You are on page 1of 16



BOX 182-B
20 DECEMBER 2011
Literary Context of the Passage
Beginning in Luke 9:51, Jesus sets his face to go to Jerusalem and Luke then takes the
narrative out of the towns around Galilee and into the road and towns leading to Jerusalem. He
has already told the disciples about his impending death (9:44) but the intimation is so
foreboding they do not want to talk to him about it (9:45). The foreboding nature of his journey
to Jerusalem sets the tone for much of this part of the narrative until he reaches Jerusalem. He
continues to hint at his impending death, including in the passage at hand and later (17:22-25,
Increasingly the narrative begins to concern coming judgement. On one hand the
judgement is concerning those who hear but do not heed Jesus, such as the towns of Bethsaida
and Chorazin who reject his disciples (10:13-16) and those who get the sign of
Jonah (11:29-32). To paraphrase, he seems to say, Your salvation is right here in front of you,
but you choose to ignore me at your own cost (especially 12:54-56). This critique remains a
repeated motif and gains a tragic overtone because of its repetition. It is as if Jesus is waving his
arms, warning the crowds away from driving over a cliff, and they continue to ignore him and
drive past.
On the other hand, Jesus directs judgement towards the Pharisees and lawyers, and the tone
is distinctly harsh, especially in the woes directed to them (11:37-52). Jesus points out that not
only do they ignore him but they heap judgement on themselves by neglecting justice and the
love of God, (v.42, ESV) the two basic components of the Law.
As community and religious
leaders, Jesus persistently exposes their shortcomings in meeting the requirements of the Law, an
irony considering their self-estimation as astute law-followers. This sets them at odds with him,
and they begin actively pursuing ways to work against him (11:53).
This sense of irony continues into chapter 13, as Jesus continues to flop his hearers
conception of the Kingdom of God inside, outside, upside-down.
Those who are considered
inside the Kingdom were actually outside, and those who were outside were actually in, turning
! L Hackman 1
Cf. Micah 6:8, Luke 10:27ff.
A phrase courtesy Dr. Sean McDonough, class notes 11/14/2011.
everyones conceptions upside-down. The woman who is bent over is considered an outsider
simply because she is a woman, as well as disabled (13:10-17). But Jesus takes away her
disability and reminds his hearers that she is in the family of God as a daughter of Abraham (v.
16). In the parable of the narrow door (vs.22-30) he even flips over his interlocutors idea of who
is in the family of God, as those who are inside come from the four corners of the globe, but
those whose streets Jesus teaches on are shut out of the Kingdom. Even the Jews, those who are
first, are not guaranteed a spot in the Kingdom of God, especially those who are workers of
evil, (v.27) the same ones who neglect justice and the love of God (v.42, ESV).
The synoptic parallel in Matthew 23:27-39, where the content of Luke 11:37-52 to
13:31-35 are included together helps highlight this context. The discourse in Matthew takes place
after Jesus triumphal entry and is a sustained polemic against the Pharisees and leaders of
Jerusalem. His emphasis seems to be on the authority of Jesus set in opposition to that of the
leaders of Jerusalem. Luke records the passages as happening during different times along Jesus
journey to Jerusalem. Lukes emphasis seems to be inside-outside status of the Jews. Thus
13:31-35, joined with the synoptic context of Matthew, stand as a tragic lament that the
insiders are really outside. They pride their ethnic heritage, building tombs for their prophets,
the ones whom their fathers killed. But their heritage is that of rejection of the mercy of God and
their woe draws near.
The present passage reflects all of these themes. Jerusalem comes more and more into
focus as Jesus nears its gates, as does his impending death, like an inexorable destiny. His
hearers, especially the Pharisees, resist his prophetic pleas to repent in the face of their inability
to obey the Law of Moses, hinting at an end for Jesus not unlike that of the prophets of yore.
Jesus recognizes their true status as outsiders of the Kingdom, but will they answer his
invitation of protection and salvation?
13:31 Ev o:q :q cpo
rpooqi0ov :ivr 4opiooioi irov:r o:c rri0r xoi ropro
rv:r0rv, o:i Hpcoq 0riri or orox:rivoi.
In the same hour, certain Pharisees came, saying Go out and depart from here because Herod
wants to kill you.
! L Hackman 2
Some texts say instead, In that day, notably W and the Majority text, but the standing NT
text is far better
Placing the passage within the same hour as the previous passage serves as a literary
device by Luke to create a sense of urgency, as well as to tie the material to the previous passage.
Someone has stopped him on his journey to Jerusalem to ask a question (v.22), and soon after
that some Pharisees present their news to him. The implication is that of breathless urgency,
news that cannot wait another minute.
This also serves to tie into the question, Will those who are saved be few? (v.23, ESV).
The question itself, and Jesus answer, seem to imply that the questioner may have been
expressing an ethnic security as a Jew, perhaps in thinking that only the Jews, particularly the
righteous Jews, were going to be saved. Jesus has already flipped that notion upside-down, but
he will continue answer the question as it concerns Jerusalem, the epicenter of righteous Jews.

At first blush, the warning the Pharisees provide Jesus seems to be a friendly one, meant to
prevent Jesus bodily harm. But upon further inspection, this may not be the case after all. The
Pharisees have already been noted in 11:53-54 as wanting to provoke him and as lying in wait
for him (ESV), so they are hardly on Jesus side. Such a magnanimous gesture seems out of
place for them, considering this detail noted by Luke. Further, Luke mentions that Herod is
seeking Jesus because he wonders if Jesus may be John the Baptist come back to life (9:9).

The implication is that of curiosity, not necessarily malice, and indeed when Herod does meet
Jesus Luke notes that Herod had long desired to see him in hopes that Jesus would perform a
sign for him (23:8). Even when Herod does have Jesus in his hands, he treats him more like a
circus freak, a curiosity, rather than an enemy.
The evidence points not to magnanimity on the part of the Pharisees, but rather self-
interest. The Pharisees seem to be telling an outright lie, as far as the other texts concerning
Herods intentions show. For whatever reason, perhaps to keep Jesus from causing further
trouble on their home turf, they do not want him to go to Jerusalem. The warning serves as a
gambit to hinder Jesus mission. But Jesus is not afraid, nor is he fooled, and shows absolute
resoluteness in his mission. The words of Isaiah 50:9 provide his impetus, But the Lord helps
! L Hackman 3
cf. Luke 18:9.
Perhaps to haunt him?
me therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. The
mission will continue apace.
13:32 xoi rirrv o:oi ropr0rv:r riro:r :q oicrrxi :o:q ioo rxoiic ooiovio xoi
ioori oro:ric
oqrpov xoi opiov xoi :q :pi:q
And he said to them, Go, tell that fox, Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and
tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my goal.
Jesus counter to the Pharisees is not the meek response that they might have been hoping
for. Instead, he labels Herod a fox, an apparently derogatory term as evidenced by the Old
Testament context. There, foxes (sometimes translated jackals) prowl the remains of destroyed
cities and feast on the carcasses of those under judgement. A Psalm of David speaks specifically
of those who seek to destroy my life who shall be given over to the power of the sword; they
shall be a portion for jackals
(63:9-10, ESV). This provides a clue that the choice of the word
fox may not be merely derogatory. If Psalm 63 carries a messianic nuance, as many of Davids
Psalms do, then it would not be very hard to understand these verses as providing a prophetic
declaration of judgement of Jesus killers by the sword, and the mouths of jackals, of whom
Herod, and his Roman overseers, might be among.
While the messianic nuance may be somewhat speculative, another lament from the Old
Testament seems to provide more hints that foxes have overtones of judgement. Jeremiahs
threnody from Lamentations 5:18 bewails Mount Zion which lies desolate; jackals prowl over
it (ESV). Mount Zion is equivalent to Jerusalem,
and Jeremiah was mourning the destruction
of the city and the temple during the period of the exile, but the context provides some idea of
where Jesus mind may have been going by calling Herod a fox. Besides the sly, crafty nature
that is generally associated with the creature,
the haunting of ruins and desecration of corpses
! L Hackman 4
Several texts replace oro:ric with rri, including the notable Majority text, and the wacky D text suggests a
variant on oro:ric, but the NT
text stands on very solid attestation.
It is easy to imply day here, but the B manuscript, among a few others provide it to make it obvious.
The NKJV provides the rendering of shall be perfected here, similar to how the verb :ririoc is consistently
translated in the book of Hebrews, but the rendering suggested in BAGD seemed more fitting. BAGD, 810.
MyIlDoUv, or oicrrxcv in the LXX (Psalm 62:11).
cf. 2 Kings 19:31, Isaiah 10:12.
BAGD, 41.
haunts the meaning of the word, fox. Herod, the fox, rules over Jerusalem and prowls over its
remains. If this is not already true, it certainly will be, as the Romans will prowl over the remains
of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Foxes appear nowhere else in the New Testament except for 9:58, where Jesus tells a
would be follower that Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has
nowhere to lay his head (ESV). The passage is notable because it includes foxes and birds
(opvi) similarly to the current passage. If Herod is a fox, then Jesus is a hen. This contrast will
be delved into more later.
This is not the first time that Jesus has hinted (though hinted is being conservative) at
his death, that being Luke 9:22. Here, though, he lays it out as his mission in a more stronger
manner (though ori certainly implies necessity in 9:22) with a very theologically loaded verb:
:ririoc. The word is not used in any of the other synoptics besides a fairly mundane use in Luke
2:43, but it is used often by John in his Gospel. He consistently uses it in the same manner over
and over to describe the accomplishment (ESV) of Christs work on the cross (4:34, 5:36,
17:4). According to John, Jesus knew that his work was finished at the cross, even as he was on
the cross (19:28). The author of Hebrews uses it even more frequently, making that book the one
with the most frequent use of :ririoc. There it is over and again meant to signify both Christs
being made perfect and the believers being made perfect in Christ (2:10, 5:9, 7:28, 9:9,
10:1, 14, 11:14, 12:23). John, again, uses it similarly in 1 John to speak of love perfected in us
in various ways (2:5, 4:12, 17, 18). These references provide an interesting range of meanings for
what :ririoc might mean specifically in relation to Christs mission to Jerusalem, and ultimately
the cross. While Luke does not go at length to describe this, later authors make clear that what
Jesus ultimately accomplishes at the cross is transformation and perfection for believers. His
accomplishment becomes his followers accomplishment, certainly a worth explanation for the
urgency and the flintiness of Jesus resolve.
! L Hackman 5
13:33 riqv ori r oqrpov xoi opiov xoi :q rorvq
roprro0oi, o:i ox
rvorr:oi rpoq:qv oroiro0oi rc Irpoooiq.
Nevertheless I must, today and tomorrow and the day following, go my way, for it is impossible
that a prophet should perish outside Jerusalem!
The repetition of the phrase today and tomorrow creates a kind of parallelism between
this verse and the preceding one. A slight modification of the phrasing can even provide the
suggestion of a chiasm set between verses 32 and 33:
A ioo rxoiic ooiovio xoi ioori oro:ric Action
B oqrpov xoi opiov xoi :q :pi:q Day formula
C :ririooi. Mission
C riqv ori r |roprro0oi] Mission
B oqrpov xoi opiov xoi :q rorvq, Day formula
A o:i ox rvorr:oi rpoq:qv oroiro0oi rc Irpoooiq. Action
The emphasis of the chiasm becomes the mission in the two C lines, bracketed by the
apparent today and tomorrow formula. The outermost lines become the action that is
accomplished on the B lines. The chiasm as a literary function sets Jesus mission, to
necessarily go his way and accomplish it, at the forefront. The two outside lines function as
descriptors of the mission, to heal and cast out demons today and tomorrow, but also to go and
die at Jerusalem. The chiasm helps explain why the today and tomorrow formulaic phrase is
repeated, that is, simply as a function of the chiasm. While the chiasm is intriguing, it might not
withstand sustained critical examination and would need a more careful investigation than this
paper can provide.
Nonetheless, the phrase today and tomorrow and the third (or following) retains a kind
of formulaic ring. One possibility is that Jesus could be echoing Exodus 19:10, where the people
of Israel are consecrated today and tomorrow in order to be ready for the third day when
Yahweh visits his people on Sinai. It seems a stretch to suggest that Jesus is considering himself
being consecrated through his healing ministry and his death is equivalent with the theophany on
Mount Sinai on the third day. Marshall suggests that the phrase is simply an idiom that means
! L Hackman 6
The particularly weighty manuscripts P
and a add the prefix rp- here, but so does D text which seems to
diminish the weight of those witnesses because of the controversial free nature of that text. cf. Bruce Manning
Metzler and Bart D. Herman, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (New
York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 58, 70-73.
more or less after a set time I accomplish my goal, in v. 32 and the idiom is repeated in v. 33.

This seems to simplify things, but it also robs the phrase of its allusion to the resurrection which
seems strong, considering other passages in Luke where Jesus refers to his own death and
resurrection by alluding to a three day period (9:22, 18:33). In any case, the gist remains that
Jesus is moving towards a goal, most certainly his death.
Already in 4:24-27, Jesus has labeled himself as a prophet, placing himself in the Old
Testament tradition of Elijah and Elisha, prophets who are rejected by Israel and received by the
Gentiles. In that passage he nearly receives a typical prophets reception, death, but escapes.
Jesus, however, makes no bones that Israelites have been killing those who expose their sins
throughout their history, especially in 11:37-52, where he decries the lawyers who build the
tombs of the prophets whom [their] fathers killed (ESV). Jesus falls in a long line of prophets,
from Abel to Zechariah, whom Israel has killed. Zechariah is notable as only one of a few who
were killed in Jerusalem, also including Uriah (Jeremiah 26:20-23) and at least an attempt on the
life of Jeremiah himself (38:4-6). However, certainly not all prophets who were killed in the Old
Testament were killed in Jerusalem, throwing a light on Jesus statement about prophets being
killed in Jerusalem as an apparent work of hyperbole. In that sense, Jerusalem, as the center of
Jewish culture and religious activity, represents all of Israel, which as a whole certainly had a
history of rejecting, even killing, the prophets.
Zechariah and Abel stand as emblematic of
prophets who spoke out against the evil desires of their brothers and suffered the consequences.
Jesus stands squarely in that camp.
Besides being hyperbole, the second part of v.33 also appears to be one of the strongest
uses of sarcasm in the Gospels.
Sarcasm, especially subtle sarcasm, can be fairly difficult to
detect in literature because it is often conveyed by a tone of voice or a lift of an eyebrow. But
here it comes across thick, especially when paired with the hyperbole. To paraphrase, Jesus is
! L Hackman 7
I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), 572.
Cf. 1 Kings 18:4, Nehemiah 9:26; Jeremiah 2:30.
Other places might be Luke 5:32, where Jesus calls the sinners, not the righteous. Similarly, in 15:7 is the
tongue-in-cheek rejoicing concerning the one sinner over the ninety-nine righteous who do not need repenting.
Matthew is rife with humorous and visually rich wordplay, like accusing the Pharisees of straining out a gnat and
eating a camel (23:24), calling the Syro-Phoenecian woman a dog (15:22-28), and comparing the salvation of a rich
man to a camel squeezing through the eye of a needle (19:24). The point being, Jesus was comfortable with humor,
and often used it in shocking and disarming ways.
saying, How could a prophet not die when he goes to Jerusalem? Thats where prophets go to
die. At the very least, this is a bit of grim humor on Jesus part. Underlaying the sarcasm may
also be some irony. Jerusalem is supposed to be the most holy place, where sinners receive
absolution and Gods work is done. Instead, it is the one place that prophets reliably go to die.
13:34 Irpoooiq Irpoooiq, q orox:rivooo :o rpoq:o xoi ii0ooiooo :o
orro:oirvo rpo o:qv, roooxi q0riqoo rriovooi :o :rxvo oo ov :porov opvi
:qv ro:q voooiov ro :o r:rpo,
xoi ox q0riqoo:r.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones the ones sent to her, how often
I would have gathered together your children as a hen gathers to herself her brood under her
wings, but you were not willing!
There are many times in Scripture where names are repeated as a way of gaining
attention or heightening the emotion of what follows. Often it is used as a way of getting
someones attention, as in Exodus 3:4 where God calls Moses, or when Yahweh calls Samuel in
1 Samuel 3:10. A New Testament example of this is when Jesus calls Saul on the road to
Damascus, Saul, Saul! (Acts 9:4). It could also be used to emphasis the extreme pain of
lament. David, when hearing of his sons death cries, O my son Absalom, my son, my son
Absalom! (2 Samuel 18:33). Jesus himself, when he is on the cross cries, Eli, eli! in a
moment of deep suffering (Matthew 27:46). This is more of the sense of this verse, a deep lament
that mourns a terrible tragedy. The repetition of the cities name serves to heighten the emotional
content of what follows. That it is so emotionally charged becomes apparent when, immediately
after the triumphal entry when Jesus sees Jerusalem in person (19:41-44), he weeps and keens a
similar lament to 13:31-35. The shift from humor to weeping seems to be an abrupt one. But, as
already mentioned, the humor is a grim one and tragedy and humor can often have a nuanced
The use of the verb 0ric, meaning wish, will, or desire,
is repeated three times in this
passage, two times in this verse. Thematically, it informs the passage. Herod allegedly wishes to
kill Jesus, which seems, in fact, to be the wish of the Pharisees. In verse 34, Jesus wills that the
! L Hackman 8
The papyri P
, interestingly omits :qv ro:q voooiov ro :o r:rpo. It is the only text to do so, though,
so much weight cannot be given it.
BAGD, 354.
people of Jerusalem, and by extension, all Jews, would come under his tender care, but they are
not willing. If the Pharisees are understood to be attempting to foil Jesus ministry, then they fall
in the basket with Jerusalem as those who are refusing Christs care and protection. Thus there
are two wills at play, that of Jesus and those who reject him. This exchange of wills bears an
interesting resemblance to a later parable in Luke, the Parable of Ten Minas in 19:11-27. In that
parable, the people of the noblemans country do not want (0ric) him to reign over them (vs. 14,
27). Their end is slaughter.
Tragically, the safety the people reject is depicted in the most tender terms. The Old
Testament depicts Yahweh as bird-like often, beginning in Deuteronomy 32:11 where God
describes his role in Israels salvation as like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its
young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions (ESV). God
nurtures his people, brooding them, protecting them in their vulnerability, bearing them. The
psalmist applies this at a personal level, suggesting that those who take shelter in Yahwehs
wings will escape the deadly pestilence (Psalm 91:4, ESV). Jerusalem itself is depicted as
being safeguarded like birds hovering, so the Lord of hosts will protect Jerusalem (Isaiah
31:5). The image of a bird provides a vivid illustration of comfort and protection all at once,
either lifted above the fray, or nestled warmly and comfortably away from danger underneath in
its wings. Jesus is clearly making a Christological claim with this kind of zoomorphism in light
of the Old Testament context. He does not hesitate to say that he is the present representation of
safety for the nation of Israel. They, as vulnerable chicks, run away from protective cover and
find themselves at the mercy of foxes, jackals.
Here the zoomorphism becomes a surprising contrast between that of a fox and a hen.
One cannot miss the disparity between a hen and a fox, natural born enemies if there ever were.
Jesus is equating himself with prey, a hen, or at the very least a mothering bird, and Herod, and
his government, are the fox. But Jesus chooses to be the hen, because only a hen can gather
chicks to itself. Certainly, the people of Jerusalem are like young chicks in their vulnerability and
helplessness. Their vulnerability requires a tender place for refuge. This is the astounding upside-
down nature of the imagery. Jesus, making a Christological claim and expressing himself as
! L Hackman 9
Yahweh in the flesh, does so as the metaphor of a vulnerable and weak creature, but, importantly,
a creature that provides safety and nurture.
13:35 ioo oir:oi iv o oixo cv.
irc iv, o q ioq:r r rc
rioqrvo o rporvo rv ovoo:i xpio.
Behold, your house is abandoned to you. I say to you, you will certainly not see me until you say,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Luke introduces this verse with an unusual use of the verb oiqi. With a range of
meanings including forgive, leave, or cancel, here it means to neglect or abandon.
There are
two reasons why Luke might have chosen this verb. The first one might have been continuity
with a previous passage as a mnemonic device, something Luke did often. In this case, 13:8
describes a vinedresser asking for more time for the fig tree to bear fruit, to let it alone (or)
and cultivate it. The vinedresser leaves the tree, sparing it judgement. The house of Jerusalem
will be abandoned by God because of judgement. The continuity is through the threat of
judgement and oiqi provides the link that bridges the passages.
Secondly, the LXX uses oiqi in a passage that Jesus could be alluding to, Jeremiah
12:7. There God warns that he has forsaken [his] house; [he has] abandoned (oqxo) [his]
heritage (ESV). An additional passage that is likely alluded to here is Jeremiah 22:5, another
warning that could almost be a direct quote: This house shall become a desolation (ESV).
Textual variants add the word Jeremiah uses here for desolation into the text of Luke 13:35,
recognizing the allusion and working to harmonize the text. In the end, the passage appears to be
! L Hackman 10
A number of texts include rpqoo, likely from the LXX of Jeremiah 22:5 which this passage alludes to. The NT

is well attested, though.
The text gets messy here with a variety of different insertions, the strongest possibilities being ov qri o:r from
the Majority text and just simply ov from a. The P
manuscript omits anything, simply joining rcoo and
rirq:r. Marshall suggests that the complexity of the texts may be because of harmonization with the parallel
Matthew account. This translation will use the P
text and omit any of the possible harmonizations. Marshall,
Gospel of Luke, 577.
BAGD, 126. Diodoris Siculus uses the verb in his history of the conquests of Alexander the Great to recount the
story of a man in Tyre who has a dream of the god Apollos abandoning Tyre because of its impending doom at the
hands of Alexander, and here oiqi retains that sense of doom. Diodoris Siculus, Histoire Universelle de Diodore
de Sicile, (accessed December 19, 2011).
a conflation between Jeremiah 12:7 and 22:5, but both passages serve well as warnings that
Gods presence with a rebellious people is not assured.
Included in verse 35 is a quotation from Psalm 118, a Psalm that carries Messianic
overtones, especially verses 22-24 which are quoted several times throughout the New Testament
as referring to Christ.
The Psalm may have been recognized as a messianic Psalm before Jesus
used it, but it is certainly recognized as messianic by Jesus as he uses it in all the Synoptic
The one who comes in the name of the Lord is, in fact, Jesus himself as the
Messiah. The blessing of the Psalm also implies hospitality, a dominant theme of Luke. Those
who proclaim the words of the Psalm are ones who welcome the Messiah and his reign into their
hearts and into their homes.
At first blush, it might appear that verse 35 might be a reference to Jesus Triumphal
Entry into Jerusalem, where a variation of the quotation from Psalm 118:26 appears (19:37-38).
But if Jesus means that he will not appear to the Jews until his Triumphal Entry, the prediction
becomes confusing and almost nonsensical as the Jews will certainly see Jesus before that time.
In fact, at the Triumphal Entry, the words of the blessing come from the mouths of Jesus
disciples and not from the people of Jerusalem, so in that sense the fulfillment of the prophecy
does not belong at that point. This is made more apparent by Jesus second Jerusalem lament
when he sees the city and mourns that they did not know the time of [their] visitation (v. 44,
ESV). They did not truly see Jesus, even as they did not truly welcome him with the Messianic
cry of blessing.
The meaning of the verse then centers around a conditional statement based around the
If the people of Israel will recognize Jesus as Messiah, then they will truly see
Jesus, their protector and savior who provides the shelter of his wings. There may also be an
apocalyptic meaning, in the true sense of a revealing as well as an eschatological sense. Jesus
could be referring to his eventual revelation at the end of days. At that true revealing, seen in
the clouds, he will come (Revelation 1:7) and it will be seen whether welcome will be on the lips
! L Hackman 11
Cf. Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10, 11; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:4-7.
G. K. Beale, and D. A. Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids,
Mich: Baker Academic, 2007), 338.
William D. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek: Grammar (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan Pub. House, 1993),
of his people. These two possibilities are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Christ offers the
Jews a chance to see him if they confess his status as Messiah, but at the same time promises his
future return some day.
One of the more prominent things on display in this passage is the richness of Jesus
character. Winsome, witty, intelligent, caustic, frank, prophetic, tender, compassionate,
passionate, firm, regal, lowly; he is all these things in a span of a few sentences. In a word,
complex. He does not come across as one who can be manipulated or cajoled. Rather, Jesus
comes across as a dangerous man. He is not afraid to push buttons, to lose friends, but he is also
not afraid to weep and be tender. The richness of his humanity is singular and unique, and it is
expressed well in this passage.
His mission is for the people. He goes, he heals, he dies for them. His focus is single-
minded, nothing will deter him from his task. Love compels him. Echoes of the Creator-God
who hovers over the waters (Genesis 1:2) reverberate through Jesus self-depiction as a
brooding hen, as well they should. His desire is to nurture and care for the people he is so
intimately acquainted with them as their Maker, not for their destruction.
The place to dwell here, though, is the place of the will. Jesus wanted on gather together
and protect, the Jews wanted to reject that rule. The question of the passage is, What do you
want? Will Jesus listeners welcome the Messiah with a blessing from the Psalms, or will they
kill the beloved Son like the tenants of the Vineyard (Luke 20:9-18)? The modern day reader has
the benefit of knowing how it turned out for Jerusalem, with a horrifying destruction in A.D. 70.
But the choice still remains for Lukes readers.
Jesus dips deep into the well of the Old Testament, and is a spitting image of the God
who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will
by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:6-7, ESV). Just as Yahweh did, Jesus deals in perfect
love and in perfect justice. His preference is clearly toward mercy, as he pleads for the people to
receive him as their king. He is never coercive, only invitational, saying, Come, all who
thirst (Revelation 22:17, Isaiah 55:1).
! L Hackman 12
Bauer, W., W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and F. W. Danker. Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1979.
Beale, G. K., and D. A. Carson. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament.
Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2007.

Diodoris Siculus, Histoire Universelle de Diodore de Sicile.
historiens/diodore/livre171.htm (accessed December 19, 2011).
Marshall, I. Howard. The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text. Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1978.
Metzger, Bruce Manning, and Bart D. Ehrman. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission,
Corruption, and Restoration. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Mounce, William D. Basics of Biblical Greek: Grammar. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan Pub.
House, 1993.
! L Hackman 13
Works Referenced
Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1997.
Wright, N. T. Jesus and the Victory of God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996.
! L Hackman 14
Appendix 1
Translation completed: 345 of 759 verses = 45% completion.
! L Hackman 15
Illustration of a hen with her chicks gathered under her wings.