Pristine Grace

Lk 5:1-11, (GILL)
1  And it came to pass, that as the people pressed upon him,.... As Christ went through Galilee, and preached in the synagogues there, great crowds of people attended on him, and they followed him wherever he went; and so large were their numbers, and so very eager were they to see him, and hear him, that they were even troublesome to him, and bore hard upon him, and were ready to press him down, though they had no ill design upon him, but only

to hear the word of God; the scriptures of the Old Testament explained, and the doctrines of the Gospel preached; and which were preached by him, as never were before or since, and in such a manner as were not by the Scribes and Pharisees; and both the matter and manner of his ministry drew a vast concourse of people after him:

he stood by the lake of Gennesaret; the same with the sea of Chinnereth, Nu 34:11 where the Targums of Onkelos, Jonathan, and the Jerusalem, call it, rowngd amy, "the sea of Geausar" or "Gennesaret": and so it is elsewhere called [a], and is the same which is called the sea of Galilee, and of Tiberias, Joh 6:1 and is, by other writers [b], as here, called the lake of Gennesaret, and said to be sixteen miles long, and six broad. Josephus says [c], it is forty furlongs broad, and an hundred long. The Jews say [d], that

"the holy, blessed God created seven seas, but chose none of them all, but the sea of Gennesaret.''

And indeed, it was a place chosen by Christ, and honoured, and made famous by him, by his preaching at it, his miracles upon it, and showing himself there after his resurrection.

[a] Targum in Ezek. xxxix. 11. Zohar in Gen. fol. 3. 2. & 17. 2. & in Exod. fol. 52. 4. & 61. 4. [b] Plin. l. 5. c. 15. Solin, c. 48. Ptolom. l. 5. c. 15. [c] De Bello Jud. l. 3. c. 18. [d] Pirke Eliezer, c. 18.

2  And saw two ships standing by the lake,.... Or two fishing boats; which were, as the Arabic version renders it, "detained by anchors at the shore of the lake"; the one belonging to Peter and Andrew, and the other to Zebedee, and his two sons, James and John:

but the fishermen were gone out of them; that is, either the above persons, or their servants:

and were washing their nets; on shore; they having gathered a great deal of soil and filthiness, but had caught no fish; and therefore were cleansing their nets, in order to lay them up, finding it to be in vain to make any further attempts with them at present; and which considered, makes the following miracle the more illustrious.

3  And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's,.... Simon Peter's, and Andrew his brother's, who were both together at this time, though the last is not here mentioned:

and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land: as Simon was the owner of the vessel, Christ desired him; he asked the favour of him to put off a little way from shore; though the Arabic and Ethiopic versions render it, "he commanded him", being his Lord and master: To which the Syriac and Persic versions agree; only they make the orders to be given not to Simon singly, but to others, to all in the boat; the former rendering it, and he said, or ordered, that they should carry him a little way from the dry land to the waters; and the latter thus, and said, carry ye the ship from dry land a little into the sea. And which adds, agreeable to the sense enough, though it is not in the text, "when they had executed his command": had done as he entreated, or ordered, and put off the vessel a little way from the shore:

he sat down and taught the people out of the ship; for the boat was not carried neither out of sight, nor beyond the hearing of the people: this method Christ took at another time, and that for conveniency, as now; see Mt 13:1 and whereas he sat while he taught, this was according to the then custom of the times with the Jews;See Gill on "Mt 5:1".

4  Now when he had left speaking,.... Teaching the people, and preaching the word of God unto them out of the ship, as they stood on the shore before him.

He said unto Simon, launch out into the deep; he spoke to Simon Peter, being the master of the vessel, to thrust it out, or put it off further into deep water, more convenient for fishing;

and let down your nets for a draught; of fishes: his meaning is, that he would give orders to his servants, to put out the vessel to sea, to take their nets and cast them into the sea, in order to take and draw up a quantity of fish, which was their business.

5  And Simon answering said unto him, master,.... Or Rabbi, as the Syriac version renders it: he knew him to be the Messiah, the king of Israel, and a teacher sent from God:

we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing; which carries in it an objection to what Christ advised and directed to: they had been fishing that "night", which was the best time for catching fish; and they had been at it all the night, and had "laboured" hard; and were even "fatigued", and quite wearied out; and what was most discouraging of all, their labour was in vain; they had caught "nothing":

nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net; which showed faith in Christ, and obedience to him: thus the faithful preachers of the Gospel, sometimes labour and toil in the ministry of the word a great while, with little or no success; and are discouraged from going on, and would be tempted to leave off, were it not for the commission and word of command they have received from Christ, which they dare not be disobedient to; and for the word of promise he has given them, to be with them, on which they depend.

6  And when they had done this,.... Had put the ship out further to sea, and had let down their net:

they enclosed a great multitude of fish; in their net, which by the secret divine power of Christ, were gathered together just in that place, where by his order they cast the net:

and their net brake; with the weight and number, of the fishes, yet not so as to let the fish out; the Arabic version reads, "it was within a little that their nets were broke": they were just upon breaking, the draught was so numerous, the struggling so great, and the weight so heavy.

7  And they beckoned unto their partners,.... Zebedee, and his two sons, James and John; Lu 5:10 who were at some distance from them, probably lay at anchor near the shore, not having put out to sea when the other vessel did, and so were not within call; but they were obliged to make signs to them, and beckon with their hands to come to them:

which were in the other ship; mentioned in Lu 5:2 which lay by the shore:

that they should come and help them; take up the net, and take the fish out of it:

and they came and filled both the ships; with the fishes they took out of the net, as full as they could hold, and which they were not well able to carry:

so that they began to sink; or "were almost immersed", as Beza's ancient copy, and another manuscript, with the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions read; the vessels were so heavy laden, with the vast quantity of fish that was taken, that they were just ready to sink with their burden.

8  When Simon Peter saw it,.... The multitude of fish that was taken, and both vessels filled with them, and the danger they were in of sinking,

he fell down at Jesus' knees. The Arabic and Persic versions read, "at" his "feet": he fell on his knees before him, and threw himself prostrate at his feet, as a worshipper of him, and a supplicant unto him:

saying, depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord; this he said, not as though the presence of Christ was burdensome, or disagreeable to him; but as one amazed at the greatness of the miracle wrought, and struck with the sense of the power of Christ, put forth therein; and with the greatness of his majesty so near him; and as conscious to himself of his own vileness and unworthiness to be in his presence; and so the Persic version adds, and which may serve as a comment, "and am not worthy that thou shouldst be with me": he had much the same sense of things as the centurion had, Mt 8:8 and when it is considered how gracious persons have been struck with awe and fear, and a consciousness of sin, weakness, and unworthiness, at the appearance of an angel, as Zacharias, Lu 1:12 and the shepherds, Lu 2:9 yea, at the presence of an holy man of God, as the widow of Sarepta at Elijah, saying much the same as Peter does here, 1Ki 17:18 it need not be wondered at, that Peter should so express himself, in these circumstances.

9  Far he was astonished, and all that were with him,.... His brother Andrew, and the servants they had with them to manage the vessel, and cast the nets:

at the draught of the fishes they had taken; being so large and numerous, as the like was never seen, nor known by them before.

10  And so was also James and John, the sons of Zebedee,.... Who were in the other ship, and had been beckoned to them to come and help them, and did come, and were witnesses of the miracle:

which were partners with Simon; were sharers with him in loss and gain in the fishing trade; these were equally astonished at the miracle, as Simon and his brother, and the men that were in the boat with them, where Jesus was:

and Jesus said unto Simon; who was at his knees, and expressed his dread of his majesty, and the consternation of mind he was in particularly:

fear not; do not be afraid of me, I shall do thee no harm, nor shall the boats sink, or any damage come to any person, or to the vessels, nor be so much amazed and affrighted, at the multitude of the fish taken:

from henceforth thou shalt catch men; alive, as the word signifies, or "unto life", as the Syriac and Persic versions render it; thou shalt cast the net of the Gospel, and be the happy instrument of drawing many persons out of the depths of sin and misery, in which they are plunged, into the way of life and salvation; and which was greatly verified, in the conversion of three thousand at one cast, under one sermon of his, Ac 2:41

11  And when they had brought their ships to land,.... Both Simon Peter's, and the other in which his partners were, and which were laden with fish:

they forsook all; even all their fish, which they doubtless might have made much money of, and their nets, and their ships, and their servants, and their relations, and friends:

and followed him; Christ; and became his disciples, even all four of them, Peter, Andrew, James, and John.

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