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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - LUKE 17

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    17:1 {It is impossible} (anendekton estin). See ouk endecetai in #13:33. Alpha privative (an-) and endektos, verbal adjective, from endecomai. 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 me elqein). 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 autwi). An old word, but only here in the N.T., from lusiteles and this from luw, to pay, and ta tele, the taxes. So it pays the taxes, it returns expenses, it is profitable. Literally here, "It is profitable for him" (dative case, autwi). Matthew has sumferei (it is advantageous, bears together for). {If a millstone were hanged} (ei liqos 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 peritiqemi. So it is a first-class condition, determined as fulfilled, not second-class as the English translations imply. mulikos is simply a stone (liqos), 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 rhiptw, old verb. Literally, is thrown or has been thrown or cast or hurled. Mark has bebletai and Matthew katapontisqei, which see, all three verbs vivid and expressive. Rather than (e). The comparative is not here expressed before e as one would expect. It is implied in lusitelei. See the same idiom in #Lu 15:7.

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

    17:4 {Seven times in a day} (heptakis tes hemeras). 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 offender.

    17:5 {Increase} (prosqes). Second aorist active imperative of prostiqemi, 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 ecete). 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} (sukaminwi). 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} (ekrizwqeti). First aorist passive imperative as is futeuqeti. {Would have obeyed} (hupekousen 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 say?} ouk in a question expects the affirmative answer. {Gird thyself} (perizwsamenos). Direct middle first aorist participle of perizwnnumi, to gird around. {Till I have eaten and drunken} (hews fagw kai piw). 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 drink} (fagesai kai piesai). Future middle indicative second person singular, the uncontracted forms -esai as often in the _Koin‚_. These futures are from the aorist stems efagon and epion without _sigma_.

    17:9 {Does he thank?} (me ecei carin;). me expects the negative answer. ecw carin, to have gratitude toward one, is an old Greek idiom (#1Ti 1:12; 2Ti 1:3; Heb 12:28).

    17:10 {Unprofitable} (acreioi). 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 creios from craomai, 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 anestesan porrwqen). The margin of Westcott and Hort reads simply estesan. The compound read by B means "rose up," but they stood at a distance (#Le 13:45f.). The first healing of a leper (#5:12-16) like this is given by Luke only.

    17:13 {Lifted up} (eran). First aorist active of the liquid verb air".

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

    17:16 {And he was a Samaritan} (kai autos en samareites). this touch colors 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 me ho allogenes). The old word was allofulos (#Ac 10:28), but allogenes 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} (meqena allogene eisporeuesqai entos tou peri to hieron trufaktou kai peribolou).

    17:20 {With observation} (meta paratesews). Late Greek word from paraterew, 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 God.

    17:21 {Within you} (entos humwn). 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. Norv_.) "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" (efqasen ef' humas), speaking to Pharisees. The only other instance of entos in the N.T. (#Mt 23:26) necessarily means "within" ("the inside of the cup"). 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 humwn as here in #Lu 17:21).

    17:23 {Go not away nor follow after them} (me apelqete mede diwxete). Westcott and Hort bracket apelqete mede. Note aorist subjunctive with me 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} (prwton de). The second coming will be only after the Cross.

    17:27 {They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage} (esqion, epinon, egamoun, egamizonto). Imperfects all of them vividly picturing the life of the time of Noah. But the other tenses are aorists (Noah entered eiselqen, the flood came elqen, destroyed ap"lesen).

    17:28 Note the same sharp contrast between the imperfects here ({ate} esqion, {drank} epinon, {bought} egorazon, {sold} epwloun, {planted} efuteuon, {builded} "ikodomoun) and the aorists in verse #29 ({went out} exelqen, {rained} ebrexen, {destroyed} ap"lesen).

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

    17:31 {Let him not go down} (me katabatw). Second aorist active imperative of katabainw with me in a prohibition in the third person singular. The usual idiom here would be me 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} (mnemoneuete tes gunaikos lwt). Here only in the N.T. A pertinent illustration to warn against looking back with yearning after what has been left behind (#Ge 19:26).

    17:33 {Shall preserve it} (zwogonesei auten). 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 (zwos, genw) and here to keep alive.

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

    17:35 {Shall be grinding} (esontai aleqousai). Periphrastic future active indicative of aleqw, 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-acqesontai completes the picture.

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