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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Luke: Chapter 17)

17:1 {It is impossible} (\anendekton estin\). See \ouk
endechetai\ in 13:33. Alpha privative (\an-\) and \endektos\,
verbal adjective, from \endechomai\. The word occurs only in late
Greek and only here in the N.T. The meaning is inadmissible,
unallowable. {But that occasions of stumbling should come} (\tou
ta skandala mē elthein\)
. This genitive articular infinitive is
not easy to explain. In Ac 10:25 there is another example where
the genitive articular infinitive seems to be used as a
nominative (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 1040). The loose Hebrew
infinitive construction may have a bearing here, but one may
recall that the original infinitives were either locatives
(\-eni\) or datives (\-ai\). \Ta skandala\ is simply the
accusative of general reference. Literally, the not coming as to
occasions of stumbling. For \skandalon\ (a trap) see on ¯Mt 5:29;
16:23. It is here only in Luke. The positive form of this saying
appears in Mt 18:7, which see.

17:2 {It were well for him} (\lusitelei autōi\). An old word, but
only here in the N.T., from \lusitelēs\ and this from \luō\, to
pay, and \ta telē\, the taxes. So it pays the taxes, it returns
expenses, it is profitable. Literally here, "It is profitable for
him" (dative case, \autōi\). Matthew has \sumpherei\ (it is
advantageous, bears together for)
. {If a millstone were hanged}
(\ei lithos mulikos perikeitai\). Literally, "if a millstone is
hanged." Present passive indicative from \perikeimai\ (to lie or
be placed around)
. It is used as a perfect passive of
\peritithēmi\. So it is a first-class condition, determined as
fulfilled, not second-class as the English translations imply.
\Mulikos\ is simply a stone (\lithos\), belonging to a mill. Here
only in the text of Westcott and Hort, not in Mr 9:42 which is
like Mt 18:6 \mulos onikos\ where the upper millstone is turned
by an ass, which see. {Were thrown} (\erriptai\). Perfect passive
indicative from \rhiptō\, old verb. Literally, is thrown or has
been thrown or cast or hurled. Mark has \beblētai\ and Matthew
\katapontisthēi\, which see, all three verbs vivid and
expressive. Rather than (\ē\). The comparative is not here
expressed before \ē\ as one would expect. It is implied in
\lusitelei\. See the same idiom in Lu 15:7.

17:3 {If thy brother sin} (\ean hamartēi\). Second aorist
(ingressive) subjunctive in condition of third class.

17:4 {Seven times in a day} (\heptakis tēs hēmeras\). Seven times
within the day. On another occasion Peter's question (Mt 18:21)
brought Christ's answer "seventy times seven" (verse 22), which
see. Seven times during the day would be hard enough for the same

17:5 {Increase} (\prosthes\). Second aorist active imperative of
\prostithēmi\, to add to. Bruce thinks that this sounds much like
the stereotyped petition in church prayers. A little reflection
will show that they should answer the prayer themselves.

17:6 {If ye have} (\ei echete\). Condition of the first class,
assumed to be true. {Ye would say} (\elegete an\). Imperfect
active with \an\ and so a conclusion (apodosis) of the second
class, determined as unfulfilled, a mixed condition therefore.
{Sycamine tree} (\sukaminōi\). At the present time both the black
mulberry (sycamine) and the white mulberry (sycamore) exist in
Palestine. Luke alone in the N.T. uses either word, the sycamine
here, the sycamore in 19:4. The distinction is not observed in
the LXX, but it is observed in the late Greek medical writers for
both trees have medicinal properties. Hence it may be assumed
that Luke, as a physician, makes the distinction. Both trees
differ from the English sycamore. In Mt 17:20 we have
"mountain" in place of "sycamine tree." {Be thou rooted up}
(\ekrizōthēti\). First aorist passive imperative as is
\phuteuthēti\. {Would have obeyed} (\hupēkousen an\). First
aorist active indicative with \an\, apodosis of a second-class
condition (note aorist tense here, imperfect \elegete\).

17:7 {Sit down to meat} (\anapese\). Recline (for the meal).
Literally, fall up (or back).

17:8 {And will not rather say} (\all' ouk erei\). {But will not
\Ouk\ in a question expects the affirmative answer. {Gird
(\perizōsamenos\). Direct middle first aorist participle
of \perizōnnumi\, to gird around. {Till I have eaten and drunken}
(\heōs phagō kai piō\). More exactly, till I eat and drink. The
second aorist subjunctives are not future perfects in any sense,
simply punctiliar action, effective aorist. {Thou shalt eat and
(\phagesai kai piesai\). Future middle indicative second
person singular, the uncontracted forms \-esai\ as often in the
_Koinē_. These futures are from the aorist stems \ephagon\ and
\epion\ without _sigma_.

17:9 {Does he thank?} (\mē echei charin;\). \Mē\ expects the
negative answer. \Echō charin\, to have gratitude toward one, is
an old Greek idiom (1Ti 1:12; 2Ti 1:3; Heb 12:28).

17:10 {Unprofitable} (\achreioi\). The Syriac Sinaitic omits
"unprofitable." The word is common in Greek literature, but in
the N.T. only here and Mt 25:30 where it means "useless" (\a\
privative and \chreios\ from \chraomai\, to use)
. The slave who
only does what he is commanded by his master to do has gained no
merit or credit. "In point of fact it is not commands, but
demands we have to deal with, arising out of special emergencies"
(Bruce). The slavish spirit gains no promotion in business life
or in the kingdom of God.

17:11 {Through the midst of Samaria and Galilee} (\dia meson
Samarias kai Galilaias\)
. This is the only instance in the N.T.
of \dia\ with the accusative in the local sense of "through."
Xenophon and Plato use \dia mesou\ (genitive). Jesus was going
from Ephraim (Joh 11:54) north through the midst of Samaria and
Galilee so as to cross over the Jordan near Bethshean and join
the Galilean caravan down through Perea to Jerusalem. The
Samaritans did not object to people going north away from
Jerusalem, but did not like to see them going south towards the
city (Lu 9:51-56).

17:12 {Which stood afar off} (\hoi anestēsan porrōthen\). The
margin of Westcott and Hort reads simply \estēsan\. The compound
read by B means "rose up," but they stood at a distance (Le
. The first healing of a leper (5:12-16) like this is
given by Luke only.

17:13 {Lifted up} (\ēran\). First aorist active of the liquid
verb \airō\.

17:14 {As they went} (\en tōi hupagein autous\). Favourite Lukan
idiom of \en\ with articular infinitive as in 17:11 and often.

17:16 {And he was a Samaritan} (\kai autos ēn Samareitēs\). This
touch colours the whole incident. The one man who felt grateful
enough to come back and thank Jesus for the blessing was a
despised Samaritan. The \autos\ has point here.

17:18 {Save this stranger} (\ei mē ho allogenēs\). The old word
was \allophulos\ (Ac 10:28), but \allogenēs\ occurs in the LXX,
Josephus, and inscriptions. Deissmann (_Light from the Ancient
East_, p. 80)
gives the inscription from the limestone block from
the Temple of Israel in Jerusalem which uses this very word which
may have been read by Jesus: {Let no foreigner enter within the
screen and enclosure surrounding the sanctuary}
allogenē eisporeuesthai entos tou peri to hieron truphaktou kai

17:20 {With observation} (\meta paratēseōs\). Late Greek word
from \paratēreō\, to watch closely. Only here in the N.T. Medical
writers use it of watching the symptoms of disease. It is used
also of close astronomical observations. But close watching of
external phenomena will not reveal the signs of the kingdom of

17:21 {Within you} (\entos humōn\). This is the obvious, and, as
I think, the necessary meaning of \entos\. The examples cited of
the use of \entos\ in Xenophon and Plato where \entos\ means
"among" do not bear that out when investigated. Field (_Ot.
"contends that there is no clear instance of \entos\ in
the sense of among" (Bruce), and rightly so. What Jesus says to
the Pharisees is that they, as others, are to look for the
kingdom of God within themselves, not in outward displays and
supernatural manifestations. It is not a localized display "Here"
or "There." It is in this sense that in Lu 11:20 Jesus spoke of
the kingdom of God as "come upon you" (\ephthasen eph' humās\),
speaking to Pharisees. The only other instance of \entos\ in the
N.T. (Mt 23:26) necessarily means "within" ("the inside of the
. There is, beside, the use of \entos\ meaning "within" in
the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus saying of Jesus of the Third Century
(Deissmann, _Light from the Ancient East_, p. 426) which is
interesting: "The kingdom of heaven is within you" (\entos humōn\
as here in Lu 17:21)

17:23 {Go not away nor follow after them} (\mē apelthēte mēde
. Westcott and Hort bracket \apelthēte mēde\. Note
aorist subjunctive with \mē\ in prohibition, ingressive aorist.
Do not rush after those who set times and places for the second
advent. The Messiah was already present in the first advent
(verse 21) though the Pharisees did not know it.

17:24 {Lighteneth} (\astraptousa\). An old and common verb,
though only here and 24:4 in the N.T. The second coming will be
sudden and universally visible. There are still some poor souls
who are waiting in Jerusalem under the delusion that Jesus will
come there and nowhere else.

17:25 {But first} (\prōton de\). The second coming will be only
after the Cross.

17:27 {They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in
(\ēsthion, epinon, egamoun, egamizonto\). Imperfects
all of them vividly picturing the life of the time of Noah. But
the other tenses are aorists (Noah entered \eisēlthen\, the flood
came \ēlthen\, destroyed \apōlesen\)

17:28 Note the same sharp contrast between the imperfects here
({ate} \ēsthion\, {drank} \epinon\, {bought} \ēgorazon\, {sold}
\epōloun\, {planted} \ephuteuon\, {builded} \ōikodomoun\)
and the
aorists in verse 29 ({went out} \exēlthen\, {rained} \ebrexen\,
{destroyed} \apōlesen\)

17:30 {Is revealed} (\apokaluptetai\). Prophetic and futuristic
present passive indicative.

17:31 {Let him not go down} (\mē katabatō\). Second aorist active
imperative of \katabainō\ with \mē\ in a prohibition in the third
person singular. The usual idiom here would be \mē\ and the
aorist subjunctive. See Mr 13:15f.; Mt 24:17f. when these words
occur in the great eschatological discussion concerning flight
before the destruction of Jerusalem. Here the application is
"absolute indifference to all worldly interests as the attitude
of readiness for the Son of Man" (Plummer).

17:32 {Remember Lot's wife} (\mnēmoneuete tēs gunaikos Lōt\).
Here only in the N.T. A pertinent illustration to warn against
looking back with yearning after what has been left behind (Ge

17:33 {Shall preserve it} (\zōogonēsei autēn\). Or save it alive.
Here only in the N.T. except 1Ti 6:13; Ac 7:19. It is a late
word and common in medical writers, to bring forth alive (\zōos,
and here to keep alive.

17:34 {In that night} (\tautēi tēi nukti\). More vivid still, "on
this night," when Christ comes.

17:35 {Shall be grinding} (\esontai alēthousai\). Periphrastic
future active indicative of \alēthō\, an old verb only in the
N.T. here and Mt 24:41. {Together} (\epi to auto\). In the same
place, near together as in Ac 2:1.

17:37 {The eagles} (\hoi aetoi\). Or the vultures attracted by
the carcass. This proverb is quoted also in Mt 24:28. See Job
39:27-30; Heb 1:8; Ho 8:1. Double compound (\epi-sun-\) in
\epi-sun-achthēsontai\ completes the picture.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Luke: Chapter 17)