1–10.] ZACCHÆUS THE PUBLICAN. Peculiar to Luke, and indicating that though in the main his narrative is coincident with, yet it is wholly independent of those of Matt. and Mark.
2.] ζακχαῖος = זַכַּי, ‘pure,’ Ezra 2:9; Nehemiah 7:14; also found in the Rabbinical writings, see Lightfoot. He was not a Gentile, as Tertullian supposed, (contr. Marc. iv. 37, vol. ii. p. 451,) but a Jew, see Luke 19:9.
ἀρχιτ.] Probably an administrator of the revenue derived from balsam, which was produced in abundance in the neighbourhood.
4. προδρ. ἔμπρ.] So Jos. Antt. vii. 8. 5, προέπεμψεν ἔμπροσθεν.
συκομορ.] The Egyptian fig, a tree (Pliny xiii. 14: Dioscor. i. 182, cited by Winer) like the mulberry in appearance, size, and foliage, but belonging generically to the fig-trees. It grows to a great size and height: see Winer, Realwörterbuch, under Maulbeer-feigenbaum. See also on ch. Luke 17:6. Notice the changes of subject here,— ἀνέβη ( ζακχ.) … ἵνα ἴδῃ αὐτόν, ὅτι ἐκείνης ἤμελλεν ( ὁ ἰησ.) διέρ.… κ. σπεύσας ( ζακχ.). See ch. Luke 15:15 :—and a curious and characteristic note in Wordsw. here.
5.] The probability is, that our Lord’s supernatural knowledge of man (see John 1:48-50) is intended to be understood as the means of his knowing Zacchæus: but the narrative does not absolutely exclude the supposition of a personal knowledge of Zacchæus on the part of some around Him. But of what possible import can such a question be, when the narrative plainly shews us that Jesus saw into his heart? Cannot He who knows the thoughts, call by the name also?
μεῖναι, probably over the night. See John 1:40.
δεῖ, it is my purpose, or even more, I must; for especially in these last days of our Lord’s ministry, every event is fixed and determined by a divine plan.
7.] The murmurers are Jews who were accompanying Him to Jerusalem, on the road to which Zacchæus’s house lay (see Luke 19:1).
παρὰ ἁμ. ἀνδρί belongs to καταλῦσαι. His profession in life, and perhaps an unprincipled exercise of his power in it, had earned him this name with his fellow-countrymen. Cf. his confession in the next verse.
8.] This need not have taken place in the morning; much more probably it was immediately on our Lord’s entrance into the house, while the multitude were yet murmuring in the court, and in their presence. Our Lord’s answer, σήμερον … τῷ οἴκῳ τούτῳ, looks as if He were just entering the house, not just leaving it; and the σήμ. must be the same with that in Luke 19:5.
σταθείς has something formal and pre-determined about it: he stood forward, with some effort and resolve: see on ch. Luke 18:11 ff.
τὰ ἡμ.… πτωχ. δίδ.] See note on ch. Luke 16:9. Zacchæus may well have heard of that parable from one of his publican acquaintances, or perhaps repentance may have led him at once to this act of self-denial.
ἐσυκοφ.] There is no uncertainty in εἴ τι: it = ὅ τι: whatever I have unfairly exacted from any man. See note on ch. Luke 3:14.
9.] πρός, to him, not ‘concerning him.’ The announcement is made to him, though not in the second person.
σωτηρία, in the stronger sense, salvation.
υἱὸς ἀβ. ἐστιν] Not, has become ( γέγονεν) a son of Abraham by his repentance (Kuinoel, &c.), but is a son of Abraham: though despised by the multitude, has his rights as a Jew, and has availed himself of them by receiving his Lord in faith and humility.
10.] For, the greater sinner he may have been, the more does he come under the description of those (sheep) whom the good Shepherd came to seek and save (Matthew 15:24).
11.] The distance of Jericho from Jerusalem was 150 stadia = 18 English miles and 6 furlongs.
ὅτι παραχρ.] They imagined that the present journey to Jerusalem, undertaken as it had been with such publicity and accompanied with such wonderful miracles, was for the purpose of revealing and establishing the Messianic kingdom.
11–27.] PARABLE OF THE MINÆ. Peculiar to Luke. By the introductory words, the parable must have been spoken in the house of Zacchæus, i.e. perhaps in the open room looking into the court, where probably many of the multitude were assembled.
A parable very similar in some points to this was spoken by our Lord His last great prophetic discourse, Matthew 25:14-30.
Many modern Commentators (Calv., Olsh., Meyer (on Matt.), but not Schleierm. or De Wette) maintain that the two parables represent one and the same: if so, we must at once give up, not only the pretensions to historical accuracy on the part of our Gospels, (see Luke 19:11,) but all idea that they furnish us with the words of our Lord any where: for the whole structure and incidents of the two are essentially different. If oral tradition thus varied before the Gospels were written, in the report of our Lord’s spoken words, how can we know that He spoke any thing which they relate? If the Evangelists themselves altered, arranged, and accommodated those discourses, not only is the above the case, but their honesty is likewise impugned (see Prolegomena to Gospels). Besides, we shall here find the parable, in its very root and point of comparison, individual and distinct. Compare throughout the notes on Matt.
12.] The groundwork of this part of the parable seems to have been derived from the history of Archelaus, son of Herod the Great. The kings of the Herodian family made journeys to Rome, to receive their βασιλείαν. On Archelaus’s doing so, the Jews sent after him a protest, which however was not listened to by Augustus. Jos. Antt. xvii. 11. 1 ff. The situation was appropriate; for at Jericho was the royal palace which Archelaus had built with great magnificence. Jos. Antt. xvii. 13. 1.
13. δέκα] See on Matthew 25:1. The giving the μνᾶ to each, is a totally different thing from giving to one five, to another two, and to a third one talent. The sums given are here all the same, and all very small. The (Attic) mina is 1/60 of a talent, and equal to about ₤3 of our money.
In Matt. the man given his whole property to his servants: here he makes trial of them with these small sums ( ἐλάχιστον, see Luke 19:17).
πραγμ. = ἐργάζεσθαι Matt.
ἐν ᾧ ἔρχ.] while I go and return;—till I come.
14.] The nobleman, son of a king, εὐγενής, is the Lord Jesus; the kingdom is that over his own citizens, the Jews. They sent a message after Him; their cry went up to Heaven, in the persecutions of his servants, &c.; we will not have this man to reign over us. The prarble has a double import: suited both to the disciples ( οἱ δοῦλοι ἑαυτοῦ), and the multitude ( οἱ πολῖται αὐτοῦ).
15. διεπρ.] what business they had carried on: not, ‘what they had gained.’ Dion. Hal., iii. 72, has the word signifying ‘to arrange a matter,’ which however was not then executed. ‘The sons of Ancus having often arranged ( διαπραγματευσαμένων) a plot to kill Tarquinius’.…
16–23.] See on Matt. It is observable here, however, how exactly and minutely in keeping is every circumstance. Thy pound hath gained ten pounds; the humility with which this is stated, where no account of ἡ ἰδία δύναμις is taken as in Matt., and then the proportion of the reward,— δέκα πόλεις—so according with the nature of what the Prince went to receive, and the occasion of his return.
20.] σουδάριον is sudarium, from ‘sudor,’ one of those Latin words which entered, with Roman habits, into the language of the East. Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 1442, gives an account of various usages of the word in the Targums. Schöttg., in loc., shews by Rabbinical citations that the Jews used the σουδάριον for wrapping and keeping their money in.
Luke 19:25 is parenthetical, spoken by the standers-by in the parable, in surprise at such a decision: then in Luke 19:26, the King answers them.
27.] This command brings out both comings of the Lord,—at the destruction of Jerusalem, and at the end of the world: for we must not forget that even now ‘He is gone to receive a Kingdom and return:’ ‘we see not yet all things put under His feet.’
28.] Not immediately after saying these things—see on Luke 19:5 : unless they were said in the morning on his departure.
29.] The name, when thus put, must be accentuated ἐλαιών, for when it is the genitive of ἐλαία the article is prefixed (Luke 19:37). Luke uses this same expression elsewhere, see reff. Josephus has διὰ τοῦ ἐλαιῶνος ὄρους, Antt. vii. 9. 2.
29–38.] TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERSUSALEM. Matthew 21:1-9. Mark 11:1-10. John 12:12-19, where see notes.
33.] τινὲς τῶν ἐκεῖ ἑστηκότων said this, as in the probably more concise account of Mark;— οἱ κύριοι αὐτ. is the natural inference as to who they were.
37.] πρὸς τ. κ., not merely local, ‘at the declivity of,’ but expressing the result of ἐγγίζοντες—just about to descend the Mount of Olives.
τὸ πλῆθ. τ. μ., in the widest sense; = οἱ ὄχλοι Matt. The δύναμις, which dwelt mostly on their minds, was the raising of Lazaraus, John 12:17-18 :—but as this perhaps was not known to Luke, we must understand him to mean, all that they had seen during their journey with Him.
38.] ἐν οὐρανῷ = ἐν ὑψίστοις, and was probably added by them to fill out the parallelism.
39.] These Pharisees could hardly in any sense be μαθηταί of Jesus. Their spirit was just that of modern Socinianism: the prophetic expressions used, and the lofty epithets applied to Him, who was merely in their view a διδάσκαλος, offended them.
39, 40.] THE PHARISEES MURMUR: OUR LORD’S REPLY. Peculiar to Luke.
40.] A proverbial expression—but probably not without reference to Habakkuk 2:11.
41.] Our Lord stood on the lower part of the Mount of Olives, whence the view of the city even now is very striking. What a history of divine Love and human ingratitude lay before him!
When He grieved, it was for the hardness of men’s hearts: when He wept, in Bethany and here, it was over the fruits of sin.
41–44.] OUR LORD WEEPS OVER JERUSALEM. Peculiar (in this form) to Luke.
42.] εἰ ἔγνως— εἰώθασιν οἱ κλαίοντες ἐπικόπτεσθαι τοὺς λόγους ὑπὸ τῆς τοῦ πάθους σφοδρότητος, Euthym(107) Perhaps in the actual words spoken by the Lord there may have been an allusion to the name Jerusalem:—‘Utinam quæ diceris Jerusalem re ipsa esses Jerusalem, ac videres ea, quæ pacem tibi præstare possent.’ Wetstein.
καὶ σύ, thou also, as well as these My disciples.
[ καί γε, et quidem—even: Hartung remarks, Partikellehre i. 397, that this expression is confined to the Attic dialect. But in classic Greek the emphatic word always intervenes between καί and γε,—so καί σέ γε ἐν τούτοις λέγω, Æsch. Prom. 1009: whereas in Latin et quidem is usually found undivided.]
43.] ὅτι declares, not ‘the things hidden from thine eyes,’ so that it should be rendered, ‘namely, that the days shall come,’ &c.: but the awful reason which there was for the fervent wish just expressed—for, or because.
χάρακα, a mound with palisades. The account of its being built is in Jos. B. J. ver. 6. 2. When the Jews destroyed this, Titus built a wall round them (ib. 12. 2),—see Isaiah 29:2-4,—to which our Lord here tacitly refers.
44.] ἐδαφ. is used in two meanings:—shall level thy buildings to the foundation, and dash thy children against the ground: see reff.
τὰ τέκνα is not ‘infants,’ but thy children, in general.
οὐκ ἀφήσ.] See ref. Matt. and note there.
ἀνθʼ ὧν …] Not, ‘because of thy sins and rebellions;—those might be all blotted out, hadst thou known, recognized, the time of thy visiting by Me.
ἐπισκ. is a word of ambiguous meaning—visitation, either for good or for evil: see reff. It brings at once here before us the coming seeking fruit, ch. Luke 13:7—and the returning of the Lord of the vineyard, ch. Luke 20:16.
It is however the first or favourable meaning of ἐπισκοπή that is here prominent.
45, 46.] CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE. See on Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17.
47, 48.] A general description of His employment during these last days, the particulars of which follow. It is rightly however placed at the end of a chapter, for it forms a close to the long section wherein the last journey to Jerusalem has been described.
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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 19". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany