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Luke 11:18-23

Context
11:18 So 1  if 2  Satan too is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? I ask you this because 3  you claim that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 11:19 Now if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons 4  cast them 5  out? Therefore they will be your judges. 11:20 But if I cast out demons by the finger 6  of God, then the kingdom of God 7  has already overtaken 8  you. 11:21 When a strong man, 9  fully armed, guards his own palace, 10  his possessions are safe. 11  11:22 But 12  when a stronger man 13  attacks 14  and conquers him, he takes away the first man’s 15  armor on which the man relied 16  and divides up 17  his plunder. 18  11:23 Whoever is not with me is against me, 19  and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 20 

1 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.

2 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.

3 tn Grk “because.” “I ask you this” is supplied for the sake of English.

4 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 [1992]: 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.

5 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.

6 sn The finger of God is a figurative reference to God’s power (L&N 76.3). This phrase was used of God’s activity during the Exodus (Exod 8:19).

7 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20-21.

8 tn The phrase ἔφθασεν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς (efqasen efJuma") is important. Does it mean merely “approach” (which would be reflected in a translation like “has come near to you”) or actually “come upon” (as in the translation given above, “has already overtaken you,” which has the added connotation of suddenness)? The issue here is like the one in 10:9 (see note there on the phrase “come on”). Is the arrival of the kingdom merely anticipated or already in process? Two factors favor arrival over anticipation here. First, the prepositional phrase “upon you” suggests arrival (Dan 4:24, 28 Theodotion). Second, the following illustration in vv. 21-23 looks at the healing as portraying Satan being overrun. So the presence of God’s authority has arrived. See also L&N 13.123 for the translation of φθάνω (fqanw) as “to happen to already, to come upon, to come upon already.”

9 tn The referent of the expression “a strong man” is Satan.

10 tn The word αὐλή (aulh) describes any building large and elaborate enough to have an interior courtyard, thus “dwelling, palace, mansion” (L&N 7.6).

11 tn Grk “his goods are in peace.”

12 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

13 tn The referent of the expression “a stronger man” is Jesus.

14 tn Grk “stronger man than he attacks.”

15 tn Grk “his”; the referent (the first man mentioned) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

16 tn Grk “on which he relied.”

17 tn Or “and distributes.”

18 sn Some see the imagery here as similar to Eph 4:7-10, although no opponents are explicitly named in that passage. Jesus has the victory over Satan. Jesus’ acts of healing mean that the war is being won and the kingdom is coming.

19 sn Whoever is not with me is against me. The call here is to join the victor. Failure to do so means that one is being destructive. Responding to Jesus is the issue.

20 sn For the image of scattering, see Pss. Sol. 17:18.



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