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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Luke 19



Verse 1


The city was close to the fords of the Jordan, on the frontier of Peraea, and on the richest plain of Palestine, abounding most in the choicest productions, especially balsam; and was, therefore, an appropriate seat for an officer of superior rank to preside over the collection of revenues. See on Matthew 9:9; Luke 3:12.

Verse 1


The city was close to the fords of the Jordan, on the frontier of Peraea, and on the richest plain of Palestine, abounding most in the choicest productions, especially balsam; and was, therefore, an appropriate seat for an officer of superior rank to preside over the collection of revenues. See on Matthew 9:9; Luke 3:12.

Verse 2

Named ( ὀνόματι καλούμενος )

Lit., called by name. Compare Luke 1:61.


Saccai, “the just.”

Verse 3

He sought ( ἐζήτει )

Imperfect. He was busy seeking as Jesus passed.

Who he was

Lit., is. Not to see what kind of a person, but which one of the crowd he was.

Stature ( ἡλικίᾳ )

See on Luke 12:25.

Verse 4

Sycamore ( συκομορέαν )

From συκῆ , fig-tree, and μόρον , the mulberry. The fig-mulberry, resembling the fig in its fruit, and the mulberry in its leaves. Some old writers derived it from μωρὸς , foolish, because it produced worthless figs. Dr. Thomson says that it bears several crops yearly, which grow on short stems along the trunk and the large branches. They are very insipid, and none but the poorer classes eat them. Hence Amos expresses the fact that he belongs to the humblest class of the community, by calling himself a gatherer of sycamore fruit (Amos 7:14). It grows with its large branches low down and wide open, so that Zacchaeus could easily have climbed into it. It is a favorite and pleasant conceit with old commentators that Zacchaeus' sycamore that day bore precious fruit.

Verse 5

I must abide

“Adopting the royal style which was familiar to him, and which commends the loyalty of a vassal in the most delicate manner by freely exacting his services” (“Ecce Homo”).

Verse 7

To be guest ( καταλῦσαι )

More correctly, Rev., lodge. See on Luke 9:12.

A sinner

See on Luke 3:12.

Verse 8

Stood ( σταθεὶς )

See on Luke 18:11. Describing a formal act, as of one who is about to make a solemn declaration. He was like the Pharisee in attitude, but not in spirit. The more formal word for standing, applied to the Pharisee in the temple, is here used of the publican.

I give

Not, It is my practice to give. Zacchaeus' statement is not a vindication, but a vow. “I now give by way of restoration.”

If I have taken anything by false accusation ( εἴ τι ἐσυκοφάντησα )

If - anything does not state a merely possible case, as if Zacchaeus were unconscious of any such extortion; but is a milder way of saying “Whatever I have taken.” See on Luke 3:14. It is an odd coincidence, nothing more, that the fig -mulberry (sycamore) should occur in connection with the fig -shewer (sycophant). It was common for the publicans to put a fictitious value on property or income, or to advance the tax to those unable to pay, and then to charge usurious interest on the private debt. On the harsh exaction of such debts, see Matthew 18:28; Luke 12:58.


The restoration required of a thief (Exodus 22:1).

Verse 11

Appear ( ἀναφαίνεσθαι )

Only here and Acts 21:3. It means to be brought to light; shown forth. The common phrase show up ( ἀνά ) represents it.

Verse 13

His ten servants ( δέκα δούλους ἑαυτοῦ )

Rev., rightly, changes to ten servants of his, since the his is emphatic; lit., his own. Moreover, it would be absurd to suppose that this nobleman, of consequence enough to be raised to a royal dignity, had but ten servants. The number of slaves in a Roman household was enormous, sometimes reaching hundreds. Toward the end of the Republic, it was considered reprehensible not to have a slave for every sort of work.

Pounds ( μνᾶς )

Minas. Between sixteen and eighteen dollars apiece. Meyer very aptly remarks: “The small sum astonishes us. Compare, on the other hand, the talents (Luke 19:17); which relation is less regarded in the parable in Matthew” (“Commentary on Luke”).

Occupy ( πραγματεύσασθε )

The word occupy has lost the sense which it conveyed to the makers of the A. V. - that of using or laying out what is possessed. Anoccupier formerly meant a trader. Occupy, in the sense of to use, occurs Judges 16:11: “new ropes that never were occupied; which Rev. changes to wherewith no work hath been done. Compare the Prayer-Book version of the Psalter, Psalm 107:23: “occupy their business in great waters.” So Latimer, “Sermons,” “He that occupieth usury.” Rev., trade ye. Wyc., merchandise ye. Tynd., buy and sell. See on traded, Matthew 25:16.

Till I come ( ἕως ἔρχομαι )

It is strange that the Rev. follows this reading without comment, while the Revisers' text takes no notice whatever of the reading of four of the leading manuscripts, which is adopted by both Tischendorf and Westcott and Hort; ἐν ᾧ ἔρχομαι , “while I come,” a condensed form of expression for while I go and return.

Verse 15

Had gained by trading ( διεπραγματεύσατο )

Only here in New Testament. See on Luke 19:13.

Verse 16

Hath gained ( προσηργάσατο )

Only here in New Testament. Lit., hath worked besides ( πρὸς ) the original sum. Rev., made.

Have thou authority ( ἴσθι ἐξομσίαν ἔχων )

Lit., Be thou having authority.


“A city for a pound, yet not even a cottage could be bought for a pound” (Bengel).

Verse 18

Made ( ἐποίησεν )

See on Matthew 25:16.

Verse 20

I kept ( εἶχον )

The imperfect. I was keeping while thou wert absent.

Napkin ( σουδαρίῳ )

The Latin sudarium, from sudor,perspiration: a cloth for wiping off the sweat. Trench notes that the napkin which the idle servant does not need for its proper use (Genesis 3:19) he uses for the wrapping up of his pound.

Verse 21

Austere ( αὐστηρὸς )

From a ὔω , to dry. Dryand thence hard. See on hard, Matthew 25:24.

Sow ( ἔσπειρας )

See on strawed, Matthew 25:24.

Verse 22

Thou knewest

To be read interrogatively. “Didst thou know that? Then, for that reason, thou shouldst have been the more faithful.”


Verse 23

Bank ( τράπεζαν )

Lit., the table of the money-changer. Wyc., board. See on exchangers, Matthew 25:27.

Usury ( τόκῳ )

Better interest, as Rev. See on usury, Matthew 25:27.


Verse 27

But ( πλὴν )

Rev., howbeit. However it may be with the unfaithful servant.

Slay ( κατασφάξατε )

Only here in New Testament. A strong word: slaughter; cut them down ( κατά ).


Verse 29


See on Matthew 21:1.

Verse 31

The Lord

See on Matthew 21:3.

Verse 35

Their garments

More strictly, their own garments ( ἑαυτῶν ), in their reverence and love for their Lord. See oil Matthew 25:7.

Verse 36

Spread ( ὑπεστρώννυον )

Only here in New Testament.

Verse 37

The descent

Two distinct sights of Jerusalem are caught on this route, an inequality of ground hiding it for a time after one has first seen it. Luke 19:37 marks the first sight, Luke 19:41 the second and nearer view (see Introduction, on Luke's topographical accuracy). “A t this point (the former) the first view is caught of the southeastern corner of the city. The temple and the more northern portions are hid by the slope of Olivet on the right: what is seen is only Mount Zion, now, for the most part, a rough field, crowned with the mosque of David, and the angle of the western walls, but then covered with houses to its base, and surmounted by the castle of Herod, on the supposed site of the palace of David … .It was at this point that the shout of triumph burst forth from the multitude” (Stanley, “Sinai and Palestine”).

Verse 41

He drew nigh

“Again the procession advanced. The road descends a slight declivity, and the glimpse of the city is again withdrawn behind the intervening ridge of Olivet. A few moments, and the path mounts again; it climbs a rugged ascent, it reaches a ledge of smooth rock, and in an instant the whole city bursts into view … .It is hardly possible to doubt that this rise and turn of the road was the exact point where the multitude paused again, and He, when he beheld the city, wept over it” (Stanley).

Verse 42

Wept ( ἔκλαυσεν )

With audible weeping.

Verse 43

A trench ( χάρακα )

Rev., correctly, as Tynd., a bank. Only here in New Testament. The word literally means a pointed stake, used in fortifying the intrenchments of a camp, and thence the palisade itself. In fortifying a camp or besieging a city, a ditch was dug round the entire circuit, and the earth from it thrown up into a wall, upon which sharp stakes were fixed. Every Roman soldier carried three or four of these stakes on the march. Wyc., with pale.

Keep thee in ( συνέξουσιν )

See on Luke 4:38.

Verse 44

Lay thee even with the ground ( ἐδαφιοῦσιν )

Only here in New Testament. Primarily, to beat level, like a threshing-floor or pavement. The Septuagint uses it in the sense of dashing down to the ground (1 Peter 2:12.


Verse 46

Thieves ( λῃστῶν )

See on Matthew 26:55; Luke 10:30; Mark 11:17.

Verse 48

Were very attentive ( ἐξεκρέματο )

Only here in New Testament. Lit., as Rev., hung upon him. Tynd., stuck by h im.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 19:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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