Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 16:28

for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abraham;   Dead (People);   Death;   Hell;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Torments;   Wicked (People);   Thompson Chain Reference - Accumulation of Wealth;   Earthly;   Poverty-Riches;   Riches, Earthly;   Treasures, Earthly;   Wealth;   The Topic Concordance - Damnation;   Wealth;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Parables;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Luke, gospel of;   Sheol;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Abraham's Bosom;   Eternal Punishment;   Ethics;   Hades;   Hell;   Hospitality;   Immortality;   Intermediate State;   Jesus Christ;   Statute;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Annihilation;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Soul sleep;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Lazarus;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Divination;   Lazarus;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abraham;   Brothers;   Dives;   Intermediate State;   Lazarus;   Leprosy;   Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Wrath, Wrath of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Descent into Hades;   Ethics;   Lazarus;   Parable;   Sin;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Almsgiving ;   Beggar;   Church (2);   Common Life;   Discourse;   Dives;   Ebionism (2);   Heart;   Hell ;   Lazarus;   Man (2);   Numbers (2);   Parable;   Property (2);   Restoration;   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Sympathy;   Torment (2);   Wealth (2);   Winter ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Lazarus ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Lazarus;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Laz'arus;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Five;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Immortal;   Lazarus;   Parable;   Punishment, Everlasting;   Torment, Place of;   Wealth;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abraham's Bosom;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for December 22;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For I have five brethren,.... Meaning his brethren and countrymen, according to the flesh; who when he was alive, stood in such a relation to him; said to be "five", in allusion it may be to the children of Israel coming out of Egypt, חמשים, "by fives", or five in a rank, Exodus 13:18 as a learned manF13Teelmannus. conjectures, to whom I am beholden for several hints, in the explanation of this parable; and certain it is, that these five brethren were Jews, since they had the writings of Moses and the prophets with them, Luke 16:29. Wherefore I shall venture to propose another conjecture, though it may be liable to exception, as all conjectures usually are: it is plain that there were "six" brethren in all; let it be observed then, that the Jewish nation were usually divided into "three" parts, "priests, Levites, and Israelites"; of these three the great sanhedrim usually consistedF14Maimon Hilchot Sanhedrin, c. 2. sect. 2. ; and these read the law every sabbath day; first a priest, then a Levite, and then "five Israelites"F15Ib. Hilchot Tephilla, c. 12. sect. 16. ; (let that number also be remarked;) now these were again divided into "three" sects, "Pharisees, Sadducees", and "Essenes". The former of these are represented in this parable; this I only propose, I lay no stress on it: it may be, that the twice five, or ten tribes of Israel, which were not known where they were, nor are they to this day, may be designed by a "synechdoche", of a part for the whole; whose return the Jews are yet expecting, and for whose welfare they are greatly concerned.

That he may testify unto them: that is, preach unto them, as the word is used in Acts 2:40. Christ, when here on earth, did testify to that people of their sins, showed them the heinousness of them, inveighed against them, and reproved for them; and of their righteousness, and showed the hypocrisy, deficiency, and insufficiency of it to justify them; of himself as the Messiah; of truth in general; and of their ruin, temporal and eternal; but he had now finished his testimony, and which, though faithful, was not heard nor received by them; the reason of this request is,

lest they also come into this place of torment; as hell is, and which these brethren of his, he left behind, were deserving of, and in danger of coming into; and his concern for them did not arise from any regard to Christ, and the enlargement of his interest; nor from any love to his testimony, the Gospel; nor from any real notion or desire of converting grace for his brethren; nor from true love to them; but from a selfish principle, lest his own torments should be aggravated by their coming: this, as it may regard the Jews in their affliction, and if the ten tribes should be meant by the five brethren, may design the very passionate concern the Jews had, and still have for them, who yet, to this day, hope for the return of them; see Manasseh ben Israel's book, called, "Spes Israelis".

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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.
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 16:28". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-16.html. 1999.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

That he may testify (οπως διαμαρτυρηταιhopōs diamarturētai). An old verb for solemn and thorough (διαdia -) witness. The Rich Man labours under the delusion that his five brothers will believe the testimony of Lazarus as a man from the dead.

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 16:28". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-16.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Lest they also come into this place — He might justly fear lest their reproaches should add to his own torment.

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 16:28". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-16.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

for I have five brethren1; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment2.

  1. For I have five brethren. There is no typical significance in the number.

  2. That he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Deceived by his wealth, the rich man looked upon his earthly possessions as real and substantial, and, like rich sinners of today, had simply disregarded the affairs of the future life. Aroused by the sudden experience of the awful realities of the future state, he desires to make it as real to his brethren as it had now become to him. In endeavoring to carry out his desire, he proceeds on the theory that the testimony of the dead in reference to the realities of the future state are more trustworthy and influential than the revelations of God himself, given through his inspired spokesmen. This dishonoring of God and his law was to be expected from one who had made mammon his real master, even though professing (as the context suggests) to serve God. The singleness of his service is shown in that he, though practically discharged by one master (mammon), cannot even now speak respectfully of God. Some commentators make much of the so-called repentance of the rich man, manifested in this concern for his brethren; but the Lord did not count kindness shown to kindred as evidence of goodness, much less of repentance (Luke 6:32-35). Besides the natural feeling for his brothers, he knew that their presence in torment would add to his own. His concern for his brethren is not told to indicate repentance. It is mentioned to bring out the point that the revealed will of God of itself and without more makes it inexcusable for a man to lead a selfish life.

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 16:28". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-16.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Ver. 28. Lest they also come into this place] This he wisheth, not for their good, but for his own. For he knew that if they were damned, he should be double damned, because they were brought thither partly by his lewd and loose example.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:28". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-16.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 16:28. πέντε, five) Perhaps there were five Pharisees, who had especially ‘derided’ their Lord, Luke 16:14, and who did not hear the law and the prophets, Luke 16:16; Luke 16:29; and who were like the rich feaster, if not externally, at least internally. Certainly the Lord knew the inmost character and also the number of such persons. See Luke 16:15. The sixth brother was he who was now crying aloud in hell: in contrast to those six, one individual, a seventh, viz. Lazarus, who also was of the posterity of Abraham, reached the bosom of Abraham.— ἀδελφοὺς, brethren) who are living securely and without concern about their state.— ἵνα μὴ, that they may not) In hell the classical adage, “Companions the solace of the wretched” [Solamen miseris socios”], etc., gives no comfort to the rich feaster. See, however, Ezekiel 32:31. The self-indulger, who previously had shown no compassion, now puts forth into exercise a kind of compassion, but one which does not correspond to the Divine compassion. He was worse when amidst his pleasures, than now, when amidst the tortures of hell.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 16:28". 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

See Poole on "Luke 16:27"

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 16:28". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-16.html. 1685.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 16:28. , brothers, in the literal sense. Why force on it an allegorical sense by finding in it a reference to the Pharisees or to the Jewish people, brethren in the sense of fellow-countrymen? Five is a random number, true to natural probability; a large enough family to make interest in their eternal well-being on the part of a deceased member very intelligible.— , urgently testify to, telling them how it looks beyond, how it fares with their brother, with the solemn impressiveness of one who has seen.

 

 

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 16:28". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-16.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

testify = earnestly testify.

lest they also = that they also may not (Greek. me. App-105).

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 16:28". "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

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

There is here no waking up of good in the heart of the lost, but, as Trench acutely remarks, bitter reproach against God and the old economy, as not having warned him sufficiently. Abraham's answer rolls back the reproach with calm dignity, as unmerited: 'They are sufficiently warned.'

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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 16:28". "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

(28) For I have five brethren.—Here again we are left to choose between opposite views of the motive which prompted the request. Was it simply a selfish fear of reproaches that might aggravate his sufferings? Was it the stirring in him of an unselfish anxiety for others, content to bear his own anguish if only his brothers might escape? Either view is tenable enough, but the latter harmonises more with the humility of the tone in which the request is uttered. The question why “five” are named is again one which we cannot answer with certainty. The allusions which some have found to the five senses, in the indulgence of which the man had passed his life, or to the five books of Moses (!), are simply fantastic. It may have been merely the use of a certain number for an uncertain, as in the case of the five wise and the five foolish virgins (Matthew 25:2), or the five talents (Matthew 25:15), or the five cities in the land of Egypt (Isaiah 19:18). It may have been an individualising feature, pointing to some conspicuously self-indulgent rich man among the hearers of the parable, and so coming home to him as a warning; or, possibly (following up the hint in the Note on Luke 16:19), to the number of the Tetrarch’s surviving brothers. Of these he had had eight, but Aristobulus and Arche-laus were already dead, and possibly, of course, another. Here, returning to the structure of the parable, there is a special motive for the rich man’s wishing Lazarus to be sent. The brothers had seen the beggar lying at his gate. If they were to see him now, as risen from the dead, they would learn how far more blessed his state had been than the luxurious ease in which they had passed and were still passing their lives.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 16:28". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
lest
Psalms 49:12,13
Reciprocal: Genesis 42:21 - they said;  Job 21:21 - For what;  Psalm 17:14 - leave;  Psalm 37:10 - wicked;  Psalm 52:5 - pluck;  Ecclesiastes 2:18 - I should;  Luke 16:23 - being;  Galatians 5:3 - testify;  Hebrews 12:1 - witnesses

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 16:28". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-16.html.