Luke 5
Vincent's Word Studies
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
Pressed (ἐπικεῖσθαι)

Lit., were laid upon.

To hear

The A. V. is correct according to the reading τοῦ ἀκούειν, which it follows. The true reading is καὶ ἀκούειν, and heard. So Rev.

He stood (αὐτὸς ἦν ἑστὼς)

The pronoun distinguishes him from the crowd which pressed upon him: he on his part stood. Render the participle and finite verb as Rev., was standing.

Lake (λίμνην)

An illustration of the more classical style of Luke as compared with Matthew and Mark. They and John also use θάλασσα, sea. See on Matthew 4:18.

And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
Ships (πλοῖα)

Used of vessels in general. Some texts read πλοιάρια, a diminutive form, meaning little boats.

Were washing

From the sand and pebbles accumulated during the night's work. Luke uses four different words for washing or cleansing: πλύνω, here, see also Revelation 7:14; ἀπομάσσω, of wiping the dust from the feet, only at Luke 10:11; ἐκμάσσω, of the woman wiping Christ's feet with her hair, Luke 7:38, Luke 7:44; ἀπολούω, of washing away sins, Acts 22:16; λούω, of washing the prisoners' stripes and the body of Dorcas, Acts 16:33; Acts 9:37. The reading ἀποπλύνω is rejected by the best texts, so that ἀπομάσσω is the only one peculiar to Luke. All the words were common in medical language.

And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
Thrust out (ἐπαναγαγεῖν)

Rev., put out. The special nautical word for putting out to sea.

Taught (ἐδίδασκεν)

The imperfect. He continued the teaching he had begun on the shore.

Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
Launch out

Rev., put out. The singular number, addressed to Peter as master of the craft.

Let down (χαλάσατε)

The plural, addressed to the whole of the boat's crew. Originally, to slacken or loosen, as a bowstring or the reins of horses; hence to let sink as a net. Also of unbarring a door. Metaphorically, to be indulgent, to pardon. The word occurs in the New Testament seven times, and five of these in Luke. He uses it of letting down Paul in a basket at Damascus (Acts 9:25); of striking a ship's sails, and of letting down a boat into the sea (Acts 27:17, Acts 27:30). Matthew, Mark, and John use βάλλω, or ἀμφιβάλλω, for casting a net (Matthew 4:18; Matthew 13:47; Mark 1:16; John 21:6), which appears also in the compound noun for a casting-net (ἀμφίβληστρον, see on Matthew 4:18). The word used by Luke was in common use in medical writings, to denote relaxation of the limbs; loosening of bandages; abatement of sickness; letting herbs down into a vessel to be steeped.

And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
Master (ἐπιστάτα)

Used by Luke only, and always with reference to Jesus. He never uses Rabbi, as John especially. Wyc., commander.

Toiled (κοπιάσαντες)

From κόπος, suffering, weariness; and therefore indicating exhausting toil.

At thy word (ἐπί)

Relying on: on the ground of.

The net (δίκτυον)

A general term for a net, whether for fish or fowl. See on Matthew 4:18. Some, as Rev., read τὰ δίκτυα, the nets.

Brake (διεῤῥήγνυτο)

Some texts read διερήσσετο, from the later form of the verb. The difference is unimportant. The A. V. fails to give the force of the imperfect, were breaking, as Rev.; or even better, possibly, began to break. Trench suggests were at the point to break. The word occurs also at Luke 8:29; Acts 14:14, and only twice beside in the New Testament. Luke alone uses the two compounds περιῤῥήγνυμι, of rending off clothes (see on Acts 16:22), and, προσρήγνυμι to beat violently (Luke 6:48, Luke 6:49). See on those passages. All the words occur in medical writings.

And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
They beckoned (κατένευσαν)

The word originally means to nod assent, and so, generally, to make a sign. They made signs because of the distance of the other boat; hardly, as has been suggested, because they were too much amazed to speak.

Help (συλλαβέσθαι)

Lit., take hold with. Compare Philippians 4:3.

Began to sink (βυθίζεσθαι)

Only here and 1 Timothy 6:9, of drowning men in destruction. From βυθός, the depth. Wyc., they were almost drenched.

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
Fell down at Jesus' knees

Compare Sophocles, "Oedipus at Colonus," 1605:

"Zeus from the dark depths thundered, and the girls

Heard it, and shuddering, at their father's knees

Falling, they wept."

For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
He was astonished (θάμβος περιέσχεν αὐτὸν)

Lit., amazement encompassed him. See on 1 Peter 2:6.

The draught (τῇ ἄγρα)

The word is used both of the act of catching and of that which is caught. In Luke 5:4 it has the former sense: "let down your net for catching:" here, the latter, the catch or haul.

And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
Partners (κοινωνοὶ)

In Luke 5:7 the word rendered partners is μέτοχοι; from μετά, with, and ἔχω, to have. The word here denotes a closer association, a common interest. The kindred noun, κοινωνία, fellowship, is used of the fellowship of believers with Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9); the communion of the body and blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16); the communion of the Holy Ghost (2 Corinthians 13:14). The persons referred to in Luke 5:7 might have been only hired workmen (Mark 1:20), temporarily associated with the principals.

Thou shalt catch (ἔσῃ ζωγρῶν)

Lit., thou shalt be catching, the participle and finite verb denoting that this is to be his habitual calling. Both Matthew and Mark make the promise to be addressed to Peter and his companions; Luke to Peter alone. The verb ζωγρέω, to catch, is compounded of ζωός, living, and ἀγρεύω, to catch or take. Hence, lit., to take alive: in war, to take captive, instead of killing. Thus Homer, when Menelaus threatens the prostrate Adrastus:

"Adrastus clasped the warrior's knees and said,

O son of Atreus, take me prisoner" (ζώγρει).

Iliad, vi., 45, 6; compare Iliad, x., 378.

So Herodotus: "The Persians took Sardis, and captured Croesus himself alive" (ἔξώγρημαν). - I., 86.

There is certainly a reason for the use of this term, as indicating that Christ's ministers are called to win men to life. Compare 2 Timothy 2:26, where, according to the best supported rendering, the servant of God is represented as taking men alive out of the power of Satan, to be preserved unto the will of God; i.e., as instruments of his will (compare A. V. and Rev.). The word thus contains in itself an answer to the sneering remark of the Apostate Julian, that Christ aptly termed his apostles fishers; "for, as the fisherman draws out the fish from waters where they were free and happy, to an element in which they cannot breathe, but must presently perish, so did these."

And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
Full of leprosy

Matthew and Mark have simply a leper. The expression, full of leprosy, seems to be used here with professional accuracy. Leprosy was known among physicians under three forms: the dull white, the clear white, and the black. Luke means to describe an aggravated case. The word full in this connection is often used by medical writers, as, full of disease; the veins full of blood; the ears full of roaring.

Make me clean (καθαρίσαι)

All three evangelists say cleanse instead of heal, because of the notion of uncleanness which specially attached to this malady.

And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.
I will (θέλω)

See on Matthew 1:19.

Be thou clean (καθαρίσθητι)

Rev., more accurately, gives the force of the passive voice, be thou made clean.

And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
He charged (παρήγγειλεν)

A strong word, often of military orders. Aristotle uses it of a physician: to prescribe. Mark has ἐμβριμησάμενος, strictly or sternly charged. See on Mark 1:43.

No one (μηδενὶ)

The conditional negative: no one that he might chance to meet.

Go, shew thyself

A lively change from the narrative to direct address.

But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
Went abroad (διήρχετο)

Διά throughout the region. Wyc., the word walked about.

Came together (σηνήρχοντο)

Imperfect. Kept coming together, or were coming.

To be healed (θεραπεύεσθαι)

Originally, to be an attendant, to do service; and therefore of a physician, to attend upon, or treat medically. In classical writers it has also the meaning to heal, as undoubtedly in the New Testament, and in Luke (Luke 13:14; Acts 4:14, etc.). See on Matthew 8:7, and compare ἰαομαι, to heal, in Luke 5:17.

Infirmities (ἀσθενειῶν)

A strictly literal rendering; ἀ, not, and σθένος strength, exactly answering to the Latin in, not, and firmus, strong.

And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
Withdrew (ἦν ὑποχωρῶν)

The participle with the imperfect of the finite verb denoting something in progress, and thus corresponding to the imperfect in Luke 5:15. The multitudes were coming together, but he was engaged in retirement and prayer, so that he was inaccessible. The word occurs only in Luke, the usual New Testament word for withdraw being ἀναχωρέω. See Matthew 2:12; Matthew 12:15; Mark 3:7.

And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
He was teaching

The pronoun has a slightly emphatic force: he as distinguished from the Pharisees and teachers of the law.

Doctors of the law (νομοδιδάσκαλοι)

Only in Luke and 1 Timothy 1:7. Luke often uses νομικὸς, conversant with the law, but in the other word the element of teaching is emphasized, probably in intentional contrast with Christ's teaching.

Judaea and Jerusalem

The Rabbinical writers divided Judaea proper into three parts - mountain, sea-shore, and valley - Jerusalem being regarded as a separate district. "Only one intimately acquainted with the state of matters at the time, would, with the Rabbis, have distinguished Jerusalem as a district separate from all the rest of Judaea, as Luke markedly does on several occasions (Acts 1:8; Acts 10:39)" (Edersheim, "Jewish Social Life").

Was present to heal them

The A. V. follows the reading, αὐτούς, them; i.e., the sufferers who were present, referring back to Luke 5:15. The best texts, however, read αὐτόν, him, referring to Christ, and meaning was present that he should heal; i.e., in aid of his healing. So Rev.

And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.
Taken with a palsy (παραλελυμένος)

Rev., more neatly, palsied. Whenever Luke mentions this disease, he uses the verb and not the adjective παραλυτικός paralytic (as Matthew 4:24; Matthew 8:6; Mark 2:3-10; compare Acts 8:7; Acts 9:33); his usage in this respect being in strict accord with that of medical writers.

And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

Wyc. has sclattis, elates.

Couch (κλινιδίῳ)

Luke uses four words for the beds o the sick: κλίνη, as Luke 5:18, the general word for a bed or couch; κράββατος, (Acts 5:15; Acts 9:33), a rude pallet (see on Mark 2:4); κλινίδιον, a small couch or litter, as here, a couch so light that a woman could lift and carry it away. Thus, in the "Lysistrata" of Aristophanes, 916, Myrrine says: "Come now, let me carry our couch" (κλινίδιον). The fourth term, κλινάριον (Acts 5:15), cannot be accurately distinguished from the last. The last two are peculiar to Luke.

Into the midst before Jesus

See on Mark 2:4.

And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
To reason

See on Mark 2:6. The words who is this that speaketh blasphemy, form an iambic verse in the Greek.

But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?

See on Mark 2:8.

Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?
Walk (περιπάτει)

Lit., walk about.

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
Unto thee (σοὶ)

Standing first for emphasis. Luke emphasizes the direct address to the man: unto thee I say, in contrast with the apparently less direct, thy sins be forgiven thee. In Jesus' mind the connection between the sins and the man's personal condition was assumed; now he brings out the personal side of the connection. In forgiving the man's sins he had healed him radically. The command to rise and walk was of the same piece.

And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.
They were all amazed (ἔκστασις ἔλαβεν ἅπαντας)

Lit., amazement took hold on all, as Rev. On ἔκστασις, amazement, see on Mark 5:42.

Strange things (οαρα.διξα)

From παρά, contrary to, and δόξα, opinion. Something contrary to received opinion, and hence strange. Compare the English paradox. Only here in New Testament.

And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.
He saw (ἐθεάσατο)

Better, as Rev., beheld, since the verb denotes looking attentively. See on Matthew 11:7.

A publican

See on Luke 3:12.

Receipt of custom

See on Matthew 9:9.

And he left all, rose up, and followed him.
He followed (ἠκολούθει)

Imperfect. He began to follow, and continued following.

And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.
Feast (δοχὴν)

Only here and Luke 14:13. From the same root as δέχομαι, to receive. A reception.

But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
They that are whole (οἱ ὑγιαίνοντες)

Both Matthew and Mark use ἰσχύοντες, the strong. This use of the verb in its primary sense, to be in sound health, is found in Luke 7:10; Luke 15:27; and once in John, 3 Ep. 3 John 1:2. For this meaning it is the regular word in medical writings. Paul uses it only in the metaphorical sense: sound doctrine, sound words, sound in faith, etc. See 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3; Titus 1:13, etc.

I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?
Often (πυκνὰ)

Only here, Acts 24:26; 1 Timothy 5:23. The word literally means close-packed, as a thicket, or the plumage of a bird.

Prayers (δεήσεις)

Used by no other evangelist. From δέομαι, to want, and hence distinctively of petitionary prayer. In classical Greek the word is not restricted to sacred uses, but is employed of requests preferred to men. Rev., more correctly, supplications.

And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?
Children of the bride-chamber

Better, as Rev., sons (υἱοὺς). See on Mark 2:19.

But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
But the days will come when, etc. (ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι καὶ ὅταν)

The A. V. follows a reading which omits καὶ, and, which is inserted in all the best texts. The thought is broken off. "The days shall come - and when the bridegroom shall be taken away, then shall they fast." So Rev.

And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.
A parable

"From a garment and from wine, especially appropriate at a banquet" (Bengel).

Putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old (ἐπίβλημα ἱματίου καινοῦ ἐπιβάλλει ἐπὶ ἱμάτιον παλαιόν)

The best texts, however, insert σχίσας, having rent, which directly governs ἐπίβλημα, piece; so that the rendering is, No man having rent a piece from, a new garment, putteth it, etc. So Rev., No man tendeth a piece and putteth. Both Matthew and Mark have cloth instead of garment, by the use of which latter term "the incongruity of the proceeding comes more strongly into prominence" (Meyer). ἐπίβλημα, a piece, is, literally, a patch, from ἐπί, upon, and βάλλω, to throw: something clapped on. Compare the kindred verb here, ἐπιβάλλει, putteth upon.

The new maketh a rent (τὸ καινὸν σχίζει)

The best texts read σχίσει, will rend, governing the new, instead of being used intransitively. Render, as Rev., He will rend the new.

Agreeth not (οὐ συμφωνεῖ)

The best texts read συμφωνήσει, the future; will not agree. So Rev.

In Matthew and Mark there is only a single damage, that, namely, to the old garment, the rent in which is enlarged. In Luke the damage is twofold; first, in injuring the new garment by cutting out a piece; and second, in making the old garment appear patched, instead of widening the rent, as in Matthew and Mark.

And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.
Bottles (ἀσκοὺς)

Rev., wine-skins. See on Matthew 9:17.

But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.
No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
Better (χρηστότερος)

The best texts read χρηστός, good. See on Matthew 11:30.

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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