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Luke 11:24-28

Context
Response to Jesus’ Work

11:24 “When an unclean spirit 1  goes out of a person, 2  it passes through waterless places 3  looking for rest but 4  not finding any. Then 5  it says, ‘I will return to the home I left.’ 6  11:25 When it returns, 7  it finds the house 8  swept clean and put in order. 9  11:26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there, so 10  the last state of that person 11  is worse than the first.” 12 

11:27 As 13  he said these things, a woman in the crowd spoke out 14  to him, “Blessed is the womb 15  that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!” 16  11:28 But he replied, 17  “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey 18  it!”

1 sn This is a reference to an evil spirit. See Luke 4:33.

2 tn Grk “man.” This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), referring to both males and females.

3 sn The background for the reference to waterless places is not entirely clear, though some Jewish texts suggest spirits must have a place to dwell, but not with water (Luke 8:29-31; Tob 8:3). Some suggest that the image of the desert or deserted cities as the places demons dwell is where this idea started (Isa 13:21; 34:14).

4 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.

5 tc ‡ Most mss, including a few early and important ones (Ì45 א* A C D W Ψ Ë1,13 Ï lat), lack τότε (tote, “then”). Other mss, including some early and important ones (Ì75 א2 B L Θ Ξ 070 33 579 892 1241 pc co), have the adverb. Although the external evidence better supports the longer reading, the internal evidence is on the side of the shorter, for conjunctions and adverbs were frequently added by copyists to remove asyndeton and to add clarification. The shorter reading is thus preferred. The translation, however, adds “Then” because of English stylistic requirements. NA27 has τότε in brackets indicating doubts as to its authenticity.

6 tn Grk “I will return to my house from which I came.”

7 tn Grk “comes.”

8 tn The words “the house” are not in Greek but are implied.

9 sn The image of the house swept clean and put in order refers to the life of the person from whom the demon departed. The key to the example appears to be that no one else has been invited in to dwell. If an exorcism occurs and there is no response to God, then the way is free for the demon to return. Some see the reference to exorcism as more symbolic; thus the story’s only point is about responding to Jesus. This is possible and certainly is an application of the passage.

10 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the concluding point of the story.

11 tn Grk “man.” This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), referring to both males and females.

12 sn The point of the story is that to fail to respond is to risk a worse fate than when one started.

13 tn Grk “And it happened that as.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

14 tn Grk “lifted up her voice and said.” This idiom is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “spoke out.”

15 tn For this term see L&N 8.69.

16 sn Both the reference to the womb and the breasts form a figure of speech called metonymy. In this case the parts are mentioned instead of the whole; the meaning is “Blessed is your mother!” The warnings seem to have sparked a little nervousness that brought forth this response. In the culture a mother was valued for the accomplishments of her son. So this amounts to a compliment to Jesus.

17 tn Grk “said.”

18 sn This is another reference to hearing and doing the word of God, which here describes Jesus’ teaching; see Luke 8:21.



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