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Jehovah’s Witnesses

English
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

According to Luke 18:1-43

18  Then he went on to tell them an illustration about the need for them always to pray and not to give up,+  saying: “In a certain city there was a judge who had no fear of God and no respect for man.  There was also a widow in that city who kept going to him and saying, ‘See that I get justice from my legal opponent.’  Well, for a while he was unwilling, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Although I do not fear God or respect any man,  because this widow keeps making me trouble, I will see that she gets justice so that she will not keep coming and wearing me out with her demand.’”+  Then the Lord said: “Hear what the judge, although unrighteous, said!  Certainly, then, will not God cause justice to be done for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night,+ while he is patient toward them?+  I tell you, he will cause justice to be done to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man arrives, will he really find this faith on the earth?”  He also told this illustration to some who trusted in their own righteousness+ and who considered others as nothing: 10  “Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11  The Pharisee stood and began to pray these things to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like everyone else—extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.+ 12  I fast twice a week; I give the tenth of all things I acquire.’+ 13  But the tax collector, standing at a distance, was not willing even to raise his eyes heavenward but kept beating his chest, saying, ‘O God, be gracious to me, a sinner.’+ 14  I tell you, this man went down to his home and was proved more righteous than that Pharisee.+ Because everyone who exalts himself will be humiliated, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”+ 15  Now people were also bringing him their infants for him to touch them, but on seeing this, the disciples began to reprimand them.+ 16  However, Jesus called the infants to him, saying: “Let the young children come to me, and do not try to stop them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such ones.+ 17  Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a young child will by no means enter into it.”+ 18  And one of the rulers questioned him, saying: “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit everlasting life?”+ 19  Jesus said to him: “Why do you call me good? Nobody is good except one, God.+ 20  You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,+ do not murder,+ do not steal,+ do not bear false witness,+ honor your father and your mother.’”+ 21  Then he said: “All of these I have kept from youth on.” 22  After hearing that, Jesus said to him, “There is still one thing lacking about you: Sell all the things you have and distribute the proceeds to the poor, and you will have treasure in the heavens; and come be my follower.”+ 23  When he heard this, he became deeply grieved, for he was very rich.+ 24  Jesus looked at him and said: “How difficult it will be for those having money to make their way into the Kingdom of God!+ 25  It is easier, in fact, for a camel to get through the eye of a sewing needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.”+ 26  Those who heard this said: “Who possibly can be saved?”+ 27  He said: “The things impossible with men are possible with God.”+ 28  But Peter said: “Look! We have left what was ours and followed you.”+ 29  He said to them: “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God+ 30  who will not get many times more in this period of time,* and in the coming system of things, everlasting life.”+ 31  Then he took the Twelve aside and said to them: “Look! We are going up to Jerusalem, and all the things written by means of the prophets+ about the Son of man will be accomplished.*+ 32  For instance, he will be handed over to men of the nations+ and will be mocked+ and treated insolently and spat on.+ 33  And after scourging him, they will kill him,+ but on the third day he will rise.”+ 34  However, they did not get the meaning of any of these things, for these words were hidden from them, and they did not understand the things said.+ 35  Now as Jesus was getting near to Jerʹi·cho, a blind man was sitting beside the road begging.+ 36  Because he heard a crowd passing by, he began to inquire what was going on. 37  They reported to him: “Jesus the Naz·a·reneʹ is passing by!” 38  At that he cried out: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39  And those who were in front began rebuking him, telling him to keep quiet, but all the more he kept shouting: “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40  Then Jesus stopped and commanded that the man be brought to him. After he came near, Jesus asked him: 41  “What do you want me to do for you?” He said: “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42  So Jesus said to him: “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.”*+ 43  And instantly he recovered his sight, and he began to follow him,+ glorifying God. Also, at seeing it, all the people gave praise to God.+

Footnotes

Or “in the present time.”
Or “completed.”
Or “has saved you.”

Study Notes

the need for them always to pray: Luke alone mentions the illustration recorded in verses 2-8, providing another example of how his Gospel emphasizes the matter of prayer.—Lu 1:10, 13; 2:37; 3:21; 6:12; 9:28, 29; 11:1; 18:1-8; 22:39-46; 23:46.

a judge: Jesus is apparently referring to a judge or police magistrate appointed by the Romans. It seems that the judge mentioned in this illustration does not fit into the Jewish judicial arrangement in which at least a three-man court officiated. Also, the judge did not fear God and had no respect for any human, that is, he was not concerned about what other people thought.

a judge: Jesus is apparently referring to a judge or police magistrate appointed by the Romans. It seems that the judge mentioned in this illustration does not fit into the Jewish judicial arrangement in which at least a three-man court officiated. Also, the judge did not fear God and had no respect for any human, that is, he was not concerned about what other people thought.

not . . . respect any man: In this context, it means not being constrained by public opinion or not being overly concerned about what other people think.—See study note on Lu 18:2.

wearing me out with her demand: Or “pummeling me to a finish.” Lit., “hitting me under [that is, under the eye] into the end.” The Greek verb hy·po·pi·aʹzo used here has been defined “to strike in the face; to give a black eye.” Here it is evidently used figuratively to convey the idea of causing someone constant annoyance or wearing someone out completely. Some scholars feel that the term conveys the idea of damaging someone’s reputation. As the expression is used in this context, it describes the feeling of the judge, who was at first unwilling to listen to the widow’s plea for justice but who was moved to act because of her persistence. (Lu 18:1-4) The illustration does not say that God is like the unrighteous judge; rather, it contrasts God with the judge. If this unrighteous judge would eventually do what was right, how much more so would God! Like the widow, God’s servants must persist in asking Jehovah for his help. God, who is righteous, will respond in answer to their prayer, causing justice to be done.—Lu 18:6, 7.

this faith: Or “this kind of faith.” Lit., “the faith.” The use of the Greek definite article before the word “faith” indicates that Jesus was referring, not to faith in a general sense, but to a particular kind of faith, like that of the widow in Jesus’ illustration. (Lu 18:1-8) This would include having faith in the power of prayer as well as faith that God will cause justice to be done to his chosen ones. Jesus apparently left the question about faith unanswered so that his disciples would think about the quality of their own faith. The illustration about prayer and faith was particularly appropriate because Jesus had just been describing the tests his disciples would face.—Lu 17:22-37.

the temple: Those who went to the temple to pray did not go into the Holy or the Most Holy, but they were permitted to enter the surrounding courtyards. Evidently, in this illustration the two Jewish men are portrayed as standing in one of the courts.—See App. B11.

extortioners: When the Romans ruled Israel, Jewish tax collectors were often guilty of extortion. Their position provided them with many opportunities to enrich themselves unjustly (and undoubtedly their Roman masters) at the expense of the people. Jesus may have alluded to this practice when in this illustration he spoke of the self-righteous Pharisee’s commending himself to God for not being an extortioner.

fast twice a week: Although the Mosaic Law does not use the term “fast,” it is generally understood that the command to “afflict yourselves” once a year in connection with the Atonement Day involved fasting. (Le 16:29, ftn.; Nu 29:7, ftn.; Ps 35:13) Later, other annual fasts were gradually established in memory of national calamities. However, the Pharisees customarily fasted “twice a week,” on the second and fifth day of the week. They wanted their piety to be observed. (Mt 6:16) According to some sources, the days they chose for fasting were the regular market days, when many people would be in town. They also fasted when special services were held in the synagogues and when the local courts met.

be gracious to me: Or “have mercy on me.” The Greek word for the expression “be gracious” occurs only twice in the Christian Greek Scriptures and is connected with the idea of propitiation, or atonement. At Heb 2:17 (see also ftn.), it is rendered “to offer a propitiatory [“atoning”] sacrifice,” or “to make atonement.”

infants: Or “babies.” The Greek word breʹphos used here refers to very small children, infants, or even unborn children. (Lu 1:41; 2:12; Ac 7:19; 2Ti 3:15, “infancy”; 1Pe 2:2) The parallel accounts at Mt 19:13 and Mr 10:13 use pai·diʹon, a different Greek word that is used not only of newborns and infants (Mt 2:8; Lu 1:59) but also of Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter (Mr 5:39-42). The Gospel writers’ use of different Greek words may indicate that on this occasion the children were of varying ages, though Luke evidently focuses on the infants who were present.

like a young child: Refers to having the desirable qualities of young children. Such qualities include being humble, teachable, trustful, and receptive.Mt 18:5.

Good Teacher: The man was evidently using the words “Good Teacher” as a flattering and formalistic title, since such honor was usually demanded by the religious leaders. While Jesus had no objection to being properly identified as “Teacher” and “Lord” (Joh 13:13), he directed all honor to his Father.

Jesus said to him: Jesus saw how earnest the ruler was and, according to Mr 10:21, “felt love for him.” However, Jesus may have realized that the man would need to cultivate a greater degree of self-sacrifice to become a disciple, so he told him: Sell all the things you have and distribute the proceeds to the poor. Unlike Peter and others who left everything to follow Jesus, this young man could not part with his possessions to become a disciple.—Mt 4:20, 22; Lu 18:23, 28.

easier . . . for a camel to get through the eye of a sewing needle: Jesus uses hyperbole to illustrate a point. Just as a literal camel cannot go through the eye of a needle, it is impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God if he continues to put his riches ahead of his relationship with Jehovah. Jesus did not mean that no wealthy person would inherit the Kingdom, for he went on to say: “The things impossible with men are possible with God.” (Lu 18:27) In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the Greek word be·loʹne, rendered “sewing needle,” is used only here. It was sometimes used to refer to a surgical needle, whereas the Greek word rha·phisʹ, translated “needle,” is found in the parallel accounts at Mt 19:24 and Mr 10:25 and is drawn from a verb meaning “to sew.”

the coming system of things: Or “the coming age.” The Greek word ai·onʹ, having the basic meaning “age,” can refer to a state of affairs or to features that distinguish a certain period of time, epoch, or age. Jesus is here referring to the coming era of God’s Kingdom rule, under which faithful ones will enjoy everlasting life.Mr 10:29, 30; see Glossary, “System(s) of things.”

Jericho: The first Canaanite city W of the Jordan River to be conquered by the Israelites. (Nu 22:1; Jos 6:1, 24, 25) This ancient city was eventually abandoned, but after the Jews returned from Babylonian exile, another Jewish city was developed at the site because a good water source (‘Ein es-Sultan) was located there. By Jesus’ time, a new Roman city had been built about 2 km (a little over a mile) S of the Jewish city. This may explain why the accounts of Matthew and Mark say of the same incident that Jesus was “going out of Jerʹi·cho” (Mt 20:29; Mr 10:46), whereas Luke’s account says that Jesus was getting near to Jericho. Perhaps Jesus cures the blind man while leaving the Jewish city and approaching the Roman city.—See App. B4 and B10.

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