18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint2;
PARABLE OF THE IMPORTUNATE WIDOW.
- And he spoke a parable unto them. The parable resembles that of the friend who came at midnight (Luke 11:5-10), but there the petitioner
asked a gift, and here the request is for justice and deliverance.
- To the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint. This parable teaches that the saints must be patient in prayer until the
18:2 saying, There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man1:
- There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man. An utterly abandoned character.
18:3 and there was a widow1 in that city; and she came oft unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary2.
- There was a widow. In Scripture language widowhood is symbolic of defenselessness (Exodus 22:22-24; Deuteronomy 10:18; Deuteronomy 27:19; Malachi 3:5; Mark 12:40), and
the early church concerned itself much about the welfare of widows
(Acts 6:1; Acts 9:41; 1 Timothy 5:3; James 1:27).
- Avenge me of mine adversary. Rather, Do justice to me as to my adversary.
18:4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man1;
- Though I fear not God, nor regard man, etc. The point of this soliloquy is this: Though the high motives such as accountability to
God for my office and my good name and respect among men do not lead me
to do this woman justice, yet will I do it simply to be rid of her
18:6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge saith1.
- And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge saith. This expression indicates that the Lord paused for a moment that the parable
might be fully grasped before he made the application.
18:7 And shall not God avenge his elect, that cry to him day and night1, and [yet] he is longsuffering over them?
- And shall not God avenge his elect, that cry to him day and night,
- and [yet] he is longsuffering over them? The application is an argument a fortiori, and presents a triple antithesis: (1) In the
petitioned--a just God and an unrighteous judge. (2) In the petitioners
--a despised widow and the beloved elect. (3) In the petition--the
frequent visits of the one, and the continual cries of the many.
18:8 I say unto you, that he will avenge them speedily1. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth2?
- I say unto you, that he will avenge them speedily. Though a beloved people cry continually unto a just God, yet will he in mercy be
longsuffering to their enemies, and because of the longsuffering he
will seem to delay his answer, but the delay will not be extended a
moment longer than necessary. When the season of repentance is past,
and the measure of iniquity is full (Genesis 15:16), then the Lord's
answer will be speedy, immediate.
- Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? But despite this admonition to pray without discouragement, and
this promise to answer with all speed, God's patience with the wicked,
and his consequent delays in answering the prayers of the just, will
prove such a trial to his people as to leave it questionable whether
any of them will have faith enough to pray until the coming of the
Lord. We find an echo of this passage in 2 Peter 3:1-13. Compare also
18:9 And he spake also this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought1:
PARABLE OF THE PHARISEE AND PUBLICAN.
- And he spake also this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought. It
is commonly said that this parable teaches humility in prayer, but the
preface and conclusion show that it is indeed to show forth generally
the difference between self-righteousness and humility, and that an
occasion of prayer is chosen because it best illustrates the point
which the Lord desired to teach. The parable shows that the
righteousness in which these parties trusted was devoid of that true
charity or heart-love toward God and man without which our characters
are worthless in the sight of God (Proverbs 30:12,13; Isaiah 65:5; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray1; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican2.
- Two men went up into the temple to pray. The temple was the appointed place for Jewish prayer. To it the Jew went if near at hand,
and towards it he prayed it afar off. The stated hours of prayer were 9
A.M. and 3 P.M., but men went there to pray whenever they felt like it.
- The one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The two represent the extremes of Jewish social and religious life. See Matthew 3:7
and see Luke 3:12.
18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself1, God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners2, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
- The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself. This may mean that he stood alone, withdrawing from the contamination of others, but it
seems rather to mean that he prayed having himself, rather than God,
uppermost in his thoughts.
- God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners,
- unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. His prayer is more a boast as to himself than an expression of worship toward God
(Revelation 3:17,18), and he makes the sinful record of the publican a
dark background on which to display the bright contrast of his own
character--a character for which he was thankful, and apparently with
18:12 I fast twice in the week1; I give tithes of all that I get2.
- I fast twice in the week. The law appointed one fast in the year, viz.: on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29,30), but the Pharisees fasted
on Mondays and Thursdays of each week.
- I give tithes of all that I get. I give the tenth part of my income. The law required that tithes be given from the corn, wine, oil, and
cattle (Deuteronomy 14:22,23), but the Pharisees took account of the humblest
herbs of the garden, and gave a tenth of their mint, anise, and cummin
(Matthew 23:23). Thus he confessed his virtues rather than his sins.
18:13 But the publican, standing afar off1, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven2, but smote his breast3, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner.
- But the publican, standing afar off. Remote from the Holy Place.
- Would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven. See Psalms 123:1,2; Psalms 40:12; Ezra 9:6.
- But smote his breast. As if to remind himself of the stroke of God which he so richly deserved (Nahum 2:7; Luke 23:48).
- Saying, God be thou merciful to me a sinner. He makes full confession of his sin without excuse or justification, and without
offset of righteousness. Moreover, he petitions for no temporal
blessings, but simply asks for mercy (1 Timothy 1:15).
18:14 I say unto you, This man went down to his house justified rather than the other1: for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted2.
- This man went down to his house justified rather than the other. We are taught here, as in the parable of the prodigal son, that the
penitent unrighteous are more acceptable to God than the righteous who
make no confession of their sins. See Luke 15:11-32.
- For every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. See Luke 14:11. The Pharisee
was an example of the first, and the publican of the second.
18:15 And they were bringing unto him also their babes1, that he should touch them: but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
BLESSING CHILDREN. CONCERNING CHILDLIKENESS.
Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17
- And they were bringing unto him also their babes, etc. See Mark 10:13.
18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, saying, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God1.
- Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God. See Mark 10:14.
18:17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein1.
- Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein. See Mark 9:37.
18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life1?
THE RICH RULER. PERIL OF RICHES. REWARD OF SACRIFICE. PARABLE OF
THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD.
Matthew 19:16-20:16; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30
- And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? dSee "Mr.
18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, [even] God.
- Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, [even] God. See Mark 10:18.
18:20 Thou knowest the commandments1, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother.
- Thou knowest the commandments, etc. See Mark 10:19.
18:21 And he said, All these things have I observed from my youth up1.
- All these things have I observed from my youth up. See Mark 10:20.
18:22 And when Jesus heard it, he said unto him, One thing thou lackest yet: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me1.
- Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
See Mark 10:21.
18:23 But when he heard these things, he became exceeding sorrowful; for he was very rich1.
- But when he heard these things, he became exceeding sorrowful; for he was very rich. See Mark 10:22.
18:24 And Jesus seeing him1 said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
- And Jesus seeing him. See Mark 10:22.
- Said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! See Mark 10:23.
18:25 For it is easier for a camel to enter in through a needle's eye1, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
- For it is easier for a camel to enter in through a needle's eye,
- than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. See Mark 10:25.
18:26 And they that heard it said, Then who can be saved1?
- And they that heard it said, Then who can be saved? See Mark 10:26.
18:27 But he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God1.
- The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. See Mark 10:27.
18:28 And Peter said, Lo, we have left our own, and followed thee1.
- Lo, we have left our own, and followed thee. See Mark 10:28.
18:29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or wife, or brethren1, or parents, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake,
- There is no man that hath left house, or wife, or brethren, etc. See Mark 10:29.
18:30 who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life1.
- Who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life. See Mark 10:30.
18:31 And he took unto him the twelve1, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all the things that are written through the prophets shall be accomplished unto the Son of man.
FORETELLING HIS PASSION. REBUKING AMBITION.
Matthew 20:17-28; Mark 10:32-45; Luke 18:31-34
- And he took unto him the twelve, etc. See Mark 10:32.
18:32 For he shall be delivered up unto the Gentiles1, and shall be mocked, and shamefully treated, and spit upon:
- For he shall be delivered up unto the Gentiles, etc. See Mark 10:33.
18:34 And they understood none of these things1; and this saying was hid from them, and they perceived not the things that were said.
- And they understood none of these things, etc. So fixed and ineradicable was their false conception of the Messianic reign that
they could not believe that what Jesus said could be literally true
(Matthew 16:22). Only later did the full significance of his saying dawn
upon them (John 12:16; John 14:26).
18:35 And it came to pass, as he drew nigh unto Jericho1, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
BARTIMAEUS AND HIS COMPANION HEALED.
Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43
- As he drew nigh unto Jericho. Jesus came from the Jordan and was entering Jericho by its eastern gate.
18:36 and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant1.
- And hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. As the crowd following Jesus passed by, Bartimaeus asked its meaning and
learned of the presence of Jesus. Jesus on this last journey went in
advance of the crowd, and hence he had already entered Jericho before
the sounds of the following multitude roused the beggar to question its
18:37 And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by1.
- And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. Knowing that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, Bartimaeus resolved to avail himself
of the opportunity to be healed by him before he left the neighborhood.
Not knowing how long Jesus would remain in Jericho, and not being sure
of his ability to find him if he entered the city, he appears to have
passed around the wall till he came to the southern gate, by which
Jesus would depart on his way to Jerusalem. Here he stationed himself
and waited patiently for the coming of Jesus. The persistency with
which he cried when Jesus again appeared goes far to corroborate this
determined preparation and fixed expectation of the beggar. While he
waited at the southern gate the events narrated in Section 103
occurred. See Luke 19:1. But to avoid confusion we omit them for
the present, that we may finish the story of Bartimaeus.
18:38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me1.
- Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. See Mark 10:47.
18:39 And they that went before rebuked him1, that he should hold his peace: but he cried out the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.
- And they that went before rebuked him, etc. See Mark 10:48.
18:40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him1: and when he was come near, he asked him,
- And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him. See Mark 10:49.
18:41 What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
- What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? See Mark 10:51.
18:42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight; thy faith hath made thee whole1.
- Thy faith hath made thee whole. See Mark 10:52.
18:43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him1, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.
- And immediately he received his sight, and followed him. See Mark 10:52.