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18:1 To the end that [pros to dein]. With a view to the being necessary, [pros] and the articular infinitive. The impersonal verb [dei] here is in the infinitive and has another infinitive loosely connected with it [proseuchesthai], to pray. Not to faint [mē enkakein]. Literally, not to give in to evil [en, kakeō], from [kakos], bad or evil), to turn coward, lose heart, behave badly. A late verb used several times in the N.T. (2Co 4:1, 16, etc.).
18:2 Regarded not [mē entrepomenos]. Present middle participle of [entrepō], old verb, to turn one on himself, to shame one, to reverence one. This was a “hard-boiled” judge who knew no one as his superior. See on Mt 21:37.
18:3 Came oft [ērcheto]. Imperfect tense denotes repetitions, no adverb for “oft” in the Greek. Avenge me of [ekdikēson me apo]. A late verb for doing justice, protecting one from another (note both [ek] and [apo], here). Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, pp. 420ff.) quotes a [stēlē] of the second century B.C. with a prayer for vengeance for a Jewish girl that had been murdered which has this very verb [ekdikeō].
18:4 He would not [ouk ēthelen]. Imperfect tense of continued refusal. Though [ei kai]. Concerning sentence, not [kai ei] (even if).
18:5 Yet [ge]. Delicate intensive particle of deep feeling as here. Because this widow troubleth me [dia to parechein moi kopon tēn chēran tautēn]. Literally, because of the furnishing me trouble as to this widow (accusative of general reference with the articular infinitive). Lest she wear me out [hina mē hupōpiazēi me]. Some take it that the judge is actually afraid that the widow may come and assault him, literally beat him under the eye. That idea would be best expressed here by the aorist tense.
18:6 The unrighteous judge [ho kritēs tēs adikias]. The judge of unrighteousness (marked by unrighteousness), as in 16:8 we have “the steward of unrighteousness,” the same idiom.
18:7 And he is longsuffering [makrothumei]. This present active indicative comes in awkwardly after the aorist subjunctive [poiēsēi] after [ou mē], but this part of the question is positive. Probably [kai] here means “and yet” as so often (Joh 9:30; 16:32, etc.). God delays taking vengeance on behalf of his people, not through indifference, but through patient forbearance.
18:8 Howbeit [plēn]. It is not clear whether this sentence is also a question or a positive statement. There is no way to decide. Either will make sense though not quite the same sense. The use of [āra] before [heurēsei] seems to indicate a question expecting a negative answer as in Ac 8:30; Ro 14:19. But here [āra] comes in the middle of the sentence instead of near the beginning, an unusual position for either inferential [āra] or interrogative [āra]. On the whole the interrogative [āra] is probably correct, meaning to question if the Son will find a persistence of faith like that of the widow.
18:9 Set all others at naught [exouthenountas tous loipous]. A late verb [exoutheneō], like [oudeneō], from [outhen] [ouden], to consider or treat as nothing. In LXX and chiefly in Luke and Paul in the N.T.
18:10 Stood [statheis]. First aorist passive participle of [histēmi]. Struck an attitude ostentatiously where he could be seen. Standing was the common Jewish posture in prayer (Mt 6:5; Mr 11:25). Prayed thus [tauta prosēucheto]. Imperfect middle, was praying these things (given following). With himself [pros heauton]. A soliloquy with his own soul, a complacent recital of his own virtues for his own self-satisfaction, not fellowship with God, though he addresses God. I thank thee [eucharistō soi]. But his gratitude to God is for his own virtues, not for God’s mercies to him. One of the rabbis offers a prayer like this of gratitude that he was in a class by himself because he was a Jew and not a Gentile, because he was a Pharisee and not of the am-haaretz or common people, because he was a man and not a woman. Extortioners [harpages]. An old word, [harpax] from same root as [harpazō], to plunder. An adjective of only one gender, used of robbers and plunderers, grafters, like the publicans (Lu 3:13), whether wolves (Mt 7:15) or men (1Co 5:19f.). The Pharisee cites the crimes of which he is not guilty. Or even [ē kai]. As the climax of iniquity (Bruce), he points to “this publican.” Zaccheus will admit robbery (Lu 19:8). God [ho theos]. Nominative form with the article as common with the vocative use of [theos] (so verse 13; Joh 20:28).
18:12 Twice in the week [dis tou sabbatou]. One fast a year was required by the law (Le 16:29; Nu 29:7). The Pharisees added others, twice a week between passover and pentecost, and between tabernacles and dedication of the temple. I get [ktōmai]. Present middle indicative, not perfect middle [kektēmai] (I possess). He gave a tithe of his income, not of his property.
18:13 Standing afar off [makrothen hestōs]. Second perfect active participle of [histēmi], intransitive like [statheis] above. But no ostentation as with the Pharisee in verse 11. At a distance from the Pharisee, not from the sanctuary. Would not lift [ouk ēthelen oude epārai]. Negatives (double) imperfect of thelō, was not willing even to lift up, refused to lift [epārai], first aorist active infinitive of the liquid compound verb, [ep-airō]. Smote [etupte]. Imperfect active of [tuptō], old verb, kept on smiting or beating. Worshippers usually lifted up their closed eyes to God. Be merciful [hilasthēti]. First aorist passive imperative of [hilaskomai], an old verb, found also in LXX and inscriptions [exhilaskomai], Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 224). A sinner [tōi hamartōlōi]. The sinner, not a sinner. It is curious how modern scholars ignore this Greek article. The main point in the contrast lies in this article. The Pharisee thought of others as sinners. The publican thinks of himself alone as the sinner, not of others at all.
18:14 This man [houtos]. This despised publican referred to contemptuously in verse 11 as “this” [houtos] publican. Rather than the other [par’ ekeinon]. In comparison with (placed beside) that one. A neat Greek idiom after the perfect passive participle [dedikaiomenos]. For [hoti]. This moral maxim Christ had already used in 14:11. Plummer pertinently asks: “Why is it assumed that Jesus did not repeat his sayings?”
18:15 They brought [prosepheron]. Imperfect active, they were bringing. So Mr 10:13. Their babes [ta brephē]. Old word for infants. Here Mr 10:13; Mt 19:13 have [paidia] (little children). Note “also” [kai] in Luke, not in Mark and Matthew. That he should touch them [hina autōn haptētai]. Present middle subjunctive (linear action, repeatedly touch or one after the other), where Mr 10:13 has aorist middle subjunctive [hapsētai]. Rebuked [epetimōn]. Imperfect indicative active. Either inchoative began to rebuke, or continued, kept on rebuking. Matthew and Mark have the aorist [epetimēsan].
18:16 Called [prosekalesato]. Indirect middle aorist indicative, called the children with their parents to himself and then rebuked the disciples for their rebuke of the parents. The language of Jesus is precisely that of Mr 10:14 which see, and nearly that of Mt 19:14 which see also. The plea of Jesus that children be allowed to come to him is one that many parents need to heed. It is a tragedy to think of parents “forbidding” their children or of preachers doing the same or of both being stumbling-blocks to children.
18:17 As a little child [hōs paidion]. Jesus makes the child the model for those who seek entrance into the kingdom of God, not the adult the model for the child. He does not say that the child is already in the kingdom without coming to him. Jesus has made the child’s world by understanding the child and opening the door for him.
18:18 Ruler [archōn]. Not in Mr 10:17; Mt 19:16. What shall I do to inherit? [Ti poiēsas klēronomēsō;]. “By doing what shall I inherit?” Aorist active participle and future active indicative. Precisely the same question is asked by the lawyer in Lu 10:25. This young man probably thought that by some one act he could obtain eternal life. He was ready to make a large expenditure for it. Good [agathon]. See on Mr 10:17; Mt 19:16 for discussion of this adjective for absolute goodness. Plummer observes that no Jewish rabbi was called “good” in direct address. The question of Jesus will show whether it was merely fulsome flattery on the part of the young man or whether he really put Jesus on a par with God. He must at any rate define his attitude towards Christ.
18:22 One thing thou lackest yet [eti hen soi leipei]. Literally, one thing still fails thee or is wanting to thee. An old verb with the dative of personal interest. Mr 10:21 has here [husterei se], which see. It was an amazing compliment for one who was aiming at perfection (Mt 19:21). The youth evidently had great charm and was sincere in his claims. Distribute [diados]. Second aorist active imperative of [diadidōmi] (give to various ones, [dia-]. Here Mark and Matthew simply have [dos] (give). The rest the same in all three Gospels.
18:23 Became [egenēthē]. First aorist passive indicative of [ginomai]. Like his countenance fell [stugnasas], in Mr 10:22. Exceedingly sorrowful [perilupos]. Old adjective [peri, lupē] with perfective use of [peri]. Very rich [plousios sphodra]. Rich exceedingly. Today, a multimillionaire.
18:24 Shall they enter [eisporeuontai]. Present middle indicative, futuristic present.
18:25 Through a needle’s eye [dia trēmatos belonēs]. Both words are old. [Trēma] means a perforation or hole or eye and in the N.T. only here and Mt 19:24. [Belonē] means originally the point of a spear and then a surgeon’s needle. Here only in the N.T. Mr 10:25; Mt 19:24 have [rhaphidos] for needle. This is probably a current proverb for the impossible. The Talmud twice speaks of an elephant passing through the eye of a needle as being impossible.
18:26 Then who [kai tis]. Literally, and who. The [kai] calls attention to what has just been said. Wealth was assumed to be mark of divine favour, not a hindrance to salvation.
18:27 The impossible with men possible with God [ta adunata para anthrōpois dunata para tōi theōi]. Paradoxical, but true. Take your stand “beside” [para] God and the impossible becomes possible. Clearly then Jesus meant the humanly impossible by the parabolic proverb about the camel going through the needle’s eye. God can break the grip of gold on a man’s life, but even Jesus failed with this young ruler.
18:28 Our own [ta idia]. Our own things (home, business, etc.). Right here is where so many fail. Peter speaks here not in a spirit of boastfulness, but rather with his reactions from their consternation at what has happened and at the words of Jesus (Plummer).
18:30 Shall not receive [ouchi mē labēi]. Very strong double negative with aorist active subjunctive of [lambanō]. Manifold more [pollaplasiona]. Late Greek word, here alone in the N.T. save Mt 19:29 where Westcott and Hort have it though many MSS. there read [hekatonplasiona] (a hundredfold) as in Mr 10:30).
18:31 Took unto him [paralabōn]. Second aorist active participle of [paralambanō]. Taking along with himself. So Mr 10:32. Mt 20:17 adds [kat’ idian] (apart). Jesus is making a special point of explaining his death to the Twelve. We go up [anabainomen]. Present active indicative, we are going up. Unto the Son of man [tōi huiōi tou anthrōpou]. Dative case of personal interest. The position is amphibolous and the construction makes sense either with “shall be accomplished” [telesthēsetai] or “that are written” [ta gegrammena], probably the former. Compare these minute details of the prophecy here (verses 32f.) with the words in Mr 10:33f.; Mt 20:18f., which see.
18:34 And they perceived not [kai ouk eginōskon]. Imperfect active. They kept on not perceiving. Twice already Luke has said this in the same sentence. They understood none of these things [ouden toutōn sunēkan]. First aorist active indicative, a summary statement. This saying was hid from them [ēn to rhēma touto kekrummenon ap’ autōn]. Past perfect passive indicative (periphrastic), state of completion. It was a puzzling experience. No wonder that Luke tries three times to explain the continued failure of the apostles to understand Jesus. The words of Christ about his death ran counter to all their hopes and beliefs.
18:35 Unto Jericho [eis Iereichō]. See on Mt 20:29; Mr 10:46, for discussion of the two Jerichos in Mark and Matt. (the old and the new as here). Begging [epaitōn]. Asking for something. He probably was by the wayside between the old Jericho and the new Roman Jericho. Mark gives his name Bartimaeus (10:46). Mt 20:30 mentions two.
18:36 Inquired [epunthaneto]. Imperfect middle. Repeatedly inquired as he heard the tramp of the passing crowd going by [diaporeuomenou]. What this meant [Ti eiē touto]. Literally, What it was. Without [an] the optative is due to indirect discourse, changed from [estin]. With [an] (margin of Westcott and Hort) the potential optative of the direct discourse is simply retained.
18:37 Passeth by [parerchetai]. Present middle indicative retained in indirect discourse as [paragei] is in Mt 20:30). No reason for differences of English tenses in the two passages (was passing by, passeth by).
18:38 He cried [eboēsen]. Old verb, [boaō], to shout, as in 9:38. Son of David [huie Daueid]. Shows that he recognizes Jesus as the Messiah.
18:39 That he should hold his peace [hina sigēsēi]. Ingressive aorist subjunctive. That he should become silent; as with [hina siōpēsēi] in Mr 10:48. The more a great deal [pollōi māllon]. By much more as in Mr 10:48.
18:40 Stood [statheis]. First aorist passive where Mr 10:49; Mt 20:32 have [stas] (second aorist active) translated “stood still.” One is as “still” as the other. The first is that Jesus “ stopped.” Be brought [achthēnai]. First aorist infinitive in indirect command.
18:41 What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? [Ti soi theleis poiēsō;]. Same idiom in Mr 10:51; Mt 20:32 which see, the use of [thelō] without [hina] with aorist subjunctive (or future indicative). See same references also for [hina anablepsō] “that I may see again” without verb before [hina]. Three uses of [anablepō] here (verses 41, 42, 43).
18:43 Followed [ēkolouthei]. Imperfect active as in Mr 10:52. Either inchoative he began to follow, or descriptive, he was following.
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