LukeExeg.12:1 to 13:35
Teaching from Q and L sources has been arranged in the form of a loose discourse, addressed by Jesus in the first instance to "his disciples," but also with occasional reference to "the multitude" in the background (cf. 6:17-7:1).
1. WARNING, ENCOURAGEMENT, AND ADVICE TO DISCIPLES (12:1-12; cf. Matthew 10:26b-33; 12:32; 10:19-20)
12:1. Editorial introduction. So many thousands: For a similar hyperbole see Acts 21:20. Beware, etc., is a saying that serves to connect the subsequent material with the denunciations of ch. 11. In Mark 8:15, part of a long section that Luke omits, there is a similar warning: "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." Leaven in Jewish literature and in the N.T. is usually a metaphor for evil. In Matthew 16:6 it refers to the teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
2. A saying that declares in 8:17 and in Mark 4:22 that the meaning of parables is hid only temporarily; in Matthew 10:26b--part of the missionary instructions to the twelve--that the disciples are to proclaim in public the teaching of Jesus they had heard in private; and in this setting, that hypocrisy will be exposed.
3. A warning that it is useless for disciples to conceal their faith. Matthew's version is a direct exhortation to disciples to proclaim the message Jesus had given them. Therefore (KJV) is omitted without apparent justification by the editors of the RSV.
4-5. My friends: Used by Jesus of his disciples in John 15:14-15, but only here in the Synoptic tradition. Martyrdom holds no terrors; only God's judgment is to be feared. Hell: Gehenna (!nh yg) means "valley of Hinnom," a ravine to the west and south of Jerusalem. It is occasionally referred to in the O.T. as the site at which certain Israelites during the monarchy worshiped Molech by making their children "pass through the fire." Josiah polluted the valley ("with the bones of men") to put a stop to this pagan cult (II Kings 23:10-14), but it was revived under Jehoiachin; and Jeremiah prophesied that one day the valley would be known as the "valley of slaughter" (Jer. 7:30-32). A medieval Jewish commentator on the Psalms (Kimchi, ca. A.D. 1200) says that Gehenna was used as a garbage dump for Jerusalem and that a fire burned there constantly. Many modern scholars accept this statement without question, but there is no early evidence for fires in the valley except those connected with the Molech cult. In late Jewish literature (e.g., Enoch 27:2) Gehenna became the popular name for the place of future punishment. In the N.T. it is carefully distinguished from Hades (the O.T. Sheol). The souls of the wicked go to Hades after death, but both souls and bodies (cf. Matthew 10:28) are cast into Gehenna after the resurrection and final judgment. Gehenna occurs frequently in Matthew and Mark, but only here in Luke-Acts.
6-7. Among the great sayings in the gospel tradition on the infinite worth of the individual in the sight of God. The disciples can entrust themselves confidently to God's loving care, for it embraces even sparrows, among the cheapest articles sold for food on the market. Two pennies: The maximum price for ten sparrows was set at the equivalent of seven cents by an edict of the emperor Diocletian (late third century A.D.).
8-9. A promise and a threat. A variant of the latter is preserved separately in Mark 8:38 (Luke 9:26). Son of man: Matthew reads "I." Some scholars hold that the title throughout the Gospels is a christological designation read into the tradition by the early church. In this passage Son of man appears in the role of advocate for the faithful, not as judge. If the term is primitive, Jesus may mean by it someone other than himself. More probably he uses it to distinguish between himself as he is and as he will be. Matthew interprets before the angels of God as "before my Father who is in heaven."
10. In this context blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is probably to be understood in the light of vs. 12. The unbeliever who speaks against Christ will be forgiven, but not the believer who refuses to confess his faith when supernaturally prompted to do so. A variant of the saying in Mark 3:28-29, which is perhaps more primitive. Matthew 12:31-32 is a conflation of both. If Son of man in Luke's version originally meant "a man" (see on 5:24a; 6:5), the main difference between Mark and Q disappears. The contrast, then, is between blasphemy against man and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
11-12. A variant in Mark 13:11 (Luke 21:14-15). Matthew 10:19-20 is a conflation of Mark and Q. Christians on trial for their faith before Jewish courts and Gentile tribunals are to trust to divine inspiration for their defense. No such legal persecution was experienced by Jesus' followers during his lifetime. The saying clearly reflects the experience of the early church.
2. ON DIVINING AN INHERITANCE (12:13-15)
13-14. One of the multitude ...: A formula by which this special tradition is fitted into discourse material taken largely from Q. Rabbis were experts on the civil regulations of the law as well as on its religious, ethical, cultic, and criminal ordinances. Jesus' refusal to arbitrate in the dispute is phrased in words that are reminiscent of the Israelite's question to Moses: "Who made you a prince and a judge over us?" (Exod. 2:14.)
15. Prepares the way for the parable that follows and anticipates its moral. Goodspeed's paraphrase: "A man's life does not belong to him, no matter how rich he is."
3. PARABLE OF THE RICH FOOL (12:16-21)
An "example story." The folly of a life devoted to the accumulation of material riches. A passage in Ecclus. 11:18-19 (Goodspeed) teaches a similar lesson:
One man grows rich by carefulness and greed,
And this will be his reward:
When he says, "Now I can rest,
And enjoy my goods,"
He does not know when the time will come
When he will die and leave them to others.
16-19. The monologue of a wealthy farmer who thinks only in terms of larger granaries and a life of ease. Eat, drink, be merry, cf. Eccl. 8:15; Tob. 7:10.
20. Material riches offer a man no protection against the uncertainty of life, and pass into the possession of others when he dies.
21. This points the obvious moral of the story. Possibly an addition by Luke to prepare the way for the section that follows. Rich toward God: No doubt Luke understands this in the light of vs. 33.
4. THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD (12:22-31=Matthew 6:25-33)
Sayings that have no eschatological motivation and that in this respect are comparable to such Jewish wisdom teaching as is to be found in Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus, Pirke Aboth, and parts of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. Matthew incorporated this material in the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus does not qualify his admonitions to complete and utter trust in God's providence. The interpreter must seek elsewhere in the biblical record for supplementary counsel to industry and forethought, if he deems such is wise and necessary. He may find justification for so doing in the fact that it is the attitude of anxiety that Jesus deprecates, not the attempt to provide for future needs.
22a. Editorial introduction.
22b-23. Therefore: The example of the rich fool illustrates the absurdity of anxiety about food and clothing. In Matthew, because worry is evidence of servitude to mammon. Take no thought for your life (KJV) was more correctly rendered by Tyndale "be not careful," i.e., "full of care." The revised versions follow the lead of this earlier English translation: do not be anxious about your life.
24. Worry shows lack of trust in God. The ravens, "the birds of the heaven" in Matthew. "The birds are an example not of idleness but of freedom from anxiety" (A. H. McNeile, The Gospel According to Matthew [London: Macmillan & Co., 1915], p. 87).
25-26. Worry serves no useful purpose. The Greek noun translated stature (KJV) can also mean span of life (RSV); and the latter translation is preferred. To add a cubit--approximately twenty inches--to one's height would scarcely be described as a trifling thing (vs. 26). Goodspeed: "Which of you with all his worry can add a single hour to his life?"
27-28. God lavishes his care on even the lowest forms of life. His children need have no fear that he will overlook their needs. Lilies: Still used by Arabs as a general term for wild flowers. The reading in the RSV mg., they neither spin nor weave, has the support of Codex Bezae, the early Syriac translations, and some other allies, and is preferred by several modern editors on the ground that the more common reading is a scribal harmonization of Luke's text with Matthew's. But they toil not, they spin not (KJV)--i.e., they perform neither man's nor woman's labor--has much more impressive MS attestation, and is also the reading of the Chester Beatty Gospel Papyrus (p45). Dried grass--which would include 'the "lilies" referred to in vs. 27--could be used as fuel.
29-30. Worry about material things is characteristic of pagans. "The knowledge that these things come from the Father as His gifts to His children, that they come not capriciously but out of His perfect knowledge of man's needs and His perfect love for His children, this is the true antidote to anxiety and fear" (Major, Manson, and Wright, The Mission and Message of Jesus [New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1938], p. 405).
31. His kingdom (RSV) has the support of all early MSS except the Chester Beatty Gospel Papyrus (p45). Matthew's version adds "and his righteousness." Origen (On Prayer 2) quotes a similar saying: "Ask ye for the greater things, and the small shall be added unto you: and ask for the heavenly things, and the earthly shall be added unto you" (James, Apocryphal N.T., p. 35).
5. HEAVENLY TREASURE (12:32-34=Matthew 6:19-21)
Johannes Weiss, Albert Schweitzer, and their followers undertook to explain all Jesus' ethical teaching in the light of his belief in the imminence of the kingdom of God. Jesus meant his precepts to be taken literally and fulfilled literally, but they were a practicable ethic only on the assumption that the coming age would supersede the present in a matter of days or months. When the church abandoned the apocalyptic doctrine of the two ages, it was forced to qualify and to reinterpret Jesus' ethical teaching in terms of a philosophy of history that Jesus himself had not shared.
There are difficulties with this theory of "consistent eschatology." For one thing, much of Jesus' teaching shows no trace of eschatological presuppositions. Jesus often teaches in the Jewish "wisdom" tradition. For another, we have seen evidence that Jesus did not always think of the kingdom of God as wholly in the future. In some measure God's rule was already a fact. The kingdom was already breaking in upon history, although its full manifestation will be an event of the last days.
In the passage under consideration, Jesus' counsel to his followers to dispose of material possessions and to provide themselves with "a treasure in the heavens" is subordinated to the expectation of the kingdom but is not necessarily dependent on it. The imminence of death was the motive for unworldliness in vss. 16-21 and may also have been the underlying thought of these sayings in their original context. Jesus frequently drew attention to the corrupting influence of wealth but it must also be remembered that he had people of means among his followers and accepted their support (8:3).
32. An assurance peculiar to Luke. Whether or not it stood in Q must remain an open question. The sayings that follow are subordinated to it. Early Christians would interpret little flock as a reference to the church. The kingdom is here an eschaton--a future gift of God to the faithful.
33. The fact that the form of the saying in Matthew 6:19-20 preserves the parallelism of Semitic poetry supports the impression that it is more original. Sell your possessions, and give alms: A command for Matthew's prohibition--"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth." Distributing to the poor was one recognized way of obtaining treasure in the heavens (cf. 18:22=Mark 10:21). No moth destroys: Rugs and tapestries would be among the valuable possessions of Orientals.
34. This verse differs from Matthew's version only by slight variations in word order and by reading your instead of "thy" (ASV; KJV does not follow the Greek text here).
6. ALLEGORY OF THE WAITING SERVANTS (12:35-38)
A passage peculiar to Luke but having certain features in common with the parables of the doorkeeper (Mark 13:33-37) and of the wise and the foolish virgins (Matthew 25:11). The waiting servants appear to represent the early church; the absent master, the risen Christ; and the master's return, the Parousia or Second Coming. The allegory warns Christians to be on the watch for Christ's return, even though it may be long delayed (vs. 38). Certain genuine fragments of Jesus' teaching no doubt went into its construction (e.g., vs. 35). Allegory was a teaching device rarely employed by the rabbis and probably never used by Jesus, but one that soon became popular in Christian circles.
35. A metaphorical summons to preparedness. Let your loins be girded: The long Oriental robe would interfere with freedom of movement if it were not caught up about the waist (cf. Exod. 12:11).
36. Perhaps once a true similitude, but the allegorical interpretation now lies close at hand. No doubt Luke and his readers equated the marriage feast with Christ's sojourn in heaven after the Resurrection, and when he comes and knocks with his anticipated return as Son of man. For the picture of Christ knocking at the door cf. Rev. 3:20. In Matthew 25:11 it is the foolish virgins who knock.
37. A beatitude on watchfulness is followed by a saying that is indubitably allegorical. In ordinary life it is the servants who wait on their master (17:7-8). The master of this allegory is he who said: "I am among you as one who serves" (22:27). For other references to the new age under the imagery of a feast see 13:29; 22:30; Rev. 19:9.
38. A warning that the Parousia may be delayed. In Mark 13:35 the night is divided after the Roman custom into four watches. According to Jewish reckoning, the second watch was from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M., and the third from 2 A.M. to 6 A.M.
7. PARABLE OF THE HOUSEHOLDER AND THE THIEF (12:39-40=Matthew 24:43-44)
39-40. These verses continue to stress the importance of watchfulness, but without the employment of allegory. Unlike the unwary householder, whom the thief caught by surprise, the faithful must be prepared for the coming of the Son of man, even though they do not know the hour (cf. I Thess. 5:2; II Pet. 3:10; Rev. 3:3).
8. PARABLE OF THE FAITHFUL AND UNFAITHFUL SERVANTS (12:41-46= Matthew 24:45-51a)
Originally a parable that warned of the sudden advent of the kingdom. Some interpreters believe it was directed against the priestly aristocracy. Luke understands it as an allegorical caution to those in his day who constituted the ministry of the church. The servants, the master, and the return are cryptic terms for ecclesiastical officials, the risen Christ, and the Second Advent.
41-42a.Editorial insertion by Luke into Q matter (Matthew 24:43-51) to suggest that the following parable bears particularly on the responsibility of church officials. Peter is often made the spokesman of the disciples in the gospel tradition. This parable: probably Luke has vss. 35-38 in mind as well as vss. 39-40.
42b. Luke has substituted steward for "servant" (cf. Matthew's version and also vss. 43, 45, 46) in order to emphasize the great responsibility held in trust. Parables frequently begin with a question.
43-44. The faithful and wise servant will be rewarded by promotion from the office of overslave to that of estate manager.
45-46. The tyrannical and drunken servant, who takes advantage of his temporary authority, will be surprised by his master's unexpected return and will be cut ... in sunder (KJV). Punish (RSV) attenuates the Greek verb but makes it possible to avoid understanding unfaithful (RSV) allegorically. The reference could be to "unfaithful servants." Unbelievers (KJV) would rather mean those who are punished by being committed to hell.
9. SUPPLEMENTARY SAYINGS EMPHASIZING RESPONSIBILITY (12:47-48)
Appended by Luke to the parable to underline his interpretation of its message: a warning to leaders of the church that they in particular are to be ready for the advent of the Son of man.
47-48a. Note Amos 3:2. Make ready or adapts an independent saying to its present context. Probably Luke thought of the instructed and uninstructed servants as allegorical references respectively to the clergy and to the rank and file of the church. The responsibilities of Christian laymen were less onerous than those of their leaders, and their failure to be on the alert would be less severely penalized.
48b. Both statements express the same idea--synonymous parallelism. The force of the comparative is not to be pressed, for the more is probably only a variation in the interests of style for much. The saying now serves to generalize the principle of vs. 47, but no doubt once circulated independently.
10. REFLECTIONS ON THE PURPOSE AND ISSUE OF CHRIST'S MINISTRY (12:49-50)
49. Fire: Sometimes interpreted as the fire of the Day of Judgment(3:16-17), as the fire of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3), or as the purifying fire of repentance that will prepare the way for the Kingdom of God. In the light of vss.51-53 it is evident that Luke thinks of it as the fire of conflict that will compel men to align themselves for or against the Messiah. Vs. 49b (like 50b) is without doubt an exclamation and is correctly punctuated in RSV.
50. This verse asserts that Jesus' mission cannot be accomplished except by his death--baptism is also used in this sense in Mark 10:38-39. Most of the passages that represent Jesus as anticipating his death are clearly "predictions after the event." This saying may also belong in that category, but there is nothing in it that compels the interpreter to deny its authenticity. If Jesus meditated on the fate of John the Baptist; if he foresaw the consequences of the growing opposition to his own ministry; if he discovered any clue to his own mission in the suffering servant passages in the book of Isaiah--if his thoughts moved along any or all of these lines, he may have been driven to anticipate his death and to reflect on its significance. But purely historical exegesis can give us no final answer to such questions.
11. MESSIANIC DIVISIONS (12:51-53=Matthew 10:34-36)
51-53. Probably an expansion of sayings that stood in Q. Matthew's version is modeled more closely on Mic. 7:6 and represents the conflict more explicitly as a revolt of the younger against the older generation. The passage ascribes a well-defined messianic consciousness to Jesus, and declares that he anticipated the divisions that would arise within families over the issue of adherence to Christ. On both counts its authenticity is open to dispute. Three against two and two against three: The father and the mother on one side, and the daughter, the son, and the son's wife on the other.
12. INTERPRETING THE PRESENT TIME (12:54-56)
54-56. A variant of this passage has been interpolated in many MSS to constitute Matthew 16:2b-3 but is not in the text of that Gospel in codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus or in the Old Syriac versions. In it the signs by which "Pharisees and Sadducees" are said to prognosticate the weather are a red sky in the evening and a red sky in the morning. A cloud rising in the west: Winds from the Mediterranean were laden with moisture (cf. I Kings 18:44). The south wind blew in over arid and scorching plains. You hypocrites! was perhaps introduced into the saying because it was a frequent word of abuse. Some believe it was used because those who were addressed only pretended that they had no ability to draw obvious conclusions, but this interpretation is remote. Luke and his readers would understand that Jesus and his message were the signs by which the multitudes ought to have interpreted the present time. Men ought to have known that the age of God's rule was at hand--or had already begun--and to have governed themselves accordingly. It is conceivable that that was also what Jesus had in mind. The kingdom of God was breaking in upon history, but men who were weatherwise remained spiritually insensitive.
13. WISDOM OF RECONCILIATION (12:57-59=Matthew 5:25-26)
Usually interpreted as a parable. As the defendant in a lawsuit for the recovery of a debt is well advised to reach an agreement with his "accuser" before the case is brought to court, so a man ought to make an effort to settle with anyone with whom he has differences before the Day of Judgment. No doubt Luke understood it after this fashion. It is an illustration of how men ought to act in "the present time." Originally it may have been a bit of wisdom teaching without eschatological reference: Settle your disputes out of court! Matthew employs it in the Sermon on the Mount to illustrate the application in a concrete instance of Jesus' teaching forbidding anger.
57. Transition to new material. "You should know what to do without any instruction from me."
58. The singular number (cf. KJV) is evidence that the matter in this verse had no original connection with what precedes it. Officer: translates a Greek word that is found in the papyri for a collector of revenue.
59. Copper (lepto6n for the Hebrew hfwrp): The smallest coin in circulation. Luke avoids the Latinism (kodra6nthv from the Latin quadrans) that Matthew uses ("penny" [RSV], worth about two "coppers").
14. CALL TO REPENTANCE (13:1-5)
Disasters that overwhelm individuals do not prove that such people are worse sinners than others. But they ought to serve as a warning both to Galileans and Judeans that only timely repentance can avert destruction at the Day of Judgment.
13:1. Goodspeed translates (in accordance with Lukan [Acts 10:21; 12:20; etc.] and classical usage): "some people came up." At that very time: An editorial note that makes the following paragraph part of the more inclusive discourse. The incident must have taken place in the environs of the temple in Jerusalem. Pilate had ordered some Galileans slain while they were in the act of slaughtering their sacrifices, perhaps because he suspected them of being insurrectionaries. Josephus makes no mention of this atrocity, although he does refer to comparable acts of violence against Jews in Jerusalem (Antiquities XVIII. 3. 2) and Samaritans on Mount Gerizim (ibid., XVIII. 4. 1). The latter incident was responsible for the procurator's recall in A.D. 36. Were Jesus' informants enemies who were hoping he might make some seditious utterance? Or Jewish patriots who wished to rouse him to lead a revolt against Rome? Or simply purveyors of news? The story itself provides no answer to such questions.
2-3. All the other Galileans: A translation according to the sense of the Greek. Jesus repudiated the popular theory that suffering was the consequence of sin, but did not concern himself in this instance with any other answer to the problem. He interpreted the fate that had befallen the Galileans only as a warning to his hearers to heed the call to repentance before it would be too late.
4-5. A fatal accident that had involved Judeans ought to serve a similar purpose. The tower in Siloam was a part of the fortifications of Jerusalem near an important spring and reservoir.
15. PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE (13:6-9)
Employed by Luke as a conclusion to the discourse that had begun with 12:2. Reiterates the theme of impending judgment. Israel has only a short period left for repentance.
The parable may be the ultimate source of Mark's story about the cursing of the fig tree (Mark 11:12-14). There has possibly been a confusion in the Marcan stream of tradition between what Jesus said and what Jesus did. Luke may have suspected some such connection between the parable and the story, for he omits the latter at the point where he might otherwise have used it (19:44).
A parable in the Story of Ahikar (Syriac Version 8:35) exhibits some resemblances to the one under discussion: "My son, thou hast been to me like that palm-tree that stood by a river, and cast all its fruit into the river, and when its lord came to cut it down, it said to him, 'Let me alone this year, and I will bring thee forth carobs.' And its lord said unto it, 'Thou hast not been industrious in what is thine own, and how wilt thou be industrious in what is not thine own?'" (Tr. J. Rendell Harris, in R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913], II, 775.)
6. A vineyard in Palestine contained fruit trees as well as vines. Goodspeed: "a garden."
7. The details of the parable are not to be allegorized. "Three" is a recurring number in folk tales, and three years has no reference to the length of Jesus' ministry. The owner of the orchard had given the fig tree ample opportunity to demonstrate its fruitfulness. It had failed to do so, and must now be felled (cf. 3:9). Use up the ground, or "exhaust the soil."
8-9. The gardener urges the owner to give the tree another year of grace. Well and good: An apodosis that is unexpressed in the Greek text (a regular feature of the Semitic idiom, but also not uncommon in Greek).
J. SABBATH TEACHING IN A SYNAGOGUE (13:10-21)
1. ON THE SABBATH HEALING OF A CRIPPLED WOMAN (13: 10-17)
Closely related in structure and content to 6:6-11 (Mark 3:1-6) and 14:1-6. The nucleus in each instance is a saying that no doubt had proved useful to the church in its controversy with the synagogue over the matter of sabbath observance, and in each instance the miracle story appears to have been woven around the saying to provide it with a narrative setting. The argument in this variant is repeated in 14:2-6 (cf. Matthew 12:11-12a): If it is right to care for domestic animals on the sabbath, it is right to relieve human distress.
10. A synagogue scene as in 6:6.
11-13. A spirit of infirmity, a spirit that caused weakness. Possibly substituted by Luke for an original "infirmity," for the rest of the story assumes a healing rather than an exorcism (cf. 6:10; 14:4).
14. The ruler of the synagogue is represented as avoiding a direct criticism of Jesus. He addresses himself to the congregation by recalling the words of Deut. 5:13.
15. Hypocrites: The plural may be an indication that the saying was originally independent of its present context. Another explanation: Jesus assumes that the people agree with the ruler and includes them in his rebuke. Hypocrite is probably a scribal correction, but one that must have been made as early as the Chester Beatty Gospel Papyrus (p45).
16. The "loosing" of the woman from her infirmity--ascribed in accordance with the thought of the day to the activities of Satan--is compared to the "loosing" of an ox or an ass from its manger. Jews would not have admitted that the healing of a woman who had been ill for eighteen years was an emergency great enough to justify the infringement of sabbath legislation, but the early church saw a logic in the analogy, and the gospel evidence makes it clear that Jesus put human need above ritual requirements (see on 6:1-5).
17. Luke's concluding observation: Jesus had discomfited all his adversaries in sabbath controversy, and all the people rejoiced at his miracles of healing, the glorious things that were done by him.
2. PARABLE OF THE MUSTARD SEED (13:18-19=Matthew 13:31-32)
A variant occurs in Mark 4:30-32. It had apparently been incorporated into a collection that Mark had used as a source. Luke omits the Marcan version at the point where he might have used it (following 8:18) and now employs the Q form. Matthew conflated Mark and Q and preserved the Marcan order.
The mustard plant was characterized by its rapid growth, and the whole process of growth was a mystery to the ancients. Therefore there are those who insist that the point of the parable is that the new age of God's rule will come suddenly and mysteriously. But this is to do violence to the passage in the interests of a hypothesis. The parable turns on the contrast between small beginnings and great results. Although the full realization of God's rule on earth as it is in heaven awaits the future, in some measure it is already manifest within the historical order.
18. He said therefore is obviously editorial. Both Mark and Luke (Q) introduce the parable with a double question although they differ in the wording of it. Matthew substitutes a statement.
19. The smallness of a mustard seed was proverbial (cf. 17:6; Matthew 17:20) but it is the Marcan version (followed by Matthew in this detail) that draws specific attention to the fact. The mustard was not a garden plant in Galilee and therefore Matthew substitutes "field." It is said to grow to heights of ten or twelve feet. On several occasions in the O.T. (Ezek. 17:22-23; 31:1-6; Dan. 4:10-12, 20-22) a kingdom is depicted as a tree, and the extension of its power as the nesting of birds in its branches. It is possible that the last clause is actually a quotation from one or other of these passages, and that it was added to the parable to give it a touch of allegory: the church will gather in even Gentile peoples!
3. PARABLE OF THE LEAVEN (13:20-21=Matthew 13:33)
20-21. The introduction in Matthew is a statement, and in Luke a rhetorical question. The parable was not in the collection used by Mark, but stood in Q as a companion to that of the mustard seed. No doubt Luke and his readers would interpret it as a prophecy of the spread of the gospel and the growth of the church. In its original application it probably illustrated the same truth as its twin: God is already asserting his sovereignty, and the mighty consequences of that fact will shortly be evident. Leaven: Elsewhere in the N.T. (12:1; Matthew 16:6, 11; Mark 8:15; I Cor. 5:6-8; Gal. 5:9) a symbol for evil, as often also in Jewish literature. Women did all the grinding as well as all the baking in the East. Three measures: A little over a bushel, which would be an enormous quantity of flour for a single baking. Perhaps the large amount was mentioned to emphasize the mighty effects of God's rule. But cf. Gen. 18:6, where Sarah is said to have used "three measures of fine meal" in preparing cakes for three guests.
K. TEACHING IN THE COURSE OF THE JOURNEY (13:22-35)
1. ON ADMISSION TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD (13:22-30; cf. Matthew 7:13-14, 22-23; 8:11-12; 20:16)
Points of similarity with material in Matthew indicate the use of a common source, but both evangelists have dealt freely with it.
22. An editorial reminder to the reader that Jesus was still journeying toward Jerusalem.
23. An introduction without any parallel in Matthew and apparently supplied by the evangelist. The question of the number of the elect was frequently debated in late Jewish literature. The author of II Esdras (late first century A.D.) gives a pessimistic answer: "The Most High made this world for the sake of many, but the world to come, for the sake of few ...; many have been created, but few will be saved" (II Esdras 8:1-3 Goodspeed).
24. Entrance to the kingdom of God is difficult. The metaphor of the narrow door is combined in Matthew with that of "the hard way," and both are contrasted with the wide gate and the easy way that lead to destruction.
25. Only a short time is left for those who wish to be admitted. Soon the householder will have shut the door and the latecomers will knock in vain. The words of the house holder appear to be a reminiscence of those of the bridegroom in the parable of the wise and the foolish maidens (Matthew 25:11b-12).
26. Many of Jesus' Jewish contemporaries will seek admission by claiming to have been his acquaintances. In the Matthaean parallel the applicants for admission will be false teachers who will claim to have been Jesus' ministers.
27. In both Matthew and Luke the words with which the unworthy are rejected are enforced by a quotation from Ps. 6:8a.
28-29. A vivid way of describing the dismay of the Jews who are excluded at the sight of the patriarchs and the prophets seated at the banquet table with non-Jews. The idea of a messianic feast that would inaugurate the new age was a familiar one in late Jewish apocalyptic. Vs. 29 precedes vs. 28 in the Matthaean version, which is inserted into the story of the healing of the centurion's slave.
30. A saying preserved both in Mark 10:31 (Matthew 19:30) and in Q (Matthew 20:16). Only Luke applies it to Gentiles and Jews.
2. WARNING FROM PHARISEES (13:31-33)
31. At that very hour--the word day (KJV) has inferior MS attestation--an editorial prefix. It is not clear that Luke thinks of Jesus' itinerary at this time as wholly within Samaritan territory (see above, p. 181). This incident at any rate must have taken place either in Galilee or Perea, Herod's territories. Probably it was completely undated in Luke's source. It has often been associated with the narrative in Mark 6:14-16 (Luke 9:7-9), but there is no suggestion in this latter passage that Herod wished to have Jesus killed. Probably these Pharisees were friendly men who wished to warn Jesus of the danger in which he stood. It is unnecessary to think of them as commissioned by the Galilean tetrarch to deliver an expulsion order.
32-33. Jews as well as Greeks could use fox as a metaphor for a cunning man, but it occurs more often in rabbinical literature to mean an unimportant individual--as a term of contempt. The main meaning of Jesus' words is clear: He will not interrupt his ministry because of any fear of Herod. But it has become increasingly evident that his work may lead to his death, and he intends to leave Galilee after a brief interval and meet it as a prophet in Jerusalemú And the third day I shall be perfected is such a specific prediction of the Crucifixion and Resurrection that it was probably added to an earlier form of the saying after the event, and the repetition of to-day and to-morrow might then have been considered necessary. All serious exegetical difficulties would disappear if the saying originally was as follows: "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrowú Nevertheless I must go on my way the day following ...'"(Julius Wellhausen, Das Evangelium Lucae [Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1904], pp. 75-76).
3. LAMENT OVER JERUSALEM (13:34-35=Matthew 23:37-39)
Associated by Luke with the preceding saying only because of the recurrence of "Jerusalem." If Matthew has preserved the connection as it was in Q, these verses followed the material that is now in Luke 11:49-51, part of which appears to be a quotation from a lost book about "the Wisdom of God." It has been suggested that these sayings also were originally those of the divine "Wisdom," who had called men to herself in vain, and who abandons her fruitless task until the advent of the Messiah. If Jesus spoke such words of poignant melancholy, we must assume--with the Gospel of John--an extended ministry in Jerusalem, of which the Synoptic Gospels have preserved no record.
34-35a. To you: Found only in Codex Bezae and a few allies (most MSS read "to her"), but justified in English in view of the Semitic preference for the third person in attributive and relative clauses dependent on a vocative. The metaphor of a bird and her young to describe God's relationship to his people occurs occasionally in the O.T. (Deut. 32:11-12; Ps. 36:7; Isa. 31:5) and frequently in rabbinical literature. Your house is often interpreted as a reference to the temple, but in the O.T. and in other Jewish literature the temple is almost invariably "God's house." Here probably the city--or possibly the nation. God has withdrawn his protection.
35b. A prediction that the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not see the speaker again until they acknowledge the advent of the Messiah. By locating the whole section during Jesus' last days in Jerusalem, Matthew interprets these words as a prediction of Jesus' return as glorified Son of man. It is just conceivable that Luke understood them as a prediction of the triumphal entry as described in 19:37-38, but in the latter account it is Jesus' disciples who acclaim him. In either case, if the preceding sayings are to be understood as utterances of Jesus, this last is almost certainly a Christian addition.