ICC New Testament Commentary
And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.16:1-31. On the Use of Wealth. This is taught in two parables, the Unrighteous Steward (1-8) and the Rich Man and Lazarus (19-31). The intermediate portion is partly supplementary to the first parable (9-13), partly introductory to the second (14-18). The first is addressed to the disciples (ver. 1), but is felt by the Pharisees who heard it to apply to them (ver. 14). The second appears to be addressed directly to the Pharisees. Both of them teach that riches involve, not sin, but responsibility and peril. They are a trust rather than a possession; and the use made of wealth in this world has great influence upon one’s condition in the great Hereafter. The steward seems to illustrate the case of one who by a wise use of present opportunities secures a good condition in the future; while the rich man exhibits that of one who by misuse of his advantages here ruins his happiness hereafter.
Attempts have been made to connect these two parables with the three which precede, and also with the three which follow. A connexion in fact with what precedes cannot be established. There is no clear intimation of a break, but there is intimation of a fresh start, which may or may not be upon the same occasion. But in thought a connexion may be admitted. These two parables, like the previous three, are directed against special faults of the Pharisees. The former three combated their hard exclusiveness, self-righteousness, and contempt for others. These two combat their self-indulgence. It is still harder to establish a connexion in fact between these two and the three which follow; but Edersheim thinks that the thought which binds all five together is righteousness. The five run thus: the Unrighteous Steward, the Unrighteous Owner (Dives), and the Unrighteous Judge; the Self-righteous Pharisee and the Self-righteous Servant (L. & T. 2. p. 264). Milligan gives a somewhat similar grouping (Expositor, August, 1892, p. 114).
1-8. § The Parable of the Unrighteous Steward. The difficulty of this parable is well known, and the variety of interpretations is very great. A catalogue of even the chief suggestions would serve no useful purpose: it is sufficient to state that the steward has been supposed to mean the Jewish hierarchy, the tax-collectors, Pilate, Judas, Satan, penitents, S. Paul, Christ. Here again, therefore, we have absolutely contradictory interpretations (see on 14:33). But the difficulty and consequent diversity of interpretation are for the most part the result of mistaken attempts to make the details of the parable mean something definite. Our Lord Himself gives the key to the meaning (ver. 9), and we need, not go beyond the point to which His words plainly carry us. The steward, however wanting in fidelity and care, showed great prudence in the use which he made of present opportunities as a means of providing for the future. The believer ought to exhibit similar prudence in using material advantages in this life as a means of providing for the life to come. If Christians were as sagacious and persevering in using wealth to promote their welfare in the next world, as worldly men are in using it to promote their interests here, the Kingdom of God would be more flourishing than it is. We may put aside all the details of the parable as mere setting. Every parable contains details which are not intended to convey any lesson, although necessary to complete the picture, or to impress it upon the memory. In this parable the proportion of such details is larger than in others. It should, however, be noticed that the steward provides for his future by means of goods which are not his own, but are merely entrusted to his care. The wealth out of which the Christian lays up treasure in heaven is in like manner not his own, but is held in trust. The method of the parable is very similar to that in the parable of the Unrighteous Judge (18:2). In both we have an argument à fortiori. In that case the argument is, If an unrighteous judge will yield to the importunity of a stranger, how much more will a righteous and loving Father listen to the earnest prayers of His own children? Here the argument is, If an unrighteous steward was commended by his earthly master for his prudence in providing for his future by a fraudulent use of what had been committed to him, how much more will a righteous servant be commended by his heavenly Master for providing for eternity by a good use of what has been committed to him? But see the explanation given by Latham in Pastor Pastorum, pp. 386-398. The literature on the subject is voluminous and unrepaying. For all that is earlier than 1800 see Schreiber, Historico-critica explanationum parabolæ de improbo œcon. descriptio, Lips, 1803. For 1800-1879 see Meyer-Weiss, p. 515, or Meyer, Eng. tr. p. 209.
1. Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ πρὸͅ τοὺͅ μαθητᾴ. For ἔλεγεν δέ of a new start in the narrative see 18:1. The meaning of the καί is that at this time He also said what follows, and it was addressed to the disciples. The latter would include many more than the Twelve. Note both δὲ καί (15:28, 32) and πρόͅ.
Ἄνθρωπόͅ τιͅ ἦν πλούσιοͅ. The rich owner is almost as variously interpreted as the steward. The commonest explanation is God; but the Romans, Mammon, and Satan have also been suggested. Grave objections may be urged against all of these interpretations. It is more likely that the owner has no special meaning. We are probably to understand that he lived in the town while the steward managed the estate. Note the τιͅ.
οἰκονόμον. Here he is a superior person to the one mentioned 11:42. There the steward is a slave or freedman, left in charge of other slaves, corresponding on the whole to the Roman dispensator or villicus. Here be is a freeman, having the entire management of the estate, a procurator. Comp. Si mandandum aliquid procuratori de agriculturâ aut imperandum villico est (Cic. De Orat. i. 58, 249). But the Procurator was often a slave, and perhaps in some cases was not superior to the dispensator or the villicus. See D. of Ant.3 pp. 496, 957. Vulg. has villicus here and dispensator 12:42 (where see note) and arcarius Romans 16:23.
διεβλήθη αὐτῷ. This use of διαβάλλειν of hostile information presumably true is not common in class. Grk. It probably implies accusing behind a person’s back (Daniel 3:8, Daniel 6:24 (Theod.); 2 Malachi 3:11; Mal_4 Malachi 4:1; Hdt. 8:110.; Thuc. iii. 4. 4); but ἐνδιαβάλλειν is used Numbers 22:22 of mere hostility. Eusebius (perhaps quoting Papias) says of the woman, who may be identical with the woman taken in adultery, διαβληθείσῃ ἐπὶ τοῦ κυρίου (H. E. iii 39, 16). Vulg. here has diffamatus est; Beza, delatus est; Luther, der ward berüchtiget. The ᾡ by no means implies that the charge was false (Jam 2:9), but is in accordance with the best authors, who use it after κατηγορεῖν as well as after διαβάλλειν. The steward does not deny the charge.
ᾡ διασκορπίζων. Not quasi dissipasset (Vulg.), “that he had wasted” (AV.); but “as wasting” or “as a waster of” For τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ see on 8:3. The epithet τὸν οἰκονόμον τῇ ἀδικίᾳ (ver. 8) does not refer to this culpable neglect and extravagance, but to the fraudulent arrangement with the creditors. Nevertheless there is no hint that his fraud was a new departure.
2. φωνήσᾳ αὐτὸν. For φωνεῖν of summoning by a message comp. 19:15; John 9:18, John 9:24, John 9:11:28.
τί τοῦτο ἀκούω περὶ σοῦ; No emphasis on σοῦ, as if it meant “of thee among all people.” The question is taken in three ways. What? do I hear this of thee?” 2. “What is this that I hear of thee?” (RV.) 3. “Why do I hear this of thee?” Acts 14:15, where τί ταῦτα ποιεῖτε; means, “Why do ye these things?” is in favour of the last. See Blass on Acts 14:15.
ἀπόδοͅ τὸν λόγον. “Render the (necessary) account.” This is commonly understood of the final account, to prepare for the surrender of the stewardship. But it might mean the account to
see whether the charge was true; and the use elsewhere in N.T. rather points to this (Matthew 12:36; Acts 19:40; Romans 14:12; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 4:5). In that case the thought to be supplied is, “a steward who cannot disprove charges of this kind is an impossibility.” The steward, knowing that he cannot disprove the charges, regards this demand for a reckoning as equivalent to dismissal.
With the originally Ionic form δύνῃ (א B D P) contrast φάγεσει and πίεσαι (17:8).
3. εἶπεν ἐν ἑαυτῷ. Not then and there, but when he thought the matter over afterwards. Comp: 7:39, 18:4; Matthew 9:3 Note the pres. ἀφαιρεῖται, “is taking away,” i.e. what he is doing amounts to that. He does not say, “has taken away.”
σκάπτειν οὐκ ἰσχύω. “I have not strength to dig.” Comp. σκάπτειν γὰρ οὐκ ἐπίσταμαι (Aristoph. Aves, 1432). Only here and 18:35 does ἐπαιτεῖν occur in N.T. Comp. Psalm 108:10; Ecclus. 40:28. It means “to ask again and again, ask importunately,” and so “to beg for alms.” Soph. O.C. 1364. Comp. προσαιτεῖν, John 9:8.
4. ἔγνων. The asyndeton and the aor. express the suddenness of the idea: subito consilium cepit (Beng.). This aor. is sometimes called aoristus tragicus. Burton., § 45. The subject of δειξωνται is the debtors mentioned afterwards. See Blass on Acts 13:22.
5. χρεοφιλετῶν. Comp. 7:41; Proverbs 29:13; Job 31:37. They paid in kind, and the steward had sometimes received more from them than he had put down in the accounts. This time he makes the amount paid agree with the amount entered by reducing the amount paid. He thus curries favour with the debtors, and to some extent lessens the number of his manifest defalcations. The covenants were kept by the steward; and he now hands to each debtor his written agreement,—Δέξαι σου τὰ γράμματα,—in order that the debtor may reduce the amount which he covenanted to pay. The debtor gained on this last payment. The steward gained on the previous payments.
6. βάτουͅ. Here only in N.T. Comp. Aq. Sym. Theod. Is. v. 10 (where LXX has κεράμιον), and Jos. Ant. Viii. 2, 9. The bath was for liquids what the ephah was for solids. It equalled about 83/4 gallons, being the μετρητῄ of John 2:6; and 100 bath of oil would probably be worth about £10. See Edersh. Hist. of J. N. p. 283, ed. 1896. For καθίσᾳ see on 14:28.
7. κόρουͅ. Here only in N. T. Comp. Leviticus 27:16; Numbers 11:32; Ezekiel 45:13: Jos. Ant. XV. 9, 2. The cor or homer = 10 ephahs = 30 seahs or σάτα (13:21; Matthew 13:33). It equalled about 10 bushels, and 100 cor of wheat would be worth £100 to £120. But there is very great uncertainty about the Hebrew measures, for data are vague and not always consistent. We are to understand that there were other debtors with whom the steward dealt in a similar manner; but these suffice as examples. The steward suits his terms to the individual in each case, and thus his arbitrary and unscrupulous dealing with his master’s property is exhibited. See Schanz, ad loc. Syr-Sin. omits “Take thy bill.”
Both βάτοͅ and κόροͅ are instances of Hebrew words which have, assumed regular Greek terminations. See Kennedy, Sources of N.T. Grk. p. 44.
8. τὸν οἰκονόμον τῇ ἀδικίᾳ. These words are to be taken together, as τοῦ μαμωνᾶ τῇ ἀδικίᾳ shows. In both cases we have a characterizing genitive. Comp. κριτῂ τῇ ἀδικίᾳ (18:6). Win. 30:9. b, p. 254, 34:3. b, p. 297; Green, p. 90.
It is grammatically possible to take τῇ ἀδικίᾳ after ἐπῄνεσεν (4 Malachi 1:10, Malachi 4:4); but in that case ὄτι φρονίμῳ ἐποίησεν would be very in congruous.
φρονίμῳ. “Prudently, intelligently,” with a shrewd adjustment of means to ends. It is the man’s prompt savoir faire that is praised. Wic. has “prudently” from prudenter (Vulg.); but all other English Versions have “wisely.” Some have erroneously concluded from this that the scrutiny of the accounts ended favourably for the steward; others that, although he did not escape detection, yet he was allowed to remain steward for his shrewdness. The original charge was not disproved, and the steward was dismissed. His master saw that in spite of this he had found friends and a home, and for this commended him. Comp. Syr. Eho, quæso, laudas qui heros fallunt? Chr. In locoego vero laudo. Recte sane. Ter. Heaut. iii. 2, 26. The adv. occurs here, only in N.T., but φρόνιμοͅ is common (12:42; Matthew 7:24, Matthew 10:16, Matthew 24:45, etc.).
ὅτι οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνοͅ τούτου. “He was justified in praising his shrewdness, because”; or, “I cite this example of shrewdness, because.” This is the moral of the whole parable. Men of the world in their dealings with men like themselves are more prudent than the children of light are in their intercourse with one another. Worldly people are very farsighted and ready in their transactions with one another for temporal objects. The spiritually minded ought to be equally ready in making one another promote heavenly objects. “The sons of this world” occurs only here and 20:34; but comp. Acts 4:36; Mark 2:19.
φρονιμώτεροι ὑπέρ. For this use of ὑπέρ comp. Hebrews 4:12; Jdg 11:25; 1 Kings 19:4; Ecclus. 30:17; also παρά, 3:13.
τοὺͅ υἱοὺͅ τοῦ φωτόͅ. We have υἱοὶ φωτόͅ, John 12:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; and τέκνα φωτόͅ, Ephesians 5:8; comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Is the expression found earlier than N.T.? Comp. 1:78, 2:32; and see Lft. Epp. p. 74. Comp. also Enoch cviii. 11; Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 163.
εἰͅ τὴν γενεὰν τὴν ἑαυτῶν. Not, “in their generation,” but, “towards their own generation”; erga idem sentientes; im Verkehr mit thres Gleichen. The clause belongs to both of οἱ υἱοὶ τ. αἰῶνοͅ τούτου and τοὺͅ υἱοὺͅ Τ.φωτόͅ, not to the former only. The steward knew the men with whom he had to deal: they would see that it was to their own interest to serve him. The sons of light ought to be equally on the alert to make use of opportunities.
Vulg. has in generatione sua; but Cod. Palat. reads in sæculum istut, which respects the εἰͅ, while it misrepresents ἑαυτῶν.
9-14. Comments respecting the Parable and its Application, which are still addressed to the disciples. To prevent possible misunderstanding owing to the commendation of a dishonest servant, Christ here insists upon the necessity of fidelity in dealing with worldly possessions. He shows clearly that it is not the dishonesty of the steward which is commended as an example, but his prudence in using present opportunities as a means of providing for the future.
9. καὶ ἐγὼ ὑμῖν λέγω. “And I say to you,” or “I also say to you”; balancing what the master said to the steward. The disciples ought to earn similar commendation in spiritual matters.
Here, as in 2:48 and Acts 10:26, the correct reading seems to be καὶ εγώ; but almost everywhere else κἀγώ is right (11:9, 19:23, 20:3, 22:29, etc.). So also κἀμοί and κἀμέ rather than καὶ ἐμοί and καὶ ἐμέ. Greg. Proleg. p. 96.
ἑαυτοῖͅ ποιήσατε φίλουͅ. The pronoun stands first with emphasis. “In your own interest make friends.” The friends are those in need, who are succoured by the benevolent use of wealth, and show their gratitude by blessing their benefactors and praying for them. The poor are the representatives of Christ (Matthew 25:40), and it is well worth while having them as friends. Comp. 1 Timothy 6:10. Mammon is not personified here as it is in ver. 13, Comp. μὴ ἔπεχε ἐπὶ χρήμασιν ἀδίκοιͅ (Ecclus. 5:8).
The word appears to mean “that which is trusted in.” Lucrum Punice mammon dicitur (Aug. De Serm. Dom. in Monte, ii. 14. 47). But although found in Punic it is of Syrian origin and was in use in the Targums. The expression occurs in the Book of Enoch: “Our souls are satisfied with the mammon of unrighteousness, but this does not prevent us from descending into the flame of the pain of Sheol” (lxiii. 10). There are rabbinical sayings which are akin to what Jesus here says: e.g. that “alms are the salt of riches,” and that “the rich help the poor in this world, but the poor help the rich in the world to come.” See Schœttg. 1. p. 299; Herzog, Pro_2 art. Mammon. The spelling μαμμωνᾷ, with double μ, is not correct.
ἵνα ὅταν ἐκλίτῃ δέξωνται ἡμᾷ. Here, as in 14:10, the ἵνα, if it expresses purpose and not result, refers to Christ’s purpose in giving this advice rather than to that of the disciples in following it. “When it shall fail” means when the wealth shall have come to an end. The subject of ἐκλίπῃ is ὁ μαμωνᾷ. The reading ἐκλίπητε or ἐκλείπητε would mean “when ye die” (Genesis 15:8, 49:33; Psalm 104:29; Jer_42.(49.) 17, 22; Tobit 14:11; Wisd. 5:13). In either case the verb is intrans. No acc. is to be understood. Comp. Ps. Sol. 3:16, 17:5.
The evidence although somewhat confused, is quite decisive for the sing, ἐκλίπῃ or ἐκλείπῃ (א A B * D L R Ξ Π etc., Syr. Boh. Arm. Aeth.) as against the plur. ἐκλίπητε or ἐκλείπητε (F R U G Δ Λ; etc. etc., Vulg. Goth.) Wordsw. is almost alone in defending ἐκλίπητε. Sadler represents the choice on between “Ye fail” and “they fail.”
δέξωνται. This may be impersonal, like αἰτοῦσιν in 12:20. But possibly the φίλοι are to be understood as procuring the reception qui eos introducant in tabernacula æterna, qui necessitatibus suis terrena bona communicaverint (Aug. Quæst. Evang. ii. 34); or again, as giving them a welcome when they enter. Comp. the use of δέχεσθαι 9:5, 48; John 4:45.
εἰͅ τᾲ αἰωνίουͅ σκηνᾴ. The emphasis is on αἰωνίουͅ, “into the eternal tabernacles,” in contrast to the uncertain and transitory houses of the debtors (ver. 4). The steward secured a home for a time; but a wise use of opportunities may secure a home for eternity. In 5 Ezra 2:11 God is represented as promising to Israel, dabo eis tabernacula æterna, quæ præparaveram illis (Fritzsche, p. 643). Some such idea Peter seems to have had in his mind at the Transfiguration (9:33). The combination of “eternal” with “tabernacles” is remarkable, because σκηναί is commonly used of dwellings which are very temporary.
10. We have here a general principle which is capable of application in a variety of spheres. The reference to the parable is less direct than in ver. 9.
ἐν ἐλαχίστῳ. “In very little” rather than “in that which is least.” Comp. 19:17. We find in Irenæus, Si in modico fideles non fuistis, quod magnum est quis dabit vobis (2:34, 3), which is probably a loose quotation of Lk. made from memory. In the so-called 2 Ep. Clem Rom we have a similarly fused citation: εἰ τὸ μικρὸν οὐκ ἐτηρήσατε, τὸ μέγα τίͅ ὑμῖν δώσει ; λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὄτι ὁ πιστὸͅ ἐν ἐλαχίστῳ καὶ ἐν πολλῷ πιστόͅ ἐστιν (8.), which some suppose to have come from an apocryphal gospel, and others to be the source used by Irenæus. Comp. Hippol. Hær. 10:29, ἵνα ἐπὶ τῷ μικρῷ πιστὸͅ εὑρεθεὶͅ καὶ τὸ μέγα πιστευθῆναι δυνηθῇͅ. All three are probably reminiscences of Lk. Comp. Matthew 25:21, Matthew 25:23.
11. τῷ ἀδίκῳ μαμωνᾷ. Obviously this means the same as the μαμωνᾶ τῇ ἀδικίᾳ, i.e. the wealth which is commonly a snare and tends to promote unrighteousness. Some, however, make τῷ ἀδίκῳ balance τὸ ἀληθινόν, and force ἄδικοͅ to mean “deceitful.” and so “false” wealth, which is impossible.
τὸ ἀληθινόν. That which is a real possession, genuine wealth. We are not to supply μαμωνᾶ, which is masc. Heavenly riches would not be called “mammon.” It is clear that this is parallel to πολλῷ in ver. 10, as ἀδίκῳ μαμωνᾷ to ἐλαχίστῳ, and that this genuine wealth means much the same as the “ten cities” (19:17). The connexion between πιστοί and πιστεύσει, “trusty” and is “entrust,” is perhaps not accidental. Neither Latin nor English Versions preserve it. Cran. has the impossible rendering, “who wyll beleve you in that whych is true.”
12. ἐν τῷ ἀλλοτρίῳ. Earthly wealth is not only trivial and unreal; it does not belong to us. It is ours only as a loan and a trust, which may be withdrawn at any moment, Heavenly possessions are immense, real, and eternally secure. With οὐκ ἐγένεσθε, “ye did not prove to be,” comp. γεγονέναι (10:36).
τὸ ὑμέτερον τίͅ δώσει ὑμῖν; “Who will give you (in the world to come) that which is entirely your own,” your inheritance, “the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”(Matthew 15:34). The case sketched in these three verses (10-12) is that of a wealthy owner who educates his son for managing the estate to which he is heir, and proves his fitness for it by allowing him to have control of something that is of little value except as an instrument for forming and discerning character. If the son proves faithless in this insignificant charge, he is disinherited. Il y a là une admirable conception du but la vie terrestre et méme de l’existence de la matièe (Godet).
It seems to be impossible to make satisfactory sense of the notable reading τὸ ἠμέτερον, attested by B L and Origen, and to some extent by Tertullian, who has meum (Adv. Marc. iv 33): e i l also have meum, and 157 has ἐμόν. Almost all other witnesses (א A D P R Ξ Γ Δ Λ Π etc., Versions, Cypr. Cyr-Alex. etc.) have τὸ ὑμέτερον, which, however, would be an inevitable correction, if τὸ ἡμέτερον were genuine.
13. This verse forms a natural conclusion to the comments on the parable; and, if it was uttered only once, we may believe that this is its original position, rather than in the Sermon on the Mount where it is placed by Mt. (6:24). So Schanz, Weiss.
οὐδεὶͅ οἰκέτῃ δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοιͅ δουλεύειν. “No domestic can be a slave to two masters”: comp. Jam 4:4. To be a servant to two masters is possible, and is often done. But to be at the absolute disposal of two masters is not possible. The force of δουλεύειν must be preserved, and the special meaning of οἰκέτῃ is also worth noting.
ἤ ἑνὸͅ ἀνθέξεται. The omission of the article makes very little, difference: “one or other of the two.” As the second clause is less strong than the first, the ἤ may be understood in the sense of “or at least he will hold on to”—so as to stand by and support.
οὐ δύνασθε. It is morally impossible, for each claims undivided service. Mammon is here personified as a deity, devotion to whom is shown in “covetousness which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). No vice is more exacting than avarice. D.C.G. art. “Covetousness.”
14-18. Introduction to the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
14. Ἤκουον δὲ ταῦτα πάντα. This shows that the occasion is the same; but the scoffs of the Pharisees diverted Christ’s words from the disciples (ver. 1) to themselves. Note the πάντα.
φιλάργυροι ὑπάρχοντεͅ Avarice was their constant characteristic: for the verb see on 8:41 and 23:50. The adj. occurs 2 Timothy 3:2 and nowhere else in bibl. Grk., but is quite classical., 2 Mac 10:20 we have φιλαργυρεῖν. The covetousness of the Pharisees is independently attested, and they regarded their wealth as a special blessing for their carefulness in observing the Law. Hence their contempt for teaching which declared that there is danger in wealth, and that as a rule it promotes unrighteousness. They considered themselves an abiding proof of the connexion between riches and righteousness: moreover, they had their own explanation of the reason why a Rabbi who was poor declaimed against riches. Comp. 20:47.
ἐξμυκτήριζον. “Turned up the nose (μυκτήρ) at”: 23:35; Psalm 2:4, Psalm 34:16. Here deridebant (f), inridebant (a), subsannabant (d). In class. Grk. μυκτηρίζειν is more usual: Galatians 6:7; 2 Kings 19:21; Proverbs 1:30; Isaiah 37:22; Jeremiah 20:7. In medical writers it means “bleed at the nose.”
15. ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀνθρώπων. This is the emphatic part of the statement. The Pharisees succeeded in exhibiting themselves as righteous persons in the judgment of men; but God’s judgment was very different. Comp. Matthew 6:2, Matthew 6:5, Matthew 6:16, Matthew 6:23:5, Matthew 6:6, Matthew 6:7, Matthew 6:25.
ὁ δὲ θεὸͅ γινώσκει τᾲ καρδίᾳ. The use of γινώσκειν, which commonly implies the acquisition of knowledge, rather than εἰδέναι, is remarkable. We find the same word used of Christ,even where the knowledge must have been supernatural (John 2:24, John 2:25, John 2:10:14, 27, John 2:17:25). The exact antithesis would have been, “but before God ye cannot justify yourselves.” This, however, would have implied that there were no Pharisees who were not hypocrites: that God reads their hearts is true in all cases. Comp. ὁ δὲ Θεὸͅ ὄυεται εἰͅ καρδίαν (1 Samuel 16:7), and again, πάσᾳ καρδίᾳ ἐτάζει κύριοͅ καὶ πᾶν ἐνθύμημα γινώσκει (1 Chronicles 28:9).
ὅτι τὸ ἐν ἀνθρώποιͅ ὑψηλόν. We must understand something before ὅτι: “But God knoweth your hearts [and He seeth not as man seeth], because that which is exalted in the eyes of men,” etc. For this use of ἐν comp. 1 Corinthians 14:11, and perhaps Judges 1:1: it is clear that ἐν ἀνθρώποιͅ = ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀνθρώπων above. Comp. Job 10:4; 1 Samuel 16:7.
βδέλυγμα. Here only in N.T. in the general sense of an abomination: comp. Genesis 43:31, Genesis 44:34. Elsewhere (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14; Revelation 17:4, Revelation 17:5, 21:27) of the special abominations of idolatry: comp. 1 Kings 11:5, 1 Kings 11:33, 1 Kings 11:20:26; 2 Kings 16:3, 2 Kings 21:2. The word belongs to Hellenistic Greek, and is very freq. in LXX. It meant originally that which greatly offends the nostrils, and it is very much in excess of the usual antithesis to ὑψηλόν, viz. ταπεινόν. See Suicer, s.v.; D.C. G. “Abomination.”
16-18.The discourse has been so greatly condensed that the connecting links have been lost. It is possible that the connexion is something of this kind. “To be justified before God is all the more necessary now when the Kingdom of God among men is being founded. The Law has been superseded. Its types have been fulfilled, and its exclusiveness is abolished: everyone now can force his way to salvation. But the moral principles of the Law are imperishable: you cannot abolish them. And thus your frequent divorces violate the spirit of the Law.” Others regard ver. 18 as symbolical. “You and those whom you instruct are wedded to the Divine revelation, and if you desert it for anything else you are guilty of spiritual adultery.” But in that case what meaning can the second clause have? How can anyone commit spiritual adultery by accepting the revelation which the Jews rejected? See on ver. 18 for another attempt at a parabolic interpretation.
16. Ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται . A common expression for the O. T. Dispensation. It may point to a time when the Hebrew Canon consisted only of the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17, Matthew 5:7:12, Matthew 5:12:40; Acts 13:15, Acts 28:23). See Ryle, Canon of O.T. p. 118.
μέχρι Ἰωάνου. We supply ἦσαν: “they existed and had authority until John.”
This is the only passage in which μέχρι is found preceding a vowel; else where μέχρις, is used (Mark 13:30; Hebrews 12:4). See on ἄχρι, 1:20.
πᾶς εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται . “Every one forces his way into it,”—perhaps not always in the right spirit. See Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 26. The πᾶς is to be noticed: the Jew has no longer any exclusive rights. Here βιάζεται is mid. according to class. usage: in Matthew 11:12 it is pass.—“the Kingdom of God is forced, taken by storm.” Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 258.
17. Εὐκοπώτερον . See on 5:23. The δέ which follows it is “But” (RV.), not “And” (AV.). Many English Versions omit the conjunction. Facilius est autem (Vulg.).
κερέαν. Minimæ literæ minius apex, i.e. one of the little horns (κέρας) or minute projections which distinguish Hebrew letters, otherwise similar, from one another. There are several Jewish sayings which declare that anyone who is guilty of interchanging any of these similar letters in certain passages in O.T. will destroy the whole world. Wetst. on Matthew 5:18; Schoettg. 1. p. 29; Edersh. L. & T. 1. pp. 537, 538.
For the form κερέα = κεραία comp. 2:13, and see WH. ii. App. p. 151. Marcion read τῶν λόγων μου, or τῶν λόγων τοῦ Κυρίου, instead of τοῦ νόμου. The reading has no support; and μίαν κερέαν is more applicable to the written law than to the as yet unwritten words of Christ. See Tert. Adv. Marcion. iv. 33, and contrast Luke 21:33.
πεσεῖν. “To fall to the ground” as devoid of authority: comp. Romans 9:6?; 1 Corinthians 13:8. The moral elements in the Law are indestructible, and the Gospel confirms them by giving them a new sanction.
18. Perhaps this introduces an example of the durability of the moral law in spite of human evasions. Adultery remains adultery even when it has been legalized, and legalized by men who jealously guarded every fraction of the letter, while they flagrantly violated the spirit of the Law. “Because he hath found some unseemly thing in her” (Deuteronomy 24:1), was interpreted with such frivolity, that Hillel is said to have taught that a man might divorce his wife for spoiling the dinner. Comp. Mark 10:11, Mark 10:12 and Matthew 5:32 for other statements of Christ’s doctrine. Matthew 5:32 states the one exception.
It is very forced to take the whole utterance as a parable. “It is spiritual adultery to cast off all the obligations of the Law; and it is also spiritual adultery to maintain all those obligations which have been rescinded by the Gospel.” But this does not fit the wording; and, if it did, would it have been intelligible to those who heard it? According to this explanation the wife unlawfully put away = those elements in the Law which are eternal; and the divorced wife unlawfully married to another man = those elements of the Law which are obsolete. But in the parable (if it be a parable) we have not two women but one. It is better to take the words literally, and leave me connexion with what precedes undetermined.
19-31. § The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus; in two scenes, one on earth (19-22) and the other in Hades (23-31). It continues the lesson respecting the right employment of earthly possessions. The unjust steward showed what good results may follow from a wise use of present advantages. The rich man shows how disastrous are the consequences of omitting to make a wise use of such things. This second parable illustrates in a marked way some of the utterances which precede it. “That which is exalted among men” describes the rich man in his luxury on earth. “An abomination in the sight of God” describes him in his misery in Hades. “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tittle of the law to fail,” shows that Moses and the Prophets still avail as the teachers of conduct that will lead a man to Abraham’s bosom rather than to the place of torment. There is no taint of “Ebionitic heresy” in the narrative. It emphasizes the dangers of wealth; but it nowhere implies the unlawfulness of wealth. (See Milligan, A Group of Parables, in the Expositor for September 1892, p. 186.) It is not suggested that the rich man ought to have renounced his riches, but that he ought not to have found in riches his highest good. He ought to have made his earthly possessions a means of obtaining something much higher and more abiding. Out of this mammon, which in his case was unrighteous mammon, he might have made Lazarus and others his “friends,” and have secured through them eternal tabernacles. His riches were “his good things,” the only good things that he knew; and when he lost them he lost everything. “What doth it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?” There is no reason for supposing that the second half of the parable is a later addition, or that it is the only part which has a meaning. It is when both are combined that we get the main lesson,—that to possess great wealth and use it solely for oneself, without laying up treasure in heaven, is fatal.
The parable is sometimes understood quite otherwise. Lazarus is the Jewish people, ill-treated by earthly powers, such the Romans and their underlings; and Dives and his five brothers are the Herods: (1) Herod the Great, (2) Archelaus, (3) Philip, (4) Antipas, (5) Agrippa 1., (6) Agrippa 2. Father, sons, and grandsons are thus all put together as brothers for simplification. It is a natural consequence of such an interpretation as this that the parable is assumed to be the invention of a later age, and to have been wrongly attributed to Christ. It is difficult to believe that He could have wished to suggest any such meaning.1 Moreover, this interpretation destroys the connexion with the context.
19. Ἄνθρωπος δέ τις ἦν πλούσιος. “Now a certain man was rich” is less probable than “Now, there was a certain rich man”: comp. ver. 1, 13:11. Note the τις.
πορφύραν καὶ βύσσον. The former for the upper garment, the latter for the under. Both were very costly. The former means first the murex, secondly the dye made from it (1 Mac. 4:23), and then the fabric dyed with it (Mark 15:17, Mark 15:20). Similarly, βύσσος is first Egyptian flax, and then the fine linen made from it (Exodus 26:1, Exodus 26:31, Exodus 26:36; Ezekiel 16:10, Ezekiel 27:7). The two words are combined Proverbs 31:22: comp. Revelation 18:12, Revelation 18:16. For εὐφραινόμενος comp. 12:19, 15:23, 29: λαμπρῶς occurs nowhere else in bibl. Grk.
20. ὀνόματι Λάζαρος . For ὀνόματι see on 5:27: the expression is freq. in Lk. Nowhere else does Christ give a name to any character in a parable. That this signifies that the name was “written in heaven,” while that of the rich man was not, is farfetched. Tertullian urges the name as proof that the narrative is not a parable but history, and that the scene in Hades involves his doctrine that the soul is corporeal (De Animâ, 7.).2 It is possible that the name is a later addition to the parable, to connect it with Lazarus of Bethany. He was one who “went to them from the dead,” and still they did not repent. As he was raised from the dead just about this time, so far as we can determine the chronology, there may be a reference to him. But it is more probable that the name suggests the helplessness of the beggar; and some name was needed (ver. 24). Tradition has given the name Nineuis to the rich man. The theory that the story of the raising of Lazarus has grown out of this parable is altogether arbitrary.
ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ. Not “had been flung at his gate,” as if contemptuous roughness were implied. In late Greek βάλλειν often loses the notion of violence, and means simply ‘lay, place”: 5:37; John 5:7, John 5:7:6, John 5:18:11, John 5:20:25, John 5:27, John 5:21:6; Jam 3:3; Numbers 22:38. By πυλῶνα is meant a large gateway or portico, whether part of the house or not (Acts 10:17, Acts 10:12:14; Matthew 26:71; 2 Chronicles 3:7; Zephaniah 2:14). It indicates the grandeur of the house.
εἱλκωμένος . The verb occurs here only in bibl. Grk., but is common in medical writers, especially in the pass., “be ulcerated.”
The irregular augment, instead of the usual ἡλκωμένος, is well attested here, and perhaps arose from analogy with ἔλκω. Comp. κατειργάσατο (Romans 15:18). WH. ii. App. p. 161; Greg. Proleg. p. 121. Syr-Sin. omits.
21. ἐπιθυμῶν χορτασθῆναι . This does not imply (Iren. ii. 34, 1) that his desire was not gratified. His being allowed to remain there daily, and his caring to remain there daily, rather indicates that he did get the broken meat. He shared with the dogs (Mark 7:28). But perhaps it does imply that what was given to him did not satisfy his hunger. Some authorities insert from 15:16 καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδίδου αὐτῷ et nemo illi dabat, which even as a gloss seems to be false.
The silence of Lazarus throughout the parable is very im pressive. He never murmurs against God’s distribution of wealth, nor against the rich man’s abuse of it, in this world. And in Hades he neither exults over the change of relations between himself and Dives, nor protests against being asked to wait upon him in the place of torment, or to go errands for him to the visible world.
ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ κύνες . “Nay, even the dogs.” This shows his want and his helplessness. Not only was his hunger unsatisfied, but even the dogs came and increased his misery. He was scantily clad, and his sores were not bound up; and he was unable to drive away the unclean dogs when they came to lick them. The suggestion that the dogs were kinder to him than the rich man was, is probably not intended; although the main point of vv. 20, 21 is to continue the description of Dives rather than to make a contrast to him. Here was a constant opportunity of making a good use of his wealth, and he did not avail himself of it.
ἐπέλειχον. “Licked the surface of.” Here only in bibl. Greek. The reading ἀπέλειχον has very little authority. For ἀλλὰ καί comp. 12:7, 24:22.
22. This verse serves to connect the two scenes of the parable. The reversal of the positions of the two men is perhaps intimated in the fact that Lazarus dies first. The opportunity of doing good to him was lost before the rich man died, but the loss was not noticed.
ἀπενεχθῆναι αὐτόν. . “His soul was carried,” a loco alieno in patriam. Clearly we are not to understand that what never happened to anyone before happened to him, and that body and soul were both translated to Hades. In saying that he died (ἀποθανεῖν) the severance of soul and body is implied. And the fact that his burial is not mentioned is no proof that it is not to be understood Jesus would scarcely have shocked Jewish feeling by the revolting idea that close to human habitations a corpse was left unburied, In each case the feature which specially characterized the death is mentioned. See Aug. De Civ. Dei, xxi. 10, 2.
ὑπὸ τῶν ἀγγέλων . The transition was painless and happy. A Targum on Cantic. iv. 12 says that the souls of the righteous are carried to paradise by Angels. Comp. the λειτουργικὰ πνεύματα of Hebrews 1:14 and the ἄγγελοι λειτουργοί of Philo. But it is no purpose of the parable to give information about the unseen world. The general principle is maintained that bliss and misery after death are determined by conduct previous to death; but the details of the picture are taken from Jewish beliefs as to the condition of souls in Sheol, and must not be understood as confirming those beliefs. The properties of bodies are attributed to souls in order to enable us to realize the picture.
εἰς τὸν κόλπον Ἀβραάμ. This is not the objective genitive, “the bosom which contained Abraham,” but the subjective, “that in which Abraham received Lazarus.” Comp. Matthew 8:11. Lazarus in Sheol reposes with his head on Abraham’s breast, as a child in his father’s lap, and shares his happiness. Comp. John 1:18. The expression is not common in Jewish writings; but Abraham is sometimes represented as welcoming the penitent into paradise. Edersh. L. & T. 2. p. 280. Comp. οὕτω γὰρ παθόντας (v.l. θανόντας) ἡμᾶς Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Ἰσαὰκ ἀκὼβ ὑποδέξονται (4 Mac 13:17). Such expressions as “go to one’s fathers” (Genesis 15:15), “lie with one’s fathers” (Genesis 47:30), “be gathered to one’s fathers” (Jdg 2:10), and “sleep with one’s fathers” (1 Kings 1:21), apply to death only, and contain no clue as to the bliss or misery of the departed. “Abraham’s bosom” does contain this. It is not a synonym for paradise; but to repose on Abraham’s bosom is to be in paradise, for Abraham is there (John 8:56: Diptychs of the Dead in the Liturgy of S. James).
καὶ ἐτάφη. It is not the contrast between the magnificence of his funeral (of which nothing is stated) and the lack of funeral for Lazarus (of which nothing is stated) that is to be marked, but the contrast between mere burial in the one case and the ministration of Angels in the other.
Some authorities seem to have omitted the καί before ἐν τῷ ᾄδῃ and to have joined these words with ἐτάφη. Vulg. has et sepultus est in inferno: elevans autem oculos suos. Aug. has both arrangements. Comp. John 13:30, John 13:31 for a similar improbable shifting of a full stop in some texts. Other examples Greg. Proleg. p. 181.
23. καὶ ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ. “In Hades,” the receptacle of all the departed until the time of final judgment, and including both paradise and Gehenna. That Hades does not mean “hell” as a place of punishment is manifest from Acts 2:27, Acts 2:31; Genesis 37:35, 42:38, 44:29; Job 14:13, Job 17:13, etc. That Hades includes a place of punishment is equally clear from this passage. In the Psalms of Solomon Hades is mentioned only in connexion with the idea of punishment (14:6, 15:11, 16:2). See Suicer, s.v. The distinction between Hades and Gehenna is one of the many great advantages of RV. Dives “lifts up his eyes,” not to look for help, but to learn the nature of his changed condition.
ὑπάρχων ἐν βασάνοις. Torment is now his habitual condition: not ὤν, but ὑπάρχων. That he is punished for his heartless neglect of great opportunities of benevolence, and not simply for being rich, is clear from the position of Abraham, who was rich. Comp. μέγας γὰρ ψυχῆς ἀγὼν καὶ κίνδυνος ἐν αἰωνίῳ βασάνῳ κείμενος τοῖς παραβᾶσι τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ (4 Mac. 13:15); and contrast δικαίων δὲ ψυχαὶ ἐν χειρὶ Θεοῦ, καὶ οὐ μὴ ἅψηται αὐτῶν βάσανος (Wisd. 3:1). Luxurioso carere deliciis poena est (Ambr).
ὁρᾷ Ἀβραάμ. The Jews believed that Gehenna and paradise are close to one another: Edersh. Hist. of Jewish Nation, p. 432 ed. 1896. We need not suppose that the parable teaches us to believe this. The details of the picture cannot be insisted upon.
ἀπὸ μακρόθεν. The ἀπό is pleonastic, and marks a, late use, when the force of the adverbial termination has become weakened: Matthew 27:51; Mark 5:6, Mark 14:54, Mark 15:40, etc. In LXX we have ἀπὸ ὄπισθεν (freq. in 1 and 2 Sam.), ἀπὸ ἐπάνωθεν, ἀπὸ πρωΐθεν: and in Aq. ἀπὸ ἀρχῆθεν and ἀπὸ κυκλόθεν.
With κόλποις comp. ἱμάτια of a single garment (Acts 18:6; John 13:4, John 19:23) and γάμοι of a single wedding (12:36). We have similar plurals in late class. Grk.
24. Πάτερ Ἀβραάμ. He appeals to their relationship, and to his fatherly compassion. Will not Abraham take pity on one of his own sons? Comp. John 8:53. Note the characteristic καὶ αὐτός (see on 1:17, 5:14). The φωνήσας implies raising his voice, in harmony with ἀπὸ μακρόθεν.
πέμψον Λάζαπον. Not that he assumes that Lazarus is at his beck and call, although Lange thinks that this is “the finest masterstroke of the parable” that Dives unconsciously retains his arrogant attitude towards Lazarus. See also his strange explanation of the finger-drop of water (L of C. i. p. 507). On earth Dives was not arrogant; he did not drive Lazarue from his gate; but neglectful. In Hades he is so humbled by his pain that he is willing to receive alleviation from anyone, even Lazarus.
ἵνα βάψῃ τὸ ἄκρον τοῦ δακτύλου αὐτοῦ ὕδατος. The smallest alleviation will be welcome. On earth no enjoyment was too extravagant: now the most trifling is worth imploring.
With the part. gen. ὕδατος comp. βάψει τὸν δάκτυλον τὸν δεξιὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἐλαίου (Leviticus 14:16). To understand τι and make ὔδατός τι nom. to βάψη is an improbable constr. See win. xxx. 8. c, p. 252.
ὀδυνῶμαι ἐν τῇ φλογὶ ταύτῃ. “I am in anguish in this flame” of insatiable desires and of remorse: a prelude to the γέεννα τοῦ πυρός (Matthew 5:22). For ὀδυνῶμαι see on 2:48.
25. Τέκνον. He does not resent the appeal to relationship: the refusal is as gentle as it is decided. The rich man cannot fail to see the reasonableness of what he experiences.
ἀπέλαβες. “Thou didst receive in full.” This seems to be the meaning of the ἀπο-. Nothing was stored up for the future: Comp. ἀπέχειν, 6:24; Matthew 6:2, Matthew 6:5, Matthew 6:16. Note the μνήσθητι. It is only in the mythological Hades that there is a river of Lethe, drowning the memory of the past. See second small print, p. 425.
τὰ ἀγαθά σου. Herein also was fatal error. He had no idea of any other good things, and he kept these to himself.
καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά. There is no αὐτοῦ. His evil things were not his own, but he accepted them as from God, while the rich man took his good things as possessions for which he had no account to render. Comp. vv. 11, 12.
νῦν δὲ ὧδε. Contrast of time and place: “But now here.” The ὁ δὲ of TR. has scarcely any authority. The same corruption is found 1 Corinthians 4:2. Comp. οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ᾅδου ζητῆσαι τρυφήν (Ecclus. 14:16). There is, however, no hint that during their lives Dives had been sufficiently rewarded for any good that he had done, and Lazarus sufficiently punished for any evil that he had done. And there is also no justification of the doctrine that to each man is allotted so much pleasure and so much pain; and that those who have their full allowance of pleasure in this world cannot have any in the world to come. Abraham’s reply must be considered in close relation to the rich man’s request. Dives had not asked to be freed from his punishment. He accepted that as just. He had asked for a slight alleviation, and in a way which involved an interruption of the bliss of Lazarus. Abraham replies that to interfere with the lot of either is both unreasonable and impossible. Dives had unbroken luxury, and Lazarus unbroken suffering, in the other world. There can be no break in the pangs of Dives, or in the bliss of Lazarus, now. Apoc. Baruch, lxxv. 9.
ὀδυνᾶσαι. An intermediate form between ὀδυνάεσαι and ὀδυνᾷ. Such things belong to the popular Greek of the time. Comp. καυχᾶσαι (Romans 2:17; 1 Corinthians 4:7), κατακαυχᾶσαι (Romans 11:18), and see on φάγεσαι and πίεσαι (Luke 17:8). See Expos. Times, viii. p. 239.
26. ἐν πᾶσι τούτοις. In his omnibus (Vulg.). The ἐπί (A, etc.) for ἐν (א B L) is a manifest correction. While ver. 25 shows that on equitable grounds no alleviation of the lot of Dives is admissible, ver. 26 shows that the particular kind of alleviation asked for is impossible. Can it mean, “In all these regions, from end to end”?
χάσμα μέγα ἐστήρικται. “Has been and remains fixed.” Evidence is lacking to show that the Jews pictured the two parts of Hades as divided by a chasm. Here only in bibl. Grk. is χάσμα found: not Numbers 16:30.
Chaos magnum firmatum est (Vulg. f), chaus magnum confirmatus est (d), chaos magnus firmatus est (1). For this use of chaos comp. Posita est mihi regia cælo: Possidet alter aquas, alter inane chaos (Ovid, Fast. iv. 599). Bentley conjectured chasma, the ma having been lost in magnum and chas expanded into chaos. This conjecture finds support in two MSS. of Vulg., M having chasma and Y chasmagnum. Jerome would be likely to correct chaos into chasma.
ὅπως…μὴ δύωνται. Not, “so that they cannot” (AV.); but, “in order that they may not be able.”
μηδέ. “Nor yet”: this would be still less permissible. The οἱ before ἐκεῖθεν is probably not genuine, but we may understand a new subject. Groups from each side are supposed to contemplate crossing; not one group to cross and recross.
27. But perhaps there is no χάσμα between paradise and the other world; and Dives makes another request, which, if less selfish than the first, is also less humble. It implies that he has scarcely had a fair chance. If God had warned him sufficiently, he would have escaped this place of torment.
28. διαμαρτύρηται αὐτοῖς. “May bear witness successfully,” right through to a good issue. But the δια- need not mean more than “thoroughly, earnestly” (Acts 2:40, Acts 2:8:25, Acts 2:10:42, Acts 2:18:5, Acts 2:20:21, Acts 2:23, Acts 2:24, Acts 2:23:11, Acts 2:28:23). Elsewhere in N. T. only five times, but freq. in LXX. That any five persons then living, whether Herods, or sons of Annas, or among the audience, are here alluded to, is most improbable. That the request is meant to illustrate the Pharisees’ craving for signs is more possible: and the lesson that the desire to warn others from vicious courses may come too late is perhaps also included. But the simplest explanation of the request is that it prepares the way for the moral of the parable,—the duty of making use of existing opportunities.
29. ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν. Nemo cogitur. Auditu fideli salvamur, non apparitionibus. Herodes, audire non cupiens, miraculum non cernit (Beng.). Wonders may impress a worldly mind for the moment; but only a will freely submitting itself to moral control can avail to change the heart.
30. Οὐχί, πάτερ Ἀβραάμ. Not, “No, they will not repent for Moses and the Prophets,” which Abraham has not asserted; but, “No, that is not enough.” He speaks from his own experience.
It is better to take ἀπὸ νεκρῶν with πορευθῇ than with τις. Vulg. is as amphibolous as the Greek: si quis ex mortuis ierit ad eos. See on 1:8.
μετανοήσουσιν. “They will repent.” Not, “they will give all to the poor,” or “they will leave all and become as Lazarus.” There is no hint that being rich is sinful, or that the poor are sure of salvation. In ver. 28 he did not say that wealth had ruined himself.
31. Εἰ … οὐκ ἀκούουσιν. “If, as matters now stand, they are refusing to hear.” We go beyond the tenour of the reply when we make it mean that “a far mightier miracle than you demand would be ineffectual for producing a far slighter effect.” Does ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῆ imply “a far mightier miracle” than ἀπὸ νεκρῶν πορευθῇ? And does πεισθήσονται imply “a far slighter effect” than μετανοήσουσιν? “Persuaded” obviously means “persuaded to repent”; and one who “goes from the dead” to warn the living must “rise from the dead.” By this conclusion Christ once more rebukes the demand for a sign. Those who ask for it have all that they need for the ascertainment of the truth; and the sign if granted would not produce conviction. Saul was not led to repentance when he saw Samuel at Endor, nor were the Pharisees when they saw Lazarus come forth from the tomb. The Pharisees tried to put Lazarus to death and to explain away the resurrection of Jesus. For allegorical interpretations of the parable see Trench, Parables, p. 470, 10th Exo_1
In οὐκ ἀκούουσιν the negative belongs to the verb so as almost to form one word, and is not influenced by the εἰ: “If they disregard.” Comp. 11:8, 12:26, 18:4. The pres. indic. represents the supposition as contemporaneous. Note the change from εἰ with pres. indic. to ἐάν with aor. subjunc. The latter is pure hypothesis.
The Idea of Hades or Sheol in the Old Testament
It is surprising how very little advance there is in O.T., respecting conceptions of the unseen world, upon Greek mythology. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that, until about b.c. 200, the Jewish Sheol is essentially the same in conception as the Hades of Greek poetry. There are no moral or spiritual distinctions in it. Good and bad alike are there, and are apparently much in the same condition. Moreover, there is no thought of either of them rising again. In some places, possibly, Sheol or Hades is merely a synonym for the grave or death, which receives good and bad alike, and retains them: e.g. Genesis 37:35, 42:38; 1 Samuel 2:6. But in passages in which the unseen world of spirits is plainly meant, the absence of the religious element is remarkable. Nay, in one way the bad are better off than the good; for while the Just have lost the joys which were the reward of their righteousness, the wicked have ceased to be troubled by the consequences of their iniquity. See Davidson on Job 3:16-19. Sheol is a place of rest; but also of silence, gloom, and ignorance. In the only passage in which the word occurs in Ecclesiastes we are told that there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest” (9:10). Those who have gone thither return no more, and none escape it (Job 7:9, Job 7:10, Job 7:10:21, 22, Job 7:20:9). It is a land of forgetfulness, in which there is no more remembrance of God or possibility of serving Him (Psalm 6:5, 30:9, 88:12; comp. Isaiah 38:11, Isaiah 38:18). And it is insatiable (Proverbs 1:12, Proverbs 1:27:20, Proverbs 1:30:16; comp. Isaiah 5:14). In some Psalms there is some trace of hope for eternal life in God in the other world (49:15), but not of hope for resurrection. In 17:15 “when I awake” probably does not mean awake from death, but from sleep. It is the daily renewal of communion with God that is desired. In Isaiah 25:8, and still more in Isaiah 26:19, hope in a resurrection from Sheol is expressed; and in Daniel 12:2 we reach idea of resurrection with rewards and punishments. See Hastings, D.B. i. p. 740; D.C.G. ii. p. 514.
Side by side with the hope of a resurrection (2 Mac. 12:43-45, 14:46) comes the belief did Sheol is only an intermediate state, at any rate for the rightous (2 Mac. 7:9, 11, 14, 36, 37; Enoch li.): and along with the idea of a resurrection to rewards and punishments comes the idea that there is retribution in Sheol itself, and consequently a separation of the righteous from the wicked (Enoch xxii.). But the idea of rising again to be punished does not seem to have prevailed. The view rather was that only the righteous were raised, while the wicked remained for ever in Sheol (Enoch lxiii. 8-10, xcix. 11). In this way Hades becomes practically the same as Gehenna (Ps. Sol. 14:6, 15:11, 16:2). In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus there is nothing to show whether Hades is intermediate or final: but the doctrine of its being a place of retribution, with a complete separation of the righteous from the wicked, could hardly be more clearly marked. In the Talmud, Sheol is identical with Gehenna, just as in popular English “hell” is always a place of punishment, and generally of final punishment. See DB.2 art. “Hell”; Herzog, Pro_2 art. Hades; Charles, Book of Enoch, p. 168.
L. & T. Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.
§ Found in Luke alone.
AV. Authorized Version.
RV. Revised Version.
אԠא Cod. Sinaiticus, sæc. iv. Brought by Tischendorf from the Convent of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai; now at St. Petersburg. Contains the whole Gospel complete.
B B. Cod. Vaticanus, sæc. 4. In the Vatican Library certainly since 15331 (Batiffol, La Vaticane de Paul 3, etc., p. 86).
D D. Cod. Bezae, sæc. vi. Given by Beza to the University Library at Cambridge 1581. Greek and Latin. Contains the whole Gospel.
Burton. Burton, N.T. Moods and Tenses.
Hist. of J. N. History of the Jewish Nation.
Win. Winer, Grammar of N.T. Greek (the page refers to Moulton’s edition).
Lft. J. B. Lightfoot,* Notes on Epistles of S. Paul.
A A. Cod. Alexandrinus, sæc. v. Once in the Patriarchal Library at Alexandria; sent by Cyril Lucar as a present to Charles 1. in 1628, and now in the British Museum. Complete.
L L. Cod. Regius Parisiensis, sæc. viii. National Library at Paris. Contains the whole Gospel.
R R. Cod. Nitriensis Rescriptus, sæc. 8. Brought from a convent in the Nitrian desert about 1847, and now in the British Museum. Contains 1:1-13, 1:69-2:4, 16-27, 4:38-5:5, 5:25-6:8, 18-36, 39, 6:49-7:22, 44, 46, 47, 8:5-15, 8:25-9:1, 12-43, 10:3-16, 11:5-27, 12:4-15, 40-52, 13:26-14:1, 14:12-15:1, 15:13-16:16, 17:21-18:10, 18:22-20:20, 20:33-47, 21:12-22:15, 42-56, 22:71-23:11, 38-51. By a second hand 15:19-21.
F F. Cod. Boreeli, sæc. ix. In the Public Library at Utrecht. Contains considerable portions of the Gospel.
U U. Cod. Nanianus, sæc. x. In the Library of St. Mark’s, Venice. Contains the whole Gospel.
G G. Cod. Harleianus, sæc. ix. In the British Museum. Contains considerable portions.
Δ̠Δ. Cod. Sangallensis, sæc. ix. In the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland. Greek and Latin. Contains the whole Gospel.
Wordsw. Wordsworth (Chr.)
Ξ̠Ξ. Cod. Zacynthius Rescriptus, sæc. viii. In the Library of the Brit. and For. Bible Soc. in London. Contains 1:1-9, 19-23, 27, 28, 30-32, 36-66, 1:77-2:19, 21, 22, 33-39, 3:5-8, 11-20, 4:1, 2, 6-20, 32-43, 5:17-36, 6:21-7:6, 11-37, 39-47, 8:4-21, 25-35, 43-50, 9:1-28, 32, 33, 35, 9:41-10:18, 21-40, 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 24-30, 31, 32, 33.
WH. Westcott and Hort.
1 Jésus se serait-il abaissé à de pareilles personalités? asks Godet, with some reason.
2 Ambrose also takes it as history: Narratio magis quam parabola videtur, quando etiam nomen exprimitur (Migne, xv. 1768).
Greg. Gregory, Prolegomena ad Tischendorfii ed. N. T.
TR. Textus Receptus.
1 Near the end of the Koran are two passages worth comparing. (Sale’s Koran, chs. 102, 104).
And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.
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 am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord?
And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.
And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?
No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.