Luke 17:4

4 Even if it's personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, 'I'm sorry, I won't do it again,' forgive him."

Luke 17:4 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 17:4

And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day,
&c.] For good men are frequently apt to fall into sin, and offend both God and man; see ( Proverbs 24:16 ) "and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent"; as often as he sins, and appears to be truly sensible of it, and humble for it, and makes acknowledgments of it; and not only barely in words professes his concern for it, but there is reason to believe that he is heartily grieved for it, and to hope that he will behave better for the future:

thou shalt forgive him;
this seems to be occasioned by Peter's putting such a question to Christ, how often a brother might sin against him, and he forgive him; see ( Matthew 18:21 Matthew 18:22 ) . The Jews plead for great tenderness and readiness to forgive penitents, when they ask for forgiveness; which they insist upon should be done: they say F17,

``it is forbidden an injured person to be cruel, and not forgive; this is not the way of the seed of Israel: but when he that has done the injury asks of him, and prays him once and again, and he knows that he has returned from his sin, and hath repented of his evil, he ought to forgive him; and whoever makes haste to forgive, is praiseworthy.''

But then, they say F18,

``if he brings all the rams of Nebaioth that are in the world, he is not to have pardon, unless he asks it of him.''

And they seem also to have set times for it, as well as restrain the frequent repetition of it: they observe F19;

``if a man returns by repentance, in the intermediate time, (i.e. as the gloss explains it, between the beginning of the year, or New Year's Day, and the day of atonement,) they pardon him; but if he does not return in the intermediate time, though he brings all the rams of Nebaioth in the world, they do not pardon him.''

A man that was always forgiving, was reckoned by them an extraordinary man: it is said F20 of Mar Zutra bar Nachman, that he was (Mwy lkb lxwm) , "forgiving every day"; but yet they do not seem to care to carry it to so great a length, and to repeat it so often as our Lord directs; they allow a man to forgive three times, but not a fourth; (See Gill on Matthew 18:22).


F17 Maimon. Hilchot Chobel Umezik, c. 5. sect. 10.
F18 T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 92. 1.
F19 T. Bab. Rosh Hashama, fol. 17. 2.
F20 Juchasin, fol. 90. 2.

Luke 17:4 In-Context

2 Better to wear a millstone necklace and take a swim in the deep blue sea than give even one of these dear little ones a hard time!
3 "Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him.
4 Even if it's personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, 'I'm sorry, I won't do it again,' forgive him."
5 The apostles came up and said to the Master, "Give us more faith."
6 But the Master said, "You don't need more faith. There is no 'more' or 'less' in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, 'Go jump in the lake,' and it would do it.