Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 16:3

The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Beggars;   Covetousness;   Dishonesty;   Embezzlement;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Malfeasance in Office;   Probation;   Servant;   Steward;   Worldliness;   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Dilemma, Worldly;   Worldly;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Agriculture or Husbandry;   Parables;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Parables;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christ, Christology;   Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Wealth;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Dispensation;   Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Almsgiving ;   Asceticism (2);   Beggar;   Circumstantiality in the Parables;   Common Life;   Discourse;   Foolishness;   Friendship;   Honesty ;   Labour (2);   Laughter;   Mammon;   Paradox;   Premeditation;   Property (2);   Shame;   Spiritualizing of the Parables;   Steward, Stewardship;   Trade and Commerce;   Trades;   Wealth (2);   Winter ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Lord;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Beg;   Lazarus;   Steward;   Trade;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I cannot dig - He could not submit to become a common day-laborer, which was both a severe and base employment: To beg I am ashamed. And as these were the only honest ways left him to procure a morsel of bread, and he would not submit to either, he found he must continue the system of knavery, in order to provide for his idleness and luxury, or else starve. Wo to the man who gets his bread in this way! The curse of the Lord must be on his head, and on his heart; in his basket, and is his store.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-16.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Said within himself - Thought, or considered.

My lord - My master, my employer.

I cannot dig - This may mean either that his employment had been such that he could not engage in agriculture, not having been acquainted with the business, or that he was “unwilling” to stoop to so low an employment as to work daily for his support. “To dig,” here, is the same as to till the earth, to work at daily labor.

To beg - These were the only two ways that presented themselves for a living - either to work for it, or to beg.

I am ashamed - He was too proud for that. Besides, he was in good health and strength, and there was no good reason “why” he should beg - nothing which he could give as a cause for it. It is proper for the sick, the lame, and the feeble to beg; but it is “not” well for the able-bodied to do it, nor is it well to aid them, except by giving them employment, and compelling them to work for a living. He does a beggar who is able to work the most real kindness who sets him to work, and, as a general rule, we should not aid an able-bodied man or woman in any other way. Set them to work, and pay them a fair compensation, and you do them good in two ways, for the habit of labor may be of more value to them than the price you pay them.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the steward said within himself, What shall I do, seeing that my Lord taketh away the stewardship from me? I have not strength to dig; to beg I am ashamed.

Said within himself ... This was the first commendable thing the steward did. Like the prodigal who also said "to himself" that he would arise and go to the Father, this man also faced bitter, unwelcome truth about HIMSELF. He lied to the Lord and to the debtors, but he told himself the truth. Many a hapless soul today simply does not have the courage to face unwelcome truth. The lost soul will hardly admit it; the man on his deathbed speaks of what he will do when he gets well; and countless sinners tell themselves the falsehood that they are really all right, in no danger at all, or that they will turn and serve God at some future time. This steward was no such character. He laid it on the line with himself. "I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg!" Nor did he question the fact that he faced eviction from office.

The day of reckoning in view here, according to Tinsley, is an analogy of "God's summons to Israel through Jesus Christ."[9]

Regarding the alternatives open to the steward, "J. B. Chapman once wrote an article on it, entitled, `Dig, Beg, or Steal'."[10] Wesley noted that the steward had what men would call a "sense of honor! by men called `honor' but by angels, `pride',"[11] as evidenced by his being ashamed to beg. Ashamed to beg, sure! Ashamed to steal? No!

[9] E. J. Tinsley, The Gospel according to Luke (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), p. 159.

[10] Charles L. Childers, Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1964), p. 562.

[11] John Wesley, Notes on the New Testament (Naperville, Illinois: Alec R. Allenson, Inc., 1950), p. 264.

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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 16:3". "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

Then the steward said within himself,.... As the Scribes and Pharisees were wont to do, Matthew 3:9

what shall I do? he does not say, what will become of me? I am undone, and what shall I do to be saved? or what shall I do for my Lord and Master I have so much injured? or what shall I do to make up matters with him? or what account shall I give? but what shall I do for a maintenance? how shall I live? what shall I do to please men, and gain their opinion and good will, and so be provided for by them? of this cast were the Pharisees, men pleasers, and self-seekers:

for my Lord taketh away from me the stewardship: the priesthood was changed, and there was a change also of the law; the ceremonial law was abrogated, and the ordinances of the former dispensation were shaken and removed; so that these men must of course turn out of their places and offices:

I cannot dig; or "plough", as the Arabic version renders it; or do any part of husbandry, particularly that which lies in manuring and cultivating the earth; not but that he was able to do it; but he could not tell how to submit to such a mean, as well as laborious way of life; for nothing was meaner among the Jews than husbandry: they have a saying, that אין לך אומנות פחותה מן הקרקע, "you have no trade", or business, "lesser", or meaner "than husbandry"F7T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 63. 1. :

and to beg I am ashamed; for nothing could be more disagreeable, to one who had lived so well in his master's house, and in so much fulness and luxury, as the Scribes and Pharisees did. The Jews have a saying, thatF8Mischar Hapeninim apud Buxtorf. Florileg, Heb. p. 262. .

"want of necessaries, טוב משאלתו, "is better than begging": (and says one) I have tasted the bitterness of all things, and I have not found any thing more bitter "than begging:"'

and which was literally true of the Jews, after the destruction of Jerusalem; when multitudes of them were condemned to work in the mines; and vast numbers were scattered about every where as vagabonds, begging their bread; both which were very irksome to that people: though both these phrases may be mystically understood: and "digging" may intend a laborious searching into the Scriptures, and a diligent performance of good works: neither of which the Pharisees much cared for, though they made large pretensions to both; nor did they dig deep to lay a good foundation whereon to build eternal life and happiness: nor could they attain to the law of righteousness by all their toil and labour, they would be thought to have taken: and for "begging", they were above that: read the Pharisee's prayer in Luke 18:11 and you will not find one petition in it. To ask any thing at the throne of grace, in a way of mere grace and favour, and not merit: or to beg any thing at the hands of Christ, as life, righteousness, pardon, cleansing, healing, food, &c. they were ashamed of, and cared not for.

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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 16:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-16.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

cannot dig … to beg, ashamed — therefore, when dismissed, shall be in utter want.

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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 16:3". "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

3. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

[I cannot dig, to beg I am ashamed.] Is there not some third thing betwixt digging and begging? The distinction betwixt artificers and labourers, mentioned in Bava Mezia, hath place here. This steward, having conversed only with husbandmen, must be supposed skilled in no other handicraft; but that if he should be forced to seek a livelihood, he must be necessitated to apply himself to digging in the vineyards, or fields, or olive-yards.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-16.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Within himself (εν εαυτωιen heautōi). As soon as he had time to think the thing over carefully. He knew that he was guilty of embezzlement of the Master‘s funds.

Taketh away (απαιρειταιaphaireitai). Present (linear) middle indicative of απαιρεωaphaireō old verb to take away. Here the middle present means, He is taking away for himself.

To beg I am not ashamed (επαιτειν αισχυνομαιepaitein aischunomai). The infinitive with αισχυνομαιaischunomai means ashamed to begin to beg. The participle, επαιτων αισχυνομαιepaitōn aischunomai would mean, ashamed while begging, ashamed of begging while doing it.

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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 16:3". "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

Taketh away

Or is taking away. He was not yet dispossessed, as is shown by what follows.

I cannot ( οὐκ ἰσχύω )

See on Luke 14:30. “I have not strength.” His luxurious life had unfitted him for hard labor. In Aristophanes (“Birds,” 1431), a sycophant is asked: “Tell me, being a young man, do you lodge informations against strangers?” He replies: “Yes; why should I suffer, for I know not how to dig?”

To beg ( ἐπαιτεῖν )

See on besought, Matthew 15:23.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "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

Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

To beg I am ashamed — But not ashamed to cheat! This was likewise a sense of honour! "By men called honour, but by angels pride."

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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.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-16.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And the steward said within himself, What shall I do, seeing that my lord taketh away the stewardship from me? I have not strength to dig1; to beg I am ashamed2.

  1. I have not strength to dig. Being too weak in body because of my luxurious living. Digging refers generally to agricultural labor.

  2. To beg I am ashamed. Being too strong in pride because of my exalted manner of life.

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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.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-16.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

Ver. 3. I cannot dig, &c.] They that will get wisdom must both dig and beg, Proverbs 2:3-4.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-16.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 16:3. I cannot dig; Commentators have shewn that the word σκαπτειν, which we render to dig, signifies in general to cultivate the land, and especially to prepare it for seed, which was one of the most laborious parts of the husbandman's work; in which day-labourers were employed; and consequently most fit to be mentioned by this steward, who, having been used to a delicate and luxurious way of living, would naturallythink of such a change of life inthe most discouraging view. The expression ουκ ισχυω, I am not able, or strong enough to do it, has also a peculiar beauty in this view, which is lost in our translation, and in most others.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-16.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

3.] The steward sets before himself the certainty of poverty and misery. He has not by his waste of his lord’s property been laying up any store for himself;—that is not the point of the parable;—he has lived softly and effeminately, and cannot do an honest day’s work:— σκάπτειν, for all manual labours; so Aristoph. Av. 1432, σκάπτειν γὰρ οὐκ ἐπίσταμαι. This speech, of digging and begging, must not be sought for in the interpretation; it belongs to the truth of the parable itself as introducing the scheme which follows, but has no ulterior meaning.

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

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

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

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

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

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-16.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 16:3. σκάπτειν· ἐπαιτεῖν, dig; beg) Death leaves no opportunity of either labouring or begging: Ecclesiastes 9:10 [There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest]. This accessory ornament of the parable [the digging and begging] is accommodated to the spiritual sense in the Apodosis, as far as the circumstances of the case admit.(167) The complete and utter ἀπορία, helplessness, of the steward is implied, if he is to have no place of refuge with the debtors of his Lord.— αἰσχύνομαι, I am ashamed) We may suppose him to mean, that he was ashamed to beg, by reason of excessive modesty, and a sense of his unworthiness.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". 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 16:1"

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 16:3". 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

копать не могу Т.е. он не считал себя способным к физическому труду.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-16.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Said within himself; he thought.

I cannot dig; work at any service labor.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "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 the steward said within himself, What shall I do, seeing that my lord is taking away the stewardship from me? I do not have the strength to dig, to beg I am ashamed.”

This makes the estate manager consider his position. He realises that he is not capable of manual work, and he certainly does not like the idea of begging. Thus he engages in deep thought. The question is, how can he find compatible employment elsewhere?

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-16.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3.Said within himself—When death approaches the most worldly man begins to reflect. But with the Christian all this has been thought of, and the provision made in due time. He has prepared for death before the king of terrors drew near.

I cannot dig—No work or device, no skill of science can postpone the inevitable hour, to make provisions for the better world.

To beg I am ashamed—To supplicate for life is as useless as it is cowardly. The ear of the destroyer is deaf to all expostulations.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-16.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 16:3. .: a Hebraism, as in Matthew 3:9; Matthew 9:3. The steward deliberates on the situation. He sees that his master has decided against him, and considers what he is to do next, running rapidly over all possible schemes.— , : these two represent the alternatives for the dismissed: manual labour and begging; digging naturally chosen to represent the former as typical of agricultural labour, with which the steward’s position brought him much into contact (Lightfoot). But why these two only mentioned? Why not try to get another situation of the same kind? Because he feels that dismissal in the circumstances means degradation. Who now would trust him? = (Mark 10:46, John 9:8).

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-16.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

within = in. Greek. en. App-104.

lord = master, as in Luke 16:13. App-98. A.

taketh away = is taking away.

from. Greek. apo. App-104.

I cannot dig, &c. = to dig, I am not (Greek. ou. App-105) strong enough.

beg. Greek. epaiteo. Compare App-134. Occurs only here in Authorized Version, but See Luke 18:35.

ashamed. Ashamed to beg, but not ashamed to embezzle.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "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

Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship. His guilt is tacitly admitted, and his one question now is, what is to become of him?

I cannot dig - brought up as I have been to higher work.

To beg I am ashamed - his pride could not stand that. What, then, was to be done to prevent starvation?

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "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

(3) I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.—In the outer framework of the parable there is something eminently characteristic in this utterance of the steward’s thoughts. He has lost the manliness and strength which would have fitted him for actual labour. He retains the false shame which makes him prefer fraud to poverty. He shudders at the thought that it might be his lot to sit, like Lazarus, and ask an alms at the rich man’s door. Spiritually, we may see what happens to a religious caste or order, like the Pharisees, when it forfeits its true calling by misuse. It has lost the power to prepare the ground for future fruitfulness by the “digging,” which answers, as in Luke 13:8, to the preliminary work of education and other influences that lie outside direct religious activity. It is religious and ecclesiastical, or it is nothing. It is ashamed to confess its spiritual poverty, and to own that it is “poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). Anything seems better than either of those alternatives.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.
said
18:4; Esther 6:6
What
12:17; Isaiah 10:3; Jeremiah 5:31; Hosea 9:5; Acts 9:6
I cannot
Proverbs 13:4; 15:19; 18:9; 19:15; 21:25,26; 24:30-34; 26:13-16; 27:23-27; Proverbs 29:21; 2 Thessalonians 3:11
to beg
20,22; Proverbs 20:4; Mark 10:46; John 9:8; Acts 3:2
Reciprocal: Luke 7:39 - he spake;  Luke 19:26 - and from

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 16:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-16.html.