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Luke 14:27-32

Context
14:27 Whoever does not carry his own cross 1  and follow 2  me cannot be my disciple. 14:28 For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t sit down 3  first and compute the cost 4  to see if he has enough money to complete it? 14:29 Otherwise, 5  when he has laid 6  a foundation and is not able to finish the tower, 7  all who see it 8  will begin to make fun of 9  him. 14:30 They will say, 10  ‘This man 11  began to build and was not able to finish!’ 12  14:31 Or what king, going out to confront another king in battle, will not sit down 13  first and determine whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose 14  the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 14:32 If he cannot succeed, 15  he will send a representative 16  while the other is still a long way off and ask for terms of peace. 17 

1 sn It was customary practice in a Roman crucifixion for the prisoner to be made to carry his own cross. Jesus is speaking figuratively here in the context of rejection. If the priority is not one’s allegiance to Jesus, then one will not follow him in the face of possible rejection; see Luke 9:23.

2 tn Grk “and come after.” In combination with the verb ἔρχομαι (ercomai) the improper preposition ὀπίσω (opisw) means “follow.”

3 tn The participle καθίσας (kaqisas) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

4 tn The first illustration involves checking to see if enough funds exist to build a watchtower. Both ψηφίζω (yhfizw, “compute”) and δαπάνη (dapanh, “cost”) are economic terms.

5 tn Grk “to complete it, lest.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation and ἵνα μήποτε ({ina mhpote, “lest”) has been translated as “Otherwise.”

6 tn The participle θέντος (qentos) has been taken temporally.

7 tn The words “the tower” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

8 tn The word “it” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

9 tn Or “mock,” “ridicule.” The person who did not plan ahead becomes an object of joking and ridicule.

10 tn Grk “make fun of him, saying.”

11 sn The phrase this man is often used in Luke in a derogatory sense; see “this one” and expressions like it in Luke 5:21; 7:39; 13:32; 23:4, 14, 22, 35.

12 sn The failure to finish the building project leads to embarrassment (in a culture where avoiding public shame was extremely important). The half completed tower testified to poor preparation and planning.

13 tn The participle καθίσας (kaqisa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

14 tn On the meaning of this verb see also L&N 55.3, “to meet in battle, to face in battle.”

15 tn Grk “And if not.” Here δέ (de) has not been translated; “succeed” is implied and has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

16 tn Grk “a messenger.”

17 sn This image is slightly different from the former one about the tower (vv. 28-30). The first part of the illustration (sit down first and determine) deals with preparation. The second part of the illustration (ask for terms of peace) has to do with recognizing who is stronger. This could well suggest thinking about what refusing the “stronger one” (God) might mean, and thus constitutes a warning. Achieving peace with God, the more powerful king, is the point of the illustration.



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