Luke 22:38 - It is enough!

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at
Sun Oct 21 03:51:36 EDT 2001

> on 10/20/01 9:26 AM, Neal Stublen at nstublen at wrote:
> > When the disciples come up with two swords, as Jesus had just encouraged
> > them to do, he says to them, "IKANON ESTIN."
> >
> > When I read this it seems that Jesus is saying that their two swords are
> > sufficient - they don't need to get any more.  However, others I have
> > interacted with suggest this is a rebuke of the disciples -
> Jesus has had
> > enough of their foolish talk - he did not mean for them to literally get
> > swords, but he was speaking figuratively concerning the
> attitude they would
> > need in the coming days. (This is similar to the understanding given by
> > Norval Geldenhuys in his commentary on Luke (NICNT), where he
> states that
> > most expositors agree that Jesus talked of buying swords in a figurative
> > sense.)
> >
> > Is this second understanding at all possible from IKANON ESTIN?
>  Can this phrase be issued as a way of saying, "That's enough - now be
> The swords here must be literal swords. When Jesus commands them to buy
> swords in v. 36, he states as the reason in v. 37 GAR LEGW hUMIN
> TO PERI EMOU TELOS ECEI ("For I tell you that this which is
> written must be
> fulfilled in me, 'AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS'; for that which
> refers to me has [its] fulfillment.") GAR explains why they should get
> swords: the scripture that says he will be numbered with the transgressors
> must be fulfilled, and it will be fulfilled by the disciples
> having swords,
> like revolutionaries (see v. 50). When told they had two swords, Jesus
> responds hIKANON ESTIN ("It is sufficient."), i.e., it is sufficient to
> fulfill the scripture about him being numbered with the transgressors.
> --
> Steven Lo Vullo
> Madison, WI

Yes, the two swords that Peter, and probably the Zealot, had were real
swords. Peter used his sword to try to defend Jesus and he was rebuked for
doing so. Peter had still not understood that Jesus needed to be captured
and killed like a criminal is captured and hung on a cross between two
"transgressors". Jesus later asked why the guards came with swords and clubs
as if he was a criminal. They must have thought that he and his disciples
wanted to put up an armed fight. Another indication that the guards did not
understood who Jesus was or what he came to do. But how could they when not
even Peter understood it - yet.
If Jesus had referred to the two swords and had wanted to say that two
swords were enough, it should have come out in Greek as hIKANA ESTIN (or
EISIN) - they are enough.
hIKANOS has various meanings in different context, but it is often used with
a period of time. In Luke 23:8 we read EX hIKANWN (CRWNWN) "for some time" -
the last word is textually uncertain, probably supplied by p75, but even if
not in the original text, it is still to be understood. It is also use with
LOGOI - a considerable amount of words - as in Luke 23:9. So, the neuter
form here can easily be taken to mean: Enough time spent on this - enough
words said. (There was no time to explain further, and the disciples would
not understand anyway until after the resurrection.)
Many times when Jesus spoke in parables, the disciples misunderstood him,
because they took his words literally. This place in Luke is such an
instance. The Scripture would have been fulfilled whether or not the
disciples had a sword.

Iver Larsen

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