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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Luke 19



Verses 1-48

Zacceleus. The Pounds. Christ's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. He Cleanses the Temple

1-10. Zacchaeus (peculiar to Lk). The narrative shows that our Lord's familiar intercourse with publicans and sinners was justified by its results. Zacchaeus became a convert, surrendered half of his great wealth to the poor, and made restitution for his past misdeeds

2. The chief] RV 'a chief publican.' 'There must have been at Jericho one of the principal custom-houses, both on account of the exportation of the balm which grew in that oasis, and which was sold in all countries of the world, and on account of the considerable traffic which took place on this road, by which lay the route from Persea to Judaea and Egypt. Zacchaeus was at the head of this office' (Godet). It is unlikely that Zacchaeus belonged to the highest class of publicani, who collected the taxes of whole provinces or kingdoms, though occasionally Jews filled such an office. Zacchaeus has a Hebrew name, and is clearly a Jew: see on Matthew 5:46; Matthew 9:9-13.

3. To see, etc.] RV 'to see who Jesus was,' i.e. to distinguish Him in the dense crowd which surrounded Him.

4. A sycomore] not the English sycamore, but a tree which receives its name from the fact that its fruit is like a fig, and its leaves like those of the mulberry: cp. Luke 17:6 and Amos 7:14. Sycamores are not now very common in Palestine.

5. At thy house] Jericho was a priestly city, and according to the Talmud contained as many priests as Jerusalem. Specially significant, therefore, was Christ's resolution to lodge with a publican.

8. And Zacchaeus stood] Probably after the feast, or on the next day. The effect of our Lord's conversation was the complete conversion of Zacchaeus, which immediately showed itself in act. I give] viz. at this moment. Up to the time of his conversion Zacchaeus had given little in charity. He now atones for his past neglect by surrendering one-half of his capital. If I have taken, etc.] RV 'wrongfully exacted ought.' He proposes to examine into his past transactions, and if he has wronged any one, to make restitution out of the half of his capital which he still retains. Fourfold] The Law only required this from a detected thief (Exodus 22:1).

9. To this house] Because with Zacchaeus his family and household servants were converted.

A son of Abraham] both in descent and character. This the Pharisees would have denied, for they ranked publicans with the heathen: see on Matthew 5:46.

10. Cp. Matthew 18:11

11-27. Parable of the Pounds (peculiar to Lk, but similar to the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14, q.v.). It differs from that parable, (1) in the introduction of the rebellious citizens, Luke 19:14, Luke 19:27; (2) in its graduation of the rewards and punishments of the next world; (3) in representing future bliss as a state of social activity in a perfect community.

The nobleman (Luke 19:12) is Christ Himself, who goes into a far country (heaven), to receive for Himself a kingdom (almighty power over the universe), and to return (at the Second Advent). He calls His ten servants (all the members of His Church), and entrusts them with a pound each (i.e. all their bodily, mental, and spiritual capacities). The citizens who hate Him are all the enemies of Christ. They are called His citizens, because even the wicked are by right His subjects, seeing that He has created and redeemed them. On His return (to judge the world), He summons the ten servants (such Christians -as appear to have been faithful to their trust), and enquires what use they have made of the capacities and opportunities entrusted to them. Some have made great use, others little, others none at all; and are accordingly recompensed, some by being placed over ten cities (a great reward), others over five cities (a less reward), others by being entirely excluded from all the rewards of the future kingdom. The taking of the pound from the man who did not use it, signifies that faculties, which are not used, are finally lost; and the giving of the pound to him who had ten already, signifies that those faculties which are rightly used are capable of indefinite increase. The ten cities and the five cities indicate the different kinds of employment assigned in heaven to persons of different spiritual capacity. They also, perhaps, indicate different states of blessedness assigned to the saved in accordance with their behaviour in the previous state of probation on earth. In the corresponding parable in Mt the teaching is different. There all the faithful servants show the same diligence, and receive the same reward. The slaying of the rebellious citizens (Luke 19:27) represents the judgment of the wicked at the Last Day. This parable, like so many others, assigns to Jesus the position of King and Judge of the human race. It may, therefore, be fairly used to prove His Divinity.

11. Because they thought] The multitudes thought that Jesus was going to Jerusalem to set up the Messianic kingdom at once. Jesus therefore explained by a parable that the kingdom would not be established till His Second Coming, and that even then not all the children of Abraham, but only the spiritually fit, would be admitted into it. This was the chief lesson to the multitudes, who expected that all Israelites would share in the future glory. To the disciples the lesson was that even among the saved there would be differences, and that, therefore, those who wished a great reward in the future kingdom of heaven must labour with all diligence in their various vocations on earth.

13. Servants] lit. 'slaves.' Pounds] lit. mince. The mina was the sixtieth part of a talent, i.e. 100 denarii, or £4.

14. We will not, etc.] This v. may have a special reference to Christ's rejection by the Jews after His Resurrection and Ascension. For the historical fact which perhaps suggested this incident in the parable, see art. 'Dynasty of the Herods' (Archelaus).

24, 25. This complete misapprehension of Christ's character shows that he had never really 'known' Christ with saving knowledge.

27. Although this v. describes the final punishment of those who reject Christ, it may also have reference to the temporal destruction of those Jews who rejected Christ at the fall of Jerusalem.

28-40. The triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1; Mark 11:1; John 12:12). See on Mt and Jn.

37. The descent] There was a magnificent view of Jerusalem and the Temple from this point, and at the sight of the capital of the new kingdom the multitudes broke into a shout of triumph.

38. Peace in heaven] i.e. There is peace for man (i.e. favour with God) in heaven. By sending the Messiah, God shows that He regards His people with favour. The expression is peculiar to Lk: cp. Luke 2:14.

41-44. Christ weeps over Jerusalem (peculiar to Lk). 'The path mounts again; it climbs a rugged ascent; it reaches a ledge of smooth rock, and in an instant the whole city bursts into view. As now the dome of the Mosque El-Aksa rises like a ghost from the earth before the traveller stands on the ledge, so then must have risen the Temple-tower; as now the vast enclosure of the Mussulman sanctuary, so then must have spread the Temple-courts; as now the grey town on its broken hills, so then the magnificent city, with its background—long since vanished away—of gardens and suburbs on the W. plateau behind. Immediately below was the valley of the Kedron, here seen in its greatest depth as it joins the Valley of Hinnom, and thus giving full effect to the great peculiarity of Jerusalem seen from its E. side—its situation as of a city rising out of a deep abyss. It is hardly possible to doubt that this rise and turn of the road, this rocky ledge, was the exact point where the multitude paused again, and He, when He beheld the city, wept over it” (Stanley). Cp. Matthew 23:37.

42. If thou hadst known] i.e. O that thou hadst known! This implies previous visits of Christ to Jerusalem. This thy day] i.e. the time of Christ's earthly ministry.

43. Enemies] i.e. the Romans. A trench] lit. 'a palisade.' The Romans actually raised a palisade round Jerusalem. The Jews burnt it, and the Romans replaced it by a wall.

44. Thy children] i.e. thy inhabitants.

The time of thy visitation] i.e. the time of Christ's ministry.

45. 46. Second cleansing' of the Temple (Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15). See on Mt.

47, 48. Jesus teaches daily. Cp. Mark 11:18.

48. Were very attentive] RV 'hung upon him, listening.'


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Luke 19:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.

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Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
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