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  Discovery Box

Luke 5:27-32

Context
The Call of Levi; Eating with Sinners

5:27 After 1  this, Jesus 2  went out and saw a tax collector 3  named Levi 4  sitting at the tax booth. 5  “Follow me,” 6  he said to him. 5:28 And he got up and followed him, leaving everything 7  behind. 8 

5:29 Then 9  Levi gave a great banquet 10  in his house for Jesus, 11  and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting 12  at the table with them. 5:30 But 13  the Pharisees 14  and their experts in the law 15  complained 16  to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 17  5:31 Jesus 18  answered them, “Those who are well don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. 19  5:32 I have not come 20  to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” 21 

Luke 7:37-50

Context
7:37 Then 22  when a woman of that town, who was a sinner, learned that Jesus 23  was dining 24  at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar 25  of perfumed oil. 26  7:38 As 27  she stood 28  behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She 29  wiped them with her hair, 30  kissed 31  them, 32  and anointed 33  them with the perfumed oil. 7:39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, 34  he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, 35  he would know who and what kind of woman 36  this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” 7:40 So 37  Jesus answered him, 38  “Simon, I have something to say to you.” He replied, 39  “Say it, Teacher.” 7:41 “A certain creditor 40  had two debtors; one owed him 41  five hundred silver coins, 42  and the other fifty. 7:42 When they could not pay, he canceled 43  the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 7:43 Simon answered, 44  “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” 45  Jesus 46  said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 7:44 Then, 47  turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house. You gave me no water for my feet, 48  but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 7:45 You gave me no kiss of greeting, 49  but from the time I entered she has not stopped kissing my feet. 7:46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet 50  with perfumed oil. 7:47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; 51  but the one who is forgiven little loves little.” 7:48 Then 52  Jesus 53  said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 54  7:49 But 55  those who were at the table 56  with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 7:50 He 57  said to the woman, “Your faith 58  has saved you; 59  go in peace.”

1 tn Grk “And after.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

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

3 sn See the note on tax collectors in 3:12.

4 sn It is possible that Levi is a second name for Matthew, because people often used alternative names in 1st century Jewish culture.

5 tn While “tax office” is sometimes given as a translation for τελώνιον (telwnion; so L&N 57.183), this could give the modern reader a false impression of an indoor office with all its associated furnishings.

sn The tax booth was a booth located on the edge of a city or town to collect taxes for trade. There was a tax booth in Capernaum, which was on the trade route from Damascus to Galilee and the Mediterranean. The “taxes” were collected on produce and goods brought into the area for sale, and were a sort of “sales tax” paid by the seller but obviously passed on to the purchaser in the form of increased prices (L&N 57.183). It was here that Jesus met Levi (also named Matthew [see Matt 9:9]) who was ultimately employed by the Romans, though perhaps more directly responsible to Herod Antipas. It was his job to collect taxes for Rome and he was thus despised by Jews who undoubtedly regarded him as a traitor.

6 sn Follow me. For similar calls on the part of Jesus see Luke 5:10-11; 9:23, 59; 18:22.

7 sn On the phrase leaving everything see Luke 5:10-11; 14:33.

8 tn The participial phrase “leaving everything behind” occurs at the beginning of the sentence, but has been transposed to the end in the translation for logical reasons, since it serves to summarize Levi’s actions.

9 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

10 sn A great banquet refers to an elaborate meal. Many of the events in Luke take place in the context of meal fellowship: 7:36-50; 9:12-17; 10:38-42; 11:37-54; 14:1-24; 22:7-38; 24:29-32, 41-43.

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

12 tn Grk “reclining.” This term reflects the normal practice in 1st century Jewish culture of eating a meal in a semi-reclining position. Since it is foreign to most modern readers, the translation “sitting” has been substituted.

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

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

15 tn Or “and their scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 5:21.

16 tn Or “grumbled”; a term often used in the OT for inappropriate grumbling: Exod 15:24; 16:7-8; Num 14:2, 26-35; 16:11.

17 sn The issue here is inappropriate associations (eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners) and the accusation comes not against Jesus, but his disciples.

18 tn Grk “And Jesus.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

19 sn Jesus’ point is that he associates with those who are sick because they have the need and will respond to the offer of help. A person who is well (or who thinks mistakenly that he is) will not seek treatment.

20 sn I have not come is another commission statement by Jesus; see 4:43-44.

21 sn Though parallels exist to this saying (Matt 9:13; Mark 2:17), only Luke has this last phrase but sinners to repentance. Repentance is a frequent topic in Luke’s Gospel: 3:3, 8; 13:1-5; 15:7, 10; 16:30; 17:3-4; 24:47.

22 tn Grk “And behold.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. The Greek word ἰδού (idou) at the beginning of this statement has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).

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

24 tn Grk “was reclining at table.”

25 sn A jar made of alabaster stone was normally used for very precious substances like perfumes. It normally had a long neck which was sealed and had to be broken off so the contents could be used.

26 tn Μύρον (muron) was usually made of myrrh (from which the English word is derived) but here it is used in the sense of ointment or perfumed oil (L&N 6.205). The same phrase occurs at the end of v. 38 and in v. 46.

sn Nard or spikenard is a fragrant oil from the root and spike of the nard plant of northern India. This perfumed oil, if made of something like nard, would have been extremely expensive, costing up to a year’s pay for an average laborer.

27 tn Grk “And standing.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

28 tn Grk “standing”; the participle στᾶσα (stasa) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

29 tn Grk “tears, and she.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

30 tn Grk “with the hair of her head.”

31 tn Grk “and kissed,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

32 tn Grk “kissed his feet,” but this has been replaced by the pronoun “them” in keeping with contemporary English style.

33 sn The series of verbs in this verse detail the woman’s every move, much as if the onlookers were watching her every step. That she attended the meal is not so surprising, as teachers often ate an open meal where listeners were welcome, but for her to approach Jesus was unusual and took great nerve, especially given her reputation.

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

35 tn This is a good example of a second class (contrary to fact) Greek conditional sentence. The Pharisee said, in effect, “If this man were a prophet (but he is not)…”

36 sn The Pharisees believed in a form of separationism that would have prevented them from any kind of association with such a sinful woman.

37 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the connection with the preceding statement recording the Pharisee’s thoughts.

38 tn Grk “answering, said to him.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “answered him.”

sn Jesus answered him. Note that as the Pharisee is denying to himself that Jesus is a prophet, Jesus is reading his thoughts.

39 tn Grk “he said.”

40 sn A creditor was a moneylender, whose business was to lend money to others at a fixed rate of interest.

41 tn The word “him” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.

42 tn Grk “five hundred denarii.”

sn The silver coins were denarii. The denarius was worth about a day’s wage for a laborer; this would be an amount worth not quite two years’ pay. The debts were significant: They represented two months’ pay and one and three quarter years’ pay (20 months) based on a six day work week.

43 tn The verb ἐχαρίσατο (ecarisato) could be translated as “forgave.” Of course this pictures the forgiveness of God’s grace, which is not earned but bestowed with faith (see v. 49).

44 tn Grk “answering, said.” This is redundant in contemporary English and has been simplified to “answered.”

45 tn Grk “the one to whom he forgave more” (see v. 42).

46 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

47 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

48 sn It is discussed whether these acts in vv. 44-46 were required by the host. Most think they were not, but this makes the woman’s acts of respect all the more amazing.

49 tn Grk “no kiss.” This refers to a formalized kiss of greeting, standard in that culture. To convey this to the modern reader, the words “of greeting” have been supplied to qualify what kind of kiss is meant.

50 sn This event is not equivalent to the anointing of Jesus that takes place in the last week of his life (Matt 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8). That woman was not a sinner, and Jesus was eating in the home of Simon the leper, who, as a leper, could never be a Pharisee.

51 tn Grk “for she loved much.” The connection between this statement and the preceding probably involves an ellipsis, to the effect that the ὅτι clause gives the evidence of forgiveness, not the ground. For similar examples of an “evidentiary” ὅτι, cf. Luke 1:22; 6:21; 13:2. See discussion in D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 1:703-5. Further evidence that this is the case here is the final statement: “the one who is forgiven little loves little” means that the one who is forgiven little is thus not able to love much. The REB renders this verse: “her great love proves that her many sins have been forgiven; where little has been forgiven, little love is shown.”

sn She loved much. Jesus’ point is that the person who realizes how great a gift forgiveness is (because they have a deep sense of sin) has a great love for the one who forgives, that is, God. The woman’s acts of reverence to Jesus honored him as the one who brought God’s message of grace.

52 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

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

54 sn Jesus showed his authority to forgive sins, something that was quite controversial. See Luke 5:17-26 and the next verse.

55 tn Grk “And”; here καί (kai) has been translated as an adversative (contrastive).

56 tn Grk “were reclining at table.”

57 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

58 sn On faith see Luke 5:20; 7:9; 8:25; 12:28; 17:6; 18:8; 22:32.

59 sn The questioning did not stop Jesus. He declared authoritatively that the woman was forgiven by God (your faith has saved you). This event is a concrete example of Luke 5:31-32.



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