Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 16:23

In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abraham;   Dead (People);   Death;   Hades;   Hell;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Rich, the;   Righteous;   Sorrow;   Torments;   Wicked (People);   Worldliness;   Scofield Reference Index - Death;   Hell;   Parables;   Summary;   Thompson Chain Reference - Accumulation of Wealth;   Earthly;   Eternal;   Everlasting;   Future State of the Wicked;   Future, the;   Hades;   Hell;   Poverty-Riches;   Punishment;   Riches, Earthly;   Torment;   Treasures, Earthly;   Wealth;   Words of Christ;   The Topic Concordance - Damnation;   Wealth;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Death, Eternal;   Death of the Wicked, the;   Happiness of the Wicked, the;   Hell;   Parables;   Punishment of the Wicked, the;   Riches;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Hell;   Lazarus;   Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Eschatology;   Food;   Government;   Justice;   Lazarus;   Lending;   Luke, gospel of;   Sheol;   Soul;   Wealth;   Work;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Abraham's Bosom;   Death, Mortality;   Descent into Hell (Hades);   Eternal Punishment;   Ethics;   Hades;   Hell;   Hospitality;   Immortality;   Intermediate State;   Jesus Christ;   Sheol;   Statute;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Heaven;   Intermediate State;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Soul sleep;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Abraham's Bosom;   Hades;   Lazarus;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Abraham's Bosom;   Bosom;   Divination;   Eleazar;   Elisha;   Hell;   Lazarus;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Abraham's Bosom;   Dives;   Gods, Pagan;   Hell;   Intermediate State;   Lazarus;   Leprosy;   Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Wrath, Wrath of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Descent into Hades;   Ethics;   Gulf;   Lazarus;   Parable;   Sheol;   Sin;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Abraham;   Almsgiving ;   Beggar;   Bosom ;   Church (2);   Common Life;   Demon, Demoniacal Possession, Demoniacs;   Discourse;   Dives;   Ebionism (2);   Eschatology (2);   Eye (2);   Hades;   Heart;   Hell ;   Judgment;   Lazarus;   Man (2);   Parable;   Property (2);   Reality;   Restoration;   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Sympathy;   Torment (2);   Wealth (2);   Winter ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Abraham's Bosom;   Bosom;   Hell;   Lazarus ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Lazarus;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Hell;   Laz'arus;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Hell;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abraham's Bosom;   Gulf;   Hades;   Hell;   Immortal;   Lazarus;   Parable;   Person of Christ;   Punishment, Everlasting;   Wealth;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Abraham's bosom;   Accubation;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abraham's Bosom;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for September 4;   Every Day Light - Devotion for December 22;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

In hell - The word here translated hell (“Hades”) means literally a dark, obscure place; the place where departed spirits go, but especially the place where “wicked” spirits go. See the Job 10:21-22 notes; Isaiah 14:9 note. The following circumstances are related of it in this parable:

1.It is “far off” from the abodes of the righteous. Lazarus was seen “afar off.”

2.It is a place of torment.

3.There is a great gulf fixed between that and heaven, Luke 16:26.

4.The suffering is great. It is represented by “torment” in a flame, Luke 16:24.

5.There will be no escape from it, Luke 16:26.

The word “hell” here means, therefore, that dark, obscure, and miserable place, far from heaven, where the wicked shall be punished forever.

He lifted up his eyes - A phrase in common use among the Hebrews, meaning “he looked,” Genesis 13:10; Genesis 18:2; Genesis 31:10; Deuteronomy 8:3; Luke 6:20.

Being in torment - The word “torment” means “pain, anguish” Matthew 4:24; particularly the pain inflicted by the ancients in order to induce people to make confession of their crimes. These “torments” or tortures were the keenest that they could inflict, such as the rack, or scourging, or burning; and the use of the word here denotes that the sufferings of the wicked can be represented only by the extremest forms of human suffering.

And seeth Abraham … - This was an aggravation of his misery. One of the first things that occurred in hell was to look up, and see the poor man that lay at his gate completely happy. What a contrast! Just now he was rolling in wealth, and the poor man was at his gate. He had no expectation of these sufferings: now they have come upon him, and Lazarus is happy and forever fixed in the paradise of God. It is more, perhaps, than we are authorized to infer, that the wicked will “see” those who are in paradise. That they will “know” that they are there is certain; but we are not to suppose that they will be so near together as to be seen, or as to make conversation possible. These circumstances mean that there will be “a separation,” and that the wicked in hell will be conscious that the righteous, though on earth they were poor or despised, will be in heaven. Heaven and hell will be far from each other, and it will be no small part of the misery of the one that it is far and forever removed from the other.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Here Jesus departed from the Jewish views which reckoned the diverse places of the just and the wicked as separated by only a handbreadth. "Afar off," as here, and "a great gulf fixed" (Luke 16:26) show that the separation is extensive.

Being in torments ... Basic teachings from this parable include the state of felicity for the righteous and the state of torment for the wicked, with no time-lapse whatever between death and the entering of the soul into one or the other of the Hadean compartments. The wicked life will not wait one second after death to begin reaping the rewards of unrighteousness; and yet, the eternal reward for both classes will not actually begin until the judgment.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "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 in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments,.... Which may design the place of torment, and the miserable state the Scribes and Pharisees, as all wicked men, enter immediately into upon death, Psalm 9:17 who in their lifetime were blind, and are called blind guides, blind watchmen, blind leaders of the blind, and who were given up to judicial blindness and hardness of heart; but in hell their eyes are opened, and they see their mistakes about the Messiah, and find themselves in torments, under dreadful gnawings, and remorse of conscience; and having a terrible sensation of divine wrath, their worm dies not, and their fire is not quenched: or this may regard the vengeance of God on the Jews, at the destruction of Jerusalem; when a fire was kindled against their land, and burned to the lowest hell; and consumed the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains; and the whole land became brimstone, salt, and burning; and they were rooted out of it in anger, wrath, and great indignation; see Deuteronomy 29:23 or rather, the dreadful calamities which came upon them in the times of Adrian at Bither; when their false Messiah Bar Cochab was taken and slain, and such multitudes of them were destroyed in the most miserable mannerF26Vid. Buxtorf. Lex. Talmud. col. 372. , when that people, who before had their eyes darkened, and a spirit of slumber and stupidity fallen upon them, in those calamities began to be under some convictions:

and seeth Abraham afar off: the covenant of circumcision given to him, and to them his natural seed, now of no use to them; their descent from him, of which they boasted, and in which they trusted, now of no avail; and him in the kingdom of heaven, and themselves thrust out; see Luke 13:28.

And Lazarus in his bosom; they now found the Messiah was come, and was gone to heaven, whither they could not come, John 7:33. The Jews are convinced that the Messiah is born, though not revealed; and they sometimes confess, that he was born the same day Jerusalem was destroyed; and sometimes they say, he sits at the gates of Rome among the lepers, and at other times, that he is in the walks of paradiseF1Synagog. Jud. c. 50. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 1. Aben Ezra in Cant. vii. 5. T. Hieros Beracot, fol. 5. 1. . This is said in agreement with the notions of the Jews, that wicked men will see the righteous in happiness, and themselves in torment; by which the latter will be aggravated, to which the allusion is; for they sayF2Tzeror Hammor, fol. 125. 3. ,

"the gates of paradise are fixed over against the gates of hell, so that they can see the righteous in rest, and themselves in distress.'

Copyright Statement
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-16.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And in hell i he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

(i) Heavenly and spiritual things are expressed and set forth using language fit for our senses.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-16.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

in hell — not the final place of the lost (for which another word is used), but as we say “the unseen world.” But as the object here is certainly to depict the whole torment of the one and the perfect bliss of the other, it comes in this case to much the same.

seeth Abraham — not God, to whom therefore he cannot cry [Bengel].

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "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

23. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

[He seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus.] Instead of commentary, take another parable: "There are wicked men that are coupled together in this world. But one of them repents before death; the other doth not: so the one is found standing in the assembly of the just; the other in the assembly of the wicked. The one seeth the other, [this agrees with the passage now before us] and saith, 'Woe! and alas! here is accepting of persons in this thing: he and I robbed together, committed murder together; and now he stands in the congregation of the just, and I in the congregation of the wicked.' They answer him, 'O thou most foolish amongst mortals that are in the world! Thou wert abominable, and cast forth for three days after thy death, and they did not lay thee in the grave: the worm was under thee, and the worm covered thee: which when this companion of thine came to understand, he became a penitent. It was in thy power also to have repented, but thou didst not.' He saith unto them, 'Let me go now and become a penitent,' But they say, 'O thou foolishest of men, dost thou not know that this world in which thou art is like the sabbath, and the world out of which thou camest is like the evening of the sabbath? If thou dost not provide something on the evening of the sabbath, what wilt thou eat on the sabbath day? Dost thou not know that the world out of which thou camest is like the land, and the world in which thou now art is like the sea? If a man make no provision on land for what he should eat at sea, what will he have to eat?' He gnashed his teeth and gnawed his own flesh."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-16.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

In Hades. The abode of departed spirits, and to the wicked, a place of punishment.

Being in torments. His wealth has failed him; his good things have departed.

Seeth Abraham... and Lazarus. A proof of recognition beyond the grave.

Afar off. Widely apart in condition, character, and space.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-16.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

In Hades (εν τωι αιδηιen tōi Hāidēi). See note on Matthew 16:18 for discussion of this word. Lazarus was in Hades also for both Paradise (Abraham‘s bosom) and Gehenna are in the unseen world beyond the grave.

In torments (en basanois). The touchstone by which gold and other metals were tested, then the rack for torturing people. Old word, but in the N.T. only here, Luke 16:28; Matthew 4:24.

Sees (εν βασανοιςhorāi). Dramatic present indicative. The Jews believed that Gehenna and Paradise were close together. This detail in the parable does not demand that we believe it. The picture calls for it.

From afar (οραιapo makrothen). Pleonastic use of απο μακροτενapo as αποmakrothen means from afar.

Copyright Statement
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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "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

Hell

Rev., Hades. Where Lazarus also was, but in a different region. See on Matthew 16:18.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "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 in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

He seeth Abraham afar off — And yet knew him at that distance: and shall not Abraham's children, when they are together in paradise, know each other!

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-16.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And in Hades1 he lifted up his eyes, being in torments2, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom3.

  1. And in Hades. Hades (Greek) or Sheol (Hebrew) was the name given to the abode of the dead between death and the resurrection.

  2. He lifted up his eyes, being in torments. In it the souls of the wicked are in torment (Revelation 14:10), and those of the righteous enjoy a paradise (Luke 23:43).

  3. And seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. The joys of Paradise were conceived of as those of a feast, and the expression "Abraham's bosom" is taken from the custom of reclining on couches at feasts. As a guest leaned upon his left arm, his neighbor on his left might easily lean upon his bosom. Such a position of respect to the master of the house was one of special honor, and indicated great intimacy (John 1:18; John 13:23). What higher honor or joy could the Jew conceive of than such a condition of intimacy and fellowship with Abraham, the great founder of their race (Matthew 8:11)?

Copyright Statement
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.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-16.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Scofield's Reference Notes

hell

(Greek - ᾅδης, "the unseen world," is revealed as the place of departed human spirits between death and resurrection). The word occurs, Matthew 11:23; Matthew 16:18; Luke 10:15; Acts 2:27; Acts 2:31; Revelation 1:18; Revelation 6:8; Revelation 20:13; Revelation 20:14 and is the equivalent of the O.T. "sheol." (See Scofield "Habakkuk 2:5"). The Septuagint invariably renders sheol by hades.

Summary:

(1) Hades before the ascension of Christ. The passages in which the word occurs make it clear that hades was formerly in two divisions, the abodes respectively of the saved and of the lost. The former was called "paradise" and "Abraham's bosom." Both designations were Talmudic, but adopted by Christ in Luke 16:22; Luke 23:43. The blessed dead were with Abraham, they were conscious and were "comforted" Luke 16:25. The believing malefactor was to be, that day, with Christ in "paradise." The lost were separated from the saved by a "great gulf fixed" Luke 16:26. The representative man of the lost who are now in hades is the rich man of Luke 16:19-31. He was alive, conscious, in the full exercise of his faculties, memory, etc., and in torment.

(2) Hades since the ascension of Christ. So far as the unsaved dead are concerned, no change of their place or condition is revealed in Scripture. At the judgment of the great white throne, hades will give them up, they will be judged, and will pass into the lake of fire Revelation 20:13; Revelation 20:14. But a change has taken place which affects paradise. Paul was "caught up to the third heaven.. .into paradise" 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. Paradise, therefore, is now in the immediate presence of God. It is believed that Ephesians 4:8-10 indicates the time of the change. "When he ascended up on high he led a multitude of captives." It is immediately added that He had previously "descended first into the lower parts of the earth," i.e. the paradise division of Hades. During the present church-age the saved who died are "absent from the body, at home with the Lord." The wicked dead in hades, and the righteous dead "at home with the Lord," alike await the resurrection; Job 19:25; 1 Corinthians 15:52. (See Scofield "Matthew 5:22").

Copyright Statement
These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
Bibliographical Information
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Luke 16:23". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/luke-16.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Ver. 23. Being in torments] Having punishment without pity, misery without mercy, sorrow without succour, crying without compassion, mischief without measure, torments without end, and past imagination.

And Lazarus in his bosom] Which more vexed him than his own torments, saith Chrysostom.

He lifted up his eyes] So often lifted up (saith one) in a false devotion.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-16.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 16:23. In hell, &c.— In the unseen world, as we have frequently observed is the meaning of the Greek word αδης . Both the rich man and Lazarus were in hades, though in different regions of it.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-16.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

23. ἐν τ. ᾅδῃ] Hades, שְׁאוֹל, is the abode of all disembodied spirits till the resurrection; not, the place of torment,—much less hell, as understood commonly, in the E. V.

Lazarus was also in Hades, but separate from Dives; one on the blissful, the other on the baleful side. It is the gates of Hades, the imprisonment of death, which shall not prevail against the Church (Matthew 16:18);—the Lord holds the key of Hades, (Revelation 1:18);—Himself went into the same Hades, of which Paradise is a part.

ἐν βασάνοις—not eternal condemnation;—for the judgment has not yet taken place; men can only be judged in the body, for the deeds done in the body:—but, the certainty and anticipation of it.

ἐπάρας, not necessarily to a higher place, though that may be meant:—see reff.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-16.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 16:23. ᾳδη, hell) [‘inferno’]. Neither Abraham nor Lazarus were ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ, although the death and descent of Christ [to hell] had not yet taken place.

ᾅδης and Gehenna differ,

As a whole, and a part differ;

As a thing present, and a thing about to be, viz. after the day of Judgment;

As a receptacle of individuals, and a receptacle of all the bad without exception.

ᾅδης is much wider in its meaning, than Gehenna, Comp. Genesis 37:35 [“I will go down into the grave ( εἰς ᾅδου, to Hades) unto my son mourning”], where certainly Jacob is not expressing despair as to[the salvation of] his soul or that of Joseph [but merely his desire to follow Joseph to the unseen world of Hades]. In the first distinction which we have given between the words, ᾅδης itself and Gehenna itself are had regard to; in the third, it is the dwellers in each that are regarded. Abraham was ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ in the widest sense of the term, as ᾅδῃς is used in the passage above quoted from Gen. But in Luke ᾅδῃς and the bosom of Abraham are opposed to one another.— ἐπᾴρας, having lifted up) A lamentable spectacle, presenting itself from the abyss.—[ ἐν βασάνοις, in torments) And this, at a long interval before the last day; nay even preceding the death of Christ.—V. g.]— τὸν ἀβραὰμ, Abraham) but not God Himself. For which reason also he cannot cry unto God, Have mercy on me.— κόλποις) The plural expressing the space from the breast to the knees.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". 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

Ver. 23,24. Kai en tw adh, And in hell. The world hath been filled with disputes about the true signification of the word adhv, which is here translated hell. The most probably true notion of it is, that it signifies, the state of the dead, both of the dead body, and so it often signifieth the grave, and of the departed soul. A very learned man saith, that if he mistakes not, this is the only text in Scripture in which by it is to be understood the place of torments. The Hebrew word which is translated by this, far more often signifying the place of the blessed, whither the saints and patriarchs went when they died, than the place whither sinners went; but Luke 16:24 makes it appear, that here it signifies hell, properly so called, as it imports the place of the damned. We must understand our Saviour in this whole diatupwsiv to speak to us figuratively, that by things which we understand we might comprehend spiritual things. Heaven and hell are at too great a distance for souls in each to discourse one with another: neither have souls any eyes to lift up. We are by this taught:

1. That as the souls of good men, when they leave their bodies, go into a state of eternal bliss, where are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and enjoy a felicity which we are not able to express, but is set out to us under the notion of Abraham’s bosom, to let us know that it is a place of rest, and communion with saints, and the same felicity which Abraham the friend of God doth enjoy: so the souls of wicked men, when they leave their bodies, shall go into a place of torments, the greatness of which being such as we are not able to conceive, they are expressed to us under the notion of being tormented by fire.

2. That it will be a great part of the misery of damned souls, to understand those to be in a state of happiness whom they in this life have scorned, despised, and abused, and, it may be, have been instruments to hasten them to those blessed mansions.

3. That there will come a time when the proudest sinners will be glad of the help of the meanest saints, if they could obtain it. Father Abraham, ( saith the rich man), send Lazarus, that Lazarus whom when alive I suffered to lie at my gate full of sores, and would not relieve.

4. That the state of the damned will be void of the least degrees of comfort and satisfaction. The rich man desireth but a cooling of his tongue with so much water as could be brought upon the tip of Lazarus’s finger.

5. That the tongue is a member, the abuse of which will in another life lie very heavy upon lost souls.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 16:23". 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

в аде По-гречески «гадес» – преисподняя. Вероятность того, что богатого не допустят на небо, видимо, возмутила фарисеев (см. пояснение к Мф. 19:24); особенно унизительной была мысль о том, что нищему, который ел объедки с его стола, было даровано почетное место рядом с Авраамом. Слово «гадес» в греческом означало место обитания умерших. В Септуагинте оно использовалось для перевода еврейского слова «шеол», которое относилось к царству умерших вообще и не проводило в обязательном порядке различие между праведными и нечестивыми душами. Однако, в новозаветном применении ад всегда относится к месту пребывания нечестивых до решения последнего суда. Использованные Иисусом образы соответствуют общепринятому ошибочному раввинскому мнению, что у «шеола» было две части – одна для душ праведников, а другая для душ нечестивых, – разделенные непреодолимой пропастью. Однако нет никакого основания предполагать, как думают некоторые, что «лоно Авраамово» говорило о временном заключении душ ветхозаветных святых, которые были перенесены на небеса только после того, как Христос искупил их грехи. Писание постоянно учит, что дух умершего праведника сразу идет в присутствие Бога (ср. 23:43; 2Кор. 5:8; Флп. 1:23). И присутствие Моисея и Илии на горе Преображения (9:30) опровергает мнение, что их держали взаперти в отделении «шеола», до тех пор, пока Христос не завершил Свое дело.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-16.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

23.In hell—In hades, or the great unseen. That is, the invisible place or region of disembodied spirits. While the body of man is in the grave, his soul is in hades. So taught the Jewish Church; and Jesus here confirms the teaching. But hades, it is said, consists of two regions, namely, Paradise, or Abraham’s bosom, the abode of the righteous; and Tartarus, the abode of the wicked. But though hades is thus the abode of the blessed spirits, still it is overshadowed by the power of death, and the happiness of the blessed is incomplete until the resurrection. And because it is thus under the power of death, and is the place of detention, even for the good, the word hades is sometimes, as here, used as the proper name of the compartment of the wicked only. But when the day of resurrection shall come, the righteous shall, after the judgment, ascend body and soul to heaven, and the wicked be cast into the lake of fire, gehenna, or the second death. And death and hades shall be merged into the same lake of fire. Revelation 20:14.

These views of future retribution, more or less clearly, have been taught among all the nations of the earth; as if they were written by the finger of God upon the human heart. It is not, indeed, possible in the present parable to draw the line between the figurative and the literal. The conversation between the two parties embraces doubtless the truths it suggests in dialogue form. But the true conclusion is, that the Great Teacher here opens as true a picture of the world beyond death as our present inexperienced minds can receive, conceive, and truly understand. The commentator who by a natural unforced construction arrives at the most literal interpretation, attains probably the nearest to the essential if not to the physical truth.

Eyes—But has the disembodied spirit eyes, tongue, finger, etc.? We answer, a spirit possesses sight; for even in life it is the soul that sees, and the eye is but its instrument. So also it is the soul that hears, feels, tastes, and smells, through its sensorial organs. And so our entire present sensitive system is in the human form, extending from within to the surface of the body. Our sensitive skin is a dress of and in the human form; our bone system is a skeleton in human form; and so our nerve system and blood system are so many outline sketches of the same figure. The sensible soul, extending its power and apparent presence, is limited by the skin to the same shape. How know we that it carries the same limitations and the same shape when emancipated from the outward world?

He lifted up his eyes— No angel bearers carry him to hades; but, as if the transition were instant, as soon as he closes the eyes of the body upon earth, he opens those of the soul in hell.

Being in torments—The word here rendered torments is used in Matt, Matthew 4:24 and signifies bodily pangs from disease. The rich man is not in the final hell, but in the place of intermediate woe.

And seeth AbrahamThe Jewish Church believed Abraham to be the master-spirit of the blessed Israelite dead. “In the future world,” says one of their writers, “Abraham will sit at the gate of hell; nor will he permit a circumcised man to descend thither.” Jesus teaches that no Abrahamic descent will save a man from woe.

Afar off—The Jews believed that Paradise and Hades were so near as to be in sight.

And Lazarus in his bosom—We are not to figure here one man as in another’s bosom; but both as reclining at table, in such a way as that the guest next to the host reclines his head on the bosom of the host.

In order to unfold the lesson of the parable, our Lord uses the conception of an actual banquet, with the actual Abraham at the head and Lazarus next. The lesson is, that the poorest being on earth may be exalted by the purest piety to the highest place in Paradise. He sits not only at the banquet, but after his first arrival he at least takes his turn in occupying the highest seat. Yet more truly we may say that Lazarus represents humble Christianity on its way to eternal glory; while Abraham represents the ancestral Church of past ages. The humble latter-day Church joins the eternal banquet and reclines in the bosom of the Church that has gone before.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-16.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 16:23. And in hell, Greek, ‘Hades,’ i.e., in the state or place of departed spirits; which must not be confounded with Gehenna, the final state of eternal punishment, since in this case it includes ‘Abraham’s bosom.’

He lifted up his eyes. Either he looked up to a higher place, or he now became fully conscious.

Being in torments. The rich man was in a place of punishment; for the whole parable turns on this point. Physical torment is not implied, save so far as it is necessary for the figurative representation. The rich man’s body was buried.

Seeth Abraham afar off. According to the Jewish notion, Paradise and Gehenna are so situated that one is visible from the other. A literal sense is not to be pressed, any more than in the previous part of the verse. The recognition of Abraham points to the fact that descent from Abraham, even when acknowledged in that state after death (Luke 16:25), is in itself of no avail.

In his besom. Strictly figurative.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-16.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Luke 16:23. And in hell εν τω αδη, in hades; that is, in the unseen, or invisible world. It must be observed, that both the rich man and Lazarus were in hades, though in different regions of it: he lifted up his eyes, being in torments — Our Saviour adapts this circumstance of the parable, says Lightfoot, to the popular opinion of the Jews. The rabbins say, that the place of torment and paradise are so situated, that what is done in the one may be seen from the other. “Because the opinions, as well as the language, of the Greeks,” says Dr. Macknight, “had by this time made their way into Judea, some imagine that our Lord had their fictions about the abodes of departed souls in his eye when he formed this parable: but the argument is not conclusive. At the same time it must be acknowledged, that his descriptions of those things are not drawn from the writings of the Old Testament; but have a remarkable affinity to the descriptions which the Grecian poets have given of them. They, as well as our Lord, represent the abodes of the blessed as lying contiguous to the regions of the damned, and separated only by a great impassable river, or deep gulf, in such a sort that the ghosts could talk with one another from its opposite banks. In the parable, souls, whose bodies were buried, know each other, and converse together, as if they had been imbodied. In like manner, the Pagans introduce departed souls talking together, and represent them as having pains and pleasures analogous to what we feel in this life. It seems, they thought the shades [spirits] of the dead had an exact resemblance to their bodies. The parable says, the souls of wicked men are tormented in flames; the Grecian mythologists tell us they lie in a river of fire, where they suffer the same torments they would have suffered while alive had their bodies been burned.” It will not, however, at all follow from these resemblances, that the parable is formed on the Grecian mythology, or that our Lord approved of what the common people thought or spake concerning those matters, agreeably to the notions and language of the Greeks. “In parabolical discourses provided the doctrines inculcated are strictly true, the terms in which they are inculcated may be such as are most familiar to the ears of mankind, and the images made use of such as they are best acquainted with.” What we are here taught with certainty is, that as the souls of the faithful, immediately after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity; so, unholy and unsanctified souls, immediately after they are forced from the pleasures of the flesh by death, are in misery and torment, ceaseless, remediless, and endless torment, to be much increased and completed at the general resurrection. And seeth Abraham afar off — And yet knew him at that distance; and shall not Abraham’s children, when they are together in paradise, know each other? and Lazarus in his bosom — Having a view of the seats of the blessed at a distance, the first object that he beheld was Lazarus, the beggar, (who had so often been laid naked, and hungry, and covered with sores, at his gate,) sitting next to Abraham, in the chief place of felicity. In consequence of which, doubtless, the stings of his conscience were greatly multiplied, and he was racked with envy and self-accusing reproaches.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/luke-16.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

hell. Greek. Hades = the grave. See App-131.

lift up = having lifted up. Compare similar imagery in Judges 9:7-15. Isaiah 14:9-11.

being = being there. See note on "were", Luke 16:14.

torments. Greek. basanos. Occurs only here, Luke 16:28, and Matthew 4:24.

afar off = from (Greek. apo. App-104.) afar.

seeth . . . Lazarus. The Pharisees taught that in life two men may be "coupled together", and one sees the other after death, and conversations take place. See Lightfoot, quoted above.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "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 in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

And in hell he lifted up his eyes, [ en (Greek #1722) too (Greek #3588) hadee (Greek #86)] - not the final region of the lost, for which another word is used [ geenna (Greek #1067)] (Mark ;45:47, etc.), but what we call 'the unseen world.' Yet since the object here is certainly to depict the whole torment of the one and the perfect bliss of the other, it comes in this case to much the same thing.

Being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off - quite beyond his reach, yet not beyond his view.

And Lazarus in his bosom.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

23. He was In great pain in Hades. Not because he was rich [Abraham was rich], but because he failed to use it shrewdly. Note also that both were Jews, and therefore both people of God. The difference between them in this parable is how they used what they had.

 

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/luke-16.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(23) And in hell.—The Greek word is Hades, not Gehenna; the unseen world of the dead, not the final prison of the souls of the lost. (See Note on Matthew 5:22.) It lies almost on the surface of the parable that it describes an earlier stage of the life after death than that in Matthew 25:31-46. There is no mention here of the Advent of the Judge. As far as the parable itself is concerned, there is nothing to exclude the thought that the torments might have in part the character of a discipline as well as of retribution.

In torments.—The Greek word was applied originally to the test or touchstone of metals, then to the torture to which men had recourse as the one sure test of the veracity of witnesses, than to torments generally. The nature of the “torments” here is suggested by the “flame” of the next verse, but that word has to be taken with all its symbolic associations, and does not necessarily imply the material element of fire. (See Notes on Mark 9:43-49.) What is meant is that there shall be for the soul of the evil-doer, when brought face to face with that holiness of God which is as a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29), an anguish as intolerable as the touch of earthly flame is to the nerves of the mortal body. The thought is expressed with great beauty in Dr. Newman’s Dream of Gerontius:—

“And these two pains, so counter and so keen,—

The longing for Him, when thou seest Him not;

The shame of self at thought of seeing Him,—

Will be thy veriest, sharpest purgatory.”

Seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.—Here again we are in a region of symbolic imagery, under which we discern the truth that the souls of those who have yielded to selfish indulgence will discover after death that those whom they have scorned and neglected during their life are admitted, if worthy of admission, to the enjoyment of a rest and refreshment from which they themselves are, by their own act and deed, excluded.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
in hell
Psalms 9:17; 16:10; 49:15; 86:13; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:24; Isaiah 14:9,15; Matthew 5:22,29; 18:9; 23:33; 1 Corinthians 15:55; *marg:; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:13,14
being
28; 8:28; Matthew 8:29; Revelation 14:10,11; 20:10
seeth
13:28,29; Matthew 8:11,12
Reciprocal: Genesis 3:7 - And the;  1 Samuel 28:15 - therefore;  1 Kings 13:31 - lay my bones;  2 Kings 6:20 - opened;  Job 3:19 - The small;  Job 4:21 - excellency;  Job 11:20 - their hope;  Job 14:10 - where is he;  Job 14:22 - his soul;  Job 21:20 - see;  Psalm 49:9 - That he;  Psalm 49:19 - He;  Psalm 73:17 - then;  Psalm 112:10 - wicked;  Proverbs 10:2 - Treasures;  Proverbs 10:28 - but;  Proverbs 19:10 - Delight;  Ecclesiastes 2:1 - I will;  Ecclesiastes 3:21 - knoweth;  Ecclesiastes 5:13 - riches;  Isaiah 26:11 - they shall;  Isaiah 33:14 - everlasting;  Jeremiah 3:2 - Lift;  Ezekiel 32:21 - strong;  Joel 1:5 - for;  Zephaniah 1:18 - their silver;  Matthew 12:32 - it shall not;  Matthew 13:42 - cast;  Luke 3:8 - We;  Luke 12:20 - God;  Luke 15:17 - when;  Luke 16:25 - remember;  John 1:18 - in the;  Acts 2:27 - leave;  Romans 4:12 - to them;  1 Timothy 6:7 - certain;  Revelation 11:12 - and their

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-16.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

23.And, lifting up, his eyes in hell. Though Christ is relating a history, yet he describes spiritual things under figures, which he knew to be adapted to our senses. Souls have neither fingers nor eyes, and are not liable to thirst, nor do they hold such conversations among themselves as are here described to have taken place between Abraham and the rich man; but our Lord has here drawn a picture, which represents the condition of the life to come according to the measure of our capacity. The general truth conveyed is, that believing souls, when they have left their bodies, lead a joyful and blessed life out of this world, and that for the reprobate there are prepared dreadful torments, which can no more be conceived by our minds than the boundless glory of the heavens. As it is only in a small measure—only so far as we are enlightened by the Spirit of God—that we taste by hope the glory promised to us, which far exceeds all our senses, let it be reckoned enough that the inconceivable vengeance of God, which awaits the ungodly, is communicated to us in an obscure manner, so far as is necessary to strike terror into our minds.

On these subjects the words of Christ give us slender information, and in a manner which is fitted to restrain curiosity. The wicked are described as fearfully tormented by the misery which they feel; as desiring some relief, but cut off from hope, and thus experiencing a double torment; and as having their anguish increased by being compelled to remember their crimes, and to compare the present blessedness of believers with their own miserable and lost condition. In connection with this a conversation is related, as if persons who have no intercourse with each other were supposed to talk together. When the rich man says, Father Abraham, this expresses an additional torment, that he perceives, when it is too late, that he is cut off from the number of the children of Abraham

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:23". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-16.html. 1840-57.