All the publicans and sinners (pante oi telwnai kai oi amartwloi). The two articles separate the two classes (all the publicans and the sinners). They are sometimes grouped together ( 5:30 Mt 14:35 ; Matthew 9:11 ), but not here. The publicans are put on the same level with the outcasts or sinners. So in verse Luke 15:2 the repeated article separates Pharisees and scribes as not quite one. The use of "all" here may be hyperbole for very many or the reference may be to these two classes in the particular place where Jesus was from time to time. Were drawing near unto him (hsan autwi eggizonte). Periphrastic imperfect of eggizw, from eggu (near), late verb. For to hear (akouein). Just the present active infinitive of purpose.