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Luke 6:17-36

Context
The Sermon on the Plain

6:17 Then 1  he came down with them and stood on a level place. 2  And a large number 3  of his disciples had gathered 4  along with 5  a vast multitude from all over Judea, from 6  Jerusalem, 7  and from the seacoast of Tyre 8  and Sidon. 9  They came to hear him and to be healed 10  of their diseases, 6:18 and those who suffered from 11  unclean 12  spirits were cured. 6:19 The 13  whole crowd was trying to touch him, because power 14  was coming out from him and healing them all.

6:20 Then 15  he looked up 16  at his disciples and said:

“Blessed 17  are you who are poor, 18  for the kingdom of God belongs 19  to you.

6:21 “Blessed are you who hunger 20  now, for you will be satisfied. 21 

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 

6:22 “Blessed are you when people 23  hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject you as evil 24  on account of the Son of Man! 6:23 Rejoice in that day, and jump for joy, because 25  your reward is great in heaven. For their ancestors 26  did the same things to the prophets. 27 

6:24 “But woe 28  to you who are rich, for you have received 29  your comfort 30  already.

6:25 “Woe to you who are well satisfied with food 31  now, for you will be hungry.

“Woe to you 32  who laugh 33  now, for you will mourn and weep.

6:26 “Woe to you 34  when all people 35  speak well of you, for their ancestors 36  did the same things to the false prophets.

6:27 “But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, 37  do good to those who hate you, 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat 38  you. 6:29 To the person who strikes you on the cheek, 39  offer the other as well, 40  and from the person who takes away your coat, 41  do not withhold your tunic 42  either. 43  6:30 Give to everyone who asks you, 44  and do not ask for your possessions 45  back 46  from the person who takes them away. 6:31 Treat others 47  in the same way that you would want them to treat you. 48 

6:32 “If 49  you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners 50  love those who love them. 51  6:33 And 52  if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 53  sinners 54  do the same. 6:34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to be repaid, 55  what credit is that to you? Even sinners 56  lend to sinners, so that they may be repaid in full. 57  6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. 58  Then 59  your reward will be great, and you will be sons 60  of the Most High, 61  because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people. 62  6:36 Be merciful, 63  just as your Father is merciful.

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

2 tn Or “on a plateau.” This could refer to a message given in a flat locale or in a flat locale in the midst of a more mountainous region (Jer 21:13; Isa 13:2). It is quite possible that this sermon is a summary version of the better known Sermon on the Mount from Matt 5-7.

3 tn Grk “large crowd.”

4 tn There is no verb in Greek at this point, but since “a large crowd” (see preceding tn) is in the nominative case, one needs to be supplied.

5 tn Grk “and.”

6 tn Grk “and from,” 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.

7 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

8 map For location see Map1 A2; Map2 G2; Map4 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

9 sn These last two locations, Tyre and Sidon, represented an expansion outside of traditional Jewish territory. Jesus’ reputation continued to expand into new regions.

map For location see Map1 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

10 sn To hear him and to be healed. Jesus had a two-level ministry: The word and then wondrous acts of service that showed his message of God’s care were real.

11 tn Or “were oppressed by,” “were troubled with.” See L&N 22.17.

12 sn Unclean spirits refers to evil spirits. See Luke 4:33.

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

14 sn There was a recognition that there was great power at work through Jesus, the subject of a great debate in 11:14-23. Luke highlights Jesus’ healing ministry (5:17; 6:18; 7:7; 8:47; 9:11, 42; 14:4; 17:15; 18:42-43; 22:51; Acts 10:38).

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

16 tn Grk “lifting up his eyes” (an idiom). The participle ἐπάρας (epara") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

17 sn The term Blessed introduces the first of several beatitudes promising blessing to those whom God cares for. They serve as an invitation to come into the grace God offers.

18 sn You who are poor is a reference to the “pious poor” for whom God especially cares. See Ps 14:6; 22:24; 25:16; 34:6; 40:17; 69:29.

19 sn The present tense (belongs) here is significant. Jesus makes the kingdom and its blessings currently available. This phrase is unlike the others in the list with the possessive pronoun being emphasized. Jesus was saying, in effect, “the kingdom belongs even now to people like you.”

20 sn You who hunger are people like the poor Jesus has already mentioned. The term has OT roots both in conjunction with the poor (Isa 32:6-7; 58:6-7, 9-10; Ezek 18:7, 16) or by itself (Ps 37:16-19; 107:9).

21 sn The promise you will be satisfied is the first of several “reversals” noted in these promises. The beatitudes and the reversals that accompany them serve in the sermon as an invitation to enter into God’s care, because one can know God cares for those who turn to him.

22 sn You will laugh alludes to the joy that comes to God’s people in the salvation to come.

23 tn This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), referring to both males and females.

24 tn Or “disdain you”; Grk “cast out your name as evil.” The word “name” is used here as a figure of speech to refer to the person as a whole.

sn The phrase when they exclude you and insult you and reject you as evil alludes to a person being ostracized and socially isolated because of association with the Son of Man, Jesus.

25 tn Grk “because behold.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) at the beginning of this clause has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).

26 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”

27 sn Mistreatment of the prophets is something Luke often notes (Luke 11:47-51; Acts 7:51-52).

28 sn Jesus promises condemnation (woe) to those who are callous of others, looking only to their own comforts. On Luke and the rich see 1:53; 12:16; 14:12; 16:1, 21-22; 18:23; 19:2; 21:1. These woes are unique to Luke.

29 sn Ironically the language of reward shows that what the rich have received is all they will get. This result looks at a current situation, just as the start of the beatitudes did. The rest of the conclusions to the woes look to the future at the time of judgment.

30 tn Grk “your consolation.”

31 tn Grk “who are filled.” See L&N 23.18 for the translation “well satisfied with food.”

32 tc The wording “to you” (ὑμῖν, Jumin) is lacking in several witnesses (א B K L T W Θ Ξ 0147 Ë1,13 579 700 892 1241 2542 al), though found in most (Ì75 A D Q Ψ 33 Ï lat co). The longer reading looks to be a clarifying addition; nevertheless, “to you” is included in the translation because of English requirements.

33 sn That is, laugh with happiness and joy.

34 tc The wording “to you” (ὑμῖν, Jumin) is lacking throughout the ms tradition except for a few witnesses (D W* Δ 1424 pc co). The Western witnesses tend to add freely to the text. Supported by the vast majority of witnesses and the likelihood that “to you” is a clarifying addition, the shorter reading should be considered original; nevertheless, “to you” is included in the translation because of English requirements.

35 tn This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), referring to both males and females.

36 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”

37 sn Love your enemies is the first of four short exhortations that call for an unusual response to those who are persecuting disciples. Disciples are to relate to hostility in a completely unprecedented manner.

38 tn The substantival participle ἐπηρεαζόντων (ephreazontwn), sometimes translated “those who abuse” (NRSV), is better rendered “those who mistreat,” a more general term (see L&N 88.129).

39 sn The phrase strikes you on the cheek probably pictures public rejection, like the act that indicated expulsion from the synagogue.

40 sn This command to offer the other cheek as well is often misunderstood. It means that there is risk involved in reaching out to people with God’s hope. But if one is struck down in rejection, the disciple is to continue reaching out.

41 tn Or “cloak.”

42 tn See the note on the word “tunics” in 3:11.

43 sn The command do not withhold your tunic either is again an image of continually being totally at risk as one tries to keep contact with those who are hostile to what Jesus and his disciples offer.

44 sn Jesus advocates a generosity and a desire to meet those in dire need with the command give to everyone who asks you. This may allude to begging; giving alms was viewed highly in the ancient world (Matt 6:1-4; Deut 15:7-11).

45 tn Grk “your things,” sometimes translated “what is yours” or “what belongs to you.”

46 sn Do not ask for your possessions back… is an example of showing forgiveness. Paul’s remarks in 1 Cor 6:7 may reflect this principle.

47 tn This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo"), referring to both males and females.

48 sn Jesus’ teaching as reflected in the phrase treat others in the same way you would want them to treat you, known generally as the Golden Rule, is not completely unique in the ancient world, but it is stated here in its most emphatic, selfless form.

49 tn Grk “And if.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. This is a first class condition, but the next two conditional clauses are third class conditions, so that stylistic variation is probably at work.

50 sn Here the term sinners may refer to people who had no concern for observing the details of the Mosaic law; these were often treated as social outcasts. See L&N 88.295.

51 sn Jesus’ point in the statement even sinners love those who love them is that disciples are to go farther than sinners do. The examples replay vv. 29-30.

52 tc ‡ Three key mss (Ì75 א* B) have “for” here, but it is unlikely that it was present originally. The addition of conjunctions, especially to the beginning of a clause, are typically suspect because they fit the pattern of Koine tendencies toward greater explicitness. NA27 has the word in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.

53 tc Most mss (A D L Θ Ξ Ψ Ë13 33 Ï lat) include γάρ (gar, “for”) following καί (kai, here translated “even”), but a few important mss (א B W 700 892* 1241 pc) lack the conjunction. The inclusion of the conjunction seems to be motivated by clarity and should probably be considered inauthentic.

54 sn See the note on the word sinners in v. 32.

55 tn Grk “to receive”; but in context the repayment of the amount lent is implied. Jesus was noting that utilitarian motives are the way of the world.

56 sn See the note on the word sinners in v. 32.

57 tn Grk “to receive as much again.”

58 tn Or “in return.”

59 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the outcome or result. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started in the translation at this point.

60 sn The character of these actions reflects the grace and kindness of God, bearing witness to a “line of descent” or relationship of the individual to God (sons of the Most High). There is to be a unique kind of ethic at work with disciples. Jesus refers specifically to sons here because in the ancient world sons had special privileges which were rarely accorded to daughters. However, Jesus is most likely addressing both men and women in this context, so women too would receive these same privileges.

61 sn That is, “sons of God.”

62 tn Or “to the ungrateful and immoral.” The word “people” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.

63 sn Merciful is a characteristic of God often noted in the OT: Exod 34:6; Deut 4:31; Joel 2:31; Jonah 4:2; 2 Sam 24:14. This remark also echoes the more common OT statements like Lev 19:2 or Deut 18:13: “you must be holy as I am holy.”



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