Luke 11

The forms of prayer which John taught his disciples, would have possessed peculiar interest, as the earliest forms under the Christian dispensation; but they have not been preserved.

In this passage, 2-4, Jesus prescribes a form; on other occasions, he used extemporaneous prayer. Both are proper modes of addressing the Supreme Being. A form is suitable for occasions of the same kind, often recurring; and the relief which it affords, in respect to intellectual effort, is in many cases needed;—as in the daily devotions of a child, and sometimes in the religious services of a family. It has great advantages, too, as well as disadvantages, as a mode of public worship, on the Sabbath. There are, however, constantly occurring, exigencies in which the soul is urged to express its desires in its own spontaneous language. Both, therefore, are proper modes of prayer; and both are adopted, though in different degrees and proportions, by all denominations of Christians. Matthew records substantially the same form of prayer as prescribed by our Savior when delivering the sermon on the mount.

At midnight; in the night. Travellers were accustomed to avoid the heat of the day, and extend their journey late into the evening or night.

With me in bed; that is, my children, as well as myself, are in bed.

If ye then, being evil; that is, if men, unfeeling and selfish as human nature is, &c.—The Holy Spirit. This expression seems to imply that Jesus considered it of course that these earnest requests of his disciples would be for spiritual favors. There cannot, in fact, be this eager and unhesitating importunity, in asking for temporal mercies or for deliverance from temporal ills. There will always be, in a soul imbued with a right spirit, a certain reserve and qualification,—If it be possible,—or, Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.

It was dumb; that is, it made the man dumb.

Sought of him, &c. They pretended to consider the cures which he had effected as not satisfactory evidence of his divine mission, and they accordingly challenged him to bring to pass some great prodigy, in the heavens, in order to display his power more conspicuously.

The verses which follow, to v. 22, are the Savior's reply to the allegations in the 15th verse. The reply to the requisition made in the 16th is contained in 29-32.

That is, the power of Satan could not be thus encountered and destroyed, but by an enemy, and an enemy stronger than the one thus overcome.

This seems to be a proverbial expression, meaning, generally, that they who act in opposition to one another, are enemies, not friends. In this view, its application to what precedes is obvious.

The class of sufferers here alluded to were sometimes, it would seem, apparently relieved by the arts of exorcists, and perhaps by medical treatment; but then it often occurred, in such cases, that, after a short interval of rest and composure, the demoniacal frenzy would return with new and more terrible violence than before. So Jesus predicted that the Jewish nation, upon which his ministry produced a temporary good effect, would soon abandon itself to oduracy and wickedness again.

Seek a sign. See v. 16.

This was an allusion to the Savior's descent into the tomb, which could not have been fully understood until after his ascension.

For the narrative here referred to, see 1 Kings 10.

As the light of the body is the eye, so the understanding is the light of the soul. When, therefore, the understanding is warped and depraved by wicked prejudices, as it was with these Jews, who had perverted all that Jesus had said, and misrepresented all that he had done, the whole soul is necessarily involved in darkness and error. An eye single represents an understanding free, honest, candid,—willing to see, and to know and admit the truth.

Besought him to dine with him; with no friendly feelings, however, as would seem from the conversation which ensued.

But your inward part, &c.; that is, the inward part of the cup and the platter. The meaning is, that within they were filled with the fruits of injustice and wickedness. This is evident from the phraseology of the parallel passage. (Matt. 23:25, 26.)

There is considerable difficulty in interpreting these two verses, so as to exhibit a meaning clearly in connection with what precedes. The passage is obscure in the original.

Tithe mint, &c.; ye are very scrupulous in paying tithes on garden herbs of trifling value.

Thus saying; that is, not particularly by the last denunciation, but by the whole course of his remarks.

It would appear, from a comparison of this with the parallel passage, (Matt. 23:29-31,) that the meaning is, that, while they hypocritically professed to venerate the memory of the prophets, their whole conduct showed that they partook of the spirit which led their fathers to slay them.

Zacharias; evidently, from the connection, one of the last of the prophets that had been slain; perhaps the person mentioned 2 Chron. 24:20, 21,—It shall be required of this generation; that is, by perpetrating similar deeds, they had involved themselves in one common guilt with their fathers.

To provoke him, to press him strongly.

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