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Luke 11:20-22

Context
11:20 But if I cast out demons by the finger 1  of God, then the kingdom of God 2  has already overtaken 3  you. 11:21 When a strong man, 4  fully armed, guards his own palace, 5  his possessions are safe. 6  11:22 But 7  when a stronger man 8  attacks 9  and conquers him, he takes away the first man’s 10  armor on which the man relied 11  and divides up 12  his plunder. 13 

1 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).

2 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.

3 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.”

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

5 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).

6 tn Grk “his goods are in peace.”

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

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

9 tn Grk “stronger man than he attacks.”

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

11 tn Grk “on which he relied.”

12 tn Or “and distributes.”

13 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.



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