Cambridge Bible: Lk Farrar
27. Love your enemies] This had been distinctly the spirit of the highest part of the Law and the Old Testament. Exo_23:4, “If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.” Pro_25:21, “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat.” Yet in many passages it had practically been said “to men of old time,” at any rate in some cases, “thou shalt hate thine enemy,” Deu_7:2, Deu_7:23:6; 1Ch_20:3; 2Sa_12:31; Psa_137:8, Psa_137:9, &c. On these passages the fierce fanaticism of the Pharisaic Jews, after the Exile, had so exclusively fed, that we find the Talmud ringing with precepts of hatred the most bitter against all Gentiles, and the ancients had, not unnaturally, been led to the conclusion that detestation of all but Jews was a part of the Jewish religion (“adversus omnes alios hostile odium,” Tac. Hist. v. 5; Juv. Sat. xiv. 103).
27. Ἀλλά. What is the contrast which this ἀλλά marks? The emphatic position of the ὑμῖν seems to show that the contrast is between those on whom the Woes have been pronounced and the faithful hearers now addressed. Others interpret, “But, although I have denounced them, I do not allow you to to them: you must love them.” There is, however, no indication that the enemies who are to be loved are the wealthy who have just been denounced, and such a limitation of the meaning of enemies cannot be justified: comp. Mat_5:44.
τοῖς ἀκούουσιν. “Who give ear and obey,” τοῖς πειθομένοις (Euthym.). It is unnatural to take it literally as meaning “My audience,” in contrast to the rich who have just been addressed in their absence. Representatives of the rich may have been present among the audience. Schanz interprets “who listen with attention.”
There is on the whole a double climax in what follows,—the worse the treatment received, the better the return made; but it is not quite exact. One would expect that ἀγαπᾶτε would be coupled with τοῦς μυσοῦντας. This is the first time that Lk. uses the word ἀγαπᾷν, which sums up the whole spirit of the Gospel: it is most frequent in the writings of Jn. “It should never be forgotten that ἀγάπη is a word born within the bosom of revealed religion: it occurs in the Septuagint; but there is no example of its use in any heathen writer whatever” (Trench, Syn. xii.). This is not true of ἀγαπᾷν and ἀγαπάζειν, which are common in class. Grk. But Christianity has ennobled the meaning of both ἀγαπᾷν and φιλεῖν, with their cognates: ἐρᾷν, which is scarcely Capable of such advancement, does not occur in N.T. See on 11:42, the only place where ἀγάπη occurs in Lk. Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 198.
τοὺς ἐχθρούς. For the combination with τοῖς μισοῦσιν comp. 1:71; Psa_18:18, 106:10; and for the fourfold description of enmity comp. ver. 22. In Mat_5:44 we have only enemies and persecutors according to the best texts; and as καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοὺς μις. ὑμᾶς (note the acc.) is not genuine there, this is the only passage in which καλῶς ποιεῖς ποιεῖν = “benefit, do good to”: comp. καλῶς εἰπεῖν (ver. 26), and contrast Mat_12:12; Mar_7:37; Act_10:33; 1Co_7:37, 1Co_7:38; Php_4:14; Jam_2:8, Jam_2:19; 2Pe_1:19; 3Jn_1:6.—τοῖς μισοῦσιν. For the dat. comp. τοῖς προφήταις (ver. 23) and τοῖς ψευδοπροφήταις (ver. 26). See the expansion of this principle Rom_12:17-21; 1Th_5:15; 1Pe_3:9. Comp. Exo_23:4; Job_21:29; Pro_17:5, Pro_24:17, Pro_25:21. See detached note on the relation of Rom. 12-14 to the Gospels at the end of Rom_13.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
29. offer also the other] The general principle “resist not evil” (Mat_5:39; 1Co_6:7; 1Pe_2:19-23) impressed for ever on the memory and conscience of mankind by a striking paradox. That it is only meant as a paradox in its literal sense is shewn by the fact that our Lord Himself, while most divinely true to its spirit, did not act on the letter of it (Joh_18:22, Joh_18:23). The remark of a good man on reading the Sermon on the Mount, “either this is not true, or we are no Christians,” need not be correct of any of us. The precepts are meant, St Augustine said, more “ad praeparationem cordis quae intus est” than “ad opus quod in aperto fit;” but still, the fewer exceptions we make the better, and the more absolutely we apply the spirit of the rules, the fewer difficulties shall we find about the letter.
thy cloke … thy coat] The himation was the upper garment, the shawl-like abba; the chitôn was the tunic. See on 3:11.
29, 30. Whereas vv. 27, 28 refer to the active ἀγάπη which returns good for evil, these refer rather to the passive μακποθυμία, which never retaliates. The four precepts here given are startling. It is impossible for either governments or individuals to keep them. A State which endeavoured to shape its policy in exact accordance with them would soon cease to exist; and if individuals acted in strict obedience to them society would be reduced to anarchy. Violence, robbery, and shameless exaction would be supreme. The inference is that they are not precepts, but illustrations of principles. They are in the form of rules; but as they cannot be kept as rules, we are compelled to 1ook beyond the letter to the spirit which they embody. If Christ had given precepts which could be kept literally, we might easily have rested content with observing the letter, and have never penetrated to the spirit. What is the spirit? Among other things:—that resistance of evil and refusal to part with our property must never tae a personal matter: so far as we are concerned we must be willing to suffer still more and to surrender still more. It is right to withstand and even to punish those who injure us: but in order to correct them and protect society; not because of any personal animus. It is right also to withold our possessions from those who without good reason ask for them; but in order to check idleness and effrontery; not because we are too fond of our posessions to part with them. So far as our personal feeling goes, we ought to ready to offer the other cheek, and to give, without desire of recovery, whatever is demanded or taken from us. Love knows no limits but those which love itself imposes. When love resists or refuses, it is because compliance would be a violation of love, not because it would involve loss or suffering.
29. τῷ πύπτοντί σε ἐπὶ τὴν σιαγόνα. A violent blow with the fist seems to be meant rather than a contemptuous slap, for נשׁוגאסִ means “jaw-bone” (Jdg_15:15, Jdg_15:16; Eze_29:4; Mic_5:1; Hos_11:4). In what follows also it is an act of violence that is meant; for in that case the upper and more valuable garment (ἱμάτιον) would be taken first. In Mat_5:40 the spoiler adopts a legal method of spoliation (κριθῆναι), and takes the under and less indispensable garment (χιτῶνα) first. See on 3:2 and comp. Joh_19:23.
And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other. This and the following direction is clothed in language of Eastern. picturesqueness, to drive home to the listening crowds the great and novel truths he was urging upon them. No reasonable, thoughtful man would feel himself bound to the letter of these commandments. Our Lord, for instance, himself did not offer himself to be stricken again, (Joh_18:22, Joh_18:23) but firmly, though with exquisite courtesy, rebuked the one who struck him. St. Paul, too, (Act_23:3) never dreamed of obeying the letter of this charge. It is but an assertion of a great principle, and so, with the exception of a very few mistaken fanatics, all the great teachers of Christianity have understood it.
On the cheek (epi tēn siagona). Mat_5:39 has “right.” Old word meaning jaw or jawbone, but in the N.T. only here and Mat_5:39, which see note for discussion. It seems an act of violence rather than contempt. Sticklers for extreme literalism find trouble with the conduct of Jesus in Joh_18:22. where Jesus, on receiving a slap in the face, protested against it.
Thy cloke (to himation), thy coat (ton chitōna). Here the upper and more valuable garment (himation) is first taken, the under and less valuable chitōn last. In Mat_5:40 the process (apparently a legal one) is reversed.
Withhold not (mē kōlusēis). Aorist subjunctive in prohibition against committing an act. Do not hinder him in his robbing. It is usually useless anyhow with modern armed bandits.
Lend, expecting nothing again. It is a mistake to confine this statement to usury, as if Christ only forbade his people to be usurers. The preceding part of the discourse shows clearly, that it has a wider reference. After having explained what wicked men are wont to do, — to love their friends, — to assist those from whom they expect some compensations, — to lend to persons like themselves, that they may afterwards receive the like from them, — Christ proceeds to show how much more he demands from his people, — to love their enemies, to show disinterested kindness, to lend without expecting a return. We now see, that the word nothing is improperly explained as referring to usury, or to any interest that is added to the principal: whereas Christ only exhorts us to perform our duties freely, and tells us that mercenary acts are of no account in the sight of God. Not that he absolutely condemns all acts of kindness which are done in the hope of a reward; but he shows that they are of no weight as a testimony of charity; because he alone is truly beneficent to his neighbors, who is led to assist them without any regard to his own advantage, but looks only to the necessities of each. Whether it is ever lawful for Christians to derive profit from lending money, I shall not argue at greater length under this passage, lest I should seem to raise the question unseasonably out of a false meaning which I have now refuted. Christ’s meaning, as I have already explained, is simply this: When believers lend, they ought to go beyond heathens; or, in other words, they ought to exercise pure liberality.
But (plēn). Plain adversative like plēn in Luk_6:24. Never despairing (mēden apelpizontes). Mēden is read by A B L Bohairic and is the reading of Westcott and Hort. The reading mēdena is translated “despairing of no man.” The Authorized Version has it “hoping for nothing again,” a meaning for apelpizō with no parallel elsewhere. Field (Otium Nor. iii. 40) insists that all the same the context demands this meaning because of apelpizein in Luk_6:34, but the correct reading there is elpizein, not apelpizein. Here Field’s argument falls to the ground. The word occurs in Polybius, Diodorus, lxx with the sense of despairing and that is the meaning here. D and Old Latin documents have nihil desperantes, but the Vulgate has nihil inde sperantes (hoping for nothing thence) and this false rendering has wrought great havoc in Europe. “On the strength of it Popes and councils have repeatedly condemned the taking of any interest whatever for loans. As loans could not be had without interest, and Christians were forbidden to take it, money lending passed into the hands of the Jews, and added greatly to the unnatural detestation in which Jews were held” (Plummer). By “never despairing” or “giving up nothing in despair” Jesus means that we are not to despair about getting the money back. We are to help the apparently hopeless cases. Medical writers use the word for desperate or hopeless cases.
Sons of the Most High (huoi Hupsistou). In Luk_1:32 Jesus is called “Son of the Highest” and here all real children or sons of God (Luk_20:36) are so termed. See also Luk_1:35, Luk_1:76 for the use of “the Highest” of God. He means the same thing that we see in Mat_5:45, Mat_5:48 by “your Father.”
Toward the unthankful and evil (epi tous acharistous kai ponērous). God the Father is kind towards the unkind and wicked. Note the one article with both adjectives.
TEXT: “keep lending, expecting nothing in return” (literally, “keep lending, despairing nothing”)
EVIDENCE: A B D K L P Xc Delta Theta Pi2 Psi f1 f13 28 33 565 700 892 1010 1241 Byz Lect lat vg cop
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
NOTES: “keep lending, despairing of no one”
EVIDENCE: S W X* Xi Pi* syr
TRANSLATIONS: ASVn RSVn NEBn
COMMENTS: The reading “despairing of no one” is apparently due to a mistake of the eye. The difference between the Greek words for “no one” and “nothing” is only one letter. “No one” has an extra letter, an “alpha” at the end. The next word in Greek begins with the letter “alpha.” Since early manuscripts were written without spaces between words, copyists apparently saw the “alpha” twice, once with “nothing” (making it read “no one”) and once with the Greek word for “despairing.”
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
36. Be ye therefore merciful] Rather, Become, or Prove yourselves merciful (omit οὖν, א, B, D, L).
merciful] St Matthew has “perfect,” 5:48; but that there is no essential difference between the two Evangelists we may see in such expressions as “the Father of Mercies,” 2Co_1:3; “The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy,” Jam_5:11; “Put on therefore as the elect of God … bowels of mercies, kindness,” Col_3:12; Isa_30:18. “God can only be our ideal in His moral attributes, of which Love is the centre.” Van Oosterzee.
To every one that asketh of thee. The same words, as we shall presently see, are found in Matthew: for it may readily be inferred from the context, that Luke does not here speak of a request to obtain assistance, but of actions at law, which bad men raise for the purpose of carrying off the property of others. From him who takes away what are thine, ask them not again. If it is thought better to read the two clauses separately, I have no objection: and then it will be an exhortation to liberality in giving. As to the second clause, in which Christ forbids us to ask again those things which have been unjustly taken away, it is undoubtedly an exposition of the former doctrine, that we ought to bear patiently “ the spoiling of our goods.” But we must remember what I have already hinted, that we ought not to quibble about words, as if a good man were not permitted to recover what is his own, when God gives him the lawful means. We are only enjoined to exercise patience, that we may not be unduly distressed by the loss of our property, but calmly wait, till the Lord himself shall call the robbers to account.
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
30. Give to every man that asketh of thee] Literally, “be giving,” implying a habit, not an instant act. Here again we have a broad, general principle of unselfishness and liberality safely left to the common sense of mankind, Deu_15:7, Deu_15:8, Deu_15:9. The spirit of our Lord’s precept is now best fulfilled by not giving to every man that asks, because in the altered circumstances of the age such indiscriminate almsgiving would only be a check to industry, and a premium on imposture, degradation, and vice. By ‘giving,’ our Lord meant ‘conferring a boon;’ but mere careless giving now, so far from conferring a boon, perpetuates a curse and inflicts an injury. The spirit of the precept is large-handed but thoughtful charity. Love must sometimes violate the letter as the only possible way of observing the spirit (Mat_15:26, Mat_20:23).
30. παντὶ αἰτοῦντί σε δίδου There is no παντί in Mat_5:42, and this is one of many passages which illustrate Lk.’s fondness for πᾶς (ver. 17, 7:35, 9:43, 11:4). The παντί has been differently understood. “No one is to be excluded, not even one’s enemies” (Meyer, Weiss). Omni petenti te tribue, non omnia petenti; ut id des, quod dare honeste et juste potes (Aug.). Neither remark is quite right. Our being able to give juste et honeste depends not only on what is asked, but upon who asks it. Some things must not be conceded to any one. Others ought to be given to some petitioners, but not to all. In every case, however, we ought to be willing to part with what may be lawfully given to any. The wish to keep what we have got is not the right motive for refusing.
δίδου, καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ αἴροντος τὰ σὰ μὴ ἀπαίτει. The pres. in all three cases implies continual action, making a practice of it. “Continually give, and from him who continues to take away the goods do not continue to ask them again.” For αἴρειν in the sense of “take as one’s own, appropriate,” comp. 11:52, 19:21; Mar_15:24. It does not imply that violence is used. But the μὴ ἀπαίτει implies that hitherto asking them back has been usual. The verb ἀπαιτεῖν is peculiar to Lk. in N.T. (12:20: comp. Wisd. 15:8; Ecclus. 20:15; Hdt. i. 3, 2). Prof. Marshall thinks that we have here another instance of different translation of the same Aramaic, and that Lk.’s αἴροντος and Mt.’s δανείσασθαι may represent the same word; also Lk.’s ἀπαίτει and Mt.’s ἀποστραφῇς. See on 5:21 and 8:15. See Hastings, D.B. 1. p. 68.
Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. Here, again, it is clear that faithfully to cling to the literal interpretation would be utterly to ignore the true spirit of the Lord”s words here, where he sets forth his sublime ideal of a charity which ignores its own rights and knows no limits to its self-sacrifice. Augustine quaintly suggests that in the words themselves will be found the limitation required. to every man,” but not everything,” suggesting that in many cases a medicine for the hurt of the soul would better carry out the words of the Lord than the gift of material help for the needs of the body (“Serm.” 359.). But such ingenious exposition, after all, is needless. What the Lord inculcated here was that broad, unselfish generosity which acts as though it really believed those other beautiful words of Jesus, that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
The golden rule.
We call this precept of Christ “the golden rule;” probably we intend thereby to pay it the highest honour we can offer it. But it is the “precious metal,” rather than the admirable precept, to which the compliment is paid by the association of the two. For if this rule of our Lord were only illustrated in the daily life of men, they would be enriched as no imaginable quantity of gold could enrich them. Then would such a revolution be effected as no statesman has ever dreamed of working; then would all social evils for ever disappear; then would human life wear another aspect from that which now saddens and shames us; for the golden rule, enacted in the lives of men, would soon inaugurate the “golden year.” We look at
I ITS SURPASSING EXCELLENCY,
1. It is within all mens apprehension. It is no learned, erudite definition, requiring much culture to comprehend. The most simpleminded can understand it.
2. It commends itself to all mens conscience. It is not one of those commandments which require much thought and much practice to appreciate. It is obviously just and fair. It hardly admits of dispute. Every one can see, every one must feel if “the light that is in him be not darkness that it is the right thing for him to do.
3. It excludes all evasions. No man can shield himself under any misrepresentation of the rule. He must know whether or not he is trying to act toward his neighbour as he would that his neighbour should act toward him.
4. It covers the entire range of human life, so far as our relations to one another are concerned. It covers:
(1) Action, and also inaction; including in its sweep not only those things we do, but those we leave undone the attention, the kindness, the consideration, the return we should render but may be withholding.
(2) The judgment we form of others; the right they have to our patient, impartial, intelligent, charitable judgment; the claim they may fairly make that we should attribute the worthy rather than the unworthy, the pure rather than the impure, the generous rather than the mean motive.
(3) Our speech; the utterance of the kind and true word of our neigh-hour, and also to him.
(4) Conduct-all our dealings and doings, of all kinds whatsoever, in all the varied relations in which we stand to our fellow-men. This one rule of Christ is a powerful test and solvent of all other prescriptions. If they can be carried out and yet leave us short, in our practice, of doing to others as they would like us to act toward them, these rules are imperfect. They leave something to be desired and to be attained.
II THE INSPIRATION WE NEED TO FULFIL IT. This great precept of Christ is not to be translated into action like any ordinary military or municipal regulation. We must gain some inspiration from our Lord himself if we are to keep this great commandment. And we must be prompted by three things.
1. An earnest desire to follow Christ”s own example.
2. A strong purpose of heart to do his holy will, that we may please and honour him.
3. A kind and Christian interest in our neighbours; a gracious pity for those whom he pitied, and for whom he suffered and died; a warm interest in their welfare; a firm faith that they can be raised and renewed and refined; a holy love for all those who love him. C.
32. ποία ὑμῖν χάρις. “What kind of thank, or favour, have you?” This may be understood either of the gratitude of the persons loved or of the favour of God. The latter is better, and is more clearly expressed by τίνα μισθὸν ἔχετε; (Mat_5:46). Other wise there does not seem to be much point in οἱ ἁμαρτωλοί. For χάρις of Divine favour comp. 1:30, 2:40, 2:52; Act_7:46.
καὶ γάρ. “For even”; nam etiam. Comp. Mat_8:9; Mar_7:28?, 10:45; Joh_4:45; 1Co_12:14; and see Ellicott on 2Th_3:10; Meyer on 2Co_13:4. Syr-Sin. omits the clause.
If ye lend (ean danisēte). Third-class condition, first aorist active subjunctive from danizō (old form daneizō) to lend for interest in a business transaction (here in active to lend and Mat_5:42 middle to borrow and nowhere else in N.T.), whereas kichrēmi (only Luk_11:5 in N.T.) means to loan as a friendly act.
To receive again as much (hina apolabōsin ta isa). Second aorist active subjunctive of apolambanō, old verb, to get back in full like apechō in Luk_6:24. Literally here, “that they may get back the equal” (principal and interest, apparently). It could mean “equivalent services.” No parallel in Matthew.
Forgive, and it shall be forgiven to you. Give, and it shall be given to you. This promise, which is added by Luke, means, that the Lord will cause him, who is indulgent, kind, and just to his brethren, to experience the same gentleness from others, and to be treated by them in a generous and friendly manner. Yet it frequently happens, that the children of God receive the very worst reward, and are oppressed by many unjust slanders; and that, to when they have injured no man’s reputation, and even spared the faults of brethren. But this is not inconsistent with what Christ says: for we know, that the promises which relate to the present life do not always hold, and are not without exceptions. Besides, though the Lord permits his people, when innocent, to be unjustly oppressed and almost overwhelmed, he fulfils what he says in another place, that “their uprightness shall break forth as the morning,” (Isa_58:8.) In this way, his blessing always rises above all unjust slanders. He subjects believers to unjust reproaches, that he may humble them, and that he may at length maintain the goodness of their cause. It ought also to be taken into the account, that believers themselves, though they endeavor to act justly towards their brethren, are sometimes carried away by excessive severity against brethren, who were either innocent, or not so greatly to be blamed, and thus, by their own fault, provoke against themselves a similar judgment. If they do not receive good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, though this is chargeable on the ingratitude of the world, yet they ought to acknowledge that it was partly deserved: for there is no man who is so kind and indulgent as he ought to be towards his brethren.
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged. Jesus would have his followers avoid one great error which was too common in the religious Jewish life of his time the habit of censoriously judging others. This uncharitable and often untrue censorship of the motives which led to the acts of others, was one of the practices of the day which stunted and marred all true healthy religious life. Condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned. That pitiless condemnation which, regardless of circumstances, condemned as sinners beyond the pale of mercy, whole classes of their fellow-country-men, publicans, Samaritans, and the like. This haughty judgment of others in the case of the dominant sects of the Jews resulted in an undue estimate of themselves. His disciples must be very careful how they judged and condemned others; their rule must be, not condemnation, but forgiveness of others.
These words must be taken with discrimination; they must be applied in the exercise of our natural intelligence, distinguishing between things that differ. We must observe
I THE TRUTH WHICH LIES OUTSIDE THE THOUGHT OF CHRIST. Our Lord could not possibly have meant to condemn the exercise of the individual judgment on men or things. By so doing, indeed, he would have condemned himself; for did he not say, “Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right”? And almost in the same breath he intimates that men are to be judged by their actions as is a tree by its fruit (ver. 44). We are commanded by the Apostle Paul to “prove all things, and to hold fast that which is good;” and John exhorts us to “try the spirits whether they are of God.” Things must be judged by us; new doctrines, new institutions, new methods of worship and of work, come up for our support or our condemnation, and we must judge them, by reason, by conscience, by Scripture, that we rosy know what course we are to pursue. Men must be judged by us also. We have to decide whether we will give them our confidence, our friendship; whether we will admit them into the family circle, into the society, into the Church. To decline to judge men is to neglect one of the most serious duties and most weighty obligations of our life. And knowing all that we do know from Jesus Christ what men and things should be, having learned of him the essential value of reverence, of purity, of rectitude, of charity, we are in a position to “judge righteous judgment,” as he has desired us to do.
II THE SINFUL ERROR WHICH CHRIST CONDEMNS. The judging and the condemning which our Lord here forbids are those of a wrong and guilty order. They are, at least, threefold.
1. Hasty judgment; coming to unfavourable conclusions on slight and insufficient evidence; not giving to the inculpated neighbour any fair opportunity of explaining the occurrence; not waiting to think or to learn what has to be taken into account on the other side.
2. Uncharitable judgment, and therefore unjust judgment; for we are never so unjust as when we are uncharitable as when we ascribe the lower motive, the ignobler purpose, the impure desire, to our neighbour. All uncharitableness is sin in the sight of Jesus Christ; and when the want of a kindly charity leads us to misjudge and so to wrong our brother, we fall under the condemnation of this his word, and under his own personal displeasure.
3. Harsh condemnation; taking a tone and using a language which are unnecessarily severe, which tend to crush rather than to reform, which daunt the spirit instead of inciting it to better things; condemnation which is not after the manner of him who “hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities,” who “will not always chide, neither doth he keep his anger for ever;” condemnation which would be disallowed by him who rebuked his disciples when they rebuked those mothers who were bringing their children to his feet, and who forbade these disciples to forbid any one doing good in his name, even though he “followed not” with them.
III THE PENALTY WE PAY FOR OUR TRANSGRESSION. If we wrongly judge and wrongly condemn, we shall suffer for our mistake, for our sin.
1. God will condemn us for our injustice, or our undue and inconsiderate severity.
2. We shall have, some day, to reproach ourselves. But the most marked penalty will be found elsewhere.
3. Our fellow-men will treat us with the severity we impose on them. It is the universal habit among men to take up the attitude toward any neighbour which he assumes toward them. Toward the merciful we are merciful, even as our Father is; toward the severe we are severe. Again and again does the fact present itself to our observation that the men who have been relentless in their punishment of others have been held fast to the letter of the bond in the day of their own shortcoming; they who show no mercy will find none when they need it for their own soul. But if we judge leniently and condemn sparingly, we shall find for ourselves that men are just unto the just and generous unto the generous. C.
This word of Christ may be taken with that other on the same subject, which none of the evangelists recorded, but which we could ill have spared, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” We may consider
I WHAT WE HAVE TO GIVE. We have much that we can draw from if we desire to benefit and to bless our fellow-men.
1. Our possessions our money, our time, our books, our clothes, etc.
2. Ourselves our thought, our affection, our sympathy.
II WHO SHOULD BE OUR RECIPIENTS. These should be:
1. Our kindred according to the flesh.
2. Our kindred according to the spirit our fellow-Christians, our fellow-members.
3. Our neighbours, those who, as the nearest and most within reach, should receive our kind thoughtfulness.
4. The children of want, of sorrow, of spiritual destitution, both at home and abroad. There is a sense, and that a truly Christian one, in which those who are in the saddest need and in the darkest error, aye, and even in the most deplorable iniquity, have the greatest claim on our pity and our help.
III WHAT MAY BE OUR INCENTIVES.
1. That giving is that act which is most emphatically Divine. God lives to give to bestow life, and health, and beauty, and joy on his creatures. Christ Jesus came to give himself for man.
2. That it is truly angelic.
3. That it is the heroic thing to do. Men have been true heroes in proportion as they have spent themselves and their powers on behalf of their kind.
4. That it is most elevating in its influence on ourselves and, when wisely directed, on those for whom it is expended.
IV WHAT WILL BE OUR RECOMPENSE.
1. The Divine approval. “For God loveth a cheerful giver.
2. The unconscious and uncalculated reaction that will be received by ourselves, enlarging our heart and lifting us toward the level of the supreme Giver.
3. The response we shall receive from those we serve. This is the recompense which is promised in the text. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure… shall men give into your bosom.” There is far too much ingratitude in this world; more, perhaps, than we are willing to believe, until sad experience has convinced us. Nevertheless, there is also a very large measure of human responsiveness on which we may safely reckon. If we give to others, men will give to us; if we love them, they will love us. Do not even the publicans so? (Mat_5:46) Even those whose hearts have been unchanged by the truth and grace of Christ will respond to genuine kindness. Patronage they will recognize and resent; officialism they will distinguish and may endure. But the help which comes straight from the heart they will appreciate, and to him who gives it they will give a free and gladdening response. To the really generous man, as distinguished from the formal “benefactor” or the professional philanthropist, there will flow a stream of warm-hearted gratitude and affection which will far more than repay all the time and treasure, and even all the sympathy and service, that have been expended. The generous giver will be the recipient of
a. the regard,
b. the gratitude,
c. the affection, and,
d. when it may be needed,
the substantial kindness of those whom he has tried to serve, and of many others outside that circle. And to these may be added that which, if its worth be less calculable, yet may be even more valuable and more acceptable than any or all of these the prayers of the good.
Selfishness often misses its own poor mark, and it always fails to bless its author with an inward blessing; but beneficence is always blessed. God rains down his large benedictions from above, and below men offer their glad and free contribution. “Give, and it shall be given unto you… for with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. C.
And judge not (kai mē krinete). Mē and the present active imperative, forbidding the habit of criticism. The common verb krinō, to separate, we have in our English words critic, criticism, criticize, discriminate. Jesus does not mean that we are not to form opinions, but not to form them rashly, unfairly, like our prejudice.
Ye shall not be judged (ou mē krithēte). First aorist passive subjunctive with double negative ou mē, strong negative.
Condemn not (mē katadikazete). To give judgment (dikē, dixazō) against (kata) one. Mē and present imperative. Either cease doing or do not have the habit of doing it. Old verb.
Ye shall not be condemned (ou mē katadikasthēte). First aorist passive indicative again with the double negative. Censoriousness is a bad habit.
Release (apoluete). Positive command the opposite of the censoriousness condemned.
38. The transition is easy from charity in judging others to benevolence in general. Comp. ver. 30 and 3:2. God remains in debt to no man. “He giveth not by measure” (Joh_3:34), nor does He recompense by measure, unless man serves Him by measure. Disciples who serve in the spirit of love make no such calculations, and are amply repaid. We are here assured of this fact in an accumulation of metaphors, which form a climax. They are evidently taken from the measuring of corn, and Bengal is clearly wrong in interpreting ὑπερεκχυννόμενον of fluids: εἰς τὸν κόλπον is conclusive. The asyndeton is impressive.
The form ὑπερεκχυννόμενον seems to occur nowhere else, excepting as v.l. Joe_2:24. The class. form is ὑπερεκχέω.
δώσουσιν εἰς τὸν κόλπον ὑμῶν. Who shall give? Not the persons benefited, but the instruments of God’s bounty. The verb is almost impersonal, “there shall be given,” δοθήσεται. Comp. αἰτοῦσιν (12:20) and αἰτήσουσιν (12:48). The κόλπος is the fold formed by a loose garment overhanging a girdle. This was often used as a pocket (Exo_4:6; Pro_6:27; and esp. Psa_79:12; Isa_65:6; Jer_32:18). Comp. Hdt. 6:125, 5; Liv. 21:18, 10; Hor. Sat. 2:3, 172, and other illustrations in Wetst.
ᾧ γὰρ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε. There is no inconsistency, as Weiss states (stimmt immer nicht recht), with what precedes; but he is right in condemning such interpretations as τῷ αὐτῷ μέτρῳ, οὐ μὴν τοσούτῳ (Theophyl.) and eadem mensura in genere sed exuberans (Grot.) as evasions. The loving spirit uses no measure in its services; and then God uses no measure in requiting. But the niggardly and grudging servant, who tries to do just the minimum, receives just the minimum in return. In Mar_4:24, Mar_4:25 we have this saying with a different application.
Expositor’s Greek NT: Lk
Ver. 38. δίδοτε: this form of mercy is suggested by Mat_7:2, ἐν ᾧ μέτρῳ μετρεῖτε, etc.: be giving, implying a constant habit, and therefore a generous nature.—μέτρον καλὸν, good, generous measure; these words and those which follow apply to man’s giving as well as to the recompense with which the generous giver shall be rewarded.—πεπιεσμένον, etc., pressed down, shaken, and overflowing; graphic epexegesis of good measure, all the terms applicable to dry goods, e.g., grain. Bengel takes the first as referring to dry (in aridis), the second to soft (in mollibus), the third to liquids (in liquidis).—κόλπον: probably the loose bosom of the upper robe gathered in at the waist, useful for carrying things (De Wette, Holtz., H. C., al.). It is implied that God gives so, e.g., “plenteous redemption” (Psa_130:7).
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
41. beholdest thou the mote] The hypocrite sees (blepei) at the slightest glance the mote in his brother’s eye; but not the most careful inspection enables him to observe (katanoein) the very obvious beam in his own eye. The word mote is in the original karphos, a stalk or chip, and this is also the idea of mote. Thus in Dutch mot is dust of wood; in Spanish mota is a flue on cloth.
the beam] The entire illustration is Jewish, and was used to express impatience of just reproof (Babha Bathra, f. 15. 2) so that ‘mote’ and ‘beam’ became proverbial for little and great faults. The proverb also implies, ‘How can you see others’ faults properly with a beam in the depth of your eye (ἔλβαλε … ἐκ, Mat_7:5)? how dare you condemn when you are so much worse?’ Comp. Chaucer (Reeve’s Prologue),
41. κάρφος “Anything small and dry”: in class. Grk. usually in plur. of chips, twigs, bits of wood, etc. Curtius connects it with σκαρφίον, “a splinter” (Grk. Etym. 683); but better with κάρφειν, “to dry up.” In Gen_8:11 it is used of the olive twig brought by the dove. See Wetst, on Mat_7:3. The δοκός is the “bearing-beam, main beam,” that which receives (δέχομαι) the other beams in a roof or floor. It is therefore as necessarily large as a κάρφος is small.
κατανοεῖς . “Fix thy mind upon.” It expresses prolonged attention and observation. Careful consideration of one’s own faults must precede attention to those of others. The verb is specially freq. in Lk. (12:24, 27, 20:23; Act_11:6, Act_27:39: comp. Heb_3:1, Heb_3:10:24; Rom_4:19).
42. πῶς δύνασαι λέγειν . “With what face can you adopt this tone of smug patronage?” In Mat_7:4 the patronizing Ἀδελφέ is wanting.
ἄφες ἐκβάλω . For the simple subj. after ἀφίημι comp. Mat_27:49; Mar_15:36. Epict. Diss. 1:9, 15, 3:12, 15. In modern Greek it is the regular idiom. Win. 41:4. b, P. 356.—In οὐ βλέπων we have the only instance in Lk. of οὐ with a participle: “When thou dost not look at, much less anxiously consider” (κατανοῶν): see small print on 1:20.
ὑποκριτά The hypocrisy consists in his pretending to be so pained by the presence of trifling evil that he is constrained to endeavour to remove it Comp. 13:15. That he conceals his own sins is not stated; o some extent he is not aware of them. The τότε means “then, and not till then”; and the διαβλέψεις is neither imperative nor concessive, but the simple future. When self-reformation has taken place, then it will be possible to see how to reform others. Note the change from βλέπειν to διαβλέπειν; not merely look at, but “see clearly.” In class. Grk. διαβλέπω means “look fixedly,” as in deep thought. Plato notes it as a habit of Socrates (Phœdo, 86D).
Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
46. why call ye me, Lord, Lord] “If I be a master, where is my fear, saith the Lord of hosts?” Mal_1:6. Painful comments are supplied by the language of two parables, Mat_25:11, Mat_25:12; Luk_13:25.
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? It is evident from this heart-stirring appeal of Jesus that he had already obtained a large measure of recognition from the people. We should hardly be prepared to aver that any large number of the Palestinian inhabitants looked on him as Messiah, though probably some did; but that generally at this period he was looked on by the common folk, at all events, and by a few perhaps of their rulers, as a Being of no ordinary power, as a Prophet, and probably as One greater than a prophet. It is scarcely likely that even they who regarded him with the deepest reverence when he spoke the mount-sermon would have been able to define their own feelings towards him. But underneath the Lord”s words lies this thought: “Those blind guides of whom I have been telling you, they with their lips profess to adore the eternal God of Israel, and yet live their lives of sin. You, my followers, do not the same thing.
Vers. 46-49. Good and bad building.
In the moral and spiritual as well as in the material world there is good and bad, sound and unsound, safe and unsafe building We are all builders; we are all planning, preparing, laying our foundation, erecting our walls, putting on our topstone.
I THE FABRIC OF ENJOYMENT OR OF SUCCESS. That of enjoyment, of the gratification of indulgence, is indeed hardly worthy of the name of building; yet are there those who spend upon it a very large amount of thought and labour. To pursue this as the object of life is unworthy of our manhood, is to dishonour ourselves, is to degrade our lives; it is to expend our strength on putting up a miserable hovel when we might use it in the erection of a noble mansion; it is, also, to be laboriously constructing a heap of sand which the first strong wave will wash away. Worthier than this, though quite unsatisfying and unsatisfactory, is the pursuit of temporal prosperity, the building up of a fortune, or of a great name, or of personal authority and command. Not that such aims and efforts are wrong in themselves. On the other hand, they are necessary, honourable, and even creditable. But they are not sufficient; they are wholly inadequate as the aspiration of a human soul and the achievement of a human life. They do not fill the heart of man; they do not give it rest; they leave a large void unfilled, a craving and a yearning unsatisfied. Moreover, they do not stand the test of time; they are buildings that will soon be washed away, The tide of time will soon advance and sweep away the strongest of such edifices as those. Do not be content with building for twenty, or forty, or sixty years; build for eternity. “The world passeth away… but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
II THE FORTRESS OF CHARACTER. It is of this that our Lord is speaking in the text; and he says concerning it Dig deep, build on the rock, erect that which the most violent storm cannot shake to its fall. What is that character which answers to this counsel?
1. Not that which is founded on ceremony and rite. Reason, Scripture, and experience all prove that this is a character built upon the sand.
2. Not that which is founded upon sentiment or occasional emotion. Many are they who like and who demand to be acted upon by powerful influences, and to be thus excited to strong feelings. In these moments of aroused sensibility they cry, “Lord! Lord!” with apparent earnestness. But if piety ends in sensibility” it is nothing;” it is worthless; it will be washed away by the first storm that breaks.
3. It is that which is established in sacred conviction and fixed determination. This is the rock to which we must dig down sacred conviction passing into real consecration; the conviction that we owe everything to our God and Saviour, and the determination, in the sight and by the grace of God, to yield our hearts and lives to him. A character thus built, sustained by Christian services and ceremonies, will be strong against all assault. The subtlest influences will not undermine it, the mightiest earthly forces will not overturn it; let the storms come, and it will stand.
III THE EDIFICE OF CHRISTIAN USEFULNESS. Paul, in his first letter to the Church at Corinth, speaks of the wood, hay, and stubble, and also of gold, silver, and precious stones, i.e. of the combustible and the inflammable materials with which men construct their building in the field of holy service. And he says the fire will try every man”s work; so that we have apostolic warning also to take heed how we build. Let the Christian workman see to it that he too builds on the rock, that he effects that which will stand the waters and the fires that will try his work. Let him depend little on ceremonialism, little on excitement; let him strive to produce deep, sacred convictions in the soul; let him endeavour to lead men on to a whole-hearted dedication of themselves to Jesus Christ; let him persuade men to the formation of wise habits of devotion and sell-government; so shall he be building that which the waters of time will not remove, and which the last fires will purify but not destroy. C.
Vers. 47-49. Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. “The surrounding scenery may, in this as in other instances, have suggested the illustration. As in all hilly countries, the streams of Galilee rush down the torrent-beds during the winter and early spring, sweep all before them, overflow their banks, and leave beds of alluvial deposit on either side. When summer comes their waters fail, (comp. Jer_15:18 Job_6:15) and what had seemed a goodly river is then a tract covered with debris of stones and sand. A stranger coming to build might be attracted by the ready-prepared level surface of the sand. It would be easier to build there instead of working upon the hard and rugged rock. But the people of the land would know and mock the folly of such a builder, and he would pass (our Lord”s words may possibly refer to something that had actually occurred) into a byword of reproach. On such a house the winter torrent had swept down in its fury, and the storms had raged, and then the fair fabric, on which time and money had been expended, had given way and fallen into a heap of ruins” (Dean Plumptre). Augustine has some weighty and practical comments on this simile of the Master”s, with which, as a picture of what they had no doubt seen with their own eyes, the listening multitude would be singularly impressed. The great Latin Father calls special attention to the fact that in this picture of our Lord”s the declared rejecters of the truth do not appear mirrored. In both the cases here instanced there is a readiness to hear the truth. Both the men of the parable-story built their house, but in one case the building ends in terrible disaster. “Would it have been better,” asks Augustine (“Serm.” 179. 9), “not to have built at all if the building is thus to perish?” He answers, “Scarcely so; that were not to hear at all to have built nothing. The fate of such will be to be swept away naked, exposed to wind and rain and torrents. The doom is similar in both cases; the lesson of the Lord is one easy to grasp. The wise man will hear, and, when he hears, will do, that is, will translate his impressions into actions. This will be to build a house upon a rock”. (see Archbishop Trench, “Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount,” drawn from Augustine on Mat_7:24-27) There is something very striking in the words with which our Master concluded his great sermon, “and the ruin of that house was great.” “After all,” men would say, “it was only the destruction of one human being.” But our Lord”s saying reminds us that in his eyes the ruin of one immortal soul is a thought full of unspeakable sorrow. “Jesus, in closing his discourse, leaves his hearers under the impression of this solemn thought. Each of them, while listening to this last word, might think that he heard the crash of the falling edifice, and say within himself, “This disaster will be mine, if I prove hypocritical or inconsistent (Godet). In ver. 48 some, though not all, of the ancient authorities, instead of the words, “for it was founded upon a rock,” read, “because it had been well built.” This text is adopted in the Revised Version, the old reading, as less probably correct, being relegated to the margin.
The greatest ruin.
“The ruin of that house was great.” Occasionally there occurs a panic in the commercial world. As the cause or, often enough, as the consequence of this, some great house is “broken;” its liabilities are too great for its resources; it cannot meet the claims that are falling due. And some morning it is found that when all other houses are open, its doors are closed it has suspended payment; it has fallen; and it may be said, seriously enough, that “the ruin of that house is great.” Great is the fall and sad is the ruin of
(1) a great human reputation; or of
(2) a great human hope.
With the fall of either of these there is bitter sorrow, keen humiliation, a dark shadow cast, not on one heart and home only, but on many. For we stand, in human society, not like detached houses in large grounds, but like houses that are close together, and when one falls it brings harm and injury to many that are connected with it. But the ruin, which is great indeed, compared with which all others are but small, is the ruin of a human soul.
I THE SOUL IS ITSELF A BUILDING; it is the main, the chief building which we are rearing. Whatever else we may be erecting material, social, political the one thing we do with which other things will not compare in seriousness and in consequence is to build up ourselves”. (see Jud_1:20) It is a daily, an hourly process; it proceeds with every thought we admit into our mind, with every feeling we cherish in our heart, with every purpose we form in our soul. That which we are to-day in the sight of God is the whole result of all that we have been doing, of all our visible and invisible acts, up to the present hour.
II IT IS A BUILDING WHICH MAY BE OVERTHROWN, We all know the man who is the wreck and ruin of himself. What he once was he is no more. Instead of devotion is impiety; instead of purity is laxity; instead of the beauty of holiness is the unsightliness of sin; instead of honour is shame. The fair house of moral and spiritual integrity is down; there is nothing left but the foundations; and the ruin of that house is great indeed.
III THIS OVERTHROW IS SAD BEYOND EXPRESSION. For consider:
1. What it cost to build. We do not mind if a hut or shanty is blown down; that represents no great loss. But if a mansion or cathedral is destroyed, we grieve; for the result of incalculable skill and toil is laid waste. And when a human soul is lost, what labour is thrown away, what experiences, what patience, what suffering, what discipline, what prayers and tears, both on the part of the man himself and of those who have loved him and watched over him and striven for him!
2. How intrinsically precious a thing it is. We do not know the absolute value of a human spirit; our language will not utter it; our minds cannot estimate it. God alone knows that, and the Son of God has told us that it is worth more than all the material world. (Mar_8:36)
3. How it drags down others with it. As one large “house” in a great city drags down others in its fall, so does the house of a human spirit. What is it to the family when the father or the mother is morally lost “? for the neighbourhood when the minister or the magistrate sinks and perishes? We do not fall alone; we draw others down with us, and often those whom we are most sacredly bound to.uplift or to sustain.
IV THERE IS A WAY OF RECOVERY, “It is not the will of our heavenly Father that one… should perish.” “God so loved the world… that whosoever believeth… should not perish.” The fallen house may be down beyond recovery; not so the human soul. In the gospel of Jesus Christ the way of restoration is revealed. By the power of the Holy Spirit the soul that has fallen the furthest may be raised up again, and be restored to the favour and the likeness and the service of God. By true penitence and genuine faith we may lay hold on eternal life; and when the heart heeds the voice of its merciful Father summoning it to return, and when it hastens to the feet of Jesus Christ and seeks in him a Refuge and a Saviour, and when it lives a new life of faith and love and hope in him, it is restored to all that it once was; and the restoration of that soul is great. C.
TEXT: “because it had been well built.”
EVIDENCE: p75vid S B L W Xi 33 892 1241 most cop
TRANSLATIONS: ASV RSV NASV NIV NEB TEV
NOTES: “for it had been founded on the rock.”
EVIDENCE: A C D K X Delta Theta Pi Psi f1 f13 28 565 700c 1010 Byz Lect lat vg syr(p,h) some cop(north)
TRANSLATIONS: KJV ASVn RSVn
OTHER: omit clause
EVIDENCE: p45vid 700* syr(s)
COMMENTS: This clause was apparently changed by some copyists to read like the one in the parallel in Mat_7:25. It was accidently omitted by some copyists when their eyes jumped from “it” to “it,” which stands last in the clause in the text.