Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 16:1

Now He was also saying to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Covetousness;   Dishonesty;   Embezzlement;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Malfeasance in Office;   Probation;   Servant;   Steward;   Worldliness;   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Frugality-Waste;   Improvidence;   Parables;   Truth;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Parables;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Parables;   Steward;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christ, Christology;   Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Wealth;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Parable;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Almsgiving ;   Asceticism (2);   Circumstantiality in the Parables;   Common Life;   Devil ;   Discourse;   Ebionism (2);   Evil-Speaking;   Family;   Friendship;   Giving;   Heaven ;   Honesty ;   Laughter;   Mammon;   Paradox;   Premeditation;   Property (2);   Providence;   Spiritualizing of the Parables;   Steward, Stewardship;   Trade and Commerce;   Waste;   Wealth (2);   Winter ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Lazarus;   Slander;   Steward;   Trade;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A steward - Οικονομος, from οικος, a house, or οικια, a family, and νεμω, I administer; one who superintends domestic concerns, and ministers to the support of the family, having the products of the field, business, etc., put into his hands for this very purpose. See on Luke 8:3; (note).

There is a parable very like this in Rab. Dav. Kimchi's comment on Isaiah, Isaiah 40:21; : "The whole world may be considered as a house builded up: heaven is its roof; the stars its lamps; and the fruits of the earth, the table spread. The owner and builder of this house is the holy blessed God; and man is the steward, into whose hands all the business of the house is committed. If he considers in his heart that the master of the house is always over him, and keeps his eye upon his work; and if, in consequence, he act wisely, he shall find favor in the eyes of the master of the house: but if the master find wickedness in him, he will remove him, יפקדתו מן min pakidato, from his Stewardship. The foolish steward doth not think of this: for as his eyes do not see the master of the house, he saith in his heart, 'I will eat and drink what I find in this house, and will take my pleasure in it; nor shall I be careful whether there be a Lord over this house or not.' When the Lord of the house marks this, he will come and expel him from the house, speedily and with great anger. Therefore it is written, He bringeth the princes to nothing." As is usual, our Lord has greatly improved this parable, and made it in every circumstance more striking and impressive. Both in the Jewish and Christian edition, it has great beauties.

Wasted his goods - Had been profuse and profligate; and had embezzled his master's substance.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-16.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

His disciples - The word “disciples,” here, is not to be restricted to the twelve apostles or to the seventy. The parable appears to have been addressed to all the professed followers of the Saviour who were present when it was delivered. It is connected with that in the preceding chapter. Jesus had there been discoursing with the scribes and Pharisees, and vindicating his conduct in receiving kindly publicans and sinners. These “publicans and sinners” are here particularly referred to by the word “disciples.” It was with reference to “them” that the whole discourse had arisen. After Jesus had shown the Pharisees, in the preceding chapter, the propriety of his conduct, it was natural that he should turn and address his disciples. Among them there might have been some who were wealthy. The “publicans” were engaged in receiving taxes, in collecting money, and their chief danger arose from that quarter - from covetousness or dishonesty.

Jesus always adapted his instructions to the circumstances of his hearers, and it was proper, therefore, that he should give “these disciples” instructions about their “special” duties and dangers. He related this parable, therefore, to show them “the danger of the love of money;” the guilt it would lead to Luke 16:1; the perplexities and shifts to which it would drive a man when once he had been dishonest Luke 16:3-7; the necessity of using money aright, since it was their chief business Luke 16:9; and the fact that if they would serve God aright they must give up supreme attachment to money Luke 16:13; and that the first duty of religion demanded that they should resolve to serve God, and be honest in the use of the wealth intrusted to them. This parable has given great perplexity, and many ways have been devised to explain it. The above solution is the most simple of any; and if these plain principles are kept in view, it will not be difficult to give a consistent explanation of its particular parts. It should be borne in mind, however, that in this, as well as in other parables, we are not to endeavor to spiritualize every circumstance or allusion. We are to keep in view the great moral truth taught in it, that we cannot serve God and mammon, and that all attempts to do this will involve us in difficulty and sin.

A steward - One who has charge of the affairs of a family or household; whose duty it is to provide for the family, to purchase provisions, etc. This is, of course, an office of trust and confidence. It affords great opportunity for dishonesty and waste, and for embezzling property. The master‘s eye cannot always be on the steward, and he may, therefore, squander the property, or hoard it up for his own use. It was an office commonly conferred on a slave as a reward for fidelity, and of course was given to him that, in long service, had shown himself most trustworthy. By the “rich man,” here, is doubtless represented God. By the “steward,” those who are his professed followers, particularly the “publicans” who were with the Saviour, and whose chief danger arose from the temptations to the improper use of the money intrusted to them.

Was accused - Complaint was made.

Had wasted - Had squandered or scattered it; had not been prudent and saving.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

This chapter relates Jesus' continued discourses to the disciples in the presence of the public and the Pharisees particularly. The great parables of the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-13) and the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) are both related to the conflict with the Pharisees; but the connective teaching between them was abbreviated by the sacred author. However, the positive connection is still clearly discernible (Luke 16:14-18).

And he said also unto the disciples, There was a certain rich man, who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he was wasting his goods. (Luke 16:1)

THE PARABLE OF THE UNJUST STEWARD

He said also unto his disciples ... These words do not remove the obvious fact that the unjust steward in view here represents the religious leaders of Israel. True, the parable was spoken "to" the disciples, but "about" the Pharisees, etc. "The rich man represents God";Luke 2p. 247.">[1] and among all classes of people in that ancient world, only the hierarchy of Israel would qualify as stewards of God's house. To them were committed the oracles of God (Romans 3:2); they alone sat "in Moses' seat" (Matthew 23:2); and they only were custodial heirs of the religious economy of Israel.

A certain rich man ... stands for God, as the vast majority of commentators agree; and despite the objection of Barclay that "The rich man himself was something of a rascal,"[2] and Plummer's opinion that "The rich man has no special significance,"[3] it is nevertheless the standing interpretation of the Coccian school,[4] stated by Vitringa, that "The rich man is God, and the steward the ecclesiatical leaders of Israel."[5] Albert Barnes stated that "By the rich man here is doubtless represented God."[6] Objections to this view derive from a failure to understand WHY the rich man commended the unjust steward. Only God has the power over men to dismiss them from life and custodianship of heavenly gifts, the very things clearly typified by the prerogatives enjoyed by this unjust steward.

Furthermore, the allegation against the rich man, to the effect that he was a rascal, or that he endorsed the steward's dishonesty, is not logically taken. "The Emperor Julian (the bitter apostate) said this parable proves Jesus a mere man, and hardly a worthy man";[7] but apostates are blind, by definition, and without any spiritual perception whatever. When it is clearly understood why the steward was commended, all difficulties disappear. In another parable, an unjust judge bore an analogy to the heavenly Father (Luke 18:1-6); and Christ himself likened his second coming to "the thief" (Matthew 24:43). This comparison did not embarrass the holy apostles; for Paul used it (1 Thessalonians 5:2); Peter used it (2 Peter 3:10); and Christ himself repeated it from glory (Revelation 16:15). In the light of this, the tender consciences of modern commentators who find something "amoral" in this parable's representation of God under the figure of this rich man are not at all convincing!

That he was wasting his goods ... As Trench said, "All attempts to explain away the dishonesty (of this steward) are hopeless."[8] His own behavior in context was a positive admission of guilt on his part.

Luke 2p. 247.">[1] George R. Bliss, An American Commentary on the New Testament (Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: The Judson Press,), Vol. II, Luke 2p. 247.

[2] William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1953), p. 216.

[3] Quoted by Norval Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1951), p. 418.

[4] Richard C. Trench, Notes on the Parables of Our Lord (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1953), p. 431.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1954), Luke, p. 109.

[7] S. MacLean Gilmour, The Interpreter's Bible (New York: Abingdon Press, 1952), Vol. VIII, p. 280.

[8] Richard C. Trench, op. cit., p. 435.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-16.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he said also to his disciples,.... The Syriac version adds, "a parable", as the following is; and which is directed to the disciples, as those in the preceding chapter are to the Pharisees; and who also are designed in this; though it is particularly spoken to the disciples, because it might be of some use to them, with respect, to the stewardship they were in. The Persic and Ethiopic versions read, "Jesus", or "the Lord Jesus said": and which is to be understood, though not expressed; for the parable was delivered by him, and is as follows:

there was a certain rich man: by whom God is meant, who is rich in the perfections of his nature, in the works of his hands, in his government, and the administration of it, in providential goodness, and in the large revenues of glory due to him from his creatures; for all temporal riches are from him; and so are all the riches of mercy, grace, and glory:

which had a steward; by whom is designed, not all mankind; for though all men are, in a sense, stewards under God, and are entrusted with the good things of life, the gifts of nature, endowments of mind, health, strength of body, time, &c. yet all cannot be meant, because some are distinguished from this steward, Luke 16:5 nor are the disciples intended, though the parable is directed to them; and they were stewards of the mysteries and manifold grace of God; and one among them was an unfaithful one, and was turned out of his stewardship; but the character of an unjust man will not suit with them: and besides, this steward was of the children of this world, Luke 16:8 but the Pharisees are meant: for these are taken notice of as gravelled at this parable, Luke 16:14 and to them agrees the character of the men of this world, who were worldly wise men; as also that of a steward; these are the tutors and governors mentioned in Galatians 4:2 who had the care of the house of Israel, the family of God, under the legal dispensation; and to whom were committed the oracles of God, the writings of Moses, and the prophets; and whose business it was to open and explain them to the people.

And the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods; put false glosses upon the Scriptures; fed the family with bad and unwholesome food, the traditions of the elders, called the leaven of the Pharisees: made havoc of the souls of men; and made the hearts of the righteous sad: and hardened sinners in their wicked ways: and fed themselves, and not the flock; and plundered persons of their temporal substance; of all which they were accused by Moses, in whom they trusted; by his law which they violated; and by their own consciences, which witnessed against them; and by the cries of those whom they abused, which came into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-16.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And he said also unto his disciples, 1 There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

(1) Seeing that men often purchase friendship for themselves at the expense of others, we are to be ashamed if we do not please the Lord or procure the good will of our neighbours with the goods which the Lord has bestowed on us freely and liberally, making sure that by this means riches, which are often occasions of sin, are used for another end and purpose.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-16.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Luke 16:1-31. Parables of the unjust steward and of the rich man and Lazarus, or, the right use of money.

steward — manager of his estate.

accused — informed upon.

had wasted — rather, “was wasting.”

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

1. And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

[Which had a steward.] This parable seems to have relation to the custom of letting out grounds, which we find discoursed of, Demai, cap. 6, where it is supposed a ground is let by its owner to some tenant upon this condition, that he pay half, or one third or fourth part of the products of the ground, according as is agreed betwixt them as to the proportion and quantity. So, also, he supposes an olive-yard let out upon such kind of conditions. And there it is disputed about the payment of the tithes, in what manner it should be compounded between the owner and him that occupies the ground.

Steward with Kimchi is pakidh, where he hath a parable not much unlike this: "The world (saith he) is like unto a house built; the heaven is the covering of the house; the stars are the candles in the house; the fruits of the earth are like a table spread in the house; the owner of the house, and he indeed that built it, is the holy blessed God. Man in the world is as it were the steward of the house, into whose hands his lord hath delivered all his riches, if he behave himself well, he will find favour in the eyes of his lord; if ill, he will remove him from his stewardship."

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-16.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Unto the disciples (και προς τους ματηταςkai pros tous mathētas). The three preceding parables in chapter 15 exposed the special faults of the Pharisees, “their hard exclusiveness, self-righteousness, and contempt for others” (Plummer). This parable is given by Luke alone. The καιkai (also) is not translated in the Revised Version. It seems to mean that at this same time, after speaking to the Pharisees (chapter 15), Jesus proceeds to speak a parable to the disciples (Luke 16:1-13), the parable of the Unjust Steward. It is a hard parable to explain, but Jesus opens the door by the key in Luke 16:9.

Which had a steward (ος ηιχεν οικονομονhos ēichen oikonomon). Imperfect active, continued to have. Steward is house-manager or overseer of an estate as already seen in Luke 12:42.

Was accused (διεβλητηdieblēthē). First aorist indicative passive, of διαβαλλωdiaballō an old verb, but here only in the N.T. It means to throw across or back and forth, rocks or words and so to slander by gossip. The word implies malice even if the thing said is true. The word διαβολοςdiabolos (slanderer) is this same root and it is used even of women, she-devils (1 Timothy 3:11).

That he was wasting (ως διασκορπιζωνhōs diaskorpizōn). For the verb, see note on Luke 15:13. The use of ωςhōs with the participle is a fine Greek idiom for giving the alleged ground of a charge against one.

His goods (τα υπαρχοντα αυτουta huparchonta autou). “His belongings,” a Lukan idiom.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-16.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Steward ( οἰκονόμον )

From οἶκος , a house, and νέμω , to distribute or dispense. Hence, one who assigns to the members of the household their several duties, and pays to each his wages. The paymaster. He kept the household stores under lock and seal, giving out what was required; and for this purpose received a signet-ring from his master. Wyc., fermour, orfarmer. Here probably the land-steward.

Was accused ( διεβλήθη )

Only here in New Testament. From διά , over, across, and βάλλω , to throw. To carry across, and hence to carry reports, etc., from one to another; to carry false reports, and so to calumniate or slander. See on devil, Matthew 4:1. The word implies malice, but not necessarily falsehood. Compare Latin traducere (trans, over, ducere, to ad), whence traduce.

Had wasted ( ὡς διασκορπίζων )

Lit., as wasting. Rev., was wasting; not merely a past offence, but something going on at the time of the accusation. See Luke 15:13.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-16.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And he said also to his disciples - Not only to the scribes and Pharisees to whom he had hitherto been speaking, but to all the younger as well as the elder brethren: to the returning prodigals who were now his disciples. A certain rich man had a steward - Christ here teaches all that are now in favour with God, particularly pardoned penitents, to behave wisely in what is committed to them.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-16.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And he said also unto the disciples1, There was a certain rich man, who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he was wasting his goods2.
    SECOND GREAT GROUP OF PARABLES. (Probably in Perea.) E. PARABLE OF THE UNRIGHTEOUS STEWARD. Luke 16:1-18

  1. And he said also unto the disciples. If we remember that many publicans were now taking their stand among Jesus' disciples, we will more readily understand why Jesus addressed to them a parable about an unjust man, They would be more readily affected by such a story.

  2. There was a certain rich man, who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he was wasting his goods. "Wasted" is the same verb as found at Luke 15:13. The attitude of the two brethren to their father's estate, as set forth in the previous parable, introduced thoughts as to the proper relation which a man bears to his possessions, and these relations Jesus discusses in this parable. While no parable has been so diversely explained, yet the trend of interpretation has been in the main satisfactory. The Lord himself gives the key to the parable in Luke 16:8, which is that the children of light, in the conduct of their affairs, should emulate the wisdom and prudence of the children of the world in the conduct of their affairs. The difficulty of the parable is more apparent than real. The whole parabolic machinery is borrowed from worldly and irreligious life, where dishonest cunning and rascality are freely tolerated. The child of light is equally shrewd and wise in the management of his affairs; "using, however, only those means and methods which are permissible in his sphere of action". God's word, of course, nowhere teaches that sinful methods are permitted to him whom it calls to lead a sinless life. While the steward's conduct teaches valuable lessons, the steward himself is condemned as an "unrighteous" man in Luke 16:8.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-16.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Steward; a person intrusted with the care and management of property.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-16.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

Ver. 1. A certain rich man which had a steward] Masters had need look well, 1. To the choosing of their servants. Solomon saw Jeroboam, that he was industrious, and therefore, without any respect at all to his religion, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph, but to his singular disadvantage. 1 Kings 11:28; cf. Luke 12:3; Luke 2:1-52. To the using of them; most men make no other use of their servants than they do of their beasts; while they may have their bodies to do their service, they care not if their souls serve the devil. Hence they so often prove false and perfidious.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-16.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 16:1. And he said also unto his disciples, The maliciousness of the Pharisees, and the obstinacy with which they opposed every thing that was good, led our Saviour to expose their evil hearts and vile practices to public view. Wherefore, he did not content himself barely with justifying his receiving sinners, in order to convert them; but, while the scribes and Pharisees were present, he turned to his disciples, and spake the parable of the crafty steward, whom he proposed as an example of the dextrous improvement which worldly men make of such opportunities and advantages as fall in their way for advancing their interest. By this parable Jesus designed to excite his disciples to improve in like manner the advantages which they might enjoy, for advancing their own spiritual welfare; and particularly, to spend both their time and their money in promoting the conversion of sinners; which, of all the offices in their power, was the most acceptable to God, and the most beneficial to mankind.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-16.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Our Lord begins this chapter with the parable of the rich man's steward, who being called upon by his master to give up his accounts, in order to his being discharged from his office, casts about with himself what course he had best take to provide for his subsistence, when he should be turned out of his employment: at last he resolves upon this course; that he will go to his lord's debtors, and take a favorable account of them, writing down fifty for an hundred, that by this means he might oblige them to be kind to him in his necessity; this is the sum of the parable.

Now the scope and design of it is this: To exhort all men that are intrusted by God here with estates, honors, and authority, to make use of all these unto spiritual ends, the glory of God, and the benefit of others; for we are not proprietors and owners, but stewards only, of the manifold gifts of God, and must be accountable unto him for all at last; but in the mean time to use, employ, and improve our Lord's goods to the best advantage for ourselves, while we are entrusted with them; this is the scope of the parable.

Now the observations from it are these:

1. That all persons, even the highest and greatest of persons, are but stewards of the good things of God.

2. That our stewardship must and shall have an end; we shall not be always, no, we shall not be long, stewards.

3. That when we are put out of our stewardship, we must give an account of our carriage therein; and the greater our trust was, the heavier will our reckoning be.

4. That therefore it will be our highest prudence, while we are entrusted with our master's goods, so to use and improve them, as may make most for our comfort and advantage, when we give up our account.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-16.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

1.] ἔλεγεν δὲ καί—a continuation, I believe, of the foregoing:—certainly closely connected in subject with it, as is the second parable in this chapter also: see below.

πρὸς τ. μαθ., not to the Twelve only, but to the multitude of the disciples; and more immediately perhaps to the Publicans, whose reception by Him had been the occasion of this discourse. I say this because I believe them to hold a place, though not a principal or an exclusive one, in the application of the parable which follows.

ἄνθρ. τ. ἦν πλοίσ.…] The history in this parable is, in itself, purely worldly. The master is a υἱὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, as well as his steward: bear this in mind:—the whole parabolic machinery is from the standing-point of the children of this world.

In the interpretation, this rich man is the Almighty Possessor of all things. This is the only tenable view. Meyer, who supposes him to be Mammon (defending it by the consideration that dismissal from his service = being received into everlasting habitations, which it does not,—see below), is involved in inextricable difficulties further on. Olshausen’s view, that he = the Devil, the ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, will be found equally untenable. Schleiermacher’s, that the Romans are intended, whose stewards the Publicans were, and that the debtors = the Jews, hardly needs refuting;—certainly not more refuting, than any consistent exposition will of itself furnish.

οἰκονόμον, a general overlooker—very much what we understand by an agent, or ‘a man of business,’ or, in the larger sense, a steward. They were generally of old, slaves: but this man is a freeman, from Luke 16:3-4. This steward = especially the Publicans, but also all the disciples, i.e. every man in Christ’s Church. We are all God’s stewards, who commits to our trust His property:—each one’s office is of larger or smaller trust and responsibility, according to the measure entrusted to him. I say, especially the Publicans, because the Twelve, and probably others, had relinquished all and followed Christ, and therefore the application of the parable to them would not be so direct: and also because I cannot but put together with this parable, and consider as perhaps prompted by it or the report of it, the profession of Zacchæus, ch. Luke 19:8. Other interpretations have been—the Pharisees (Vitringa, and more recently Zyro, Theol. Stud. und Krit. for 1831)—but then the parable should have been addressed to them, which it was not,—and this view entirely fails in the application:—Judeas Iscariot (Bertholdt), of the vindication of which view I am not in possession, and therefore can only generally say, that it is perfectly preposterous:—Pontius Pilate &c. &c.

διεβλήθη—not wrongfully, which the word does not imply necessarily—but maliciously, which it does imply: see Daniel 6:24. The reason why it has come so generally to signify ‘wrongful accusation,’ is, that malicious charges are so frequently slanderous. The steward himself does not deny it.

Meyer (see above) in carrying out his view, would interpret this charge as an accusation by the Pharisees against the disciples that they wasted the goods of Mammon by entering the service of Christ:—but then (1) this other service never once appears on the face of the parable; and (2) surely it would hardly be within the bounds of decorum that this διασκορπίζειν should = the entering Christ’s service;—this would bring a train of false interpretations with it, and even hold up the ἀδικία of the steward, as such, for imitation.

διασκορπίζων—not that he had wasted (E. V.), but was wasting, his goods, ὡς διασκορπίζων = ὅτι διεσκόρπιζεν. So διέβαλλον ὡς λυμαινόμενον τὴν πολιτείαν, Xen. Hell. ii. 3. 23. In this charge (spiritually) we may see the real guilt of every man who is entrusted with the goods of our heavenly Father. We are all ‘scattering His goods.’ If some one is to be found to answer to οἱ διαβάλλοντες, the analogy of ὁ διάβολος, ‘the accuser of the brethren,’ is too striking to escape us.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-16.html. 1863-1878.

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

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)

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-16.html. 1832.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

We have in this Chapter our Lord's account of an unjust Steward; and Christ's Observation upon the History. The Relation, also, of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/luke-16.html. 1828.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 16:1. ΄αθητὰς, disciples) These disciples here are not inclusive of those Twelve who had left their all, and were rather to be accounted among those who were to be made friends of [with the mammon of unrighteousness, Luke 16:9]: but are those who had been publicans [ch. Luke 15:1]. And accordingly the Lord now speaks more weightily and sternly with the disciples, who had been publicans, than He had spoken for them (in their behalf) to others. The (prodigal) son, who has been recovered with joy, is not to have daily ‘music’ [in celebration of his recovery, ch. Luke 15:25, συμφωνίας], but is here taught to return to duty.— διεβλήθη) The verb has a middle force.(164) Information was given against the steward, and that on true grounds, whatever may have been the spirit that influenced the informer.— διασκορπίζων, [wasting] squandering) The Present, but including also the past. The same verb occurs, ch. Luke 15:13 [said of the prodigal, who “squandered [wasted] his substance with riotous living”]. The parable does not refer to all stewards: inasmuch as they rather, throughout the whole time of their stewardship, are bound to show fidelity, 1 Corinthians 4:2; but to those stewards who, in a long period of their stewardship, have mismanaged their business (abused their trust). The whole system of the world’s conduct, in the case of their external goods, is a squandering or waste, since their goods are not laid out (bestowed and deposited) in their proper places; although very many of the unjust [worldly stewards of God’s goods] seem to gather together [rather than to squander or scatter]. [For, indeed, whoever evinces alacrity in scattering abroad (in charity), he gathers together treasure in heaven.(165)—V. g.]

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-16.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

LUKE CHAPTER 15

Luke 16:1-13 The parable of the unjust steward.

Luke 16:14-18 Christ reproveth the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who

were covetous, and derided him.

Luke 16:19-31 The parable of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar.

Ver. 1-8. Hierom of old thought this parable was very obscure; and Julian and other apostates, together with some of the heathen philosophers, took occasion from it to reproach the doctrine of Christ, as teaching and commanding acts of unrighteousness. But there will appear no such difficulty in it, nor cause of reproach to Christ and his doctrine from it, if we consider what I have before hinted, that it is no more necessary to a parable that all the actions in it supposed be just and honest, than that all the parts of it be true in matter of fact, whether past or possible to be; for a parable is not designed to inform us in a matter of fact, but to describe to us our duty, under a fictitious representation: nor doth every part of a parable point at some correspondent duty to be done by us; but the main scope for which it is brought is principally to be attended to by us, and other pieces of duty which may be hinted to us, are to be judged of and proved not from the parable, but from other texts of holy writ where they are inculcated. The main things in which our Saviour seemeth desirous by this parable to instruct us, are,

1. That we are but stewards of the good things God lends us, and must give an account to our Master of them.

2. That being no more than stewards intrusted with some of our Master’s goods for a time, it is our highest prudence, while we have them in our trust, to make such a use of them as may be for our advantage when we give up our account.

Thus we shall hear our Lord in the following verses expounding his own meaning. To this purpose he supposed a rich man to have a steward, and to have received some accusation against him, as if he embezzled his master’s goods committed to his trust. Upon which he calleth him to account, and tells him that he should be his steward no longer. He supposes this steward to be one who had no other means of livelihood and subsistence than what his place afforded him, a than not used to labour, and too proud to beg. At length he fixed his resolution, to send for his master’s debtors, and to abate their obligations, making them debtors to his master for much less than indeed they were; by this means he probably hoped, that when he was turned off from his master he should be received by them. He supposes his master to have heard of it, and to have commended him, not for his honesty, but for his wit in providing for the time to come. What was knavery in this steward, is honest enough in those who are the stewards of our heavenly Lord’s goods, suppose riches, honours, parts, health, life, or any outward accommodation, viz. to use our Lord’s goods for the best profit and advantage to ourselves, during such time as we are intrusted with them. For though an earthly lord and his steward have particular divided interests, and he that maketh use of his lord’s goods for his own best advantage cannot at the same time make use of them for the best advantage of his master, yet the case is different betwixt our heavenly Lord and us. It hath pleased God so to twist the interest of his glory with our highest good, that no man can better use his Master’s goods for the advantage of his glory, than he who best useth them for the highest good, profit, and advantage to himself; nor doth any man better use them for his own interest, than he who best useth them for God’s glory. So as here the parable halteth, by reason of the disparity betwixt the things that are compared. And though the unjust steward could not be commended for the honesty, but only for the policy, of his action, yet we who are stewards of the gifts of God, in doing the like, that is, making use of our Master’s goods for our own best profit and advantage, may act not only wisely, but also honestly; and indeed Christ in this parable blames men for not doing so:

The children of this world (saith he) are wiser in their generation than the children of light. By the children of this world, he meaneth such as this steward was, men who regard not eternity or the concerns of their immortal souls, but only regard the things of this life, what they shall eat, or drink, or put on. By

the children of light, he meaneth such as live under the light of the gospel, and receive the common illumination of the gospel; though if we yet understand it more strictly, of those who are

translated out of darkness into marvellous light, it is too true, they are not so wise, and politic, and industrious for heaven, as worldly men are to obtain their ends in getting the world. He saith,

the men of this world are wiser in their generation, that is, in their kind, as to those things about which they exercise their wit and policy, than the children of God.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 16:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-16.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

управителя Управитель был достойным доверия слугой, обычно кем-то, рожденным у домочадцев, который был главным в ведении хозяйства и распределении съестных припасов в семье. Он обеспечивал пропитанием всех остальных слуг, заведуя, таким образом, запасами своего хозяина для благополучия всех. Он действовал как представитель своего хозяина с полной властью вести дело от его имени.

расточает имение его Его расточительность является нитью, связывающей эту притчу с предшествующей. Подобно младшему сыну в предыдущей притче, этот управитель был повинен в расточении имеющихся в его распоряжении средств. Однако, в отличие от блудного сына, он был достаточно благоразумным и сделал все, чтобы его расточительность не оставила его в будущем без средств и без друзей.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-16.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

There was a certain rich man; in this parable our Lord teaches the necessity of spiritual wisdom and forethought in providing for the world to come, by an example of worldly shrewdness. Its immediate reference is to the use which God requires us, as his stewards, to make of the property which he entrusts to us. But it includes all other gifts and opportunities of doing good.

Steward; one intrusted with property, to be used according to the will of its owner.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And he said also to the disciples, “There was a certain rich man, who had a steward, and the same was accused to him that he was wasting his goods.” ’

Note that the direct recipients of the parable are the disciples. The message it contains is therefore primarily for them. The story opens with the case of an absentee landlord whose steward or estate manager has been reported for mismanagement which has been to the lord’s financial disadvantage.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-16.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

§ 93. PARABLE OF THE UNJUST STEWARD; AND OF THE RICH MAN, Luke 16:1-31.

1.He said also—In addition to what he had said to the Pharisees in the last chapter, but probably on a later occasion. The disciples here mentioned are understood by most commentators to be not so much the twelve as the received sinners alluded to in the second verse of the last chapter; namely, the publicans and (Gentile) sinners converted under Christ’s preaching in the Jordanic regions of Peraea and Judea.

A steward—The steward is probationary man; the rich man whom he serves, is the God of life and providence. The removal from the stewardship is the fail or life-close at Luke 16:9.

Was accused—Disease and decay in due time charge the man with unfitness for his stewardship, and the God of life calls him to answer it.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-16.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The linguistic connection that ties this parable with its preceding context is the word "squander" (Gr. diaskorpizo, cf. Luke 15:13). This is the clue to the thematic connection, namely, the prudent use of money. The younger son in the parable of the lost son who represented the sinners whom Jesus received did not manage his inheritance well. He squandered, wasted, and dissipated it. The story that follows gives an example of a wise use of some money that a master entrusted to his prodigal servant.

As the story opens, the steward or agent (Gr. oikonomos) is in trouble for unwisely using his master"s money. He was behaving as the younger son in the previous parable. In Jesus" day wealthy landowners often turned over the management of some of their money to an agent whose responsibility was to invest it to make more money for the master. Today a stockbroker, a banker, or an investment counselor serves his or her clients in a similar way.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-16.html. 2012.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 16:1. : the same formula of transition as in Luke 14:12. The connects with , not with . , and points not to change of audience (disciples now, Pharisees before) but to continued parabolic discourse.— , disciples, quite general; might mean the Twelve, or the larger crowd of followers (Luke 14:25), or the publicans and sinners who came to Him (Luke 15:1, so Schleiermacher, etc.).— , was accused, here only in N.T., often in classics and Sept[133]; construed with dative here; also with or , with accusative. The verb implies always a hostile animus, often the accompaniment of false accusation, but not necessarily. Here the charge is assumed to be true.— , as squandering, that the charge; how, by fraud or by extravagant living, not indicated; the one apt to lead to the other.

[133] Septuagint.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-16.html. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Luke 16:1. And he also, &c. — To give a further check to the maliciousness of the Pharisees, and the obstinacy with which they opposed every thing that was good, he delivered, while they were still present, the parable of the crafty steward, whom he proposed as an example of the dexterous improvement which worldly men make of such opportunities and advantages as fall in their way for advancing their interest. By this parable, Jesus designed to excite his disciples to improve, in like manner, the advantages they might enjoy for advancing their own spiritual welfare; and particularly to spend their time and money in promoting the conversion of sinners, which, of all the offices in their power, was the most acceptable to God, and the most beneficial to man. He said also to his disciples — Not only to the scribes and Pharisees, to whom he had been hitherto speaking, but to all the younger as well as the elder brethren, to the returning prodigals, who were now his disciples. A certain rich man had a steward — To whom the care of his family, and all his domestic concerns, were committed: Christ here teaches all that are now in favour with God, particularly pardoned penitents, to behave wisely in what is committed to their trust. And the same was accused unto him, &c. — Some of the family, who had a real concern for their lord’s interest, observing the steward to be both profuse in his distributions, and negligent in taking care of the provisions of the family, thought fit to inform their lord, that he was wasting his goods. Dr. Whitby quotes Rab. D. Kimchi, on Isaiah 40:21, commenting as follows, “The fruits of the earth are like a table spread in a house; the owner of this house is God; man in this world is, as it were, the steward of the house, into whose hands his Lord hath delivered all his riches; if he behave himself well, he will find favour in the eyes of his Lord; if ill, he will remove him from his stewardship.” And thus, adds the doctor, “the scope of this parable seems to be this: that we are to look upon ourselves, not as lords of the good things of this life, so as to get and use them at our pleasure, but only as stewards, who must be faithful in the administration of them.”

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/luke-16.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

There was a certain rich man, &c. By this parable, our Saviour advises his disciples to accompany their penitential works with deeds of mercy to the poor. (Ven. Bede) --- There is a certain erroneous opinion, that obtains pretty generally amongst mankind, and which tends to increase crimes, and to lessen good works: and this is, the foolish persuasion that men are not accountable to any one, and that we can dispose as we please of the things in our possession. (St. John Chrysostom) --- Whereas we are here informed, that we are only the dispensers of another's property, viz. God's. (St. Ambrose) --- When, therefore, we employ it not according to the will of our Master, but fritter and squander it away in pleasure, and in the gratification of our passions, we are, beyond all doubt, unjust stewards. (Theophylactus) --- And a strict account will be required of what we have thus dissipated, by our common Lord and Master. If then we are only stewards of that which we possess, let us cast from our minds that mean superciliousness and pride which the outward splendour of riches is so apt to inspire; and let us put on the humility, the modesty of stewards, knowing well that to whom much is given, much will be required. Abundance of riches makes not a man great, but the dispensing them according to the will and intention of his employer. (Haydock) --- The intention of this parable, is to shew what use each one ought to make of the goods which God has committed to his charge. In the three former parables, addressed to the murmuring Scribes and Pharisees, our Saviour shews with what goodness he seeks the salvation and conversion of a sinner; in this, he teaches how the sinner, when converted, ought to correspond to his vocation, and preserve with great care the inestimable blessing of innocence. (Calmet) --- A steward, &c. The parable puts us in mind, that let men be ever so rich or powerful in this world, God is still their master; they are his servants, and must be accountable to him how they have managed his gifts and favours; that is, all things they have had in this world. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-16.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

also unto His disciples = unto His disciples also. Note the Structure R and R, p. 1479, which gives the scope of the two chapters: both peculiar to this gospel.

unto. Greek. pros. App-104.

a certain rich man. Compare Luke 16:19.

man. Greek. anthropos. App-123.

steward. A house manager, or agent, managing the house and servants, assigning the tasks, &c., of the latter. Compare Eliezer (Genesis 15:2; Genesis 24:2), Joseph (Genesis 39:4).

was accused. Greek. diaballomai. Occurs only here = to be struck through, implying malice, but not necessarily falsehood.

that he had wasted = as wasting.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-16.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

No indication is given of the time and occasion of these two parables-as usual in this portion of our Gospel. (See opening remarks at Luke 9:51.) But they appear to be in their natural order after the preceding, and a certain distant connection with them has been traced.

This parable has occasioned more discussion and diversity of opinion than all the rest. But judicious interpreters are now pretty much agreed as to its general import.

And he said also unto his disciples - not the Twelve exclusively, but His followers in the wider sense:

There was a certain rich man - denoting the Great Lord of all, "the most high God, Possessor of heaven and earth,"

Which had a steward, [ oikonomon (Greek #3623)] - the manager of his estate; representing all who have gifts divinely committed to their trust, and so answering pretty nearly to the "servants" in the parable of the Talents, to whom were committed their lord's "goods."

And the same was accused [ diebleethee (G1225)] unto him that he had wasted his goods, [ diaskorpizoon (Greek #1287)] - rather, 'was wasting his goods.' The word signifies to 'scatter,' and so to 'waste.' Information to this effect was lodged with his master.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XVI.

(1) There was a certain rich man, which had a steward.—There is, perhaps, no single parable that has been subjected to such various and discordant interpretations as this of the Unjust Steward. It seems best to give step by step what seems to be a true exposition of its meaning, and to reserve a survey of other expositions till they can be compared with this.

The word “steward” had, we must remember, been already used by our Lord in Luke 12:42, and had there pointed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, to the office of the Apostles and other ministers, as dispensers of divine truths, and perhaps also, of the means of grace. So St. Paul, whose language is, as we have seen in so many instances, always important in connection with St. Luke’s vocabulary, speaks of himself and his fellow-labourers as “stewards of the mysteries of God.” He has learnt, may we not say, from the parable, that “it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2). We start, then, with this clue. The Unjust Steward represents primarily the Pharisees and scribes in their teaching and ministerial functions. But though spoken in the hearing of the Pharisees, the parable was addressed, not to them, but “to the disciples.” And the reason of this is obvious. They, too, were called to be “stewards;” they, too, collectively and individually, would have to give an account of their stewardship. But if this is what the steward represents, then the rich man, like the “house-holder” in other parables, can be none else than God, who both appoints the stewards and calls them to account. In the further extension of the parable it is, of course, applicable to all who have any “goods” entrusted to them, any gifts and opportunities, any vocation and ministry in the great kingdom of God.

The same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.—(1) The Greek word for “was accused” commonly carries with it the idea of false, calumnious accusation. Probably, however, the idea connected with it, as seen in the word diabolos, or devil, which is derived from it, is that of malignant accusation, whether the charge were true or false. It is conceivable that it may have been purposely chosen to suggest the thought that the great Adversary was at once tempting the double-minded teachers to their life of hypocrisy, and exulting at their fall. If we ask why this was only suggested and not more directly expressed, as it would have been if some one accuser had been named, the answer is found in the fact that the one great Accuser has many mouth-pieces, diaboli acting under the diabolos (the Greek word stands for “false accusers” in Titus 2:3), and that there was no lack of such comments, more or less malevolent, on the inconsistencies of the professedly religious class. (2) There is an obvious purpose in using the same word, in the hearing of the same persons, as that which, in Luke 15:13, had described the excesses of the Prodigal Son. The Pharisees had heard that parable, and even if they had caught the bearing of the language which portrayed the character of the elder son, had flattered themselves that they were, at all events, free from the guilt of the younger. They had not “wasted their substance in riotous living.” Now they were taught that the “goods” committed to them might be wasted in other ways than by being “devoured” in company with “harlots.” They were guilty of that sin in proportion as they had failed to use what they had been entrusted with for the good of men and for God’s glory.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.
a certain
Matthew 18:23,24; 25:14-30
a steward
8:3; 12:42; Genesis 15:2; 43:19; 1 Chronicles 28:1; 1 Corinthians 4:1,2; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 4:10
wasted
19; 15:13,30; 19:20; Proverbs 18:9; Hosea 2:8; James 4:3
Reciprocal: Genesis 40:20 - lifted up;  Genesis 47:14 - Joseph brought;  2 Kings 12:15 - for they dealt;  Proverbs 21:20 - but;  Proverbs 28:20 - faithful;  Ecclesiastes 5:13 - riches;  Matthew 20:8 - unto;  Matthew 25:19 - reckoneth;  Matthew 25:29 - shall be taken;  John 6:12 - that nothing;  1 Corinthians 7:31 - use;  Colossians 4:1 - ye

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-16.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

The leading object of this parable is, to show that we ought to deal kindly and generously with our neighbors; that, when we come to the judgment seat of God, we may reap the fruit of our liberality. Though the parable appears to be harsh and far-fetched, yet the conclusion makes it evident, that the design of Christ was nothing else than what I have stated. And hence we see, that to inquire with great exactness into every minute part of a parable is an absurd mode of philosophizing. Christ does not advise us to purchase by large donations the forgiveness of fraud, and of extortion, and of wasteful expenditure, and of the other crimes associated with unfaithful administration. But as all the blessings which God confers upon us are committed by Him to our administration, our Lord now lays down a method of procedure, which will protect us against being treated with rigor, when we come to render our account.

They who imagine that alms are a sufficient compensation for sensuality and debauchery, do not sufficiently consider, that the first injunction given us is, to live in sobriety and temperance; and that the next is, that the streams which flow to us come from a pure fountain. It is certain that no man is so frugal, as not sometimes to waste the property which has been entrusted to him; and that even those who practice the most rigid economy are not entirely free from the charge of unfaithful stewardship. Add to this, that there are so many ways of abusing the gifts of God, that some incur guilt in one way, and some in another. I do not even deny, that the very consciousness of our own faulty stewardship ought to be felt by us as an additional excitement to kind actions.

But we ought to have quite another object in view, than to escape the judgment of God by paying a price for our redemption; and that object is, first, that seasonable and well-judged liberality may have the effect of restraining and moderating unnecessary expenses; and, secondly, that our kindness to our brethren may draw down upon us the mercy of God. It is very far from being the intention of Christ to point out to his disciples a way of escape, when the heavenly Judge shall require them to give their account; but he warns them to lose no time in guarding against the punishment which will await their cruelty, if they are found to have swallowed up the gifts of God, and to have paid no attention to acts of beneficence. (297) We must always attend to this maxim, that

with what measure a man measures, it shall be recompensed to him again,
(
Matthew 7:2.)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-16.html. 1840-57.