Instructions on Prayer
1 Nowtn Grk “And it happened that while.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic. Jesustn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. was praying in a certain place. Whentn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation. he stopped, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as Johnsn John refers to John the Baptist. taughtsn It was not unusual for Jewish groups to have their own prayer as a way of expressing corporate identity. Judaism had the Eighteen Benedictions and apparently John the Baptist had a prayer for his disciples as well. his disciples.”
2 So he said to them, “When you pray,sn When you pray. What follows, although traditionally known as the Lord’s prayer, is really the disciples’ prayer. It represents how they are to approach God, by acknowledging his uniqueness and their need for his provision and protection. say:
Father,tc Most mss, including later majority (A C D W Θ Ψ 070 Ë13 33vid Ï it), add ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (Jhmwn Jo en toi" oujranoi", “our [Father] in heaven”) here. This makes the prayer begin like the version in Matt 6:9. The shorter version is read by Ì75 א B (L: + ἡμῶν) 1 700 pc as well as some versions and fathers. Given this more weighty external evidence, combined with the scribal tendency to harmonize Gospel parallels, the shorter reading is preferred.sn God is addressed in terms of intimacy (Father). The original Semitic term here was probably Abba. The term is a little unusual in a personal prayer, especially as it lacks qualification. It is not the exact equivalent of “Daddy” (as is sometimes popularly suggested), but it does suggest a close, familial relationship. may your name be honored;tn Grk “hallowed be your name.”
may your kingdom come.tc Most mss (א A C D W Θ Ψ 070 Ë13 33vid Ï it) read at the end of the verse “may your will be done on earth as [it is] in heaven,” making this version parallel to Matt 6:10. The shorter reading is found, however, in weighty mss (Ì75 B L pc), and cannot be easily explained as arising from the longer reading.sn Your kingdom come represents the hope for the full manifestation of God’s promised rule.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,tn Or “Give us bread each day for the coming day,” or “Give us each day the bread we need for today.” The term ἐπιούσιος (epiousio") does not occur outside of early Christian literature (other occurrences are in Matt 6:11 and Didache 8:2), so its meaning is difficult to determine. Various suggestions include “daily,” “the coming day,” and “for existence.” See BDAG 376 s.v.; L&N 67:183, 206.
4 and forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sinstn Grk “who is indebted to us” (an idiom). The picture of sin as debt is not unusual. As for forgiveness offered and forgiveness given, see 1 Pet 3:7. against us.
And do not lead us into temptation.”tc Most mss (א1 A C D W Θ Ψ 070 Ë13 33 Ï it syc,p,h) add “but deliver us from the evil one,” an assimilation to Matt 6:13. The shorter reading has better attestation (Ì75 א*,2 B L 1 700 pc vg sa Or). Internally, since the mss that have the longer reading here display the same tendency throughout the Lord’s Prayer to assimilate the Lukan version to the Matthean version, the shorter reading should be regarded as authentic in Luke.tn Or “into a time of testing.”sn The request Do not lead us into temptation is not to suggest that God causes temptation, but is a rhetorical way to ask for his protection from sin.
5 Thentn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. he said to them, “Suppose one of youtn Grk “Who among you will have a friend and go to him.” has a friend, and you go to himtn Grk “he will go to him.” at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,tn The words “of bread” are not in the Greek text, but are implied by ἄρτους (artou", “loaves”).
6 because a friend of mine has stopped here while on a journey,tn Grk “has come to me from the road.” and I have nothing to set beforesn The background to the statement I have nothing to set before him is that in ancient Middle Eastern culture it was a matter of cultural honor to be a good host to visitors. him.’
7 Thentn Κἀκεῖνος (kakeino") has been translated “Then he.” he will replytn Grk “answering, he will say.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “he will reply.” from inside, ‘Do not bother me. The door is already shut, and my children and I are in bed.tn Grk “my children are with me in the bed.” In Jewish homes in the time of Jesus, the beds were often all together in one room; thus the householder may be speaking of individual beds (using a collective singular) rather than a common bed. I cannot get up and give you anything.’tn The syntax of vv. 6-7 is complex. In the Greek text Jesus’ words in v. 6 begin as a question. Some see Jesus’ question ending at v. 6, but the reply starting in v. 8 favors extending the question through the entire illustration. The translation breaks up the long sentence at the beginning of v. 7 and translates Jesus’ words as a statement for reasons of English style.
8 I tell you, even though the man insidetn Grk “he”; the referent (the man in bed in the house) has been specified in the translation for clarity. will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of the first man’stn Grk “his”; the referent (the first man mentioned) has been specified in the translation for clarity. sheer persistencetn The term ἀναίδεια (anaideia) is hard to translate. It refers to a combination of ideas, a boldness that persists over time, or “audacity,” which comes close. It most likely describes the one making the request, since the unit’s teaching is an exhortation about persistence in prayer. Some translate the term “shamelessness” which is the term’s normal meaning, and apply it to the neighbor as an illustration of God responding for the sake of his honor. But the original question was posed in terms of the first man who makes the request, not of the neighbor, so the teaching underscores the action of the one making the request. he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 “Sotn Here καί (kai, from καγώ [kagw]) has been translated as “so” to indicate the conclusion drawn from the preceding parable. I tell you: Ask,sn The three present imperatives in this verse (Ask…seek…knock) are probably intended to call for a repeated or continual approach before God. and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the doortn Grk “it”; the referent (a door) is implied by the context and has been specified in the translation for clarity. will be opened for you.
10 For everyone who askssn The actions of asking, seeking, and knocking are repeated here from v. 9 with the encouragement that God does respond. receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the doortn Grk “it”; the referent (a door) is implied by the context and has been specified in the translation for clarity. will be opened.
11 What father among you, if yourtn Grk “the”; in context the article is used as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215). son asks fortc Most mss (א A C D L W Θ Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï lat syc,p,h bo) have “bread, does not give him a stone instead, or” before “a fish”; the longer reading, however, looks like a harmonization to Matt 7:9. The shorter reading is thus preferred, attested by Ì45,75 B 1241 pc sys sa. a fish, will give him a snakesn The snake probably refers to a water snake. instead of a fish?
12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?sn The two questions of vv. 11-12 expect the answer, “No father would do this!”
13 If you then, although you aretn The participle ὑπάρχοντες (Juparconte") has been translated as a concessive participle. evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spiritsn The provision of the Holy Spirit is probably a reference to the wisdom and guidance supplied in response to repeated requests. Some apply it to the general provision of the Spirit, but this would seem to look only at one request in a context that speaks of repeated asking. The teaching as a whole stresses not that God gives everything his children want, but that God gives the good that they need. The parallel account in Matthew (7:11) refers to good things where Luke mentions the Holy Spirit. to those who ask him!”
Jesus and Beelzebul
14 Nowtn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic. he was casting out a demon that was mute.tn The phrase “a demon that was mute” should probably be understood to mean that the demon caused muteness or speechlessness in its victim, although it is sometimes taken to refer to the demon’s own inability to speak (cf. TEV, “a demon that could not talk”). Whentn Grk “And it happened that when.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here δέ (de) has not been translated either. the demon had gone out, the man who had been mute began to speak,sn This miracle is different from others in Luke. The miracle is told entirely in one verse and with minimum detail, while the response covers several verses. The emphasis is on explaining what Jesus’ work means. and the crowds were amazed.
15 But some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul,tn Grk “By Beelzebul.”sn Beelzebul is another name for Satan. So some people recognized Jesus’ work as supernatural, but called it diabolical. the rulertn Or “prince.” of demons, he casts out demons.”
16 Others, to testtn Grk “testing”; the participle is taken as indicating the purpose of the demand. him,tn The pronoun “him” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context. began asking fortn Grk “seeking from him.” The imperfect ἐζήτουν (ezhtoun) is taken ingressively. It is also possible to regard it as iterative (“kept on asking”). a signsn What exactly this sign would have been, given what Jesus was already doing, is not clear. But here is where the fence-sitters reside, refusing to commit to him. from heaven.
17 But Jesus,tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. realizing their thoughts, said to them,sn Jesus here demonstrated the absurdity of the thinking of those who maintained that he was in league with Satan and that he actually derived his power from the devil. He first teaches (vv. 17-20) that if he casts out demons by the ruler of the demons, then in reality Satan is fighting against himself, with the result that his kingdom has come to an end. He then teaches (v. 21-22) about defeating the strong man to prove that he does not need to align himself with the devil because he is more powerful. Jesus defeated Satan at his temptation (4:1-13) and by his exorcisms he clearly demonstrated himself to be stronger than the devil. The passage reveals the desperate condition of the religious leaders, who in their hatred for Jesus end up attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan. “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed,tn Or “is left in ruins.” and a divided household falls.tn Grk “and house falls on house.” This phrase pictures one house collapsing on another, what is called today a “house of cards.”
18 Sotn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate that the clause that follows is a logical conclusion based on the preceding examples. iftn This first class condition, the first of three “if” clauses in the following verses, presents the example vividly as if it were so. In fact, all three conditions in these verses are first class. The examples are made totally parallel. The expected answer is that Satan’s kingdom will not stand, so the suggestion makes no sense. Satan would not seek to heal. Satan too is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? I ask you this becausetn Grk “because.” “I ask you this” is supplied for the sake of English. you claim that I cast out demons by Beelzebul.
19 Now if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sonssn Most read your sons as a reference to Jewish exorcists (cf. “your followers,” L&N 9.4; for various views see D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 2:1077-78), but more likely this is a reference to the disciples of Jesus themselves, who are also Jewish and have been healing as well (R. J. Shirock, “Whose Exorcists are they? The Referents of οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν at Matthew 12:27/Luke 11:19,” JSNT 46 [1992]: 41-51). If this is a reference to the disciples, then Jesus’ point is that it is not only him, but those associated with him whose power the hearers must assess. The following reference to judging also favors this reading. cast themtn The pronoun “them” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context. out? Therefore they will be your judges.
20 But if I cast out demons by the fingersn The finger of God is a figurative reference to God’s power (L&N 76.3). This phrase was used of God’s activity during the Exodus (Exod 8:19). of God, then the kingdom of Godsn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21. has already overtakentn The phrase ἔφθασεν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς (efqasen ef’ Juma") is important. Does it mean merely “approach” (which would be reflected in a translation like “has come near to you”) or actually “come upon” (as in the translation given above, “has already overtaken you,” which has the added connotation of suddenness)? The issue here is like the one in 10:9 (see note there on the phrase “come on”). Is the arrival of the kingdom merely anticipated or already in process? Two factors favor arrival over anticipation here. First, the prepositional phrase “upon you” suggests arrival (Dan 4:24, 28 Theodotion). Second, the following illustration in vv. 21-23 looks at the healing as portraying Satan being overrun. So the presence of God’s authority has arrived. See also L&N 13.123 for the translation of φθάνω (fqanw) as “to happen to already, to come upon, to come upon already.” you.
21 When a strong man,tn The referent of the expression “a strong man” is Satan. fully armed, guards his own palace,tn The word αὐλή (aulh) describes any building large and elaborate enough to have an interior courtyard, thus “dwelling, palace, mansion” (L&N 7.6). his possessions are safe.tn Grk “his goods are in peace.”
22 Buttn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation. when a stronger mantn The referent of the expression “a stronger man” is Jesus. attackstn Grk “stronger man than he attacks.” and conquers him, he takes away the first man’stn Grk “his”; the referent (the first man mentioned) has been specified in the translation for clarity. armor on which the man reliedtn Grk “on which he relied.” and divides uptn Or “and distributes.” his plunder.sn Some see the imagery here as similar to Eph 4:7-10, although no opponents are explicitly named in that passage. Jesus has the victory over Satan. Jesus’ acts of healing mean that the war is being won and the kingdom is coming.
23 Whoever is not with me is against me,sn Whoever is not with me is against me. The call here is to join the victor. Failure to do so means that one is being destructive. Responding to Jesus is the issue. and whoever does not gather with me scatters.sn For the image of scattering, see Pss. Sol. 17:18.
Response to Jesus’ Work
24 “When an unclean spiritsn This is a reference to an evil spirit. See Luke 4:33. goes out of a person,tn Grk “man.” This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), referring to both males and females. it passes through waterless placessn The background for the reference to waterless places is not entirely clear, though some Jewish texts suggest spirits must have a place to dwell, but not with water (Luke 8:29-31; Tob 8:3). Some suggest that the image of the desert or deserted cities as the places demons dwell is where this idea started (Isa 13:21; 34:14). looking for rest buttn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context. not finding any. Thentc ‡ Most mss, including a few early and important ones (Ì45 א* A C D W Ψ Ë1,13 Ï lat), lack τότε (tote, “then”). Other mss, including some early and important ones (Ì75 א2 B L Θ Ξ 070 33 579 892 1241 pc co), have the adverb. Although the external evidence better supports the longer reading, the internal evidence is on the side of the shorter, for conjunctions and adverbs were frequently added by copyists to remove asyndeton and to add clarification. The shorter reading is thus preferred. The translation, however, adds “Then” because of English stylistic requirements. NA27 has τότε in brackets indicating doubts as to its authenticity. it says, ‘I will return to the home I left.’tn Grk “I will return to my house from which I came.”
25 When it returns,tn Grk “comes.” it finds the housetn The words “the house” are not in Greek but are implied. swept clean and put in order.sn The image of the house swept clean and put in order refers to the life of the person from whom the demon departed. The key to the example appears to be that no one else has been invited in to dwell. If an exorcism occurs and there is no response to God, then the way is free for the demon to return. Some see the reference to exorcism as more symbolic; thus the story’s only point is about responding to Jesus. This is possible and certainly is an application of the passage.
26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there, sotn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the concluding point of the story. the last state of that persontn Grk “man.” This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), referring to both males and females. is worse than the first.”sn The point of the story is that to fail to respond is to risk a worse fate than when one started.
27 Astn Grk “And it happened that as.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here δέ (de) has not been translated. he said these things, a woman in the crowd spoke outtn Grk “lifted up her voice and said.” This idiom is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “spoke out.” to him, “Blessed is the wombtn For this term see L&N 8.69. that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!”sn Both the reference to the womb and the breasts form a figure of speech called metonymy. In this case the parts are mentioned instead of the whole; the meaning is “Blessed is your mother!” The warnings seem to have sparked a little nervousness that brought forth this response. In the culture a mother was valued for the accomplishments of her son. So this amounts to a compliment to Jesus.
28 But he replied,tn Grk “said.” “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obeysn This is another reference to hearing and doing the word of God, which here describes Jesus’ teaching; see Luke 8:21. it!”
The Sign of Jonah
29 Astn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. the crowds were increasing, Jesustn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it looks for a sign,sn The mention of a sign alludes back to Luke 11:16. Given what Jesus had done, nothing would be good enough. This leads to the rebuke that follows. but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.sn As the following comparisons to Solomon and Jonah show, in the present context the sign of Jonah is not an allusion to Jonah being three days in the belly of the fish, but to Jesus’ teaching about wisdom and repentance.
30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh,tn Grk “to the Ninevites.” What the Ninevites experienced was Jonah’s message (Jonah 3:4, 10; 4:1). so the Son of Man will be a signtn The repetition of the words “a sign” are not in the Greek text, but are implied and are supplied here for clarity. to this generation.tc Only the Western ms D and a few Itala mss add here a long reference to Jonah being in the belly of the fish for three days and nights and the Son of Man being three days in the earth, apparently harmonizing the text to the parallel in Matt 12:40.
31 The queen of the Southsn On the queen of the South see 1 Kgs 10:1-3 and 2 Chr 9:1-12, as well as Josephus, Ant. 8.6.5-6 (8.165-175). The South most likely refers to modern southwest Arabia, possibly the eastern part of modern Yemen, although there is an ancient tradition reflected in Josephus which identifies this geo-political entity as Ethiopia. will rise up at the judgmentsn For the imagery of judgment, see Luke 10:13-15 and 11:19. The warnings are coming consistently now. with the peopletn Grk “men”; the word here (ἀνήρ, anhr) usually indicates males or husbands, but occasionally is used in a generic sense of people in general, as is the case here (cf. BDAG 79 s.v. 1, 2). The same term, translated the same way, occurs in v. 32. of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon – and now,tn Grk “behold.” something greatersn The message of Jesus was something greater than what Solomon offered. On Jesus and wisdom, see Luke 7:35; 10:21-22; 1 Cor 1:24, 30. than Solomon is here!
32 The peopletn See the note on the word “people” in v. 31. of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented when Jonah preached to themtn Grk “at the preaching of Jonah.”sn The phrase repented when Jonah preached to them confirms that in this context the sign of Jonah (v. 30) is his message. – and now,tn Grk “behold.” something greater than Jonah is here!
Internal Light
33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a hidden placetn Or perhaps “in a cellar” (L&N 28.78). The point is that the light of Jesus’ teaching has been put in public view. or under a basket,tc The phrase “or under a basket” is lacking in some important and early mss (Ì45,75 L Γ Ξ 070 Ë1 700* 1241 2542 pc sys sa). It is hard to decide in this case, since the inclusion of “or under a basket” is widely attested by some early and decent witnesses, as well as the overwhelming majority of mss (א A B C D W Θ Ψ Ë13 Ï latt). The parallel passage in Luke 8:16 does not include “under a basket.” If the phrase “under a basket” were added as a harmonization with Mark 4:21 and Matt 5:15, it is perhaps surprising that scribes did not add the phrase at Luke 8:16 as well. It seems somewhat more likely that a scribe copying Luke would be inclined to harmonize 11:33 with 8:16 by omitting the phrase here. Thus, the words “or under a basket” seem to have the marks of authenticity.tn Or “a bowl”; this refers to any container for dry material of about eight liters (two gallons) capacity. It could be translated “basket, box, bowl” (L&N 6.151). but on a lampstand, so that those who come in can see the light.
34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy,tn Or “sound” (so L&N 23.132 and most scholars). A few scholars take this word to mean something like “generous” here (L&N 57.107), partly due to the immediate context of this saying in Matt 6:22 which concerns money, in which case the “eye” is a metonymy for the entire person (“if you are generous”). your whole body is full of light, but when it is diseased,tn Or “when it is sick” (L&N 23.149).sn There may be a slight wordplay here, as this term can also mean “evil,” so the figure uses a term that points to the real meaning of being careful as to what one pays attention to or looks at. your body is full of darkness.
35 Therefore see to ittn This is a present imperative, calling for a constant watch (L&N 24.32; ExSyn 721). that the light in yousn Here you is a singular pronoun, individualizing the application. is not darkness.
36 Iftn This is a first class condition in the Greek text, so the example ends on a hopeful, positive note. thentn Grk “Therefore”; the same conjunction as at the beginning of v. 35, but since it indicates a further inference or conclusion, it has been translated “then” here. your whole body is full of light, with no part in the dark,tn Grk “not having any part dark.” it will be as full of light as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”tn Grk “it will be completely illumined as when a lamp illumines you with its rays.”
Rebuking the Pharisees and Experts in the Law
37 As he spoke,tn The use of the aorist infinitive here should probably be translated “as he spoke” rather than “while he was speaking” (see ExSyn 595). The Pharisee did not necessarily interrupt Jesus to issue the invitation. a Phariseesn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17. invited Jesustn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. to have a meal with him, so he went in and took his place at the table.tn Grk “and reclined at table,” as 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away.
38 Thetn Here δέ (de) has not been translated. Pharisee was astonished when he saw that Jesustn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. did not first wash his handstn The words “his hands” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied for clarity.sn Washing before meals was a cultural practice that was described in the OT, but not prescribed there (Gen 18:4; Judg 19:21). It was apparently related to concern about contracting ceremonial uncleanness (Lev 11:31-38; t. Demai 2.11-12). before the meal.
39 But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleansn The allusion to washing (clean the outside of the cup) shows Jesus knew what they were thinking and deliberately set up a contrast that charged them with hypocrisy and majoring on minors. the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.tn Or “and evil.”
40 You fools!sn You fools is a rebuke which in the OT refers to someone who is blind to God (Ps 14:1, 53:1; 92:6; Prov 6:12). Didn’t the one who made the outside make the inside as well?tn The question includes a Greek particle, οὐ (ou), that expects a positive reply. God, the maker of both, is concerned for what is both inside and outside.
41 But give from your heart to those in need,tn Grk “Give the things inside as alms.” Three different approaches have been taken to the syntax and meaning of this phrase: (1) τὰ ἐνόντα (ta enonta, “the things inside”) is an accusative of respect (“give alms with respect to the things inside”); (2) τὰ ἐνόντα is an adverbial accusative (“give alms inwardly,” i.e., from the heart); (3) the word translated “alms” represents a mistranslation of the original Aramaic term “cleanse,” so the statement urges the hearers to “cleanse the things inside.” According to D. L. Bock (Luke [BECNT], 2:1115) the latter meaning is unlikely because the present verse is independent of Matt 23:26, not parallel to it, and makes good sense as it stands.sn In Jewish culture giving alms to the poor was a very important religious observance; it was meant to be an act of mercy, kindness, and love (D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 2:1114). The implication from the text is that the Pharisees gave alms, but without any of the spiritual concern which should have motivated those generous actions. Here Jesus commands the Pharisees to give from within themselves to those in need instead of just giving of their possessions. In so doing they would show true inner purity acceptable to God. This is in keeping with the author’s social concerns elsewhere in the Gospel (cf., e.g., 1:52-53, 4:18-19, 6:20-21, 14:13). andtn Grk “and behold.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) at the beginning of this clause has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1). then everything will be clean for you.sn The expression everything will be clean for you refers to the agreement that should exist between the overt practice of one’s religious duties, such as almsgiving, and the inner condition of one’s heart, including true love for God and the poor; one is not only to wash the outside of the cup and plate, but the inside as well, since as Jesus said, God created the inside too. Religious duties are not to be performed hypocritically, i.e., for the applause and esteem of people, but rather they are to be done out of a deep love for God and a sensitivity to and concern for the needs of others. Then, everything will be clean, both hearts and lives.
42 “But woe to you Pharisees!tn Grk “Woe to you…because you…” The causal particle ὅτι (Joti) has not been translated here for rhetorical effect (and so to the end of this chapter). You give a tenthtn Or “you tithe mint.” of your mint,sn These small herbs were tithed with great care (Mishnah, m. Demai 2:1). rue,tn Grk “and rue.” Καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.sn Rue was an evergreen herb used for seasoning. and every herb, yet you neglect justicesn Justice was a major theme of OT ethics (Mic 6:8; Zech 7:8-10). and love for God! But you should have done these things without neglecting the others.tn Grk “those”; but this has been translated as “the others” to clarify which are meant.
43 Woe to you Pharisees! You love the best seatstn Or “seats of honor.” The term here is plural and is not a reference only to the lead “seat of Moses” in the synagogue, but includes the front seats near the ark. in the synagoguessn See the note on synagogues in 4:15. and elaborate greetingstn Grk “and the greetings.”sn The later Jewish summary of oral tradition, the Talmud, notes elaborate greetings for rabbis. The rebuke here is for pride. in the marketplaces!
44 Woe to you!tc Most mss (A [D] W Θ Ψ Ë13 Ï it) have “experts in the law and Pharisees, hypocrites” after “you,” but this looks like an assimilation to the parallel in Matt 23:25, 27, 29. The shorter reading has earlier attestation from a variety of reliable mss (Ì45,75 א B C L Ë1 33 1241 2542 lat sa). You are like unmarked graves, and peopletn Grk “men.” This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), referring to both males and females. walk over them without realizing it!”sn In Judaism to come into contact with the dead or what is associated with them, even without knowing it, makes one unclean (Num 19:11-22; Lev 21:1-3; Mishnah, m. Demai 2:3). To Pharisees, who would have been so sensitive about contracting ceremonial uncleanness, it would have been quite a stinging rebuke to be told they caused it.
45 One of the experts in religious lawsn That is, an expert in the interpretation of the Mosaic law. They worked closely with the Pharisees. answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things you insulttn For this term, see Matt 22;6; Luke 18:32; Acts 14:5; 1 Thess 2:2. us too.”
46 But Jesustn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. replied,tn Grk “said.” “Woe to you experts in religious law as well!tn Here “as well” is used to translate καί (kai) at the beginning of the statement. You load peopletn Grk “men.” This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), referring to both males and females. down with burdens difficult to bear, yet you yourselves refuse to touchtn Grk “you yourselves do not touch.” This could mean one of two things: (1) Either they make others do what they themselves do not (through various technical exceptions) or (2) they make no effort to help the others fulfill what they are required to do. Considering the care these religious figures are said to have given to the law, the second option is more likely (see L&N 18.11). the burdens with even one of your fingers!
47 Woe to you! You buildsn The effect of what the experts in the law were doing was to deny the message of the prophets and thus honor their death by supporting those who had sought their removal. The charge that this is what previous generations did shows the problem is chronic. As T. W. Manson said, the charge here is “The only prophet you honor is a dead prophet!” (The Sayings of Jesus, 101). the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestorstn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.” killed.
48 So you testify that you approve oftn Grk “you are witnesses and approve of.” the deeds of your ancestors,tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.” because they killed the prophetstn Grk “them”; the referent (the prophets) has been specified in the translation for clarity. and you build theirtn “Their,” i.e., the prophets. tombs!tc The majority of mss list a specific object (“their tombs”), filling out the sentence (although there are two different words for “tombs” among the mss, as well as different word orders: αὐτῶν τὰ μνημεῖα (autwn ta mnhmeia; found in A C W Θ Ψ 33 Ï) and τοὺς τάφους αὐτῶν (tou" tafou" autwn; found in Ë1,[13] 2542 pc). This suggests that early copyists had no term in front of them but felt the verb needed an object. But since a wide distribution of early Alexandrian and Western mss lack these words (Ì75 א B D L 579 1241 it sa), it is likely that they were not part of the original text of Luke. Nevertheless, the words “their tombs” are inserted in the translation because of requirements of English style.
49 For this reason also the wisdomsn The expression the wisdom of God is a personification of an attribute of God that refers to his wise will. of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’
50 so that this generation may be held accountabletn Or “that this generation may be charged with”; or “the blood of all the prophets… may be required from this generation.” This is a warning of judgment. These people are responsible for the shedding of prophetic blood. for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginningtn Or “foundation.” However, this does not suggest a time to the modern reader. of the world,tn The order of the clauses in this complicated sentence has been rearranged to simplify it for the modern reader.
51 from the blood of Abelsn Gen 4:10 indicates that Abel’s blood cried out for justice. to the blood of Zechariah,sn It is not clear which Zechariah is meant here. It is probably the person mentioned in 2 Chr 24:20-25. who was killedtn Or “who perished.” between the altar and the sanctuary.tn Or “and the temple”; Grk “and the house,” but in this context a reference to the house of God as a place of sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged againsttn Or “required from.” this generation.
52 Woe to you experts in religious law! You have taken awaysn You have taken away the key to knowledge is another stinging rebuke. They had done the opposite of what they were trying to do. the key to knowledge! You did not go in yourselves, and you hinderedtn Or “you tried to prevent.” those who were going in.”
53 When he went out from there, the experts in the lawtn Or “the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 5:21. and the Pharisees began to oppose him bitterly,tn Or “terribly.” and to ask him hostile questionstn For this term see L&N 33.183. about many things,
54 plotting againsttn Grk “lying in ambush against,” but this is a figurative extension of that meaning. him, to catchtn This term was often used in a hunting context (BDAG 455 s.v. θηρεύω; L&N 27.30). Later examples of this appear in Luke 20. him in something he might say.