Luke 15:8
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
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(8) Either what woman having ten pieces of silver.—The main lesson of the parable that thus opens is, of course, identical with that of the Lost Sheep. We are justified, however, in assuming that the special features of each were meant to have a special meaning, and that we have therefore more than a mere ornamental variation of imagery. Looking to these points of difference we note (1) the use of the silver coin (the drachma) as a symbol of the human soul. Here the reason of the choice lies on the surface. The coin is what it is because it has on it the king’s image and superscription. Man is precious because he too has the image and superscription of the great King, the spiritual attributes of Thought and Will, by which he resembles God, stamped upon him. (2) There is, perhaps, a special significance in the fact that the coin is lost in the house, while the sheep strays from the fold. What seems implied here is the possibility that a soul that is precious in the sight of God may be lost even within the society, Israel or the Church of Christ, which is for the time being the visible house of God. (3) It is a woman who seeks, and not a man, and the change, at least, reminds us of the woman in the parable of the Leaven. (See Note on Matthew 13:33.) It is hardly an adequate explanation in either case, though it may be true in itself, that the variation was made to interest a different class of hearers, the women who were listening, who had no experience in going after the sheep that was lost. We must at least see in it the lesson that what we call feminine virtues and graces are needed for the deliverance of souls that have fallen—patience, and diligence, and minute observation—not less than what we think of as the more manly qualities of courage, and enterprise, and endurance. Lastly, in the “woman” of the parable we may venture to see that which answers in part to the ideal representation of Wisdom in the book of Proverbs (Luke 8, 9), in part to the Church as answering in its collective unity to the ideal of womanhood, as Christ Himself does to the ideal of manhood (Ephesians 5:23).

Doth not light a candle, and. . . . seek diligently . . .?—The symbolic meaning of each act lies almost on the surface. To “light the candle” can be nothing else than to put forth the full power of truth and holiness. To “sweep the house” can be nothing else than to use all available means for discovering the possible good that lies hidden or seemingly lost. In the later actual life of the Church, faithful preaching of the word answers to the one, faithful organisation of charity to the other. The rest of the parable is simply an identical reproduction, mutatis mutandis, of the conclusion of the former.



Luke 15:4
, Luke 15:8, Luke 15:11.

The immediate occasion of these three inimitable parables, which have found their way to the heart of the world, needs to be remembered in order to grasp their import and importance. They are intended to vindicate Christ’s conduct in associating with outcasts and disreputable persons whom His Pharisaical critics thought a great deal too foul to be touched by clean hands. They were not meant to set forth with anything like completeness either what wanderers had to do to go back to God, or what God had done to bring wanderers back to Himself. If this had been remembered, many misconceptions, widespread and mischievous, especially affecting the meaning of the last of the three parables-that of the Prodigal Son-would have been avoided. The purpose of the parables accounts for Christ’s accepting the division which His antagonists made of men, into ‘righteous,’ like themselves, and ‘unclean,’ like the publicans and sinners. There was a far deeper truth to be spoken about the condition of humanity than that. But for the purposes of His argument Christ passes it by. The remembrance of the intention of the parables explains their incompleteness as a statement of what people call ‘the way of salvation.’ They were not meant to teach us that, but they were meant to show us that a human instinct which prizes lost things because they are lost has something corresponding to it in the divine nature, and so to vindicate the conduct of Christ.

I venture to isolate these three statements of the subjects of the parables, because I think that looking at the threefold aspect in which the one general thought is presented may help us to some useful considerations.

I. I ask you, then, to look with me, first, at the varying causes of loss.

The sheep was lost, the drachma was lost, the son was lost. But in each case the reason for the loss was different. Whilst I would avoid all fanciful inserting into our Lord’s words of more than they can fairly bear, I would also avoid superficial evacuating them of any of their depth of significance. So I think it is not unintentional nor unimportant that in these three metaphors there are set forth three obviously distinct operative causes for man’s departure from God.

The sheep did not intend to go anywhere, either to keep with or to leave the shepherd. It simply knew that grass was sweet, and that there, ahead of it, was another tuft, and it went after that. So it nibbled itself away out of the path, out of the shepherd’s care, out of the flock’s companionship. It was heedless; and therefore it was lost.

Now that is a fair statement of facts in regard to thousands of men, of whom I have no doubt there are some listening to me now. They do not intend any mischief, they have no purpose of rebellion or transgression, but they live what we call animal lives. The sheep knows only where the herbage is abundant and fresh: and it goes there. An animal has no foresight, and is the happier because it cannot look before and after. It has only a rudimentary conscience, if it has that. Its inclinations are restrained by no sense of obligation. Many men live just so, without restraint upon appetite, without checking of inclination, without foresight except of the material good which a certain course of conduct may get. So, all unwitting, meaning no mischief, they wander further and further from the right road, and find themselves at last in a waterless desert.

Dear friends, am I speaking to any now who have too much yielded to inclinations, who have been unwilling to look forward to the end, and ask themselves what all will come to at the last, and who scarcely know what it is to take heed unto their ways, except in so far as worldly prudence may dictate certain courses of conduct for the purpose of securing certain worldly and perishable ends? I would plead, especially with the younger portion of my congregation, to take the touching picture of this first parable as a solemn prophecy of what certainly befalls every man who sets out upon his path without careful consideration of whither it leads to at the last; and who lives for the present, in any of its forms, and who lets himself be led by inclinations or appetites. The animal does so, and, as a rule, its instincts are its sufficient guide. But you and I are blessed or cursed, as the case may be, with higher powers, which, if we do not use, we shall certainly land in the desert. If a man who is meant to guide himself by intelligence, reason, will, foresight, conscience, chooses to go down to the level of the beast, the faculties that serve the beast will not serve the man. And even the sheep is lost from the flock if it yields only to these.

But how it speaks of the Lord’s tender sympathy for the wanderers that He should put in the forefront of the parables this explanation of the condition of men, and should not at first charge it upon them as sin, but only as heedlessness and folly! There is much that in itself is wrong and undesirable, the criminality of which is diminished by the fact that it was heedlessly done, though the heedlessness itself is a crime.

Now turn to the second parable. The coin was heavy, so it fell; it was round, so it rolled; it was dead, so it lay. And there are people who are things rather than persons, so entirely have they given up their wills, and so absolutely do they let themselves be determined by circumstances. It was not the drachma that lost itself, but it was the law of gravitation that lost it, and it had no power of resistance. This also is an explanation-partial, as I shall have to show you in a moment, but still real,-of a great deal of human wandering. There are masses of men who have no more power to resist the pressure of circumstances and temptations than the piece of silver had when it dropped from the woman’s open palm and trundled away into some dark corner. That lightens the darkness of much of the world’s sin.

But for you to abnegate the right and power of resisting circumstances is to abdicate the sovereignty with which God has crowned you. All men are shaped by externals, but the shape which the externals impose upon us is settled by ourselves. Here are two men, for instance, exposed to precisely the same conditions: but one of them yields, and is ruined; the other resists, and is raised and strengthened. As Jesus Christ, so all things have a double operation. They are ‘either a savour of life unto life or a savour of death unto death.’ There is the stone. You may build upon it, or you may stumble over it: you take your choice. Here is the adverse circumstance. You may rule it, or you may let it rule you. Circumstances and outward temptations are the fool’s masters, and the wise man’s servants. It all depends on the set of the sail and the firmness of the hand that grasps the tiller, which way the wind shall carry the ship. The same breeze speeds vessels on directly opposite courses, and so the same circumstances may drive men in two contrary directions, sending the one further and further away from, and drawing the other nearer and nearer to, the haven of their hearts.

Dear friends, as we have to guard against the animal life of yielding to inclinations and inward impulse, of forgetting the future, and of taking no heed to our paths, so, unless we wish to ruin ourselves altogether, we have to fight against the mechanical life which, with a minimum of volition, lets the world do with us what it will. And sure I am that there are men and women in this audience at this time who have let their lives be determined by forces that have swept them away from God.

In the third parable the foolish boy had no love to his father to keep him from emigrating. He wanted to be his own master, and to get away into a place where he thought he could sow his wild oats and no news of it ever reach the father’s house. He wanted to have the fingering of the money, and to enjoy the sense of possession. And so he went off on his unblessed road to the harlots and the swine’s trough.

And that is no parable; that is a picture. The other two were parabolical representations; this is the thing itself. For carelessness of the bonds that knit a heart to God; hardness of an unresponsive heart unmelted by benefits; indifference to the blessedness of living by a Father’s side and beneath His eye; the uprising of a desire of independence and the impatience of control; the exercise of self will-these are causes of loss that underlie the others of which I have been speaking, and which make for every one of us the essential sinfulness of our sin. It is rebellion, and it is rebellion against a Father’s love.

Now, notice, that whilst the other two that we have been speaking about do partially explain the terrible fact that we go away from God, their explanation is only partial, and this grimmer truth underlies them. There are modern theories, as there were ancient ones, that say: ‘Oh! sin is a theological bugbear. There is not any such thing. It is only indifference, ignorance, error.’ And then there are other theorists that say: ‘Sin! There is no sin in following natural laws and impulses. Circumstances shape men; heredity shapes them. The notion that their actions are criminal is a mere figment of an exploded superstition.’

Yes! and down below the ignorance, and inadvertence, and error, and heredity, and domination of externals, there lies the individual choice in each case. The man knows-however he sophisticates himself, or uses other people to provide him with sophistries-that he need not have done that thing unless he had chosen to do it. You cannot get beyond or argue away that consciousness. And so I say that all these immoral teachings, which are very common to-day, omit from the thing that they profess to analyse the very characteristic element of it, which is, as our Lord taught us, not the following inclination like a silly sheep; not the rolling away, in obedience to natural law, like the drachma; but the rising up of a rebellious will that desires a separation, and kicks against control, as in the case of the son.

So, dear friends, whilst I thankfully admit that much of the darkness of human conduct may be lightened by the representations of our two first parables, I cannot but feel that we have to leave to God the determination in each case of how far these have diminished individual criminality; and that we have to remember for ourselves that our departure from God is not explicable unless we recognise the fact that we have chosen rather to be away from Him than to be with Him; and that we like better to have our goods at our own disposal, and to live as it pleases ourselves.

II. So note, secondly, the varying proportions of loss and possession.

A hundred sheep; ten drachmas; two sons. The loss in one case Isaiah 1:1-31 per cent., a trifle; in the other case 10 per cent., more serious; in the last case 50 per cent., heartbreaking. Now, I do not suppose that our Lord intended any special significance to be attached to these varying numbers. Rather they were simply suggested by the cast of the parable in which they respectively occurred. A hundred sheep is a fair average flock; ten pieces of silver are the modest hoard of a poor woman; two sons are a family large enough to represent the contrast which is necessary to the parable. But still we may permissibly look at this varying proportion in order to see whether it, too, cannot teach us something.

It throws light upon the owner’s care and pains in seeking. In one aspect, these are set forth most strikingly by the parable in which the thing lost bears the smallest proportion to the thing still retained. The shepherd might well have said: ‘One in a hundred does not matter much. I have got the ninety and nine.’ But he went to look for it. But, in another aspect, the woman, of course, has a more serious loss to face, and possibly seeks with more anxiety. And when you come up to the last case, where half the household is blotted out, as it were, then we can see the depth of anxiety and pains and care which must necessarily follow.

But beyond the consideration that the ascending proportion suggests increasing pains and anxiety, there is another lesson, which seems to me even more precious, and it is this, that it matters very little to the loser how much he keeps, or what the worth of the lost thing is. There is something in human nature which makes anything that is lost precious by reason of its loss. Nobody can tell how large a space a tree fills until it is felled. If you lose one tiny stone out of a ring, or a bracelet, it makes a gap, and causes annoyance altogether disproportionate to the lustre that it had when it was there. A man loses a small portion of his fortune in some unlucky speculation, and the loss annoys him a great deal more than the possession solaced him, and he thinks more about the hundreds that have vanished than about the thousands that remain. Men are made so. It is a human instinct, that apart altogether from the consideration of its intrinsic worth, and the proportion it bears to that which is still possessed, the lost thing draws, and the loser will take any pains to find it.

So Christ says, When a woman will light a candle and sweep the house and search diligently till she finds her lost sixpence {for the drachma was worth little more}, and will bring in all her neighbours to rejoice with her, that is like God; and the human instinct which prizes lost things, not because of their value, but because they are lost, has something corresponding to it in the heart of the Majesty of the heavens. It is Christ’s vindication, of course, as I need not remind you, of His own conduct. He says in effect, to these Pharisees, ‘You are finding fault with Me for doing what we all do. I am only acting in accordance with a natural human instinct; and when I thus act God Himself is acting in and through Me.’

If I had time, I think I could show that this principle, brought out in my texts, really sweeps away one of the difficulties which modern science has to suggest against Evangelical Christianity. We hear it said, ‘How can you suppose that a speck of a world like this, amidst all these flaming orbs that stud the infinite depths of the heavens, is of so much importance in God’s sight that His Son came down to die for it?’ The magnitude of the world, as compared with others, has nothing to do with the question. God’s action is determined by its moral condition. If it be true that here is sin, which rends men away from Him, and that so they are lost, then it is supremely natural that all the miracles of the Christian revelation should follow. The rationale of the Incarnation lies in this, ‘A certain man had a hundred sheep. . .. One of them went astray . . . and He went into the wilderness and found it.’

III. Now I meant to have said a word about the varying glimpses that we have here, into God’s claims upon us, and His heart.

Ownership is the word that describes His relation to us in the first two parables; love is the word that describes it in the third. But the ownership melts into love, because God does not reckon that He possesses men by natural right of creation or the like, unless they yield their hearts to Him, and give themselves, by their own joyful self-surrender, into His hands. But I must not be tempted to speak upon that matter; only, before I close, let me point you to that most blessed and heart-melting thought, that God accounts Himself to have lost something when a man goes away from Him.

That word ‘the lost’ has another, and in some senses a more tragical, significance in Scripture. The lost are lost to themselves and to blessedness. The word implies destruction; but it also carries with it this, that God prizes us, is glad to have us, and, I was going to say, feels an incompleteness in His possessions when men depart from Him.

Oh, brethren, surely such a thought as that should melt us; and if, as is certainly the case, we have strayed away from Him into green pastures, which have ended in a wilderness, without a blade of grass; or if we have rolled away from Him in passive submission to circumstances; or if we have risen up in rebellion against Him, and claimed our separate right of possession and use of the goods that fall to us, if we would only think that He considers that He has lost us, and prizes us because we are lost to Him, and wants to get us back again, surely, surely it would draw us to Himself. Think of the greatness of the love into which the ownership is merged, as measured by the infinite price which He has paid to bring us back, and let us all say, ‘I will arise and go to my Father.’

Luke 15:8-10. Either what woman — As if he had said, To illustrate the matter by another obvious similitude, that it may yet more powerfully strike your minds, what woman, having ten pieces of silver — Though each of them but of the value of a drachma; or about seven pence halfpenny, and the whole only about six shillings three pence sterling money: if she lose one piece — Out of her little stock; doth not light a candle, &c. — Will not immediately make search for it, and take all possible pains to find it. And when she hath found it, calleth her female friends — To acquaint them with her good success, concluding it will be agreeable news to them. It might seem hardly worth while to ask the congratulation of her friends on so small an occasion as finding a drachma; but it is represented as the tenth part of her little stock, and the impressible and social temper of the sex may, perhaps, be considered as adding some propriety to the representation. Likewise, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God, &c. — We may conclude from hence, that, at least in some extraordinary cases, the angels are, either by immediate revelation, or otherwise, informed of the conversion of sinners, which must, to those benevolent spirits, be an occasion of joy; nor could any thing have been suggested more proper to encourage the humble penitent, to expose the repining Pharisee, or to animate all to zeal in so good a work, as endeavouring to promote the repentance and conversion of others. Indeed this part of both these parables is finely imagined. The angels, though high in nature, and perfect in blessedness, are represented as bearing a friendly regard to, and as having exact knowledge of, many things done here below. Thus, from men’s conduct in the common affairs of life, described in these parables, Christ proves it to be the general sense of mankind, that every sinner should be sought after by the teachers of religion. For, as men are so moved with the loss of any part of their property, that they seem to neglect what remains while they are employed in endeavouring to recover what happens to be missing; and, when they have found it, are so overjoyed, that, calling their friends, to whom they had given an account of their misfortune, they tell them the good news, that they may rejoice with them; so the servants of God should labour with the greatest solicitude to recover whatever part of his property is lost, namely, his reasonable creatures, who, having strayed from him, are in danger of perishing eternally. And they have powerful encouragement to do so, as the reformation of a single sinner occasions more joy in heaven than the steadfastness of ninety and nine righteous persons. By this circumstance, likewise, he insinuated that the Pharisees, who pretended to more holiness than others, instead of repining at his conversing with, and instructing sinners, ought to have imitated the example of the heavenly beings, and to have rejoiced to find these men delighted with his company and discourses, who enjoined them a much stricter life than they hitherto had been used to, inasmuch as this was a certain token of their repentance, and seemed to promise a speedy and thorough reformation. The drift of both parables is to show, that the conversion of sinners is a thing highly acceptable to God, and, consequently, that whatever is necessary thereto is so far from being inconsistent with goodness, that it is the very perfection and excellence of it. Daniel 12:3.

15:1-10 The parable of the lost sheep is very applicable to the great work of man's redemption. The lost sheep represents the sinner as departed from God, and exposed to certain ruin if not brought back to him, yet not desirous to return. Christ is earnest in bringing sinners home. In the parable of the lost piece of silver, that which is lost, is one piece, of small value compared with the rest. Yet the woman seeks diligently till she finds it. This represents the various means and methods God makes use of to bring lost souls home to himself, and the Saviour's joy on their return to him. How careful then should we be that our repentance is unto salvation!Ten pieces of silver - In the original, ten "drachmas." The drachma was about the value of fifteen cents, and consequently the whole sum was about a dollar and a half, or six shillings. The sum was small, but it was all she had. The loss of one piece, therefore, was severely felt.

There is joy in the presence ... - Jesus in this parable expresses the same sentiment which he did in the preceding. A woman would have more immediate, present, joy at finding a lost piece, than she would in the possession of those which had not been lost. "So," says Christ, there is joy among the angels at the recovery of a single sinner.

Lu 15:8-10. II. The Lost Coin.

8. sweep the house—"not done without dust on man's part" [Bengel].

Ver. 8-10. This parable (as appeareth by the conclusion of it) is of the same import with the other, and needs no further explication. By both these parables our blessed Lord lets the Pharisees know the end he aimed at in conversing with publicans and sinners, viz. In order to their repentance and conversion, than which nothing could be more grateful and well pleasing to that God who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that they should turn from their wickedness and live. Of the same import is also the following parable, which taketh up all the remaining part of this chapter.

Either what woman, having ten pieces of silver,.... Or "drachmas": a "drachma" was the fourth part of a shekel, and of the same value with a Roman penny; and was worth of our money, seven pence half penny; so that the ten pieces amounted to six shilling's, and three pence: the Ethiopic version renders it "ten rings": this parable is delivered, with the same view as the former; the scope and design of them are alike, being occasioned by the same circumstance, only the passiveness of a sinner in conversion is here more fully signified; who can contribute no more to the first act of conversion, which is purely God's work, than a lost piece of silver to its being found: by the "ten pieces or silver" are designed, all the Jews, or the whole body of that people; as they were before signified, by the hundred sheep; they having been God's peculiar treasure, though they were now in general become reprobate silver: and by the "woman" the proprietor of them, is meant Christ; and in what sense he was the owner of them, has been shown on Luke 15:4. The "nine" pieces design the Scribes and Pharisees; and the one lost piece, expressed in the next clause,

if she lose one piece, intends the elect among the Jews, and who chiefly consisted of publicans and sinners; and the regard had to these, is signified by the following expressions,

doth not light a candle: by which is meant, not the light of nature or reason in man: for though this is called a candle, and is of Christ's lighting, yet that by which he looks up his lost people, for this is become very dim: and though by it men may know there is a God, and the difference between moral good and evil, by it they cannot come at the knowledge of things spiritual; as of God in Christ, of the sin of nature, and of the plague of the heart; nor of the way of salvation by Christ, nor of the work of the Spirit, and the nature and need of it; nor of the Scriptures of truth, and of the doctrines of the Gospel, nor of the things of another world: neither is the law of Moses intended; for though there was light by it into the knowledge of sin, yet not clear; and though the ceremonial law was a shadow of Christ, and did give some instructions about him, and the doctrines of the Gospel, and blessings of grace, yet but very obscure hints: but by this candle is meant, the Gospel itself; which, like a candle, is lighted up in the evening of the world; and may be removed, as it sometimes is, from place to place; and where it is set, and blessed, it gives light, and is useful both to work and walk by; it does not always burn alike clear, or is always held forth in the same purity: and it will give the greatest light at last, as a candle does, even at the end of the world: now Christ is the lighter of this, and from him it has all its light, who is the maker of it; he keeps it light, and by it he looks up and finds out his elect ones; though this is not a direction to him, who perfectly knows who they are, and where they be, but is rather a light to them, that they may know and find him:

and sweep the house: which phrase sometimes designs outward reformation, as in Matthew 12:44 and sometimes God's judgments upon a people, as in Isaiah 14:23 but here the preaching of the Gospel, and the power that goes along with it, to the the effectual calling of the elect: the "house" in which Christ's lost piece of silver, or his chosen ones were, may design the nation of the Jews, who are often called the house of Israel; this was a house of God's building and choosing, and where he dwelt; and among these people for a long time, God's elect lay, though all of them were not so; and about this time the Lord was about to break up house keeping with them; yet as there were some few among them, that were to be looked up and called, therefore this house must be swept, as it was by the ministry of John the Baptist, by Christ himself, and by his apostles: and this suggests, what must be the state and condition of God's elect, being in this house, before it was swept, and they found out; they were out of sight, in great obscurity and darkness, with a deal of rubbish and dirt upon them, and pollution in them; and impotent to that which is good, and to their own recovery, and yet capable of being recovered: and this phrase hints at the power and efficacy of divine grace, that goes along with the word, in looking up and finding lost sinners; in enlightening their dark minds, quickening them, being dead in sin, taking away their stony hearts, regenerating them, enstamping the divine image upon them, removing every thing from them they trusted in, and working faith in them, to look to, and believe in Christ: and as in sweeping of an house, a great stir is made, a dust raised, and things are moved out of their place; so by the preaching of the Gospel, an uproar is made in the sinner himself; in his conscience, which is filled with a horrible sight of sin; which is very loathsome, and causes uneasy reflections, fills with shame and confusion, and greatly burdens and distresses, and with the terrors of the law, and with dreadful apprehensions of hell and damnation; in his will there is a reluctancy to part with sinful lusts and pleasures, with sinful companions, and with his own righteousness, and to be saved by Christ alone, and to serve him, and bear his cross: and in his understanding, things appear in a different light than they before did: and great stir and opposition is made by Satan, to hinder the preaching of the Gospel, as much as in him lies, and persons from coming to hear it; and if they do, he endeavours to hinder, by catching it from them, or diverting them from that; by insinuating, it is either too soon or too late, to mind religion; or that sin is either so great that it cannot be forgiven, or so trivial, that a few prayers, tears, alms deeds, &c. will make amends for it; by distressing them about their election, or about the willingness of Christ to save them; or by stirring up others to dissuade and discourage them. Moreover, when the Gospel is preached in purity and with power, and souls are converted, there is a great stir and uproar in the world, and among the men of it; because the doctrines of it are foolishness, and strange things to them; and oppose their sense of things, and strip them of what is valuable; and men are hereby distinguished from them, and taken from among them: and there is also a stir and an uproar made by it, among carnal professors of religion, as there was at this time among the Scribes and Pharisees; and all this bustle is made, for the sake of a single piece of money:

and seek diligently till she find it? not only a light is set up, an hand of power put forth in using the besom, but a quick sharp eye looks out for the piece of silver: this diligent seeking and finding, are to be understood not of the grace of Christ in redemption; nor of his restoring backsliders; but of his converting sinners, through the preaching of the Gospel, both in his own person, and by his ministers, his Spirit making their ministrations effectual: the diligence, care, and circumspection of Christ, to find out lost sinners, while the Gospel is preaching, are here signified: it is not the preacher that looks out for them, though he that is a faithful minister of the word performs his office diligently and carefully, and he desires nothing more earnestly than the conversion of sinners; but then he knows not who are, and who are not the elect of God, and is ignorant of what Christ is doing, whilst he is preaching: Christ's eye is upon his lost piece; he perfectly knows the persons of the elect, as they are his Father's choice, and his gift to him; he knew them in the counsel of peace, and covenant of grace, in the fall of Adam, and their natural estate; he knows the places where they all are, and the time when they are to be converted; and distinguishes them amidst all the filth that attends them, and the crowd among which they are; and he continues seeking, till he finds them; which shows the perpetuity of the Gospel ministry the indefatigableness of Christ, and his sure and certain success: the reasons of all this care and diligence, are his love to them, his propriety in them, his Father's will, and his own engagement; and because they must be for ever lost, did he not seek after them.

Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
Luke 15:8-10. The same teaching by means of a similar parable, which, however, is not found also in Matthew, yet without express repetition of the comparative joy.

συγκαλεῖται] convocat sibi, describing the action more precisely than συγκαλεῖ, Luke 15:6. Comp. Luke 9:1, Luke 23:13; Acts 10:24; Acts 28:17.

ἐνώπ. τ. ἀγγέλων τ. θεοῦ] a special expression of what is meant by ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, Luke 15:7. The joy of God is rendered perceptible, as He, surrounded by the angels, allows it to be recognised in the presence of them. Comp. Luke 12:8.

Luke 15:8-10. The second parable, a pendant to the first, spoken possibly to the Capernaum gathering to bring the experience of joy found in things lost home to the poorest present. As spoken to Pharisees it is intended to exemplify the principle by a lost object as insignificant in value as a publican or a sinner was in their esteem. A sheep, though one of a hundred, was a comparatively precious object. A drachma was a piece of money of inconsiderable value, yet of value to a poor woman who owned only ten drachmas in all; its finding therefore a source of keen joy to her.

8. having ten pieces of silver] Ten drachmas. This parable is peculiar to St Luke. The Greek drachma (about ]od.) corresponds to the Latin denarius. Each represented a day’s wages, and may be roughly rendered shilling. Tob 5:14; Thuc. Til. 17; Tac. Ann. I. 17. These small silver coins were worn by women as a sort of ornamental fringe round the forehead (the semedi). The loss might therefore seem less trying than that of a sheep, but (1) in this case it is a tenth (not a hundredth) part of what the woman possesses; and (2) the coin has on it the image and superscription of a king (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 22:20). “We are God’s drachma”—“I feel more strongly every day that everything is vanity; I cannot leave my soul in this heap of mud.” Lacordaire (Chocarne, p. 42, E. Tr.).

light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently] We should notice the thorough and deliberate method of the search. Some see in the woman a picture of the Church, and give a separate meaning to each particular; but “if we should attribute to every single word a deeper significance than appears, we should not seldom incur the danger of bringing much into Scripture which is not at all contained in it.” Zimmermann.

till she find it] If it be admissible to build theological conclusions on the incidental expressions of parables, there should be, in these words, a deep source of hope.

Luke 15:8. Γυνὴ, woman) There is signified Ἡ σοφία, Wisdom, or in other words, Koheleth (Ἐκκλησιαστὴς): or else רוח, the Holy Spirit, even as the Son is alluded to in the 4th verse, and the Father in the 11th verse. The relation in which man stands towards God (the aspect under which God views him) is various.—σαροῖ, sweeps) This cannot be done without dust, [though not on the part of God, but] on the part of man.

Verse 8. - Either what woman having' ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? Another and very homely picture is painted in this parable. This time the chief figure is a woman, a dweller in a poor Syrian village, to whom the loss of a coin of small value out of her little store is a serious matter. In the story of the lost sheep the point of the parable turns upon the suffering and the sin of man, under the image of a lost sheep searched for and restored by the Divine pity. Here, in the second parable-story, the ruined soul is represented as a lost coin, and we learn from it that God positively misses each lost soul, and longs for its restoration to its true sphere and place in the heaven life and work for which it was created. In other words, in the first parable the lost soul is viewed from man's standpoint; in the second, from God's. If, then, a soul be missed, the result will be, not only missing for itself, but something lost for God. Luke 15:8Pieces of silver (δραχμὰς)

Used by Luke only. A coin worth about eighteen cents, commonly with the image of an owl, a tortoise, or a head of Pallas. As a weight, 65.5 grains. A common weight in dispensing medicines and writing prescriptions. Wyc., transcribing the Greek word, dragmes. Tynd., grotes.

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