Luke 8

CHAPTER VIII.

Jesus preaches through every city and village, 1.

Women minister to him, 2, 3.

Instructs the multitudes by the parable of the sower, 4-8.

Explains it at large to his disciples, 9-15.

Directions how to improve by hearing the Gospel, 16-18.

His mother and brethren seek him, 19-21.

He and his disciples go upon the lake, and are taken in a

storm, 22-25.

They arrive among the Gadarenes, 26,

where he cures a demoniac, 27-39.

He returns from the Gadarenes, and is requested by Jairus to

heal his daughter, 40-42.

On the way he cures a diseased woman, 43-48.

Receives information that the daughter of Jairus is dead, 49.

Exhorts the father to believe; arrives at the house, and raises

the dead child to life, 60-66.

NOTES ON CHAP VIII.

Verse 1. Throughout every city and village] That is, of Galilee.

Verse 2. Out of whom went seven devils]. Who had been possessed

in a most extraordinary manner; probably a case of inveterate

lunacy, brought on by the influence of evil spirits. The number

seven may here express the superlative degree.

Mary Magdalene is commonly thought to have been a prostitute

before she came to the knowledge of Christ, and then to have been

a remarkable penitent. So historians and painters represent her:

but neither from this passage, nor from any other of the New

Testament, can such a supposition be legitimately drawn. She is

here represented as one who had been possessed with seven demons;

and as one among other women who had been healed by Christ of evil

(or wicked) spirits and infirmities. As well might Joanna and

Susanna, mentioned Lu 8:3, come in for a share of the censure

as this Mary Magdalene; for they seem to have been dispossessed

likewise by Jesus, according to St. Luke's account of them. They

had all had infirmities, of what sort it is not said, and those

infirmities were occasioned by evil spirits within them; and Jesus

had healed them all: but Mary Magdalene, by her behaviour, and

constant attendance on Jesus in his life-time, at his crucifixion,

and at his grave, seems to have exceeded all the other women in

duty and respect to his person. Bishop PEARCE.

There is a marvellous propensity in commentators to make some of

the women mentioned in the Sacred Writings appear as women of ill

fame; therefore Rahab must be a harlot; and Mary Magdalene, a

prostitute: and yet nothing of the kind can be proved either in

the former or in the latter case; nor in that mentioned Lu 7:36,

&c., where see the notes. Poor Mary Magdalene is made the

patroness of penitent prostitutes, both by Papists and

Protestants; and to the scandal of her name, and the reproach

of the Gospel, houses fitted up for the reception of such are

termed Magdalene hospitals! and the persons themselves Magdalenes!

There is not only no proof that this person was such as

commentators represent her, but there is the strongest presumptive

proof against it: for, if she ever had been such, it would have

been contrary to every rule of prudence, and every dictate of

wisdom, for Christ and his apostles to have permitted such a

person to associate with them, however fully she might have been

converted to God, and however exemplary her life, at that time,

might have been. As the world, who had seen her conduct, and knew

her character, (had she been such as is insinuated,) could not see

the inward change, and as they sought to overwhelm Christ and his

disciples with obloquy and reproach on every occasion, they would

certainly have availed themselves of so favourable an opportunity

to subject the character and ministry of Christ to the blackest

censure, had he permitted even a converted prostitute to minister

to him and his disciples. They were ready enough to say that he

was the friend of publicans and sinners, because he conversed with

them in order to instruct and save their souls; but they could

never say he was a friend of prostitutes, because it does not

appear that such persons ever came to Christ; or that he, in the

way of his ministry, ever went to them. I conclude therefore that

the common opinion is a vile slander on the character of one of

the best women mentioned in the Gospel of God; and a reproach cast

on the character and conduct of Christ and his disciples. From the

whole account of Mary Magdalene, it is highly probable that she

was a person of great respectability in that place; such a person

as the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, could associate with, and a

person on whose conduct or character the calumniating Jews could

cast no aspersions.

Verse 3. Herod's steward] Though the original word, επιτροπος,

signifies sometimes the inspector or overseer of a province, and

sometimes a tutor of children, yet here it seems to signify the

overseer of Herod's domestic affairs: the steward of his

household. Steward of the household was an office in the king's

palace by s. 24, of Hen. VIII. The person is now entitled lord

steward of the king's household, and the office is, I believe,

more honourable and of more importance than when it was first

created. Junius derives the word from the Islandic stivardur,

which is compounded of stia, work, and vardur, a keeper, or

overseer: hence our words, warder, warden, ward, guard,

guardian, &c. The Greek word in Hebrew letters is frequent in

the rabbinical writings, , and signifies among them the

deputy ruler of a province. See Clarke on Lu 16:1. In the Islandic

version, it is forsionarmanns.

Unto him] Instead of αυτω, to him, meaning Christ, many of

the best MSS. and versions have αυτοις, to them, meaning both our

Lord and the twelve apostles, see Lu 8:1. This is unquestionably

the true meaning. Christ receives these assistances and

ministrations, says pious Quesnel,-

1. To honour poverty by subjecting himself to it.

2. To humble himself in receiving from his creatures.

3. That he may teach the ministers of the Gospel to depend on

the providence of their heavenly Father.

4. To make way for the gratitude of those he had healed. And,

5. That he might not be burthensome to the poor to whom he went

to preach.

Verse 5. A sower went out to sow] See all this parable largely

explained on Mt 13:1-23.

Verse 12. Those by the way side] Bishop PEARCE thinks that Luke

by ον here means σποροι, the seeds, though he acknowledges that

he has never found such a word as σποροι in the plural number

signifying seeds.

Verse 15. With patience.] Rather, with perseverance. The Greek

word υπομονη, which our translators render patience, properly

signifies here, and in Ro 2:7,

perseverance. The good ground, because it is good, strong and

vigorous, continues to bear: bad or poor ground cannot produce a

good crop, and besides it is very soon exhausted. The persons

called the good ground in the text are filled with the power and

influence of God, and therefore continue to bring forth fruit;

i.e. they persevere in righteousness. From this we may learn that

the perseverance of the saints, as it is termed, necessarily

implies that they continue to bring forth fruit to the glory of

God. Those who are not fruitful are not in a state of

perseverance.

Verse 16. Lighted a candle] This is a repetition of a part of

our Lord's sermon on the mount. See the notes on Mt 5:15; 10:26;

and on Mr 4:21, 22.

Verse 17. For nothing is secret, &c.] Whatever I teach you in

private, ye shall teach publicly; and ye shall illustrate and

explain every parable now delivered to the people.

Verse 18. Even that which he seemeth to have.] Or rather, even

what he hath. οδοκειεχειν, rendered by our common version, what

he seemeth to have, seems to me to contradict itself. Let us

examine this subject a little.

1. To seem to have a thing, is only to have it in appearance,

and not in reality; but what is possessed in appearance only can

only be taken away in appearance; therefore on the one side there

is no gain, and on the other side no loss. On this ground, the

text speaks just nothing.

2. It is evident that οδοκειεχειν, what he seemeth to have,

here, is equivalent to οεχει, what he hath, in the parallel

places, Mr 4:25; Mt 13:12; 25:29; and in Lu 19:26.

3. It is evident, also, that these persons had something which

might be taken away from them. For 1. The word of God, the Divine

seed, was planted in their hearts. 2. It had already produced

some good effects; but they permitted the devil, the cares of the

world, the desire of riches, and the love of pleasure, to destroy

its produce.

4. The word δοκειν is often an expletive: so Xenophon in

Hellen, vi. οτιεδοκειπατικοςφιλοςαυτοις, Because he seemed

to be (i.e. WAS) their father's friend. So in his OEeon. Among the

cities that seemed to be (δοκουσαις, actually were) at war. So

Athenaeus, lib. vi. chap. 4. They who seemed to be (δοκουντες,

who really were) the most opulent, drank out of brazen cups.

5. It often strengthens the sense, and is thus used by the very

best Greek writers. ULPIAN, in one of his notes on Demosthenes'

Orat. Olinth. 1, quoted by Bishop PEARCE, says expressly, το

δοκεινουπαντωςεπιαμφιβολουταττουσινοιπαλαιοιαλλαπολλακις

καιεπιτουαληθευειν. The word δοκειν is used by the ancients

to express, not always what is doubtful, but oftentimes what is

true and certain. And this is manifestly its meaning in Mt 3:9;

Lu 22:24; Joh 5:39; 1Co 7:40; 10:12; 11:16; Ga 2:9;

Php 3:4; and in the text. See these meanings of the word

established beyond the possibility of successful contradiction, in

Bishop PEARCE'S notes on Mr 10:42, and in KYPKE

in loc. See also the notes on Mt 13:12.

Verse 19. His mother and brethren] See the notes on Mt 12:46,

&c., and on Mr 3:31, &c.

Verse 22. Let us go over, &c.] See Clarke on Mt 8:24, &c., and

see on Mr 4:36-41.

Verse 23. There came down a storm of wind-and they-were in

jeopardy.] This is a parallel passage to that in Jon 1:4.

There was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like

to be broken: the latter clause of which is thus translated by the

Septuagint: καιτοπλοιονεκινδυνευετουσυντριβηναι, And the ship

was in the utmost danger of being dashed to pieces. This is

exactly the state of the disciples here; and it is remarkable that

the very same word, εκινδυνευον, which we translate, were in

jeopardy, is used by the evangelist, which is found in the Greek

version above quoted. The word jeopardy, an inexpressive French

term, and utterly unfit for the place which it now occupies, is

properly the exclamation of a disappointed gamester, Jeu perdu!

The game is lost! or, j'ai perdu! I have lost! i.e. the game.

Verse 25. Where is your faith?] Ye have a power to believe, and

yet do not exercise it! Depend on God. Ye have little faith,

(Mt 8:26,) because you do not use the grace which I have

already given you. Many are looking for more faith without using

that which they have. It is as possible to hide this talent as any

other.

Verse 26. The country of the Gedarenes] Or, according to several

MSS., Gerasenes or Gergasenes. See Clarke on Mt 8:28, and

See Clarke on Mr 5:1.

Verse 27. A certain man] See the case of this demoniac

considered at large, on the parallel places, Mt 8:28-34;

Mr 5:1-20. In

India deranged persons walk at liberty through the streets and

country in all manner of dresses; sometimes entirely naked; and

often perish while strolling from place to place. It is the same

in Ireland, as there are no public asylums either there or in

India for insane people.

Verse 28. Jesus, thou Son of God most high] The words Jesus

and God are both omitted here by several MSS. I think it is very

likely that the demons mentioned neither. They were constrained in

a summary way to acknowledge his power; but it is probable they

did not pronounce names which were of such dreadful import to

themselves. The words which they spoke on the occasion seem to

have been these, What is it to thee and me, O Son of the most

high? See Clarke on Mt 8:29.

Verse 31. And they besought him that he would not command them

to go out into the deep.] In the Chaldaic philosophy, mention is

made of certain material demons, who are permitted to wander about

on the earth, and are horribly afraid of being sent into abysses

and subterranean places. Psellus says, De Daemonibus: "These

material demons fearing to be sent into abysses, and standing in

awe of the angels who send them thither, if even a man threaten to

send them thither and pronounce the names of those angels whose

office that is, it is inexpressible how much they will be

affrighted and troubled. So great will their astonishment be, that

they cannot discern the person that threatens them. And though it

be some old woman or little old man that menaces them, yet so

great is their fear that they depart as if the person who menaces

had a power to kill them." See Stanley's Chaldaic Philosophy.

Verse 33. Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into

the swine] Some critics and commentators would have us to

understand all this of the man himself, who, they say, was a most

outrageous maniac; and that, being permitted by our Lord, he ran

after the swine, and drove them all down a precipice into the sea!

This is solemn trifling indeed; or, at least, trifling with solemn

things. It is impossible to read over the account, as given here

by Luke, and admit this mode of explanation. The devils went out

of the man, and entered into the swine; i.e. the madman ran after

the swine! On this plan of interpretation there is nothing certain

in the word of God; and every man may give it what meaning he

pleases. Such comments are intolerable.

Verse 34. They fled, and went and told it] απελθοντες, They

went, is omitted by almost every MS. of repute, and by the best

of the ancient versions. Griesbach leaves it out, and with

propriety too, as it is not likely that so correct a writer as

Luke would say, They fled, and WENT and told it.

Verse 40. Gladly received him] This is the proper import of the

word απεδεξατο; therefore our translators needed not to have put

gladly in italics, as though it were not expressed in the text.

Raphelius gives several proofs of this in loc.

Verse 41. A man named Jairus] See these two miracles-the raising

of Jairus's daughter, and the cure of the afflicted

woman-considered and explained at large, on Mt 9:18-26, and

Mr 5:22-43.

Verse 42. The people thronged him.] συνεπνιγοναυτον-almost

suffocated him-so great was the throng about him.

Verse 43. Spent all her living upon physicians]

See Clarke on Mr 5:26.

Verse 46. I perceive that virtue] δυναμιν, Divine or miraculous

power. This Divine emanation did not proceed always from Christ,

as necessarily as odours do from plants, for then all who touched

him must have been equally partakers of it. Of the many that

touched him, this woman and none else received this Divine virtue;

and why? Because she came in faith. Faith alone attracts and

receives the energetic influence of God at all times. There would

be more miracles, at least of spiritual healing, were there more

faith among those who are called believers.

Verse 54. He put them all out] That is, the pipers and those who

made a noise, weeping and lamenting. See Mt 9:23; Mr 5:38.

Pompous funeral ceremonies are ridiculous in themselves, and

entirely opposed to the spirit and simplicity of the religion of

Christ. Every where they meet with his disapprobation.

Verse 55. And he commanded to give her meat.] Though she was

raised to life by a miracle, she was not to be preserved by a

miracle. Nature is God's great instrument, and he delights to work

by it; nor will he do any thing by his sovereign power, in the way

of miracle, that can be effected by his ordinary providence.

Again, God will have us be workers together with him: he provides

food for us, but he does not eat for us; we eat for ourselves, and

are thus nourished on the bounty that God has provided. Without

the food, man cannot be nourished; and unless he eat the food, it

can be of no use to him. So, God provides salvation for a lost

world, and bestows it on every penitent believing soul; but he

neither repents nor believes for any man. A man repents and

believes for himself, under the succours of God's grace.

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