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Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [1]

A — 1: Πρόφασις (Strong'S #4392 — Noun Feminine — prophasis — prof'-as-is )

"a pretense, pretext" (from pro, "before," and phemi, "to say"), is translated "excuse" in  John 15:22 , RV, for AV, "cloke;" "cloke in  1—Thessalonians 2:5 AV and RV. See Cloke , Pretence, Show (Noun).

B — 1: Ἀναπολόγητος (Strong'S #379 — Adjective — anapologetos — an-ap-ol-og'-ay-tos )

"without excuse, inexcusable" (a negative, n, euphonic, and apologeomai, see C, No. 1, below), is used,  Romans 1:20 , "without excuse," of those who reject the revelation of God in creation;  Romans 2:1 , RV, for AV, "inexcusable," of the Jew who judges the Gentile.

C — 1: Ἀπολογέομαι (Strong'S #626 — Verb — apologeomai — ap-ol-og-eh'-om-ahee )

lit., "to speak oneself off," hence "to plead for oneself," and so, in general, (a) "to defend," as before a tribunal; in  Romans 2:15 , RV, "excusing them," means one "excusing" others (not themselves); the preceding phrase "one with another" signifies one person with another, not one thought with another; it may be paraphrased, "their thoughts with one another, condemning or else excusing one another;" conscience provides a moral standard by which men judge one another; (b) "to excuse" oneself,  2—Corinthians 12:19; cp. B. See Answer.

C — 2: Παραιτέομαι (Strong'S #3868 — Verb — paraiteomai — par-ahee-teh'-om-ahee )

is used in the sense of "begging off, asking to be excused or making an excuse," in  Luke 14:18 (twice),19. In the first part of ver. 18 the verb is used in the Middle Voice, "to make excuse" (acting in imagined self-interest); in the latter part and in ver. 19 it is in the Passive Voice, "have me excused."

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

Excuse —‘To make excuse’ (παραιτεῖσθαι),  Luke 14:18, means to avert displeasure by entreaty, to crave indulgence, to seek to be freed from an obligation or duty. (Cf. the use of ‘excuse’ in Dampier, Voyages , ii. 1. 99: ‘In the evening he sent me out of the palace, desiring to be excused that he could not entertain me all night’), παραιτεῖσθαι is used by Josephus exactly as here of declining an invitation ( Ant . vii. viii. 2). ἔχε με παρῃτημένον ( Luke 14:18-19) may be a Latinism for habe me excusatum , but see Meyer and Weiss contra .

These guests had evidently received a previous invitation, as is customary in the East, which they had accepted ( Luke 14:16-17). Their unanimity, the absence of an adversative ἀλλά or δέ, and the order of the words, combine to make παραιτεῖσθαι a surprise when it comes (contrast  Luke 14:15). They did not give a direct refusal, they were detained by certain hindrances which were not wrong in themselves, but they all showed the same spirit in rejecting the invitation because they preferred to follow their own inclinations. The first had bought a field, he was elated by his already acquired possessions (Trench, Parables ), and alleged a necessity (ἕχω ἁνάγκην); ‘saepe concurrunt tempora gratiae acceptissima et mundana negotia urgentissima’ (Bengel). The second may illustrate the anxiety of getting; he alleges rather his plan and purpose (πορεύομαι). The third was detained by pleasure; his marriage seemed a sufficient reason, and he simply said οὐ δύναμαι. Gerhard sums up the hindrances as ‘dignitates, opes, voluptates,’ cf.  Luke 8:14. ‘His omnibus mederi poterat sanctum illud odium  Luke 8:26’ (Bengel).

‘Excuse’ is also used in Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 for πρόφασις ( John 15:22), so Wyc. [Note: Wyclif’s Bible (NT c. 1380, OT c. 1382, Purvey’s Revision c. 1388).] , Vulgate ( excusatio ); Authorized Version follows Tindale ‘cloke.’ Cf.  Psalms 140:4 τοῦ προφασίζεσθαι προφάσεις ἑν ἁμαρτίαις; Vulgate ‘ad excusandas excusationes in peccatis.’ The Jews had no longer anything to plead in their own defence, as was possible in times of ignorance.

Literature.—Comm. of Meyer and Plummer, in loc.  ; works of Trench, Bruce, and Dods on Parables  ; Thomson, L B [Note: The Land and the Book.] p. 125.

W. H. Dundas.

Webster's Dictionary [3]

(1): ( v. t.) To regard with indulgence; to view leniently or to overlook; to pardon.

(2): ( v. t.) To free from an impending obligation or duty; hence, to disengage; to dispense with; to release by favor; also, to remit by favor; not to exact; as, to excuse a forfeiture.

(3): ( v. t.) To free from accusation, or the imputation of fault or blame; to clear from guilt; to release from a charge; to justify by extenuating a fault; to exculpate; to absolve; to acquit.

(4): ( v. t.) To pardon, as a fault; to forgive entirely, or to admit to be little censurable, and to overlook; as, we excuse irregular conduct, when extraordinary circumstances appear to justify it.

(5): ( v. t.) That which excuses; that which extenuates or justifies a fault.

(6): ( v. t.) To relieve of an imputation by apology or defense; to make apology for as not seriously evil; to ask pardon or indulgence for.

(7): ( v. t.) The act of excusing, apologizing, exculpating, pardoning, releasing, and the like; acquittal; release; absolution; justification; extenuation.

(8): ( v. t.) That which is offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or irregular deportment; apology; as, an excuse for neglect of duty; excuses for delay of payment.

King James Dictionary [4]

EXCU'SE, s as z. L. excuso ex and causor, to blame. See Cause.

1. To pardon to free from the imputation of fault or blame to acquit of guilt. We excuse a person in our own minds, when we acquit him of guilt or blame or we excuse him by a declaration of that acquital. 2. To pardon, as a fault to forgive entirely, or to admit to be little censurable, and to overlook. We excuse a fault, which admits of apology or extenuation and we excuse irregular conduct, when extraordinary circumstances appear to justify it. 3. To free from an obligation or duty.

I pray thee have me excused.  Luke 14 .

4. To remit not to exact as, to excuse a forfeiture. 5. To pardon to admit an apology for.

Excuse some courtly strains.

6. To throw off an imputation by apology.

Think you that we excuse ourselves to you?  2 cor 12

7. To justify to vindicate.

Their thoughts accusing or else excusing one another.  Romans 2

EXCU'SE, n. A plea offered in extenuation of a fault or irregular deportment apology. Every man has an excuse to offer for his neglect of duty the debtor makes excuses for delay of payment.

1. The act of excusing or apologizing. 2. That which excuses that which extenuates or justifies a fault. His inability to comply with the request must be his excuse.