Luke 12:19
And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have much goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
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(19) Eat, drink, and be merry.—The words remind us of St. Paul’s “Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die” (1Corinthians 15:32), and may possibly have suggested them. There is, however, a suggestive difference in the context. Extremes meet, and the life of self-indulgence may spring either from an undue expectation of a lengthened life, or from unduly dwelling on the fact of its shortness, without taking into account the judgment that comes after it. The latter, as in the “carpe diem” of Horace (Odes, i. 11, 8), was the current language of popular Epicureanism; the former seems to have been more characteristic of a corrupt Judaism. (Comp. James 4:13.) In acting on it the Jew with his far outlook, as he dreamt, into the future, was sinking to the level of the dissolute heathen, who was content to live in and for the present only.

12:13-21 Christ's kingdom is spiritual, and not of this world. Christianity does not meddle with politics; it obliges all to do justly, but wordly dominion is not founded in grace. It does not encourage expectations of worldly advantages by religion. The rewards of Christ's disciples are of another nature. Covetousness is a sin we need constantly to be warned against; for happiness and comfort do not depend on the wealth of this world. The things of the world will not satisfy the desires of a soul. Here is a parable, which shows the folly of carnal worldling while they live, and their misery when they die. The character drawn is exactly that of a prudent, worldly man, who has no grateful regard to the providence of God, nor any right thought of the uncertainty of human affairs, the worth of his soul, or the importance of eternity. How many, even among professed Christians, point out similar characters as models for imitation, and proper persons to form connexions with! We mistake if we think that thoughts are hid, and thoughts are free. When he saw a great crop upon his ground, instead of thanking God for it, or rejoicing to be able to do more good, he afflicts himself. What shall I do now? The poorest beggar in the country could not have said a more anxious word. The more men have, the more perplexity they have with it. It was folly for him to think of making no other use of his plenty, than to indulge the flesh and gratify the sensual appetites, without any thought of doing good to others. Carnal worldlings are fools; and the day is coming when God will call them by their own name, and they will call themselves so. The death of such persons is miserable in itself, and terrible to them. Thy soul shall be required. He is loth to part with it; but God shall require it, shall require an account of it, require it as a guilty soul to be punished without delay. It is the folly of most men, to mind and pursue that which is for the body and for time only, more than that for the soul and eternity.Much goods - Much property. Enough to last a long while, so that there is no need of anxiety or labor.

Take thine ease - Be free from care about the future. Have no anxiety about coming to want.

Eat, drink, and be merry - This was just the doctrine of the ancient Epicureans and atheists, and it is, alas! too often the doctrine of those who are rich. They think that all that is valuable in life is to eat, and drink, and be cheerful or merry. Hence, their chief anxiety is to obtain the "delicacies of the season " - the luxuries of the world; to secure the productions of every clime at any expense, and to be distinguished for splendid repasts and a magnificent style of living. What a portion is this for an immortal soul! What folly to think that "all" that a man lives for is to satisfy his sensual appetites; to forget that he has an intellect to be cultivated, a heart to be purified, a soul to be saved!

16-19. a certain rich man, &c.—Why is this man called a "fool?" (Lu 12:20) (1) Because he deemed a life of secure and abundant earthly enjoyment the summit of human felicity. (2) Because, possessing the means of this, through prosperity in his calling, he flattered himself that he had a long lease of such enjoyment, and nothing to do but give himself up to it. Nothing else is laid to his charge. See Poole on "Luke 12:17" And I will say to my soul,.... Himself, see Psalm 49:18 or to his sensual appetite, which he sought to indulge and gratify, for he was wholly a sensual and carnal man:

soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years: he foolishly promises himself a long life, when no man can boast of tomorrow, or knows what a day will bring forth; or can assure himself he shall live a day, an hour, or moment longer: and he also depended upon the safety of his goods, thus laid up; whereas his barns might be consumed by fire at once, or his goods be devoured by vermin, or plundered by thieves, and by various ways taken out of his hands; for riches are uncertain things, and make themselves wings and fly away:

take thine case, eat, drink, and be merry; spend thy life in ease, luxury, and mirth; put away the evil day far from thee: never trouble thyself about a future state, tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundantly; and thou hast enough to make thyself happy, and let nothing disturb thee, and give a loose to all sensual pleasures, and carnal joys. This is the language of epicure among the Jews, and is forbidden to be used, especially on fast days; for so it is said, (i).

"let not a man say I will go to my house, "and I will eat and drink", (and say) , "peace to thee, O my soul"; if he does so, of him the Scripture says, Isaiah 22:13 "Behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die---surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you, till ye die, &c."''

(i) T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 11. 1.

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and {g} be merry.

(g) Be merry and make good cheer.

Luke 12:19. ἀναπαύου, etc., rest, eat, drink, be jolly: an epicurean asyndeton.19. I will say to my soul, Soul] “What folly! Had thy soul been a sty, what else couldst thou have promised to it? Art thou so bestial, so ignorant of the soul’s goods, that thou pledgest it the foods of the flesh? And dost thou convey to thy soul, the things which the draught receiveth?” St Basil.

for many years] “Boast not thyself of to morrow,” Proverbs 27:1.

take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry] More energetically in the four words of the original, rest, eat, drink, enjoy. His motive is the same as that of the selfish and cynical Epicureans, who say, “Let us eat and drink;” but the reason he assigns is different. They snatch pleasure, “for to morrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32); he because he hopes to be “happy” for “many years.” For similar warnings see James 4:13-17; Jas 5:1-3; Ecclesiastes 11:9.Luke 12:19. Κείμενα, laid up, lying in store) He speaks of them as if present.—ἀναπαύου, begin to rest [Take thine ease]) cease to toil. Comp. Sir 11:23-24, in the Greek.—φάγε, eat) He might have done so long ago, and in good style [he might have eaten and enjoyed good fare].Verse 19. - And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years. "What folly!" writes St. Basil. "Had thy soul been a sty, what else couldst thou have promised to it? Art thou so ignorant of what really belongs to the soul, that thou offerest to it the foods of the body? And givest thou to thy soul the things which the draught receives?" Many years. How little did that poor fool, so wise in all matters of earthly business, suspect the awful doom was so close to him! He forgot Solomon's words, "Boast not thyself of to-morrow" (Proverbs 27:1). Take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. "Extremes meet," suggests Dean Plumptre; "and the life of self-indulgence may spring either from an undue expectation of a lengthened life" (as was the case here), "or from unduly dwelling on its shortness, without taking into account the judgment that comes after it. The latter, as in the 'carpe diem' of Horace ('Odes,' 1:11. 8), was the current language of popular epicureanism" (see St. Paul's reproduction of this thought, 1 Corinthians 15:32); "the former seems to have been more characteristic of a corrupt Judaism." Soul (ψυχή)

See on Mark 12:30.

Take thine ease

See on Matthew 11:28.

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