Luke 11:24-26


#1

Can anyone explain this passage to me? Why do 7 more spirits come and occupy the body that has been swept clean?

Luke 11.24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”


#2

I don’t think the 7 is a literal number in this case, but has another meaning.

Why there would be more spirits is because the “house is clean and in order”, meaning the person is stronger than the lone evil spirit, so it needs more to be able to possess the person.

At least that is what makes sense to me.


#3

Jesus is telling about someone who has been freed of the forces of the devil, demons, and sin, and has become a Christian. They have been cleansed through baptism, and their lives are now “ordered”. BUT, this person does not fill the vacuum that has been created. They don’t partake of the sacraments (particularly Eucharist), don’t learn their faith, and don’t live out their faith.

As such, they are empty inside, and when the demons and sin come back, it is much worse. They are now a child of God who is fallen, someone who has access to God’s grace who by ignoring it have made themselves a weak prey for sin.


#4

From the Haydock Commentary, a meaning that I also just learned:

V. 24 Man, &c. By this one man is meant the whole Jewish people, out of whom the unclean spirit had been driven by the law. S. Ambrose. — For as long as they were in Egypt, they lived after the manners of the Egyptians, and were the habitation of the unclean spirit; but it was expelled from them, when they slew the paschal lamb in figure of Christ, and escaped destruction by sprinkling themselves with its blood. S. Cyril ex Divo Thoma. — But the evil spirit returned to his former habitation, the Jews, because he saw them devoid of virtue, barren, and open for his reception. And their latter state is worse than their former; for more wicked demons possessed the breasts of the Jews than before. Then they raged against the prophets only; but now they persecute the Lord himself of the prophets: therefore have they suffered much greater extremities from Vespasian and Titus, than from Egypt and Babylon; for besides being deprived of the merciful protection of Providence, which before watched over them, they are destitute of all grace, and delivered up to a more poignant misery, and a more cruel tyranny of the devil. S. Chrys. hom. xliv. on S. Matt.
V. 26 The last state, &c. But these words are also addressed to us Christians, who may often, and with reason, fear lest the vice we think extinguished in us, again return and seize on our slothful and careless souls, finding them cleansed indeed from the filth of sin by the grace of baptism, but destitute of every ornamental and protective virtue. It brings with it seven other evil spirits, by which we must understand every vicious inclination. V. Bede. — The latter state of these souls is worse than the former; because having been delivered from all former sins, and adorned with grace, if they again return to their iniquities a much more grievous punishment will be due for every subsequent crime. S. Chrys. hom. xliv. on S. Matt.

It seems that, since it was a parable, it has many layers of meaning - but those listening to Him could/should/would have known of where He spoke.


#5

It seems that there is already a few good answers, but here are links to the Catena Aurea (Church Father commentary on the Gospels compiled by Saint Thomas Aquinas) and the Ignatius Study Bible:

catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea-Luke11.php

coptics.info/Bible_Study/TheIgnatiusC-leNewTestament_split_057.html#filepos1343156

coptics.info/Bible_Study/TheIgnatiusC-leNewTestament_split_020.html#filepos490588


#6

thanks everyone - very helpful!


#7

"The latter state of these souls is worse than the former; because having been delivered from all former sins, and adorned with grace, if they again return to their iniquities a much more grievous punishment will be due for every subsequent crime. "
S. Chrys. hom. xliv. on S. Matt.


#8

This! :thumbsup:


#9

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