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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Luke 16

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 16

Luke 16:2. δυνήσῃ] B D P א, min. have δύνῃ, which Bornemann in the Stud. u. Krit. 1843, p. 121, approves, and Tisch. has now adopted. But if it were genuine, it would have been changed, not into δυνήσῃ, but into δύνασαι. The present came more readily to the transcribers, hence also δύνῃ was introduced.

Luke 16:6. καὶ εἶπεν] Lachm. and Tisch. have δὲ εἶπεν, in accordance with A B L R א, min. Copt. Theophyl. (D has εἶπεν δέ). The Recepta easily originated in the desire to vary the expression used in the preceding clause.

τὸ γράμμα] Lachm. and Tisch. have τὰ γράμματα, in accordance with B D L א, Copt. Goth. codd. of It. So also in Luke 16:7. Rightly; the singular came more readily to the transcribers, because one writing was thought of (Vulg.: cautionem, Cod. Pal.: chirographum, X: τὰ γραμματεῖον).

Luke 16:7. καὶ λέγει] καί is to be struck out, as with Lachm. and Tisch., in accordance with B L R, min. vss., as a connective addition, instead of which D has δέ.

Luke 16:9. ἐκλίπητε] E G H K M S V γ δ λ, min. have ἐκλείπητε ( δ has ἐκλείπειτε). B* D L R א* have ἐκλίπῃ; A B** X, ἐκλείπῃ. Several versions also read one of these two. Hence the Recepta has decisive evidence against it. Since to understand the everlasting habitations as the word for death, and consequently to change it into the plural so readily suggested itself, I regard the singular as original, though not ἐκλίπῃ (Schulz, Scholz, Lachm. Tisch.), but ἐκλείπῃ, since the important authorities which read ἐκλείπητε (so Matthaei) are also in favour of this present form; just as, moreover, the aorist in itself, according to the sense (cum defecerit), presented itself most readily to the uncritical transcribers.

Luke 16:18. The second πᾶς has evidence so important against it that (condemned by Griesbach, deleted by Lachm. and Tisch.) it must be regarded as a mechanical repetition.

Luke 16:20. ἦν and ὅς are wanting in B D L X א, min. vss. Clem. Suspected by Griesbach, bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch. But if ἦν had been added, καί would have been inserted instead of ὃς, after the model of Luke 16:19. On the other hand, after λαζαροσ it was easy to pass over ὃς, which then also caused the omission of ἦν.

Luke 16:21. ψιχίων τῶν] is wanting in B L א* min. vss. Fathers. Bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Rinck and Tisch. A gloss, following Matthew 15:27.

Instead of ἀπέλειχον is to be written, with Lachm. and Tisch., ἐπέλειχον, in accordance with A B L X א (D has ἔλειχον).

Luke 16:25. σύ, which Elz. Lachm. have after ἀπέλαβες, is not found in B D G H L א, min. vss. (including Vulg. It.), Fathers; and in A it does not come in till after σου. An addition for the sake of the contrast.

ὧδε is so decisively attested, that ὅδε (Elz.) can only appear as an alteration for the sake of the contrast.

Luke 16:26. Instead of ἔνθεν Elz. has ἐντεύθεν, in opposition to decisive evidence. The more frequent form forced itself in ( ἔνθεν does not elswhere occur in the N. T.). The entire omission of the word is too weakly attested by D, Cant. Colb. Dial. c. Marc.

οἱ ἐκεῖθεν] B D א* Arm. Vulg. It. Ambr. Lachm. have merely ἐκεῖθεν. Rightly; οἱ is an addition in accordance with what has gone before.

On the parable of the dishonest steward, see Schreiber, historico-critica explicationum parabolae de improbo oecon. descriptio, Lips. 1803 (in which the earlier literature is detailed); Loeffler in the Magaz. f. Pred. III. 1, p. 80 ff. (in his Kl. Schr. II. p. 196 ff.); Keil in the Anal. II. 2, p. 152 ff.; Bertholdt in five Programmes, Erl. 1814–1819; Schleiermacher, Schr. d. Luk. 1817, p. 203 ff.; D. Schulz, über die Parab. vom Verwalter, Bresl. 1821; Möller, neue Ansichten, p. 206 ff.; Grossmann, de procurat. parab. Christi ex re provinciali Rom. illustr., Lips. 1824; Rauch in Winer’s Krit. Journ. 1825, p. 285 ff.; Niedner, Dissert., lips. 1826, in the Commentatt. theol. ed. Rosenmüller et Maurer, II. 1, p. 74 ff.; Bahnmeyer in Klaiber’s Stud. I. 1, p. 27 ff.; Gelpke, nov. tentam. parab. etc., Lips. 1829; Jensen in the Stud. und Krit. 1829, p. 699 ff.; Hartmann, Comm. de oecon. impr., Lips. 1830; Zyro in the Stud. u. Krit. 1831, p. 776 ff.; Schneckenburger, Beitr. p. 53 ff.; Dettinger in the Tübingen Zeitschr. 1834, 4, p. 40 ff.; Steudel, ibid. p. 96 ff.; Fink in the Stud. u. Krit. 1834, p. 313 ff.; Steinwerder, üb. d. Gleichn. vom ungerecht. Haushalt., Stuttg. 1840; Brauns in the Stud. u. Krit. 1842, p. 1012 ff.; Francke in the Stud. d. Sächs. Geistl. 1842, p. 45 ff.; Heppe, Diss. d. loco Luc. xv. 1–9, Marb. 1844 (in opposition to Francke); H. Bauer in Zeller’s Theol. Jahrb. 1845, 3, p. 519 ff.; Eichstädt, parabolam J. Chr. de oeconomo impr. retractavit, Jen. 1847; Harnisch also, e. Erklärung des Gleichn. etc., Magdeburg, 1847; Wieseler in the Gött. Viertelj.-Schr. 1849, p. 190 ff.; Meuss, in parab. J. Chr. de oecon. injusto, Vratisl. 1857; Hölbe in the Stud. u. Krit. 1858, p. 527 ff.; Engelhardt in “Gesetz und Zeugniss,” 1859, p. 262 ff.; (Eylau) in Meklenb. Kirchenbl. 1862, Nr. 4–6; Lahmeyer, Lüneb. Schulprogr. 1863; Köster in the Stud. u. Krit. 1865, p. 725 ff.


Verse 1

Luke 16:1. After Jesus has given, as far as Luke 15:32, the needful explanation to the Pharisees and scribes in reference to their murmuring at His associating Himself with the publicans and sinners, He now turns also ( δὲ καί) to His disciples with the parabolic discussion of the doctrine how they were to use earthly possessions in order to come into the Messiah’s kingdom. For according to Luke 16:9 nothing else is the teaching of the following parable, which consequently is, even in its vocabulary (Köstlin, p. 274), similar to the parable at Luke 12:16 ff. Every other doctrine that has been found therein has first been put there. The ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος is Mammon, comp. Luke 16:13; the οἰκονόμος represents the μαθηταί. Just as (1) the steward was denounced for squandering the property of his lord, so also the μαθηταί, maintaining in Christ an entirely different interest and a different purpose of life from that of collecting earthly wealth (Matthew 6:19 f.; Luke 12:33; Luke 18:22), must needs appear to the enemies, the rather that these were themselves covetous (Luke 16:14), as wasteful managers of the riches of Mammon (Matthew 6:24), and as such must be decried by them, Luke 16:1. As, further, (2) the steward came into the position of having his dismissal from his service announced to him by the rich man, so also it would come upon the μαθηταί that Mammon would withdraw from them the stewardship of his goods, i.e. that they would come into poverty, Luke 16:2 f. As, however, (3) the steward was prudent enough before his dismissal, while he still had the disposal of his lord’s wealth, to make use of the latter for his subsequent provision by making for himself friends therewith who would receive him into their houses, which prudence the rich man praised in spite of the dishonesty of the measure; so also should the μαθηταί by liberal expenditure of the goods of Mammon, which were still at their disposal, provide for themselves friends, so as subsequently to attain in their impoverishment provision for eternity, the reception into the Messiah’s kingdom. The more detailed explanation will be found on the special passages. The text in itself does not indicate any definite connection with what has preceded, but is only linked on externally, without any mention of an internal progress in the discussion: but He said also—as the foregoing to the Pharisees, so that which now follows to His disciples.(178) But Jesus very naturally comes direct to the treatment of this theme, because just at that time there were very many publicans among His μαθηταί (Luke 15:1) on whom, after their decision in His favour, devolved as their first duty the application of the goods of Mammon in the way mentioned (Luke 12:33). It is just as natural that, at the same time, the contrast with the Pharisees, just before so humiliatingly rebuked, those covetous ones (Luke 16:14) to whom the ποιεῖν ἑαυτοῖς φίλους ἐκ τ. μαμ. τῆς ἀδικίας was so extremely foreign (Luke 11:41, Luke 20:47), helped to urge to this theme. Other attempts to make out the connection are arbitrary, as, for instance, that of Schleiermacher (besides that it depends on an erroneous interpretation of the parable itself), that Jesus is passing over to a vindication of the publicans, so far as they showed themselves gentle and beneficent towards their people; or that of Olshausen, that He wishes to represent the compassion that in ch. 15. He has exhibited in God, now also in ch. 16 as the duty of men. But there is no reason for denying the existence of any connection, as de Wette does.

πρὸς τ. μαθητ. αὐτοῦ] not merely the Twelve, but the disciples in the more extended sense, in contrast with the opposition which was likewise present. Comp. Matthew 8:21; Luke 6:13; Luke 7:11; Luke 19:37, and elsewhere. The parable had the first reference to the publicans that happened to be among them (Luke 15:1), but it concerned also, so far as there were generally still wealthy people among them, the disciples in general. See above.

ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν πλούσιος] not to be defined more particularly than these words themselves and Luke 16:5-7 indicate. To think of the Romans (Schleiermacher), or the Roman Emperor (Grossmann(179)), in the interpretation, is quite foreign to the subject. Moreover, it is not, as is usually explained, God(180) that is to be understood; with which notion Luke 16:8 would conflict, as well as the circumstance that actually the dismissal from the service of the rich man brings with it the same shelter to which, in the application, Luke 16:9 corresponds,(181) the reception into the everlasting habitations. But neither is it the devil, as ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, as Olshausen(182) would have it, that is meant, since in the connection of the parable the relation to the κόσμος(183) in general, and its representatives, is not spoken of, but specially the relation to temporal wealth.(184) Hence its representative, i.e. Mammon, is to be understood; but we must not, with de Wette, give the matter up in despair, and say that the rich man has no significance, or (Ebrard) that he serves only as filling up (comp. also Lahmeyer); he has the significance of a definite person feigned, who, however, as such, was well known to the hearers (Matthew 6:24), and also at Luke 16:13 is expressly named. The concluding words of Luke 16:13 are the key of the parable; hence, also, it is not to be maintained, with Köster, that a rich man is only conceived of with reference to the steward.

οἰκονόμον] a house steward, ταμίης, who had to take the supervision of the domestics, the stewardship of the household, the rental of the property, etc. Comp. Luke 12:42, and see Heppe, p. 9 ff.; Ahrens, Amt d. Schlüssel, p. 12 ff. Such were usually slaves; but it is implied in Luke 16:3-4 that the case of a free man is contemplated in this passage. To conceive of the οἰκονόμος as a farmer of portion of the property, is neither permitted by the word nor by the context (in opposition to Hölbe). In the interpretation of the parable the οἰκονόμος neither represents men in general, nor specially the wealthy (thus most interpreters, following the Fathers), nor yet the Israelitish people and their leaders (Meuss), nor sinners (Maldonatus and others), not even Judas Iscariot (Bertholdt), also neither the Pharisees (Vitringa, Zyro, Baumgarten-Crusius(185)), nor the publicans (Schleiermacher, Hölbe), but the μαθηταί, as is plain from Luke 16:9, where the conduct analogous to the behaviour of the οἰκονό΄ος is enjoined upon them. The ΄αθηταί, especially those who were publicans before they passed over to Christ, were concerned with temporal wealth, and were therefore stewards, not of God, but of Mammon.

διεβλήθη αὐτῷ] he was denounced to him (on the dative, com p. Herod. v. 35, viii. 22; Plat. Polit. viii. p. 566 B Soph. Phil. 578; Eur. Hec. 863, and thereon, Pflugk; elsewhere also with εἰς or πρός with accusative). Although the word, which occurs only in this place in the New Testament, is not always used of groundless, false accusations, though this is mostly the case (see Schweighäuser, Lex. Herod. I. p. 154), yet it is still no vox media, but expresses, even where a corresponding matter of fact lies at the foundation (as Numbers 22:22; Daniel 3:8; Daniel 6:25; 2 Maccabees 3:11; 4 Maccabees 4:1, and in the passages in Kypke, I. p. 296), hostile denunciation, accusation, Niedner, p. 32 ff. Comp. the passages from Xenophon in Sturz, I. p. 673. See also Dem. 155. 7, where the διαβάλλοντες and the κόλακες are contrasted. So also here; Luther aptly says: “he was ill spoken of.” Vulg.: “diffamatus est.” There was some foundation in fact (hence, moreover, the steward does not defend himself), but the manner in which he was denounced manifested a hostile purpose. Thus, moreover, in the relation portrayed in that of the μαθηταί to temporal riches, as the unfaithful stewards of which they manifested themselves to the covetous Pharisees by their entrance into the Christian conversion, there lay at the foundation the fact that they had no further interest in Mammon, and were no longer φιλάργυροι. Compare the instance of Zacchaeus. Köster says wrongly that the hitherto faithful steward had only been slandered, and had only allowed himself to be betrayed into a knavish trick for the first time by the necessity arising from the dismissal. No; this knavish trick was only the path of unfaithfulness on which he had hitherto walked, and on which he took a new start to get out of his difficulty. Against the supposition of the faithfulness of the steward, see on Luke 16:3.

ὡς διασκορπίζων] as squandering (Luke 15:13), i.e. so he was represented.(186) Comp. Xen. Hell. ii. 3. 23 : διέβαλλον ὡς λυμαινόμενον, and thus frequently; James 2:9. It might also have been ὡς with the optative; Herod. viii. 90, and elsewhere. Erroneously, moreover, in view of the present, the Vulg. reads (comp. Luther): quasi dissipasset.

τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ] therefore the possessions, the means and property (Luke 11:21, Luke 12:15; Luke 12:33, Luke 19:8), of his lord.(187)


Verse 2

Luke 16:2. τί τοῦτο ἀκούω περὶ σοῦ;] what is this that I hear concerning thee? quid hoc est, quod de te audio? A well-known contraction of a relative clause with an interrogative clause; Plat. Gorg. p. 452 D, and elsewhere. See Kühner, II. § 841. 1; Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 780; Bornemann, Schol. p. 97, and in the Stud. u. Krit. 1843, p. 120. Comp. Test. XII. Patr. p. 715: τί ταῦτα ἀκούω; Acts 14:15. The frequency of this usus loquendi, and the appropriateness of the sense just at the opening of the reckoning, gives to the interpretation the preference over this: wherefore do I hear, etc., Kuinoel, de Wette, Meuss, and others (comp. Luther, and so early as the Gothic version).

ἀπόδος κ. τ. λ.] give the (due) reckoning of thy stewardship. The master desires to see the state of affairs made plain. On λόγον διδόναι, ἀποδιδόναι (Matthew 12:36; Acts 19:40; Romans 14:12), see Schweighäuser’s Lex. Herod. II. p. 74. Comp. τὸν λόγον ἀπῄτουν, Dem. 868. 5.

οὐ γάρ] for thou shalt not, etc. The master decides thus according to what he had heard, and what he regards as established.


Verse 3

Luke 16:3. This reflexion of the steward issued from the consciousness that he cannot deny his guilt, for he sees his dismissal as the near and certain result ( ἀφαιρεῖται, present) of the rendering of the account demanded of him. If he were to be represented as innocent, the parable must needs have placed in his mouth a justification, or at least have assigned to him the corresponding epithet. This is also in opposition to Francke,(188) Hölbe.

ὅτι] equivalent to εἰς ἐκεῖνο ὅτι, see on Mark 16:14.

σκάπτειν] in fields, gardens, vineyards; it is represented in Greek writers also as the last resource of the impoverished;(189) Aristoph. Av. 1432: σκάπτειν γὰρ οὐκ ἐπίσταμαι. See Wolf and Kypke.

οὐκ ἰσχύω] not being accustomed to such labour, he feels that his strength is not equal to it.

ἐπαιτεῖν] infinitive, not participial. On the distinction in sense, see Maetzner, ad Lycurg. p. 165. These reflections are not inserted with a view to the interpretation, but only for the depicting of the crisis.


Verse 4

Luke 16:4. The word ἔγνων, coming in without any connecting particle, depicts in a lively manner what was passing in his mind, and is true to nature. The aorist is used not as being the same as the perfect, although de Wette will have it so, but expresses the moment of occurrence: I have come to the knowledge. Bengel well says: “Subito consilium cepit.”

ὅταν μετασταθῶ] when (quando) I shall have been dismissed. He thus expresses himself to indicate the critical point of time, imminent to him by reason of the near experience that he is expecting, after the occurrence of which the δέχεσθαι κ. τ. λ. is to take place. Comp. Luke 16:9.

δέξωνται] the debtors of his master, οἱ ῥηθῆναι μέλλοντες, Euthymius Zigabenus. See Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 117 [E. T. 134].

οἴκους] houses, not families (Schulz), comp. Luke 16:9.


Verses 5-7

Luke 16:5-7. τῶν χρεωφειλ.] of the debtors they had borrowed, the natural products named from the stores of the rich man. This agrees better with the word, the opposite of which is δανειστής (Luke 7:41; Plut. Caes. 12), than the notion of tenants.

From ἕνα ἕκαστον it is seen that subsequently the two debtors are mentioned by way of example.

τοῦ κυρίου ἑαυτοῦ] By the debtors of his own master he knew how to help himself.

πόσον ὀφείλεις κ. τ. λ.] Going to work promptly and surely, he questions their own acknowledgment of obligation, which must agree with the contents of the bond.

Luke 16:6. βάτους] δὲ βάτος ( בַּת) δίναται χωρῆσαι ξέστας ἑβδομήκοντα δύο, Josephus, Antt. viii. 2. 9. Therefore equal to an Attic μετρητής.

δέξαι] take away. The steward, who has the documents in his keeping, gives up the bill ( τὰ γράμματα, that which is written, in the plural used even of one document, see on Galatians 6:11), that the debtor may alter the number. Usually, that he may write a new bond with the smaller amount. But this is not contained in the words; moreover, for that purpose not the surrender of the document, but its destruction, would have been necessary.

καθίσας] pictorial. ταχέως belongs not to this graphic detail, καθίσας (Luther and others, including Ewald), but to γράψον; the latter corresponds to the haste to which the carrying out of an injustice urges.

Luke 16:7. ἑτέρῳ] to another. Comp. Luke 19:20.

κόρους] δὲ κόρος ( כֹּר) δύναται μεδίμνους ἀττικοὺς δέκα, Josephus, Antt. xv. 9. 2.

The diversity of the deduction, Luke 16:6-7, is merely the change of the concrete picturing without any special purpose in view. Comp. already Euthymius Zigabenus.


Verse 8

Luke 16:8. κύριος] not Jesus (Erasmus, Luther, Pred.; Weizsäcker also, p. 213 f.), but, as is proved by Luke 16:9, the master of the steward, to whom the measure taken by the latter had become known.

τὸν οἰκονόμ. τῆς ἀδικ.] ἀδικ. is a genitive of quality (see on Luke 2:14), the unrighteous steward; of such a quality he had shown himself in his service, as well by the waste in general as specially by his proceeding with the debtors.(190) The dogmatic idea (Schulz) is out of place in the context. Schleiermacher and Bornemann (comp. also Paulus) construe τῆς ἀδικίας with ἐπῄνεσεν iniquitatis causa. Grammatically correct (Dion. Hal. Rhet. xiv.; Joseph. Antt. xii. 4. 5; Bernhardy, p. 152; Kühner, II. p. 192; Bornemann, Schol. p. 98), but here it is in contradiction with the parallel expression: ἐκ τοῦ μαμωνᾶ τῆς ἀδικίας, Luke 16:9. Comp. also κριτὴς τῆς ἀδικίας, Luke 18:6. And it is not the ἀδικία, but the prudence, that is the subject of the praise,(191) as is shown from the analogy of Luke 16:9. τῆς ἀδικίας is intended to make it clear that the master praised the steward even in spite of his dishonest behaviour, because he had dealt prudently. In the dishonest man he praised “his procedure, so well advised and to the purpose, with the property that still remained under his control” (Schulz, p. 103), even although from a moral point of view this prudence was only the wisdom of the serpent (Matthew 10:16), so that he was not the πιστὸς οἰκονόμος φρόνιμος (Luke 12:42), but only φρόνιμος, who had hit on the practical savoir faire.

ὅτι οἱ υἱοὶ κ. τ. λ.] Immediately after the words φρονίμως ἐποίησεν, Jesus adds a general maxim,(192) in justification of the predicate used ( φρονίμως). Consequently: “Et merito quidem illius prudentiam laudavit, nam quod prudentiam quidem attinet, filii hujus saeculi, etc.,” Maldonatus. Francke erroneously says (compare the “perhaps,” etc., of de Wette) that ὅτι οἱ υἱσὶ κ. τ. λ. refers to the ἐπῄνεσεν κύριος. This the context forbids by the correlation of φρονί΄ως and φρονι΄ώτεροι. The sons (see on Matthew 8:12) of this generation ( עוֹלָם הַזֶּה, see on Matthew 12:32) are those who belong in their moral nature and endeavour to the period of the world prior to the Messianic times, not men who are aspiring after the βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ (Matthew 6:33). Comp. Luke 20:34. See examples of the Rabbinical בני עלמא in Schoettgen, Hor. p. 298, and Wetstein. The sons of light are those who, withdrawn from temporal interests, have devoted themselves wholly to the divine ἀλήθεια revealed by Christ, and are enlightened and governed by it, John 12:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; Ephesians 5:8. The former are more prudent than the latter, not absolutely, but εἰς τὴν γενεὰν τὴν ἑαυτῶν, in reference to their own generation, i.e. in relation to their own kindred, if they have to do with those who, like themselves, are children of this world, as that steward was so prudent in reference to the debtors. The whole body of the children of the world—a category of like-minded men—is described as a generation, a clan of connections; and how appropriately, since they appear precisely as υἱοί! Observe, moreover, the marked prominence of τὴν ἑαυτῶν, which includes the contrasted saying that that higher degree of prudence is not exercised, if they have to deal with others who are not of their own kind. With unerring sagacity they know, as is shown by that steward in his dealing with the debtors, how, in their relations to companions of their own stamp, to turn the advantage of the latter to their own proper advantage. On the other hand, in relation to the children of light, they are not in a condition for such prudent measures, because these are not available for the immoral adjustment of the selfish ends of those men, as was the case with those debtors who by their own dishonesty were serviceable to the dishonest sagacity of the steward by the falsification of their bonds.(193) Kuinoel and Paulus, following older commentators, explain: in relation to their contemporaries. But how unmeaning would be this addition, and how neglected would be the emphatic τὴν ἑαυτῶν! Grotius, in opposition to the words themselves, explains: “in rebus suis;” Wieseler: for the duration of their life, for the brief time of their earthly existence; Hölbe: in their own manner, according to their own fashion. Comp. Schulz, Lange, and others: after their kind; de Wette, Eylau: in their sphere of life.

Moreover, εἰς τ. γεν. κ. τ. λ. is not to be referred to both classes of men (Kuinoel, Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Brauns, and others), but merely to the υἱοὺς τ. κόσμ. τ. (comp. Dettinger, as above, p. 60 f.), as the words themselves require it as well as the sense; for the prudence of the children of light in general, not merely in their relation to those like them, is surpassed by that prudence which the children of the world know how to apply εἰς τὴν γενεὰν τὴν ἑαυτῶν. On such wisdom the latter concentrate and use their effort, whereas the children of light can pursue only holy purposes with moral means, and consequently (as sons of wisdom) must necessarily fall behind in the worldly prudence, in which morality is of no account. As, however, He also from them ( κἀγὼ ὑμῖν) requires prudence, Jesus says,


Verse 9

Luke 16:9, giving the application of the whole parable for His disciples who were present

κἀγὼ ὑμῖν λέγω, not: κἀγὼ λέγω ὑμῖν comp. on Luke 11:9. κἀγώ corresponds to the preceding κύριος, and ὑμῖν to τὸν οἰκον. τῆς ἀδικ. As the master praised that steward on account of his prudence, so also must I commend to you an analogous prudent course of conduct,(194) but in how much higher a sense!

ποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς φίλους κ. τ. λ.] provide for yourselves friends, etc. It is evident whom Jesus means by these friends from the final sentence, ἵνα δέξωνται ὑμᾶς κ. τ. λ. Those who receive you, to wit, are the angels (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27); and these are made friends of by the beneficent application of riches (comp. Luke 15:10; Matthew 18:10; Matthew 25:31; Matthew 24:31). Thus they correspond to the χρεωφειλεταῖς of the parable, but indirectly. Ambrose, at so early a period, has this true interpretation, and very recently Ewald. The reference to God (Wolf, Kuinoel, Niedner, and others) or to Christ (Olshausen), either alone or with the addition of the angels (see also Bleek), is not appropriate, since the reception into the Messiah’s kingdom is the duty of the ministering spirits, accompanied by whom the Lord appears in His glory (Luke 9:26). According to the usual interpretation, those to whom deeds of love have been done, the poor, etc., are meant (so also Wieseler, Meuss, Lahmeyer), whose gratitude is earned as the steward has earned the gratitude of the debtors. But in this case ἵνα δέξωνται ὑμᾶς must be subjected to a strained interpretation. See below. The ἑαυτοῖς, to yourselves, standing emphatically even before ποιής. in B L R א* Tisch., corresponds to the idea that the (higher) analogy of an application for their own use, as in the case of that steward, is to be admitted.

ἐκ τοῦ ΄α΄. τῆς ἀδικ] ἐκ denotes that the result proceeds from making use of Mammon, Matthiae, p. 1333; Bernhardy, p. 230; Ellendt, Lex Soph. I. p. 550 f. But Mammon, the idea of which is, moreover, in no way to be extended to the totality of the earthly life (Eylau), is not to be taken in this place as at Luke 16:13, personally (comp. on Matthew 6:24), but as neuter, as at Luke 16:11, wealth.

τῆς ἀδικίας] Genitivus qualitatis, as at Luke 16:8 : of the unrighteous Mammon. As at Luke 16:8 this predicate is attached to the steward, because he had acted unrighteously towards his lord, so here it is attached to wealth, because it, as in the case of that steward, serves, according to usual experience (comp. Luke 18:24 f.), as an instrument of unrighteous dealing. The moral characteristic of the use of it is represented as adhering to itself. Other explanations, instead of being suggested by the context, are read into the passage isolated from the context, to wit, that of Jerome, Augustine,(195) Calvin, Olearius, Maldonatus, Lightfoot, Bertholdt, Rosenmüller, Möller, Bornemann, and others: opes injuste partae (comp. Euthymius Zigabenus: ὡς ἐξ ἀδικίας θησαυρισθέντα, τῆς ἐκ τοῦ μὴ διαμερίζεσθαι τὰ περιττὰ τούτου τοῖς πένησιν); that of Drusius, Michaelis, Schreiter, Kuinoel, Wieseler, and others (comp. Dettinger and H. Bauer): opes fallaces, or wealth which allures (Löffler, Köster); that of Paulus (Exeg. Handb.): that Mammon is designated as unrighteous towards the disciples, to whom he has communicated little; that of Schulz and Olshausen: opes impias (Olshausen: “the bond by which every individual is linked to the αἰὼν οὗτος and its princes”); that of Heppe: that wealth is so designated as being no true actual possession (Luke 16:11); and others. Moreover, a hidden irony (Eylau) against an Ebionitic error of the disciples, as if they had imputed to what is earthly in itself the character of ἀδικία, is remote from the words, since the predicate is taken from the conduct of the steward. There are analogous expressions of the Targumists, in which the characteristic peculiarity of Mammon is given by means of a superadded substantive (as ממון דשקר, דרשע ממון); see in Lightfoot, p. 844. The value of the predicate τῆς ἀδικ., so far as the structure of the discourse is concerned, seems to be, that this application of wealth for selfish advantage is entirely conformable to the improba indoles thereof, according to which it allows itself to be used, instead of only for the purpose of serving the interest of its possessor (Mammon), for the selfish advantage of those who have it to administer. The epithet is contemptuous. Ye cannot, considering its nature, better make use of so worthless a thing! Bornemann, Schol. p. 98 ff., and in the Stud. u. Krit. 1843, p. 116 ff., finds the whole precept ποιήσατε κ. τ. λ. to be in contradiction with the moral teaching of Christ, and conjectures: οὐ ποιήσετε κ. τ. λ., “non facietis (nolite facere) vobis amicos ex opibus injuste collectis,” etc., πλούσισς, ver. 1) non modo hanc in subditis perversitatem et vitiositatem non vituperare et punire, sed etiam laudare prudentiam eorum et calliditatem. At suos id nunquam imitaturos esse Christus certo confidit,” etc. This interpretation is erroneous, if only for the reason, that the steward is liberal with the property of his own master. Consequently the Pharisees would be represented as liberal, not do bonis alienis, but with the property of their own chiefs. In general, however, it is decisive against Bornemann that no parable is intended to teach the opposite of itself.">(196) without any trace in the evidence for the text. And the doubt of Bornemann is solved by the consideration that (1) Jesus does not bid the disciples provide themselves with Mammon in a similar way to the steward (the steward did not provide himself with wealth at all, rather he bestowed it on the debtors, but for his own advantage), but to apply the riches which they, as having hitherto been οἰκονόμοι of Mammon, still had at their disposal, in a similar way to that steward, to make themselves friends; (2) that Jesus requires of His disciples to forsake all (Luke 5:27, Luke 18:22 ff., comp. Luke 12:33) is the less in conflict with the passage before us, that at that time there were around Him so many publicans and sinners who had previously entered into His service (out of the service of Mammon), and for these the words of Jesus contained the command to forsake all just in the special form appropriate to the relations in which they stood. In respect of μαθητάς, Luke 16:1, we are not to conceive exclusively only of the Twelve, and of such as already had forsaken all; (3) our text does not conflict with the context (Luke 16:13), as it rather claims in substance the giving up of the service of Mammon, and its claim corresponds to the μὴ θησαυρίζετε ὑμῖν κ. τ. λ., besides allowing the idea of laying up treasure in heaven (see ἵνα ὅταν ἐκλ. κ. τ. λ.) to appear in a concrete form.

ὅταν ἐκλείπῃ] (see the critical remarks) when it fails, i.e. when it ceases. Comp. Luke 22:32; Hebrews 1:12; Xen. Hell. Luke 1:5. 2 : ἐχων δὲ ἥκειν τάλαντα πεντακόσια· ἐὰν δὲ ταῦτα ἑκλίπῃ κ. τ. λ.; 1 Samuel 9:7; 1 Maccabees 3:29; 1 Maccabees 3:45; Sirach 14:19; Sirach 42:24; and frequently in the LXX. and in the Apocrypha. This ὅταν ἐκλ. indeed corresponds to the point of the parable: ὅταν μετασταθῶ, Luke 16:4, but signifies in the application intended to be made—the catastrophe of the Parousia, at the appearance of which, in the σχῆμα τοῦ κοσμου τούτου which precedes it, the temporal riches come to an end and cease to exist (Luke 6:24; James 5:1 ff.; Luke 17:26 ff.), whereas then the treasures laid up in heaven (Matthew 6:20; Luke 12:33; Luke 18:22) occupy their place (comp. also 1 Timothy 6:19), and the complete ἀπάτη of riches (Matthew 13:22) is revealed. This reference to the Parousia is required in the context by the αἰωνίους σκηνάς, whereby the setting up of the kingdom (here also conceived of as near) is referred to. The Recepta ἐκλίπητε(197) would mean: when ye shall have died (Plat. Legg. 6. p. 759 E, 9. p. 836 E Xen. Cyr. 8:7. 26; Isaiah 11:10, LXX Genesis 25:8; Genesis 49:33; Tobit 14:11; Test. XII. Patr. p. 529). But after death that which is first to be expected is not the kingdom of Messiah, or the life in heaven to which reference is usually made (even by Bleek), but the paradise in Sheol (Luke 16:22), to which, however, the predicate αἰωνίους is not appropriate (in opposition to Engelhardt). Moreover, Jesus could not refer His disciples to the condition after their death, since, according to the synoptic Gospels (and see also on John 14:3), He had placed the Parousia and the setting up of the kingdom in the lifetime even of that generation(198) (Luke 21:32; Luke 9:27). Hence the Recepta is to be rejected even on these internal grounds, and to be traced to the idea of the later eschatology. The everlasting tabernacles correspond to the εἰς τοὺς οἴκους αὐτῶν in the parable, Luke 16:4, and typically denote, probably in reference to the moveable tabernacles in the wilderness (comp. Hosea 12:10; Zechariah 14:16; Psalms 118:15), the kingdom of Messiah in respect of its everlasting duration. Thus God promises in 4 Esdr. Luke 2:11 : “Et dabo eis tabernacula aeterna, quae praeparaveram illis,” where, in accordance with the context, doubtless the kingdom of Messiah is meant.

δέξωνται] not impersonal (Köster and others), but in respect of φίλους, and according to the analogy of Luke 16:4, the friends provided are to be understood, consequently the angels (see above); comp. Ambrose. If φίλους be explained as denoting men, the poor and the like, since the text hints nothing of a future elevation of these to the dignity of stewards (in opposition to Meuss), δέξωνται must be understood of the thankful and welcoming reception; but in this interpretation it would be strangely presupposed that the φίλοι would be already in the everlasting habitations when the benefactors come thither, or there must somehow be understood a mediate δέχεσθαι (Grotius: “efficiant ut recipiamini”), wherein there would be especial reference to the meritoriousness of alms (Luke 11:41, see especially Maldonatus and Hilgenfeld, the latter of whom recalls the prayer of the poor in the Pastor of Hermas); but for an interpretation of that kind there is, according to Luke 16:4, absolutely no justification, and as little for an explanation according to the idea contained in Matthew 25:40 (Beza, Calvin, and others, including Wieseler); comp. Luther (Pred.): “Men shall not do it, but they shall be witnessses of our faith which is proved to them, for the sake of which God receives us into the everlasting habitations.” Luther, however, further adds appropriately that in this there is taught no merit of works.

REMARK.

The circumstance that Jesus sets before His disciples the prudence of a dishonest proceeding as an example, would not have been the occasion of such unspeakable misrepresentations and such unrighteous judgments (most contemptibly in Eichthal) if the principle: οὐ δύνασθε θεῷ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾷ, Luke 16:13, had been kept in view, and it had been considered accordingly that even the μαθηταί, in fact, by beneficent application of their property, must have acted unfaithfully towards Mammon in order to be faithful towards their contrasted Master, towards God(199) In this unfaithfulness their prudence was to consist, because that was the way to attain for themselves the Messianic provision. If further objection has been taken on the ground that in the expedient of the steward no special prudence is contained, it is to be considered that the doctrinal precept intended at Luke 16:9 claimed to set forth just such or a similar manifestation of prudence as the parable contains. On the other hand, the device of a more complicated and refined subtlety would not have corresponded with that simple doctrine which was to be rendered palpable, to make to themselves friends of the unrighteous Mammon, etc.


Verses 10-12

Luke 16:10-12. These verses give more detailed information regarding the precept in Luke 16:9. “Without the specified application of the possessions of Mammon, to wit, ye cannot receive the Messianic riches.” This is shown, on the ground of a general principle of experience (Luke 16:10) from a twofold specific peculiarity of both kinds of wealth, by the argument a minori ad majus.

The faithful in the least is also faithful in much; and the unrighteous in the least is also unrighteous in much(200)—a locus communis which is to be left in its entire proverbial generality. It is fitted for very varied application to individual cases. For what special conclusion it is here intended to serve as a major proposition is contained in Luke 16:11 f.

πιστὸς ἐν ἐλαχ. is conceived as one united idea. Comp. on Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 4:1.

Luke 16:11. In the unrighteous Mammon (here also neuter, and altogether as in Luke 16:9) those are faithful who, according to the precept in Luke 16:9, so apply it that they make for themselves friends therewith. This faithfulness is meant not from the standpoint of the mammon-mind, but of the divine mind (Luke 16:13).

ἐγένεσθε] have become, before the Messianic decision,—an expression of the moral development.

τὸ ἀληθινόν] placed first as a more emphatic contrast to ἐν τῷ ἀδίκῳ ΄α΄. (comp. Luke 9:20, Luke 23:31): that which is true, which is not merely a wealth that is regarded as such, but (“Jesus loquitur e sensu coelesti,” Bengel) the ideally real and genuine riches (comp. on John 1:9), i.e. the salvation of the kingdom of Messiah. Observe the demonstrative force of the article. De Wette, Bleek, and many others, following older writers, wrongly understand the spiritual wealth, the Spirit; compare Olshausen: “heavenly powers of the Spirit.” It must be that which previously was symbolized by the reception into the everlasting habitations; hence also it cannot be “the revealed truths, the Gospel” (Ewald), or “the spiritual riches of the kingdom of heaven” (Wieseler), the “gifts of grace” (Lahmeyer), and the like. The objection against our view, that πιστεύσει is not in harmony with it (Wieseler), is not fatal, comp. Luke 19:17. The contrast indeed is not verbally complete ( ἄδικονδίκαιον), but substantially just, since anything that is unrighteous cannot be τὸ ἀληθινόν, but the two are essentially in contrast.

Luke 16:12. ἐν τῷ ἀλλοτρίῳ] another specific attribute of the temporal riches, in what is alien, i.e. in that which belongs to another. For ye are not the possessor, but Mammon (in the parable the rich man whose wealth the οἰκονόμος did not possess, but only managed). Altogether arbitrary is the spiritualizing explanation of de Wette, that it is “what does not immediately belong to the sphere of light and Spirit” (comp. Lahmeyer), as well as that of Hölbe, “in the truth which belongs to God.” The contrary: τὸ ὑ΄έτερον, that which is yours, by which again is characterized not spiritual wealth, but the salvation of the Messianic kingdom,—to wit, as that which shall be the property of man, for that is indeed the hereditary possession, the κληρονομία (Acts 20:32; Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:18; Ephesians 1:14; Matthew 25:34, and elsewhere), the treasure laid up by him in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21), his πολίτευ΄α in heaven (Philippians 3:20), not a mere possession by stewardship of that which belongs to another as its owner, as is the case in respect of earthly wealth. It is an arbitrary interpolation in H. Bauer, op. cit. p. 540 f., who understands ἐλάχιστον and ἀλλότριον as the ἄδικος ΄α΄. of the legal condition, to which is to be attributed no absolute significance.


Verse 13

Luke 16:13. A principle which does not cohere with what follows (Holtzmann), but proves as indubitable the denial which is implied in the previous question: “ye shall in the supposed case not receive the Messianic salvation.” Ye are, to wit, in this case servants of Mammon, and cannot as such be God’s servants, because to serve two masters is morally impossible. Moreover, see on Matthew 6:24.


Verse 14-15

Luke 16:14-15. The mocking sneer ( ἑκμυκτηρίζειν, Luke 23:35; 2 Samuel 19:21; Psalms 2:4; Psalms 34:19; Psalms 3 Esdr. Luke 1:53) of the Pharisees, who indeed so well knew their pretended sanctity to be compatible with their striving after temporal possessions, Jesus, in Luke 16:15, discloses at its source, which was the self-conceit of their righteousness. ὑμεῖς ἐστε κ. τ. λ., ye are the people who make yourselves righteous (i.e. declare yourselves as righteous) before men. Contrast: the divine δικαίωσις as it especially became the substance of the Pauline Gospel.(201) The Pharisee in the temple, Luke 18:11 f., gives a repulsive illustration of the δικαιοῦν ἑαυτόν, and he even ventures it in the presence of God.

ὅτι τὸ ἐν ἀνθρώποις ὑψ. κ. τ. λ.] since, indeed, that which is lofty (standing in high estimation) among men is an abomination before God. Comp. Psalms 138:6. Thence it is plainly evident that God knows your (evil) hearts, otherwise that which is lofty among men would also be highly esteemed with Him, and not appear as an abomination. This generally expressed judgment of God has as its concrete background the seemingly holy condition of the Pharisees, and hence is not indeed to be arbitrarily limited (multa, quae, etc., Kuinoel); but, moreover, neither is it to be pressed to an absolute and equal application to all, although in relative variation of degrees it is valid without exception. Schleiermacher and Paulus find a concealed reference to Herod Antipas; but this without the slightest hint in the connection could not possibly present itself to the hearers; the less that even Luke 16:18 cannot be referred to the relation of Herod to Herodias (see already Tertullian, c. Marc. iv. 34), since this latter was not forsaken by Philip, but had separated herself arbitrarily from him.


Verse 16-17

Luke 16:16-17. The sequence of thought is: after Jesus had declared His judgment on His adversaries, according to which, moreover, they belong to the category of the βδέλυγγμα ἐνώπιον τ. θεοῦ, He now tells them on the ground of what standard this judgment has reference to them, namely, on the ground of the Mosaic law (comp. John 5:45), of which not the smallest element should lose its validity by the fact that since John the kingdom of the Messiah was announced, and every man endeavoured forcibly to come into it. The stress lies on Luke 16:17, and Luke 16:16 is preparatory, but finds its motive in the fact that the announcement of the kingdom, and the general endeavour after the kingdom which had begun from the time of John, might easily throw upon Jesus the suspicion of putting back the old principle, that of the law, into the shade. But no; no single κεραία of the law fails, and that is the standard according to which ye are an abomination in the sight of God.(202) The want of connection is only external, not in the sequence of thought, and hence is not, as with Schulz, Strauss, and de Wette (comp. also Bleek), to be referred to mistaken recollections from Matthew. Already the source of Luke’s account of the journey had here operated in Luke 16:16-18, which in Matthew has its historical position. Luke follows his source of information, but it is not without plan that he has supplemented from the Logia (Holtzmann), nor has he pieced the passages together like mosaic (Weizsäcker).

νόμος κ. οἱ προφῆται ἕως ἰωάνν.] We are not to supply (following Matthew 11:13) προεφήτευσαν (Euthymius Zigabenus, and many others), but from what follows (see Kühner, II. p. 605), ἐκηρύσσοντο.(203) As the law and the prophets were announced down to the time of John, so from that time onwards (even through John himself) the joyful tidings of the kingdom of the Messiah appeared, and with what result! Every man(204) presses forcibly into it; “vi ingruit pia,” Bengel. Comp. Xen. Cyr. iii. 3. 69: εἰ καὶ βιάσαιντο εἴσω; Thucyd. i. 63. 4 : βιάσασθαι ἐς τὴν ποτίδαιαν, vii. 69. 4 : βιάσασθαι ἐς τὸ ἔξω. See on Matthew 11:12.

πεσεῖν] to fall into decay, with reference to its obligation, the opposite of remaining in force. Comp. 1 Corinthians 13:8; Romans 9:6; Ruth 3:18; Judith 6:9, and elsewhere; Herod. vii. 18; Plat. Eut. p. 14 D. Moreover, see on Matthew 5:18.

The νόμος, Luke 16:17, is not to be taken in any other sense than in Luke 16:16 (in opposition to Volkmar, p. 208, who understands the moral law contained in the legal code); but assuredly the continuance here declared, the remaining in force of the νόμος, is referred to its ideal contents. The reading of Marcion: τῶν λόγων ΄ου, instead of τοῦ νό΄ου, is not the original text, as though Luke had transposed Matthew 5:18 into its opposite, but an inappropriate dogmatic alteration (in opposition to Baur, Hilgenfeld). Comp. Ritschl in the Theol. Jahrb. 1851, p. 351 f.; Köstlin, p. 303 f.; Zeller, Apost. p. 15 f.; Franck in the Stud. u. Krit. 1855, p. 311 f.; Volkmar, p. 207 ff., whose conjecture, τῶν λόγων τοῦ θεοῦ, is, moreover, quite superfluous. Against the supposed antinomianism of Luke, see generally Holtzmann, p. 397; Lechler, Apost. Zeit. p. 157 f.


Verse 18

Luke 16:18. See on Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9. Of what Christ has just said of the continual obligation of the law he now gives an isolated example, as Luke found it here already in his original source. For the choice of this place (not the original one) a special inducement must have been conceived of, which Luke does not mention; perhaps only, in general, the remembrance of the varieties of doctrine prevailing at that time on the question of divorce (see on Matthew 19:3); perhaps, also, the thought that among those Pharisees were such as had done that which the verse mentions (comp. Euthymius Zigabenus).

The saying, however, in the mind of Jesus, serves as a voucher for the obligation of the law without exception, on the ground of Genesis 2:24. See on Matthew 19:4 ff.; Mark 16:6 ff. Olshausen explains this of spiritual fornication,(205) that what God had joined together (i.e. the law according to its everlasting significance, Luke 16:17), the Pharisees had arbitrarily loosed (in that they loved money and wealth more than God), and that which God had loosed (i.e. the Old Testament theocracy in its temporary aspect, Luke 16:16), they wished to maintain as obligatory, and had thus practised a twofold spiritual adultery. How arbitrary, without the slightest hint in the text! The supposed meaning of the second member would be altogether without correspondence to the expressions, and the Pharisees might have used the first member directly for their justification, in order to confirm their prohibition of any accession to the Gospel. As to the obviousness of the exception which adultery makes in reference to the prohibition of divorce, see on Matthew 5:32.


Verse 19

Luke 16:19. After Jesus in Luke 16:15-18 has rebuked the Pharisees, He now justifies in opposition to them the doctrines, Luke 16:9-13, on account of which they had derided Him,—showing them in the following fictitious doctrinal narrative (which is not, as with Hengstenberg, to be transferred to the repast of Bethany) to what riches lead if they are not applied in the manner prescribed in Luke 16:9, to the ποιεῖν ἑαυτῷ φίλους.(206) Comp. Theophylact. De Wette (comp. Holtzmann) wrongly denies all connection with what goes before, and finds set forth only the thought: Blessed are the poor; woe to the rich (Luke 6:20; Luke 6:24), so that there is wanting any moral view of the future retribution, and hence the suspicion arises that in the first portion, Luke 16:19-26, “the well-known prejudice” of Luke, or of his informant, against riches and in favour of poverty, is arbitrarily introduced. Comp. Schwegler, I. p. 59; also Köstlin, p. 271, and Hilgenfeld, according to whom the parable no longer appears in its primitive form, and must have received from Luke an appendix hostile to the Jews. The moral standard of the retribution is at Luke 16:27 ff., so emphatically made prominent(207) that it is unreasonable to separate it from the first part of the narrative, and (Strauss, I. p. 632; comp. Schwegler, Baur, Zeller) to speak of the Essene-like contempt of riches (Josephus, Bell. ii. 8. 3).

δέ] transitional, but to put the matter now, so as to act upon your will, etc. See above.

καὶ ἐνεδιδύσκ.] a simple connective link, where the periodic style would have turned the phrase by means of a relative, as is done subsequently in Luke 16:20.

πορφύρ. κ. βύσς.] His upper garment was of purple wool, his underclothing of Egyptian byssus (white cotton), which among the Hebrews was frequently used for delicate and luxurious materials.

Jesus does not give any name for the rich man, which is not to he taken, as by many of the Fathers, as a suggestion of reproach (Euthymius Zigabenus refers to Psalms 15:4), and in general, the absence of the name is to be regarded as unintentional; for the poor man, however, even a significant name readily presented itself to the sympathy of Jesus. Tradition calls the rich man νινευής, which, according to a Scholiast, appeared also in certain MSS.; as, moreover, the Sahidic version has the addition: cujus erat nomen Nineue.


Verse 20-21

Luke 16:20-21. In view of the significance of the name, we can the less conclude, with Calvin and others, following Tertullian, that this is an actual history, since even at so early a period Theophylact describes the occurrence of the circumstances as ἀνοήτως.(208) λάζαρος, i.e. לַעְזָר, abbreviated for אֶלְעָזָר, Deus auxilium, as frequently also among the Rabbins. See Lightfoot on John 11:1. Not: לֹא עֶזֶר, auxilio destitutus (Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others). But that any kind of confusion with the Lazarus from Bethany had arisen (de Wette) is a quite arbitrary conjecture. Just as groundless, moreover, is it either to doubt of the historical reality of the Lazarus of the fourth Gospel and his resurrection, because of the Lazarus of the parable being fictitious; or, on the other hand, to support this historical character by the assumption that Jesus in the parable referred to the actual Lazarus (Hengstenberg). The two men called Lazarus have nothing to do with one another. The name which the Lazarus of Bethany actually bore is here a symbolically chosen name, and how appropriate it is!

ἐβέβλητο] not: was laid down (Paulus, Baumgarten-Crusius), but pluperfect, had been thrown down. The poor sick man had been cast down there in order to procure for him what fell from the rich man’s table. Even in Matthew 8:6; Matthew 9:2, the idea is not merely that of lying, but of being cast down.

πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα] there at the gate (see on Matthew 26:71), which led from the προαύλιον into the house. The form εἱλκω΄ένος (Lachmann, Tischendorf), afflicted with ulcers (from ἑλκόω), is convincingly attested, and that in opposition to the usage elsewhere (Eur. Alc. 878: ἥλκωσεν; Plut. Phoc. 2 : τὰ ἡλκωμένα); but it was probably formed by Luke, according to the analogy of the augment of ἕλκω and ἑλκύω (Lobeck, Paral. p. 35 f.).

Luke 16:21. ἐπιθυ΄ῶν] desiring, craving after it. Whether he received of what fell or not is left undecided by the expression in itself, and de Wette (comp. Bleek) leaves the matter as it is, there being, as he thinks, nothing at all said about what was done or not done, but only about a lot and a condition. But the following ἀλλὰ καὶ κ. τ. λ. shows that the craving was not satisfied, which, moreover, presents itself a priori according to the purpose of the description as the most natural thing. The addition borrowed from Luke 15:16 : καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδίδου αὐτῷ, in min. and vss., after πλουσίου, is hence (comp. Luke 15:16) a gloss correct in sense.

ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ κύνες κ. τ. λ.] but, instead of being satisfied, even still ( καί, see Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 134) the dogs came, etc. An aggravation of the misery, and that too not merely as depicting the negative evil of neglect ( ἀλλὰ καὶ ἔρημος τῶν θεραπευσόντων, Theophylact; comp. Euthymius Zigabenus), but also positively: the unclean beasts and their licking ( ἐπέλειχον) aggravating the pain of the helpless creature! According to others (Jerome, Erasmus, Calvin, Wetstein, Michaelis, and others, including Kuinoel, Paulus, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, Ewald, Bleek), even the dogs appeared to have compassion upon him. So also Klinckhardt, super parab. de hom. divite et Lazaro, Lips. 1831. But the idea of contrast which ἀλλά must introduce would not thus be made prominent, nor the accumulation which καί indicates, nor would the whole strength of the contrast between Luke 16:21-22 remain. According to Bornemann, the meaning is: οὐ μόνον ἐχορτάσθηἀλλὰ καὶ κ. τ. λ., “egestati ejus micae de divitis mensa allatae, vulneribus succurrebant canes.” This is opposed to the purpose of the doctrinal narrative, to which purpose corresponds rather the unmitigated greatness of the suffering (Luke 16:25; moreover, the rich man’s suffering in Hades is not mitigated).


Verse 22-23

Luke 16:22-23. ἀπενεχθῆναι αὐτόν] not his soul merely (“non possunt ingredi Paradisum nisi justi, quorum animae eo feruntur per angelos,” Targum on Cantic. Luke 4:12), but the dead person who is not buried (as the rich man was, Luke 16:23), but instead thereof is carried away by the angels (“antequam egrederentur socii ex hac area, mortui sunt R. Jose et R. Chiskia et R. Jesa; et viderunt, quod angeli sancti eos deportarent in illud velum expansum,” Idra Rabba, 1137 f.), and that too into Abraham’s bosom, where he lives once more and is blessed (Luke 16:24 f.). Ewald also, and Schegg, hold the correct view. The usual device, that the burial of the poor man was left without mention, as being worthy of no consideration, is an evasion, the more arbitrary in proportion as the narrative is a fictitious one, the doctrine of which indeed concerns only the condition of the souls in Hades, while its concrete poetic representation concerns the whole man; hence Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 359, mistaking very inconsiderately the poetic character of the description, calls our explanation folly.

εἰς τὸν κόλπ. ἀβρ.] בחיקו של אברהם, among the Rabbins also a frequent sensuous representation of special blessedness in Paradise, ἀβρ. has been made into “sinus gratiae divinae, in quem Abraham pater credentium receptus est” (Calovius). In this way dogmatic theology is at no loss to come to terms with exegesis, maintaining that the sinus Abrahae is not to be understood subjectively, “quasi ab Abrahamo et in ipsius sinu receptus Lazarus sit” (and this is nevertheless the only correct view), but objectively, as that bosom which “Abrahamum ceu objectum fovet in complexu suo.” Even Lechler in the Stud. u. Krit. 1854, p. 820 f., doubts that an abode of Abraham in Hades may be meant; but without sufficient reason. His reason, at least,—that the angels elsewhere bring about the intercourse between earth and heaven, not between earth and Sheol,—is not to the purpose. For the angels have also, in the passage before us, the service of mediation between heaven and earth; they are sent from heaven to the earth to bear Lazarus into Abraham’s bosom in the paradise of Sheol. The reveries of the later Jews about the angels in the lower paradise, see in Eisenmenger, II. p. 309 ff.">(209) where the departed referred to are in intimate fellowship with the patriarch who loves them (resting on his breast). Comp. Wetstein. See also 4 Maccabees 13:16, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob receive the dead into their bosom. The κόλπ. ἀβρ. is therefore not of the same import as Paradise, Luke 23:43, but Abraham is in Paradise (comp. on John 8:56), and has there received Lazarus to his bosom. The representation of a repast (Grotius, Bengel, Michaelis, Kuinoel, and others) does not belong to this place, but refers to the Messianic kingdom (Matthew 8:11).

καὶ ἐτάφη] so that therefore it was not with him as it was with Lazarus, who was carried by the angels, etc. It is usually supposed by way of addition to this: splendidly, in accordance with his position, and the like. This is purely arbitrary.

Luke 16:23. Hades corresponds to the Hebrew Sheol, which in the LXX. is translated by ᾅδης, and hence denotes the whole subterranean place of abode of departed souls until the resurrection, divided into Paradise (Luke 23:43) for the pious, and Gehenna for the godless. Ruth R. Luke 1:1 : “Illi descendunt in Paradisum, hi vero descendunt in Gehennam.” That ᾅδης in itself does not mean the place of punishment alone—hell, although the context may bring with it the reference thereto, is very clearly evident in the New Testament from Acts 2:27; Acts 2:31.(210) This is in opposition to West in the Stud. u. Krit. 1858, p. 265. From the Old Testament, compare especially Genesis 37:35. The reward and punishment in Hades is a preliminary one until the full retribution after resurrection and judgment. The upper Paradise, which is in heaven, is not to be confounded with that lower one. See on 2 Corinthians 12:3 f.

ἐν τῷ ἅδῃ] which region of Hades is meant, is shown by the context. Moreover, let it be observed that the poetry of the narrative transfers even the rich man as to his whole person to Hades, see Luke 16:24, whither he, however, comes down from the grave.(211)

ἐπάρας τ. ὀφθ. ὁρᾷ ἀβρ.] for “Paradisus et Gehenna ita posita sunt, ut ex uno in alterum prospiciant,” Midr. on Ecclesiastes 7:14. Paradise is not conceived of as higher in situation (see, on the other hand, Luke 16:26), but the rich man in his torment has not yet until now lifted up his eyes in order to look around him, beyond his nearest neighbourhood.

ἐν τοῖς κόλποις] the plural, as is often the case also in the classical writers since Homer.


Verse 24

Luke 16:24. καὶ αὐτός] and he, on his part, as opposed to the patriarch and to Lazarus.

The poetical discourse as it advances now gives us a conversation from the two parts of Hades (for Rabbinical analogies, see in Lightfoot, p. 864 f.), in which, however, the prayer for the service of Lazarus is not on the part of the rich man continued presumption(212) (Lange, L. J. II. 1, p. 394: “that Lazarus was to be sent on an errand for him”), but finds its motive simply in the fact that it is precisely Lazarus whom he sees reposing on Abraham’s bosom. The text does not go further, but leaves to be felt with sufficient profundity what is the humiliating reversal of the relation (that the despised beggar was now to be the reviver of the rich man).

τὸ ἄκρον τ. δακτ.] even only such a smallest cooling, what a favour it would be to him in his glowing heat! Lange grotesquely conjectures that he asks only for such a delicate touching, because he had seen Lazarus in the impurity of his sores. In his condition he certainly had done with such reflections.

ὕδατος] Genitivus materiae. See Bernhardy, p. 168; Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 148 [E. T. 170].


Verse 25

Luke 16:25. τέκνον] an address of sympathizing patriarchal love.

The emphasis of the refusal lies on ἀπέλαβες, which is hence placed first: that thou hast received thy good things; there is nothing more in arrear for thee as thy due acquittance (see on Luke 18:30), hence to thy lot cannot fall the refreshing craved. Compare the ἀπέχειν τὴν παράκλησιν, Luke 6:26. If the rich man had not used his treasures for splendour and pleasure, but charitably for others (Luke 16:9), he would, when that splendour and pleasure had passed away from him, have still retained as arrears in his favour the happiness which he had dispensed with.

τὰ ἀγαθά σου] i.e. the sum of thy happiness.

ὁμοίως] i.e. ἀπέλαβεν ἐν τῇ ζωῇ αὐτοῦ.

τὰ κακά] i.e. the sum of the evil, corresponding by way of contrast to the τὰ ἀγαθά σου. Observe that αὐτοῦ is not added.

νῦν δὲ κ. τ. λ.] but now, the reversed condition! He has the happiness left in arrear for him; thou, the sufferings left in arrear for thee! That Lazarus is not to be conceived of as simply a poor man and unfortunate, but as a pious man, who, without special deserving, is a suffering victim, is plain by virtue of the contrast from the unconverted state of the rich man, which brought him into Gehenna, Luke 16:28 ff. He was one of those to whom applied the μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ κ. τ. λ., Luke 6:21. Only this is not to be concluded from the silence of Lazarus before the rich man’s door and in the bosom of Abraham (Lange: “a princely proud, silent beggar—a humble blessed child of God without self-exaltation in the bosom of glory”), for the chief person, and therefore the speaker, is the rich man.

παρακαλεῖται] see on Matthew 5:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:16. The notion that the earthly happiness of the rich man had been the recompense for his τινα ἀρετήν, and the misery of Lazarus the punishment for his τινα κακίαν (Euthymius Zigabenus, Theophylact; comp. Rabbins in Wetstein), is an incongruous reflection.


Verse 26

Luke 16:26. ἐπὶ πᾶσι τούτοις] Moreover, in addition to all. Comp. Luke 3:20. See on Ephesians 6:16, and Wetstein. There follows now after the argumentum ab aequo, Luke 16:25, still the argumentum ab impossibili for the non-compliance with the request.

χάσμα] a yawning chasm, cleft, frequently found in the classical writers; comp. χάσμα μέγα in the LXX. 2 Samuel 18:17. The idea of such a separation between the two portions of Hades does not occur among the Rabbins, among whom sometimes a separating wall is mentioned, sometimes it is said that the intervening space is only a hand, nay, only a thread in breadth. See Lightfoot, p. 857; Eisenmenger, Entdeckt. Judenth. II. p. 314 f. The chasm belongs to the poetical representation; the thought is the unalterable separation. The reference to Hesiod, Theog. 740, where in Tartarus itself is a χάσμα (comp. Eur. Phoen. 1599), is inappropriate.

ἐστήρικται] is established, so that it is never again closed.

ὅπως] purpose of the μεταξύ down to ἐστήρ.

διαβῆναι] pass over.

μηδὲ κ. τ. λ.] omitting the article before ἐκεῖθεν: and therewith they may not cross over thence to us. The subject is self-evident. The Recepta οἱ ἐκεῖθεν would have to be explained either, with Buttmann, by supplying θέλοντες διαβῆναι, or as a case of attraction instead of οἱ ἐκεῖ ἐκεῖθεν, Kühner, II. p. 319. Comp. Plat. Cratyl. p. 403 D Thuc. viii. 107. 2.


Verses 27-31

Luke 16:27-31. What riches lead to when they are not applied according to Luke 16:9, is shown Luke 16:19-26. In order, however, to escape from this perdition while there is still time, repentance is necessary, and for this the law and the prophets are the appointed means (comp. Luke 16:16-17); and, indeed, these are so perfectly sufficient that even the return of a dead person to life would not be more effectual.

Luke 16:28. ὅπως] Purpose of the sending; ἔχωἀδελφ. is a parenthetic clause; his style is pathetic.

διαμαρτύρ.] that he may testify to them, to wit, of the situation in which I am placed, because I have not repented. ὅρα πῶς ὑπὸ τῆς κολάσεως εἰς συναίσθησιν ἦλθεν, Theophylact.

Luke 16:29. ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν] they should give heed (listen) to them!

Luke 16:30. οὐχί] nay! they will not hear them. The echo of his own experience gained in the position of secure obduracy!

ἀπὸ νεκρῶν] belongs to πορευθῇ.

Luke 16:31. οὐδὲ ἐάν] not even (not at all), if.

πεισθήσονται] not immediately πιστεύσουσιν (Vulg. Euthymius Zigabenus, Luther, and others), but: they will be moved, will be won over, namely, to repent.

A reference to the resurrection of Jesus (Olshausen), or to the manifestation of Elias (Baumgarten-Crusius), is altogether remote, although the word of Abraham has certainly approved itself historically even in reference to the risen Christ. The illustration, moreover, by the example of Lazarus of Bethany, who brought intelligence from Hades, and whom the Jews would have killed, John 12:10, is not to the point (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus).

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 16:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-16.html. 1832.

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