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Chapter 5

5:1 Pressed upon him [epikeisthai]. Luke in this paragraph (5:1-11; Mr 1:16-20; Mt 4:18-22) does not follow the chronology of Mark as he usually does. It seems reasonably clear that the renewed call of the four fishermen came before the first tour of Galilee in Lu 4:42-44. It is here assumed that Luke is describing in his own way the incident given in Mark and Matthew above. Luke singles out Simon in a graphic way. This verb [epikeisthai] is an old one and means to [lie upon], rest upon as of a stone on the tomb (Joh 11:38) or of fish on the burning coals (Joh 21:9). So it is used of a tempest (Ac 27:20) and of the urgent demands for Christ’s crucifixion (Lu 23:23). Here it vividly pictures the eager crowds around Jesus. [En tōi epikeisthai] is a favourite idiom with Luke as we have already seen, [en] with the articular infinitive in the locative case. That [kai]. [Kai] does not technically mean the declarative conjunction “that,” but it is a fair rendering of the somewhat awkward idiom of Luke to a certain extent imitating the Hebrew use of wav.Was standing [ēn hestōs]. Periphrastic second past perfect of [histēmi] which here is equal to a practical imperfect. By the lake [para tēn limnēn]. The use of the accusative with [para], alongside, after a verb of rest used to be called the pregnant use, came and was standing. But that is no longer necessary, for the accusative as the case of extension is the oldest of the cases and in later Greek regains many of the earlier uses of the other cases employed for more precise distinctions. See the same idiom in verse 2. We need not here stress the notion of extension. “With characteristic accuracy Luke never calls it a sea, while the others never call it a lake” (Plummer).

5:2 Two boats [ploia duo]. Some MSS. have [ploiaria], little boats, but [ploia] was used of boats of various sizes, even of ships like [nēes]. The fishermen [hoi haleeis]. It is an old Homeric word that has come back to common use in the Koinē.It means “sea-folk” from [hals], sea. Were washing [eplunon]. Imperfect active, though some MSS. have aorist [eplunan]. Vincent comments on Luke’s use of five verbs for washing: this one for cleaning, [apomassō] for wiping the dust from one’s feet (10:11), [ekmassō] of the sinful woman wiping Christ’s feet with her hair (7:38, 44), [apolouō] of washing away sins (symbolically, of course) as in Ac 22:16, and [louō] of washing the body of Dorcas (Ac 9:37) and the stripes of the prisoners (Ac 16:33). On “nets” see on Mt 4:20; Mr 1:18.

5:3 To put out a little [epanagagein oligon]. Second aorist infinitive of the double compound verb [ep-an-agō], found in Xenophon and late Greek writers generally. Only twice in the N.T. In Mt 21:18 in the sense of leading back or returning and here in the sense of leading a ship up upon the sea, to put out to sea, a nautical term. Taught [edikasken]. Imperfect active, picturing Jesus teaching from the boat in which he was seated and so safe from the jam of the crowd. “Christ uses Peter’s boat as a pulpit whence to throw the net of the Gospel over His hearers” (Plummer).

5:4 Had left speaking [epausato lalōn]. He ceased speaking (aorist middle indicative and present active participle, regular Greek idiom). Put out into the deep [epanagage eis to bathos]. The same double compound verb as in verse 3, only here second aorist active imperative second person singular. Let down [chalasate]. Peter was master of the craft and so he was addressed first. First aorist active imperative second person plural. Here the whole crew are addressed. The verb is the regular nautical term for lowering cargo or boats (Ac 27:17, 30). But it was used for lowering anything from a higher place (Mr 2:4; Ac 9:25; 2Co 11:33). For a catch [eis agran]. This purpose was the startling thing that stirred up Simon.

5:5 Master [epistata]. Used only by Luke in the N.T. and always in addresses to Christ (8:24, 45; 9:33, 49; 17:13). Common in the older writers for superintendent or overseer (one standing over another). This word recognizes Christ’s authority. We toiled [kopiasantes]. This verb is from [kopos] [work, toil] and occurs from Aristophanes on. It used to be said that the notion of weariness in toil appears only in the LXX and the N.T. But Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, pp. 312f.) cites examples from inscriptions on tombstones quite in harmony with the use in the N.T. Peter’s protest calls attention also to the whole night of fruitless toil. But at thy word [epi de tōi rhēmati sou]. On the base of [epi]. Acquiescence to show his obedience to Christ as “Master,” but with no confidence whatsoever in the wisdom of this particular command. Besides, fishing in this lake was Peter’s business and he really claimed superior knowledge on this occasion to that of Jesus.

5:6 They inclosed [sunekleisan]. Effective aorist active indicative with perfective compound [sun]. They shut together. Were breaking [dierēsseto]. Imperfect passive singular [diktua] being neuter plural). This is the late form of the old verb [diarēgnumi]. The nets were actually tearing in two [dia-] and so they would lose all the fish.

5:7 They beckoned [kateneusan]. Possibly they were too far away for a call to be understood. Simon alone had been ordered to put out into the deep. So they used signs. Unto their partners [tois metechois]. This word [metochos], from [metechō], to have with, means participation with one in common blessings (Heb 3:1,14; 6:4; 12:8). While [koinōnos] (verse 10 here of James and John also) has the notion of personal fellowship, partnership. Both terms are here employed of the two pairs of brothers who have a business company under Simon’s lead. Help them [sullabesthai]. Second aorist middle infinitive. Take hold together with and so to help. Paul uses it in Php 4:3. It is an old word that was sometimes employed for seizing a prisoner (Lu 22:54) and for conception (con-capio) by a woman (Lu 1:24). So that they began to sink [hōste buthizesthai auta]. Consecutive use of [hōste] and the infinitive (present tense, inchoative use, beginning to sink). An old verb from [buthos]. In the N.T. only here and 1Ti 6:9.

5:8 Fell down at Jesus’ knees [prosepesen tois gonasin Iēsou]. Just like Peter, from extreme self-confidence and pride (verse 5) to abject humilation. But his impulse here was right and sincere. His confession was true. He was a sinful man.

5:9 For he was amazed [thambos gar perieschen]. Literally, For a wonder held him round. Aorist active indicative. It held Peter fast and all the rest.

5:10 Thou shalt catch men [esēi zōgrōn]. Periphrastic future indicative, emphasizing the linear idea. The old verb [Zōgreō] means to catch alive, not to kill. So then Peter is to be a catcher of men, not of fish, and to catch them alive and for life, not dead and for death. The great Pentecost will one day prove that Christ’s prophecy will come true. Much must happen before that great day. But Jesus foresees the possibilities in Simon and he joyfully undertakes the task of making a fisher of men out of this poor fisher of fish.

5:11 They left all, and followed him [aphentes panta ēkolouthēsan]. Then and there. They had already become his disciples. Now they leave their business for active service of Christ. The conduct of this group of business men should make other business men to pause and see if Jesus is calling them to do likewise.

5:12 Behold [kai idou]. Quite a Hebraistic idiom, this use of [kai] after [egeneto] (almost like [hoti] with [idou] (interjection) and no verb. Full of leprosy [plērēs lepras]. Mr 1:40 and Mt 8:2 have simply “a leper” which see. Evidently a bad case full of sores and far advanced as Luke the physician notes. The law (Le 13:12f.) curiously treated advanced cases as less unclean than the earlier stages. Fell on his face [pesōn epi prosōpon]. Second aorist active participle of [piptō], common verb. Mr 1:40 has “kneeling” [gonupetōn] and Mt 8:40 “worshipped” [prosekunei]. All three attitudes were possible one after the other. All three Synoptics quote the identical language of the leper and the identical answer of Jesus. His condition of the third class turned on the “will” [thelēis] of Jesus who at once asserts his will [thēlō] and cleanses him. All three likewise mention the touch [hēpsato], verse 13) of Christ’s hand on the unclean leper and the instantaneous cure.

5:14 To tell no man [mēdeni eipein]. This is an indirect command after the verb “charged” [parēggeilen]. But Luke changes (constructio variata) to the direct quotation, a common idiom in Greek and often in Luke (Ac 1:4f.). Here in the direct form he follows Mr 1:43; Mt 8:4. See discussion there about the direction to go to the priest to receive a certificate showing his cleansing, like our release from quarantine (Le 13:39; 14:2-32). For a testimony unto them [eis marturion autois]. The use of [autois] (them) here is “according to sense,” as we say, for it has no antecedent in the context, just to people in general. But this identical phrase with absence of direct reference occurs in Mark and Matthew, pretty good proof of the use of one by the other. Both Mt 8:4; Lu 5:14 follow Mr 1:44.

5:15 So much the more [māllon]. Mr 1:45 has only “much” [polla], many), but Mark tells more about the effect of this disobedience. Went abroad [diērcheto]. Imperfect tense. The fame of Jesus kept going. Came together [sunērchonto]. Imperfect tense again. The more the report spread, the more the crowds came.

5:16 But he withdrew himself in the deserts and prayed [autos de ēn hupochōrōn en tais erēmois kai proseuchomenos]. Periphrastic imperfects. Literally, “But he himself was with drawing in the desert places and praying.” The more the crowds came as a result of the leper’s story, the more Jesus turned away from them to the desert regions and prayed with the Father. It is a picture of Jesus drawn with vivid power. The wild enthusiasm of the crowds was running ahead of their comprehension of Christ and his mission and message. [Hupochōreō] (perhaps with the notion of slipping away secretly, [hupo-] is a very common Greek verb, but in the N.T. occurs in Luke alone. Elsewhere in the N.T. [anachōreō] (to go back) appears.

5:17 That [kai]. Use of [kai] = [hoti] (that) like the Hebrew wav, though found in Greek also. He [autos]. Luke sometimes has [autos] in the nominative as unemphatic “he” as here, not “he himself.” Was teaching [ēn didaskōn]. Periphrastic imperfect again like our English idiom. Were sitting by [ēsan kathēmenoi]. Periphrastic imperfect again. There is no “by” in the Greek. Doctors of the law [nomodidaskaloi]. A compound word formed after analogy of [hierodidaskalos], but not found outside of the N.T. and ecclesiastical writers, one of the very few words apparently N.T. in usage. It appears here and Ac 5:34; 1Ti 1:7. It is not likely that Luke and Paul made the word, but they simply used the term already in current use to describe teachers and interpreters of the law. Our word “doctor” is Latin for “teacher.” These “teachers of the law” are called elsewhere in the Gospels “scribes” [grammateis] as in Matthew and Mark (see on Mt 5:20; 23:34) and Lu 5:21; 19:47; 21:1; 22:2. Luke also employs [nomikos] (one skilled in the law, [nomos] as in 10:25. One thinks of our LL.D. (Doctors of Civil and Canon Law), for both were combined in Jewish law. They were usually Pharisees (mentioned here for the first time in Luke) for which see on Mt 3:7,20). Luke will often speak of the Pharisees hereafter. Not all the “Pharisees” were “teachers of the law” so that both terms often occur together as in verse 21 where Luke has separate articles [hoi grammateis kai hoi Pharisaioi], distinguishing between them, though one article may occur as in Mt 5:20 or no article as here in verse 17. Luke alone mentions the presence here of these Pharisees and doctors of the law “which were come” [hoi ēsan elēluthotes], periphrastic past perfect active, had come). Out of every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem [ek pasēs kōmēs tēs Galilaias kai Ioudaias kai Ierousalēm]. Edersheim (Jewish Social Life) observes that the Jews distinguished Jerusalem as a separate district in Judea. Plummer considers it hyperbole in Luke to use “every village.” But one must recall that Jesus had already made one tour of Galilee which stirred the Pharisees and rabbis to active opposition. Judea had already been aroused and Jerusalem was the headquarters of the definite campaign now organized against Jesus. One must bear in mind that Joh 4:1-4 shows that Jesus had already left Jerusalem and Judea because of the jealousy of the Pharisees. They are here on purpose to find fault and to make charges against Jesus. One must not forget that there were many kinds of Pharisees and that not all of them were as bad as these legalistic and punctilious hypocrites who deserved the indictment and exposure of Christ in Mt 23. Paul himself is a specimen of the finer type of Pharisee which, however, developed into the persecuting fanatic till Jesus changed his whole life. The power of the Lord was with him to heal [dunamis Kuriou ēn eis to iāsthai auton]. So the best texts. It is neat Greek, but awkward English: “Then was the power of the Lord for the healing as to him (Jesus).” Here [Kuriou] refers to Jehovah. Dunamis (dynamite) is one of the common words for “miracles” [dunameis]. What Luke means is that Jesus had the power of the Lord God to heal with. He does not mean that this power was intermittent. He simply calls attention to its presence with Jesus on this occasion.

5:18 That was palsied [hos ēn paralelumenos]. Periphrastic past perfect passive where Mr 2:3; Mt 9:2 have [paralutikon] (our paralytic). Luke’s phrase is the technical medical term (Hippocrates, Galen, etc.) rather than Mark’s vernacular word (Ramsay, Luke the Physician, pp. 57f.). They sought [ezētoun]. Conative imperfect.

5:19 By what way they might bring him in [poias eis enegkōsin auton]. Deliberative subjunctive of the direct question retained in the indirect. The housetop [to dōma]. Very old word. The flat roof of Jewish houses was usually reached by outside stairway. Cf. Ac 10:9 where Peter went for meditation. Through the tiles [dia tōn keramōn]. Common and old word for the tile roof. Mr 2:4 speaks of digging a hole in this tile roof. Let him down [kathēkan auton]. First aorist (k aorist) effective active of [kathiēmi], common verb. Mr 2:4 has historical present [chalōsi], the verb used by Jesus to Peter and in Peter’s reply (Lu 5:4f.). With his couch [sun tōi klinidiōi]. Also in verse 24. Diminutive of [klinē] (verse 18) occurring in Plutarch and Koinē writers. Mr 2:4 has [krabatton] (pallet). It doubtless was a pallet on which the paralytic lay. Into the midst before Jesus [eis to meson emprosthen tou Iēsou]. The four friends had succeeded, probably each holding a rope to a corner of the pallet. It was a moment of triumph over difficulties and surprise to all in the house (Peter’s apparently, Mr 2:1).

5:20 Their faith [tēn pistin autōn]. In all three Gospels. Man [anthrōpe]. Mark and Matthew have “child” or “Son” [teknon]. Are forgiven [apheōntai]. This Doric form of the perfect passive indicative is for the Attic [apheintai]. It appears also in Lu 5:23; 7:47,48; Joh 20:23; 1Jo 2:12. Mr 2:6; Mt 9:2 have the present passive [aphientai]. Possibly this man’s malady was due to his sin as is sometimes true (Joh 5:14). The man had faith along with that of the four, but he was still a paralytic when Jesus forgave his sins.

5:21 But God alone [ei mē monos ho theos]. Mark has [heis] (one) instead of [monos] (alone).

5:22 Perceiving [epignous]. Same form (second aorist active participle of [epiginōskō], common verb for knowing fully) in Mr 2:8. Reason ye [dialogizesthe] as in Mr 2:8. Mt 9:4 has [enthumeisthe].

5:24 He saith unto him that was palsied [eipen tōi paralelumenōi]. This same parenthesis right in the midst of the words of Jesus is in Mr 2:11; Mt 9:6, conclusive proof of interrelation between these documents. The words of Jesus are quoted practically alike in all three Gospels, the same purpose also [hina eidēte] (second perfect active subjunctive).

5:25 Whereon he lay [eph’ ho katekeito]. Imperfect, upon which he had been lying down. Luke uses this phrase instead of repeating [klinidion] (verse 24). Glorifying God [doxazōn ton theon]. As one can well imagine.

5:26 Amazement [ekstasis]. Something out of its place, as the mind. Here the people were almost beside themselves as we say with the same idiom. See on Mr 5:42. So they kept glorifying God (imperfect tense, [edoxazon] and at the same time “were filled with fear” [eplēsthēsan phobou], aorist passive). Strange things [paradoxa]. Our very word paradox, contrary to [para] received opinion [doxa]. Plato, Xenophon, and Polybius use it. Here alone in the N.T.

5:27 A publican named Levi [telōnen onomati Leuein]. Mr 2:13 has also “The son of Alphaeus” while Mt 9:9 calls him “Matthew.” He had, of course, both names. All three use the same words [epi to telōnion] for the place of toll. See discussion of publican [telōnēs] on Mt 9:9. All three Gospels give the command of Jesus, Follow me [akolouthei].

5:28 He forsook all [katalipōn panta]. This detail in Luke alone. He left his profitable business for the service of Christ. Followed him [ēkolouthei autōi]. Imperfect active, perhaps inchoative. He began at once to follow him and he kept it up. Both Mr 2:14; Mt 9:9 have the aorist [ēkolouthēsen], perhaps ingressive.

5:29 A great feast [dochēn megalēn]. Here and in Lu 14:13 only in the N.T. The word [dochē], from [dechomai], means reception. Occurs in Plutarch and LXX. Levi made Jesus a big reception. Publicans and others [telōnōn kai allōn]. Luke declines here to use “sinners” like Mr 2:15 and Mt 9:10 though he does so in verse 30 and in 15:1. None but social outcasts would eat with publicans at such a feast or barbecue, for it was a very large affair. Were sitting at meat with them [ēsan met’ autōn katakeimenoi]. Literally, were reclining with them (Jesus and the disciples). It was a motley crew that Levi had brought together, but he showed courage as well as loyalty to Jesus.

5:30 The Pharisees and their scribes [hoi Pharisaioi kai hoi grammateis autōn]. Note article with each substantive and the order, not “scribes and Pharisees,” but “the Pharisees and the scribes of them” (the Pharisees). Some manuscripts omit “their,” but Mr 2:16 (the scribes of the Pharisees) shows that it is correct here. Some of the scribes were Sadducees. It is only the Pharisees who find fault here. Murmured [egogguzon]. Imperfect active. Picturesque onomatopoetic word that sounds like its meaning. A late word used of the cooing of doves. It is like the buzzing of bees, like [tonthorruzō] of literary Greek. They were not invited to this feast and would not have come if they had been. But, not being invited, they hang on the outside and criticize the disciples of Jesus for being there. The crowd was so large that the feast may have been served out in the open court at Levi’s house, a sort of reclining garden party. The publicans and sinners [tōn telōnōn kai hamartōlōn]. Here Luke is quoting the criticism of the critics. Note one article making one group of all of them.

5:31 They that are whole [hoi hugiainontes]. Old Greek word for good health from [hugiēs], sound in body. So also in Lu 7:10; 15:27; 3Jo 1:2. This is the usual word for good health used by Greek medical writers. Mr 2:17; Mt 9:12 have [hoi ischuontes] (those who have strength).

5:32 To repentance [eis metanoian]. Alone in Luke not genuine in Mr 2:17; Mt 9:12. Only sinners would need a call to repentance, a change of mind and life. For the moment Jesus accepts the Pharisaic division between “righteous” and “sinners” to score them and to answer their criticism. At the other times he will show that they only pretend to be “righteous” and are “hypocrites” in reality. But Jesus has here blazed the path for all soul-winners. The self-satisfied are the hard ones to win and they often resent efforts to win them to Christ.

5:33 Often [pukna]. Only in Luke. Common word for thick, compact, often. And make supplications [kai deēseis poiountai]. Only in Luke. But thine [hoi de soi]. Sharp contrast between the conduct of the disciples of Jesus and those of John and the Pharisees who here appear together as critics of Christ and his disciples (Mr 2:18; Mt 9:14), though Luke does not bring that out sharply. It is probable that Levi had his reception for Jesus on one of the Jewish fast days and, if so, this would give special edge to their criticism.

5:34 Can ye [mē dunasthe]. So Luke, adding make, [poiēsai], where Mark and Matthew have [mē dunantai]. All three have [] and expect the answer no.

5:35 Then in those days [tote en ekeinais tais hēmerais]. Here Mr 2:20 has “then in that day,” and Mt 9:15 only “then.”

5:36 Also a parable [kai parabolēn]. There are three parables here in the answer of Jesus (the bridegroom, the patch on the garment, the wineskin). They are not called parables save here, but they are parables and Luke’s language means that. Rendeth [schisas]. This in Luke alone. Common verb. Used of splitting rocks (Mt 27:51. Our word schism comes from it. Putteth it [epiballei]. So Mt 9:16 when Mr 2:21 has [epiraptei] (sews on). The word for “piece” or “patch” [epiblēma] in all the three Gospels is from the verb [epiballō], to clap on, and is in Plutarch, Arrian, LXX, though the verb is as old as Homer. See on Matthew and Mark for distinction between [kainos] (fresh), [neos] (new), and [palaios] (old). He will rend the new [kai to kainon schisei]. Future active indicative. So the best MSS. Will not agree [ou sumphōnēsei]. Future active indicative. So the best manuscripts again. With the old [tōi palaiōi]. Associative instrumental case. Instead of this phrase in Luke, Mr 2:21; Mt 9:16 have “a worse rent” [cheiron schisma].

5:38 Must be put [blēteon]. This verbal adjective in [-teos] rather than [-tos] appears here alone in the N.T. though it is common enough in Attic Greek. It is a survival of the literary style. This is the impersonal use and is transitive in sense here and governs the accusative “new wine” [oinon neon], though the agent is not expressed (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1097).

5:39 The old is good [Ho palaios chrēstos estin]. So the best MSS. rather that [chrēstoteros], comparative (better). Westcott and Hort wrongly bracket the whole verse, though occurring in Aleph, B C L and most of the old documents. It is absent in D and some of the old Latin MSS. It is the philosophy of the obscurantist, that is here pictured by Christ. “The prejudiced person will not even try the new, or admit that it has any merits. He knows that the old is pleasant, and suits him; and that is enough; he is not going to change” (Plummer). This is Christ’s picture of the reactionary Pharisees.

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