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Luke 7:41-47

Context
7:41 “A certain creditor 1  had two debtors; one owed him 2  five hundred silver coins, 3  and the other fifty. 7:42 When they could not pay, he canceled 4  the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 7:43 Simon answered, 5  “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” 6  Jesus 7  said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 7:44 Then, 8  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, 9  but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 7:45 You gave me no kiss of greeting, 10  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 11  with perfumed oil. 7:47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which were many, are forgiven, thus she loved much; 12  but the one who is forgiven little loves little.”

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

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

3 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.

4 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).

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

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

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

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

9 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.

10 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.

11 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.

12 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.



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