New International Version
"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
King James Bible
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Darby Bible Translation
And the tax-gatherer, standing afar off, would not lift up even his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, O God, have compassion on me, the sinner.
World English Bible
But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn't even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'
Young's Literal Translation
'And the tax-gatherer, having stood afar off, would not even the eyes lift up to the heaven, but was smiting on his breast, saying, God be propitious to me -- the sinner!
Luke 18:13 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
The publican, standing afar off - Not because he was a heathen, and dared not approach the holy place; (for it is likely he was a Jew); but because he was a true penitent, and felt himself utterly unworthy to appear before God.
Would not lift up - his eyes - Holding down the head, with the eyes fixed upon the earth, was,
1. A sign of deep distress.
2. Of a consciousness and confession of guilt. And,
3. It was the very posture that the Jewish rabbins required in those who prayed to God.
See Ezra 9:6; and Mishna, in Berachoth, chap. v.; and Kypke's note here. So the Pharisee appears to have forgotten one of his own precepts.
But smote upon his breast - Smiting the breast was a token of excessive grief, commonly practised in all nations. It seems to intimate a desire, in the penitent, to punish that heart through the evil propensities of which the sin deplored had been committed. It is still used among the Roman Catholics in their general confessions.
God be merciful to me - Ἱλασθητι μοι - Be propitious toward me through sacrifice - or, let an atonement be made for me. I am a sinner, and cannot be saved but in this way. The Greek word ἱλασκω, or ἱλασκομαι, often signifies to make expiation for sin; and is used by the Septuagint, Psalm 65:4; Psalm 78:38; Psalm 79:9, for כפר kipper, he made an atonement. So ἱλασμος a propitiation, is used by the same, for חטאה chataah, a sacrifice for sin, Ezekiel 44:27; and ἱλαστηριον, the mercy seat, is, in the above version, the translation of כפרת kapporeth, the lid of the ark of the covenant, on and before which the blood of the expiatory victim was sprinkled, on the great day of atonement. The verb is used in exactly the same sense by the best Greek writers. The following from Herodotus, lib. i. p. 19, edit. Gale, is full in point. Θυσιῃσι μεγαλῃσι τον εν Δελφοισι θεον ἹΛΑΣΚΕΤΟ, Croesus appeased, or made an atonement to, the Delphic god by immense sacrifices. We see then, at once, the reason why our blessed Lord said that the tax-gatherer went down to his house justified rather than the other: - he sought for mercy through an atonement for sin, which was the only way in which God had from the beginning purposed to save sinners. As the Pharisee depended on his doing no harm, and observing the ordinances of religion for his acceptance with God, according to the economy of grace and justice, he must be rejected: for as all had sinned and come short of the glory of God, and no man could make an atonement for his sins, so he who did not take refuge in that which God's mercy had provided must be excluded from the kingdom of heaven. This was no new doctrine: it was the doctrine publicly and solemnly preached by every sacrifice offered under the Jewish law. Without shedding of blood there is no remission, was the loud and constant cry of the whole Mosaic economy. From this we may see what it is to have a righteousness superior to that of the scribes and Pharisees. We must humble ourselves before God, which they did not: we must take refuge in the blood of the cross, which they would not; and be meek and humble of heart, which they were not.
Many suppose that the Pharisees thought they could acquire righteousness of themselves, independently of God, and that they did not depend on him for grace or power: but let us not make them worse than they were - for this is disclaimed by the Pharisee in the text, who attributes all the good he had to God: O God, I thank thee, that I am not as others - it is thou who hast made me to differ. But this was not sufficient: restraining grace must not be put in the place of the great atonement. Guilt he had contracted - and this guilt must be blotted out; and that there was no way of doing this, but through an atonement, the whole Jewish law declared. See the note on Matthew 5:20.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
LibraryJune 7 Morning
Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.--LUKE 18:1. Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his …
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path
July 14. "Men Ought Always to Pray" (Luke xviii. 1).
The Charity of God
Tit. 2:06 Thoughts for Young Men
2 Samuel 12:13
Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.
and prayed: "I am too ashamed and disgraced, my God, to lift up my face to you, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.
After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.'
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
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