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Luke 14:7-24

On Seeking Seats of Honor

14:7 Then 1  when Jesus 2  noticed how the guests 3  chose the places of honor, 4  he told them a parable. He said to them, 14:8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, 5  do not take 6  the place of honor, because a person more distinguished than you may have been invited by your host. 7  14:9 So 8  the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your place.’ Then, ashamed, 9  you will begin to move to the least important 10  place. 14:10 But when you are invited, go and take the least important place, so that when your host 11  approaches he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up here to a better place.’ 12  Then you will be honored in the presence of all who share the meal with you. 14:11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but 13  the one who humbles 14  himself will be exalted.”

14:12 He 15  said also to the man 16  who had invited him, “When you host a dinner or a banquet, 17  don’t invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors so you can be invited by them in return and get repaid. 14:13 But when you host an elaborate meal, 18  invite the poor, the crippled, 19  the lame, and 20  the blind. 21  14:14 Then 22  you will be blessed, 23  because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid 24  at the resurrection of the righteous.”

The Parable of the Great Banquet

14:15 When 25  one of those at the meal with Jesus 26  heard this, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone 27  who will feast 28  in the kingdom of God!” 29  14:16 But Jesus 30  said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet 31  and invited 32  many guests. 33  14:17 At 34  the time for the banquet 35  he sent his slave 36  to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, because everything is now ready.’ 14:18 But one after another they all 37  began to make excuses. 38  The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, 39  and I must go out and see it. Please excuse me.’ 40  14:19 Another 41  said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, 42  and I am going out 43  to examine them. Please excuse me.’ 14:20 Another 44  said, ‘I just got married, and I cannot come.’ 45  14:21 So 46  the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the master of the household was furious 47  and said to his slave, ‘Go out quickly 48  to the streets and alleys of the city, 49  and bring in the poor, 50  the crippled, 51  the blind, and the lame.’ 14:22 Then 52  the slave said, ‘Sir, what you instructed has been done, and there is still room.’ 53  14:23 So 54  the master said to his 55  slave, ‘Go out to the highways 56  and country roads 57  and urge 58  people 59  to come in, so that my house will be filled. 60  14:24 For I tell you, not one of those individuals 61  who were invited 62  will taste my banquet!’” 63 

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

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

3 tn Grk “those who were invited.”

4 tn Or “the best places.” The “places of honor” at the meal would be those closest to the host.

5 tn Or “banquet.” This may not refer only to a wedding feast, because this term can have broader sense (note the usage in Esth 2:18; 9:22 LXX). However, this difference does not affect the point of the parable.

6 tn Grk “do not recline in the place of honor.” 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away.

7 tn Grk “by him”; the referent (the host) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

8 tn Grk “host, and.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate this action is a result of the situation described in the previous verse. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

9 tn Or “then in disgrace”; Grk “with shame.” In this culture avoiding shame was important.

10 tn Grk “lowest place” (also in the repetition of the phrase in the next verse).

11 tn Grk “the one who invited you.”

12 tn Grk “Go up higher.” This means to move to a more important place.

13 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context, which involves the reversal of expected roles.

14 sn The point of the statement the one who humbles himself will be exalted is humility and the reversal imagery used to underline it is common: Luke 1:52-53; 6:21; 10:15; 18:14.

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

16 sn That is, the leader of the Pharisees (v. 1).

17 tn The meaning of the two terms for meals here, ἄριστον (ariston) and δεῖπνον (deipnon), essentially overlap (L&N 23.22). Translators usually try to find two terms for a meal to use as equivalents (e.g., lunch and dinner, dinner and supper, etc.). In this translation “dinner” and “banquet” have been used, since the expected presence of rich neighbors later in the verse suggests a rather more elaborate occasion than an ordinary meal.

18 tn This term, δοχή (doch), is a third term for a meal (see v. 12) that could also be translated “banquet, feast.”

19 sn Normally the term means crippled as a result of being maimed or mutilated (L&N 23.177).

20 tn Here “and” has been supplied between the last two elements in the series in keeping with English style.

21 sn This list of needy is like Luke 7:22. See Deut 14:28-29; 16:11-14; 26:11-13.

22 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate that this follows from the preceding action. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

23 sn You will be blessed. God notes and approves of such generosity.

24 sn The passive verb will be repaid looks at God’s commendation.

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

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

27 tn Grk “whoever” (the indefinite relative pronoun). This has been translated as “everyone who” to conform to contemporary English style.

28 tn Or “will dine”; Grk “eat bread.” This refers to those who enjoy the endless fellowship of God’s coming rule.

29 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.

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

31 tn Or “dinner.”

32 sn Presumably those invited would have sent a reply with the invitation stating their desire to attend, much like a modern R.S.V.P. Then they waited for the servant to announce the beginning of the celebration (D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 2:1272).

33 tn The word “guests” is not in the Greek text but is implied.

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

35 tn Or “dinner.”

36 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 7:2.

37 tn Or “all unanimously” (BDAG 107 s.v. ἀπό 6). "One after another" is suggested by L&N 61.2.

38 sn To make excuses and cancel at this point was an insult in the culture of the time. Regardless of customs concerning responses to invitations, refusal at this point was rude.

39 sn I have bought a field. An examination of newly bought land was a common practice. It was this person’s priority.

40 sn The expression Please excuse me is probably a polite way of refusing, given the dynamics of the situation, although it is important to note that an initial acceptance had probably been indicated and it was now a bit late for a refusal. The semantic equivalent of the phrase may well be “please accept my apologies.”

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

42 sn Five yoke of oxen. This was a wealthy man, because the normal farmer had one or two yoke of oxen.

43 tn The translation “going out” for πορεύομαι (poreuomai) is used because “going” in this context could be understood to mean “I am about to” rather than the correct nuance, “I am on my way to.”

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

45 sn I just got married, and I cannot come. There is no request to be excused here; just a refusal. Why this disqualifies attendance is not clear. The OT freed a newly married man from certain responsibilities such as serving in the army (Deut 20:7; 24:5), but that would hardly apply to a banquet. The invitation is not respected in any of the three cases.

46 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the result of the preceding responses.

47 tn Grk “being furious, said.” The participle ὀργισθείς (orgisqei") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

48 sn It was necessary to go out quickly because the banquet was already prepared. All the food would spoil if not eaten immediately.

49 tn Or “town.”

50 sn The poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. Note how the list matches v. 13, illustrating that point. Note also how the party goes on; it is not postponed until a later date. Instead new guests are invited.

51 tn Grk “and the crippled.” Normally crippled as a result of being maimed or mutilated (L&N 23.177). Καί (kai) has not been translated here and before the following category (Grk “and the blind and the lame”) since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

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

53 sn And still there is room. This comment suggests the celebration was quite a big one, picturing the openness of God’s grace.

54 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the master’s response to the slave’s report.

55 tn Grk “the”; in context the article is used as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215).

56 sn Go out to the highways and country roads. This suggests the inclusion of people outside the town, even beyond the needy (poor, crippled, blind, and lame) in the town, and so is an allusion to the inclusion of the Gentiles.

57 tn The Greek word φραγμός (fragmo") refers to a fence, wall, or hedge surrounding a vineyard (BDAG 1064 s.v. 1). “Highways” and “country roads” probably refer not to separate places, but to the situation outside the town where the rural roads run right alongside the hedges or fences surrounding the fields (cf. J. A. Fitzmyer, Luke [AB], 1057).

58 tn Traditionally “force” or “compel,” but according to BDAG 60 s.v. ἀναγκάζω 2 this is a weakened nuance: “strongly urge/invite.” The meaning in this context is more like “persuade.”

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

60 sn So that my house will be filled. God will bless many people.

61 tn The Greek word here is ἀνήρ (anhr), which frequently stresses males or husbands (in contrast to women or wives). However, the emphasis in the present context is on identifying these individuals as the ones previously invited, examples of which were given in vv. 18-20. Cf. also BDAG 79 s.v. ἀνήρ 2.

62 sn None of those individuals who were invited. This is both the point and the warning. To be a part of the original invitation does not mean one automatically has access to blessing. One must respond when the summons comes in order to participate. The summons came in the person of Jesus and his proclamation of the kingdom. The statement here refers to the fact that many in Israel will not be blessed with participation, for they have ignored the summons when it came.

63 tn Or “dinner.”

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