Being told of the murder of the Galileans by Pilate, Luke xiii. 1-9. He replies, and adds a parable respecting the fig tree. Whilst teaching in the synagogue upon the Sabbath, He Luke xiii. 10—17. heals a woman who had been sick eighteen years. He is rebuked for this by the master of the synagogue, but puts him to shame. He continues His journey toward Jerusalem, and replies to the question of one who asked Luke xiii. 22-35. Him, Are there few that be saved ? The same day He is warned by certain Pharisees against Herod.
Of these Galileans, so murdered by Pilate, we have no other mention, and cannot tell when the event occurred. There can be little doubt that it was at Jerusalem, and during a feast.2 The relations of Pilate to the Jews were such as to make this act of cruelty highly probable.
* See analogous cases in Josephus, Antiq. 17. 9 and 10.
He was no respecter of places, and did not hesitate upon occasion to violate the sanctity of the temple. Some have supposed these Galileans to be the followers of Judas of Galilee, (Acts v. 37,) but without any good grounds. Probably it was some sudden outbreak at one of the feasts, and they, perhaps taking part in it, perhaps only mere spectators, were slain by the Roman soldiers in the outer court. That the event was recent, and that it excited great indignation, are apparent from the narrative. The attempt of Greswell (hi. 26) to connect it with the sedition of Barabbas, (Luke xxiii. 19,) and to place it at the beginning of the last Passover, and thus to find in it a note of time, is more subtle than forcible. Hengstenberg,1 supposing the parable of the fig tree was spoken a year before the Lord's death, makes the murder of these Galileans to have been at the last Passover but one, or that mentioned in John vi. 4, which the Lord did not attend. Of the tower that fell in Siloam, we have no knowledge.
The parable of the fig tree has been regarded by many as giving a chronological datum to determine the length of the Lord's ministry.3 Some refer the three years to the whole period before Christ, during which God was waiting for the Jews;' some to the three polities, judges, kings, and high priests. But it is doubtful whether it has any chronological value.4
The healing of the sick woman is mentioned by Luke, without any mark of time or place, except generally, that it was in a synagogue and upon the Sabbath. The decided manner in which the ruler of the synagogue expresses himself against the lawfulness of healing on this day, indicates that the Pharisaic party had' determined to treat such works of healing as a violation of its sanctity. There is no expression of sympathy with the woman, of sorrow at her sickness, or joy at her recovery.
i Christ, iii. 249. 2 Bengel, Krafft, Wieseler, Stier.
3 Grotius. 4 So Meyer, Lichteo stein, Trench,
The account of the Lord's progress, (v. 22,) that " He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem," is too indefinite to determine what stage of His journey He had now reached. Some would refer it to His going up from Perea to Bethany at the resurrection of Lazarus, (John xi. 1-17.)2 Some support is thought to be found for this in the Lord's words, (vs. 32, 33:) " Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day, and tomorrow, and the third I shall be perfected. I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following." The three days are said to refer to the time necessary to go up from Perea to Bethany, and are to be literally taken. The meaning of His words then is, " In three days I perfect this part of my work, and not till then do I leave Herod's dominions." But even if the language is capable of this interpretation, it is certain that v. 22, which speaks of a journey to Jerusalem, would not be applied to a journey to Bethany, winch was rather a turning aside from His fixed route, in answer to a special request.
The time when the Pharisees came to Him, to warn Him to depart or Herod would kill Him, is designated as the same day when the question was asked Him, "Are there few that be saved ?" This was one of the days during which He was teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem, (v. 22.) That Herod should be spoken of, shows that Jesus wras now either in Galilee or Perea, and so under his jurisdiction and exposed to his anger.
* McKnight, Meyer, Alford. 3 Wieseler, Oosterzee.
Meyer supposes Him to be still in Galilee, and that His reply to the Pharisees (v. 32) is to be understood: " I have yet three days in which to labor in Galilee and to complete my work of casting out devils and of healing, and then I must go up to Jerusalem." On the third day He comes to the border, as related in xvii. 11. But are the Lord's words to be understood of three literal days ?1 This literal interpretation is not to be pressed. There is no good reason why the language may not be understood as a general statement, that His labors must be continued till He should perfect them at His death in Jerusalem.3
The motive of the Pharisees in thus warning the Lord to depart, is not clear. It is possible that they were His friends, and that their message was based upon some information which they possessed of the purposes of Herod, who may have been-in Perea, at Livias, or Machaerus. Had he been, the great publicity with which the Lord journeyed, could scarcely have failed to draw the king's attention to Him, and to awaken some suspicion of His designs. If not His friends, some suppose them to have been sent by Herod in order to frighten Him from his territories.9 This supposition finds some support in His reply, " Go ye and tell that fox," &c. Less probable is the supposition that they feign themselves to be Herod's messengers, in order to drive Him into Judea, where He can be more readily arrested by the priests and rulers. Perhaps the simpler explanation is that, without being sent by Herod, or having any special knowledge of his plans, they gratify their malice by uttering the threat that he will kill Him if He does not depart.
1 So Meyer, Alford. This, however, makes it necessary to render reKetovjxaif " I perfect my works j" not, as in our version, " I shall be perfected."
3 So Lichtenstein, Stier, Owen. 3 McKnight, Meyer, Alford.
The apostrophe to Jerusalem (vs. 34, 35) is found also in Matt, xxiii. 37-39, where it was spoken after the Lord left the temple for the last time. From its nature, and from the connection in which it stands in both Evangelists, it is probable that it was twice spoken.1 Most .who think it to have been spoken but once, find its most fitting place in Matthew.
It has been questioned how the words, " Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord," are to be understood. The most obvious meaning is, that they are to be taken in the large prophetic sense, and refer to His departure into Heaven, and to His joyful reception by the nation when He should come again in His kingdom. And this also best fits the connection of the thought. No prophet could perish out of Jerusalem. There He must die, and afterward ascend to God, to be seen no more till the hearts of the people should be made ready for Him. Till then their house was left unto them desolate. The supposition that He foretold His jmrpose to go up to the coming Passover, and that it there found its entire fulfilment,3 is erroneous. That some of the people did then say, (Luke xix. 38,) "Blessed be the king that cometh in the name of the Lord," was no general, much less national, acceptance of Him, and no real fulfilment of His words. Still, some allusion to the shouts of the multitude at His triumphal entry, need not be denied.4
* So Stier, Alford, Eliicott * Meyer, Lange, De Wette.
3 Wieseler, 321. * Meyer in loco.