Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” 6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
v1 προσευχεσθαι (προσερχομαι) res. inf. [it is necessary always] to pray
μη εγκακειν (εγκακεω) pres. inf. "not give up".
v2 κριτης (ης ου) "judge" - of a village, think “justice of the peace” who settled small claims.
μη φοβουμενος (φοβεω) pres. pas. Part. "neither fearing [God]"
μη εντρεπομενος (εντρεπω) pres. mid. part. "nor respecting [men]" the use of the middle voice expresses the sense of "incapable of shame." This judge is unlikely to waste his time acting for a powerless and financially disadvantaged widow, since neither the laws of God nor public opinion could stir his conscience!
v3 ηρχετο (ερχομαι) imperf. "kept coming" - the imperfect tense is durative so, "she constantly came".
εκδικησον (ενδικεω) aor. imp. "grant [me] vengeance" - protect me from my opponent.
v4 επι χρονον "for some time" – idiomatic; meaning an undefined period of time.
ουκ ηθελεν (θελω) imperf. "he refused" – a continual refusal to act – same tense as vs 3.
v5 εκδικησω (εδικεω) fut. "I will see that [she] gets justice" - I will avenge her.
υπωπιαζη (υποπιαζω) subj. "she...wear [me] out" – literally “give me a black eye”!
v6 ακουσατε (ακουω) aor. imp. "listen" - take note/pay attention.
της αδικιας (α) gen. "[the] unrighteous one".
λεγει (λεγω) pres. "says" - Do we take Jesus literally and draw application from what the judge said (and did) rather than from the story as a whole? Some scholars argue that the lesson is drawn from the judge and his words not from the widow. Most argue for a wider application, which is how we end up with this parable being used to promote persistence in prayer.
v7 ου μη ποιηση (ποιεω) subj. "will not [God] bring about" – a subjunctive of emphatic negation expecting a strong positive answer – yes indeed He will.
την εκδικησιν (ις εως) "vengeance, with the verb "do" expresses a sense of the punishment of persecutors, so "vindication".
των εκλεκτων gen. adj. "for [his] elect/chosen ones.
των βοωντων pres. part. gen. "who cry out" - the strength of this word takes us back to chapter 17 and the tribulation faced by God's elect as they await the coming of the Son of Man.
v8 την εκδικησιν (ις εως) "[they get] justice" - [ a similar periphrastic construction is used in Numbers 31:2 and 1 Maccabees 2:67 to express the sense "see to it that justice is done."
πλην "however" The meaning of the particle is somewhat unclear. Here it is treated as an exceptive, e.g., "however". The sense here may be; "So now, back to the central issue, namely the return of the Son of Man. When he comes will he find faith on the earth?
ελθων (ερχομαι) aor. part. "when [the Son of Man] comes"
την πιστιν (ις εως) "faith" Given the presence of the definite article, does Jesus mean us to understand a particular faith or in the general sense, "faithfulness"?