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Luke 11:15-26

Context
11:15 But some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, 1  the ruler 2  of demons, he casts out demons.” 11:16 Others, to test 3  him, 4  began asking for 5  a sign 6  from heaven. 11:17 But Jesus, 7  realizing their thoughts, said to them, 8  “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, 9  and a divided household falls. 10  11:18 So 11  if 12  Satan too is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? I ask you this because 13  you claim that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 11:19 Now if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons 14  cast them 15  out? Therefore they will be your judges. 11:20 But if I cast out demons by the finger 16  of God, then the kingdom of God 17  has already overtaken 18  you. 11:21 When a strong man, 19  fully armed, guards his own palace, 20  his possessions are safe. 21  11:22 But 22  when a stronger man 23  attacks 24  and conquers him, he takes away the first man’s 25  armor on which the man relied 26  and divides up 27  his plunder. 28  11:23 Whoever is not with me is against me, 29  and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 30 

Response to Jesus’ Work

11:24 “When an unclean spirit 31  goes out of a person, 32  it passes through waterless places 33  looking for rest but 34  not finding any. Then 35  it says, ‘I will return to the home I left.’ 36  11:25 When it returns, 37  it finds the house 38  swept clean and put in order. 39  11:26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there, so 40  the last state of that person 41  is worse than the first.” 42 

Luke 11:29-32

Context
The Sign of Jonah

11:29 As 43  the crowds were increasing, Jesus 44  began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it looks for a sign, 45  but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 46  11:30 For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, 47  so the Son of Man will be a sign 48  to this generation. 49  11:31 The queen of the South 50  will rise up at the judgment 51  with the people 52  of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon – and now, 53  something greater 54  than Solomon is here! 11:32 The people 55  of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented when Jonah preached to them 56  – and now, 57  something greater than Jonah is here!

Luke 12:54-56

Context
Reading the Signs

12:54 Jesus 58  also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, 59  you say at once, ‘A rainstorm 60  is coming,’ and it does. 12:55 And when you see the south wind 61  blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and there is. 12:56 You hypocrites! 62  You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how can you not know how 63  to interpret the present time?

1 tn Grk “By Beelzebul.”

sn Beelzebul is another name for Satan. So some people recognized Jesus’ work as supernatural, but called it diabolical.

2 tn Or “prince.”

3 tn Grk “testing”; the participle is taken as indicating the purpose of the demand.

4 tn The pronoun “him” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

5 tn Grk “seeking from him.” The imperfect ἐζήτουν (ezhtoun) is taken ingressively. It is also possible to regard it as iterative (“kept on asking”).

6 sn What exactly this sign would have been, given what Jesus was already doing, is not clear. But here is where the fence-sitters reside, refusing to commit to him.

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

8 sn Jesus here demonstrated the absurdity of the thinking of those who maintained that he was in league with Satan and that he actually derived his power from the devil. He first teaches (vv. 17-20) that if he casts out demons by the ruler of the demons, then in reality Satan is fighting against himself, with the result that his kingdom has come to an end. He then teaches (v. 21-22) about defeating the strong man to prove that he does not need to align himself with the devil because he is more powerful. Jesus defeated Satan at his temptation (4:1-13) and by his exorcisms he clearly demonstrated himself to be stronger than the devil. The passage reveals the desperate condition of the religious leaders, who in their hatred for Jesus end up attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan.

9 tn Or “is left in ruins.”

10 tn Grk “and house falls on house.” This phrase pictures one house collapsing on another, what is called today a “house of cards.”

11 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate that the clause that follows is a logical conclusion based on the preceding examples.

12 tn This first class condition, the first of three “if” clauses in the following verses, presents the example vividly as if it were so. In fact, all three conditions in these verses are first class. The examples are made totally parallel. The expected answer is that Satan’s kingdom will not stand, so the suggestion makes no sense. Satan would not seek to heal.

13 tn Grk “because.” “I ask you this” is supplied for the sake of English.

14 sn Most read your sons as a reference to Jewish exorcists (cf. “your followers,” L&N 9.4; for various views see D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 2:1077-78), but more likely this is a reference to the disciples of Jesus themselves, who are also Jewish and have been healing as well (R. J. Shirock, “Whose Exorcists are they? The Referents of οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν at Matthew 12:27/Luke 11:19,” JSNT 46 [1992]: 41-51). If this is a reference to the disciples, then Jesus’ point is that it is not only him, but those associated with him whose power the hearers must assess. The following reference to judging also favors this reading.

15 tn The pronoun “them” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

16 sn The finger of God is a figurative reference to God’s power (L&N 76.3). This phrase was used of God’s activity during the Exodus (Exod 8:19).

17 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.

18 tn The phrase ἔφθασεν ἐφ᾿ ὑμᾶς (efqasen efJuma") is important. Does it mean merely “approach” (which would be reflected in a translation like “has come near to you”) or actually “come upon” (as in the translation given above, “has already overtaken you,” which has the added connotation of suddenness)? The issue here is like the one in 10:9 (see note there on the phrase “come on”). Is the arrival of the kingdom merely anticipated or already in process? Two factors favor arrival over anticipation here. First, the prepositional phrase “upon you” suggests arrival (Dan 4:24, 28 Theodotion). Second, the following illustration in vv. 21-23 looks at the healing as portraying Satan being overrun. So the presence of God’s authority has arrived. See also L&N 13.123 for the translation of φθάνω (fqanw) as “to happen to already, to come upon, to come upon already.”

19 tn The referent of the expression “a strong man” is Satan.

20 tn The word αὐλή (aulh) describes any building large and elaborate enough to have an interior courtyard, thus “dwelling, palace, mansion” (L&N 7.6).

21 tn Grk “his goods are in peace.”

22 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

23 tn The referent of the expression “a stronger man” is Jesus.

24 tn Grk “stronger man than he attacks.”

25 tn Grk “his”; the referent (the first man mentioned) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

26 tn Grk “on which he relied.”

27 tn Or “and distributes.”

28 sn Some see the imagery here as similar to Eph 4:7-10, although no opponents are explicitly named in that passage. Jesus has the victory over Satan. Jesus’ acts of healing mean that the war is being won and the kingdom is coming.

29 sn Whoever is not with me is against me. The call here is to join the victor. Failure to do so means that one is being destructive. Responding to Jesus is the issue.

30 sn For the image of scattering, see Pss. Sol. 17:18.

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

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

33 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).

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

35 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.

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

37 tn Grk “comes.”

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

39 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.

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

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

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

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

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

45 sn The mention of a sign alludes back to Luke 11:16. Given what Jesus had done, nothing would be good enough. This leads to the rebuke that follows.

46 sn As the following comparisons to Solomon and Jonah show, in the present context the sign of Jonah is not an allusion to Jonah being three days in the belly of the fish, but to Jesus’ teaching about wisdom and repentance.

47 tn Grk “to the Ninevites.” What the Ninevites experienced was Jonah’s message (Jonah 3:4, 10; 4:1).

48 tn The repetition of the words “a sign” are not in the Greek text, but are implied and are supplied here for clarity.

49 tc Only the Western ms D and a few Itala mss add here a long reference to Jonah being in the belly of the fish for three days and nights and the Son of Man being three days in the earth, apparently harmonizing the text to the parallel in Matt 12:40.

50 sn On the queen of the South see 1 Kgs 10:1-3 and 2 Chr 9:1-12, as well as Josephus, Ant. 8.6.5-6 (8.165-175). The South most likely refers to modern southwest Arabia, possibly the eastern part of modern Yemen, although there is an ancient tradition reflected in Josephus which identifies this geo-political entity as Ethiopia.

51 sn For the imagery of judgment, see Luke 10:13-15 and 11:19. The warnings are coming consistently now.

52 tn Grk “men”; the word here (ἀνήρ, anhr) usually indicates males or husbands, but occasionally is used in a generic sense of people in general, as is the case here (cf. BDAG 79 s.v. 1, 2). The same term, translated the same way, occurs in v. 32.

53 tn Grk “behold.”

54 sn The message of Jesus was something greater than what Solomon offered. On Jesus and wisdom, see Luke 7:35; 10:21-22; 1 Cor 1:24, 30.

55 tn See the note on the word “people” in v. 31.

56 tn Grk “at the preaching of Jonah.”

sn The phrase repented when Jonah preached to them confirms that in this context the sign of Jonah (v. 30) is his message.

57 tn Grk “behold.”

58 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here καί (kai) has been translated as “also” and δέ (de) has not been translated.

59 sn A cloud rising in the west refers to moisture coming from the Mediterranean Sea.

60 tn The term ὄμβρος (ombro") refers to heavy rain, such as in a thunderstorm (L&N 14.12).

61 sn The south wind comes from the desert, and thus brings scorching heat.

62 sn In Luke, the term hypocrites occurs here, in 6:42, and in 13:15.

63 tc Most mss (Ì45 A W Ψ Ë1,13 Ï lat) have a syntax here that reflects a slightly different rhetorical question: “but how do you not interpret the present time?” The reading behind the translation, however, has overall superior support: Ì75 א B L Θ 33 892 1241 pc.



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