Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 16:6

And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.' And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.'
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Covetousness;   Dishonesty;   Embezzlement;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Malfeasance in Office;   Measure;   Probation;   Servant;   Steward;   Worldliness;   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Business Life;   Credit System;   Debts;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Creditors;   Oil;   Parables;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Parables;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christ, Christology;   Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Wealth;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Measure;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Weights and Measures;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Bill;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Almsgiving ;   Asceticism (2);   Circumstantiality in the Parables;   Common Life;   Debt, Debtor (2);   Discourse;   Foolishness;   Friendship;   Honesty ;   Laughter;   Mammon;   Numbers (2);   Oil ;   Paradox;   Premeditation;   Property (2);   Religious Experience;   Scripture;   Spiritualizing of the Parables;   Steward, Stewardship;   Trade and Commerce;   Wealth (2);   Winter ;   Writing (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Weights and Measures;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Paul;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bill;   Lazarus;   Measure;   Oil;   Steward;   Trade;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A hundred measures of oil - Ἑκατον βατους, A hundred baths. The בת bath was the largest measure of capacity among the Hebrews, except the homer, of which it was the tenth part: see Ezekiel 45:11, Ezekiel 45:14. It is equal to the ephah, i.e. to seven gallons and a half of our measure.

Take thy bill - Thy account - το γραμμα . The writing in which the debt was specified, together with the obligation to pay so much, at such and such times. This appears to have been in the hand-writing of the debtor, and probably signed by the steward: and this precluded imposition on each part. To prevent all appearance of forgery in this case, he is desired to write it over again, and to cancel the old engagement. In carrying on a running account with a tradesman, it is common among the Hindoos for the buyer to receive from the hands of the seller a daily account of the things received; and according to this account, written on a slip of paper, and which remains in the hands of the buyer, the person is paid.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-16.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

A hundred measures - The measure here mentioned is the “bath” which contained, according to Dr. Arbuthnot‘s tables, 7 12 gallons, or, according to the marginal note, about 9 gallons and 3 quarts.

Oil - Oil of olives, or sweet oil. It was much used for lamps, as an article of food Exodus 29:2, and also for anointing, and, of course, as an article of commerce, 1 Kings 5:11. These were persons, doubtless, who had “rented” land of the rich man, and who were to give him a certain proportion of the produce.

Thy bill - The contract, obligation, or “lease.” It was probably written as a “promise” by the debtor and signed by the steward, and thus became binding. Thus he had power to alter it, without supposing that his master would detect it. The bill or contract was in the hands of the steward, and he gave it back to him to write a new one.

Quickly - He supposed that his master would soon remove him, and he was, therefore, in haste to have all things secure beforehand. It is worthy of remark, also, that “all” this was wrong. His master had called for the account: but, instead of rendering it, he engaged in other business, disobeyed his lord still, and, in contempt of his commands, sought his own interest. All sinners would be slow to give in their account to God if they could do it; and it is only because, when God calls them by death, they “cannot but go,” that they do not engage still in their own business and disobey him.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he said an hundred measures of oil,.... Or "baths of oil", the same quantity as in Ezra 7:22 where Aben EzraF9In Ezr. vii. 22. calls them, מדות, "measures", as we do here; and JarchiF11In ib. observes, that they were, לבלול מנחות, "to mingle with the meal, or flour offerings"; which illustrates the above observation, that they were for the temple service; and the bath was the measure of oil, as the ephah was of wheatF12Kimchi in Ezek. xlv. 14. ; and they were both of the same quantity, Ezekiel 45:11. According to GodwinF13Moses & Aaron, l. 6. c. 9. it held four gallons and a half; so that a hundred of them contained four hundred and fifty gallons; though some make the measure much larger. Some say the "bath" held six gallons, one pottle, and half a pint; and others, seven gallons, two quarts, and half a pint; and others, nine gallons, and three quarts.

Take thy bill, or "writing"; which showed the bargain made for so many measures; and which acknowledged the receipt of them, and promised payment:

and sit down quickly; for his case required haste;

and write fifty; just half; that it might appear he had bought but fifty, and was accountable for no more.

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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 16:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-16.html. 1999.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

6. And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

[Take thy bill, &c.] That is, "Take from me the scroll of thy contract, which thou deliveredst to me; and make a new one, of fifty measures only, that are owing by thee." But it seems a great inequality, that he should abate one fifty in a hundred measures of oil, and the other but twenty out of a hundred measures of wheat; unless the measures of wheat exceeded the measure of oil ten times: so that when there were twenty cori of wheat abated the debtor, there were abated to him two hundred baths or ephahs.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-16.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Measures (βατουςbatous). Transliterated word for Hebrew βατοςbath between eight and nine gallons. Here alone in the N.T. Not the same word as σου τα γραμματαbatos (bush) in Luke 6:44.

Thy bond (ταχεωςsou ta grammata). Thy writings, thy contracts, thy note.

Quickly (tacheōs). It was a secret arrangement and speed was essential.

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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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "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

Measures ( βάτους )

Lit., baths. The bath was a Hebrew measure, but the amount is uncertain, since, according to Edersheim, there were three kinds of measurement in use in Palestine: the original Mosaic, corresponding with the Roman; that of Jerusalem, which was a fifth larger; and the common Galilaean measurement, which was more than a fifth larger than the Jerusalem. Assuming the first standard, the bath would be about fifty-six pints, and the debt, therefore, a large one.

Take thy bill ( δέξαι σου τὰ γράμματα )

Lit.,take back thy writings. Rev., bond. Wyc., obligation; and in Luke 16:7, letters. The plural is used for a single document. The bill is the bond which the buyer has given, and which is in the steward's keeping. He gives it back to the debtor for him to alter the figures.

Sit down quickly

It was a secret transaction, to be hurried through.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "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.

The Fourfold Gospel

And he said, A hundred measures of oil1. And he said unto him, Take thy bond2, and sit down quickly and write fifty3.

  1. A hundred measures of oil. The measure mentioned here is the Hebrew "bath", which corresponded roughly to a firkin, or nine gallons.

  2. Take thy bond. Literally, writings.

  3. And sit down quickly and write fifty. The amount remitted here-- 450 gallons of olive oil--represented a large sum of money. Such a reduction would put the debtor under great obligation to the steward.

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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 16:6". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-16.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Oil; from the olive, used extensively by the Jews for food and for various other purposes.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-16.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

Ver. 6. Take thy bill] The scope of this parable is, ut profusionem charitate erga pauperes compensemus, saith Beza, that we expiate, as it were, our prodigality, by showing mercy to the poor, Daniel 4:27.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-16.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

6. βάτους] ὁ δὲ βάτος δύναται χωρῆσαι ξέστας ἑβδομήκοντα δύο, Jos. Antt. viii. 2. 9;—the same for liquids as the ephah for solids. See Ezekiel 45:10-11; Ezekiel 45:14, where the LXX represent the Heb. בַּת by χοῖνιξ and κοτύλη.

δέξαι σ. τ. γρ.] The steward, not yet out of office, has all the vouchers by him, and returns each debtor his own bond, for him to alter the figure (not, to make another, which would imply the destruction of the old bond, not its return).

σου is not emphatic, as Wordsworth, who has several times fallen into this mistake: see note, ch. Luke 14:26-27 : but entirely unemphatic; almost expletive.

καθ. ταχ.] καθίσας is graphic. ταχέως implies the hurry with which the furtive business is transacted. The debtors seem to be all together, that all may be implicated and none may tell of the other.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". 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 16:6. δέξαι) receive from me.— γράμμα, thy bill) bond, or agreement to pay.— ταχέως, hastily) stealthily.— πεντήκοντα, fifty) A large present: comp. Luke 16:7. It is at a great cost that a friend is to be gained.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". 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 16:6". 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

скорее Это было тайной сделкой, не разрешенной хозяином. Взявший взаймы был виновен в преднамеренном соучастии в обмане.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-16.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Thy bill; thy writing.

Write fifty; by allowing the debtor to alter his bill and diminish it one half. the steward hoped to gain his favor, and thus, in time of need, to secure his aid.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.Hundred measures—This is the Hebrew bath, containing nearly nine gallons.

Oil—The tenants paid not in money, but in the products of their estate.

Take thy bill—The account which is to be receipted,

Sit down— Said by way of picturing the transaction.

Quickly—In order that the whole may be done before detection.

Write fifty—So that they must pay but half the real due, and he will give the receipt in full of all demands.

[We have throughout given the interpretation of the parable which has for ages been generally adopted. This interpretation makes this lowering of the tenants debt a dishonest transaction on the steward’s part; and yet it follows in the next verse that he was commended for it; and from the whole parable, that a bad man is held up as, in one respect, a model.

But Van Oosterzee furnishes another explication which removes these last particulars. The key to the whole parable, which he gives, is briefly this: The steward had overcharged the tenants and pocketed the surplus; and so this marking the tenants at a lower figure really is a righting of the matter. The unjust steward therefore is commended for only the right part of his conduct.

Yet the principle still remains that the good may learn many things of the bad, in the way of example; and we therefore (while accepting Van Oosterzee’s modification) conclude to change nothing we have said on that point.] 7. To another—The parable narrates the case of two as specimens of the whole.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-16.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 16:6. : literally, the letters, then a written document; here a bill showing the amount of indebtedness. The steward would have all the bills ready.— , write, i.e., write out a new bill with fifty in place of a hundred; not merely change a hundred into fifty in the old bill.— , no time left for reflection—“is this right?” Some think that the knavery had come in before, and that fifty was the true amount. That might be, but the steward would keep the fact to himself. The debtors were to take it that this was a bonâ fide reduction of their just debt.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-16.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

measures. Greek. p1. of batos. the Hebrew bath. App-51. (11) (7). Not the same word as in Luke 16:7.

Take = Take back.

thy bill = writings, i.e. agreement.

sit. write = sitting down,

quickly write,

quickly. It was a secret and hurried transaction.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "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, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.

And he said, An hundred measures of oil, [ batous (Greek #943)]. The word indicates a prodigious debt.

And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly (the business being urgent), and write fifty - `write a receipt for only half that quantity: the master, to be sure, will be defrauded, but he will never discover it, and thus half your debt is wiped out immediately!'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "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

(6) Take thy bill, and sit down quickly.—The better MSS. give, thy bills, or thy documents, in the plural. These would include that which answered to the modern lease, the contract which specified the rent, and probably also the memorandum of the due delivery of the annual share of the produce. In this case the measure is the Hebrew bath, which has been variously estimated, the data being uncertain and conflicting, at from one to three gallons to the higher number stated in the marginal note. The steward by thus tempting the debtors with an immediate gain, and making them sharers in his frauds, took the readiest and most direct means of securing at once their favour and their silence. That which answered to this in the first application of the parable was the conduct of the Pharisees, just in proportion as they lost the moral force which they had once exercised, in accommodating their casuistry to the selfishness of their followers. Thus by their Corban teaching (see Note on Matthew 15:5) they released men from the obligation of supporting parents, and made perjury easy by their artificial distinctions as to oaths (Matthew 5:33; Matthew 23:16-22), gave a wide license to lust by their doctrine of divorce (Matthew 5:31; Matthew 19:3), and substituted the paying tithes of mint, and anise, and cummin for the weightier matters of the Law (Matthew 23:23). Like phenomena have been seen in analogous circumstances in the history of the Christian Church. When Leo X. sent forth his preachers of indulgences with their short and easy methods of salvation; when Jesuit confessors were to be found in every court of Europe, doing nothing to preserve their votaries from a fathomless licentiousness; when Protestant theologians tuned their voice according to the time, and pandered to the passions of a Henry VIII. or a Landgrave of Hesse; when the preachers of justification by faith turned the grace of God into lasciviousness, or made it compatible with a life of money-making worldliness; when men lower the standard of duty to gain support and popularity—there the act of the steward in bidding the debtor write fifty measures, when he owed a hundred, finds its counterpart.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
measures
"The word Batos in the original containeth nine gallons, three quarts. See Eze 45:10-14."
Take
9,12; Titus 2:10
Reciprocal: Ezra 7:22 - baths of wine

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 16:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-16.html.