R. PARABLES ON THE PROPER PRACTICE OF PRAYER (18:1-14)
1. PARABLE OF THE WIDOW AND THE JUDGE (18:1-8)
The parable proper is restricted to vss. 2-5 and is a twin to that of the importunate friend in 11:5-8. No doubt its original moral was also the same: Persistence in prayer brings results. In the course of its transmission vss. 6-8a were appended to it and it became a specific injunction to the elect to pray incessantly for the Day of Judgment and for God's vengeance on their enemies. Vs. 8b appears to be a still later addition, perhaps reflecting a spirit of pessimism at the growth of heretical groups within the church: When Christ returns as the Son of man will there be any true community of believers on earth to welcome him? The paragraph affords an interesting glimpse into the history of the gospel tradition.
18:1. Editorial introduction. The evangelist ignores the specific application that had been given to the parable in his source (see general comment just above), but in so doing he may have recovered the point that Jesus had intended to make by it.
2-3. Little is known of the administration of justice at the village level in the Palestine of Jesus' day. This parable indicates that it was sometimes in the hands of a single judge. In the Bible a widow is often a typical representative of those who need to be defended against exploitation. It is taken for granted that her cause is just.
4-5. Lest ... she weary me: "Lest she come at last and beat me" is the literal translation of the Greek text. Though the judge neither feared God nor felt any shame before man, he had a healthy respect for a widow's wrath! But most interpreters prefer the metaphorical translation of the standard English versions.
6-8a. An application that presupposes a period of acute persecution and whose tenor is reminiscent of the cry of the martyrs in Rev. 6:10: "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?" Will he delay long over them? The grammar and the sense of the Greek are obscure. Goodspeed's translation does justice to the present tense of the verb: "Is he slow to help them?" Many interpreters believe that the clause--and perhaps the whole paragraph--has been influenced by a passage in Ecclesiasticus. Having referred to the prayer of the wronged, the supplication of the orphan, and the complaint of the widow, Jesus ben Sira declares:
... the Lord will not delay,
Or be slow about them,
Until he crushes the loins of the unmerciful,
And takes vengeance on the heathen (Ecclus. 35:18 Goodspeed).
8b. It is no longer God but the Son of man who is judge (as in 17:26, 30). Faith: The noun is definite in the Greek text, and probably means "true" or "orthodox" faithú
2. PARABLE OF THE PHARISEE AND THE TAX COLLECTOR (18:9-14)
An "example-story" like the parable of the good Samaritan (10:30-37). Not all Pharisees were like the Pharisee of this story. Talmudic literature can furnish many instances of exemplary humility. But the prayer of a rabbi of about A.D. 70, quoted in Berakoth 28b, is further evidence that they were exposed to the danger of spiritual pride: "I thank thee, O Lord, my God, that thou hast given me a place among those who sit in the House of Study, and not among those who sit at the street corners; for I rise early and they rise early, but I rise early to study the words of the Law, and they rise early to engage in vain things; I labor and they labor, but I labor and receive a reward, and they labor and receive no reward; I live and they live, but I live for the life of the future world, and they live for the pit of destruction."
9. Editorial introduction. Pharisees seem to be implied. To: The Greek preposition could be translated "against" or "with respect to," but Lukan usage is not in favor of these alternatives.
10. The story has its setting in Jerusalem. The temple was used for private prayer and meditation as well as for public prayer at stated occasions (1:10; Acts 3:1).
11-12. With himself, i.e., "silently." Codex Bezae has the attractive reading: "The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed thus." He kept himself aloof from the main body of worshipers. In cataloguing his merits he mentions first the vices from which he abstains and then the special evidences of his piety. The latter are works of supererogation. I fast twice a week: Private fasts were not required by the law. Zealous Jews observed them on Mondays and Thursdays. By the second century equally zealous Christians had adopted the practice but had altered the days to Wednesdays and Fridays (Did. 8:1). I give tithes of all that I get: The law demanded only that agricultural products be tithed (Deut. 14:22-23). The Pharisee's reference is to the tithing of all his income, not of all his possessions (KJV).
13. The tax collector takes up a position far off "from the altar." Both his actions and his words express his sense of unworthiness. He confesses that he is a sinner and prays for God's mercy.
14a. It is the contrite tax collector whom God "declares to be just," not the self-righteous Pharisee.14b. A floating saying from Q (Matthew 23:12) which the evangelist has already used in 14:11. In its present context it contrasts the destinies of the Pharisee and the tax collector in the life to come.
S. CONDITIONS OF ENTRANCE TO THE KINGDOM (18:15-34)
Luke had temporarily abandoned the Marcan narrative at 9:50 (Mark 9:40) in order to find a place in his account for a rich fund of teaching matter from other sources. He now resumes his use of his major source, almost at the point at which he had put it aside. Only the catena of sayings in Mark 9:41-50 and the teaching about divorce in Mark 10:2-12 are omitted. The evangelist had incorporated variants of two of the former in 17:2; 14:34, and perhaps he believed he had given the gist of the latter in 16:18.
1. JESUS AND LITTLE CHILDREN (18:15-17=Mark 10:13-15)
15. Infants for Mark's "little children." Touch them: Place his hands upon them in the course of bestowing a blessing (cf. Mark 10:16). The disciples wished to protect their master from requests they considered trivial.
16a. Both Matthew and Luke omit Mark's statement that Jesus was "much displeased," as well as the detail in Mark 10:16 that he embraced the children as he blessed them. They hesitated to attribute the human emotions of anger and affection to the Lord of the church.
16b-17. Children manifest the attitude of simple and unquestioning trust that God requires of those who will enter his kingdom (cf. Paul's characteristic interpretation of "faith" as man's humble and grateful response to God's grace).
2. A RICH MAN REJECTS DISCIPLESHIP (18:18-27=Mark 10:17-27)
18. The man who interviewed Jesus on this occasion is usually called "the rich young ruler," a composite title from the three Synoptic accounts. All describe him as a rich man, Matthew as a young man (he has to omit the phrase "from my youth" in his version of Mark 10:20), and Luke as a ruler, i.e., a member of the governing body of some synagogue. Luke's title is probably an editorial inference from the fact that the questioner was rich. To inherit eternal life: To share the life of the age to come, i.e., of the kingdom of God.
19. Only God is entitled to the absolute predicate good. Matthew feared that Jesus' question might carry the implication that he was not sinless, and so he altered its phrasing to "Why do you ask me about what is good?" (Matthew 19:17a.) Luke was not conscious of any such christological problem.
20. Jesus refers his interrogator to the requirements of the Decalogue, the heart of the moral law. Luke's order for the sixth and seventh commandments differs from Mark's, but they are similarly quoted in Rom. 13:9 and Jas. 2:11, perhaps because of some current liturgical practice. Both Matthew and Luke omit Mark's "do not defraud," which is not numbered among the commandments in Exod. 20:12-16 or Deut. 5:16-20. No explanation is apparent for the position of the fifth commandment at the end of the list.
21. No doubt the claim was an honest one. Rabbinical teachers assumed that men were able to fulfill their obligations to the whole law.
22. Jesus issued an invitation to his questioner to become a disciple, imposing only the condition that he sell his possessions, distribute the proceeds in charity, and thereby lay up for himself treasure in heaven. The Marcan detail that Jesus looked on the inquirer and loved him is omitted by Matthew as well as by Luke. The story lends itself to Luke's interest in showing that Jesus had a sympathy for the poor and that he regarded wealth as an evil thing (see Intro., p. 9). But it is by no means clear that Jesus always made the renunciation of worldly possessions a condition of discipleship. In this instance he saw that a man's concern for the things of this world had become an insuperable barrier to his wholehearted devotion to the cause of the kingdom of God. He was not able to serve God and mammon. He had to free himself from one loyalty before he could accept another.
23. Jesus' appeal was in vain. The rich man found that discipleship would cost him too much.
24-25. Here addressed to the rich man; in Mark to the disciples, for the rich man had departed. Some interpreters have tried to weaken the rigor of Jesus' words by claiming that the needle's eye was the name of a small gate in the wall that surrounded the city of Jerusalem or that camel is a mistake in the Greek text for a word that means "rope" or "cable." Neither suggestion carries conviction.
26. Here the incredulous question of the whole group that was listening to Jesus; in Mark the words of the disciples.
27. A paraphrase of Mark's version. The salvation of a rich man is a miracle that only God's power can accomplish.
3. REWARD OF RENUNCIATION (18:28-30=Mark 10:28-30)
28. Peter is again the spokesman for the disciples. They had fulfilled the condition that the rich man had refused to accept. Our homes: Inferior MSS read all, a harmonization of the text of Luke with Mark.
29-30. Many interpreters believe that in this time, and ... eternal life is an expansion of the original saying. Jesus had promised his disciples that they would be rewarded many times over in the age to come for any sacrifices they had been compelled to make in this time. As the saying stands in Mark (and in Luke's abbreviated form) it assures them that they will be more than compensated in this life also. They will share in the common property of the Christian community (Acts 4:32) and become part of its great fellowship. Luke adds wife to Mark's list, omits "sisters," reads parents for "mother or father," and omits "lands." For the sake of the kingdom of God: A substitution for Mark's "for my sake and for the gospel," but one that might be justified as primitive if we were able to recover the original form of the saying.
4. JESUS AGAIN PREDICTS HIS PASSION (18:31-34=Mark 10:32-34)
In Mark this is Jesus' third prediction of his passion. In Luke it is separated from the first two (9:22, 44) by the great block of non-Marcan material (9:51-18:14), and other predictions have been added (12:50; 13:33; 17:25) to make this the sixth.
31. Luke has abbreviated Mark and has added the statement that the events of the Passion had been predicted by Scripture (cf. 9:51a; 22:37; 24:26-27, 44-46).
32-33. Luke omits the item from Mark's prediction that the Sanhedrin would condemn Jesus to death, since (in contrast to Mark 14:64b) his version of the passion narrative declares only that they delivered him to Pilate (22:66-23:1). On the third day instead of Mark's "after three days," as in 9:22.
34. Editorial comment. Note 9:45. The failure of the disciples to understand was in accordance with God's purpose. This saying was hid from them until the risen Christ should expound the meaning of Scripture (24:44-46).
T. JESUS IN JERICHO (18:35-19:27)
Luke omitted Mark's account of the request of the sons of Zebedee for preferential treatment in the messianic age (Mark 10:35-40), perhaps because he felt it cast some reflection on their character. He also omitted a short chain of sayings (Mark 10:42b-45) at this point in order to use them (or a version of them) later (22:24-27).
1. HEALING OF A BLIND BEGGAR (18:35-43=Mark 10:46-52)
35a. Jericho was a village in Judea near an important ford over the Jordan River which travelers used when they journeyed from Galilee to Jerusalem by way of Perea. The fact that Luke follows Mark in his geographical location of this incident makes it improbable that he had any special tradition of a journey to Jerusalem by the direct route through Samaria (see above, p. 181). Drew near to for Mark's "as he was leaving." A necessary alteration if the story of Zacchaeus that follows was also to be located at the same Judean center.
35b-39. A blind man: Mark had given him the name "Bartimaeus." Son of David: The only occasion in Mark and Luke on which Jesus is addressed by this messianic title. Both evangelists assume that his true nature is now an open secret, and the reader is prepared for the story of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem (19:29-40). And they ... rebuked him: Because he was giving Jesus' messianic mission premature publicity? Or because Jesus' followers wished to spare their master any unnecessary annoyance?
40. Mark's graphic details are omitted.
41-43a. Lord for Mark's Semitism "Rabboni." Your faith: Trust in Jesus' wonder-working power. Has made you well: It is unlikely that the KJV is correct in translating hath saved thee. The verb is used in this instance without any religious connotations (cf. 8:48; contrast 7:50).
43b. Editorial comment.
2. JESUS AND ZACCHAEUS (19:1-10)
Probably a variant of the story of Jesus and Levi (5:27-32=Mark 2:13-17). Both Levi and Zacchaeus belonged to the despised class of tax collectors. In both instances Jesus scandalized pious Jews by accepting the hospitality of one whom they regarded as an outcast. The implication is that both men became Jesus' disciples. And both stories lead up to a saying that is basically the same.
19:1. Editorial. Trees frequently bordered the approaches to an Oriental village, but they rarely grew along its narrow streets. Luke's setting for the Zacchaeus story is therefore not the happiest. Probably it had no specific geographical location in his source.
2. Zacchaeus corresponds to the Hebrew Zaccai (Ezra 2:9; Neh. 7:14). The name means "pure" or "righteous," but there is no reason to believe that Luke wished to stress its etymology. According to the dubious testimony of the Clementine Homilies (III. 63), Zacchaeus later became bishop of Caesarea. A chief tax collector: A title that would be suitable for an official at such an important frontier post as Jericho, but one that has not yet been discovered in earlier Greek literature.
3-4. Details with a light touch of humor. A sycamore tree: A type of wild fig tree, known as the fig mulberry (cf. Amos 7:14).
5. The story is not concerned with the question: How did Jesus know the tax collector's name? In some painfully prosaic exegesis the verse is regarded as an instance of Jesus' omniscience or as evidence of careful reconnaissance by his disciples (Matthew 10:11).
6-7. Zacchaeus ... received him joyfully (cf. Levi, who made Jesus "a great feast" in his house [5:29]).
8. This resolution interrupts the sequence between vs. 7 and vss. 9-10, and is probably Luke's interpretation of the duties imposed on a tax collector by his new relationship to Jesus. It takes the place of the statement in Luke's version of the Levi story: "and he left everything, and rose and followed him" (5:28). Behold ... I give: The present tense used for the future (cf. 7:27). If Zacchaeus could set apart the half of his goods for charitable purposes and still have enough left over to make ample restitution to all whom he had defrauded, his exactions could not have been serious; but it would be unfair to Luke to stress the mathematics of the verse. Fourfold: The restitution required by the Roman law for the theft (cf. also Exod. 22:1: "If a man shall steal ... a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore ... four sheep for a sheep").
9. Jesus' commentary on the protests of the bystanders quoted in vs. 7 rather than his response to Zacchaeus' pledge in vs. 8. Although a despised tax collector, a "sinner" in the eyes of the pious, Zacchaeus was still a Jew--a son of Abraham (cf. 13:16)--and a fitting object of his care. It is strange that the text should read to him, for in what follows, Zacchaeus is referred to in the third person. Some O.L. MSS and some modern editors omit the phrase. Some interpreters translate "concerning him." Salvation: Vouched for by Jesus' acceptance of the tax collector's hospitality. This house, i.e., household. The solidarity of the family is taken for granted.
10. Note Ezek. 34:16. The Son of man corresponds to the "I" of the saying in 5:32. A variant of this verse has been inserted into the Gospel of Matthew as 18:11 by Codex Bezae and many later MSS. Other variants have been introduced into various MSS of Luke after 9:55 (see Exeg., ad loc.).
3. PARABLE OF THE POUNDS (19:11-27)
A comparison of this with the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 makes it possible to reconstruct its complex history with a considerable degree of confidence. Some such narrative as the following was basic to both versions: A man entrusted sums of money to three slaves and went off on a journey. On his return he demanded an account of their stewardship. Two of the slaves had greatly increased their capital and were commended. The third had carefully hoarded his money for fear of losing it and incurring his master's anger. He returned it without any increment and was severely censured. At the very least he might have deposited it with bankers so that it could have earned interest. His trust was then taken from him and given to the slave who had employed his capital most profitably. In this original form the parable appears to have criticized some group among the Jews--perhaps the scribes--who had failed to make use of the trust that they had from God.
At an early date a proverbial saying ascribed to Jesus was appended to the parable: "To every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away." It may have been in this form that Matthew took over the story. Several additional verses (Matthew 25:21, 23, 30) interpret it as a warning that Christ at his second advent would demand a reckoning of his followers, rewarding the faithful and punishing the unfaithful. It was given further homiletic application in the lost Gospel According to the Hebrews (quoted by Eusebius. See J. M. Creed, The Gospel According to St. Luke [London: Macmillan & Co., 1930], p. 233). One slave wasted his trust with harlots and flute girls and was imprisoned; one hid it and was blamed; and the third multiplied it many times and was accepted.
It is possible that the parable stood in Q in its basic form, and was elaborated by Luke, but it is more likely that the evangelist found it already combined with quite disparate material (vss. 12, 14, 27, and a few scattered phrases) in some special source. The "man" of the original parable had been transformed into a "nobleman." His departure had been to "a far country" to receive a grant of "kingly power." The "citizens" had hated him and had sent "an embassy" to protest his appointment. On his return, invested with new authority, he had rewarded his faithful servants with grants of power over "cities" and had given an order that those who had objected to his appointment as king should be brought before him and put to death. This new narrative matter was probably suggested by the actual experience of the Jews with Archelaus after the death of Herod the Great. Archelaus had sailed for Rome to ask Augustus to appoint him king in his father's stead (Josephus Antiquities XVII. 9. 1). His petition was vigorously opposed by an embassy of fifty Jews from Palestine (ibid., XVII. 11. 1-2). Caesar gave him half his father's former kingdom with the title of ethnarch and the promise of kingly dignity if he should prove a virtuous ruler. No reference is made by Josephus to any revenge taken by Archelaus after his return on those who had opposed his ambitions, but such an act would have been characteristic of a member of the Herodian family.
The addition of this new matter transformed the original parable into an allegory. The gospel story teaches that the second coming of Christ will be delayed; that Christians have specific duties in the interim; and that there will be a last judgment with rewards and punishments. Christ is to go to heaven to receive his appointment as messianic king. The Jews hate him and do not wish him to rule over them. In his absence Christians will be entrusted with responsibilities. On his return he will reward his servants according to their diligence and will punish his enemies.
11. Editorial introduction. It is difficult to determine the audience that Luke supposes Jesus to have addressed. Was it the group in Zacchaeus' house? Had they been led to believe that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately by Jesus' statement in vs. 8? Or was it--and this is more probable--the company of the twelve to whom Jesus had spoken in 18:31-33? The parable, which in its present form teaches that the Parousia will be delayed, would itself provide Luke with the substance of his introduction. Because he was near to Jerusalem: Jericho was about seventeen miles from the capital.
12. No doubt the original parable spoke of "a man going on a journey" (Matthew 25:14).
13. Ten of his servants: A group selected from the large retinue that would serve an Oriental prince. But only three are mentioned in the subsequent narrative (as in Matthew). In Matthew's version the master entrusts his entire property to his servants; in Luke's, only a small part of it. Ten pounds, one to each servant. The prince wishes to test the abilities of each. The Greek "mina" was a coin with a silver content worth about twenty dollars. In Matthew's version much larger sums are involved (a "talent" was worth about a thousand dollars) and responsibilities were graded. The master already knew his servants' abilities. There is no counterpart in Luke to the (superfluous) preamble in Matthew 25:16-18.
14. Part of the matter added to the original parable.
15. Having received the kingly power: Also part of the secondary tradition.
16-17. In Matthew's version each of the industrious servants doubles his trust by trade; in Luke's, each makes a different profit. You shall have authority over ten cities: Probably substituted for "I will set you over much" (Matthew 25:21) under the influence of the secondary tradition.
18-19. The dialogue with the first servant is repeated in abbreviated form. Codex Bezae improved the grammar by substituting "another" for the second.
20-21. A "mina" was small enough to be wrapped in a cloth. The "wicked and slothful" servant of Matthew's version hid the much bulkier "talent" in the ground. Translate severe (RSV) rather than austere (KJV). You take up what you did not lay down: Proverbial for the unscrupulous exploitation of another's labor.
22-23. The phrasing of the master's reply carries with it the implication that the servant's characterization of him was insolent slander. If the wicked servant had been afraid he might lose the money, why had he not deposited it with bankers? Interest: Rates as high as 1 per cent per month were not uncommon.
24. The original parable has not been thoroughly revised. The gift of an additional "mina" would be of little consequence to a man who had just been entrusted with authority over ten cities! Ten pounds: Actually eleven, for the original sum had earned a tenfold profit. Matthew's phrasing avoids this minor incongruity.
25. Omitted by Codex Bezae and its allies; probably an interpolation into tile original Lukan text.
26. A proverb ascribed to Jesus in Mark 4:25 and reproduced by Luke in 8:18. Also appended to Matthew's version of the parable (Matthew 25:29) and therefore associated with it very early in the history of its transmission.
27. Note Samuel's treatment of Agag (I Sam. 15:33). With this verse the story reverts to the secondary tradition of vss. 12 and 14. Matthew's version describes the fate of the "worthless servant" (Matthew 25:30), and Codex Bezae adds this matter to Luke's text.
VI. JESUS' MINISTRY IN JERUSALEM (19:28-24:12)
A. JESUS ENTERS JERUSALEM (19:28-46)
1. APPROACH TO JERUSALEM (19:28-38=Mark 11:1-10)
Interpreters are agreed that there is a close connection between Mark's story of the triumphal entry and the messianic prediction of Zech. 9:9: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." Matthew emphasized their relationship by quoting the prophecy in full and by changing Mark's narrative at a few points to demonstrate that the fulfillment had been exact and literal. Several hypotheses have been advanced to explain the connection: (a) The story is a messianic legend without any basis in fact. Zech. 9:9 had predicted that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem riding upon an ass and had summoned the people to pay him exultant homage. The early church, convinced that Jesus must have fulfilled the scriptural prophecy, wove the story out of the details provided by the prediction. (b) Jesus intended his entry into Jerusalem to be understood as a fulfillment of Zech. 9:9 and planned it accordingly. After long hesitation he had come to the conviction that he was the Messiah and had tacitly admitted this to his disciples at Caesarea Philippi, although at the time he had asked them not to publicize the fact. But now he casts his earlier reticence aside. He arranges with friends in the vicinity of Jerusalem to have a young ass ready for him and to release it to emissaries who could quote the password "The Lord has need of it." He mounts the animal and enters the city, acclaimed as messianic king by his disciples and the company of pilgrims. His entry was therefore a deliberate assumption of messiahship, but one that emphasized his own spiritual and nonpolitical interpretation of the Messiah's mission. He chose to fulfill a prediction that pictured the Messiah as one who would come in meekness and in peace. (c) Both of the preceding interpretations of Mark's narrative are open to criticism. If the story is nothing but an invention, it is curious that the early church should have chosen the particular prediction in Zech. 9:9 to develop as a legend. There is little evidence that it played any role in earlier messianic speculation. Furthermore some details of the narrative could not have been derived directly from that O.T. passage: Mark's reference to the cutting of foliage and the particular shouts of the crowd. Finally, it is only in John 12:12 that we are told that those who acclaimed Jesus had come out of the city to meet him. According to the Synoptics, the cries of homage and jubilation were uttered by Jesus' disciples and fellow pilgrims. If the entry was a staged and prearranged affair, it was out of character. It is difficult to think of Jesus as one who planned and carried out such a theatrical dramatization of his mission. And if the manner of the entry was generally interpreted as an assertion of messianic claims, it is strange that it was not cited at the trial as evidence of Jesus' treasonable ambitions. In all likelihood the story as we have it is the product both of fact and of interpretation. Probably Jesus did enter Jerusalem astride an ass--not an uncommon method of journeying--accompanied by exultant and expectant pilgrims who were looking for the speedy inauguration of the kingdom of God. At a later time messianic elements were imposed on the account under the influence of the prophecy in Zech. 9:9. An O.T. passage helped to shape the narrative as we have it, but did not create it.
28. Editorial. Luke's return to his Marcan source requires that he provide its subject matter with a new introduction. The verse is modeled on Mark 10:32.
29. The geographical details are confusing. Bethphage ("house of figs") appears from references in the Talmud to have been a suburb of Jerusalem on the west slope of the Mount of Olives. Bethany ("house of affliction" or "house of obedience") was a village on its southeast slope, two or three miles from the city and separated from it by the valley of Kidron. Perhaps Bethany, which is missing from Matthew's version, was added at an early date to the texts of Mark and Luke because it was a more familiar place name to Christians. According to John 12:1, it was the home of Lazarus and his two sisters. Olivet: A translation borrowed from the Vulg. The accent of the Greek noun differs in most MSS at this point from that in Mark 11:1 and in Luke 19:37.
30-34. To interpret the mysterious details of these verses as an indication that the entry had been prearranged is an unwarranted rationalization of the narrative (see above). No doubt Mark and Luke understood them to be evidence of Jesus' omniscience (cf. similar details in the story of the preparations for the Last Supper [22:8-13]). Colt: The young of various animals. No doubt an ass's foal is meant (Zech. 9:9). On which no one has ever yet sat: An unbroken animal waiting to bear the messianic king.
35-36. Oriental gestures of homage. Luke omits Mark's comment that some "spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields."
37-38. Luke makes such free use of Mark in these verses that some interpreters believe he is employing another source. He stresses the site of Jesus' proclamation of his messiahship, perhaps under the influence of the prediction in Zech. 14:1-4, and declares that the disciples' praise was directed to God, who had been ultimately responsible for all the mighty works (miracles) of his Messiah. The Hebrew "Hosanna" is omitted from the disciples' cry of jubilation (see Intro., p. 4); the first part of Mark's benediction--a quotation from Ps. 118:26--is made more explicitly messianic by the substitution of King for "he"; the second part (Mark 11:10) is left out altogether, possibly because it is in contradiction to 19:11; and Mark's "Hosanna in the highest!" is displaced by Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest! This last clause is reminiscent of the angelic chorus in 2:14. B.S. Easton paraphrases: "Peace is prepared by God in heaven to be bestowed on men,--may He who dwells on high be glorified!" (The Gospel According to St.Luke [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926], p. 286.)
2. JESUS JUSTIFIES THE JUBILATION OF HIS DISCIPLES (19:39-40)
39. Editorial. Of the Pharisees is omitted by the Sinaitic Syriac, and this text is followed by some modern editors.
40. Probably a proverbial saying (cf. Hab. 2:11). There is a similar scene in Matthew 21:15-16.
3. PREDICTION OF THE SIEGE AND DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM (19:41-44)
In marked contrast to the vengeful tone of 18:7 and 19:27. In the judgment of many interpreters a "prophecy after the event." The whole passage may be editorial. Early in the siege of Jerusalem, Titus threw some sort of earthworks around the city and surmounted these "banks" with timber in the hope of cutting off the supplies and of starving the defenders into submission (Josephus Jewish War V. 6. 2). When this barrier proved inadequate, it was supplemented by a stone wall (ibid., V. 12. 1-2).
41. Note 23:28-31; II Kings 8:11-12.
42. The apodosis of the conditional sentence is omitted. The RSV is based on a better Greek text than the KJV. Even today: Jesus' entry provided the city with a final opportunity for repentance. The things that make for peace: Salvation was conditional on the acceptance of Jesus as Messiah. But now they are hid from your eyes: Possibly a play on the word "Jerusalem" is intended. The name of the city was popularly believed to mean "vision of peace."
43-44. Those who interpret the passage as an utterance of Jesus, or as a prediction of the Palestinian church before A.D. 70, point out that the details of the siege and the destruction of Jerusalem may have been borrowed from Isa. 29:1-4 and Ps. 137:9. Your children: The city's inhabitants. The time of your visitation: Jesus was God's final messenger, and the city failed to recognize him and his mission.
4. CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE (19:45-46=Mark 11:15-17)
Since Luke has omitted Mark's reference to a preliminary inspection of the temple (Mark 11:11) and his story of the cursing of the fig tree (see Intro., p. 18), this incident takes place directly after Jesus' entry into the city. The Gospel of John transposes it to the early period of Jesus' ministry (John 2:13-17). Luke has drastically compressed Mark's account.
45. Jesus' protest against the commercialization of the temple precincts. Facilities had been provided by the temple authorities for the sale of sacrificial victims to pilgrims. Mark mentions only "doves," but John adds "oxen and sheep." It is only in the Gospel of John that we are told in explicit terms that Jesus used violence to achieve his ends.
46. A combination of quotations from Isa. 56:7 and Jer. 7:11. Luke and Matthew abbreviate the former by omitting "for all the nations" after house of prayer. It is more probable that the O.T. texts have been attached to the account (Ps. 69:9 is quoted in John 2:17) than that the latter is a legend suggested by the texts. Some interpreters regard the incident as a further symbolical assertion by Jesus of his messianic claim. As was expected of the Messiah, he undertook a drastic reform of religious practices. It is more readily understood as a consequence of Jesus' prophetic indignation at the secular traffic which had made the temple courts resemble a market place.
B. VARIOUS ATTEMPTS TO INCRIMINATE JESUS (19:47-21:4)
1. ANTIPATHY OF THE SANHEDRIN TO JESUS (19:47-48=Mark 11:18)
47-48. An editorial expansion of a single verse in Mark serves as an introduction to 20:1-8. The three groups named constituted the membership of the Sanhedrin. In addition to their functions as the court of final appeal in matters of religion, they had jurisdiction over the temple and its ritual, and no doubt regarded Jesus' act of cleansing the temple courts as a challenge to their authority and prestige. The chief priests: Heads of the leading priestly families. Daily: Luke ignores Mark's apparent chronological scheme of six days from the date of the Entry to that of the Crucifixion. There are indications also in Mark that the earliest evangelist has telescoped his material (Mark 14:49).