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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton
The Fourfold Gospel (1914)


XCVI.
PARABLE OF THE IMPORTUNATE WIDOW.
cLUKE XVIII. 1-8.

      c1 And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint;   2 saying, There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man [an utterly abandoned character]:   3 and there was a widow in that city; and she came oft unto him, saying, Avenge me of [rather, Do justice to me as to] mine adversary. [In Scripture language widowhood is symbolic of defenselessness (@Ex. xxii. 22-24; Deut. x. 18; xxvii. 19; Mal. iii. 5; Mark xii. 40), and the early church concerned itself much about the welfare of [email protected]Acts vi. 1; ix. 41; Jas. i. 27; I. Tim. v. 3.]   4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;   5 yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest she wear me out by her continual coming. [The point of this soliloquy is this: Though the high motives such as accountability to God for my office and my good name and respect [534] among men do not lead me to do this woman justice, yet will I do it simply to be rid of her importunity.]   6 And the Lord said [this expression indicates that the Lord paused for a moment, that the parable might be fully grasped before he made the application], Hear what the unrighteous judge saith.   7 And shall not God avenge his elect, that cry to him day and night [The application is an argument a fortiori, and presents a triple antithesis: 1. In the petitioned--a just God and an unrighteous judge. 2. In the petitioners--a despised widow and the beloved elect. 3. In the petition--the frequent visits of the one, and the continual cries of the many], and yet he is longsuffering over them?   8 I say unto you, that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? [Though a beloved people cry continually unto a just God, yet will he in mercy be longsuffering to their enemies, and because of the longsuffering he will seem to delay his answer, but the delay will not be extended a moment longer than necessary. When the season of repentance is past, and the measure of iniquity is full (@Gen. xv. 16), then the Lord's answer will be speedy, immediate. But despite this admonition to pray without discouragement, and this promise to answer with all speed, God's patience with the wicked, and his consequent delays in answering the prayers of the just, will prove such a trial to his people as to leave it questionable whether any of them will have faith enough to pray until the coming of the Lord. We find an echo of this passage at @II. Pet. iii. 1-13. Compare also @Matt. xxiv. 12, 13. The parable resembles that of the friend who came at midnight (Luke xi. 5), see p. 480, but there the petitioner asked a gift, and here the request is for justice and deliverance. And this parable also teaches that the saints must be patient in prayer until the Lord's return.] [535]

[FFG 534-535]


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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton
The Fourfold Gospel (1914)

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