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Luke 16:14-18

More Warnings about the Pharisees

16:14 The Pharisees 1  (who loved money) heard all this and ridiculed 2  him. 16:15 But 3  Jesus 4  said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in men’s eyes, 5  but God knows your hearts. For what is highly prized 6  among men is utterly detestable 7  in God’s sight.

16:16 “The law and the prophets were in force 8  until John; 9  since then, 10  the good news of the kingdom of God 11  has been proclaimed, and everyone is urged to enter it. 12  16:17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tiny stroke of a letter 13  in the law to become void. 14 

16:18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries 15  someone else commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

1 sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17.

2 tn A figurative extension of the literal meaning “to turn one’s nose up at someone”; here “ridicule, sneer at, show contempt for” (L&N 33.409).

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

4 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Grk “before men.” The contrast is between outward appearance (“in people’s eyes”) and inward reality (“God knows your hearts”). Here the Greek term ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") is used twice in a generic sense, referring to both men and women, but “men” has been retained in the text to provide a strong verbal contrast with “God” in the second half of the verse.

6 tn Or “exalted.” This refers to the pride that often comes with money and position.

7 tn Or “is an abomination,” “is abhorrent” (L&N 25.187).

8 tn There is no verb in the Greek text; one must be supplied. Some translations (NASB, NIV) supply “proclaimed” based on the parallelism with the proclamation of the kingdom. The transitional nature of this verse, however, seems to call for something more like “in effect” (NRSV) or, as used here, “in force.” Further, Greek generally can omit one of two kinds of verbs – either the equative verb or one that is already mentioned in the preceding context (ExSyn 39).

9 sn John refers to John the Baptist.

10 sn Until John; since then. This verse indicates a shift in era, from law to kingdom.

11 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.

12 tn Many translations have “entereth violently into it” (ASV) or “is forcing his way into it” (NASB, NIV). This is not true of everyone. It is better to read the verb here as passive rather than middle, and in a softened sense of “be urged.” See Gen 33:11; Judg 13:15-16; 19:7; 2 Sam 3:25, 27 in the LXX. This fits the context well because it agrees with Jesus’ attempt to persuade his opponents to respond morally. For further discussion and details, see D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 2:1352-53.

13 tn Or “one small part of a letter” (L&N 33.37).

14 tn Grk “to fall”; that is, “to drop out of the text.” Jesus’ point may be that the law is going to reach its goal without fail, in that the era of the promised kingdom comes.

15 sn The examples of marriage and divorce show that the ethical standards of the new era are still faithful to promises made in the presence of God. To contribute to the breakup of a marriage, which involved a vow before God, is to commit adultery. This works whether one gets a divorce or marries a person who is divorced, thus finalizing the breakup of the marriage. Jesus’ point concerns the need for fidelity and ethical integrity in the new era.

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