12:24 But when the Pharisees 1 heard this they said, “He does not cast out demons except by the power of Beelzebul, 2 the ruler 3 of demons!” 12:25 Now when Jesus 4 realized what they were thinking, he said to them, 5 “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, 6 and no town or house divided against itself will stand. 12:26 So if 7 Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?
2 tn Grk “except by Beelzebul.”
sn Beelzebul is another name for Satan. So some people recognized Jesus’ work as supernatural, but called it diabolical.
3 tn Or “prince.”
4 tc The majority of
5 sn Jesus here demonstrated the absurdity of the thinking of the religious leaders who maintained that he was in league with Satan and that he actually derived his power from the devil. He first teaches (vv. 25-28) 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. 29) about tying up 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 (4:1-11) 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 (a position for which they will be held accountable, 12:31-32).
6 tn Or “is left in ruins.”
7 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.