Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
Lu 19:1-10. Zaccheus the Publican.
The name is Jewish.
And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
2-4. chief among the publicans—farming a considerable district, with others under him.
rich—Ill-gotten riches some of it certainly was. (See on Lu 19:8.)
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
3. who he was—what sort of person. Curiosity then was his only motive, though his determination not to be baulked was overruled for more than he sought.
And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
4. sycamore—the Egyptian fig, with leaves like the mulberry.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
5, 6. looked up,—in the full knowledge of who was in the tree, and preparatory to addressing him.
Zaccheus—whom he had never seen in the flesh, nor probably heard of. "He calleth His own sheep by name and leadeth them out" (Joh 10:3).
make haste, and come down—to which he literally responded—"he made haste and came down."
for to-day, &c.—Our Lord invites Himself, and in "royal" style, which waits not for invitations, but as the honor is done to the subject, not the sovereign, announces the purpose of royalty to partake of the subject's hospitalities. Manifestly our Lord speaks as knowing how the privilege would be appreciated.
to-day … abide—(Compare Joh 1:39), probably over night.
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
6. joyfully—Whence this so sudden "joy" in the cold bosom of an avaricious publican? The internal revolution was as perfect as instantaneous. "He spake and it was done." "Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing" (Isa 35:6).
And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
7. to be guest—or lodge: something more than "eating with" such (Lu 15:2).
a sinner—that was one but a minute ago, but now is not. This mighty change, however, was all unknown to them. But they shall know it presently. "Sinner" would refer both to his office, vile in the eyes of a Jew, and to his character, which it is evident was not good.
And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
8-10. stood—before all.
said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord—Mark how frequently Luke uses this title, and always where lordly authority, dignity, or power is intended.
if I have—that is, "so far as I have," for evidently the "if" is so used (as in Php 4:8).
taken by false accusation—defrauded, overcharged (Lu 3:12, 13).
fourfold—The Roman law required this; the Jewish law, but the principal and a fifth more (Nu 5:7). There was no demand made for either; but, as if to revenge himself on his hitherto reigning sin (see on Joh 20:28), and to testify the change he had experienced, besides surrendering the half of his fair gains to the poor, he voluntarily determines to give up all that was ill-gotten, quadrupled. He gratefully addressed this to the "Lord," to whom he owed the wonderful change.
And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
9. Jesus said unto him—but also before all.
This day, &c.—memorable saying! Salvation already come, but not a day old.
to this house—so expressed probably to meet the taunt, "He is gone to be guest," &c. The house is no longer polluted; it is now fit to receive Me. But salvation to a house is an exceedingly precious idea, expressing the new air that would henceforth breathe in it, and the new impulses from its head which would reach its members (Ps 118:15; Ac 16:15, 16, 31).
son of Abraham—He was that by birth, but here it means a partaker of his faith, being mentioned as the sufficient explanation of salvation having come to him.
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
10. lost—and such "lost" ones as this Zaccheus. (See on Lu 15:32.) What encouragement is there in this narrative to hope for unexpected conversions?
And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
Lu 19:11-27. Parable of the Pounds.
A different parable from that of the Talents (Mt 25:14-30). For, (1) This parable was spoken "when He was nigh to Jerusalem" (Lu 19:11); that one, some days after entering it, and from the Mount of Olives. (2) This parable was spoken to the promiscuous crowd; that, to the Twelve alone. Accordingly, (3) Besides the "servants" in this parable, who profess subjection to Him, there is a class of "citizens" who refuse to own Him, and who are treated differently, whereas in the parable of the talents, spoken to the former class alone, this latter class is omitted. (4) In the Talents, each servant receives a different number of them (five, two, one); in the Pounds all receive the same one pound, which is but about the sixtieth part of a talent; also, in the talents, each shows the same fidelity by doubling what he received (the five are made ten; the two, four); in the Pounds, each receiving the same, render a different return (one making his pound ten, another five). Plainly, therefore, the intended lesson is different; the one illustrating equal fidelity with different degrees of advantage; the other, different degrees of improvement of the same opportunities; yet with all this difference, the parables are remarkably similar.
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
12. a far country—said to put down the notion that He was just on His way to set up His kingdom, and to inaugurate it by His personal presence.
to receive … a kingdom—be invested with royalty; as when Herod went to Rome and was there made king; a striking expression of what our Lord went away for and received, "sitting down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."
to return—at His second coming.
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
13. Occupy—"negotiate," "do business," with the resources entrusted.
But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
14. his citizens—His proper subjects; meaning the Jews, who expressly repudiating our Lord's claims said, "We have no king but Cæsar" (Joh 19:15). In Christendom, these correspond to infidel rejecters of Christianity, as distinguished from professed Christians.
And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
15-26. (See on Mt 25:19-29.)
ten … five cities—different degrees of future gracious reward, proportioned to the measure of present fidelity.
Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
27. bring hither, &c.—(Compare 1Sa 15:32, 33). Referring to the awful destruction of Jerusalem, but pointing to the final destruction of all that are found in open rebellion against Christ.
And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
Lu 19:28-44. Christ's Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem and Tears over It.
(See on Mt 21:1-11.)
And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
29-38. Bethphage—"house of figs," a village which with Bethany lay along the further side of Mount Olivet, east of Jerusalem.
Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.
30. whereon, &c.—(See on Joh 19:41).
And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.
31. the Lord hath need, &c.—He both knew all and had the key of the human heart. (See on Lu 19:5.) Perhaps the owner was a disciple.
And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.
And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?
And they said, The Lord hath need of him.
And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
35. set Jesus on—He allowing this, as befitting the state He was for the first and only time assuming.
And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
37. whole multitude, &c.—The language here is very grand, intended to express a burst of admiration far wider and deeper than ever had been witnessed before.
Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
38. Blessed be the King, &c.—Mark (Mr 11:9, 10) more fully, "Hosanna," that is, "Save now," the words of Ps 118:25, which were understood to refer to Messiah; and so they add, "to the Son of David, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord (Ps 118:26), Hosanna in the highest." This was the very loftiest style in which He could be saluted as the promised Deliverer.
peace, &c.—(See on Lu 2:13, 14).
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
40. the stones, &c.—Hitherto the Lord had discouraged all demonstrations in His favor; latterly He had begun an opposite course; on this one occasion He seems to yield His whole soul to the wide and deep acclaim with a mysterious satisfaction, regarding it as so necessary a part of the regal dignity in which as Messiah He for this last time entered the city, that if not offered by the vast multitude, it would have been wrung out of the stones rather than be withheld (Hab 2:11).
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
41-44. when beheld … wept—Compare La 3:51, "Mine eye affecteth mine heart"; the heart again affecting the eye. Under this sympathetic law of the relation of mind and body, Jesus, in His beautiful, tender humanity, was constituted even as we. What a contrast to the immediately preceding profound joy! He yielded Himself alike freely to both. (See on Mt 23:37.)
Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
42. at least in this, &c.—even at this moving moment. (See on Lu 13:9.)
thy peace—thinking perhaps of the name of the city. (Heb 7:2) [Webster and Wilkinson]. How much is included in this word!
now … hid—It was His among His last open efforts to "gather them," but their eyes were judicially closed.
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
43. a trench—a rampart; first of wood, and when this was burnt, a built wall, four miles in circuit, built in three days—so determined were they. This "cut off all hope of escape," and consigned the city to unparalleled horrors. (See Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.2; 12.3,4.) All here predicted was with dreadful literally fulfilled.
And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
Lu 19:45-48. Second Cleansing of the Temple and Subsequent Teaching.
45, 46. As the first cleansing was on His first visit to Jerusalem (Joh 2:13-22), so this second cleansing was on His last.
den of thieves—banded together for plunder, reckless of principle. The mild term "house of merchandise," used on the former occasion, was now unsuitable.
Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
47. sought—continued seeking, that is, daily, as He taught.
And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.
48. were very attentive to hear him—hung upon His words.