Luke 5 Bible Commentary

John Lightfoot’s Bible Commentary

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(Read all of Luke 5)
1. And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

[To hear the word of God, he stood by the lake, &c.] For they were wont to teach also without the synagogue and Beth Midrash, in the highways and in the streets. "Rabban Jochanan Ben Zaccai taught in the street before the Mountain of the Temple the whole day." See the Gloss upon it: "Ben Azzai taught in the streets of Tiberias."

This custom R. Judah forbade in this canon: "Let not the doctors teach their disciples in the streets." And accordingly he severely rebuked R. Chaijam, because he taught his brothers' sons in the street.

And yet it is related of the same R. Judah, R. Judah sat labouring in the law [labouring in the word and doctrine, as the expression is 1 Timothy 5:17], "before the Babylonish synagogue in Zippor: there was a bullock passed by him to the slaughter, and it lowed." This bullock because he did not deliver from the slaughter, he was struck with the toothache for the space of thirteen years.

5. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

[We have toiled all night.] In the Talmud's way of expressing it laborious all night. Labouring all the day.

12. And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

[When he was in a certain city, behold, a man full of leprosy.] "The walled cities are more holy than the land of Israel in general, because they cast out the leprous from them." Which must be understood (if we allow of the Rabbins for interpreters) of cities that had been walled from the days of Joshua. If this city which the evangelist here mentions were of that number, no leper would have been suffered in it, unless absolved from his uncleanness by the priest. For the leprosy remained after that absolution; and the sick man was not healed but restored to the church. That the man is here said to be full of leprosy; the passage may not impertinently be compared with Leviticus 13:12,13.

Whether he had been purified by the priest before or no, however, Christ sends him to the priest, to offer what was required from the leper that was cleansed. The law of Moses hardly supposeth the leper healed when he was made clean. It is a question, indeed, whether the disease was ever curable but by a miracle. And therefore is this man sent to the Temple to shew himself to the priest, and offer for a testimony unto them, verse 14: that is, that he might bear witness, that the leprosy, an incurable disease, was now healed by miracle, as formerly it had been in Miriam and Naaman: and so there was now a great prophet arisen in Israel.

17. And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

[On a certain day.] In Talmudic writing it is on a certain time.

27. And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.

[At the receipt of custom.] The house of tribute. "This thing is like a king of flesh and blood passing by the house of tribute. He saith to his servants, Pay the tax to the publicans."

39. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

[The old is better.] Is not the old better? The Gloss is, Old wine: that is, of three years old.

Wine of three leaves. The Gloss is, "Of three years: because from the time that the vine had produced that wine, it had put forth its leaves three times."