18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint2; PARABLE OF THE IMPORTUNATE WIDOW. Luke 18:1-8
And he spoke a parable unto them. The parable resembles that of the
friend who came at midnight (Luke
11:5-10), but there the petitioner asked a gift, and here the request is
for justice and deliverance.
To the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint. This
parable teaches that the saints must be patient in prayer until the Lord's
18:2 saying, There
was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man1:
There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man.
An utterly abandoned character.
18:3 and there was
a widow1 in that city; and she came oft unto him, saying, Avenge
me of mine adversary2.
There was a widow. In Scripture language widowhood is symbolic of
12:40), and the early church concerned itself much about the welfare of
9:41; 1 Timothy
Avenge me of mine adversary. Rather, Do justice to me as to my
18:4 And he would not for a while: but
afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not
God, nor regard man1;
Though I fear not God, nor regard man, etc. The point of this
soliloquy is this: Though the high motives such as accountability to God for
my office and my good name and respect among men do not lead me to do this
woman justice, yet will I do it simply to be rid of her importunity.
18:6 And the Lord
said, Hear what the unrighteous judge saith1.
And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge saith. This
expression indicates that the Lord paused for a moment that the parable
might be fully grasped before he made the application.
18:7 And shall not
God avenge his elect, that cry to him day and night1, and
[yet] he is longsuffering over them?
And shall not God avenge his elect, that cry to him day and night,
and [yet] he is longsuffering over them? The application is an
argument a fortiori, and presents a triple antithesis: (1) In the
petitioned--a just God and an unrighteous judge. (2) In the petitioners --a
despised widow and the beloved elect. (3) In the petition--the frequent
visits of the one, and the continual cries of the many.
18:8 I say unto
you, that he will avenge them speedily1. Nevertheless,
when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth2?
I say unto you, that he will avenge them speedily. Though a beloved
people cry continually unto a just God, yet will he in mercy be
longsuffering to their enemies, and because of the longsuffering he will
seem to delay his answer, but the delay will not be extended a moment longer
than necessary. When the season of repentance is past, and the measure of
iniquity is full (Genesis
15:16), then the Lord's answer will be speedy, immediate.
Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the
earth? But despite this admonition to pray without discouragement, and
this promise to answer with all speed, God's patience with the wicked, and
his consequent delays in answering the prayers of the just, will prove such
a trial to his people as to leave it questionable whether any of them will
have faith enough to pray until the coming of the Lord. We find an echo of
this passage in 2 Peter
3:1-13. Compare also Matthew
18:9 And he spake
also this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves that they were
righteous, and set all others at nought1:
PARABLE OF THE PHARISEE AND PUBLICAN. Luke
And he spake also this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves
that they were righteous, and set all others at nought. It is commonly
said that this parable teaches humility in prayer, but the preface and
conclusion show that it is indeed to show forth generally the difference
between self-righteousness and humility, and that an occasion of prayer is
chosen because it best illustrates the point which the Lord desired to
teach. The parable shows that the righteousness in which these parties
trusted was devoid of that true charity or heart-love toward God and man
without which our characters are worthless in the sight of God (Proverbs
65:5; 1 Corinthians
18:10 Two men
went up into the temple to pray1; the
one a Pharisee, and the other a publican2.
Two men went up into the temple to pray. The temple was the
appointed place for Jewish prayer. To it the Jew went if near at hand, and
towards it he prayed it afar off. The stated hours of prayer were 9 A.M. and
3 P.M., but men went there to pray whenever they felt like it.
The one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The two represent the
extremes of Jewish social and religious life. See Matthew
3:7 and see Luke
Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself1, God,
I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners2,
unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself. This may mean that
he stood alone, withdrawing from the contamination of others, but it seems
rather to mean that he prayed having himself, rather than God, uppermost in
God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners,
unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. His prayer is more a
boast as to himself than an expression of worship toward God (Revelation
3:17,18), and he makes the sinful record of the publican a dark
background on which to display the bright contrast of his own character--a
character for which he was thankful, and apparently with reason.
18:12 I fast
twice in the week1; I give tithes
of all that I get2.
I fast twice in the week. The law appointed one fast in the year,
viz.: on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus
16:29,30), but the Pharisees fasted on Mondays and Thursdays of each
I give tithes of all that I get. I give the tenth part of my
income. The law required that tithes be given from the corn, wine, oil, and
14:22,23), but the Pharisees took account of the humblest herbs of the
garden, and gave a tenth of their mint, anise, and cummin (Matthew
23:23). Thus he confessed his virtues rather than his sins.
18:13 But the
publican, standing afar off1, would
not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven2, but
smote his breast3, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a
But the publican, standing afar off. Remote from the Holy Place.
Would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven. See Psalms
But smote his breast. As if to remind himself of the stroke of God
which he so richly deserved (Nahum
Saying, God be thou merciful to me a sinner. He makes full
confession of his sin without excuse or justification, and without offset of
righteousness. Moreover, he petitions for no temporal blessings, but simply
asks for mercy (1 Timothy
18:14 I say unto you, This
man went down to his house justified rather than the other1:
for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled;
but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted2.
This man went down to his house justified rather than the other. We
are taught here, as in the parable of the prodigal son, that the penitent
unrighteous are more acceptable to God than the righteous who make no
confession of their sins. See Luke
For every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that
humbleth himself shall be exalted. See Luke
14:11. The Pharisee was an example of the first, and the publican of the
18:15 And they
were bringing unto him also their babes1, that he should
touch them: but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
BLESSING CHILDREN. CONCERNING CHILDLIKENESS. (In Perea.) Matthew
And they were bringing unto him also their babes, etc. See Mark
18:16 But Jesus called them unto him,
saying, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and
forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God1.
Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for to
such belongeth the kingdom of God. See Mark
18:17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever
shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise
Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he
shall in no wise enter therein. See Mark
18:18 And a
certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit
THE RICH RULER. PERIL OF RICHES. REWARD OF SACRIFICE. PARABLE OF THE LABORERS
IN THE VINEYARD. (In Perea.) Matthew
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to
inherit eternal life?
18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest
thou me good? none is good, save one, [even] God.
Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, [even] God. See Mark
knowest the commandments1, Do not commit adultery, Do not
kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother.
Thou knowest the commandments, etc. See Mark
18:21 And he said, All
these things have I observed from my youth up1.
All these things have I observed from my youth up. See Mark
18:22 And when Jesus heard it, he said
unto him, One thing thou lackest yet: sell all that
thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven:
and come, follow me1.
Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt
have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. See Mark
18:23 But when he
heard these things, he became exceeding sorrowful; for he was very rich1.
But when he heard these things, he became exceeding sorrowful; for he
was very rich. See Mark
18:24 And Jesus
seeing him1 said, How hardly shall they that have riches
enter into the kingdom of God!
And Jesus seeing him. See Mark
Said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of
God! See Mark
18:25 For it is
easier for a camel to enter in through a needle's eye1,
than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
For it is easier for a camel to enter in through a needle's eye,
than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. See Mark
18:26 And they
that heard it said, Then who can be saved1?
And they that heard it said, Then who can be saved? See Mark
18:27 But he said, The
things which are impossible with men are possible with God1.
The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. See
18:28 And Peter said, Lo,
we have left our own, and followed thee1.
Lo, we have left our own, and followed thee. See Mark
18:29 And he said unto them, Verily I say
unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or
wife, or brethren1, or parents, or children, for the
kingdom of God's sake,
There is no man that hath left house, or wife, or brethren, etc.
18:30 who shall
not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life1.
Who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to
come eternal life. See Mark
18:31 And he took
unto him the twelve1, and said unto them, Behold, we go up
to Jerusalem, and all the things that are written through the prophets shall be
accomplished unto the Son of man.
FORETELLING HIS PASSION. REBUKING AMBITION. (In Perea.) Matthew
And he took unto him the twelve, etc. See Mark
18:32 For he
shall be delivered up unto the Gentiles1, and shall be
mocked, and shamefully treated, and spit upon:
For he shall be delivered up unto the Gentiles, etc. See Mark
18:34 And they
understood none of these things1; and this saying was hid
from them, and they perceived not the things that were said.
And they understood none of these things, etc. So fixed and
ineradicable was their false conception of the Messianic reign that they
could not believe that what Jesus said could be literally true (Matthew
16:22). Only later did the full significance of his saying dawn upon
18:35 And it came to pass, as
he drew nigh unto Jericho1, a certain blind man sat by the
way side begging:
BARTIMAEUS AND HIS COMPANION HEALED. (At Jericho.) Matthew
As he drew nigh unto Jericho. Jesus came from the Jordan and was
entering Jericho by its eastern gate.
18:36 and hearing
a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant1.
And hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. As
the crowd following Jesus passed by, Bartimaeus asked its meaning and
learned of the presence of Jesus. Jesus on this last journey went in advance
of the crowd, and hence he had already entered Jericho before the sounds of
the following multitude roused the beggar to question its meaning.
18:37 And they
told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by1.
And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. Knowing that
Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, Bartimaeus resolved to avail himself of
the opportunity to be healed by him before he left the neighborhood. Not
knowing how long Jesus would remain in Jericho, and not being sure of his
ability to find him if he entered the city, he appears to have passed around
the wall till he came to the southern gate, by which Jesus would depart on
his way to Jerusalem. Here he stationed himself and waited patiently for the
coming of Jesus. The persistency with which he cried when Jesus again
appeared goes far to corroborate this determined preparation and fixed
expectation of the beggar. While he waited at the southern gate the events
narrated in Section 103 occurred. See Luke
19:1. But to avoid confusion we omit them for the present, that we may
finish the story of Bartimaeus.
18:38 And he cried, saying, Jesus,
thou son of David, have mercy on me1.
Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. See Mark
18:39 And they
that went before rebuked him1, that he should hold his
peace: but he cried out the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on
And they that went before rebuked him, etc. See Mark
18:40 And Jesus
stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him1: and when
he was come near, he asked him,
And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him. See Mark
18:41 What wilt thou that I should do unto
thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? See Mark
18:42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy
sight; thy faith hath made thee whole1.
Thy faith hath made thee whole. See Mark
immediately he received his sight, and followed him1,
glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.
And immediately he received his sight, and followed him. See Mark