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Bible Commentaries
Luke 19

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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Verse 1

Luke 19:1 . διήρχετο : the incident occurred when Jesus was passing through Jericho, precisely where, not indicated. ὀνόματι καλούμενος , called by name, as in Luke 1:61 ; a Hebraism, ὀνόματι superfluous. Ζακ ., ἀρχιτ ., πλούσιος : name, occupation, social standing. Zacchaeus = the pure one, but not so intended; chief publican; probably a head man or overseer over the local collectors of taxes, of whom there might be a goodly number in Jericho, with its balsam trade, and traffic from the eastern to the western side of Jordan.

Verses 1-10

Luke 19:1-10 . The story of Zacchaeus , in Lk. only, apparently derived from an Aramaic source note the abundant use of καὶ to connect clauses but bearing traces of editorial revision in the style ( καθότι , Luke 19:9 ).

Verse 3

Luke 19:3 . ἐζήτει : imperfect, implying continuous effort, for a while unsuccessful, because of ( ἀπὸ ) the crowd, too dense to penetrate, and not to be seen over by him , being short of stature ( ἡλικίᾳ as in Matthew 6:27 ). ἰδεῖν τὸν Ἰ . τίς ἐστι = ἰδεῖν τίς ἐστιν ὁ Ἰησοῦς , to see who Jesus is = de facie cognoscere (Kuinoel); “ fama notum vultu noscere cupiebat” (Grotius).

Verse 4

Luke 19:4 . εἰς τὸ ἔμπροσθεν , in front of the crowd, to make sure; stationed at any point opposite the crowd he might miss his chance. συκομοραίαν , a fig mulberry tree, as many think = συκάμινος in Luke 17:6 ; but why then not use the same word in both places, the only two places in N.T. where they occur, both used by the same writer? To this it has been replied: “Although it may be admitted that the sycamine is properly and in Luke 17:6 the mulberry, and the sycamore the fig mulberry, or sycamore fig, yet the latter is the tree generally referred to in the O.T. and called by the Sept [148] sycamine , as 1 Kings 10:27 , 1 Chronicles 27:28 , Psalms 78:47 , Amos 7:14 . Dioscorides expressly says Συκόμορον , ἔνιοι δὲ καὶ τοῦτο συκάμινον λέγουσι , lib. i., cap. 180” (Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible , s. v. Sycamore ). This is in effect to say that through the influence of the Sept [149] and following common usage Lk. used the two words indifferently as synonyms. ἐκείνης : supply ὁδοῦ , cf. ποίας , Luke 5:19 .

[148] Septuagint.

[149] Septuagint.

Verse 5

Luke 19:5 . Ζακχαῖε : Jesus knows his name, how not indicated. σπεύσας , etc., uttered in cordial tone as if He were speaking to a familiar friend whom He is glad to see and with whom He means to stay that day. What a delightful surprise that salutation, and how irresistible its friendly frankness, Luke 19:6 shows.

Verse 7

Luke 19:7 . ἅπαντες : general muttered dissent (not even the Twelve excepted), which Jesus anticipated and disregarded. Note His courage, and how much prejudice the uncommon in conduct has to reckon with. ἁμαρτωλῷ : no reason to think with some ancient and modern commentators that Zacchaeus was a Gentile, a son of Abraham only in a spiritual sense. They thought him unfit to be Christ’s host because he was a “sinner” (Grotius). A sinner of course because a publican, a great sinner because a chief publican.

Verse 8

Luke 19:8 . σταθεὶς : like the Pharisees (Luke 18:11 ) but in a different spirit in self-defence, not self-laudation. J. Weiss thinks the word indicates the solemn attitude of a man about to make a vow (Meyer). μ . τ . ὑπαρχόντων , the half of my goods , earnings, not of my income ( οἱ πρόσοδοι ) as Godet suggests. δίδωμι , ἀποδίδωμι : presents, probably expressing not past habit but purpose for the future. This is the regenerating effect of that generous, brave word of Jesus. It has made a new man of him. Yet the desire to see Jesus, of whom he had heard as the publicans’ friend, shows that the germ of the new man was there before. A “sinner” doubtless in the way indicated, as the εἴ τι mildly admits, but by no means, even in the past, a type of the hard, heartless, unscrupulous publican. τετραπλοῦν , four fold, as in cases of theft (Exodus 22:1 , four or five fold).

Verse 9

Luke 19:9 . πρὸς αὐτὸν , to him or with reference to him; probably both; the words meant for the ears of Zacchaeus and all who might be there to hear, or perhaps spoken half as a soliloquy. καθότι , inasmuch as; a word of Lk.’s; in his writings only in N.T. υἱὸς Ἀ ., a son of Abraham in the natural sense, a Jew; a protest against popular prejudice, for which a publican was as a heathen. The more radical reason, unexpressed, but present doubtless to the mind of Jesus, was: because he also is a son of man , a human being.

Verse 10

Luke 19:10 . A great key-word to Christ’s idea of His own mission a Saviour. τὸ ἀπολωλός , the lost, a pathetic name for the objects of Christ’s quest; its shades of meaning to be learned from the parables in Luke 15 : lost as a sheep, a coin, a foolish son may be lost. Here the term points to the social degradation and isolation of the publicans. They were social lepers. With reference to the conduct of Jesus in this case Euthy. Zig. remarks: “It is necessary to despise the little scandal when a great salvation comes to any one and not to lose the great on account of the little” ( χρὴ γὰρ τοῦ μικροῦ σκανδάλου καταφρονεῖν , ἔνθα μεγάλη σωτηρία τινὶ προσγίνεται , καὶ μὴ διὰ τὸ μικρὸν ἀπόλλειν ( sic ) τὸ μέγα ). The significance of Christ choosing a publican for His host in a town where many priests dwelt has been remarked on. Art. “Publican” in Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible .

Verse 11

Luke 19:11 . The introduction . ταῦτα naturally suggests the words spoken to Zacchaeus by Jesus about salvation, as what was heard. προσθεὶς εἶπε imitates the Hebrew construction = He added and said, cf. Genesis 38:5 , προσθεῖσα ἔτεκεν . ἐγγὺς : about fifteen miles off. παραχρῆμα : a natural expectation for friends of Jesus to entertain, and for all, friends and foes, to impute to Him, and a good occasion for uttering a parable to correct false impressions; comparable in this respect with the parable of the Supper in Luke 14:0 saying in effect, “not so soon as you think, nor will all be as well affected to the king and his kingdom as you may suppose”.

Verses 11-27

Luke 19:11-27 . Parable of the pounds, or of the nobleman who goes to find a kingdom ( cf. Matthew 25:14-30 ). Into the vexed question of the connection between this parable and that of the talents in Mt. I cannot here go. That there is a resemblance between them is obvious, and the hypothesis that the one has grown out of the other in the course of tradition cannot be treated as a mere impertinence. Yet that they are two distinct parables in their main features, both spoken by Jesus, is not improbable. They serve different purposes, and their respective details suit their respective purposes, and the kindred features may only show that Jesus did not solicitously avoid repeating Himself. The parable before us suits the situation as described by Luke, in so far as it corrects mistaken expectations with regard to the advent of the Kingdom. It is a prophetic sketch in parabolic form of the real future before them, the fortunes of the King and the various attitudes of men towards him. It is more allied to allegory than most of the parables, and on this ground, according to J. Weiss (in Meyer), it cannot have proceeded from Jesus. One fails to see why Jesus might not occasionally use allegory as a vehicle of truth as well as other teachers.

Verses 12-27

Luke 19:12-27 . The parable . εὐγενὴς , wellborn, noble; of such rank and social position that he might legitimately aspire to a kingdom. The Herod family might quite well be in view. Herod the Great and his son Archelaus had actually gone from Jericho on this errand, and Archelaus had had the experience described in Luke 19:14 . Since the time of Clericus and Wolf, who first suggested it, the idea that the Herod family was in Christ’s mind has been very generally accepted. Schanz thinks Jesus would not have selected so bad a man as Archelaus to represent Him. Yet He selected a selfish neighbour and an unjust judge to represent God as He appears , and an unjust steward to teach prudence! εἰς χώραν μακράν : implying lapse of time; Rome, in the case of Archelaus. ὑποστρέψαι : the desired kingdom is in the land of his birth; Palestine in case of Archelaus.

Verse 13

Luke 19:13 . δέκα δ ., ten, a considerable number, pointing to an extensive household establishment. δέκα μνᾶς , ten pounds, not to each but among them (Luke 19:16 ). A Greek pound = about £3 or £4; a Hebrew = nearly double; in either case a small sum compared with the amounts in Matthew 15:0 . The purpose in the two parables is entirely different. In the Talents the master divides his whole means among his servants to be traded with, as the best way of disposing of them during his absence. In the Pounds he simply gives a moderate sum, the same to all, with a view to test fidelity and capacity , as he desires to have tested men for higher service when the time comes. The amount may suit the master’s finances, and though small it may just on that account the better test character and business talent. πραγματεύσασθε , trade with, here only in the Scriptures, found in Plutarch. ἔρχομαι : with ἕως (T.R.) = until I come back , with ἐν ᾧ (W.H [150] ) = while I go (to the far country); perhaps it is used pregnantly to include going and returning.

[150] Westcott and Hort.

Verse 14

Luke 19:14 . πολῖται = συμπολῖται , fellow-citizens of the aspirant to kingship while a private citizen (as in Genesis 23:11 , Sept [151] , Hebrews 8:11 , W.H [152] ). ἐμίσουν , hated habitually, showing something far wrong in him, or in them . πρεσβείαν : this actually happened in the case of Archelaus, on just grounds ; this, however, is no proof that he cannot have been in Christ’s mind. The point is, hatred just or unjust, in the case both of Archelaus and of Jesus very real. οὐ θέλομεν , we don’t wish, an emphatic nolumus , stronger than θέλομεν τοῦτον οὐ , etc.

[151] Septuagint.

[152] Westcott and Hort.

Verse 15

Luke 19:15 ff. After the return . ἐν τῷ ἐπανελθεῖν : ἐν with the aorist infinitive, usually with present, but frequently with aorist in Lk. = on his return, he takes action at once ( vide Burton, M. and T. , § 109). εἶπε φωνηθῆναι = commanded ( jussit , Vulgate) to be called; εἶπε with infinitive, instead of ἵνα with subjunctive, as in some places, e.g. , Matthew 4:3 . τίς τί διεπρ . (T.R.) is two questions in one: who had gained anything and what τί διεπραγματεύσαντο (W.H [153] ), what they had gained.

[153] Westcott and Hort.

Verse 16

Luke 19:16 . ἡ μνᾶ σου , thy pound, modestly, as if he had no hand or merit in the gain (Grotius). δέκα : a considerable increase, implying proportional length of time, the kingdom not near .

Verse 17

Luke 19:17 . ἀγαθὲ without πιστέ , as in Mt., but πιστὸς in next clause = noble, devoted. ἐν ἐλαχίστῳ , in a very little. ἐπὶ ὀλίγα in Mt. ἐπάνω δέκα πόλεων , over ten cities, or a Decapolis (Holtzmann, H. C.). This is what the king has had in view all along to get capable and trusty governors. A new king needs to take special pains about this. The trial of character through trade is not unsuitable, as governors would have much to do with the provincial revenues.

Verse 18

Luke 19:18 . πέντε , five, half as much, implying less capacity, diligence, conscientiousness, or luck which, however, is not taken into account.

Verse 19

Luke 19:19 . καὶ σὺ : this man also deemed trustworthy, but of less capacity, therefore appointed to a governorship, but of less extent. Also, note, there is no praise . He was honest, but might have done better. The new king is thankful to have honesty even with respectable, though not admirable administrative qualities.

Verse 20

Luke 19:20 . ἐν σουδαρίῳ , in a handkerchief; ἐν τῇ γῇ in Mt.

Verses 20-27

Luke 19:20-27 . The useless servant . If in any part the parable has borrowed from the parable in Mt., it is here. The story might well have wound up with a statement as to what was to be done with the disaffected.

Verse 21

Luke 19:21 . αὐστηρὸς (here only in N.T.), harsh in flavour, then in disposition. αἴρεις , etc., you lift what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow; accusing the master of an exorbitant demand for profit. He despaired of pleasing him in that respect, therefore did nothing a pretext of course.

Verse 23

Luke 19:23 . ἐπὶ τράπεζαν = τοῖς τραπεζίταις in Mt. ἔπραξα = ἐκομισάμην in Mt.

Verse 24

Luke 19:24 . ἄρατε , etc.: the pound given to him that had ten could only have the significance of a present, and a petty one, for he was no longer to be a trader but a ruler, therefore not an important illustration of the principle stated in Luke 19:26 , a sign that in this section of the parable Lk. is secondary.

Verse 25

Luke 19:25 . Possibly an utterance from the crowd interested in the parable, the “Lord” being Jesus, or an addition by Lk., or not genuine (wanting in D).

Verse 26

Luke 19:26 . Deprivation the only penalty here, no casting out into outer darkness as in Mt.; merciless severity reserved for the enemies of the king.

Verse 27

Luke 19:27 . πλὴν , for the rest, winding up the transactions at the commencement of the king’s reign. κατασφάξατε : barbarous, but true to Eastern life; the new king cannot afford to let them live. In the spiritual sphere the slaying will be done by the moral order of the world (destruction of the Jewish state), King Jesus weeping over their fate. Motive must not be transferred from the parable to the application.

Verse 28

Luke 19:28 . On the way to Jerusalem The Jericho incidents disposed of, the next centre of interest is the Holy City. Lk. connects the two parts of his narrative by a brief notice of the ascent from the smaller city at the foot of the pass to the larger and more famous at the top. εἰπὼν ταῦτα refers naturally to the parable. As a note of time the expression is sufficiently vague, for we do not know when or where the parable was spoken, nor how much time intervened between its utterance and the commencement of the ascent. It is simply one of Lk.’s formulæ of transition. ἔμπροσθεν = εἰς τὸ ἔμπροσθεν , not before them, but forwards: iter suum continuabat , Kypke. ἀναβαίνων , going up . A constant ascent, steep and rugged.

Verses 29-38

Luke 19:29-38 . The triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 20:1-11 , Mark 11:1-11 ). Βηθφαγὴ . Following Lightfoot and Renan, Godet regards this as the name not of a village but of a suburban district included for passover purposes in the holy city, pilgrims to the feast finding quarters in it. The reference to the two places Bethphage and Bethany is obscure and confusing. ἐλαιῶν , commentators dispute whether the word should be accentuated thus, making it genitive plural of ἐλαία , or ἐλαιών , making it nominative singular of a name for the place = Olivetum, olive grove. W. and H [154] print it with the circumflex accent, and Field ( Ot. Nor. ) and Hahn take the same view.

[154] Westcott and Hort.

Verses 31-34

Luke 19:31-34 . The sending of two disciples for the colt is related as in Mt. and Mk., but with a little more of Greek in the style. The remark about the owners sending it (Mt.) or Jesus returning it (Mk.) is omitted. On the other hand, Lk. alone states that the two disciples found matters as the Master had said (Luke 19:32 ). In Luke 19:33 οἱ κύριοι suggests a plurality of owners.

Verse 35

Luke 19:35 . ἐπιρρίψαντες : the participle is used to relieve the monotony of the paratactic construction ( καὶ , καὶ , καὶ in Mt. and Mk.); the word occurs here only and in 1 Peter 5:7 , q.v. ἐπεβίβασαν , helped to mount, as in Luke 10:34 , Acts 23:24 ; a technical term, possibly used here to add pomp to the scene.

Verse 36

Luke 19:36 . τὰ ἱμάτια , their garments, but no mention of branches in Lk., possibly from a feeling that they would be an encumbrance.

Verse 37

Luke 19:37 . ἐγγίζοντος : Lk. is thinking of Jerusalem = when He was nearing the city. The next clause, πρὸς τῇ καταβάσει , is added to define more precisely the point reached = at the descent of the mount. They had got over the ridge to the western slope. καταβάσει , here only in N.T. ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος : Mt. and Mk. divide the crowd into those going before and those following. δυνάμεων : this reference to miracles as the occasion of praise is peculiar to Lk. That Galilean pilgrims should remember gratefully the healing ministry at that moment was very natural. Yet Lk.’s explanation of the popular enthusiasm, while true, may be far from exhaustive.

Verse 38

Luke 19:38 . A free reproduction of the popular acclaim as reported by Mt. and Mk., not without variations even between them. The Hebrew Hosanna is omitted and translated into equivalents which recall the gloria in excelsis (Luke 2:14 ), “already become a church hymn” (Holtz., H. C.). Lk.’s version runs:

Blessed is He that cometh, the King, in the name of the Lord!

In heaven peace,

And glory in the highest.

In comparison with Mt. and Mk. this version seems secondary.

Verses 39-44

Luke 19:39-44 . Pharisces murmur and Jesus weeps , peculiar to Lk. ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου , from within the crowd, or on account of the crowd and what they had been saying = prae turba as in Luke 19:3 . Loesner cites from Philo instances of the use of ἀπὸ in this sense (but in reference to Luke 19:3 ).

Verse 40

Luke 19:40 . ἐὰν σιωπήσουσιν : ἐὰν with future indicative instead of subjunctive as in classic Greek, one of the divergent ways in which the N.T. expresses a future supposition with some probability ( vide Burton, M. and T. , §§ 250 256). οἱ λίθοι κράξουσιν , the stones will cry out; possibly there is a reference to Habakkuk 2:11 , but the expression is proverbial (instances in Pricaeus, Wetstein, etc.) = the impossible will happen rather than the Messianic kingdom fail of recognition. Some, e.g. , Stier and Nösgen, find in the words a reference to the destruction of the temple and the witness it bore to Jesus = if I receive not witness from the Jewish people the scattered stones of the ruined temple will witness for me. An attractive idea, not refuted by Hahn’s objection that if it had been in view we should have had ὅταν οὗτοι σιωπ . instead of ἐὰν , etc. ἐὰν with future may express a future supposition with some probability.

Verses 41-44

Luke 19:41-44 . Jesus weeps at sight of the city and laments its doom . ὡς = when, as in many places in Lk. ἔκλαυσεν ἐπʼ α ., He wept aloud, like Peter (Mark 14:72 ). δακρύειν = to shed tears silently; for a group of synonyms with their distinctive meanings vide under κλαίω in Thayer’s Grimm.

Verse 42

Luke 19:42 . εἰ ἔγνως : εἰ with the aorist indicative in a supposition contrary to fact, the apodosis being omitted by an impressive aposiopesis. ἐν τ . ἡμέρα τ ., in this (late) day, not too late yet. καὶ σὺ , thou too, as well as my disciples: their insight will save them , but not you and the nation; you must know for yourselves. καὶ γε (T.R.): the combination καὶ σὺ καί γε ( vide critical notes) is suspicious. Coming before ἐν τ . ἡμέρᾳ , etc., as in T.R., it will mean: even at this late hour. τὰ πρὸς εἰρήνην , the things tending to thy peace = thy salvation. νῦν δὲ , but now as things stand; the day of grace therefore is already past. ἐκρύβη : judicial blindness has set in, the penalty of a long course of moral perversity.

Verse 43

Luke 19:43 . ὅτι , for, because, introducing a prophetic picture of coming ruin, either to explain the εἰ ἔγνως = what you would have escaped had you but known; or to substantiate the assertion of judicial blindness = no hope of your seeing now; your fate sealed; judgment days will surely come ( ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ). Then follows an awful picture of these judgment days in a series of clauses connected by a fivefold καὶ , the first being = when. The description recalls Isaiah 29:3 so closely that the use of such definite phrases before the event is quite conceivable, although many critics think the prophecy so certainly ex eventu as to use it for fixing the date of the Gospel. χάρακα , a palisade (here only in N.T.). Titus did erect a palisaded mound around Jerusalem, and, after it was destroyed by the Jews in a sortie, he built a wall.

Verse 44

Luke 19:44 . ἐδαφιοῦσι : this verb (here only in N.T., Sept [155] several times) has both σε and τὰ τέκνα σ . for its objects and must have a meaning assigned to it suitable to each: (1) to raze to the ground in reference to the city, (2) to dash to the ground in reference to the children or population of the city. Here only in N.T., frequent in Sept [156] τὸν καιρὸν τ . ἐπισκοπῆς σ ., the season of thy gracious visitation. ἐπισκοπή and its corresponding verb have this meaning in N.T. In Sept [157] it is a vox media and is used with reference to visitations both in mercy and in judgment.

[155] Septuagint.

[156] Septuagint.

[157] Septuagint.

Verse 45

Luke 19:45 . τοὺς πωλοῦντας , the sellers, no mention of the buyers in the true text (W.H [158] after [159] [160] [161] ).

[158] Westcott and Hort.

[159] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[160] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[161] Codex Regius--eighth century, represents an ancient text, and is often in agreement with א and B.

Verses 45-48

Luke 19:45-48 . Jesus in the temple (Matthew 21:12-17 , Mark 11:15-19 ). We have here two tableaux: Jesus reforming temple abuses (Luke 19:45-46 ), and Jesus teaching in the temple to the delight of the people and the chagrin of their religious and social superiors. Of the former we have but a slight and colourless presentation from Lk., whose editorial solicitudes, now well known to us, here come into play. The story as told by Mt. and Mk. shows passion (of the true Divine prophetic type) and action bordering on violence. This disappears from Lk.’s page in favour of a decorous but neutral picture. J. Weiss thinks it incredible that Lk. should have given us so inadequate a statement had he had such an account as that in Mk. before him (Meyer, eighth edition, note, p. 584). It is perfectly intelligible, once we understand Lk.’s method of handling his material. Equally groundless, for the same reason, is the inference of Hahn from the omissions of Lk. between Luke 19:44-45 (Matthew 21:10-11 , Mark 11:11-14 ) that he cannot have known either Mt. or Mk.

Verse 46

Luke 19:46 . καὶ ἔσται : the καὶ , a well-attested reading, does not occur in the text quoted (Isaiah 56:7 ). The words πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν , which do occur, are strangely omitted by Lk., the Gentile evangelist, perhaps to sharpen the contrast between the ideal a house of prayer , and the reality a den of robbers , i.e. , of dishonest traders, or it may be because the temple was now in ruins. The last part of the saying is from Jeremiah 7:11 .

Verses 47-48

Luke 19:47-48 . τὸ καθʼ ἡμέραν , daily, as in Luke 11:3 . ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ γραμματεῖς , priests and scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees, lax and strict, united against the Man who had nothing in common with either. καὶ οἱ πρῶτοι : added as a kind of afterthought = the socially important people who, though laymen, agreed with the professionals in their dislike of Jesus.

Verse 48

Luke 19:48 . τὸ τί ποιήσωσιν , “the what to do”; the will to kill there, but the way dark ( cf. Luke 1:62 , Luke 22:24 ). ὁ λαὸς , the people, the common mass, with their inconvenient liking for a true, outspoken, brave, heroic man. ἐξεκρέμετο α ., hung upon Him (hearing), an expressive phrase, and classical; examples in Wetstein and Pricaeus and in Loesner from Philo. From the Latins they cite:

Pendentque iterum narrantis ab ore. Virg., Aen., ver. 79.

Narrantis conjux pendet ab ore viri. Ovid., Her., 1, 30.

Pricaeus suggests that the metaphor is taken from iron and the magnet.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 19". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/luke-19.html. 1897-1910.
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