11:15 But some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, 1 the ruler 2 of demons, he casts out demons.” 11:16 Others, to test 3 him, 4 began asking for 5 a sign 6 from heaven. 11:17 But Jesus, 7 realizing their thoughts, said to them, 8 “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, 9 and a divided household falls. 10 11:18 So 11 if 12 Satan too is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? I ask you this because 13 you claim that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 11:19 Now if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons 14 cast them 15 out? Therefore they will be your judges.
1 tn Grk “By Beelzebul.”
sn Beelzebul is another name for Satan. So some people recognized Jesus’ work as supernatural, but called it diabolical.
2 tn Or “prince.”
3 tn Grk “testing”; the participle is taken as indicating the purpose of the demand.
4 tn The pronoun “him” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
5 tn Grk “seeking from him.” The imperfect ἐζήτουν (ezhtoun) is taken ingressively. It is also possible to regard it as iterative (“kept on asking”).
6 sn What exactly this sign would have been, given what Jesus was already doing, is not clear. But here is where the fence-sitters reside, refusing to commit to him.
7 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
8 sn Jesus here demonstrated the absurdity of the thinking of those who maintained that he was in league with Satan and that he actually derived his power from the devil. He first teaches (vv. 17-20) that if he casts out demons by the ruler of the demons, then in reality Satan is fighting against himself, with the result that his kingdom has come to an end. He then teaches (v. 21-22) about defeating the strong man to prove that he does not need to align himself with the devil because he is more powerful. Jesus defeated Satan at his temptation (4:1-13) and by his exorcisms he clearly demonstrated himself to be stronger than the devil. The passage reveals the desperate condition of the religious leaders, who in their hatred for Jesus end up attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan.
9 tn Or “is left in ruins.”
10 tn Grk “and house falls on house.” This phrase pictures one house collapsing on another, what is called today a “house of cards.”
11 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate that the clause that follows is a logical conclusion based on the preceding examples.
12 tn This first class condition, the first of three “if” clauses in the following verses, presents the example vividly as if it were so. In fact, all three conditions in these verses are first class. The examples are made totally parallel. The expected answer is that Satan’s kingdom will not stand, so the suggestion makes no sense. Satan would not seek to heal.
13 tn Grk “because.” “I ask you this” is supplied for the sake of English.
14 sn Most read your sons as a reference to Jewish exorcists (cf. “your followers,” L&N 9.4; for various views see D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 2:1077-78), but more likely this is a reference to the disciples of Jesus themselves, who are also Jewish and have been healing as well (R. J. Shirock, “Whose Exorcists are they? The Referents of οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν at Matthew 12:27/Luke 11:19,” JSNT 46 : 41-51). If this is a reference to the disciples, then Jesus’ point is that it is not only him, but those associated with him whose power the hearers must assess. The following reference to judging also favors this reading.
15 tn The pronoun “them” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.