Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Luke 13:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The tower in Siloam - This tower was probably built over one of the porticoes near the pool, which is mentioned John 9:7. See also Nehemiah 3:15.

Debtors, οφειλεται, a Jewish phrase for sinners. Persons professing to be under the law are bound by the law to be obedient to all its precepts; those who obey not are reckoned debtors to the law, or rather to that Divine justice from which the law came. A different word is used when speaking of the Galileans: they are termed ἁμαρτωλοι, as this word is often used to signify heathens; see the notes on Luke 7:37; it is probably used here in nearly a similar sense. "Do ye who live in Jerusalem, and who consider your selves peculiarly attached to the law, and under the strongest obligations to obey it - do ye think that those Galileans were more heathenish than the rest of the Galileans, because they suffered such things? No. It was not on this account that they perished: both these cases exhibit a specimen of the manner in which ye shall all perish, if ye do not speedily repent, and turn to God."

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Or those eighteen - Jesus himself adds another similar case, to warn them - a case which had probably occurred not long before, and which it is likely they judged in the same manner.

Upon whom the tower in Siloam fell - The name Siloah or Siloam is found only three times in the Bible as applied to water - once in Isaiah 8:6, who speaks of it as running water; once as a pool near to the king‘s garden in Nehemiah 3:15; and once as a pool, in the account of the Saviour‘s healing the man born blind, in John 9:7-11. Josephus mentions the fountain of Siloam frequently as situated at the mouth of the Valley of Tyropoeon, or the Valley of Cheesemongers, where the fountain long indicated as that fountain is still found. It is on the south side of Mount Moriah, and between that and the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The water at present flows out of a small artificial basin under the cliff, and is received into a large reservoir 53 feet in length by 18 feet in breadth. The small upper basin or fountain excavated in the rock is merely the entrance, or rather the termination of a long and narrow subterranean passage beyond, by which the water comes from the Fountain of the Virgin. For what purpose the “tower” here referred to was erected is not known; nor is it known at what time the event here referred to occurred. It is probable that it was not far from the time when the Saviour made use of the illustration, for the manner in which he refers to it implies that it was fresh in the recollection of those to whom he spoke.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Mention was made to Christ of the death of some Galileans. This tragical story is briefly related here, and is not met with in any historians. In Christ's reply he spoke of another event, which, like it, gave an instance of people taken away by sudden death. Towers, that are built for safety, often prove to be men's destruction. He cautioned his hearers not to blame great sufferers, as if they were therefore to be accounted great sinners. As no place or employment can secure from the stroke of death, we should consider the sudden removals of others as warnings to ourselves. On these accounts Christ founded a call to repentance. The same Jesus that bids us repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, bids us repent, for otherwise we shall perish.
Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 212-4

This chapter is based on Luke 13:1-9.

Christ in His teaching linked with the warning of judgment the invitation of mercy. “The Son of man is not come,” He said, “to destroy men's lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:56. “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17. His mission of mercy in its relation to God's justice and judgment is illustrated in the parable of the barren fig tree. COL 212.1

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 370.4

Christ's message to the people was, “Unless ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” And the apostles were commanded to preach everywhere that men should repent. The Lord would have His servants preach today the old gospel doctrine, sorrow for sin, repentance, and confession. We want old-fashioned sermons, old-fashioned customs, old-fashioned fathers and mothers in Israel, who have the tenderness of Christ. TDG 370.4

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Jesus' Ministry in Galilee and Journey to Jerusalem