And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip:
and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough. - Luke 22:35-38
Jesus was addressing his disciples immediately after the Passover meal; others were present in addition to the Twelve.
The primary reason for the command was that the disciples no longer would be under the direct care of Jesus. Hitherto, Jesus had addressed their every need, as a mother addresses the needs of her children. Henceforth, each would need to look after himself for food, clothing, and shelter; thus, each would need to carry purse (BALLANTIN, money bag) and scrip (PERAN, bag for provisions).
Moreover, each would need to be watchful regarding robbers and other enemies; accordingly, each would need to arm himself. The need to be armed is so vital and so urgent that Jesus instructs the disciple not having a sword to sell his cloak (IMATION, outer garment) and buy one. The sword (MACHAIRAN) was a serious weapon, being the primary armament of the Roman soldier.
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. - John 17:12
Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none. - John 18:7-9
The same considerations apply to disciples living in the present day. A disciple must be armed so that he may protect members of family and friends who are under his care.
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. - Leviticus 19:18
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. - Matthew 22:35-40
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. - Mark 12:31
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. - Galatians 5:14
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13
A secondary reason for the command is that, in the short term, there was need for fulfillment of the prophesy of Isaiah:
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. - Isaiah 53:12
For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. - Luke 22:37
The two swords present in the company were sufficient to put the group into the category "transgressor." This, of course, was a matter of appearance, rather than of actuality. False accusations of criminal activity are more credible if made against a man who is armed.
And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. - Mark 15:27-28
In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. - Matthew 26:55
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me?- Mark 14:48
Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. - Luke 22:52-53
A prominent commentator says of the phrase of Luke 22:38, "It is enough," that it should have been translated, "Enough of such talk!" But he makes the phrase a reprimand, which is contrary to the sense of the passage. The adjective IKANOS means sufficient or fit. Clearly Jesus is saying that two swords are enough for the immediate need, which is to give Jesus and the disciples the appearance of a band of criminals.