through the grainfields: Perhaps by means of footpaths that separated one tract of land from another.
what is not lawful: Jehovah had commanded that the Israelites do no work on the Sabbath. (Ex 20:8-10) Jewish religious leaders claimed the right to define exactly what constituted work. According to them, Jesus’ disciples were guilty of harvesting (plucking) and threshing (rubbing) grain. (Lu 6:1, 2) However, such a definition overstepped Jehovah’s command.
what is not lawful: See study note on Mt 12:2.
house of God: Here referring to the tabernacle. The account Jesus refers to (1Sa 21:1-6) occurred when the tabernacle was located at Nob, a town evidently in the territory of Benjamin and close to Jerusalem.—See App. B7 (inset).
loaves of presentation: Or “showbread.” The Hebrew expression literally means “bread of the face.” The bread was figuratively before Jehovah as a constant offering to him.—Ex 25:30; see Glossary and App. B5.
Lord of the Sabbath: Jesus applies this expression to himself (Mr 2:28; Lu 6:5), indicating that the Sabbath was at his disposal for doing the work commanded by his heavenly Father. (Compare Joh 5:19; 10:37, 38.) On the Sabbath, Jesus performed some of his most outstanding miracles, which included healing the sick. (Lu 13:10-13; Joh 5:5-9; 9:1-14) This evidently foreshadowed the kind of relief he will bring during his Kingdom rule, which will be like a sabbath rest.—Heb 10:1.
Lord of the Sabbath: See study note on Mt 12:8.
whose right hand was withered: Three Gospel writers describe Jesus’ healing of this man on a sabbath, but only Luke mentions the detail that it was the man’s right hand that was withered, or paralyzed. (Mt 12:10; Mr 3:1) Luke often supplies medical details that Matthew and Mark do not. For a similar example, compare Mt 26:51 and Mr 14:47 with Lu 22:50, 51.—See “Introduction to Luke.”
life: Or “soul.”—See Glossary, “Soul.”
apostles: Or “sent ones.” The Greek word a·poʹsto·los is derived from the verb a·po·stelʹlo, meaning “to send away (out).” (Mt 10:5; Lu 11:49; 14:32) Its basic meaning is clearly illustrated in Jesus’ statement at Joh 13:16, where it is rendered “one who is sent.”
apostles: See study note on Mt 10:2.
the zealous one: A designation distinguishing the apostle Simon from the apostle Simon Peter. (Lu 6:14) The Greek word used here and at Ac 1:13, ze·lo·tesʹ, means “zealot; enthusiast.” The parallel accounts at Mt 10:4 and Mr 3:18 use the designation “the Cananaean,” a term thought to be of Hebrew or Aramaic origin that likewise means “Zealot; Enthusiast.” While it is possible that Simon once belonged to the Zealots, a Jewish party opposed to the Romans, he may have been given this designation because of his zeal and enthusiasm.
who turned traitor: Or “who became a traitor.” The phrase is of interest because it suggests that Judas underwent a change. He was not a traitor when he became a disciple; nor was he a traitor when Jesus appointed him to be an apostle. He was not predestined to be a traitor. Rather, by the misuse of his own free will, he “turned traitor” sometime after his appointment. From the moment the change began to take place, Jesus was aware of it, as suggested at Joh 6:64.
and stood on a level place: As shown by the context, Jesus came down from a mountain where he had prayed all night before choosing his 12 apostles. (Lu 6:12, 13) He finds a level place on the mountainside, perhaps not far from his center of activity in Capernaum. Great crowds of people gather, and Jesus heals them all. According to the parallel account at Mt 5:1, 2, he “went up on the mountain . . . and began teaching.” This expression may refer to an elevation above the level place on the mountainside. Taken together, the accounts of Matthew and Luke evidently describe how Jesus stopped his descent at a level place, found a slight elevation on the mountainside, and began to speak. Or Mt 5:1 may be a summary that does not mention what Luke explains in more detail.
Happy: The Greek word ma·kaʹri·os used here does not simply refer to a state of lightheartedness, as when a person is enjoying a good time. Rather, when used of humans, it refers to the condition of one who is blessed by God and enjoys his favor. The term is also used as a description of God and of Jesus in his heavenly glory.—1Ti 1:11; 6:15.
Happy: The Greek word ma·kaʹri·os occurs 50 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. Paul here describes “the happiness of the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works.” (Ro 4:6) This Greek term is used to describe God (1Ti 1:11) and to describe Jesus in his heavenly glory (1Ti 6:15). It is also the term used in the famous statements on happiness in the Sermon on the Mount. (Mt 5:3-11; Lu 6:20-22) Here at Ro 4:7, 8, “happy” is quoted from Ps 32:1, 2. This type of pronouncement is common in the Hebrew Scriptures. (De 33:29; 1Ki 10:8; Job 5:17; Ps 1:1; 2:12; 33:12; 94:12; 128:1; 144:15; Da 12:12) The Hebrew and the Greek expressions used for “happy” do not refer simply to a state of lightheartedness, as when a person is enjoying a good time. From a Scriptural standpoint, to be truly happy a person needs to cultivate love for God, to serve him faithfully, and to enjoy his favor and blessing.
those conscious of their spiritual need: The Greek expression rendered “those conscious,” literally, “those who are poor (needy; destitute; beggars),” in this context is used about those who have a need and are intensely aware of it. The same word is used in reference to the “beggar” Lazarus at Lu 16:20, 22. The Greek phrase that some translations render those who are “poor in spirit” conveys the idea of people who are painfully aware of their spiritual poverty and of their need for God.—See study note on Lu 6:20.
a beggar: Or “a poor man.” The Greek word can refer to one who is very poor, or destitute. The use of this word provides a stark contrast to the rich man in Jesus’ illustration. It is used in a figurative sense at Mt 5:3 in the phrase rendered “those conscious of their spiritual need,” literally, “those who are poor (needy; destitute; beggars) as to the spirit,” conveying the idea of people who are painfully aware of their spiritual poverty and of their need for God.—See study note on Mt 5:3.
his disciples: The Greek word for “disciple,” ma·the·tesʹ, refers to a learner, or one who is taught, and implies a personal attachment to a teacher, an attachment that shapes the disciple’s whole life. Although large crowds gathered to listen to Jesus, it seems that he spoke mainly for the benefit of his disciples, who sat closest to him.—Mt 5:1, 2; 7:28, 29.
and began to say: The Sermon on the Mount is recorded both by Matthew (chapters 5-7) and by Luke (6:20-49). Luke recorded an abbreviated account of this sermon, whereas Matthew’s account is about four times longer and includes all but a few verses that appear in Luke’s presentation. The two accounts begin alike and end alike, often use identical expressions, and are generally similar in content and in the order that the subjects are presented. Where the two accounts run parallel, the wording sometimes differs considerably. Even so, the accounts are harmonious. It is worth noting that several large portions of the sermon that do not appear in Luke’s account are repeated by Jesus on other occasions. For instance, while delivering the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about prayer (Mt 6:9-13) and about a proper view of material things (Mt 6:25-34). About a year and a half later, it seems that he repeated these statements, which were recorded by Luke. (Lu 11:2-4; 12:22-31) Moreover, since Luke was generally writing for Christians from all backgrounds, he may have omitted portions of the sermon that may have been of special interest to Jews.—Mt 5:17-27; 6:1-18.
you who are poor: The Greek expression rendered “poor” denotes being “needy; destitute; a beggar.” Luke’s version of this first happiness in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount varies somewhat from what is stated at Mt 5:3. Matthew also uses the Greek word “poor” but adds the word for “spirit,” making the whole expression literally read “poor ones (beggars) as to the spirit.” (See study notes on Mt 5:3; Lu 16:20.) This phrase conveys the idea of a strong awareness of one’s spiritual poverty and dependence on God. Luke’s account simply refers to the poor, which harmonizes with Matthew’s account in that those who are poor and downtrodden are often more inclined to recognize their spiritual need and are more fully aware of their dependence on God. In fact, Jesus said that an important reason for his coming as the Messiah was “to declare good news to the poor.” (Lu 4:18) Those who followed Jesus and were given the hope of sharing in the blessings of the Kingdom of God were primarily drawn from among the poor or common people. (1Co 1:26-29; Jas 2:5) But Matthew’s account makes it clear that simply being poor does not automatically result in having God’s favor. So the introductory statements in the two accounts of the Sermon on the Mount complement each other.
they have their reward in full: The Greek term a·peʹkho, meaning “to have in full,” often appeared on business receipts, with the sense of “paid in full.” The hypocrites gave in order to be seen by men, and they were seen and glorified by men for their charitable giving; thus, they have already received all the reward that they are going to get. They should not expect anything from God.
having your consolation in full: The Greek term a·peʹkho, meaning “to have in full,” often appeared on business receipts, with the sense of “paid in full.” Jesus spoke of the woe, that is, the pain, sorrow, and adverse consequences, that the rich might experience. This is not simply because they have a comfortable, or good, life. Rather, he warned that people who cherish material riches may neglect service to God and miss out on gaining true happiness. Such people would be “paid in full,” experiencing all the consolation, or comforts, that they are going to get. God will not give them anything more.—See study note on Mt 6:2.
Continue to love your enemies: See study note on Mt 5:44.
lend: That is, lend without interest. The Law forbade the Israelites from charging interest on loans to a needy fellow Jew (Ex 22:25), and it encouraged them to lend generously to the poor.—De 15:7, 8; Mt 25:27.
Keep on forgiving, and you will be forgiven: Or “Keep on releasing, and you will be released.” The Greek term rendered “to forgive” literally means “to let go free; to send away; to release (for example, a prisoner).” In this context, when used in contrast with judging and condemning, it conveys the idea of acquitting and forgiving, even when punishment or retribution might seem warranted.
Practice giving: Or “Keep giving.” The form of the Greek verb used here for “to give” denotes continuous action.
your laps: The Greek word literally means “your bosom (chest),” but in this context it likely refers to the fold formed over the belt by the loose-fitting cloth of the outer garment. ‘Pouring into the lap’ may refer to a custom of some vendors to fill this fold with the goods that had been purchased.
illustrations: Or “parables.” The Greek word pa·ra·bo·leʹ, which literally means “a placing beside (together),” may be in the form of a parable, a proverb, or an illustration. Jesus often explains a thing by ‘placing it beside,’ or comparing it with, another similar thing. (Mr 4:30) His illustrations were short and usually fictitious narratives from which a moral or spiritual truth could be drawn.
an illustration: Or “a parable.”—See study note on Mt 13:3.
straw . . . rafter: Jesus here uses striking hyperbole to describe a person who is critical of his brother. He compares a minor flaw to something small like a “straw.” The Greek word karʹphos can refer not only to a “straw” but also to a small piece of wood, so other Bibles render it a “splinter,” or a “speck of sawdust.” The critic implies that his brother’s spiritual vision, including his moral perception and judgment, is defective. By offering to “remove the straw,” he proudly asserts that he is qualified to help his brother see things more clearly and to judge matters correctly. Jesus, however, says that the critic’s own spiritual vision and judgment are impaired by a symbolic “rafter,” a log or beam that might be used to support a roof. (Mt 7:4, 5) Some suggest that this powerful, even humorous contrast, indicates that Jesus was familiar with the work done in a carpenter’s shop.
straw . . . rafter: See study note on Mt 7:3.
Hypocrite!: The Greek word hy·po·kri·tesʹ originally referred to Greek (and later Roman) stage actors who wore large masks designed to disguise the identity of the actor and to amplify the voice. The term came to be used in a metaphoric sense. It was applied to someone who hid his real intentions or personality by putting on a pretense. At Mt 6:5, 16, Jesus refers to the Jewish religious leaders as “hypocrites.” Here (Lu 6:42) he uses the term to address any disciple who focuses on another’s faults while ignoring his own.
a flood: Sudden winter storms are not uncommon in Israel, especially during the month of Tebeth, that is, December/January. They bring high winds, torrential rains, and destructive flash floods.—See App. B15.
1. Plain of Gennesaret. This was a fertile triangle of land, measuring about 5 by 2.5 km (3 by 1.5 mi). It was along the shoreline in this area that Jesus invited the fishermen Peter, Andrew, James, and John to join him in his ministry.—Mt 4:18-22.
The outer garment worn by Israelites in Bible times was voluminous over the chest. The garment might be worn so that a fold of material hung over the belt. That fold could be used as a large pocket into which a person could place grain, money, or other articles and could even carry a baby or a young lamb. (Ex 4:6, 7; Nu 11:12; 2Ki 4:39; Job 31:33; Isa 40:11) The Greek word rendered “your laps” at Lu 6:38 literally means “your bosom (chest)” but in this context refers to the folds of the garment. ‘Pouring into the lap’ may refer to a custom some vendors had of filling the fold of a person’s wide upper garment with the goods that he purchased.
Jesus no doubt carefully selected the plants he used in illustrations. For example, the fig tree (1) and the grapevine (2) are mentioned jointly in many texts, and Jesus’ words at Lu 13:6 show that fig trees were often planted in vineyards. (2Ki 18:31; Joe 2:22) The expression ‘sitting under one’s own vine and fig tree’ symbolized peaceful, prosperous, secure conditions. (1Ki 4:25; Mic 4:4; Zec 3:10) By contrast, thorns and thistles are specifically mentioned when Jehovah cursed the ground after Adam sinned. (Ge 3:17, 18) The type of thornbush that Jesus referred to at Mt 7:16 cannot be identified with certainty, but the one shown here (Centaurea iberica) (3), a type of thistle, grows wild in Israel.