Was no one found to turn back and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Luke 17:18 NET

Why should the ten lepers return after having gone to the Priests to give glory to God? Could they not give glory to God in the temple?

2 Answers 2


And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. [Luke 17:15,16 KJV]

Taking the text, as it is written, I notice :

One of them turned back and with a loud voice glorified God and fell down on his face at his feet.

The God he thanked and glorified was not resident in a 'building made with hands'. The God he turned back to and glorified and at whose feet he fell, was manifest on earth.

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? [Acts 7:48 KJV]

God was manifest in flesh [1 Timothy 3:16 TR/KJV]

Only one of the ten lepers apprehended what had really happened.

The other nine carried on with the old and traditional way of doing things which was but a figure (demonstrated on earth for but a time) of that which was to come.

And He had come, and He was manifested before them.

  • 3
    +1. Good answer.
    – Dottard
    Mar 16 at 9:47

To understand Jesus' question, we need to look at the instructions given and the particulars of the individuals.

After Jesus heals the ten men, he gives the instruction:

When he saw them, he said to them: “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” (Luke 17:14)

A very similar instruction was given to a single leper:

Then he gave the man orders to tell no one: “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses directed, for a witness to them. ( Luke 5:14)

These instructions were in line with Leviticus 14 as to what must be done once an individual was found clean of his leprosy. Note what Barnes' Notes on the Bible mentions:

Where are the nine? - Jesus had commanded them to go to the priest, and they were probably "literally" obeying the commandment. They were impatient to be healed and "selfish" in wishing it, and had no gratitude to God or their Benefactor.

But what about the one?

Notice that Luke 17:16 mentions that "he was a Samaritan". Now we have a bit of insight from Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman at the well:

You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation originates with the Jews. (John 4:22)

So Samaritans were an offshoot of the Israelite nation (see the subheading The Samaritan Religion from the Insight on the Scriptures). Their form of worship was different from the then-current Jewish system.

As Barnes mentioned above, this Samaritan recognized from whom this miracle had come despite his upbringing. He truly had gratitude to Jehovah God for providing this healing and expressed it immediately to the one through whom this miracle had been performed.

Moreover, we see what this Samaritan displayed from Jesus' concluding words to him:

Then he said to him: “Get up and be on your way; your faith has made you well." (Luke 17:19 bold mine)

This is the true point of the event.

[All scripture quotations from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)]

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