the masses assumed would come:  The failure to unleash the sword, set up (at least) a rejuvenated Jewish state by chasing out the Romans, and ruling as earthly Monarch—to most that meant He couldn’t possibly be the Messiah.  They sincerely sought a Messiah, just not this kind of Messiah, the only kind they were going to receive.  [rw]

To "this generation" belongs not His second advent, but His internal kingdom; His sufferings and His death.  How absurd and contradictory to a whole mass of texts, the idea that our Lord, or His disciples, taught that His second coming was in their generation.  [14]



17:26                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "And as it was in the time of Noah, so will it also be in the time of the Son of Man.

WEB:              As it happened in the days of Noah, even so will it be also in the days of the Son of Man.           

Young’s:         'And, as it came to pass in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man;
Conte (RC):   And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of man.


17:26               And as it was in the days of Noe.  As described in Genesis 7:11-23.  The Second Advent should flame upon a sensual and unexpectant world.  [56]

so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.  The old adage about history repeating itself is both tragic and all too true.  In the days of Noah, the people had a message that would have saved them from physical death; in the days of Jesus, a message that would redeem from spiritual death.  In both cases they would go about their daily business as if they had nothing to worry about—until it was far too late.  [rw] 



17:27                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Men were eating and drinking, taking wives and giving wives, up to the very day on which Noah entered the Ark, and the Deluge came and destroyed them all.

WEB:              They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.   

Young’s:         they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were given in marriage, till the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the deluge came, and destroyed all;
Conte (RC):   They were eating and drinking; they were taking wives and being given in marriage, even until the day that Noah entered the ark. And the flood came and destroyed them all.


17:27               They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.  There is nothing infamous in the things listed.  They are carrying on the normal, expected behaviors found in any functioning society.  Will the conditions at the Second Coming be a contrast with the days of Noah?  Then why is their fate given as a warning to us? Hence it seems far better to take it as a reference to the reality that even in a severely sin sick society (such as Noah’s) most of daily behavior will be the daily “ho hum” that involve the necessities of surviving.  No matter how much depraved behavior is going on, you still have to “pay the daily bills!”  A famous British admiral a few centuries back—well known for his pattern of ongoing adulteries—once reminded a listener, “You can’t spend all your time in bed!”  The rest of life has to go on.  [rw]                 

                        destroyed them all.  Killed everyone alive.  There was no escape from the consequences for their sin—nor will there be in the days of Jesus’ coming (verse 30).  [rw]



17:28                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    The same was true in the time of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building;

WEB:              Likewise, even as it happened in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;

Young’s:         in like manner also, as it came to pass in the days of Lot; they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building;
Conte (RC):   It shall be similar to what happened in the days of Lot. They were eating and drinking; they were buying and selling; they were planting and building.


17:28               Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot.  In other words, in Lot’s time it was the same situation of peace and tranquility as in the days of Noah.  They have no hint, it seems, that a catastrophe—from their standpoint—is just over the hill.  Everything seems so normal and tranquil.  The image of verses 27 and 28 is that this return of the Lord is not going to have outward events screaming:  “Danger!  Danger!  Danger!  Disaster on the way!”  If it is a time of war, they have no idea it presents any hazard for them.  Indeed, if it were a time of widespread war, it would seem impossible for this description to have been developed the way it was. It surely sounds like this return of the Lord in judgement will come in a time of peace and tranquility—not international warfare and mass death.   [rw]

                        they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.  They were busy in the affairs of this life as if nothing were about to happen.  [11]



17:29                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    but on the day that Lot left Sodom, God rained fire and brimstone from the sky and destroyed them all.

WEB:              but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from the sky, and destroyed them all.   

Young’s:         and on the day Lot went forth from Sodom, He rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed all.
Conte (RC):   Then, on the day that
Lot departed from Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and it destroyed them all.


17:29               But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom.  See Genesis 19:23-25.  [11]

                        Going “out of Sodom.”  Surely nothing could seem to be ominous in that often repeated fact, engaged in by a large percentage (at least) of the town every single day.  But the time for warnings and teachings is now past.  God is determined to act against those who refused to use their eyes to see and their ears to hear.  [56]

                        it rained fire and brimstone.  God destroyed, yet in overthrowing [Sodom] God used natural means.  He is not to be supposed to have created fire and brimstone for the occasion, but to have directed the natural means at His disposal for their overthrow; as He did not create the waters to drown the world [in the days of Noah], but merely broke up the fountains of the great deep and opened the windows of heaven.   Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim (Deuteronomy 29:23), were four great cities, on a plain where is now the Dead Sea, at the south-east of Palestine, and into which the river Jordan flows.  They were built on a plain which abounded in bitumen or naphtha, which is easily kindled, and which burns with great intensity.  The phrase "fire and brimstone" is a Hebrew form of expression, denoting sulphureous fire, or fire having the smell of sulphur; and may denote a volcanic eruption, or any burning like that of naphtha.  There is no improbability in supposing that this destruction was accomplished by lightning, which ignited the naphtha; or that it was a volcanic eruption which, by the direction of God, overthrew the wicked cities.  [11]               

                        from heaven.  By command of God; or from the sky.  To the people of Sodom, it had the appearance of coming down from heaven, as all volcanic eruptions would have.  [11]

                        and destroyed them all.  As in the case of Noah’s flood, the emphasis is again on how this judgment will be inescapable.  The only response in their control was how to prepare for it (verse 31).  [rw].



17:30                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Exactly so will it be on the day that the veil is lifted from the Son of Man.

WEB:              It will be the same way in the day that the Son of Man is revealed.     

Young’s:         'According to these things it shall be, in the day the Son of Man is revealed;
Conte (RC):   According to these things, so shall it be in the day when the Son of man will be revealed.


17:30               Even thus shall it be.  Destruction came upon the old world, and upon Sodom suddenly; when they were engaged in other things, and little expecting this.  So, suddenly and unexpectedly, says He, shall destruction come upon the Jewish people.  [11]

                        in the day when the Son of man is revealed.  "Is revealed,'' that is to say, he has been present all along, through those long ages of waiting; only an impenetrable veil has hid him from mortal eyes.  In that day will the veil be lifted, "and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced" (Zechariah 12:10).  [18]



17:31                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "On that day, if a man is on the roof and his property indoors, let him not go down to fetch it; and, in the same way, he who is in the field, let him not turn back.

WEB:              In that day, he who will be on the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away. Let him who is in the field likewise not turn back.         

Young’s:         in that day, he who shall be on the house top, and his vessels in the house, let him not come down to take them away; and he in the field, in like manner, let him not turn backward;
Conte (RC):   In that hour, whoever will be on the rooftop, with his goods in the house, let him not descend to take them. And whoever will be in the field, similarly, let him not turn back.


17:31               In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop let him not come down to take it away.  A graphic enforcement of the necessity of haste.  Any one in the city, at the moment on the flat roof of his house, whither they went for fresh air, or retirement and meditation, must, as soon as he is informed of the impending danger, give all heed to escape from the city.  To save property in the house below must not detain him.  To descend, if that could be done without detention, or to rescue dependent lives, is not in these terms forbidden; but the losing of time to save goods.  [52]

                        It is clear that in these warnings, as in Matthew 24, our Lord has distinctly in view the Destruction of Jerusalem, and the awful troubles and judgments which it brought, as being the first fulfillment of the Prophecy of His Advent.  [56] 

and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.  To the city or town where he lives.  Especially in this case, one would only be “escaping with the clothes on his back.”  But it is profoundly wiser to escape with nothing, but alive, than to be carrying all you can and the delay has cost you your life.  [rw] 


                        In depth:  The relationship of this verse to the appearance of the same language in Matthew 24 [52].  This verse appears, by a reference to the corresponding passages of Matthew and Mark, to belong to a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, as typical of the end of the world.  It may have been uttered as a part of another discourse, and gathered out of the general store of Christ’s recorded sayings by different apostolic men in different combinations.  On this hypothesis, the whole remainder of the address now before us naturally points to the final appearance of our Lord; but “in that day,” of this verse, will point to the visitation upon Jerusalem, before the end of that generation.  Then, when the Roman forces should be at hand (see chapter 21:20f.), there would be no security for Christ’s disciples but in immediate flight. 

                        Or:  However one handles the preceding verses as to their intended time of fulfillment—Second Coming or the destruction of Jerusalem—verses 31 to 37 seem impossible to fit into any context other than the latter.  Telling the disciples to flee, for example, makes perfect sense when speaking of any who might be trapped near Jerusalem during the Roman invasion; it makes no sense as an instruction to those awaiting the joy of the Second Coming.  [rw]   



17:32                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Remember Lot's wife.

WEB:              Remember Lot's wife!         

Young’s:         remember the wife of Lot.
Conte (RC):   Remember
Lot's wife.


17:32               Remember Lot's wife.  The great sin of Lot's wife was, that whilst her body had escaped from Sodom, she had left her heart and her soul in it.  [25]

                        She looked back--she delayed--perhaps she desired to take something with her; and God made her a monument of His displeasure.  Jesus directed His disciples when they saw the calamities coming upon the Jews to flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:16).  He here charges them to be in haste--not to look back--not to delay--but to escape quickly, and to remember that by delaying, the wife of Lot lost her life.  [11] 

                        She was disobedient to the Divine command, and while she fled, had left her heart behind her.  She must take a farewell look at her treasures, and was changed into salt--a standing monument of Divine justice.  "Lot's wife represents those who in time of trouble look back, and turn aside from the hope of Divine promise, and hence she was made a pillar of salt as a warning to men not to do likewise, and to season, as it were, their hearts, lest they become corrupt."--St. Augustine.  [4]

                        The example of Lot's wife could be no lesson for fleeing from the judgement throne; so that it has no reference to the second coming.  [14]



17:33                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    Any man who makes it his object to keep his own life safe, will lose it; but whoever loses his life will preserve it.

WEB:              Whoever seeks to save his life loses it, but whoever loses his life preserves it.

Young’s:         Whoever may seek to save his life, shall lose it; and whoever may lose it, shall preserve it.
Conte (RC):   Whoever has sought to save his life, will lose it; and whoever has lost it, will bring it back to life.


17:33               Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it.  Interpreted as referring to the fall of Jerusalem:  By avoiding flight with Christians and taking share with the Jews [who stay behind].  [14]

                        Interpreted as referring to both Jerusalem and the Second Coming:  This, with what follows, connects itself not inappropriately with verse 31, regarded as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, as is perfectly natural from the typical character of the latter event.  But with the most perfect propriety it continues the train of discourse supposed to be interrupted at verse 30, as relating to the last judgment.  In reference to that, all efforts to secure the natural life, at the sacrifice of fidelity to the Lord, will be thrown away and result in a loss of the life eternal.  [52] 

                        and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.  If faithful to Christ even physical death will not severe the spiritual bond.  [rw]



17:34                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    On that night, I tell you, there will be two men in one bed: one will be taken away and the other left behind.

WEB:              I tell you, in that night there will be two people in one bed. The one will be taken, and the other will be left.

Young’s:         'I say to you, In that night, there shall be two men on one couch, the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left;
Conte (RC):  I say to you, in that night, there will be two in one bed. One will be taken up, and the other will be left behind.


17:34               I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed.  The word “night,” so used, no more obligates us to believe the Parousia will occur in the night time than the mention, afterward, of grinding at the mill proves that it will take place in the day-light.  Indeed, we know that it must take place to some in the day-time, while it is night to others.  So one example is taken here from the night and one from the day.  [52] 

                        Not necessarily men; but human beings, e.g., man and wife.  The numerals are of course masculine, because the man might be either the one “taken” or the one “left.”  [56]

                        One bed.  In the East, single beds were used by the upper class only.  Hence He alludes to the humblest members of society.  [7]

                        the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.  If of the fall of Jerusalem, one may be seized by the Romans to be sent abroad as slave labor and the other passed by.  If referring to the physical return of Jesus, then the point is that even if you are so closely related that you share the same bed, that is no guarantee that both are acceptable to Lord.  One will rise to heaven; the other may not.  [rw]



17:35                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    There will be two women turning the mill together: one will be taken away and the other left behind."

WEB:              There will be two grinding grain together. One will be taken, and the other will be left."  

Young’s:         two women shall be grinding at the same place together, the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left;
Conte (RC):   Two will be at the grindstone together. One will be taken up, and the other will be left behind. Two will be in the field.


17:35               Two women shall be grinding together.  Making meal or flour with the little stone hand-mills, as they still do in the East.  [53]

                        Women, among their other drudgery, had each morning to grind the quantity of meal the family uses during the day.  This was done with a hand-mill, at which the strength of two women was required.  Thus is indicated the interest of women also in the solemn lesson.  [52]                                

                        the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Women, no more than males, will all share the same fate.  [rw]



17:36                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    (omitted)

WEB:              (omitted)       

Young’s:         two men shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left.'
Conte (RC):   One will be taken up, and the other will be left behind."


17:36               Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left [totally omitted:  ESV, NIV].  This verse should be omitted.  It does not occur in the better manuscript authorities.  [6]

                        This verse is of more than doubtful authenticity in this place, being omitted by nearly all the important manuscripts.  It is probably interpolated from Matthew 24:40.  [56]



17:37                                                   Translations

Weymouth:    "Where, Master?" they inquired. "Where the dead body is," He replied, "there also will the vultures flock together."

WEB:              They, answering, asked him, "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the body is, there will the vultures also be gathered together."     

Young’s:         And they answering say to him, 'Where, sir?' and he said to them, 'Where the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together.'
Conte (RC):   Responding, they said to him, "Where, Lord?"   And he said to them, "Wherever the body will be, in that place also, the eagles shall be gathered together."


17:37               And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord?  Where will these wonderful events take place?  Bewildered, perhaps, certainly not intent simply on the practical use of what the Master had communicated, the disciples, as the Pharisees had asked after the precise time of the manifestation of the kingdom, seek to know its place.  But our Lord knew how to turn their minds from outside matters of curiosity to deeper truths, requiring and exercising spiritual penetration [by providing the answer that He does].  [52]

                        Whersoever the body is.  Jesus gave a proverbial answer, the meaning of which is that sin courts and draws to itself punishment and destruction just as a carcass draws winged scavengers.  Applying His words, we may say that as the corruption of the antediluvians drew upon them, the devastation of the flood, and as the crimes of the Sodomites called down upon them, the fires from heaven, and as the unbelief of the Jews of Christ's day caused the destruction of Jerusalem and the death of the nation, so the wickedness of the men of the last times will result in the ending of the world.  The word translated "eagles" is generic, and included the vultures also (Pliny, Nat. Hist. 9:3).  [53]

thither will the eagles be gathered together.  As reference to vultures:  The imagery is taken from Job 39:30, "Where the slain are, there is she"; the bird intended being most probably the great vulture, well known in Syria.  It is seen, for instance, travelers tell us, in hundreds on the Plain of Gennesaret; it is a hideous looking bird, equal to the eagle in size and strength, and acts as a scavenger to purify the earth from the putrid carcases with which it would otherwise be encumbered.  [18]

Or:  Perhaps the more correct word would have been “vultures;” but it matters little, as the vultures were eagle-like, and both sorts familiar in Palestine, were carrion eaters.  They represent the ministers of God’s justice (compare Matthew 13:41-42), and will be present wherever the guilty are found.  In this view the accomplishment of the kingdom is considered in its bearing on the impenitent and incorrigible; and we are taught that it can as little be located in a particular place as referred to a definite time.  [52]


                        In depth:  Ancient literal and symbolic interpretations of “the eagles” and “the body[36].  Much diversity of interpretation attends the figurative meaning.  S. Gregory and S. Augustine understand by the body, Heaven, and by eagles, the Saints of God.  S. Jerome by body understands Christ's sufferings; Origen sees in it the Church, and in the eagles the consent of the doctors and early fathers.  Others apply it to the Cross and to believers, and, more particularly, to the Body of the Lord, the food of our souls in the Holy Eucharist. —J. Ford.

                        A survey of other approaches [56]:  Some commentators both ancient and modern have interpreted “the body” to mean Christ, and “the eagles” His gathering Saints.  Scriptural usage seems to make such an interpretation impossible, especially as there is probably a direct allusion to Job 39:30, “Her young ones also suck up blood:  and where the slain are, there is she.  See too Habakkuk 1:8; Hosea 8:1; Revelation 19:17-21.

                        Sometimes a reference is supposed to the eagle-standards of Rome.  (Compare Deuteronomy 28:49-52; John 11:48).  This is very possible especially as the Jews were very familiar with the Roman eagle, and so strongly detested it that the mere erection of the symbol in Jerusalem was sufficient to lash them into insurrection (Josephus, Antiquities, xvii. 6, 3).

                        But the proverb has a wider significance, and is illustrated by the rush of avenging forces whenever the life of a nation has fallen into dissolution and decay.  See the vision of the eagle in 2 Esdras 11:45, “And therefore appear no more, O eagle, nor thy horrible wings, nor thy wicked feathers, nor thy malicious heads, nor thy hurtful claws, nor all thy vain body.”                       




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.