New Defender's Study Bible Notes
18:13 be merciful. Actually, the publican’s prayer asked that God “be propitiated to me, the sinner.” The word used referred to the mercy seat; he was confessing his sin and need of forgiveness, trusting in the blood sprinkled on the mercy-seat for atonement. This repentant faith was sufficient to secure his being “justified,” “declared righteous” before God (Luke 18:14). The Pharisee, on the other hand, prayed “with himself,” rather than God, merely congratulating himself on his own self-righteousness, and thus received no forgiveness. If nothing else, he was filled with the sin of pride—perhaps the worst sin of all, since it was the sin of the devil (I Timothy 3:6).